Ross' lineup, Taillon's fastballs provide Cubs with some relief
Go ahead and criticize David Ross all you want for his lineup decisions, he hit one out of the park Friday.
Actually, it was Jared Young who hit a home run into the right-field bleachers, but it was Ross who decided to give the recently promoted first baseman a start against Colorado.
This turned out to be a fairly routine 6-0 victory for the Cubs over the Rockies at Wrigley Field, but Young's home run stretched the lead to 5-0 in the sixth inning, providing some breathing room for a team that might be playing a little tight the past couple of weeks.
"I don't just grab it out of a hat, that's for sure," Ross said of his lineup decisions. "Contrary to probably what fans think and everybody thinks, I try to have a process to think about how to set guys up for success and what pitch mix guys might have that might play into certain at-bats.
"That's how I manage. It worked out today. It doesn't always work out."
Young was brought up Tuesday when Nick Madrigal went on the injured list with a hamstring injury. He pinch-hit that night against the Pirates and tripled. Otherwise, Young hadn't had a major league at-bat since July 18.
"It's not, 'Happy to be here again.' It's 'How can I help the team?'" Young said. "I think that's what all of us put in our heads, especially the young guys coming up. How am I going to help the team win and how are we going to get to the playoffs? I'm glad I could do that today."
The other hitting star was Seiya Suzuki, who went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and a 2-run homer in the fourth inning. He's now hitting .342 since the four-day break he took in August.
Marquee Sports Network reported Suzuki is just the third Japanese player to reach 20 home runs and 70 RBI in the same season in MLB, joining Shohei Ohtani and Hideki Matsui. The Cubs' previous best Japanese-born player, Kosuke Fukudome, topped out at 13 home runs and 58 RBI.
The Cubs also got a clutch pitching performance from Jameson Taillon, who tossed 6 scoreless innings, despite 4 hits and 4 walks. Drew Smyly and Hayden Wesneski completed the shutout.
"I know I'm at a place where numbers don't even matter anymore, it's about just helping this team get wins down the stretch," Taillon said. "I kind of told myself that coming into the park today. This team went out and got me for a reason. I have an opportunity to go out and kind of prove them right and have a good game on a day like today when we really needed it."
The former Yankee signed a four-year deal with the Cubs as a free agent last winter. Taillon is the first to admit this season hasn't gone as expected, with a career-worst 5.05 ERA. This was actually his first victory since Aug. 8. The Cubs are now 11-17 in games he's started, after beginning the season 0-8.
"I've had some tough stretches in my career," Taillon said. "This has probably been the toughest, just being in a new place with a new contract and new teammates and a new city and all that. You want to make everyone happy, and you want to live up to your side of the deal.
"So it's been tough for me, very up and down. I've been grinding behind the scenes trying to make it work and find a way to get out of the results funk. But then on the flip side of it, every time you come to the park, it's an opportunity to do something really special if you go out there and execute your pitches."
The Cubs are now 4-10 since Sept. 7, but still in contention for a wild-card spot with eight games left. With the Marlins loss to the Brewers Friday, the Cubs have a game lead for the final wild-card spot.