Following a win on Thursday’s Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa; the Cubs split the weekend games to finish off another series win. This is the third series in a row where the Cubs have taken two out of three games. The Cubs are back off to the nation’s capital for another three-game series against the Nationals.
Weekend Series Recap
The Field of Dreams game got off to a hot start with the Cubs scoring 3 runs in the top of the first inning. A hit-by-pitch and three base hits helped start a two-out rally that proved to be all Chicago needed to win. Drew Smyly struck out nine Reds in 5 innings and Rowan Wick got his 7th save of the year. Madrigal, Happ, Hoerner, and Suzuki all added an RBI in the Cubs’ 4-2 victory over Cincinnati.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 11, 2022
The two teams got Friday off to travel back to Ohio, and game two of the series saw the Cubs win their third straight game by a score of 7-2. New Cub Franmil Reyes hit his first home run with the team and Ian Happ continued his dominance at Great American Ballpark with one of his own.
WELCOME TO CHICAGO FRANMIL REYES! 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/N7Xllmly61
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) August 13, 2022
Sean Newcomb added a great relief appearance with 5 strikeouts in 2 innings. He came in and struck out the side with runners on base in the 5th inning when the Reds had a chance to take a lead.
Sean Newcomb was filthy tonight in relief.
2.0 IP / 5 K / 0 R pic.twitter.com/MGHjvFUe77
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 14, 2022
Sunday’s game was more of a struggle. Keegan Thompson got off to a tough start with some control issues. Thompson walked the first two batters in the 2nd inning, leading to a 3-run homer by Aristides Aquino. Yan Gomes and Christopher Morel hit back-to-back home runs to retake the lead, but the Reds got after Anderson Espinoza and Michael Rucker and never looked back. They dropped the finale by a score of 8-5.
Yan Gomes and Christopher Morel homer on back-to-back pitches! pic.twitter.com/61GJvkkop3
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 14, 2022
After all the dust has settled from post-trade deadline news, the Cubs have been a pretty solid team. Following the All-Star break, Chicago is 12-9 even with a 5-game losing streak in the middle.
Finding a new home seems to have worked for Franmil Reyes too, in his first 5 games with the Cubs he is hitting .318 with a home run and two doubles. He still has struck out nine times, but if he can keep the slugging percentage where it has been, he could be a perfect DH fit.
The Cubs moved their best bullpen arms at the deadline so filling those losses was going to be a struggle. This weekend had some promising signs though. Rowan Wick has pitched well lately, with 4 hits in 7.2 innings pitched and 0 earned runs since the All-Star break. Brandon Hughes has allowed only 2 earned runs in 11 innings since the break. Sean Newcomb added a great showing as I mentioned earlier, all are good signs moving forward.
Nick Madrigal has finally been able to get some productive playing time too. In 8 games this August, Madrigal has a .935 OPS with solid middle infield defense. These last few months are crucial for Nick to get comfortable with his health, durability, and playing ability at second-base moving forward.
This year has not been what we have wanted and expected as Cubs fans, but they could be in far worse shape entering the last 50 games too. They get some much-needed time for new players like Velazquez, Morel, Seiya, Madrigal, and others to get quality reps heading into 2023. The same can be said for some of the arms in the bullpen now.
Of course, the front office will need to spend money and make moves in the off-season. However, working with what they have and continuing to develop the young talent will help put Chicago in a position to succeed next year.