Matt Duffy did the late hero work again, driving in Jason Heyward in the 7th to give the Cubs the lead and ultimately the win – their fifth in a row, and bringing them back to over .500 for the first time since April 23.
Trevor Williams was decent in his four-inning outing today, even if rather inefficient and dealing with a whole lot of traffic. The six strikeouts were great, though five hits and two walks are gonna result in some damage (in today’s case, it was a two-run homer).
Williams’ day was perhaps artificially shortened when the Cubs opted to pinch hit for him in the bottom of the 4th with a runner on second base and two outs, trying at the time to take the lead. The problem? David Bote got himself picked off second base with Nick Martini pinch-hitting. So not only was Williams out, but the pinch hitting opportunity was burned for nothing, AND ALSO the pitcher spot was still up the next inning. That meant that Keegan Thompson had to bat for himself the next inning if the Cubs wanted to get multiple innings out of the guy relieving the starter who went just four innings. Just a triple-whammy of a pick-off. Can’t happen.
Thompson, by the way, continues to impress in how he’s handling what the Cubs have thrown at him in his young career, especially given how little pro experience he actually has. He’ll need to miss more bats if he wants to have sustainable success – the fastball, in particular, is not really giving hitters any issues – but his cutter and curveball have been exceedingly tough to barrel up, even if they haven’t gotten swings and misses.
Javy Báez got switched out of the game late, which you would normally not expect in a tight one, so I wonder what was up with that.
It was great to have Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel ready to lock down the 8th and the 9th in this one, especially after Kimbrel was “down” yesterday for reasons not quite known.