Since outfielder Rafael Ortega joined the Cubs, all he has done is hit. When he first arrived, he was merely a bench option. But the more opportunities he got, the more he produced.
Ortega has become an everyday player for the Cubs after their moves at the trade deadline and has been arguably their best offensive player since the All-Star break.
‘‘I’m grateful to the Chicago Cubs for giving me this opportunity to be here,’’ Ortega said after the Cubs’ 4-2 loss to the Brewers in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday. ‘‘But what I’m trying to show them is I can do this every day. I can maintain this same type of production moving forward.’’
Ortega, 30, went 3-for-4 in the opener and entered Game 2 hitting .413 since the All-Star break. It remains to be seen whether he will be with the Cubs next season, but he’s doing everything in his power to give himself an opportunity.
‘‘I think it’s just another guy proving that he’s a major-league player and is consistent,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘Every time we give him the at-bats, he does something with it. He earned this.’’
Mills sharp before rain delay
If there’s one thing the Cubs have gotten from right-hander Alec Mills since June 1, it’s consistency. Mills has been one of the team’s most reliable starters in the last two months, and that didn’t change in Game 2 of the doubleheader.
Mills was on his way to another solid outing, tossing 2„ scoreless innings, before the game was delayed by rain. The Brewers eventually won 6-3.
Mills has been strong since rejoining the rotation after coming off the 10-day injured list. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine consecutive starts.
‘‘I think with how things were going early [in the season], a routine was a good thing for me,’’ Mills said last week. ‘‘Got back to doing what I do best — pitching to bad contact and just trying to get as many ground balls as I can.’’
After Mills’ departure, the Cubs took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Patrick Wisdom in the fourth, but the bullpen wasn’t able to hold the game there.
The Brewers responded by scoring six runs on six hits and two walks in the fifth against relievers Dan Winkler, Kyle Ryan and Jake Jewell.
Wick in, Megill out
The Cubs activated right-handed reliever Rowan Wick from the 60-day injured list before Game 2 and optioned right-hander Trevor Megill to Triple-A Iowa. Wick pitched a 1-2-3 seventh in his first appearance with the Cubs since last September, when he first went down with an intercostal (rib muscle) injury.
Wick was one of the Cubs’ best high-leverage options when he was healthy, with a 2.66 ERA in 50 appearances in 2019-20.