Yesterday was a nice, gritty comeback for the Cubs against the Braves.
Kyle Hendricks was average, giving up three runs in five innings — but he was good enough to keep the Cubs in the game.
The Braves took a 3-1 lead in the 4th and starter Shelby Miller was looking strong. But then in the 5th, the Cubs started to claw back, making Miller work.
They pulled to a one-run deficit and loaded the bases with only one out and Kyle Schwarber at the plate. Unfortunately, Schwarber grounded into an inning-ending double play with the Cubs still down by one.
It was a frustrating and deflating moment, but instead of hanging their heads, the Cubs continued the pressure in the following inning. Kris Bryant and Miguel Montero hit back-to-back doubles to give the Cubs a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Pirates and Cardinals both lost last night, but the Giants won. The Cubs sit three games behind Pittsburgh for the top wild card spot and four games ahead of the Giants for the second spot. St. Louis still holds a 7.5-game lead on the Cubs for the division lead.
Bullpen comes through
With Kyle Hendricks only lasting five innings yesterday, it was up to the bullpen to keep the Braves at bay.
And they certainly did.
Jason Motte, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon pitched four scoreless innings and only gave up one total hit while striking out three.
Cubs starters haven’t been going deep into games much this week, and Dan Haren goes today. It would be nice to get a long outing from him to give the bullpen a breather.
When the Cubs bullpen is going right, I have a lot of faith in it. I just hope the relievers don’t get too run down before the end of the year.
* Kris Bryant was back in the lineup yesterday, after being removed after five innings on Thursday. He’s dealing with a sore foot, but apparently it’s not too serious. Good news. He hit an RBI double and scored a run yesterday.
* Before yesterday’s game, Starlin Castro was taking ground balls at third base. Anything he can do to help increase his versatility is a good thing at this point — because he probably won’t be seeing the starting lineup much for the rest of the year.
* The Cubs have signed a deal with Toyota that will include signage on the Wrigley Field marquee. I’m sure many people’s first reaction to this will be to complain, but I don’t think it will look too obtrusive. I have been very pleased with the signage and new video boards that have been installed throughout the park this year. I haven’t found it to look out of place. I assume the Toyota signage will blend in quickly and not be a big deal.