Justin Steele continues to shine in Cubs rotation
Two starts in, Justin Steele is giving credence to David Ross’ comments about him at the beginning of the season.
“We need him to be good for us to have success,” Ross said last week prior to Steele’s first start of the year. “He’s a big part of our future and success.”
Steele continues to show Ross and the Cubs he’s ready for that challenge.
He pitched 4.1 innings Thursday night in Colorado, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts as the Cubs beat the Rockies 5-2. Steele had a scoreless inning streak of 16.1 innings, dating back to last season. He exited the game with a pair of runners on and lost the streak.
“I felt good out there,” Steele said. “Kept finding myself in positions to get out.”
But his first two outings are just what the Cubs would have hoped to have gotten early on.
He’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA this season in 9.1 innings of work. Thursday he found success using primarily his fastball and slider. He threw 80 pitches and 79 of them were a mix of his fastball and slider. Part of his decision to stick to that mix had to do with the altitude in Denver and playing at Coors Field.
“Breaking balls don’t usually move as much, so as far as that went, I just stuck to my slider mostly rather than my curveball,” Steele said. “That was probably the major adjustment that I made.”
The Cubs bullpen locked it up from there. After the Rockies were able to get to Ethan Roberts, Keegan Thompson came in and shut the door on Colorado. He pitched 3.1 shutout innings, including escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 5th inning when he entered the game. He allowed just 3 hits and struck out 1 on Thursday. Mychal Givens picked up his first save of the year closing out the 9th for the Cubs.
“When you’re ready and your number could be called, you gotta be ready to go out there and throw,” Thompson said. “I enjoy being in this long role, getting to throw a few more pitches. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win.”