The Cubs haven’t ruled out using Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez as starting pitchers in the future.
Considering how Jake Arrieta and Edwin Jackson have labored the last two nights, the possibility of converting Grimm and Ramirez can’t happen soon enough.
He was hurt when Starlin Castro’s error led to three runs in the first, but the shortstop was able to atone for his miscue with three hits, including a two-run single that enabled the Cubs to rally to a 5-4 victory over the Mets in a game that lasted 3 hours, 40 minutes.
Manager Rick Renteria didn’t have to sit through most of this struggle under cool conditions at Wrigley Field as home plate umpire Todd Tichenor ejected him with one out in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.
This marked the fourth ejection of the season for Renteria, but in his absence bench coach Brandon Hyde and pitching coach Chris Bosio made effective use of their deep bullpen, which didn’t allow a run over the final four innings and stretched its scoreless streak to 111/3 innings.
Wesley Wright bailed Carlos Villanueva out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout of Curtis Granderson to end the sixth and Hector Rondon — the Cubs’ sixth reliever — pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.
Castro’s revival started shortly after he botched a grounder behind second base that should have resulted in the final out of the first. The error was Castro’s ninth of the season and his second in the last five games.
But Castro quickly rebounded with an opposite-field single to right to score the first of two runs off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning and he poked a two-run single up the middle against reliever Dana Eveland that tied the game in the fifth.
The Cubs took the lead on Jeurys Familia’s wild pitch with two out to cap a three-run rally.
This marked the 17th multi-hit game for Castro, whose batting average had dipped from .301 on May 20 to .267 entering Wednesday, and he was 0-for-8 in the previous two games.
Despite Jackson’s struggles, he worked out of a bases-loaded jam to escape the fifth unscathed and allow his teammates to rally.
“When the guys in the bullpen are ready and (the coaches) leave you out there, you feel you owe it to them and the team, whatever the situation is, to get through it,” Jackson said. “Fortunately, I got through it, and the bullpen did an excellent job. We never gave in.”