Chicago Cubs: 3 standout performances in series win over Tigers

Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

After splitting the first two games of the series, the Chicago Cubs avoided a disappointing series in the Motor City, taking two-of-three from the Tigers. The Cubs, 19-20, received brilliant efforts from Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, and Craig Kimbrel in Friday’s game.

Saturday was a back-and-forth-affair, one that saw the Tigers win in extra innings. And Sunday, the Cubs cruised to a 5-1 victory. Here were three players whose efforts stood out from the rest.

1. Keegan Thompson

How about the job Keegan Thompson did on Saturday? The 26-year-old came into a high-pressure situation, taking the eighth and ninth innings, and proceeded to strike out five of the seven batters he faced. Thompson struck out the side in the eighth inning and the first batter in the ninth before allowing a single to Akil Baddoo. The next batter flew out to centerfield before Thompson proceeded to strike out Nike Goodrum on a beautiful cutter that the Tigers utility man swung over the top.

“I don’t know if anybody can see while I’m out there, but I take three or four deep breaths between each pitch if I need to,” Thompson said on what helps him stay calm. “I feel like I try to have poise on the mound. Whether it’s a bad situation or a good situation, I try to keep the same emotion and stay level-headed. Definitely, the deep breaths help me get there.”

2. Ian Happ

Happ had a rough return from the injured list on Saturday, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He redeemed himself on Sunday, going 3-for-4, and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle. The former ninth overall pick is hitting a measly .183 on the season, including Sunday’s efforts, but hopefully, he’s close to finding some consistency.

Obviously, missing a couple of weeks after colliding with Nico Hoerner didn’t help that cause, but Sunday was certainly a step in the right direction. Another positive, both of Happ’s RBI’s came in two-out situations.

3. Kyle Hendricks

“The Professor” has gotten off to a difficult start this season, but he’s shown signs of turning the corner in the season month of the season. For reference, Hendricks posted a 7.54 ERA in April. Including Sunday’s start, he has a 2.70 ERA, aided by an eight-plus inning effort on Sunday. It was a day of eights for Hendricks, 8.0 IP, 8 H, 8 K’s, and Sunday was his eighth start of the season.

“I’m still trying to do just a little too much from the start,” Hendricks said, following the Cubs’ 5-1 win on Sunday. “Just gotta trust it now, especially since the last few days I really felt more like myself. Finally feeling it out front, seeing the ball better. I just need to try and not do too much, just make my pitches and get through it.”

Next. The Adbert Alzolay breakout is finally happening. dark

The Chicago Cubs return home to host Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber, and the Washington Nationals in a four-game series this week.