Just an upfront note, before we get into it: The Cubs are 9-0 against the Mets, Dodgers, and Padres this season (11-1 if you include the Cardinals). That is a thing of beauty.
In an ideal world, David Ross would go Ryan Tepera to Andrew Chafin to Craig Kimbrel, in that order, every single night. But that’s obviously not possible. And with all three of those arms closing out the win yesterday, Ross had to turn to the rest of his bullpen (from the sixth inning on) today.
Fortunately, those other guys are pretty darn good too. Today, for example, we watched Rex Brothers (1.0 IP), Brad Wieck (0.2 IP), Tommy Nance (0.1 IP), and Dan Winkler (2.0 IP) blank the Padres after Adbert Alzolay did his thing for the first five innings.
Speaking of which, the Cubs young starter didn’t last long today (5.0 IP, 83 pitches), but he was pretty darn impressive when he was out there, allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts. Ross probably could’ve left him in longer, but he was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning in a close game (at the time). So with the third time through the Padres batting order looming in the top of the 6th, it made sense to pull him at that time. By my eye, he didn’t have his best command throughout the day today … until, seemingly out of nowhere, he would perfectly paint a pitch on the edge of the zone to end an inning. It was wild. You can check out some of his nastiness (freezing batters and whiffing them) on Pitching Ninja’s Twitter account.
But in the end, the extreme pitching effort (really, these guys held the Padres to ONE RUN) didn’t matter, because the bats woke up (okay, with a little luck at times).
The Cubs were able to score two runs on bobbled infield grounders tonight, they got another two runs on Anthony Rizzo’s rocket opposite field double, and they got ANOTHER two runs on Javy Baez’s 14th home run of the season.
Rizzo (3-4, two 2Bs) was the only guy with multiple hits, but Baez had his homer, P.J. Higgins had his first big league hit, and a pinch-hitting Sergio Alcantara (start him everyday!) notched a triple.
That’s a great series SWEEP against the San Diego Padres, and the Cubs just continue to cruise.