Reliever Hector Rondon insisted Sunday he was
100 percent ready to go. But the Cardinals proved they were prepared for him.
Rondon, who hadn’t pitched since Aug. 2 because of a sore right triceps, was roughed up in the Cubs’ 6-4 loss Sunday to the Cardinals. He allowed four runs and four hits, including two home runs, in a third of an inning after entering the game with a two-run lead in the eighth.
‘‘I [felt] really good,’’ Rondon said. ‘‘I know I missed my location, and they got me. It’s hard for me right now because we lost the game, and I feel like it’s my fault.’’
Manager Joe Maddon said he thought Rondon’s struggles might have been related to rust. He said Rondon’s pitches weren’t as crisp as normal before he yielded a three-run homer to Stephen Piscotty and a solo homer to Brandon Moss.
‘‘Obviously, [Rondon] did not throw the ball he wanted to,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘His stuff was definitely a little less than normal.’’
Rondon (2-3) said his confidence might not have been where it normally is, which he pointed to as a possible factor in his struggles.
‘‘They got me today,’’ he said.
Work in progress
Right fielder Jason Heyward hit seventh and went 1-for-4 with a single. He had the same stat line in the sixth spot Saturday.
Heyward, who has yet to find
an offensive rhythm, is 5-for-28 in his last seven games. But he
thinks he’s capable of breaking
out at any time.
‘‘I’m just trying to work hard to get comfortable and put something together each night,’’ Heyward said. ‘‘That’s what it’s got to be for me. It can’t be [about] looking ahead; it can’t be [about] looking back. It’s got to be for each day, and that’s the bottom line. . . . At the same time, it’s about what happens that day and if we get a ‘W’ that night.’’
Maddon will institute a version of his annual American Legion week for the four-game series against the Brewers, which begins Tuesday. Players won’t be expected to show up at any particular time, playing into Maddon’s belief that pregame workouts are among the most overrated aspects of the game.
‘‘Right now, if you’re mind is good and is rested and your body is good and is rested, you have a much better chance of replicating exactly what you want to do in a game and not make mistakes,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘The more tired you are, you’re going to make bad decisions.’’
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