CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs have responded to their “Code Red” playoff crisis by ripping off five straight high-scoring wins coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cubs are now within a couple of games of the St. Louis Cardinals, and a half game behind the Washington Nationals, for the top wildcard spot.
They’re piling up the runs to offset a slew of injuries, but there is some positive injury news.
Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel threw a simulated game on Tuesday to test out his sore arm and it was a success.
“Really good actually,” said manager Joe Maddon. “Delivery was good. There was no hesitation with his arm. He wasn’t guarding what-so-ever. I thought the fastball was alive, the curveball, maybe the command was off a bit – but the break was there. It was very encouraging.”
Kimbrel could possibly return this weekend, but out is first baseman Anthony Rizzo, which means catcher Willson Contreras is starting at first base for the first time since 2017.
“Today I got a message from the manager asking if I could play first base and I said, ‘Of course,’” said Contreras. “In the past I’ve had experience with playing first and it’s not my first time playing, so I’ll be fine with it. Just have to go out there and have fun.”
When asked if he has his own glove, Contreras said: “I’ll borrow one. I don’t have one yet. I think it’s going to be Ian Happ’s glove. He just offered me one.”
No matter the glove, it’s all hands on deck for the Cubs as they are fighting for their playoff lives. Tonight they have their best pitcher right now in Yu Darvish on the mound against the Reds.