CHICAGO -- The Cubs are getting confident in their winning ways, so much so that at least one member of the club was able to exact a little revenge.
Paul Maholm has been fantastic over his past three starts, a run that began after he stumbled badly in an outing at Arizona against the Diamondbacks. With a chance to right his wrongs, Maholm had things go his way this time, giving up just one run over seven innings to get the second half off on a winning note.
As the Cubs took the 8-1 victory, Maholm was earning his team-leading seventh victory. Since that June 29 outing at Arizona, he is 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA.
“I mean I guess once you’ve done it a few times you’ll have bad outings throughout the year,” Maholm said. “(At Arizona) I chalked it up to one of those days and today I wanted to start off the second half pitching well for the team.”
He had to start by pitching well against the Diamondbacks. Friday’s victory was the first in his career against Arizona in seven starts.
“(He had) command of everything and was sticking to the gameplan,” manager Dale Sveum said. “I think he's really sticking to it and doing a great job and command of the four pitches. Today he kind of did it without his curveball. He didn't throw a lot of curveballs so he did a nice job.”
The recent surge has pushed Maholm’s name into trade talks and an outing like Friday’s will surely spark interest from a club in need of controlling a left-handed lineup.
“He pitched one heck of a game against one heck of a lineup that destroys left-handed pitching for the most part,” Sveum said. “So it was an even bigger plus to do it against that lineup.”
Maholm’s current run of solid pitching is similar to the run he had earlier this season when he won four consecutive starts.
“I think all of my wins I have either given up one or zero so I guess that’s the (common denominator),” Maholm said. “You just go out there and expect to go deep in the game and go as long and as hard as you can until they tell you you’re done. Today I made some big pitches and got the ground balls or the easier pop ups. The defense made some great plays. For me it’s getting ahead, getting the ball down, mixing speeds and really not trying to do a whole lot.”
Indeed, in every start in which Maholm has given up one or no runs, he has won. When he gives up two or more he has lost or ended up with a no-decision. But it’s not like he isn’t showered with love from teammates. Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs Friday and drove in five runs, while the defense turned two key early double plays.
“When you get some offense and some great defense it helps out a lot,” Maholm said.