First and foremost, you hope David Bote’s ugly-looking shoulder injury is somehow not that bad. I don’t know how it couldn’t be, but that’s my hope.
Once you set that aside, though, you have to remark how impressive it is that the Cubs won once again. They have guys who are depth behind the depth stepping up to contribute. I don’t know how long this lasts, or whether they can actually navigate for much longer without having Rizzo, Hoerner, Heyward, Bote, Marisnick, Duffy, and Romine (some starters, some key depth), but I know for now it’s really dang great to see.
The game was a tight one for a while, but that Reds bullpen is just so porous, and the Cubs’ bats were relentless. By the time the bottom of the 8th rolled around, it became an “Enough Already” situation. I’ve missed that.
Zach Davies was really solid and efficient in this one, taking advantage of a whole lot of borderline calls – but, hey, if you’re getting them, pitch to it. David Ross has become pretty dogmatic about getting him out of there the third time through the order, though, which meant Davies went just five scoreless innings, at only 65 pitches. He got that leadoff chance in the 6th, but walked Suarez, and that was it. Historically, that seems to be the trick with Davies, so I don’t really blame Ross for it (Cubs were up 2-0 at the time), but it’s leaving a ton of innings for the bullpen to cover, and they won’t stay scoreless forever …
It was just this morning that I was talking about how Rex Brothers hadn’t pitched in 10 days, and you knew the rust might be a factor whenever he finally appeared again. Unfortunately that was today, and the rust showed up big-time in the form of a guy who is already prone to fits of wildness walking three of the four batters he faced. Departing with the bases loaded, Brothers was charged with a couple runs when Keegan Thompson thereafter gave up a double (before getting the next two outs to preserve his own personal scoreless streak). That meant the death of the Cubs’ incredible 38.1 inning streak of no earned runs. You knew it wouldn’t last forever, but it does suck to see it end because a guy couldn’t throw strikes after a week and a half on the shelf.
The rest of the bullpen was, once again, solid. Even Dillon Maples finally got into a game, too, showing less rust than Brothers (albeit in a super low leverage spot).
But the headline here is that the Cubs keep on grinding, have now won six straight, and will have to keep going with the “next man up” mentality …