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5 Things A Cub Fan Needs To Know on August 2nd

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

I went to the birthday party yesterday and at the party, they had just recently purchased MLB 15 The Show on PS4. I’m not much of a video game player anymore, but this game looked really really good. We played a home run derby with 8 of us and I went to the finals with Bryce Harper only to come one home run short and lose to Miguel Cabrera. If you haven’t checked out video games lately, you’ll be amazed at how deep they are graphically. Now, on to what you need to know.

One Game Away From A Sweep

After a crappy series against the Phillies and a less than pretty series win against the Rockies, I was about ready to jump off the wagon for this season. After all, a four game series against the Brewers, a team that seemed to have our number early this year, didn’t bode well, but we’ve come out and roughed them up in the first three games of the series.

Yesterday it was Kyle Hendricks on the mound, so you never know what you’re going to get. We got good Hendricks. He went seven strong and only allowed a single run. I’m not sure what to make of Hendricks. He has the ability to pitch better than a 4th or 5th starter, but doesn’t seem to be able to put it together on a consistent basis to be counted on as more of a back end guy. I like him a lot, but I’m not sure I believe in him. It will be interesting to see what happens with him in the future and if he’s part of the core of this rotation or if he’s moved as a piece to get better.

Anthony Rizzo hit a home run again last night, which gave him a home run in each of his last four games. In case you’re wondering, the record is eight in a row, owned by Dale Long (1956) and Don Mattingly (1987). I remember the buzz around Mattingly going for it, and I wasn’t even a big sports fan at that point, as I was just nine years old. It would be pretty cool to see Rizzo get close.

If you missed the game, you should also check out the catch Jorge Soler made in the 9th inning to rob a home run.

Did We Find Our Closer?

I ask that completely in jest because of how fickle baseball and Joe Maddon can be when it comes to the closer. One thing I think we know right now is that Jason Motte is probably not the guy. He was given the opportunity last night and got pulled before he even had a chance to cough up the lead completely. Instead, Joe went to his new toy, Tommy Hunter who came in an uncorked  a 99 mph heater to start and was notching the save before you could even finish writing his name down in the scorebook.

Right now, I think Hunter and Hector Rondon are probably the leaders in the club house for the role, and if you go to the post-season, ideally you’d want that defined if for no other reason than guys like to know how to prepare themselves mentally. I subscribe to using the best guy for the job at hand, regardless of inning, but that’s not how baseball is played right now.

Getting the Sweep is Going to Be Tough

While the Cubs made a trade to help anchor the end of the rotation by bringing in Dan Haren, he isn’t available to pitch today because of rest. As a result, we put the sweep hopes on Clayton Richard, who was recently demoted to AAA. He’ll be called up before today’s game, but it will be interesting to see what happens to make room for him. Currently the pitching staff is at 13 guys, which is far too many. You can’t in good conscience go to 14, can you? No one on the staff can simply be optioned with out some sort of difficulty. All have enough service time to make it difficult, so you would have to think that since Richard is a temporary player on this roster, the Cubs would either have to go through the process of potentially losing a guy (looking at you, Travis Wood), or they can designate Taylor Teagarden for assignment and go with the 2 catcher concept again, then DFA Richard after his start and recall someone like Matt Szczur for some outfield depth.

Could Another Bat Be On the Way?

If a report from the Sun Times is to be believed, the Cubs may have interest in acquiring Chase Utley this month for a late run. While I can see the upside of bringing someone like that in (veteran presence that has been there before and done it successfully), I would rather take my chances with Javier Baez at second down the stretch. I have a feeling Utley’s issues were bigger than just the leg injury. I think father time has caught up.

Down on the Farm

Speaking of Baez, last night he went 3-for-6 with a double and five RBI. Granted, he did strike out in the three at bats that didn’t produce a hit, but I’d gladly take that production. Since coming back to Iowa this year, he’s hitting .313 / .389 / .558 with 10 HR’s and 10 doubles in just 163 at bats. He’s going to be here sooner than later, so Starlin Castro better be watching his back.

Bonus Things To Know

  • SB Nation’s Minor League Ball had a breakdown grading “All” the trades at the deadline. The problem? They didn’t break down the Hunter deal which is, in my opinion, just as important as the Haren trade.
  • Miguel Montero will begin a rehab assignment with AA today and could be back in action with the big club very soon.
  • Mike Baxter, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, has cleared waivers and been assigned to Iowa.

THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY

www.NationalPastime.com

1932 – Cubs GM Bill Veeck, Sr. announces Charlie Grimm will take over for Rogers Hornsby, who was fired today as the skipper of the second-place club. The popular ‘Jolly Cholly’, who inherits the job in part due in part to his predecessor’s indebtness to his players to cover gambling debts, starts by winning 20 of 25 games as the team’s player manager, will lead the team to National League pennant this season.

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Trade Deadline Open Thread

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Rather than writing about “news”, which is nothing more than rumors about what could and probably won’t happen, let’s use this post to talk about the deadline today which is at 4pm EDT.

While you do that, enjoy this photo of Cap’n Obvious.

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5 Things a Cub Fans Needs To Know on July 26th

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Hamels Threw A No Hitter

My guess is that if you didn’t already know this one happened and you came here to find out the things you should know for today, you probably are a very fringe fan. That’s OK, we welcome you anyway, but try to pay better attention. Yesterday Cole Hamels, who has been on the trade block since 1987, or so it seems, got the chance to pitch right in front of the Cubs brass in an attempt to woo them and took full advantage of them by throwing a pretty dominant no hitter, the first against the Cubs since September 9, 1965. It was as if the Phillies dressed Cole up all sexy in a skimpy outfit and told him to go out there and do a striptease for Jed and Theo and get them to give their money and prospects for his services. I’m not sure if it worked, but you can bet that his price tag just inflated a little bit.

The sad thing about the game is that I “missed it”. I use quotes because this time it was my fault. I had an appointment with a client at 5p EDT so I had plans to come back and watch the archived game and stay away from the score and news so I could watch it as if it had just started. I fired it up at 8 and had fallen asleep by 8:45p. When I woke up, the game was over and my iPad was off. I’ve mentioned on here before that I have a no hitter streak of my own that has been going now since I was born. I’ve never seen a no hitter from start to finish without already knowing it was going to happen. Sure, I’ve turned to watch in the 7th or 8th innings before and have watched archived great games, but I’ve never seen one live. I’ve now had three chances and missed them all. It’s a shame.

Also, if you’re into the whole cardboard pizza thing, because Hamels threw a no hitter (aka – a Dominono), the first 20,000 MLB.com accounts can win a free pizza. Check it out here.

Trade Winds Are Blowing

We’re quickly approaching the July 31st non-waiver deadline and things are starting to blow pretty strong. Ken Rosenthal mentioned yesterday that the Royals were this close to acquiring the services of Johnny Cueto, but that something fell through with the medicals of one of the players the Reds were receiving in return and the deal was shelved. The Cubs continue to be linked to Hamels, but you have to wonder if the start yesterday causes Theo and Jed to be priced out of the market there, considering they don’t have to make a move. The Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, and Giants have also expressed interest and even the Astros have kicked the tires. Personally, I think I would stay away from Hamels unless the prices was right. I’m not overpaying for him unless I think we can win this year and I’m not sure that’s the case.

The Cubs have also been linked to Jonathan Papelbon and I think there is a real chance he could be coming here. He’s not happy with the Phillies and wants out. He was seen talking to the Cubs brass before the game yesterday and obviously has a history with the Red Sox, which makes him the type of player Theo and Jed like to acquire.

We’re # 3

It’s been getting closer and closing since the All Star Break and this weekend  we dropped out of the last wild card spot. Currently we’re number three in the wild card standings, a game and a half behind the Giants and four and a half behind the Pirates. If this team is going to get to the one game playoff, they are going to need to start playing better against teams they need to beat. The Cubs have a soft schedule down the stretch, but it doesn’t really matter when you can’t beat the bad teams. When you play down to the competition, you don’t deserve to be in the runnings. I am beginning to fear that this team is not ready to be there this year. Look at the run differential in the NL for the teams currently in playoff spots. Washington (+32), St. Louis (+108), Los Angeles (+61), Pittsburgh (+50), and San Francisco (+49). Then there is the Cubs sitting at +7. We’re not in the same league. If we’re going somewhere, that has to change and change quickly.

We Need Offense

This team can’t score runs consistently. It’s not just the fact that we faced Hamels yesterday. It’s an offense that has struggled to be consistent all year long. Kris Bryant wants to swing at any pitch low in the zone and rarely makes any kind of contact on them. Starlin Castro can’t seem to hit at all. Jorge Soler hasn’t been the offensive force I was counting on, and Dexter Fowler, while playing better of late, has been an offensive disappointment. The one guy that is hitting, Kyle Schwarber, has been on the bench both games of the series against the Phillies because God forbid a star pitcher has to throw to a rookie catcher. When offense is your problem, fix it. Schwarber needs to be in the lineup.

At this point, I think you need to look seriously at moving Castro, shifting Russell to SS and calling up Javier Baez as soon as he’s ready. We need runs.

Closer By Committee To Continue

I got a text from a friend of mine who plays fantasy baseball and he asked me who I felt was going to be the closer for the Cubs down the stretch and I didn’t know what to tell him. There doesn’t appear to be a front runner and Joe Maddon has said that the committee approach will continue. I’m fine with that. It gives guys a chance to just shine when they get the call. If I had to guess, I think Jason Motte has the edge right now, but anything can happen.


THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY

www.NationalPastime.com

1951 – In a 9-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Jim Russell becomes the first player in major league history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a game in two different games. The Dodger outfielder’s accomplishment will be surpassed in 1956 when Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle goes deep both right and left-handed in the same game for a third time.

1975 – At Wrigley Field, Bill Madlock collects six hits in a game when he singles five times and triples in the Cubs’ 9-8 ten-inning loss to New York. ‘Mad Dog’, finishing with a .354 average, will win the first of his four batting titles (1975, ’76, ’81, ’83) this season.

2013 – The Cubs trade Alfonso Soriano, along with cash, to the Yankees in exchange for minor-leaguer Corey Black, a 21 year-old right-handed pitching prospect. The 37 year-old Dominican left fielder made his major league debut with the Bronx Bombers in 1999, developing into an All-star second baseman, before being traded to Texas four seasons later as part of a blockbuster deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York.

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MLB teams to watch after the break

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

The annual Mid-Summer Classic has major league clubs on hiatus until Friday. The All-Star break is not only a window for players and managers to get some much-needed down time but also a perfect opportunity for clubs to plan ahead for the second half of the schedule.

Here are a couple clubs and their mlb baseball lines who pushed hard before the break and can continue to ride that momentum when action on the diamond picks up again this weekend:

Pittsburgh Pirates (53-35, +10.90 units)

The Pirates were left in the Cardinals’ dust earlier in the year but came on strong with a 10-2 record so far in July, including heading into the break on a massive win over St. Louis on Sunday Night Baseball. The Bucs offense was lacking for the first half of the schedule but the bats stepped up this month, scoring 17 total runs in the three wins over the Cardinals last week.

Pitching is Pittsburgh’s strength but the staff has some aging arms on the roster. Could age catch up with the likes of A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano after the break? Baseball bettors could get their answer with the Pirates opening a six-game road trip in Milwaukee and Kansas City after the break.

Oakland Athletics (41-50, -17.15 units)

The A’s have been one of the worst bets in baseball entering the break, thanks in large part to their hot-and-cold offense and a bullpen that has blown 12 saves and boasts an ugly 4.32 ERA. But we’ve seen this club make second-half pushes year after year. Oakland is 120-90 after the break over the last three seasons, even after going just 29-38 in 2014.

The A’s starting pitching has been solid so far, posting a collective 3.01 ERA – second lowest in the majors. All they need is some stability from the bullpen and a couple extra runs here and there to turn the page. Oakland actually has a plus-44 run differential – seventh best in the bigs – but still sits below .500. The Athletics started to show some life before the break, winning two in a row, and play 17 of their next 22 games at home after the break.

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5 Things A Cub Fans Needs to Know for July 22

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

The Schwarber Game

There are games that will stand out in your memory from a season or a decade or a lifetime. Last night we saw one of them as Kyle Schwarber put the team on his broad shoulders and carried them to a victory. It was very reminiscent of the Ryne Sandberg game, and if you’re a Cub fan, you don’t need me to explain what I mean when I say the Sandberg game. Schwarber hit a game tying moon shot in the 9th inning with two strikes on himself after fouling off some pitches, and then won it with a homer in extras. You guys joke and poke fun at me for saying his bat is special, but I’m telling you, it is. He doesn’t bring a lot behind the plate, but that dude can hit. Anyone looking at him and not seeing a part of the core for this team going forward is crazy.

Boo Boo Healed?

Jason Hammel made his first start since leaving early right before the All Star break with tightness in his left hamstring. He pitched 97 pitches and didn’t appeal to be in any pain or discomfort. While he wasn’t able to get past the 5th inning, it’s encouraging to see that the injury appears to be very minor and healed with rest. His next start will probably come Sunday against the Phillies.

No More Pressure Situations For You

If you just look at the box score and nothing else, you’ll think that Travis Wood was the issue out of the pen last night. While that is technically true since he was credited with giving up the runs that allowed the Reds to take a 4-2 lead, it was really Pedro Strop. Coming into the game with one out and runners on 1st and 3rd, Strop allowed Joey Votto to steal 2nd and then promptly gave up a single. It all happened so fast. At this point, I think you have to start looking elsewhere for relief when it comes to guys on base and a jam that needs wiggling out of. Strop is not getting the job done. I can barely trust him to come in and pitch an inning without runners on. To ask him to come into a situation like last night is like asking for the impossible right now. He needs to get some confidence in his stuff in low leverage situations for a while. Send him to the dog house.

What’s On Tap

It’s a double header today, starting at 12:35p EDT, so by the time you are reading this, the game may have already started. Kyle Hendricks will take the bump against potential trade candidate, Mike Leake in game one and then Dallas Beeler, who will be the 26th man, will face off against Tony Cingrani in the night game. Watch for Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coghlin in game one as they’ve had good success against Leake.

More Injury Updates

Miguel Montero received good news on his thumb. He only sprained his left digit, which means he should be able to return sooner than the original timetable. He is scheduled to rest for the next two weeks before being re-evaluated by the Cubs to determine what the best course of action is. If Schwarber continues to rake, there isn’t much need to rush him back.

Javier Baez should also be returning to action this week in the minors. If he can come out of the gate hot, you may see more teams inquire about him as part of a package deal before the deadline. If not, you have to wonder if the Cubs would look to sit Starlin Castro for a bit, move Addison Russell to short and promote Baez to play 2B. I’m a Castro guy, but I’m losing faith rapidly.


THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY

www.NationalPastime.com

2012Ron Santo, who died at the end of 2010 disappointed about not being selected for Cooperstown, is inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. In tribute of the team’s former third baseman and beloved broadcaster, the Cubs click their heels as they jumped over the third-base line to begin the bottom of the first inning during their game in St. Louis, invoking the memory of the Chicago infielder’s signature move after a victory.

2013 – The Rangers trade three prospects, third baseman Mike Olt, pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm, to the Cubs for Matt Garza, a player the team has attempted to land for the past two seasons. The deal also includes the Cubs receiving a player to be named later, Neil Ramirez.

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5 Things a Cub Fan Needs to Know for July 20

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Cubs Take The Series Against Atlanta

After losing game one of the series, the first game out of the All Star Break, I was a little discouraged, but our two top of the rotation pitchers brought their best in games 2 and 3 and flat out dominated. It was good to see a series win right out of the gate. Yesterday, while the offense wasn’t dominant again, it did get the job done. I’d like to see five runs a game, but I’ll take four. Jorge Soler hit a home run, which was remarkably only his 5th of the season. I really felt like he’d be a 25-30 home run bat this season, but apparently this will be a learning year for him. Jake Arrieta did his usual Arrieta things and even Pedro Strop tossed a blemish free inning. Very encouraging series as we head to Cincinnati.

Goodbye E-Jax and Hello Soriano

After the game yesterday, it broke on Twitter that the Cubs had designated Edwin Jackson for assignment and promoted Rafael Soriano to the big league bullpen. Soriano was signed recently to a minor league deal with big league incentives. The contract immediately goes to $4.1 million in big league money with another $4 million in incentives. He will be with the team in Cincinnati. To be honest, we knew this move was coming soon, we just didn’t know who the unlucky guy in the pen who would lose their spot would be. The Cubs gave Soriano a clause in his contract to allow him to opt out if not promoted to the Majors by July 15th, so the time was ticking as he had already passed that date.

For Jackson, it was an experiment that failed. The Theo and Jed regime have had very few swings and misses, but this was one of them. For the most part, the have been able to hit on pitchers they signed and do very well with them. After losing out on Anibal Sanchez that off-season, I think they panicked just a little and made a rash decision. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. This team wasn’t winning anything anyway in the time Jackson was here.

Since he was designated for assignment, the Cubs now have 10 days to do something with him. They can work out a trade with another team, allow him to go for free if he’s claimed on waivers, or release him. Normally outrighting him to the minors would be an option, but Jackson won’t accept that. We will see. Perhaps he’s a piece in a deal with the Phillies for Jonathan Papelbon or Cole Hamels or both since the Phillies are willing to eat a portion of salaries. A compromise to that would be to take salary back.

It’s Schwarber Time in Cincy

Kyle Schwarber will get the bulk of the time behind the plate in Cincinnati. With Montero out, I’d love to see the Cubs keep David Ross on the roster and option Taylor Teagarden and start Schwarber full time. Let him learn under Ross and get his bat in the lineup. Just watching him at the plate, he’s special. We need that offense and I’m willing to sacrifice behind the plate to get it. I know this is a hot topic and many different opinions, but that’s mine. We need offense and Schwarber provides it.

Pitching Matchups for Cincinnati

Monday – Clayton Richard vs Michael Lorenzen

Tuesday – Jason Hammel vs Raisel Iglesias

Wednesday – Kyle Hendricks vs Mike Leake (Game 1) & TBD in Game 2. I would bet we see Dallas Beeler in that 2nd game

We No Longer Have Roach(es)

Donn Roach was claimed off of waivers by the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend and I wonder if we won’t potentially see him face Dallas Beeler on Wednesday in the second game of the series. At his age, there isn’t a reason to claim him if you’re not going to put him in the rotation and it could be a sign that the Reds are getting close to moving Johnny Cueto or Leake or both.

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5 Things A Cubs Fan Should Know For July 19th

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

I’m sure you figured it out, but just in case, I took the All Star break off from working on the blog and just relaxed from baseball once the home run derby was over. By the way, was that not the best home run derby in a long time? I enjoyed it a lot, but now we’re back and in full swing as Jared led us off yesterday with notes. Today it’s my turn to get you the things you need to now.

The Cubs Evened the Series at 1 Last Night

After losing game one on Friday with a grand total of 0 runs, my guess is that Jon Lester didn’t come into the game feeling very confident that he would get much support behind him at the plate. For the most part, he’d be right. The Cubs scratched out two runs through the first eight innings of the game thanks to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, who both had singles to drive home a run in the 3rd and 4th inning respectively. That was all Lester needed last night, though, as he took a no hitting into the 8th inning of play. For Lester, I felt while watching that that’s one of the best starts I’ve seen him turn in since coming to Chicago. A quick check at his game log for this year revealed that I was correct. Granted, I’m using game score, which is a semi-crude way to do it, but it does validate what I felt. His game score last night was an 80. His next highest score this season was 75, which was just two starts before against the Cardinals in a loss. I still trust Jake Arrieta, who goes today to try to get us the series win, more than I trust Lester, but I’m getting there.

Talks Might Be Heating Up on Hamels and the Cubs are Still in it

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports did a video blog yesterday afternoon and he mentioned that the Dodgers and the Cubs continue to speak with the Phillies about Cole Hamels. It’s hard not to get excited about that, but I go back and forth on if I feel like that would be the best course of action right now. It would, obviously, have to be determined by what the asking price would be for Hamels, but I’m not sure this core of kids is built to win this year. I think this is the learning year and next year is the window opening year. Right now guys like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler are still learning on the job. The counter to that is the fact that the Cubs haven’t done it in so long that you have to strike when you have the shot. My thinking is this: If the Cubs are still talking to the Phillies, it means they are past that awkward conversation in which the Phillies ask for a package of Bryant, Russell and Theo’s left testical. Since I don’t believe that the Cubs would even listen on Bryant or Russell (not sure on the testicle availability, but my sources are working on confirming there), the fact that the discussions are continuing is a good sign, right? That has to mean talks include guys like Javier Baez, C.J. Edwards, etc. If that’s the case, I’d probably make that deal.

In the end, I don’t see the Cubs bringing in a starter like Hamels this year when guys like David Price, Jordan Zimmerman, etc are on the market for cash in the off-season.

The Bullpen’s About To Get Real

Rafael Soriano pitched again in the minor leagues, striking out the side for the Iowa Cubs on Thursday and pitching another scoreless inning of relief yesterday. Since signing, Soriano has posted seven innings of work, striking out seven hitters and only allowing one unearned run. Joe Maddon indicated that Soriano could be up sooner than people expect, which implies to me that it may either be today or tomorrow, with my money being tomorrow in preparation for the series with the Reds. To that, add the rumors that Jonathan Papelbon is close to being dealt and that the Cubs are interested and you’ve potentially got two really good arms being added to the pen. Then, there was the news that Zac Rosscup is working on returning as well. I’m not sure where all these guys would fit it, but if I’m Edwin Jackson, Neil Ramirez, Travis Wood or James Russell, I’m on my best behavior when I get the call to come into a game.

Bryant Signed a Multi-Year Contract

If you missed the big news over the weekend, Kris Bryant signed a multi-year deal…with Fanatics…a memorabilia company. Sorry to be that guy this morning and pull the rug out from under you, but it had to be done. Good for Kris for getting some extra money as he has to wait to cash in on the field. His money is going to come, but I like the fact that he can make some now. According to Darren Rovell:

Bryant’s newly signed merchandise isn’t cheap. A signed authentic Cubs jersey is $600; a signed bat is $300; a signed cap is $250; and a signed ball is $200.

The Cubs Will Miss Cueto

With a four game set against the Reds next on the schedule, you would figure that the Cubs would have to see Johnny Cueto, but you’d be wrong. Cueto will take the mound today for the Reds in the series finale against the Indians, so the Cubs will get out of Cincy without having to face him. The Cubs have a pretty easy schedule down the stretch so anything to make it even easier is a welcomed relief. I’ll take it.

Baez is Close to Returning to Iowa

It’s been a long season for Javy, but word is that he’s getting close to returning from his rehab and playing in actual minor league action. I’d love to see him get in a groove for the last month and a half before the September call up time comes and then see him transition right into the Majors for good come September. His power at the plate would be a welcomed addition for an offense that has struggled a lot this year.

 

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5 Things a Cubs Fan Needs to Know for July 12

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Lester is Starting to Annoy Me

Down a game in the series to the crosstown rival and facing one 0f the best pitchers in baseball yesterday should have been the ingredients for a pitcher paid to be an ace to show up and dominate. Chris Sale showed up and did just that and Jon Lester did not. Sale is making $6 million this year and Lester is making $15 mil and scheduled to make $20 mil next year. I understand that his ERA is 3.59 and his FIP is even better at 3.14, but the fact is, when you’re paid to be an ace, you win like an ace. Lester has not done that.

He spoke after the game and had the message that the team needs to “figure it out”. At this point, I need Lester to figure it out. I need him to get a win.

Montero Has  a Boo Boo

Miguel Montero is having an MRI done on his left thumb after leaving the game early yesterday. He reportedly jammed the thumb in the 1st inning of play and left the game shortly after his at bat in the 2nd. Right now the Cubs have one day before the All Star break. You would rather not see Montero go on the DL for a jammed thumb, but if it turns out there is a fracture there, David Ross would be eligible to be recalled from the concussion DL to take his spot. Personally, if Montero goes to the DL, I call up Kyle Schwarber and let him start as many games behind the plate as possible until Montero returns. He could provide an offensive boost that this team is lacking. He’s not able to be called up today unless you want to have him switch his Futures Game plans, and I don’t see the Cubs doing that. My guess is that we could see a 24 man roster today for the last game and then have Montero have a few days to be re-evaluated.

Futures Game Tonight

If you’re into the prospects, both Schwarber and C.J. Edwards will be participating in the game tonight. I’ve often said that I think MLB should forgo scheduling any MLB teams on Sunday night baseball, which allows them to maximize their amount of rest for the break, and instead showcase the Future’s Game as Sunday Night Baseball. It’s obviously not done that way from a revenue standpoint as ESPN would not draw near as many ratings as possible, but MLB needs fans to know about future stars and needs guys to be recognizable. With nothing else going on, this would be a good time to do that. If you’re interested, you can watch the game today at 3p EDT on MLB Network, but I’d recommend watching the Cubs game instead. Jim Bowden also released an article with the participants most likely to be traded before July 31. Take it with a grain of salt as their is a reason why Bowden is no longer a GM.

Home Run Derby Pitchers

If you missed it, Anthony Rizzo announced that his pitcher for the home run derby tomorrow night is Franklin Font, who throws to Rizzo during Cubs batting practice. Kris Bryant is scheduled to take his dad yard in the contest. I don’t know if I’ve been this excited about the derby since I was in high school. I’m not sure if it’s because the Cubs have two representatives in it, or because of the format change, but I’m pretty excited to watch.

Down on the Farm

Junior Lake (remember him?) hit a pair of home runs for Iowa yesterday and is now hitting .305 / .396 / .454 for Iowa with 4 HR in 43 games. At some point, you would have to think he’s going to come up or be part of a trade package. Tsuyoshi Wada made another rehab start, going four innings and allowing two runs, only one of them earned, and sub-marine reliever, Ben Rowen pitched two scoreless innings of relief. That’s three scoreless relief outings since coming to Chicago and I’m a little intrigued.


THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY

www.NationalPastime.com

1910 – The legendary verse detailing the Cubs’ double play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance, entitled That Double Play Again, is published for the first time. When the ‘New York Evening Mail’ republishes the same poem six days later it will use the title by which it is best known today, Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.

1931 – After setting a major league record in the first game with nine doubles, the Cubs and Cardinals combined to hit another twenty-three two-baggers in the second game for an incredible total of thirty-two doubles in their doubleheader.

1992 – In the Braves’ 7-4 victory over Chicago at Wrigley Field, Jeff Blauser becomes the fourth shortstop to hit three home runs in a game‚ joining the ranks of Ernie Banks (Cubs, 1955)‚ Barry Larkin (Reds, 1991)‚ and Fred Patek (Angels, 1980). The Atlanta infielder had hit only 39 homers in the past six seasons.

1996 – In a scene reminiscent to yesteryear, the first basemen leave their mitt in the field between innings throughout Montreal’s 3-2 victory over the Cubs. The Expos’ first baseman David Segui is really sharing his glove with Chicago’s Mark Grace, whose equipment did not arrive at Olympic Stadium due to a shipping error.

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5 Things a Cubs Fan Needs To Know for July 10

Friday, July 10th, 2015

1. The White Sox Come To Town

I’m not sure this series holds as much luster as it used to, but I find myself excited about it nonetheless. Liz mentioned yesterday in GirlieView that normally around this time, she’s basically checked out for the year. I hate to admit that, but it’s the case for me as well. This year is different. It’s so fun to watch every game. Even Wednesday’s punch to the seeds late was a fun game to watch, and it continues with this weekend series against the Sox. Every game features something to be excited about on the mound, if nothing else.

In game one today, we get to see Uber-Propsect, Carlos Rodon pitch against a hot of late Kyle Hendricks. Rodon went to school not 30 minutes from my house, at NC State, and I never saw him pitch even once. Shame on me. Game two gives us one of the best pitchers in the game, Chris Sale against Jon Lester. I don’t feel good about that game. Then we get to see Jake Arrieta and his dreamy beard and devastating fastball in the finale.

2. Today’s Game Has a Weird Start Time

I’ve always been used to seeing games at Wrigley played at 2:20p EDT when they are during the day with the exception being on Saturdays to accommodate for the National audience. If you tune in at that time you’ll be dissappointed and have to wait. Today’s game doesn’t start till 4:05p EDT. I don’t like it, but what do I care, really? I’ll be watching tonight after the kids go to bed anyway.

3. The Home Run Derby is Starting to Garner Excitement

Well, at least it feels like it. With the changes to the format this year to a bracket style competition and the time limit, I think people that are about ready to bail on the event all together (like me) will be quite surprised this year. I’m pretty excited about watching Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo compete. I’m not one that feels it messes with a swing the rest of the year. Who are we kidding? Do we really think these guys don’t already try to play home run derby during batting practice? That said, ESPN did a piece with some stats to know as we get closer to the derby.

4. Jason McLeod Was Interviewed

If you’re not sure who he is, McLeod is the Cubs Senior Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting and is very important in this rebuild because he’s in charge of keeping the pipeline moving. He did an interview with the South Bend Cubs and it’s worth a listen. It’s 7.5 minutes and can be heard here.

5. Cubs Still Players For Eddy Julio Martinez?

The Cubs have been linked the the top Cuban FA on the international market since the signing period opened on July 2nd. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has more:

It’s uncertain when the 20-year-old Martinez, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com’s Top 30 International Prospects, will sign, but several teams remain in the competition to ink the prospect.

The Dodgers and Giants, the two teams that went head to head for outfielder Lucius Fox, ranked No. 3 on the international list, have each scheduled more private workouts for Martinez this week, and Los Angeles and San Francisco appear to be the front-runners. Fox signed with the Giants for $6 million on July 2 after being linked to the Dodgers for months.

The Cubs, White Sox, Rangers and Astros have each worked out Martinez privately at least twice.

Martinez could command at least a $10 million bonus, and his contract will send the team that signs him into the maximum penalty under the international signing guidelines — 100-percent tax on the bonus pool overage and the inability to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods — if it is not already there.

This is where the Dodgers, Giants and possibly the Cubs appear to have an advantage. (Source)

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