For the first eight innings of tonight’s ballgame, the Cubs (40-16) were dominant in every way possible. They got dominant pitching, clutch hitting, and played solid defense. The Phillies (28-30) faced a 6-0 deficit heading into their final at-bats and back-to-back home runs by Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph cut the lead to 6-4 and gave the Phillies a chance. But in the end, the Cubs lead would prove to be too large as the Phillies were not able to push across any more runs and fall by a score of 6-4. The Cubs are now the fastest team to reach 40 wins since the ’01 Seattle Mariners team that won 116 games that season.
The Phillies offense was non-existent for the first eight innings of tonight’s contest and it’s no coincidence Cubs starter Jon Lester went 8 innings. Lester was dominant and virtually unhittable as the Phillies were only able to muster 4 hits off Lester in 8 innings. Justin Grimm came in to pitch the ninth inning for the Cubs and the Phillies were happy to see him. Grimm faced three batters, and did not record a single out. He allowed the first two runners to get on and the served up a home run to Freddy Galvis that cut the Cubs lead in half. Cubs closer Hector Rondon came in to close out the game after that, but immediately allowed a home run to Tommy Joseph that made it a 6-4 game. However, Rondon would get pinch-hitter Ryan Howard to ground out to end the ball game. Joseph was the Phillies stand out hitter of the game as he was the only Phillie to record multiple hits, going 2-4 with the aforementioned homerun. The Cubs were led offensively by Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, all of whom had three hits, ad Jason Heyward, who was the only Chicago player to go deep in tonight’s ballgame.
Phillies starter Adam Morgan improved from his previous starts, as he was able to work through six innings against one of the best lineups in baseball. Morgan allowed three runs on eight hits and no walks, while striking out five. Morgan, however, suffered the loss tonight, falling to 1-5 on the year with an ERA of 6.70. Lester was the winning pitcher tonight, as he improves 7-3 with a 2.06 ERA after tonight’s masterful performance. The Phillies bullpen didn’t help out Morgan as they collectively allowed three runs on five hits in three innings of relief. Elvis Araujo, Andrew Bailey, and Brett Oberholtzer all provided an inning of relief tonight, with Bailey being the lone relieve to pitch a scoreless inning. Rondon earned his 11th save of the year tonight for the Cubs.
The Phillies and Cubs will be back at it Tuesday night for the second of three games at Citizen’s Bank Park. Both teams will throw one of their young starters, as the Phillies’ Jerad Eickhoff (2-8, 3.93 ERA) is slated to pitch against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendicks (4-4, 2.84 ERA). Eickhoff will look to keep improving at struggling to begin the season and lead the Phillies to a victory and tie the series up at one game a piece. Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. EST.