Chicago Cubs: Bullpen proving its mettle during recent winning streak
In a game where starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks lasted only four innings, the Cubs leaned heavily on their bullpen in hopes of pulling off the series sweep.
After a 40-plus pitch fourth inning, Hendricks was pulled in favor of Justin Grimm. To say that Grimm has struggled this season would be an understatement. The 28-year-old righty has performed so badly that he has been sent to Triple-A at points during the season.
Entering play on Sunday, Grimm had only pitched in one major league game since May 7.
Sporting a 6.61 ERA, Grimm went to work in the fifth. Perhaps, to the surprise of many, Grimm worked a clean inning in which he walked a batter, but ended up striking out the side.
Rondon struggles again
With the Cubs holding a two-run lead entering the sixth, Maddon again called Rondon out of the bullpen. This proved to be a mistake as Rondon surrendered two runs on two hits and recorded just one out. In order to stop the bleeding, Strop was ushered to the mound. Not only did Strop finish the sixth, but he worked the seventh inning as well, needing only 17 pitches to do so.
Once the Cubs picked up a lead in the seventh, Maddon employed his top-tier arms. That attack started with Edwards, who worked a clean inning, making a neat snag on a come-backer to the mound in the process. Edwards’ solid outing on Sunday lowered his season ERA to 0.83.
Needing a save, but not wanting to work Davis three days in a row, Maddon turned to Uehara to nail down the Cubs’ third-straight win. Uehara filled up the strike zone with 13 strikes (out of 17 total pitches) en route to his second save of 2017.