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5 Things a Cubs Fan Needs to Know on October 4

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Yesterday was poker night at my house, so it was a little tricky to multitask by watching the flop, the Cubs game and the Notre Dame / Clemson game, but I did it. It’s incredibly fun to be scoreboard watching. I had the MLB At Bat app set to notify me anytime there was a scoring change in the Pirates game, which was also amazingly fun. as we head into the last day of the regular season, here are some things you need to know.

About Last Night

CUBS 1 @ BREWERS 0 – The night started out very much like the night before. The Reds jumped out to an early lead and I immediately thought it was going to end like the night before where the Pirates come back and win the game late, but it didn’t. All night I waited for a notification that the Pirates had scored again, but it never came and the night ended for the Pirates with a loss.

For the Cubs, it was Kyle Hendricks who had one final case to make for why he deserves the start in game two of the NLDS, and I think he made a good case. In his last three regular season starts, he is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and a .115 opponent batting average and has struck out 25 hitters in 18 innings. How you can even think about giving the ball to Jason Hammel or a bullpen day is crazy talk. Hendricks needs to get the ball and we need to hope that whatever he’s been doing lately continues into the next start.

100 RBI Club

Both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant sit on 99 RBI. Both have the chance to reach the 100 mark on the last day of the season. To have two guys on the team do it is something that is rare on the Northside. Take a minute and think about it. Here is the list since 1989, when I first began my Cubs fan career:

2004 - Moises Alou (106) and Aramis Ramirez (103)

2002Sammy Sosa (108) and Fred McGriff (103)

1991 - Andre Dawson (104) and Ryne Sandberg (100)

1990 - Dawson (100) and Sandberg (100)

It doesn’t happen nearly enough, so I’m pulling for it today.

Here is another crazy stat. Since 1914, a Cub has reached the 100 RBI club only 62 times.

The Arms Race

This is going to be a sour subject for you guys to read, but if I had a vote for the Cy Young Award, my vote would need to go to Zack Greinke. I understand that Jake Arrieta has had the best 2nd half in Major League history, but we act as if Greinke has not been amazing as well, and while Arrieta’s 2nd half has been huge, his first half ERA was above 2.50. Greinke has been below 2.00 all year long. There are lots of saber numbers that support the case for Greinke. I’ve read them and I semi-understand them. When it comes down to it, i’m a simple guy and I’ve seen remarkable consistency from Greinke all year long. He’s gone at least 6 innings in every start this season and allowed over 3 runs in a game just twice.  I gotta vote for Greinke.

Hey, Remember Motte?

Jason Motte, who has been on the shelf with an injury for some time now, is working diligently to return from a shoulder injury and get to the post-season roster. Patrick Mooney of CSN reports that if the Cubs move deep into the playoffs and Motte’s shoulder continues to respond well to therapy and rehab, he could be ready to be considered for a spot in the bullpen for one of the series. I don’t think we’re going to see it happen, as it’s hard to think you bring someone into a series, potentially the World Series, who had struggled a bit before going on the shelf and has had such an extensive layoff, but you never know. I think we’ve seen the last of Motte. He’s a free agent after the season and I can’t see the Cubs bringing him back on anything more than a one year deal and I have to imagine Motte did enough this year to command a little more. Perhaps he should use Joe Maddon‘s workout routine.

What’s On Tap?

It’s the last game of the season and the Cubs can still clinch a game at Wrigley. Watch the scoreboard and cheer for the Reds. A Cubs win and a Pirates loss means a game at Wrigley.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on September 20

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Before we get to the five things, I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone for reading this blog. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and we don’t do enough to say thank you. I could try to come up with something witty and try for a Lizzie, but instead I truly want to say thank you. This season is the reason I started the blog back in 2003. Let’s hope this one turns out better than that one did.

About Last Night

CARDINALS 4 @ CUBS 5 - I went into the day knowing I had work around the house to do and knowing that not only were the Cubs playing at 1:05 pm, but that Notre Dame was playing at 3:30 pm. My hope was that the Cubs had jumped out to such a lead that I would feel safe turning off the game on the big screen, leaving it muted on the iPad next to me and watching the Irish, and at kickoff that was exactly what happened. With a 5-1 lead, I confidently made the switch. Then came the 9th and I was forced to turn my focus back to the Cubs until they held on to win.

It was an interesting lineup that Joe Maddon trotted out there on bullpen day. but a lot of it makes sense. Austin Jackson started the game in CF. You might ask yourself why Dexter Fowler wasn’t out there since he’s been hot and he’s a switch hitter. The answer is because Michael Wacha is a righty and that puts Dex on the left side of the plate, a spot he’s not hit well this year. I’ve never understood why guys don’t just scrap the switch hitting nonsense when the split is so vastly different when it comes to production, but I digress. That move failed as Jackson went 0-for-5. Jorge Soler was back in the lineup, but hitting 2nd. It seemed to do fine as he hit a solo shot and drew a walk before being pulled mid-game. No injury to report there, just rest and easing him back. Soler’s home run was part of a back to back pair by him and Kris Bryant. It’s so much fun to watch the kids do that. Do you feel like a proud parent watching them? I know I do, and I can only imagine how Theo and Jed feel when that happens.

It was bullpen day, as I mentioned before so we were treated to a combo start from Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill, both who tossed the ball well. Cahill even got out of a mini pickle, a gherkin shall we say, in the 5th inning to hold the Cardinals scoreless. The big question going into bullpen day was how Maddon and the Cubs would retaliate from the hit by pitches the day before. Hector Rondon hit the first batter he faced, which I believe was unintentional, and was promptly asked to exit the ballgame and take Maddon with him. I don’t think that ends it. While I don’t think there will be immediate warnings before the game today, I would be surprised if there wasn’t at least some sort of chirping and tense moments. I think it would be silly for the Cardinals to think that Maddon would call for Rondon to throw at them, risking an ejection to your closer and forcing you to use Zac Rosscup. Really, I wouldn’t wish Rosscup on my worst enemy right now. He may turn into a useful lefty out of the pen, but right now I don’t want him messing around with the ballgame. You want to get him work? That’s what the bullpen mound is for. No Major League mound for Rosscup.

Jesse Rogers wrote:

“The home plate umpire came to me and said ‘I know it’s not on purpose’ but I have to take it,” Rondon said after the game.

Rondon had to go because in the previous inning Kolten Wong had been hit by-a-pitch for the second time and both benches were warned. And even though it’s pretty clear the Cubs weren’t going to waste their closer on hitting the leadoff man in a game they wanted to win, they understood why Dreckman took the action that he did.

“That’s an interpretation by the umpires,” manager Joe Maddon said after he was ejected by rule along with Rondon. “There’s a lot of pressure coming from the other side to do what eventually did happen.

“I’m not going to pass judgment, probably, because it worked out in our favor.”

Overall, despite the hiccup in the 9th, we pulled out a win and drew within 5 games of 1st in the division with two weeks to play. It’s not probable, but it’s possible. By the way, if you missed the play that ended the game, you have to watch. Addison Russell is a rock star.

Bryant is a Home Run King

With his home run on Saturday, Bryant tied Billy Williams for most home runs by a Cubs rookie with 25. I think it’s a safe assumption that he will break that record by the end of the season. It’s amazing to see how good he is and think about how much better he is going to get. His strike zone judgement is going to improve. His defense at third base is going to continue to improve. When all is said and done, I think Kris Bryant is going to be the best of the bunch when it comes to the Cubs prospects.

Playoff Dreaming

With the win, as I mentioned above, the Cubs are now five behind the Cardinals for the division lead and one game behind the Pirates for the lead in the wild card. Their magic number to clinch post season berth of any kind is 5. Basically, it’s gonna happen. The question now is what the end result is and where we start. I think the Cubs will pass the Pirates. I think the Jung Ho Kang injury is going to hurt them. While it’s silly to think that the loss of him in the lineup would result in the loss of more than one win down the stretch, there is something deflating about losing a key cog in the wheel. The Cubs are hot right now and the Pirates, despite winning yesterday against Clayton Kershaw (seriously, how does that happen?) are not. The question then becomes if we can pass the Cardinals. I don’t think we can, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Here is the remaining schedule for all three teams.

Cardinals – 14 games (Avg win % of remaining opponents – .485)
Cubs – Today
vs Cincinnati (3)
vs Milwaukee (4)
@ Pittsburgh (3)
@ Atlanta (3)

Pirates - 14 games (Avg win % of remaining opponents – .528)
@ Los Angeles – Today
@ Colorado (4)
@ Cubs (3)
vs St. Louis (3)
vs Cincinnati (3)

Cubs - 14 games (Avg win % of remaining opponents – .511)
vs St. Louis – Today
vs Milwaukee (3)
vs Pittsburgh (3)
vs Kansas City (1)
@ Cincinnati (3)
@ Milwaukee (3)

Stats to Know

  • The Cubs have now won five straight home games and 11 of their last 13
  • The Cubs have hit a home run in 17 straight home games, tying a franchise record set in 1961
  • Anthony Rizzo is one hit by pitch away from joining the 30-30 club with 30 home runs and 30 hit by pitches. Can you name the only other player in Major League history to accomplish that feat? (Answer)

What’s On Tap?


1878 - Larry Schlafly is born

1908Zeke Bonura is born

1924 – The 37 year-old righty Grover Cleveland Alexander earns his 300th victory when the Cubs beat the Giants in 12 innings, 7-3. ‘Old Pete’ will collect 373 victories during his 20-year career.

1932 – The Cubs clinch the National League pennant when they beat Pittsburgh, 5-2, thanks to Kiki Cuyler‘s seventh-inning bases-loaded triple. The Wrigley Field contest features rookie second baseman Billy Herman‘s 200th hit of the season.

1953Gene Baker, the other half of the Kansas City Monarchs double play duo along with Ernie Banks, joins his former Negro League teammate, making his major league debut with the Cubs. In 1961, the second baseman will be named manager of the minor league Batavia, New York team, becoming the first black manager in organized baseball.

1960 - Randy Kramer is born

1961 – In a 13-inning contest, Sandy Koufax goes the distance, beating the Cubs, 3-2, in the last regular season game to be played at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which was originally built for the 1932 Olympics. The Dodgers are leaving the only home they have known since moving from Brooklyn four seasons ago to play in a brand new stadium in Chavez Ravine, located a few miles from downtown Los Angeles.

1972 – With a 6-2 complete-game victory over Montreal at Wrigley Field, Milt Pappas wins his 200th major league game. The Cubs’ right-hander becomes the first hurler to reach the milestone without the benefit of a single 20-win season.

2008 – With a 5-4 victory over St. Louis at Wrigley Field, the Cubs win their second straight National League Central Division championship. It is the first time the club will appear in consecutive postseasons since the 1906-08 teams played in the World Series.

2009 – The Cubs suspend Milton Bradley for the rest of the year, a day after the turbulent outfielder criticizes the team in a newspaper interview, citing there wasn’t a “positive environment” in the organization, and he could see why the club hasn’t won a championship in the last century. The decision whether Chicago brings back the 32 year-old, who still has two years remaining on a $30 million, three-year contract he signed as a free agent last offseason, will be general manager Jim Hendry’s call, according to manager Lou Piniella.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on September 13

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

The Bullpen Game

The Cubs planned for a game in which the bullpen would start and work the entire game this weekend at some point. Last night it happened and, in my opinion, it went reasonably well. I understand we gave up seven runs, but if you watched the game, that shouldn’t have happened. Travis Wood got the start and Trevor Cahill came in to relieve him. Both pitched three strong shutout innings. The damage started in the 7th. Justin Grimm came in and struck out the first two hitters, but walked Aaron Alther, bringing up Andres Blanco. Blanco hit a weak grounder that Anthony Rizzo went to field heading toward the pitcher, but he just muffed it. The inning was over, but the Phillies got a new life with Ryan Howard up. At that point there are two arguments to be made, one for Grimm and the other against Grimm. On one side, you understand that he should still get Howard, a player deep in a horrible slump, but why was he still pitching? He did his job and got the last guy to produce a ground ball out. Sometimes that shakes your focus a little and you let your guard down. This past fall our church played softball and were utterly horrible. I pitched a lot of the games and I know when things are going poorly and you get what looks to be an out only to see it go as an error, it shakes you a little. I place the blame equally on Grimm and Rizzo.

The Cubs would rally and tie the game only to see Hector Rondon give up a two run shot in the bottom of the 9th off the right field foul poll. A tough result for a game that was a bit non-traditional. If those runs the Cubs score come earlier, I think this game results in a win against a team that has nothing to play for.

Offensive Rally

I’ll be honest. When the Phillies scored five runs in the 7th, I was basically ready to turn the game off and go to bed. It was frustrating to see them score at all that inning, let alone five. I hung in and was greeted by a nice offensive rally. Right now Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber are really fun to watch at the top of the order. They continue to produce runs in a variety of ways. When those guys are getting on base, good things are happening. Fowler led it off with a single on the first pitch he saw and then Schwaber walked to bring up Chris Coghlan. The rally is just another example of why you should not turn the game off with this roster of young guys. They continue to scrap and claw more runs. Sometimes it results in a rally win, but last night it fell short. It’s fun to watch.

I’m Done With You

I want to preface by saying that when I give up on a guy, they tend to start playing well, but I really am done with Tommy La Stella. I don’t know that I would start him another game this year. Since he’s come back from basically being on the DL all season, he’s not hit the ball well at all. Last night out of the 9th spot, a spot reserved in Joe Maddon‘s mind for someone to set the table for the top of the order, he went 0-for-3 and was removed for a pinch hitting Austin Jackson late in the game. I see no reason to start him when you have Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Starlin Castro all who should be in the lineup regularly right now. La Stella needs to be a bench guy with the occasional pinch hit appearance.

Soler Plays with the Birdies

I think that’s better than saying he sleeps with the fishes. Jorge Soler is currently on a rehab assignment with the only Cubs minor league playoff team, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He is expected to be there at least through Sunday, with the possibility that he joins the big club on Tuesday, but that hasn’t been made official as far as I’ve seen. It will be good to have Soler back, but I wonder how much he’ll contribute down the stretch at this point. It’s going to be getting cold, so he’s going to be busting out the Spidey suit to keep warm and, if this spring was an indicator, will probably struggle.

What’s On Tap?


1902Johnny Evers, acquired to replace second baseman Bobby Lowe, who broke his ankle, joins shortstop Joe Tinker and first baseman Frank Chance on the Chicago infield, marking the first time the three Cubs’ infielders have played together. The legendary double play trio will be immortalized in Franklin Pierce Adams’ baseball poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” better known as “Tinker to Evers to Chance”.

1932 – With their 100th victory of the year, the Yankees clinch the American league pennant as George Pipqras beat the Indians at Cleveland Stadium, 9-3. Yankee Joe McCarthy, who captured a flag with the 1929 Cubs, becomes the first manager to win pennants in both the American and National League.

1960 – In the top of the fifth inning at Crosley Field, Danny Murphy hits a two-out, three-run home run in an 8-6 loss to the Reds. The 18 year-old right-fielder becomes the youngest Cubs player ever to homer.

1998Sammy Sosa eclipses a National League record for the most home runs hit at one park by one player set by Ted Kluszewski when he hits his 35th Wrigley Field round-tripper, surpassing the former Reds first baseman’s total at Crosley Field in 1954. The Cubs right fielder’s 62nd of the season ties Mark McGwire for the league’s lead in their historic home run race.

1998 – Sammy Sosa’s ninth-inning homer in the bottom of the ninth off Eric Plunk helps to tie the game at 10 runs apiece in the Cubs’ eventual 11-10 extra-inning victory over Milwaukee at Wrigley Field. The round-tripper, his second of the contest, is the Chicago right fielder’s 62nd of the season, to pass Roger Maris‘s single season mark and tying him with Mark McGwire for the league’s lead.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on September 6

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Yesterday I looked at the clock and saw that it was 1:15 and did the mental math as to if I had enough time to mow the lawn, shower and be in place on the couch for the start of the game at 2:20. It’s weird to think that way right now for a few reasons. First, it’s rare that I would be talking about the Cubs when I make that statement at this part of the year as opposed to say Notre Dame football. Second, it’s rare that I would want to watch a game live as it happens as opposed to DVR, but when Jake Arrieta is on the mound it’s appointment television at this point.

About Last Night

DIAMONDBACKS 0 @ CUBS 2 – I’m sure you already know what happened and who won the game, but I came away with some things that I wanted to mention.

I mentioned earlier that Arrieta starts are appointment television. I go into them genuinely expecting him to not give up a run. It’s gotten to that point and I feel like we’ve returned to watching guys like Mark Prior (don’t shoot me for saying that) when he was in that dominant season in 2003 or early Greg Maddux. I don’t expect the Cubs to lose when Jake is on the mound. Yesterday, though, I was bothered a little by Joe Maddon‘s decision to let Jake come out to pitch the 8th inning. It was a hot and humid day in September and Jake had thrown 103 pitches to that point and was coming off a start in the no-hitter in which he had thrown 116. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total pitch count baby the pitcher type of guy, but at that point in the game I saw no reason to bring Jake out to pitch the 8th. In that situation you go with Pedro Strop and you go with Hector Rondon and you go grab a steak to celebrate. The Diamondbacks are not grinding out wins. They aren’t going to come back from that. I didn’t like the call.

I liked the lineup that included Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, but in the long run that won’t be possible. When Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler come back, they will be in the outfield, so it doesn’t leave room for all those guys. It was nice to see it, though.

I’d like to see Addison Russell get the day off at shortstop today as he is off to a so so start to September and is playing the longest season of his career. Start Castro or Baez at SS today and let Russell watch.

Roster News

The news came out yesterday that the White Sox have claimed Mike Olt off waivers from the Cubs. Olt was designated for assignment at the end of August by the Cubs when they acquired Austin Jackson. Olt will join the Sox and have a few weeks to show he belongs in the Majors. He’s out of minor league options so he’ll need to make the opening day roster out of camp if he’s still with the organization. At this point, I don’t see him sticking in baseball much longer.

In other news, the Cubs also officially released Rafael Soriano. It was an experiment that you had to try for the cost, but it did not work out. Soriano will probably retire at this point, as I don’t see anyone else giving him a shot.

Magic Number Watch

At this point, I don’t see the Cubs catching the Cardinals, so it’s time to just come to grips with the fact that our whole season comes down to a one game, winner take all playoff with the Pirates. At this point the Pirates may be able to catch the Cardinals, but it’s highly unlikely. Instead, we need to focus on passing the Pirates and getting that game in Chicago. From there we need to make a call to Steve Trachsel to pitch game 163. He’s got experience doing it and it allows us to save Jake and Jon Lester for game 1 and 2 of the NLDS. I’m telling you, it’s the best option. Nevermind the fact that he’s 44 years old and hasn’t pitched since 2008. That just means he’s rested.

In all seriousness, the magic number to officially clinch a wild card spot is now at 21, but let’s be serious, do you really see the Giants or the Nationals coming back to make up the 7+ game difference at this point? I don’t. Noah had a really good tweet during the day yesterday before the games were done.

Down on the Farm

It’s hard to really consider Emilio Bonifacio a part of the “farm”, but he is finishing up in Iowa and did go 3-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. He’s hitting close to .500 at this point in limited action and should be receiving a call up to help the Major League team as a spare piece down the stretch real soon. He’ll probably bring C.J. Edwards, who pitched a scoreless inning of relief yesterday, with him.

In other news, Albert Almora was injured in a game on Friday. The video is below:

That may end Almora’s season at this point.

What’s On Tap?


1948 – After 2,592 plate appearances, Emil Verban hits his first and only major league home run, establishing the mark for the longest homerless streak to start a career. The Cubs second baseman hits the historic home run off Johnny Vander Meer in the seventh inning of the team’s 3-1 loss to Chicago at Crosley Field.

2001 – Joining Babe Ruth (1927 Yankees), Roger Maris (1961 Yankees), Mark McGwire (1998 Cardinals), and Sammy Sosa (1998 Cubs), Barry Bonds becomes the fifth major leaguer to hit 60 home runs in a season. The 37 year-old Giant left fielder, who is the oldest to join this elite group, reaches the historic plateau the quickest, needing only 141 games to reach the milestone.

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Cubs Announce Roster Moves

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

From the Cubs Media Relations Dept:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today recalled infielder Javier Baez and left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada from Triple-A Iowa, activated catcher David Ross off the family medical emergency leave list and added outfielder Austin Jackson to the active roster. Additionally, the Cubs have selected the contracts of outfielder Quintin Berry (post-game last night) and right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill (today) from Triple-A.

To make room for Berry and Cahill on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher James Russell was designated for assignment (post-game last night) and right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano was today activated from the 15-day disabled list and designated for assignment. Chicago’s 40-man roster stands at 40 and its active roster stands at 30 players.

Berry will wear uniform number five, Cahill will wear uniform number 53 and Jackson will wear uniform number 27.

Baez, 22, batted .324 (91-for-281) with 14 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 61 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 70 games with Iowa this season. He turned in a .385 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage, good for a .912 OPS, and joins the Cubs riding a 16-game hitting streak. Baez made his major league debut for the Cubs last season and batted .169 (36-for-213) with six doubles, nine homers and 20 RBI in 52 games. He was Chicago’s first round pick (ninth overall) in the 2011 Draft.

Berry, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on August 24 after spending the entire season with Boston’s Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, where he batted .228 (82-for-359) with a .329 on-base percentage and 35 steals in 106 games. He has spent parts of three major league seasons with Detroit (2012), Boston (2013) and Baltimore (2014), batting .266 (80-for-301) with a .337 on-base percentage in 117 games, and is a perfect 25-for-25 in stolen base attempts in the regular season and a perfect 5-for-5 in the postseason.

Cahill, 27, signed a minor league deal with the Cubs on August 18 and turned in five scoreless relief outings with Iowa, covering 7.2 innings. The righthander broke into the big leagues with Oakland in 2009 and was an 18-game winner a season later, going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA (65 ER/196.2 IP) in 30 starts while earning A.L. All-Star honors along the way. Overall, Cahill won 10 or more games in four-straight seasons (2009-12) and is 64-72 with one save and a 4.16 ERA (493 ER/1,066.2 IP) in 201 major league outings (28 in relief) with Oakland (2009-11), Arizona (2012-14) and Atlanta (2015).

Jackson, 28, was acquired yesterday from Seattle, where he batted .272 (114-for-419) with 18 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 38 RBI, 46 runs scored and 15 stolen bases in 107 games this season. Since making his major league debut with Detroit in 2010, Jackson has batted .273 (908-for-3,320) with 163 doubles, 47 triples, 54 home runs and 286 RBI in 831 career games, all of which have come in center field.

Ross, 38, is batting .190 (23-for-121) with one home run and seven RBI in 57 games with the Cubs this season. He owns a 2.73 catchers’ ERA in his 44 games (35 starts) behind the plate.

Wada, 34, returns to the Cubs after going 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA (13 ER/31.1 IP) in seven starts earlier this season. With Iowa, Wada went 4-5 with a 3.95 ERA (38 ER/86.2 IP) in 16 starts this season. Wada made his big league debut with the Cubs last year and has combined to go 5-5 with a 3.40 ERA (38 ER/100.2 IP) in 20 major league starts the last two years.

Russell, 29, went 0-2 with one save and a 5.29 ERA (20 ER/34.0 IP) in 49 relief appearances with the Cubs this season.

Soriano, 35, went 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA (4 ER/5.2 IP) in six relief appearances for the Cubs this season.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on August 29th

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Dodgers Bust Out The Claw

I’m not sure if you realize this, but Clayton Kershaw is really good. Last night he put his hard hat on and went to work, turning in 8 innings of work with 14 strikeouts. His only real blemish was a home run to right center by Anthony Rizzo in his second time at bat. Being on the west coast, I think fans miss seeing guys like Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner unless they pitch on the national stage, which is a shame. I know being on the east coast, I don’t stay up for west coast sports. It’s just too late. Watching the game last night, it was amazing to see how many Cubs hitters left the batters box literally shaking their heads in disgust and amazement at the stuff being thrown up there by the Claw.

Rizzo Continues to Impress Me More and More Each Game

In his first at bat, Rizzo struck out swinging and was one of the hitters leaving the box shaking his head. In at bat number two he crushed a ball deep out of the park to tie the game at one. I’m amazed at how he’s gone from being a guy who was platooned against lefties, especially tough lefties like Kershaw, to being someone who is one of the best hitters in the game against lefties. Who does that? I don’t know about how you feel, but I think when all is said and done, Rizzo will be the heart and soul of this team and will be an MVP at least one year before his career is done. His defense has gotten better each year and his bat just continues to shine.

Going on Record Now

I just want to remind everyone that I asked for this move to NOT happen.

Down on the Farm

We’re nearing the end of this section. I’m actually working on a post that will go up Monday afternoon talking about the potential call ups as of September 1st.

Andres Santiago turned in a really nice performance for Tennessee (AA). He went eight innings and allowed just two hits and no runs while striking out six and not walking anyone. I have to be honest. I’ve never heard this guys name mentioned before, so I wanted to check him out and see where he came from. He’s 25 years old and was originally drafted back in 2007 when he was just 17 years old. Nothing to see here, but last night he had a gem.

What’s On Tap?

I still feel good about winning this series and coming away from this six game stretch with a .500 result. We have the two big horses on the mound in the last two games of the series and their opposing starters, while decent, aren’t as good as ours.

Bonus Nuggets

  • Starlin Castro has cleared waivers. It’s hard to believe no one would even claim him to talk trade as I can’t imagine the Cubs would just let him go for nothing. Not good news for his value in a trade this off-season.
  • Peter Gammons noted that Pro Scouting Director Jared Porter is leaving the Red Sox to join the Cubs
  • Ryan Theriot is now following me on Twitter



1918 – At Wrigley Field, Lefty Tyler tosses a gem as the Cubs edge the Reds, 1-0. The victory clinches the National League pennant for Chicago, which will end the season 10.5 games ahead of the second-place Giants.

1966 – Getting the Cubs’ 4-2 win in relief, Robin Roberts becomes the first and only pitcher to beat the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. The future Hall of Famer gains his third career big league victory against the Boston Braves on Independence Day in 1948.

2002 – At Milwaukee’s Miller Park, Mark Bellhorn becomes the first National Leaguer and joins Carlos Baerga as the only other switch-hitter to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning. The Cub infielder connects off southpaw Andrew Lorraine to start Chicago’s 10-run fourth-inning and then goes deep again with a three run homer with two outs off Jose Cabrera.

2012 – Thanks to official scorer Bob Rosenberg changing his ruling, Darwin Barney establishes a National League single-season record when he plays in his 114th straight errorless game at second base in the Cubs’ 3-1 loss to Milwaukee at Wrigley Field to break the mark set by David Eckstein, who had accomplished the feat playing for the Padres in 2010. After Barney originally received an error for his toss to the third base, the retired sportswriter changed his mind and gave the error to third baseman Luis Valbuena for mishandling the throw.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know on Aug 21

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Righting The Ship

BRAVES 1 @ CUBS 7 – After a frustrating three game losing streak that caused me to question all that is good in life (being in contention will do that to you), the Cubs corrected their course and got back to winning ways in game one of the series with the Braves. I watched most of the game, but shut it down in the 7th. At that point, I felt like the game was in hand enough with a nice lead that I could safely go to bed. I was happy to wake up to see I was correct. Is it just me or does it feel like this is a completely different team when Jake Arrieta is on the mound. It’s almost like we go into the game expecting to win and expecting to win easily. I feel know fear when he takes the mound, which is why I think I need to start him in game 163 if we get to that point. Once again he tossed a quality start, going six innings and not allowing a run. He was tested early, but out of any jam he got into. It’s fun to watch him pitch. My only disappointment with last night was the slight lack of pitch count efficiency. It would have been nice to see him go seven or eight innings to take some load off the pen, but I’ll take the result nonetheless.

Offensively, the bats continue to be good and Dexter Fowler continues to get on base. That joker is sporting a crazy high OBP, one of the top in all of baseball, since the All Star Break and is a big reason for this offensive success.

Lots of Awards Coming?

The more I look at it, there is a chance the Cubs could be taking home a lot of hardware when all is said and done. Arrieta is 4th in pitcher WAR in the NL, so he’s at least in the discussion for the Cy Young. Anthony Rizzo is 6th in WAR as a hitter. While he probably won’t have a shot at the MVP award, it’s not out of the possibility that he could have a hot month and a half and things could happen. It’s possible. Throw in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber to the Rookie of the Year conversation and then Joe Maddon into the Manager of the Year award running and you’ve got a lot of potential, but that’s not all. What about Theo and Jed? There is a lot to smile about right now.

Scoreboard Watching

The Cardinals won last night, but what else is new. At this point, winning the division seems like a lost cause. Pittsburgh and San Francisco play each other this weekend, so I don’t know who to root for. The Pirates won game one, which allowed us to keep pace with them while raising our lead on the Giants to four games. I guess I’ll take that.

A New Arm Enters The Organization

The Cubs are trying to add veterans down the stretch who could possibly help in some way. Trevor Cahill signed a minor league deal with the Cubs and will head to the minors. He’s 27 years old, so it’s a lottery ticket, but we’ve seen what the Cubs have done with lottery tickets in the past. This will be his third team this season, so it’s not likely, but you never know.

What’s On Tap?

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How Are You Feeling As a Cub Fan? – Open Thread

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

This morning I want you guys to share your thoughts on how you feel as a Cub fan. Maybe you want to look at it on a micro basis and look really detailed at the current team or even last night’s bad loss. Maybe you want to take a more macro approach and look at the state of the team in the future. Maybe you want to focus on a player.

Whatever is on your mind, let’s hear it, because I have nothing good to say after last night.

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Quick Thoughts After the Streak Ends

Monday, August 17th, 2015

All good things must come to an end, and yesterday they came to an end at the hands of Chris Sale  and the White Sox pitching staff, who completely owned the Cubs hitters. It sucks, but it just means we need to start a new streak tomorrow. I had just a few minutes this morning to tap out some thoughts, so here they are in rapid fire.

  • Sale is really good. That’s the first time I’ve been able to watch him pitch and that joker is good.
  • I’m not sure what to do with Starlin Castro at this point. If you missed the game, he made a great tag on a runner to catch him stealing, but dropped a little league throw from Addison Russell at 2nd that almost cost the Cubs a run. I just don’t know anymore.
  • I’ve yet to see anything from Dan Haren that we couldn’t have seen from Tsuyoshi Wada or someone like that down the stretch.
  • With 46 games to play, the Cubs can play .500 ball the rest of the way and win 90 games. Crazy, right?
  • Anthony Rizzo got hit again. I have to imagine his whole body is bruised. I’ll leave it to Lizzie to fantasize about it, but it can’t be pretty.
  • Theo Epstein is done with his contract after next season. Let’s get him re-signed immediately.

That is all for today. Enjoy the day off and get ready for the Tigers tomorrow.

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