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Jeimer Candelario has been ‘a real seamless fit so far’ with a Chicago Cubs offense that was rolling before his addition – Boston Herald


The Chicago Cubs didn’t bring in infielder Jeimer Candelario to jump-start the offense.

The Cubs, who began a six-game trip Monday against the New York Mets at Citi Field, already had the best run-producing offense since the All-Star break when they acquired Candelario last week from the Washington Nationals. His addition has made the lineup deeper with a tough, switch-hitting out.

Candelario has been able to play without the expectation of needing to help get the Cubs offense on track.

“It’s definitely taken (away) any pressure of he’s got to be the savior of the offense coming in and where he’s fit in the lineup,” manager David Ross said Monday. “Also his personality, the way he goes about his business, has been really evident from the time I knew him and his journey through his career and just fitting in nicely.

“He’s been a really nice addition and it seems like a real seamless fit so far.”

Candelario hit in the No. 6 spot Monday against Mets starter Kodai Senga. He entered the series 12-for-21 (.571) with a .640 on-base percentage, five extra-base hits and three RBIs in his first six games back with the organization that first signed him.

Candelario homered Saturday, his first since rejoining the Cubs and second overall with the team. He went six years and 37 days between Cubs home runs, the sixth-longest gap in franchise history among position players.

Billy Jurges owns the team record for non-pitchers when he went nine years and 22 days between home runs from Aug. 2, 1938, to Aug. 24, 1947, according to team historian Ed Hartig.

Bullpen shouldering load

The Cubs rotation has been a strength most of the season, largely weathering the stretches when one starter hasn’t been as locked in as the rest of the staff.

The series against the Mets ends a stretch of playing 16 consecutive days during which Ross has relied on the bullpen more. Coming into Citi Field, the bullpen had thrown at least four innings in four of the last five games.

The Cubs, who won four of those five games, have seen their relievers record a combined 2.35 ERA through the first 13 games of this long stretch. That represents the third-best bullpen ERA in the National League and sixth in the majors in that span, while their 53⅔ innings and 57 strikeouts are the most in the big leagues.

In the 17 games prior to the lights-out stretch that began July 25, the bullpen owned a 5.11 ERA.

Stroman taking next step

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (hip) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday at Citi Field, his first since landing on the injured list retroactive to Aug. 1.

Stroman is eligible to come off the IL on Aug. 16, and thanks to days off Thursday, next Monday and Aug. 17, he would miss only one start. He could return as soon as the series finale against the White Sox, or the Cubs could wait until after the third day off and start Stroman at home versus the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 18.

Ross didn’t want to speculate on the timeline of Stroman’s return beyond stating the goal remains that he will be out for only one start.

“I’ll put that on repeat until he doesn’t start,” Ross said.

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