Observations: Alzolay battles, Cubs extend win streak


The Cubs beat the Reds 1-0 Friday, their fifth straight win, to improve to 28-22 this season.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. Adbert Alzolay battled to give the Cubs 5 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old worked around traffic in each of the first three innings, including two second-and-third, two-out jams, to keep things scoreless.

2. A gusty Wrigley Field wind helped both sides in the third. Tucker Barnhart’s ground-rule double off Alzolay may have been a home run another day. Jesse Winker made a great catch on Joc Pederson’s well-struck fly ball that likewise may have been gone on another day.


3. Alzolay just keeps racking up career firsts. Last Saturday, he threw seven innings for the first time in the big leagues. Friday, he threw 103 pitches, a new career high. It’s the first time he’s thrown 100+ in the big leagues.

4. The only way to get a ball into the bleachers with wind like Friday’s is hitting it low and on a line. David Bote offered a perfect demonstration in the fifth, putting the Cubs ahead 1-0 on a 110.3 mph smash to the left field basket.

5. For a split-second, it looked like Javy Báez was going to try something improbable again. Báez’ single in the fourth trickled only a few feet from third baseman Max Schrock’s glove after a diving stop. Schrock got up slowly and with no urgency, and Báez took a significant turn around first base before retreating. 

6. The Cubs bullpen can’t be stopped. Andrew Chafin, Tommy Nance and Craig Kimbrel extended the Cubs’ 'pen's scoreless streak to 38 innings, a span of 12 games.

7. Nance was a story straight out of a Hollywood script 10 days ago. Friday, he dominated in a big spot, retiring the Reds in order in the eighth inning to preserve a 1-0 Cubs lead.

8. Kris Bryant has been raking all season, but he's been especially hot lately. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

9. The Cubs play a lot of close games. Friday is their 15th game of 24 this month decided by one run. They're 8-7 in those games.

10. A palpable buzz was felt at Wrigley in the first game with 60 percent fan capacity, although the attendance was below that figure on a cold and windy day. However, 18,478 fans marked the highest attendance at the Friendly Confines since September 2019.

Bonus: The Cubs are a season-high six games above .500 and back tied for first in the NL Central, pending Friday night's Cardinals game.

On deck: The Reds and Cubs return to action Saturday behind probable starters Luis Castillo (1-7, 7.61 ERA) and Zach Davies (2-2, 4.96 ERA). First pitch is 1:20 p.m.

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