Chicago Cubs: Five key takeaways from series with Indians

Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Chicago Cubs Adbert Alzolay
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

2. Kris Bryant returns from illness but exits after being hit-by-pitch

The former 2016 National League MVP has looked like his old self this season. Bryant hit his league-leading 14th double and 23rd extra-base hit in the top of the third inning on Tuesday. The double into the left-centerfield gap was a vintage Kris Bryant swing, 106.4 MPH off the bat at a 21-degree launch angle that brought back memories of his swing at Progressive Field in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series.

Back to Tuesday’s game.

Bryant was lifted from the lineup after the top of the sixth inning with a mysterious illness. He was held out of the starting lineup in Wednesday’s finale, despite his best efforts to convince manager David Ross he was good to go. But with everything that has transpired over the last year and change, you have to hope Bryant is only “under the weather” and nothing more.

It was good to see him pinch-hit for David Bote on Wednesday in the seventh inning, but he was, again, lifted for a pinch-runner after being hit on the wrist. So, something to monitor heading into the Detroit series this weekend.

Trending. Duffy proving valuable off the bench. light

3. Adbert Alzolay gave the Cubs another strong start

Adbert Alzolay didn’t let the opposing pitcher intimidate him one bit. [Shane] Bieber needed just ten pitches to retire the Cubs half of the inning, but the 26-year-old Alzolay nearly matched the reigning AL Cy Young-winner, needing 12 pitches to retire the Indians. Unfortunately, Alzolay took the loss in this one, but that’s more of an indication of the offense not coming through.

See item number one above.

The San Felix, Venezuela native, went 6.0 innings, allowing five hits, three earned runs, no walks, and fanning six batters. Alzolay was a bit wild in the fifth inning, hitting Andres Gimenez and served up the backbreaking two-run home run to Cesar Hernandez, who was almost hit on the first pitch of the at-bat.

But Alzolay was able to generate 18 swing-and-misses, five more than Bieber.

“It’s been really fun – I’m looking forward to more matchups like this,” Alzolay noted after the Cubs’ 3-2 loss on Tuesday. “It brings the best out of me. You got to match that guy, too. You know it’s going to be a tough night in general, so I’m just trying to keep the team in the game and keep competing against those guys.”