Forget Yasiel Puig, it’s all about Junior Lake.
Ever since being called up from Triple-A Iowa on Friday, the 23 year old Lake has been a force at the plate on a team that has been struggling to score. And his success continued on Monday night in the desert where he had his best game so far.
On the day that the Cubs finally traded Matt Garza and it looked like their season was heading down the drain again, Lake provided some hope. No the Cubs won’t make a second half run but at least they won’t lose 100 games again, maybe.
Garza was slated to start for the Cubs tonight but was scratched and then later traded to the Rangers, a couple hours before the Cubs took on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chris Rusin was called up to take the start tonight and replaced Garza very well.
Rusin went six innings, allowing jus two runs which were both scored after he was relieved by Blake Parker. Despite being tagged for the two runs, he was able to get his first win of the season. But the great start was overshadowed by Lake.
Catcher Dioner Navarro got the Cubs offense started with a solo shot in the second and then Lake took over from there.
After battiing over .400 in the series in Colorado, manager Dale Sveum decided to put Lake in the leadoff spot to spark the offseason, and it worked perfectly. Lake was able to get two hits off of greatly placed bunts and then had two hits that led the Cubs to victory.
In the fifth inning, Lake hit a monster two run shot to deep left center to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. His home run proved to be the game winner as Arizona scored two runs later in the game.
After the Diamondbacks cut the lead down to one, Lake came up huge in the top of the ninth to give the Cubs some breathing room. With runners on first and second, Lake lined a single to left that scored Darwin Barney to extend the lead to 4-2.
Kevin Gregg came in and had a strong ninth inning to seal the Cubs win. It was the 19 save of the season for Gregg as his time as a Cub may be winding down as well.
Lake had a career high four hits on Monday and is now 9-17 since being called up. Many scouts thought Lake would just be a platoon player for the Cubs but he has certainly proved them wrong so far.
The Cubs and Junior Lake will look to keep playing good baseball on Tuesday night as they face All-Star Patrick Corbin. First pitch set for 8:40.