Cubs’ offense continues to impress in rout over Dodgers

Friday’s 13-0 victory over the Dodgers marked the sixth time the Cubs have scored in double digits in only their 19th game — equalling their 2022 total.

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Cody Bellinger (left) celebrates with Trey Mancini after hitting a solo homer during the third inning Friday against the Dodgers. It was Bellinger’s third homer this season against the Dodgers.

The Cubs’ offense hasn’t shown any signs of complacency.

Friday’s 13-0 victory over the Dodgers marked the sixth time they’ve scored in double digits in only their 19th game — equalling their 2022 total.

It’s also the first time they’ve scored 10 runs or more in 19 games in franchise history, trailing only the 1885 team that accomplished this feat in 17 games, according to team historian Ed Hartig.

“They’re not giving away at-bats,” manager David Ross said after the Cubs scored seven times in the fifth to expand their lead to 12-0. “It doesn’t matter what the score is.”

“They just have relentless at-bats.”

Cody Bellinger hit his third homer against the Dodgers, and Trey Mancini followed with a solo shot to left in the third.

Patrick Wisdom hit his ninth homer, a three-run shot, in the fifth. Nico Hoerner went 4-for-5 with his first homer and has reached base safely in a career-high 17 games. Hoerner hasn’t struck out in 38 plate appearances.

Mancini continues to rebound from an 0-for-16 slump. He collected three hits and is 5-for-9 in his last two games.

“I made a couple adjustments, and it’s all about being a position to recognize a pitch instead of having a lot of head movements while the pitch is coming in,” Mancini said.

The 13 runs were one shy of the Cubs’ season high.

“We knew in spring training this could be a special group, and it is,” Mancini said.

Fresh arm, faster fastball

Brandon Hughes rejoined the Cubs last week with a healthy left knee and a fresh left arm.

The latter was evident Thursday as he struck out four Dodgers in two innings with a fastball that topped out at 94.4 mph and averaged 93.8 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

Hughes believes the healthy knee translated to a small increase in velocity from last season that will make his slider more effective.

“The fastball had life, and the slider was playing off it,” said Hughes, who credited catcher Tucker Barnhart for his effective pitch selection. “I feel like the mechanics are getting back to being more consistent with what I like to do.”

It helped that four of the six batters that Hughes faced were left-handed, but the Cubs need Hughes because Mark Leiter Jr. was the lone primary reliever targeted to face left-handers for the first two weeks.

“In this game, more velo is always better,” said Hughes, who started his professional career as an outfielder. “The main thing is located the fastball, which is more important than velo. But when my fastball gets above 93.5 mph, I’m able to miss a little bit more, not that I want to miss. But I can get away with more stuff when it’s 93.5 or faster.”

Taillon timetable

Jameson Taillon believes he can return close to May 2, the first day he’s eligible to be activated from the 15-day injured list after suffering a left groin strain that has been described by the Cubs as mild-to-moderate.

“Keeping my arm in shape will make it more realistic,” said Taillon, who has thrown lightly for the last two days to keep his arm in shape.

Assad sent down to Iowa

Reliever Jeremiah Estrada was recalled from Triple-A Iowa and pitcher Javier Assad was optioned to Iowa.

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