There’s a secret to Cubs reliever Rowan Wick’s success, you know.
‘‘I’m not very smart,’’ he said before the Cubs’ 17-8 victory Friday against the Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
No, that’s not the end of the explanation.
‘‘Because of that, if I can keep one thing on my mind, then I can focus on that one thing,’’ Wick said.
It just so happens that one thing is pretty much the same thing all the time.
‘‘Attack mode, attack mode, attack mode,’’ he said.
Sounds like a future closer, which is, of course, Wick’s goal.
Wick might have appeared to be in some other mode in the ninth inning of the Cubs’ 4-1 victory Thursday in San Diego, during which he loaded the bases before plunking Manny Machado to force in a run. But he rallied by striking out the next batter, potential winning run Luis Urias — putting him away with a monster curveball right after hitting Machado with the same pitch.
‘‘That was attack mode, too,’’ Wick said. ‘‘I didn’t let any doubt sneak in about being able to throw that pitch. You let any sort of doubt sneak in, and you will fail.’’
With closer Craig Kimbrel continuing to work toward a return from the injured list, Wick has become one of the key men in the Cubs’ bullpen. Next to Kimbrel, there’s no one out there under the bleachers with more impressive-looking strikeout stuff.
‘‘He has a really powerful fastball, his breaking pitches are really good and he has been using them a lot more lately,’’ catcher Willson Contreras said. ‘‘He definitely has closer stuff, so I think it’s just a matter of time.’’
Kimbrel is signed through the 2021 season. Won’t that make it difficult for Wick to ascend into that role with the Cubs?
‘‘Remember,’’ he said. ‘‘Focus on one thing.’’
That’s a smart way to look at it.