It wasn’t a textbook win last night, but it was a big win.
Miguel Montero set the tone in the bottom of the first, blasting a three-run home run, and the Cubs never really looked back.
However, starter Tsuyoshi Wada struggled for the second straight outing, lasting only three innings and giving up three runs, two walks and four hits.
But after Wada’s poor start, the bullpen took over and locked down the Reds. Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, James Russell, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon pitched six scoreless frames, surrendering only two hits total.
So will we see a change in the rotation? Joe Maddon said after the game that “I’m not even thinking that right now.”
I think they’ll give Wada at least one more shot. But if he has another game where he lasts only three innings, I think the Cubs have to consider a different route, whether that be Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson or maybe Jacob Turner.
It’s great to get a win on a night when your starting pitcher only pitches three innings. This Cubs team is winning games in many different ways, and boy is it fun.
A familiar face in the 9th
After all the recent wondering over which reliever would be used in the next save situation, Joe Maddon decided to return to Rondon with a three-run lead last night. I really like the move.
It was a low-pressure situation (easy for me to say, I know, but low-pressure when it comes to a save opportunity), and the Reds had the lower half of their lineup coming up.
Maddon also had Jason Motte warming just in case Rondon faltered. But it wasn’t needed, as he retired the side with giving up only a seeing-eye single.
Hopefully this will be a nice confidence boost for Rondon and he can return to the pitcher we saw last season.
* Joe Maddon said a reasonable timetable for newly signed reliever Rafael Soriano to join the Cubs bullpen is sometime after the All-Star break. Soriano hasn’t pitched this year, so it’s going to take him some time to get stretched out.
* Keeping with the bullpen theme, what about Neil Ramirez — any updates? Carrie Muskat says there aren’t any. Joe Maddon hasn’t heard anything either, she said. Definitely disappointing. There haven’t been any updates on infielder Tommy La Stella either.
* Pierce Johnson made his 2015 minor-league debut for Double-A Tennessee yesterday. And he fared well: Three innings pitched, three hits, no runs and two strikeouts. Johnson was drafted 43rd overall in 2012, and is one of the Cubs’ best pitching prospects. He has been sidelined after suffering a strained lat during Spring Training. Johnson struggled with injuries last year as well, but pitched decently when he got the chance. Let’s hope he can stay healthy for the rest of the season and continue to progress.