Lefty Steele still finding his way as starter; Cubs split DH

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Justin Steele's third major league start was a short one Wednesday night, though not terrible.

    Justin Steele's third major league start was a short one Wednesday night, though not terrible. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/25/2021 10:23 PM

The Cubs' quest to find some starting pitchers for their future is still in the early stages.

Justin Steele's third major league start was a short one Wednesday night, though not terrible. The Cubs split a doubleheader with Colorado, losing 13-10 in 10 innings in the nightcap, following a 5-2 win in the opener at Wrigley Field.

 

Technically, this was the worst of Steele's three starts. He gave up 4 runs in 3⅔ innings, but might have had a better ending if he faced one more batter.

"It looked like he was working pretty hard, to be honest," manager David Ross said. "He gave up the home run early. Breaking ball didn't look its sharpest. I've seen him better."

In the fourth inning, Steele gave up a pair of single to start the inning, then struck out the next two batters. At that point, Ross decided to pull Steele in favor of right-hander Trevor Megill. He hit Charlie Blackmon, then gave up a grand slam home run to Connor Joe and the Cubs' 5-2 lead was gone.

"I wish my fastball command would have been a little bit better tonight, made some mistakes over the plate," Steele said. "Just wasn't commanding to both sides of the plate. Felt good with both my breaking pitches tonight, threw some good change-ups, but I'd say fastball command is something I need to work on moving forward."

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Steele ended up throwing 73 pitches in less than 4 innings, but he does have an intriguing mix of velocity and sharp breaking sliders from the left side.

"I'll talk to him and we'll reassess after the off day," Ross said. "I think there's a huge upside potential in there, but tonight I don't think it was his best."

Added Steele, "It's going to come, where everything links up and it works into a six-inning, seven-inning outing and I'm keeping my pitch count low and working effectively."

The Cubs eventually tied Game 2 with a 3-run homer by Ian Happ in the seventh inning. Colorado then took a 9-8 lead in the top of the eighth, which counts as extra innings in a doubleheader.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Rockies had a chance to end the game, but shortstop Trevor Story fielded a ground ball by Matt Duffy and threw it over the head of the first baseman, allowing the tying run to score from second.

Adrian Sampson kept Colorado scoreless in the ninth, but the Cubs couldn't bring home the winning run. The Rockies then scored 4 runs in the 10th against Jake Jewell.

The Cubs won Game 1 thanks to a tiebreaking 3-run homer by Patrick Wisdom in the fifth inning.

Keegan Thompson is scheduled to make his third start of the season on Friday against the White Sox and Dallas Keuchel. It will be his second start since going down to Iowa to get stretched out after working in the Cubs bullpen for most of the season.

Meanwhile in Des Moines, Adbert Alzolay's rehab start didn't go very well. He gave up 4 runs in 2 innings, on 3 hits, a walk and hit batsman, throwing 38 pitches.

Alzolay went on the injured list with a left hamstring strain after suffering the injury during an Aug. 13 start.

Right-hander Jonathan Holder followed Alzolay to the mound in Iowa. A veteran reliever signed by the Cubs after spending five years with the Yankees, Holder has been out since spring training with a right shoulder strain. He has now pitched one inning in an Arizona rookie league game and gave up a run in his one inning for Iowa.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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