After losing in a blowout Tuesday evening, the Cubs evened the score in the series by eeking out a close one against the Rockies. Offense was at a premium despite 10 hits from each time, but credit Cubs pitchers for holding the home team scoreless after falling behind 2-0 in the opening frame.
Alec Mills was on the ropes right out of the gate, surrendering back-to-back doubles to the first two batters he faced and later giving up consecutive singles. He scattered four more hits over the next five innings, walking two and striking out three to earn the win. One big difference between this and too many of his other starts is that the rest of the team had his back in the field.
The Cubs walked only twice while striking out nine times, but they small-balled their way to the W with nine singles and a double. That latter knock from Patrick Wisdom was huge because it came with the bases loaded and two outs in the 5th inning. In fact, the Cubs did everything with two outs that inning.
Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras reached on hits, then Ian Happ coaxed a walk to set the stage for a wise crack that didn’t leave the home crowd laughing. That’s all the Cubs needed as the bullpen slammed the door behind solid efforts from Adam Morgan, Codi Heuer, and potential closer of the future Manny Rodriguez. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
A two-out rally in the 5th and solid pitching led them to this one. While it’ll take more high-end talent to win on a consistent basis, this is the kind of contact approach the team is looking to adopt moving forward.
The Wisdom double was huge for the game, but Rodriguez coming on to close the game for his first career save might be bigger in terms of the team’s future. At only 24 years old and boasting triple-digit heat, the righty could assume the closer role permanently.
Stats That Matter
- Wisdom had two singles in addition to the double and keeps raking in the middle of the order.
- Mills was strong after a shaky start: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 4.41 ERA on the season.
- Cubs pitchers had just 5 strikeouts but walked only 2 batters.
These games are almost on par with spring training when it comes to how meaningful they are in the grand scheme, but the Cubs do seem to be finding out more about who they’ve got. And if they’ve got an everyday third baseman with a stud closer in this group, it can help to guide their (fingers crossed) shopping this winter.