Cubs’ depth shines in series-opening win over Padres
It seems that no matter who goes down for the Cubs, they immediately have someone ready and capable to fill in to keep their winning ways. Case in point: Monday afternoon’s 7-2 win over the Padres.
When Trevor Williams went down with an appendectomy Sunday morning and was placed on the 10-day IL, Kohl Stewart filled in admirably, pitching 5 innings of 1-run ball.
“I thought Kohl did a really nice job mixing his pitches attacking them,” David Ross said. “I loved the rhythm he had, the aggressiveness the pace of his delivery. Everything about today was really positive on his end.”
In his 3rd start of the year, Patrick Wisdom went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs as the Cubs’ offense hit 5 home runs Monday afternoon. Wisdom started at third base as Kris Bryant started at first for the injured Anthony Rizzo. In 15 at-bats this season, Wisdom has 3 home runs, a .467 batting average and a 1.133 OPS.
“I think it’s just being comfortable in the box, sticking to a routine, making sure I’m prepared for the pitcher that day and not getting outside the moment,” Wisdom said. “Staying within myself I think has been helping me stay locked in.”
In Stewart’s case, it was the exact performance the Cubs were hoping to get out of an emergency starter. The Cubs were looking for length to preserve a team in the midst of a 16-straight-game stretch.
“He’s been stretched probably further than anybody else,” Ross said prior to Monday’s game. “A starter that’s stretched out and can give us multiple innings makes the most sense for where we’re at.”
Williams, who was in line to start Monday, was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to May 28. Stewart was called up in his place.
In his Cubs’ debut, Stewart maneuvered through a strong and deep Padres lineup, allowing just 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 2 in the outing. He worked out of a 2nd inning jam with runners on first and third with one out by inducing an inning-ending double play to Victor Caratini. Stewart continued a line of Cubs pitchers who have come up to the big league club and immediatley had success.
“I think it starts in spring. I think they do a good job of putting together a plan and trying to figure out how we’re gonna be successful in the big leagues,” Stewart said. “I think, that’s just the nature of the beast of Triple-A. You just never really know when your phone’s gonna ring, so you really have to treat everyday like you’re preparing to play in the big leagues the following day.”
He also showed off some quick reflexes, snatching a comeback from Jurickson Profar behind his back in the 4th inning and flipping it to Kris Bryant to end the inning.
And Stewart received plenty of support from his offense. Javy Báez had a 2-home-run game himself, a 2-run blast in the 3rd and a solo shot in the 7th. Bryant was 2-for-4 with a triple and a 2-run home run in the 5th inning for the Cubs.
After his second home run, Báez received a curtain call from the 24,824 fans at Wrigley Field.
“It feels great,” Báez said. “It feels like a playoff game, especially playing against these guys with Tatis over there and Caratini for the first time back. It’s fun. Obviously with the weather and the wind blowing out, it was a great day for us.”
Five different Cubs had a hit and 7 different Cubs reached base in the game.
Williams’ trip to the injured list marked the 12th Cub to go on the mend. But good news might be on the way for the Cubs.
Rizzo, who hasn’t appeared in a game since May 25 due to low back tightness, took some grounders and batting practice prior to Monday’s game. Jake Marisnick, who’s been on the injured list since May 11 with a right hamstring strain, took batting practice and was doing sprints prior to Monday’s game.
Jason Heyward, who’s been on the injured list since May 20 with a left hamstring strain, also took batting practice and sprints prior to Monday’s win.
“We’ve got some guys that out there doing some activities now that I don’t think are too far away,” Ross said. “We’re on the verge of getting some guys healthy which is the good news on the back end of some bad news.”