DENVER – If the Cubs got nothing else out of their lost series in Colorado over the weekend, they got encouraging debut work from the rookie reinforcements for an injury-depleted bullpen.
In particular, left-hander Rob Zastryzny, pitched another scoreless 2 2/3 innings Sunday in an 11-4 loss, two days after making a scoreless, one-inning debut late in Friday’s extra-inning loss.
“Very good. Five punchouts, great composure,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He definitely looks like the kind of guy you can trust. Let’s keep running him out there and see how it plays out.”
Starter Jason Hammel (13-6), who struggled in his first loss since the All-Star break, also said he was impressed with the poise and performance of the rookie – who retired the first five he faced before a pair of singles, then finished with a pair of strikeouts.
“That means a lot,” said Zastryzny, the first pitcher in five drafts under team president Theo Epstein to pitch for the Cubs. “My goal coming here was to be someone they could go to and help them win a ballgame. I figured early on I might be thrown into some 10-1 ballgames or something like that. But going into my debut in a tie ballgame in the 10th was a good way for me to show that I can be trusted.
“That’s all I really want to do is go out there and just be someone who can get the job done when they need it.”
Strange brew at Coors for Soler
Jorge Soler’s day started with a sore knee that led to him being scratched from the lineup, then finished with a strange pinch-hit sacrifice fly on a foul pop about 25 feet from the plate.
When first baseman Ben Paulsen caught the popup, as catcher Tony Wolters stood nearby, nobody was covering the plate, and Anthony Rizzo took advantage of the asleep-at-the-wheel pitcher to score.
“I’ve never seen that one before,” Maddon said.
Soler was hurt when he fouled a ball off the knee Saturday night.
Notes: Infielder Tommy La Stella has been promoted from Class AA Tennessee to AAA Iowa, where he’s scheduled to report Monday. He played in two of four games while with Tennessee (2-for-4 with a walk and was hit by a pitch). …Outfielder Chris Coghlan, who’s on the DL with a rib-cage bruise, also is expected to join the Iowa club Monday to continue his therapy and workouts until he’s ready to start a minor-league rehab assignment there. …Pitcher Travis Wood finished the game in left field, and singled in his only at-bat. …Nolan Arenado’s two home runs put the Rockies third baseman one homer ahead of Kris Bryant for the National League lead at 31. … Hammel‘s loss Sunday was the first this month for a Cub starter (12-0 before that).