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Cubs see things starting to come together after sweep of Reds

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Cubs see things starting to come together after sweep of Reds

CINCINNATI — The Cubs can keep dancing all the way home.

The music was blasting in the clubhouse again Sunday afternoon after the Cubs' 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds to complete a rain-shortened, two-game sweep.

That finished up a 4-2 road trip with a stop in Pittsburgh for four games before Cincinnati.

"I love it," manager Joe Maddon said. "In the division, on the road, two tough venues, two tough teams and to come back with a 4-2 record is not a bad thing."

The 2015 Cubs have had plenty of reasons to dance and celebrate, as the good vibes keep rolling in. Maddon's squad is now 10-7 overall, including a 6-3 record on the road.

"We've done a nice job [on the road]," Maddon said. "I'm telling you, the energy pregame in the dugout is outstanding. The guys are definitely on top of things. They're ready to play. And as a manager, that's all you can ask for."

[MORE: Jake Arrieta refuses to cave in, sets tone for Cubs]

With a roster packed with young, inexperienced talent, it's been a different guy stepping up each game. Friday night, it was Jonathan Herrera in extra innings.

Sunday, it was rookie Addison Russell, who came up with the big hit — a two-out, three-run double in the fourth inning in what ended up as the game-winner.

It was only the third hit of Russell's career, overshadowing a tough stretch that saw him go 0-for-6 with five strikeouts to start off the series against the Reds.

This weekend, it was Herrera and Russell, but rookies Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant have been impressive as well while Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro have provided a steadying presence both in the field and at the plate.

Even the veteran catchers — Miguel Montero and David Ross — got in on the action this weekend, combining for four RBI against the Reds.

[RELATED: Maddon: Castro creating 'good baseball karma' for himself]

And that's not even touching on the pitching, as the bullpen combined for eight shutout innings behind starters Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta.

"It's just kind of a testament to the guys we have here, the young players — they're a little more advanced than most," Arrieta said. "And that kinda helps bridge the gap of the experience. They're going to take their lumps, just like we all will from time to time, but they're ahead of the curve.

"Soler, Bryant, Russell, these guys are polished. Polished to an extent that they can come here and contribute right away. And that's what each and every one of them have been able to do throughout their short time here. We all know it's just going to continue.

"The guys we have around the young players who know how to get the job done, regardless of the jam or whatever happens throughout the game. ... Rizzo's made huge strides, as a leader, as a player. Castro's come a long way.

"If everyone continues to take that step, we can win at a high clip on the road and at home. I think it's all starting to come together for us."

[SHOP: Get the latest Cubs gear here]

The season is only three weeks old, but the Cubs are gaining some swagger and starting to gel as a team, holding their celebrations/dance parties in the clubhouse after the game.

"It's good. It's loose," Lester said. "It's fun. It makes you forget about the grind and all that. It makes you have fun and smile and enjoy it. Sometimes people don't understand how hard it is to win a game in the big leagues.

"For us to come in here and celebrate each one of them like it's our last, it's a good feeling when we come in here and win. Even when we lose, guys are upbeat about it, like 'hey, we had our chances, but we didn't come through.'

"It's a good feeling to have when guys play loose, when guys enjoy it, when guys have fun. That gets everybody a chance to kind of relax and just play the game. At the end of the day, if we win, great, if we don't, hey we'll be back tomorrow and do it again."

Cubs' Jason Kipnis sets up unique fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

Cubs' Jason Kipnis sets up unique fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

With baseball suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason Kipnis is using some of his free time to help those in need.

Kipnis announced Thursday he's set up a Cameo account and will donate portions of the proceeds to coronavirus relief and medical workers. Cameo is a video-sharing platform where people can book personal shout-outs from celebrities, athletes, influencers and more.

RELATED: Jason Kipnis airs concerns over challenges players will face when MLB returns

The Cubs second baseman added supporters can request where he donates the proceeds.

Kipnis joins Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in using Cameo to help those affected by the coronavirus.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.

Kris Bryant's goal for his son, other trivia facts about Cubs third baseman

Kris Bryant's goal for his son, other trivia facts about Cubs third baseman

Based on his current trajectory, Kris Bryant will go down as one of the best third basemen in Cubs history. In five seasons, the 28-year-old has made three All-Star teams, won Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote and taken home National League MVP honors.

As he continues adding to his accomplishments on the field, here are a few things you should know about Bryant off of it.

1. Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and played baseball with the Phillies’ Bryce Harper and Rangers’ Joey Gallo, dating back to when he was nine years old.

2. Bryant’s dad, Mike, played professionally in the Red Sox organization. As a minor leaguer, Mike received hitting instructions from Boston legend Ted Williams.

3. In high school, Bryant was named his graduating class’ salutatorian. But he passed the honor onto a classmate with a similar GPA because he wanted her to have the recognition.

4. Bryant married his high school sweetheart, Jessica, in January 2017. They started dating as sophomores and are expecting their first child this month.

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Mr. & Mrs. Bryant!! 📸: @j.annephotography

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5. Bryant took guitar lessons this offseason and said at his introductory press conference this spring that his kid will be a rock star. He noted that Mike will probably push the kid to baseball, though.

Maybe we'll see the first simultaneous rock star baseball player?

RELATED: Top 10 moments of Kris Bryant's Cubs career

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