Friday, May 17, 2024

That Was the Best Cubs Pitching Performance So Far in 2024

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A depleted bullpen, another starter who couldn’t go beyond five innings all set the scene for right-handed pitcher Hayden Wesneski on Wednesday and all he did was deliver the best pitching performance for the Cubs so far in 2024.

Lefty Jordan Wicks tossed 4.1 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and while he was fine, only giving up two runs, he couldn’t be trusted to face the heart of the lineup for a third time and was taken out with a couple runners on base. The Cubs made two roster moves ahead of Wednesday’s series finale and that included Wesneski getting called up to come out of the bullpen. Craig Counsell went to Wesneski first after Wicks got in a jam in the rubber game and the right-hander responded with one of his best efforts in the majors.

Wesneski retired Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Christian Walker, stranding runners at first and second. Cody Bellinger homered in the next half inning and the Cubs got a few more insurance runs in the eighth to take a 5-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Wesneski was mowing down the Diamondbacks, only allowing a one-out double in the sixth inning as he earned the win out of the bullpen after four scoreless innings.

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The Cubs won 5-3 (Drew Smyly allowed a solo HR to Joc Pederson in the 9th) but on a day when the team desperately needed someone to step up Wesneski did that and a lot more.

In the first two games of the series in Arizona, the Cubs used 10 relievers to cover 9.2 innings. This bullpen has been struggling, but it’s also been overworked and has been running on fumes thanks to short outings from the starters.

The team optioned rookies Daniel Palencia and Luke Little on Wednesday, desperately needing fresh arms and despite some good starts by Shōta Imanaga, Javier Assad and Ben Brown, it was Wesneski who had the best performance. At the very least, it’s probably the most important pitching performance by the Cubs so far this season.

It’s crazy to think that although this road trip had two brutal losses, one in San Diego and the other on Tuesday night, it was also a successful one. The Cubs went 5-4, battled back to win a handful of games and overcame both offensive and bullpen struggles.

When you take a step back you should tip your cap to the Cubs and how they haven’t just hung on in April, they’ve thrived in the face of adversity.

Justin Steele pitched 4.2 innings on Opening Day and then went on the injured list. Jameson Taillon is barely going to make his season debut on Thursday, Julian Merryweather has a shoulder injury and the bullpen already has five blown saves. The offense was hot the first couple weeks, but went cold in Seattle. The defense has looked awful, but despite all those flaws and injuries, the Cubs are 11-7 heading back to Wrigley Field.

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BearCub30
Apr 17, 2024 5:03 pm

This was literally from this morning 🤣😂🤣 guess he heard me!

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