More of same for Cubs: Another win, another injury
Win a game, lose a player.
The twin trends continued for the Cubs on Saturday. They won their sixth straight game, beating the Reds 10-2 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs poured on the offense late after Cincinnati tied the score in the top of the sixth inning.
But another regular is headed for the injured list, as David Bote left the field in the fourth inning with a separated left shoulder. He was sliding into second base on a double play ball and reached back to keep his hands on the base when the injury happened.
"As much as it stinks, I'm also thankful for the guys that are coming up here and giving me their best effort," manager David Ross said after the game.
A separated shoulder tends to have a variety of recovery times, depending on how bad the injury is. Bote is probably looking at 3-4 weeks on the short side to several months if the separation is more severe.
Bote will join Jake Marisnick, Jason Heyward. Nico Hoerner, Matt Duffy and Justin Steele on the injured list -- and those are just the guys who were lost in the past few weeks. Anthony Rizzo skipped his fourth straight game due to a sore back, but is not on the injured list.
Ross has several options on what to do next. Patrick Wisdom replaced Bote at third base on Saturday. Once Rizzo is good to go, Kris Bryant could move back to third base. Duffy, out with a sore back, is eligible to come off the injured list Wednesday.
Duffy has played third base the most this season, but Bote took over a couple weeks ago when Duffy's back issues began. Bryant hasn't started at third base since April 20.
The Cubs haven't seen much of Wisdom, who just came up from Iowa on Tuesday, but third base was his primary position when he came up through the minor leagues with the Cardinals.
Rafael Ortega, another recent addition from Iowa, has started four straight games in the outfield and hit his first home run as a Cub on Saturday. Wisdom homered in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
As far as the guys who are out with hamstring injuries, Ross said Marisnick ran the bases Friday and Heyward on Saturday with no ill-effects. So it's possible those players will return soon, but there's been no timetable given by the team.
"Rafi and Wis and these guys that are coming up and helping out," Ross said. "That's the sign of a good organization when you can get guys, pull them from the minors and they come up, fit right in, have good at-bats. It's a testament to their professionalism and their hard work."
Saturday's game was a good snapshot of what's worked well for the Cubs this season. They collected 13 hits, all singles except for Ortega's home run. Four players had multiple hits, three players had multiple RBI, while pitcher Zach Davies continued to rebound from his rough start in April.
"You just see guys picking up each other constantly," Eric Sogard said. "It's a close group of guys and it's going to help us get through this long season."
The bullpen's long streak of not allowing an earned run finally ended at 38 1/3 innings. In the sixth, Davies left after walking the first batter. Rex Brothers, seeing his first action in 10 days, faced three hitters and recorded 2 walks and a strike out. So Keegan Thompson came in with the bases loaded and gave up a 2-run double to Tyler Stephenson.
But Thompson ended the inning there and picked up the win, while Ryan Tepera, Brad Wieck and Dillon Maples rolled through the final three innings. Tepera hasn't given up a hit or walk in his last 8 innings.
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