David Ross tried his best to be a ray of sunshine on a cold, windy and wet night at Wrigley Field, while the baseball season remained teetering on the brink.
“We are really enjoying baseball,” Ross said before Monday’s game. “I hope the world is enjoying baseball. It’s fun to come in here every day to work, and we’re trying to be as safe as we possibly can and enjoy the game we love to play.”
It’s always more fun when you’re winning, and the Cubs improved to 8-2 with a 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Alec Mills delivered another quality start for the Cubs. He threw seven scoreless innings, with three hits, three walks and four strikeouts in 96 pitches.
In his first start of the season at Cincinnati last week, Mills was reliant on groundballs. He kept the ball down against Kansas City on Monday, but the Royals started out hitting the ball in the air. Ryan O’Hearn managed to drop a first-inning pop fly onto the left-field line, which bounced for a ground-rule double.
Mills got out of jams in the first two innings, then retired 15 of 16 Kansas City batters after walking former Cub Jorge Soler to open the third. The one runner Mills allowed in that span was wiped out trying to steal second base.
Casey Sadler came on in relief in the eighth, retired the first two batters, then gave up a single to Soler. Ross summoned Rowan Wick from the bullpen, and he let out a scream that probably could be heard on the Cubby Bear patio after striking out O’Hearn to end the inning.
Wick stayed on for the ninth and completed the shutout for his second save of the season.
The Cubs got on the board in the fifth. They loaded the bases with nobody out on two walks and a single, then Javy Baez’s sacrifice fly brought home Nico Hoerner with the game’s first run.
Kris Bryant, hitting .179 on the year, mashed his first home run into the wind in the eighth inning to create some cushion at 2-0.
Before the game, Bryant talked about how two teams that have been struck hardest by the coronavirus, Miami and St. Louis, are facing extended layoffs while Major League Baseball considers the best plan of action. The Cubs are scheduled to visit St. Louis this weekend.
“I guess it’s just kind of all up in the air right now,” Bryant said. “It stinks, it really does. I hope all those guys are all right and getting through it. But anytime you have a hiccup in the schedule like that, it’s tough to make up those games and the Cardinals are certainly going to feel it.
“Who knows? We might feel it too, but we haven’t really talked as a team about what’s going to happen. You want to take it day by day, but it’s hard when you see teams who have it and they’re coming up on your schedule. There is a little bit of uneasiness to it.”