On Monday, the Chicago Cubs bullpen suffered a debacle in more ways than one, attributing to the 6-5 loss to the Marlins. After a walk-off last night, do you think the Cubs would make it easy?
As the Chicago Cubs Kyle Hendricks took the mound, I’m not sure many thought he could replicate his ‘Maddux’ outing in his last start. A first-inning run prevented that. But it’s clear that Hendricks is finding his groove as he went eight innings without allowing an earned run. Ok, so it was his error that made it unearned, but who’s counting? But I think we can agree he should have had the chance to finish the game.
These days, the end of the Cubs bullpen is a scary place to be. For the pitchers themselves, and Joe Maddon. After Pedro Strop suffered his meltdown on Monday, it turned out that the hamstring is still an issue as he returned to the IL. In his place, Mike Montgomery returned after a 10-day IL stint. So, for now, it’s closer by committee–even though Maddon has never officially named Strop the closer. But how he used them said it more than words.
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After pulling Hendricks after eight solid innings, Kyle Ryan got the chance to close the game. A quick Neil Walker single forced Maddon to pull him for the former Marlin, Steve Cishek. I’ll spare the ugly details (A wild pitch was involved), the Cubs ended the ninth inning tied with the Marlins. Again.
The Cubs were going to be looking for another hero on this night. And all the big names got their chance. All of them failed. It would come down to the leadoff hitter, Jason Heyward.
Yes. You heard me right. With Ben Zobrist headed to the restricted list for personal reasons, and Daniel Descalso still nursing a bad ankle, he was the best option. And, to be honest, his skill set fits, especially this year. Hitting for average, taking his walks, has decent speed.
But that’s not what the Cubs needed. They needed power. A guy that could end the game with one swing. A guy…oh, yeah. That’s Heyward. After going down 0-2, he took a fastball out of the zone, then fought off a curveball to stay alive.
As many Cubs have been doing this year, Heyward took the fastball on the edge of the plate deep into left field. It didn’t make it by much, but a ball in the basket is worth a Cubs walk-off win. This was Heyward’s sixth home run of the season. Last year, he had eight total.
I see a lot of complaints about certain players for this team. The typical ‘let him go,’ ‘trade him,’ ‘he sucks.’ Here’s the thing. That group of guys that some fans are complaining about? They have helped the Cubs go 16-4 since April 15. After losing the first three series of the season, the Cubs haven’t lost one in the last eight series. And even this series, they can’t lose. Worst case, they split the series.
So maybe it’s time to start enjoying the Chicago Cubs instead of attacking every lousy performance. It’s baseball. 162 games a season. Relax and enjoy.