The Cubs won their first series of the season, beating the Brewers 9-1 on Sunday.
For the first time this year, the Cubs’ arms and bats were equally impressive. A strong start by Tyler Chatwood suggests that the rotation may be deeper than it’s been given credit for. And the batting order, from top to bottom, lit up the scoreboard.
Here are takeaways from the third and final game of the Cubs-Brewers series.
Chatwood in control
Chatwood had joked with David Ross Saturday that after the manager let Kyle Hendricks throw a complete game Opening Night, whatever the rest of the starting rotation did would pale in comparison.
“I don’t look at it like that,” Ross said.
It wasn’t a complete-game shutout, but Chatwood impressed on the mound Sunday. He allowed just one run in six innings.
Chatwood struck out eight, but more importantly he only walked two. Back in 2018, the last time he was a member of the Cubs' rotation, he led all of baseball in walks (95).
Kyle Schwarber gave the Cubs an early boost on the bases, scoring the team’s first two runs.
He led off the second inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. So, when Jason Heyward grounded out to second base, Schwarber was in position to score standing up.
Two innings later, Schwarber reached base on a leadoff walk. Willson Contreras then hit a long fly ball to the wall in right-center field. Schwarber flew around the bases to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Gap kid. pic.twitter.com/hwhYx02Y2j— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 26, 2020
Bottom of the order delivers
Ross tinkered with the bottom of the batting order Sunday, moving second baseman Nico Hoerner up to No. 7 and sliding designated hitter Victor Caratini down to No. 8.
Before the season began, the Cubs had speculated plenty about how the DH would lengthen their order. On Sunday, they showed it in action.
The Cubs’ fourth-inning rally began with Schwarber and Contreras, but it picked up with the Cubs’ No. 7-9 hitters. Hoerner, who had doubled off Freddy Peralta in his first at-bat, hit an RBI single off Corey Knebel to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Caratini and Ian Happ followed with RBI singles of their own.
Bryant, Heyward break streaks
Leadoff hitter Kris Bryant had bright moments in the first two games against the Brewers, namely a 10-pitch at-bat to kick off Opening Day. But he still was hitless.
Finally, after going 0-for-12 to start the season, Bryant hit a blooper into center field in the sixth inning.
Heyward, too, had racked up a bit of a hitless streak. But after recording his first RBI of the season earlier in the game, Heyward recorded his first hit in 10 at-bats Sunday, a seventh-inning line drive into left field.
Rizzo hits milestone
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Happ and Rizzo each hit their second home runs of the series. But for Rizzo, the long fly ball into the left field bleachers has extra significance.
The solo shot was Rizzo’s 500th career extra base hit. It gave the Cubs an eight run lead.