Clearly, Craig Kimbrel was not available this afternoon, otherwise you have to imagine he would have been in that game for the save, especially after things got dicey with the tying run 90 feet away in the 9th. The three-batter minimum will always makes things a little trickier, but the opportunity was there for Kimbrel to come in. I suppose it’s possible that David Ross was just trying to get it done without him (Kimbrel pitched back-to-back days against the Dodgers), so at this point, I’m just hoping he is/was healthy, but unavailable (update: That’s correct).
But let’s set that aside for now, because ugly or not, the Cubs won today, their fourth in a row, bringing their record back up to .500 for the first time since April 24th (10-10).
So how’d they get there? Mostly due to hit after hit after hit (the Cubs had 9 singles today), but a better way to define it was finally getting what they wanted out of two guys we had high hopes for heading into the season: Zach Davies and Joc Pederson.
Pederson, who continues to lead off against righties in the absence of Ian Happ, had three hits, all singles, with his only out coming on an absolute rocket off the bat (it had a .580 expected batting average). Considering that he had just 8 hits all season coming into today, I’d say nearly 4 hits in a single game is a good sign.
Although the Cubs had plenty of hits (9) and barely any strikeouts (4), the offense didn’t actually do a ton of damage, managing just 3 runs off Trevor Cahill and the Pirates. Fortunately, despite some “fun” in the top of the 9th, that’s all they needed, because Zach Davies finally showed up.
After allowing 21 earned runs through his first 23.0 innings pitched this season, Davies kept the Pirates scoreless this afternoon over 7.0 innings pitched (5H, 1BB, 1K). He was effective, efficient, and got the job done. He’s also now the second Cubs starting pitcher to get an out in the 7th inning, following Kyle Hendricks, who just did it in his start against the Dodgers. If those two guys are really starting to show up, this team might just keep on winning.
But that’s a story for another day. Thanks for not ruining the start to our weekend, Cubs.