No letdown last night, as the Cubs took care of business against the Brewers with a 6-3 win.
The margin of victory seemed larger, as the Cubs jumped out to an impressive 4-0 lead through three innings. The offense last night was all about patience.
The Cubs took a TON of pitches, drawing seven walks and reaching on three hit-by-pitches. They forced Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann out of the game in the third inning, after throwing 81 pitches.
Throw in some timely hits, good-enough pitching and solid defense, and you have a really nice team win. It was the Cubs’ fifth win in a row, and they’ve won 11 out of their last 12. That’s pretty good, by the way.
Coupled with a Pirates loss to the Cardinals, the Cubs are now only 2.5 games out of the top wild card spot.
Castro at second base
The Cubs haven’t lost since Starlin Castro was relegated to the bench and Addison Russell took over as the starting shortstop. Before last night’s game, Castro took grounders at second base. Joe Maddon said he could see some starts there against lefties.
Or he could be used as a defensive replacement for Chris Coghlan later in games. That’s what we saw in the 6th inning last night, with the Cubs leading 6-1. During this recent win streak, Maddon has been swapping out Coghlan and Jorge Soler to try and protect leads. So far it has worked out well.
As for Castro’s mindset, he seems to be taking his new role as professionally as possible. He said yesterday that he just wants to play — he doesn’t care whether it’s at shortstop or second base.
This attitude is good to see. You just have the feeling Castro is going to be called on at some point in the season and come through in a big way.
He made the most of his opportunity last night, making a difficult play on a pop-up down the right field line and having to deal with the visitor bullpen.
Infielder Tommy La Stella (remember him?) has been activated from the 60-day disabled list. He has missed the entire year except for the first two games with an oblique injury.
Instead of joining the Cubs, La Stella will be heading to Triple-A. An interesting move, as the I-Cubs have a crowded infield already.
La Stella must be a little rusty still or else I’d think he’d be heading to Chicago.
Catcher David Ross has been activated from the bereavement list, with outfielder Matt Szczur heading once again back to Iowa. The Cubs return to the three-headed catching monster.
* Mark Topkin from the Tampa Bay Times had an interesting catch-up interview with former Rays manager Joe Maddon. While he misses the Rays, Maddon said he doesn’t miss their ballpark — the Trop. The article seems to make it pretty clear that Maddon is happy to be in Chicago. He also explained the reasoning for his beard: All the famous championship-winning Chicago coaches (Mike Ditka, Phil Jackson, Ozzie Guillen, Joel Quenneville) had some sort of facial hair, so Maddon thought he’d follow suit. It may not be the best beard, but hey, it’s worth a shot.
* Tennessee Smokies outfielder Albert Almora had yet another multi-hit game yesterday — that’s seven in a row.
* When was the last time we heard a player say something like this about a Cubs clubhouse?