No one wanted Jose Quintana to get hurt, but the silver lining there is that it gives Alec Mills a chance to show that his development the last two years at AAA (and flashes of success in the big leagues) has made him a legit starting option. Tonight, he showed what he can do at his best: commanding five different pitches, constantly changing speeds and locations, keeping hitters off-balance.
Naturally, the only damage Mills gave up was a two-run shot (grooved, oops) to Nick Castellanos. Miss you, Nick.
After Mills, much to everyone’s shock, the Cubs had a great relief inning! Casey Sadler came in and not only struck out three, but thanks to a dropped third strike, he actually had to get four outs in his perfect 7th inning. It was a really good looking inning …. Then Sadler came back out of the 8th (full disclosure, I was totally fine with that decision) and immediately gave up a homer to Curt Casali, who is a real baseball player. Ah. Baseball.
Similarly, in the 9th, called upon to close out a five-run lead, Ryan Tepera looked nasty once again, striking out the first two batters … and then walking Aristides Aquina before serving up a two-run shot to Freddy Galvis (albeit on a pop fly with a .110 expected batting average). One of these games, the bullpen is gonna do thing smoothly, and it’s going to be INSANE.
The Cubs’ bats once again just looked really good and confident at the plate, with even better contact tonight than their eight runs indicates. Just slapping the ball around all over the yard after some long at bats. You love to see it.
And this guy had himself a night: