Chicago Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly’s curveball always has been one of his best weapons.
The altitude-affected Coors Field wasn’t going to change Smyly’s strategy Sunday against the Colorado Rockies. His blueprint for success worked well for most of his start in another stellar outing as he threw 4⅔ scoreless innings in the Cubs’ 6-4 win. The victory gave the Cubs a four-game series split to cap a .500 road trip.
Smyly deftly handled his toughest spot, which set the tone of the rest of his outing. A double, wild pitch and walk put runners on the corners two batters into the first inning.
He quickly escaped without the Rockies scoring thanks to a four-pitch strikeout of C.J. Cron and an inning-ending double play off the bat of catcher Elías Díaz. It began a stretch that saw Smyly retire 12 of 13 hitters.
“After that I feel like I got ahead of most hitters, and I was just mixing in the cutter with the curveball and then throw some fastballs in there in between,” Smyly said. “I was able to do a good job of keeping them off balance.
“My first six, seven pitches today I was missing high and away and then I kind of had to adjust my sights and figure out that arm slot, the release point.”
Smyly got five whiffs and five called strikes with his curveball, while his cutter was effective in limiting hard contact.
The only other trouble Smyly encountered came in the fifth on a soft dribbler to his right he couldn’t get a clean handle on. It again put runners on the corners, and manager David Ross turned to right-hander Scott Effross with the Cubs up 5-0. Effross got Connor Joe to ground out to end the inning.
Through two starts, Smyly has not allowed a run and has struck out five in 9⅔ innings while limiting hitters to seven hits and two walks.
The late-inning bullpen combination of right-handers Rowan Wick, Mychal Givens and David Robertson came through to lock down the win. Robertson needed only eight pitches to retire the Rockies in the ninth and earn his third save.
Offensively the Cubs continued to punish the ball, tallying 13 hits, including six for extra bases. Nico Hoerner’s two-double day gave him his first multihit game of the season. Nick Madrigal finished 3 for 4, while Patrick Wisdom’s series turnaround featured another double and two walks.
“If one guy is having an off day there’s another guy to pick them up, and that’s what makes our lineup so special,” Madrigal said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a better start. Even the games we got down in, we’ve scrapped together a couple of runs and been right in every single game. We’re really happy with where we’re at right now.”
Source: Berkshire mont