CHICAGO – The last time they team in the purple and black came to Wrigley Field, they didn’t have to worry too much about their opponent’s offense. That’s because it was non-existent at that moment.
In the National League Wild Card Game last October against the Rockies, the Cubs could only manage one run over the course of 13 innings, continuing a miserable slump that would lead to their quick ouster from the postseason. It was emblematic of an offense that team president Theo Epstein said was “broken,” and led to a change in hitting coaches in the offseason.
On Tuesday night, seven months after that evening, the Rockies found out like most of the National League so far in 2019 that the home team’s offense is very much on the mend.
Aided by a double from former Rockies star Carlos Gonzalez along with a pair of towering homers from Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez, the Cubs powered their way past Colorado 6-3 on Tuesday night in the first of a three-game series. After a week or so of struggle at the plate, the Cubs have found their rhythm the last two games, scoring 14 runs in the win over the Rockies and eight on Monday against the Angels.
Kyle Hendricks, who was the hard-luck loser of that Wild Card game back in October, was aided by the offense on a night where he was strong again. While he yielded three runs, he was able to go seven innings with ten strikeouts compared to just one walk for the victory. Pedro Strop, who was just activated of the disabled list, got his fifth save of the season.
Yet the offense made the most noise of the night, and it was needed early thanks to one-time Cubs’ player Daniel Murphy. His RBI single put the Cubs up 1-0, but the Cubs’ offense countered with an RBI from former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez then Hendricks in the second to make it 2-1.
Murphy struck again in the fourth with another homer, but two Cubs’ sluggers had the answer. Schwarber crushed a 467-foot homer in the fifth inning to give the Cubs the lead back, then Baez followed in the sixth with a 440-foot two-run homer to center to make it 5-2.
After Colorado got a run back in the seventh, Gonzalez got his second RBI of the night on a sacrifice fly to close the scoring. It was plenty of offense for the Cubs, showing the Rockies that they’ve done a lot to fix their broken offense since last October.