Cubs’ closer situation unsettled despite Hector Rondon’s success
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter May 3, 2014 11:10PM
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 3: Junior Lake #21 of the Chicago Cubs admires his two-run home run scoring Starlin Castro #13 during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on May 3, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477582805
Updated: June 5, 2014 5:19PM
Before the Cubs’ 3-0 victory Saturday over the Cardinals, manager Rick Renteria described his closer situation as fluid.
But then Renteria called on right-hander Hector Rondon to close for the second consecutive day. That seems more consistent than fluid.
Rondon finished the Cubs’ 6-5 victory Friday with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. On Saturday, he allowed hits to the first two batters before getting Jon Jay to ground into a double play. Rondon struck out Mark Ellis to earn his third save.
“Every time I come in to pitch, my mentality is strong,” Rondon said. “Sometimes I know that I need to make a good pitch like today early.”
Even after he watched Rondon pitch his way out of the jam, Renteria wouldn’t name him the closer. But he did think of a new way to describe the situation.
“It’s organic still,” he said.
With the victory, the Cubs won their first series since taking two of three from the Reds on Sept. 9-11, 2013.
The team has won three in a row for the first time since July 26-28, 2013, when they swept the Giants in a series.
“We’re swinging the bat with some production,” Renteria said.
“We’re playing pretty good defense, and obviously the starting pitching has done a real nice job with keeping us in the ballgame. It doesn’t hurt us that to this point the bullpen has stabilized a little bit.”
Before the streak, the Cubs had won consecutive games once.
Outfielder Ryan Sweeney’s hamstring injury isn’t as bad as the Cubs first thought, but he still was put on the 15-day disabled list. Renteria indicated Sweeney could miss only two weeks but more likely will miss three to four.
Sweeney suffered what the Cubs are calling a “moderate” injury chasing a fly ball in the eighth inning Friday.
With Sweeney headed to the disabled list, the Cubs called up outfielder Chris Coghlan from Class AAA Iowa. Coghlan was the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year with the Marlins and played in 393 games with the club from 2009 to ’13.
Coghlan singed a minor-league deal with the Cubs this offseason and was a non-roster invitee to spring training.
The Cubs also optioned left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup to Iowa to make room for Jake Arrieta and moved right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Coghlan on the 40-man roster.