Cubs go snake hunting in Arizona, take the Diamondbacks series
The Chicago Cubs won two of three games this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks for the series win.
Arizona won the first game 4-3, but the Cubs bounced back to win the next two games 4-2 and 3-2, respectively. Chicago’s offense may not have scored a ton of runs this series, but that didn’t matter because the pitching staff showed up. Let’s look at some of the bright spots in this series.
Kyle Hendricks continues his dominance
Although it wasn’t a shutout, in Game 2 Kyle Hendricks maintained his dominance that he showed in his last start in San Diego. After a rocky start where it looked like Hendricks wouldn’t last long, the veteran right-hander settled in and pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just one run and two walks along with five strikeouts.
If the Professor can maintain that consistency throughout the year, don’t be surprised if the Cubs work their way to a potential wildcard spot. Do the Cubs need him to go more than eight innings each start? Of course not, but five to six quality rounds will go a long way towards a successful season.
Justin Steele bounces
After a few tough outings for Justin Steele, the southpaw showed up in Arizona to prove to Cubs fans that he can be a force in the rotation. Steele pitched six innings and struck out 10 batters, giving up just one run and two walks and claiming the win in Game 3. He was the first Cubs rookie since Jeff Samardzija to strike out at least 10 batters in one. departure. It’s a great outing for Steele to build on, and if he continues to dive deep into Cubs games, it can only lead to good things.
Norris and Wick step up for the bullpen
With David Robertson closer on the injured list, the Cubs needed a few guys from the bullpen to take the reins. Enter Daniel Norris and Rowan Wick.
Norris, who struggled to start the season, entered Game 2 of the series in the seventh to help prevent the Diamondbacks from taking the lead. Facing four batters in 1.1 innings, the southpaw knocked out every batter he faced in dominant fashion.
Wick took the ball in the ninth, allowed two hits and a walk, but eventually struck out three batters to get the save. He also recorded a stoppage in the series finale. If guys like Norris and Wick can stay consistent in end-inning roles for the Cubs, and Robertson returns in the same shape he was before leaving for IL, don’t be surprised to see the bullpen Chicago have one of the lowest ERAs in the league in midsummer.
The Chicago Cubs return to Wrigley Field to host a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates starting Monday. Tune in to the Cubs On Tap podcast for additional post-game reaction and other Cubs commentary throughout the season.
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