NEW YORK – They are by no means dominating their opponents since the club is well out of contention for the National League playoffs, with official elimination likely to happen in the coming days.
But over the course of the second half, the Cubs starters have shown promise during a few of their outings, and two games at Citi Field this week have played out the same.
Plus both efforts against the playoff-contending Mets came from pitchers the Cubs are currently evaluating for their future while also looking to play spoilers in the final weeks of the season.
After a strong performance by Javier Assad in a win on Monday, Adrian Sampson held down New York in his six innings of work on Tuesday in a 4-1 Cubs’ victory. That gives the team a shot at a sweep on Wednesday night when the teams meet at 6:10 PM central time.
Sampson allowed just two hits on 91 pitches in his six shutout frames with three walks compared to four strikeouts. The Cubs’ four runs – two of which came on solo homers by Ian Happ and David Bote – were more than enough for the victory.
It continues a strong month of September for Sampson, who has allowed just three earned runs in three starts over 17 innings in the month (1.59 ERA), along with a good second half for Cubs’ starters in general.
Since the All-Star break in late July, the Cubs have posted the third-best starting pitcher ERA in all of Major League Baseball at 3.11. It’s only behind the Dodgers (2.66) and Astros (2.82) as those clubs chase a World Series title over the next month-and-a-half.
In 14 of the team’s last 17 games, Cubs’ starters have given up two or fewer runs as opponents are batting .215 against them in 255 innings.
This is a positive for the club as they continue to evaluate how they’ll go forward after this season in the restructuring of the major league club. At the very least, it gives them a chance to play spoilers, especially Wednesday night in the series finale against the Mets.