Chicago Cubs

Anthony Rizzo's return and a dominant rotation raise the Cubs' hopes during a challenging stretch


“He’s one of the best,” Rizzo said Friday night upon his return after missing four consecutive games because of back stiffness.


While Rizzo’s return figures to strengthen a streaky lineup, the Cubs’ best chance to survive the likes of the Nationals, Phillies, Astros , Cardinals , Rockies and Dodgers during this stretch could hinge on a rotation largely responsible for their quick transformation from the bottom to the top of the National League Central .


The most obvious improvements have come from Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks, each of whom have allowed three runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts.


And a healthy Yu Darvish has displayed snippets of dominance, including his 11-strikeout performance against the Reds on Wednesday in Cincinnati.


Rizzo took an awkward swing and miss before grounding into a double play in his first at-bat against Scherzer but beat the shift by hitting a single through the crowded right side in the fifth.


Rizzo admitted he felt helpless the two previous games in which the Cubs blew leads and lost to the Reds, snapping an eight-series winning streak.






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