Cubs’ Kohl Stewart, Patrick Wisdom, patchwork lineup beat Padres

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Cubs’ patchwork lineup beats first-place Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs’ cobbled-together lineup had gone on an improbable winning streak in the second half of this month. But on Monday, the Cubs were more hobbled by injuries more than ever, with even their scheduled starting pitcher landing on the IL before game time.

Plus, they were facing the Padres, who sat in first place in the National League. How long could the Cubs’ patchwork roster keep this up?

At least one game longer.

“Not to be cliché, but it does feel like everybody has continued to next-man-up,” Ross said after the Cubs’ 7-2 win against the Padres on Monday, “and do a nice job and going out there and competing and trying to win baseball games. You feel that from our dugout, the guys are in every pitch.”

Fittingly, two of the game’s heroes were players the Cubs called up during this month’s injury spike: pitcher Kohl Steward and third baseman Patrick Wisdom.

The Cubs’ stars made their mark too. Kris Bryant, playing first base again in Anthony Rizzo’s absence (lower back tightness), hit a triple and home run in back-to-back innings. Javy Báez logged the ninth multi-homer game of his career, jogging up the dugout stairs after his second homer to wave to the crowd when the “Ja-vy” chants refused to die down.

The Cubs won’t be able to fight through the toughest stretch of their schedule, however, on star power alone. Their upcoming opponents have plenty too.

“We were talking about it in the dugout,” Báez said, “if you if you look around the (Padres’) infield, it’s a great infield. It’s an expensive infield.”

The Padres had big names like Fernando Tatís Jr., Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer playing on the dirt. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ platinum-glove first baseman was out, their former MVP third baseman was playing out of position, and they were hitting the bottom of their formerly robust second-base depth.

That’s where performances like Stewart and Wisdom’s came into play.

The Cubs recalled Stewart on Monday, placing right-hander Trevor Williams (appendicitis) on the 10-day IL. Stewart allowed just one run, unearned, in five innings.

“It kind of felt like another debut, to be honest,” said Stewart, whose last MLB outing was in 2019.

Even in the inning that he allowed the unearned run, Stewart was efficient. He gave up just one line-drive base hit in the frame. The Padres’ other two base runners put the ball on the ground. Stewart got out of the inning with a groundball double play.

“I thought Kohl did a really nice job mixing his pitches, attacking them,” Ross said. “I love the rhythm he had, the aggressiveness, the pace of his delivery. Everything about today was really positive on his end.”

Wisdom (.467 batting average) went 3-for-4 with two home runs. Monday marked the first multi-homer game of the 29-yerar-old’s MLB career.

Both home runs came on first-pitch fastballs. But his first at-bat of the day set the stage. He worked a 3-2 count and fouled off a changeup before poking another change into left field for a single.

“it definitely added to the comfortability in the box,” Wisdom said, “especially against a guy like (starting pitcher Chris) Paddack. And just seeing more pitches is definitely beneficial for late in the game.”

The Cubs closed their bounce-back May with a 19-8 record over the course of the month.

“We knew had a good team starting the season,” Ross said, “and when you get to prove your beliefs and have a really good month like we just had, it's always encouraging. But we’ve got a long way to go as well.”

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