Joe Maddon said Friday that earlier in the season Hector Rondon wasn’t “on top of his game.”
Rondon clearly is now.
One day after saving the series opener, Rondon got the last five outs for his 18th save in 21 tries to preserve the Cubs’ 7-3 win Friday over the San Francisco Giants. Rondon picked up his first save of more than an inning, and built on a run that saw him enter Friday with an 0.60 earned-run average in his last 31 games dating back to May 25.
Not bad for a guy who lost his job as the closer earlier this year.
“I think what you’re seeing right now is his ability to readjust in the moment,” Maddon said, “meaning if he walks the leadoff hitter he can still gather his thoughts and come back and get some really good hitters after that.”
Rondon replaced Tommy Hunter with one out in the eighth and struck out Matt Duffy before getting Buster Posey to ground out to end the inning. In the ninth, he walked Hunter Pence to start the inning but got Brandon Crawford to fly out, struck out Brandon Belt and ended the game by inducing a fly to right by Gregor Blanco.
“Of course, Rondon came out there and really put the kibosh on it,” Maddon said. “Stopped the whole thing. I was prepared there in the ninth inning to do something differently had he gotten in trouble but man, he’s got a different look about him right now. His confidence is soaring.”
Nothing to it
Chris Coghlan made his second career start at second base and handled his chances cleanly, along with going 2-for-3 with a run batted in.
Already this season, Coghlan has started at left field, right field, third base and now second.
“It was good. I mean, I’m grateful that Joe had enough confidence to put me out there,” Coghlan said. “It’s a way to have flexibility. I look at it as a good thing to be athletic enough to switch around and be able to stay in the lineup.”
And he said it doesn’t matter if he’s told in advance what he’s doing.
“I want to be able to play as often as I can and impact as many games as I can to try to help this team win,” Coghlan said. “Wherever that is, I’m content.”
Jonathan Herrera replaced Coghlan to start the sixth.