Cubs News

Adrian Sampson is stepping up for the Cubs right when they need him most

1 month agoAndy Martinez

MILWAUKEE — On a day in which the Cubs rotation received tough news, Adrian Sampson continued to prove he belonged in the mix as a starter for the Cubs moving forward.

The righty pitched 5.2 innings of 1-run ball as the Cubs rallied for a 2-1 win over the Brewers. And he looked stellar in doing so, nearly matching the reigning NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes (7 shutout innings for Brewers). The Cubs are now 3-0 in games that Burnes starts for the Brewers. 

Just doing what I need to do in between outings and then trusting the guys that are putting down the numbers or pressing the buttons behind the plate,” Sampson said. “Just from the get go, I was like, ‘OK, I feel good.’ Everything was good this week and then just brought it out to the game today.”

He pitched 3 perfect innings to start the game and stymied the Brewers offense. His only mistake was a full count sinker that caught the zone, which Keston Hiura hit for a solo home run to left center field.

I thought Samp threw a really nice game,” David Ross said. “He was executing all day. It was a really nice job.”

Before the game, Ross announced they were placing Kyle Hendricks on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain. It came a day after Hendricks pitched just 3 innings before exiting the game. The Cubs recalled Anderson Espinoza from Double-A Tennessee to take his spot on the roster.

​​“I think being cautious, dealing with this a little bit before,” Ross said. “We got the All-Star break coming up, giving him a little bit of rest and we’ll build him back up. That’s the smart thing to do.”

Hendricks will be out through the All-Star break, weakening a staff that’s already down 3 other veteran starters: Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley and Drew Smyly.

Sampson has proven he deserves an extended look in the rotation — he’s pitched to a 2.91 ERA in 5 appearances this year. In his last start against the Red Sox, Sampson settled in after allowing 4 runs against the first 9 batters he faced. He battled and made it through 5.1 innings to help the Cubs preserve their bullpen.

“Working the 5 day and then just some of the small adjustments from last outing and then brought ’em in today. It was big,” Sampson said. “Right from the get go, putting the ball where I wanted to with all the pitches and then just inducing weak contact early on, keep my pitch count down. So it was good.”

In his first start of the year against the Cardinals, he allowed just 2 runs in 5 innings of work. He pitched 4.2 scoreless innings in relief on June 19 against the Braves. His emergence has been valuable to the Cubs and will continue to do so as they look to get their starters back from injuries.

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