Cubs rookie Crow-Armstrong knows major-leauge experience will pay dividends

Pete Crow-Armstrong is looking at the bright side when it comes to his first three weeks in the big leagues.

Would he like to have his first major league hit by now? Of course.

Would he like to have helped the Cubs charge into a playoff spot? Of course.

While neither has happened, the 21-year-old knows this experience will pay huge dividends as his career unfolds.

"I'm comfortable here now. I love the guys I'm surrounded by. ... It's making me a little more hungry," Crow-Armstrong said. "It's making me want to get different results than we're getting right now because I know this team is capable of a lot.

"But I'm new here and still figuring this out. The small sample size is a real thing. I'll still be in that process of a learning curve next year too. I need the experience and this is a good time to start."

Crow-Armstrong has appeared in 11 games - with just 2 starts - since being called up from Triple-A Iowa. Manager David Ross has mostly used the first-round pick as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.

Crow-Armstrong is 0-for-11 with 2 walks, 6 strikeouts and 3 runs scored. He's 1-for-2 stealing.

In 107 games in the minors, he hit 20 HRs and drove in 82 runs while slashing .283/.365/.511.

Crow-Armstrong believes he "could have prepared better" for the role as pinch-hitter.

But how exactly? Good question.

"I don't know," he said. "That's what I'm figuring out. Again, it's a small sample size. I've never pinch hit in my life; never been pinch hit for in my life.

"So a lot of this is just things to get used to. ... When I say prepare better for the pinch-hit moments for the few at-bats that I get, it's just developing a better approach for when those times come."

No one knows what Crow-Armstrong's role will be at the beginning of next season, but he hopes to develop into an everyday player who can help the Cubs climb to the top of the division.

"I would like to be at this point in the year with the Central being ours," he said. "That's the nearest goal I have in mind. If guys like Stro (Marcus Stroman) and Belli (Cody Bellinger) come back, I'm ready to follow their lead again.

"I still want to embrace a role next year, whether that's a very different one or somewhat similar to this one."

Quite a moment:

It came at the Cubs' expense, but there was an impressive achievement Friday as Brewers pitcher Caleb Boushley earned a victory in his major league debut. Boushley, who will turn 30 on Sunday, has thrown 595⅔ innings in the minor leagues. He hails from Hortonville, Wisconsin, which is about 100 miles from Milwaukee.

Manager Craig Counsell called upon Boushley as the Brewers were clinging to a 3-2 lead with two outs in the eighth inning. Boushley struck out Patrick Wisdom, then pitched the ninth and 10th innings to record the victory.

Boushley estimated there were 400 family and friends cheering him on.

"You try to play out how it's going to go in your head, and then when you're in the moment, just take it a pitch at a time," said Boushley, who did allow a game-tying home run to Ian Happ in the ninth. "It's better than I dreamed."

Around the horn:

The Cubs hit 3 home run in the first inning at Milwaukee on Friday to take a 6-0 lead. Christopher Morel led the game off with his 26th of the season, Yan Gomes hit the fifth grand slam of his career, and Patrick Wisdom hit his 23rd to complete the scoring. … Jameson Taillon made the first relief appearance of his career, throwing 4 shutout innings. He allowed 3 hits, recorded a save and lowered his ERA to 4.84. … Brewers DH William Contreras went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. He's also reached base safely in 37 of 38 games with hits in 35 of those contests.

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