With their recent skid, the Cubs have put themselves in a position where they pretty much have to win every single day the rest of the season, no matter how absurd that might seem.
One day at a time is how they’ll have to take it, and Friday’s was a great effort pitching-wise, defensively and with timely hitting including long balls. The result was a satisfying 6-0 win over the Rockies on a beautiful Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Jameson Taillon walked a pair in a 30-pitch first inning, yikes. But he got out of it with a pair of strikeouts, and then the Cubs offense got to work. Mike Tauchman led off with a walk — he’s so good at doing that — and one out later Ian Happ walked and Cody Bellinger was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Dansby Swanson popped up for the second out, but Seiya Suzuki drove in the Cubs’ first run [VIDEO].
Tauchman scored easily, but Happ was thrown out. I didn’t think it was a bad send, but the throw was very good and Happ was out by quite a bit.
Taillon settled down with a 1-2-3 second, and though he allowed a pair of baserunners in the third and fourth, he got out of those innings also scoreless.
The Cubs extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Swanson led off with a walk and Suzuki yanked his 20th homer of the year into the bleachers [VIDEO].
No one scored in the fifth, and in the sixth, Taillon allowed a one-out hit. He was probably one batter away from being pulled, but he got Ezequiel Tovar to hit into an inning-ending double play. Taillon allowed four hits, all singles, and walked three, while striking out seven on 101 pitches. It was a very good outing for a guy who has struggled mightily at times this year. Hopefully, a good sign going forward.
In the bottom of the sixth, Suzuki singled with one out, his third hit of the game.
You can see Rockies pitcher Gavin Hollowell’s reaction on the clip: “Oh no!” Young hit that ball a long, long way [VIDEO].
Young has had a very odd year in his 15 games with the Cubs. He’s had 39 at-bats and has eight hits — three singles, three triples and two home runs. That makes for a BA of .205 with a SLG of .513. He also has two stolen bases. The three triples rank tied for third on the Cubs with Swanson, who has over 500 more at-bats.
Drew Smyly threw a scoreless seventh despite two walks, as he induced another Rockies double-play ball. In the bottom of the seventh the Cubs made it 6-0. Tauchman led off by being hit by a pitch and Pete Crow-Armstrong ran for him.
Not exactly the textbook way to do it, getting picked off and being safe on a bad throw, but there it is!
Two outs later Bellinger walked and Swanson singled in PCA [VIDEO].
Hayden Wesneski was summoned to throw the ninth. He issued a leadoff walk but the Cubs turned their third double play of the game to bring them within one out of a win. A two-out double followed, but here’s the final out, registered by Wesneski and Swanson [VIDEO].
As noted: Solid pitching, a varied offense and the good Cubs defense we’ve gotten used to this year, a win the team badly needed and did so in a way that makes me think more of these are coming. Here’s more on Taillon’s outing [VIDEO].
One more thing I’d like to address about events at Wrigley Friday afternoon. Former Cub Kris Bryant played his first game at Wrigley Field as a Rockie — he missed all of Colorado’s games against the Cubs in Chicago last year — and got a loud ovation when he came to bat in the first [VIDEO].
I have mixed feelings here. Sure, we all love KB for being a Cubs World Series champion. But he did return in September 2021 with the Giants and, well, it’s two years later and especially because the Cubs are now contending for the postseason with a new group, isn’t it time to move on? I’ve given my own tribute to him, when he came back as a Giant two years ago. When KB retires he can return to Chicago as a conquering hero. Until then, he’s an opponent. Today, he went 0-for-4.
The Cubs are temporarily in front of the Marlins and Reds for the final wild card spot, half a game over the Marlins and one game ahead of the Reds. Miami hosts the Brewers tonight, so we all have to be big Brewers fans. The Reds host the Pirates, and, well, I hope the Pirates play as well as they did at Wrigley.
The Cubs will go for two in a row over the Rockies Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Jordan Wicks will start for the Cubs and Chris Flexen will go for Colorado. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.