The Cubs’ three-game losing streak against the Mets has made one thing crystal clear: The Cubs need pitching.
The good news for the skidding team is a couple starting pitchers are creeping closer to their returns from the injured list. Cubs manager David Ross announced before the Mets series finale Thursday that right-handers Adbert Alzolay (finger blister) and Trevor Williams (appendectomy) threw bullpens.
Alzolay’s 40-pitch bullpen “went really well,” Ross said, and Williams’ 25-pitch ‘pen produced “all good signs.”
The Cubs will evaluate Alzolay on Friday, Ross said, and “try to start forming a plan of when he’ll get back on the mound in competition, whether he needs a couple batters or we’ve got to ease him back in at this level. We’ll have to talk those things through.”
Missing those two rotation members this week, the Cubs called on Alec Mills and Robert Stock for spot starts. Between the two of them the past couple games, and Jake Arrieta on Monday, Cubs starters have not pitched past the fifth inning in this series at New York.
“We've got to get some more innings out of the starters,” Ross said Wednesday. “I can’t in a down game run to the guys that are going to be the back end (of the bullpen) when we're winning.”
The bullpen too has taken its injury hits. Justin Steele, on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury, “recovered nicely,” from throwing Wednesday, Ross said. That was a positive development from his 35-pitch bullpen last week that “went OK.”
“He’ll continue to progress forward,” Ross said of Steele.