The lights dimmed to announce closer Craig Kimbrel’s entrance, and the crowd roared. The stadium momentarily doused in darkness, it was impossible to tell Wrigley Field was only at 60 percent capacity.
“Seems like it's 100 percent,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said of the atmosphere in the Cubs’ 4-3 win against the Padres Tuesday. “It's an amazing feeling to play behind it. It’s amazing you can just look out and see how happy everyone has been back at the ballpark.”
Cubs manager David Ross offered similar theories as to why the Wrigley Field crowd in this series against the Padres has been so consistently loud.
“They like the way we're playing, maybe,” Ross added. “I don't know. I felt like last night as I was walking on the field, ‘Go Cubs Go’ was as loud as I've ever heard, and I’ve heard some loud ones.”
Cubs fans, welcomed into Wrigley at 60 percent capacity this homestand (up from 25 percent), have had plenty to cheer about. The Cubs extended a winning streak to six games through their first couple games against the Reds. They beat the Padres twice, knocking San Diego out of first place in the National League, and have the chance at a sweep on Wednesday.
The Cubs have hit seven home runs in the last two games combined. Their starting pitchers posted a 3.18 ERA in the month of May, according to FanGraphs. Their bullpen has allowed just two earned runs in the last 16 games.
He entered Tuesday’s game in the ninth inning with the Cubs holding onto a one-run lead.
“I’ve been catching Kimbrel since 2019, and I think this is the best stuff he’s had with us,” said Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. “It's made me think of him with Boston.
“Right now, he’s unhittable, to be honest.”
Kimbrel struck out the side to end the game, and the stands erupted in applause.
“It feels like a packed house in there,” said Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. “It's super loud, and guys are just feeding off the energy. We love that. That's what fuels us.”