Cubs: Keegan Thompson’s recent run deserves some attention

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Tuesday was arguably one of the saddest wins I’ve ever witnessed during my three-plus decades of Chicago Cubs fandom.

No, I’m not talking about one of those pathetic performances we’ve all bore witness to over the years where somehow, the team inexplicably escapes with a win despite their best efforts. The emotions at Wrigley Field, and even watching from home, were anything but exciting as we bid a likely farewell to Willson Contreras and Ian Happ.

Lost in those emotions was the terrific outing Chicago got from young right-hander Keegan Thompson, who tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out seven and extending the Cubs’ season-best winning streak to six games and finishing off the two-game sweep of the Pirates in the process.

"“That was as good as we’ve seen Keegan,” Ross told the Sun-Times after the game."

Thompson is still figuring things out at the big league level, but he has really hit his stride of late. After starting the year as Ross’ go-to multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen, there have been necessary adjustments he’s had to make as a starter. Seeing him complete seven innings and throw 97 pitches – both career-bests – on Tuesday was certainly an encouraging sign.

Cubs are seeing Keegan Thompson figure it all out as a starter

Despite a rough outing against the Mets prior to the All-Star Break, in which he surrendered five earned runs and walked four in just 4 1/3 innings, Thompson has some really impressive numbers over his last eight starts: a 2.52 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 43 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings and just two home runs allowed.

"“He’s still kind of a younger guy that probably needs to learn his pitching arsenal yet but with everything he’s got — power fastball, curveball, slider, changeup — he’s got a good mix as a possible No. 1 guy,” veteran catcher Yan Gomes told Marquee earlier this season."

Next. Teams are clamoring to get their hands on Ian Happ. dark

That’s the hope. Developing young arms was long a weakness of the Cubs organization, but with guys like Thompson and Justin Steele proving themselves at the big league level and up-and-coming prospects like Caleb Kilian, DJ Herz and Jordan Wicks on the horizon, that trend seems to be coming to a long-awaited end.