There's a lot to like about this Chicago Cubs' rookie starting pitcher

Jordan Wicks has impressed while going up two of MLB's best lineups.
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

24-year-old Chicago Cubs rookie starting pitcher Jordan Wicks took a tough loss Saturday afternoon against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. The southpaw from Conway, Arkansas was charged with two earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched, giving up six hits one walk, and striking out seven. Wicks was pulled with two outs in the fifth in a scoreless tie with two runners on, and they would come around to score on a Jose Cuas wild pitch and Max Muncy RBI double.

Despite the loss, Wicks showed Cubs fans why there is a lot of promise in the young lefty. He was tasked with taking on a Dodgers lineup that on paper might be one of the best lineups baseball has seen in a long time. Facing early pressure in the first with two on and nobody out, he was able to get out of it retiring Freddie Freeman on a flyout and striking out Teoscar Hernández and Muncy. He also showed great poise working around a Muncy leadoff double in the fourth by inducing a groundout and striking out Chris Taylor and Miguel Rojas with the go-ahead run 90 feet away. Even in the inning he was pulled in he was able to get Mookie Betts and Freeman to go down on strikes before Craig Counsell yanked him at 100 pitches.

The big takeaway from this game is Wicks did not let the pressure and the moment overcome him. Facing that lineup as a pitcher only making his ninth career start could easily have derailed him, but he kept his cool and battled adversity big time. Against this Dodgers lineup, impressive stuff. It's something for him to build off of. One could see the confidence in him as he was out there.

We cannot fail to mention the actual execution of pitches. Wicks is known for his changeup, but we saw him execute well with fastball location. He was able to both paint the inside corner or elevate to generate the swing-and-miss. Two of his best fastballs of the day came in the fourth when he elevated a 93 MPH heater above the zone to get Taylor to chase with a runner at third and one out, followed by freezing Rojas on the inside corner immediately after. He also displayed how good his slider can be, which notably got the best of Muncy and Betts with runners on at different times of the game. The point is that Wicks executed on his primary pitches to get through tough spots, and showing he can execute with fastballs, changeups, and sliders in big spots is a good sign.

Not only did the fans and media appreciate Wicks' effort, but his teammates did too. Nico Hoerner talked to reporters about Wicks in the postgame saying, "I think it's been really impressive the amount of swing-and-miss he's been able this year - his value for us is going to be huge."

Wicks has a lot to learn from and grow in the Majors. There will be some bumps in the road but there is so much promise here. He has some good stuff and has that mentality of a workhorse who is mentally strong on the mound. Getting this battle-tested early on should only be seen as a great learning experience for him.

More Chicago Cubs News