‘No big deal’ for Rondon to see Motte warm up Thursday

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Hector Rondon and Miguel Montero celebrate Thursday’s win. | Getty Images

The sight during the ninth inning of Thursday’s game was an odd one. While Hector Rondon tried to save the game and beat the Cincinnati Reds, Jason Motte warmed up in the bullpen.

Usually, that doesn’t happen when a closer’s on the mound. It’s his game, and if he fails he fails.

Rondon, who emerged as the Cubs closer last year and saved 29 games, didn’t seem bothered by what happened Thursday.

“For me, it’s no big deal,” Rondon said Saturday. “For me, coming into the game, throw strikes and get some people out. If I see somebody warming up, I don’t care. Seriously.”

Rondon made it through that inning relatively cleanly, giving up only one base hit in the Cubs’ 6-3 win. After that game, manager Joe Maddon said he saw “nothing wrong with a safety net” for Rondon, who entered Saturday 11 of 14 in save chances with a 2.73 earned-run average.

Rondon’s focus, he said, wasn’t on what was happening down the left-field line. It was on the Reds.

“I try to put more focus on what I’m doing on the mound, make a pitch, all (those) kinds of things,” Rondon said. “But if somebody’s warming up or somebody’s (throwing) a bullpen, whatever, I don’t care. Seriously.”

Rondon took the loss Friday by allowing two hits and one unearned run in the 10th inning of Friday’s 5-4 defeat to Cincinnati.

No deep impact

The most recent full turn through the rotation wasn’t the Cubs’ best. Or their longest.

Only Jake Arrieta went six innings, and both Jon Lester and Tsuyoshi Wada failed to get through five. Maddon, though, wasn’t too worried that trend would continue.

“It happens,” Maddon said. “They get streaky. I’m not concerned about it. I’m not concerned.”

What would concern Maddon is if any of the starters had exceedingly high numbers of innings or pitches. That hasn’t happened, nor have any injuries, meaning Maddon thinks the recent woes aren’t anything permanent.

“Nobody’s been really pushed to 110 or 120 or (125) on any kind of consistent basis. I don’t think that’s a problem,” Maddon said. “If you go through a bad cycle like that, I expect a good cycle to come on the other side. If they were hurt or tired, I would be more concerned.”

Picking the dirt

More than two months into his first season managing the Cubs, Maddon said the infield at Wrigley Field is playing “pretty neutral.”

“I mean that in a good way,” Maddon said. “I don’t think it’s been fast or slow. I think it’s been very fair.”

Though Maddon said he’d prefer playing in ballpark that’s more friendly to pitchers, he’s not going to ask the Cubs grounds crew to let the grass grow a little longer than usual.

“I haven’t been that guy to this point. I have talked about … we start seeing too many choppers, I don’t like that,” Maddon said. “We’ve got a guy making a good pitch and we’re getting beat on it, I don’t like that.”

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