Cubs

Cubs Observations: Pederson goes deep, Hoerner goes down

Cubs

The Cubs beat the Pirates 4-3 Tuesday, improving to 25-22 this season.

Here’s 10 observations from the game.

1. Nico Hoerner strained his left hamstring running to first on a bunt in the sixth inning. He went down after being thrown out, grabbing the back of his leg, before walking off the field under his own power. 

"He went down in some pain," manager David Ross said. "It didn't look good, that's for sure."

2. Injury losses are mounting for the Cubs. Three players are already on the IL with hamstring strains (Jason Heyward, Jake Marisnick, Justin Steele). Matt Duffy (low back strain) hit the IL pregame. Willson Contreras was out of Tuesday’s lineup with a wrist bruise.

Contreras took swings in the cage pregame and came out "really good," Ross said, adding he'll be back in action Wednesday if he's still feeling good.

3. Joc Pederson’s power is starting to come out. Pederson has been on fire at the plate this month but entered Friday with just one home run on the season. He’s hit three since, including a pair on Tuesday — a solo and two-run blast.

"I think you're kind of aware of it in the back of your head," Pederson said of his early lack of power, "but you've got to trust your ability.

 

"I was hitting some balls hard for a while and nothing was going in the air, just some singles. I didn't want to go up there and try and do more and get away from what was successful. Just try and trust that it's going to come in time."

4. The Pirates jumped on Jake Arrieta right away, scoring twice on three hits in the first inning, and once more on a pair of hits in the second. But he rebounded to pitch five innings, allowing just one walk the rest of the way.

"I don't just want to keep the team in the game. I want to pitch better than that," Arrieta said.

5. Tuesday marks Arrieta’s seventh start throwing 5+ innings while allowing three earned runs or less — more than any Cubs starting pitcher. Only two of the three runs off him Tuesday were earned.

6. Kris Bryant was asked pregame how to combat the sun in the outfield. He succeeded in doing so in the first inning, catching a line drive he appeared to briefly have trouble seeing.

7. Javy Báez walked just seven times in 59 games last season. He’s one free pass away from tying that mark, through 42 games, after walking in the third.

8. The Cubs bullpen extended its streak of not allowing an earned run to nine games (29 2/3 innings). Keegan Thompson, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel threw four shutout innings.

"We're attacking," Kimbrel said of the bullpen. "We're not trying to pitch around guys. We're going at guys and getting guys in swing mode."

9. Patrick Wisdom, whom the Cubs recalled from Triple-A before Tuesday's game, made his season debut in the eighth inning. He grounded out to shortstop.

10. For the first time this season, the Cubs are three games over .500. They could enter Wednesday just a half game back of first in the NL Central, if the White Sox beat the Cardinals Tuesday night.

Bonus: Kimbrel tied Troy Percival for 11th on MLB's all-time saves list (358).

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