The Cubs dropped the first game in D.C. on Monday despite two home runs from Ian Happ. The offense got off to a good start but a tough 5th inning led to a 5-4 defeat. Chicago was able to bounce back and win the next two games, taking 4 of 6 in the season series against the Nationals. Another solid series from the Cubs has them building on their success after the All-Star break, their record is up to 14-10.
Franmil Reyes made his debut with the Cubs against Washington on August 9th and has performed every day since. A double in the 1st inning of Wednesday’s game extended his hitting streak to 7 games with his new team.
Franmil has gone 11 for 30 with Chicago for an OPS of 1.100. He has added 2 home runs, 3 doubles, and even an RBI triple in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory. The strikeout to walk ratio is not great with 7 strikeouts to 0 walks; but if he continues to slug in the DH role, he deserves a spot with the Cubs long term.
Franmil's coming over to EAT. pic.twitter.com/QF9uI7R3pH
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 17, 2022
Ian Happ looking for 100th Home Run
Earlier this year Willson Contreras became the 3rd catcher to hit 100 home runs for the Cubs. After his 2 home run game on Monday, Happ has 99 home runs with Chicago and is looking to join the All-Star catcher on a prestigious list of Cubs hitters.
Career home run No. 99 for Happer! 👀@ihapp_1 pic.twitter.com/R4luLdMUYW
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 16, 2022
When Happ hits number 100 he will tie Keith Moreland for the 25th most home runs in Cubs’ history. Willson Contreras has worked his way up to 22nd all-time with 112 home runs, his old teammate Kyle Schwarber is next on the list at 121.
Smyly and Newcomb
Drew Smyly had another good start for the Cubs on Wednesday, going 5.1 innings and allowing only 2 earned runs on 4 hits in Wednesday’s 3-2 win. That brings his numbers to 2 earned runs in 17 innings pitched after the All-Star break. He has been very consistent when healthy for the Cubs and with all the injuries for pitchers this season it has been extremely helpful to have a starter that the Cubs trust.
Sean Newcomb has also done well for Chicago as a left-handed reliever. Newcomb has only allowed 2 earned runs since the break as well and has proven that he can pitch out of high leverage situations. The bullpen has been a coin toss this year and especially after the more dependable arms were dealt at the deadline, pitchers like Newcomb and Brandon Hughes are extremely valuable building for next year.
Who Is Next?
The Cubs continue to have a good second half of the season. The Cubs won their 4th series in a row Wednesday and head to Baltimore for 1 game on Thursday. On Friday, the Cubs return to the Friendly Confines for a 3-game set against Milwaukee and a 5-game series against the Cardinals.
The two divisional rivals ahead of Chicago in the standings will be playing hard to snag the playoff spot that comes with an NL Central title. These are teams that the youngsters will have to play dozens of times every year in the future and hopefully, we see some of the players perform up to the intensity of these rivalries.
The season has not gone positively but seeing some fire and competitive drive from the players has to mean something moving forward. A lot of teams out of the playoffs have quit in the second half of the season but that has not been the case with these Cubs.
Chicago has played the Brewers well, going 7-6 against them in 2022. St. Louis has been tougher, the Cubs are 4-7 against the Cardinals after a 3-game sweep in August. Cubs fans should be filling Wrigley to see the Franimal, Suzuki, Morel, and the other young Cubs on their path back to the top of the NL Central.