More Cub magic tricks: Pitchers make Trout, Pujols bats disappear
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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Of all the impressive things the Cubs did in their season-opening sweep of the Los Angeles Angels the past two nights, this might top the list:
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols were held hitless by the Cubs’ pitching staff – 0-for-15 with five strikeouts.
“Two of the best hitters on the planet,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory. “Now the next team they play I’m sure is going to pay the consequences because they’re going to get hot sooner or later.”
The frustrating series for the Angels’ two former MVPs included Tuesday’s starter, Jon Lester, retiring them back-to-back to end the sixth immediately after Craig Gentry stoked the home crowd with an RBI single for the Angels’ only run of the series.
It also included Monday’s starter, Jake Arrieta, striking them out back-to-back in the seventh inning of that 9-0 victory the only time they came to the plate with a runner on base against him.
“It’s hard for a team to score when their horses aren’t producing,” catcher David Ross said. “I think that’s the game plan going in, trying to keep their big boys from doing any damage, and the last two nights our guys have done a really good job of that.”
Said manager Joe Maddon: “Not bad. Those two guys right there are really good, and I have a lot of faith in our guys, too, our pitchers. Jake and then Jon – outstanding. Both Cy Young kind of pitchers. It’s early in the season, and I would bet Trout and Albert will get their work done. We were just fortunate that we pitched that well these two games.”
In fact, with Arrieta slicing and dicing with nasty, hard breaking stuff in the opener, and Lester’s fastball and changeup particularly effective Tuesday, none of the Angels did much – going 7-for-61 (.115) with just two extra-base hits and 13 strikeouts.
“They threw the ball well,” Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said on a Tuesday night in which Pujols and Trout disappeared even more thoroughly (and quickly) after the game. “Obviously, we didn’t come out on the right side of these two, but there’s some good arms that we faced these last two games.”