Daniel Murphy’s Wrigley Field joyride continued. And the rest of the offense didn’t have a bad day, either.
Murphy homered for the second consecutive day as the Cubs beat the Reds 10-6 on Saturday. The two-run homer in the second inning was his ninth in 31 regular-season games at Wrigley. He also hit two during the 2015 National League Championship Series with the Mets.
As for why he hits so well at Wrigley, Murphy speculated that his dark eyes might help him during day games. But those NLCS homers came at night, and when he was reminded of that, Murphy was ready with a retort.
“I was in a really good lineup,” Murphy quipped.
Murphy also made his mark in the field, lunging to grab Jose Peraza’s soft liner in the third inning, drawing loud applause from many of the 41,205 in attendance.
“They must have been as surprised as I was that I caught it,” Murphy joked.
Murphy’s greatest impact likely will come from his bat. Already, he has added to a lineup that was struggling before his arrival.
“One guy can make all the difference in the world,” manager Joe Maddon said. “And hopefully we’re on the verge of getting [Kris Bryant] back, too.”
Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez also homered for the Cubs, who won their fourth consecutive game and moved a season-high 22 games above .500 at 75-53.
Questions about Q
Starting pitcher Jose Quintana went five-plus innings and gave up two runs and six hits. The win was his first since Aug. 3 against the Padres, but it was clear he wasn’t at his best. Maddon said that his changeup wasn’t “pertinent” Saturday and that he threw some good curves but they became balls.
“Finish on his fastball,” Maddon said. “That’s where you’ve got to get to.”
So how can Quintana get that back?
“It’s probably rest more than anything. It’s not necessarily a mechanical adjustment,” Maddon said. “He just has to be more accurate with his location [of] elevated fastball.”
Quintana said he’s feeling great physically.
“The most important [thing] is I keep battling [and] fighting,” Quintana said.
Maddon to Nagy
Maddon had a simple piece of advice for Bears coach Matt Nagy as he prepares for his first season in Chicago: Be yourself.
“I really think that when you get into a situation a little bit different, maybe a little bit more high-brow, whatever you want to call it, I think some people have this concept that you have to adjust or change or meet the methods or standards,” Maddon said. “I don’t agree with that.”
Maddon wants Nagy to adjust to his new surroundings but not to lose his own identity.
“Because the moment you do that,” Maddon said, “you will be out relatively soon.”
Carl Edwards Jr.’s health isn’t why he has struggled recently with command. He’s healthy, but Maddon said Edwards, who has walked four over his last five appearances, is “overthinking it again.”
“The one thing I want him just to really understand is to stop worrying about walking. Just go pitch,” Maddon said. “I think he’s trying to not walk people so much that he walks people.”