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Organizational Recap: Kris Bryant Continues to Take No Prisoners

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Cubs 6 @ Dodgers 4 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

I’m back from the meetup in San Diego. A huge shout out to the guys that joined us and made it possible for me to go. I can’t say enough about the generosity of Cap’n Obvious, Doc Raker, Sherm, Al Berg and even Caps. They were so gracious and I had a lot of fun hanging with them. Let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Caps without a shirt. Another big thank you to Jared, as well, for filling it with a couple posts while I was gone. My plan had been to post on Friday, but I got in late Thursday night because my red eye flight Wednesday got cancelled. It is what it is and we move on.

Around the All Star game, I felt it may be a two man race for the NL MVP between Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. As we move closer to the end of the season, it’s clear that Kris Bryant will be the winner and I am starting to think it won’t even be close. I’m absolutely amazed at his development and the fact that he is doing bigger and better things at every level every year. I would encourage you, if you’re not already doing so, to step back and really admire the talent on this team. There is a chance that when it’s all said and done, we could be watching some of the greatest players in Cubs history and it begins with Bryant. He talked to Jesse Rogers after the game about his two home runs late to give the Cubs the win.

It’s getting harder and harder to justify putting Jason Heyward in the outfield at all. He has had an improved week this week, but that’s not saying much. I really want to believe that he is just having a down year and that it’s primarily due to the fact that he’s switched teams, but he just doesn’t look good at the plate, and as good as his defense is in right, it cannot make up for the lack of offense. Eventually you have to give someone else a shot. If it’s me, I stick Ben Zobrist out there in RF and play Javier Baez at 2B and then Jorge Soler in LF with Bryant at 3B. Heyward can fill in off the bench and defensively.

Mike Montgomery got the start and didn’t look bad, but didn’t look good. His numbers are a little deceiving as I felt like he got into more jams than he should have, but was able to minimize the damage and keep the Cubs in the game. I think we’ve been spoiled this year watching our starting pitchers. It’s ridiculous how good they have been, so watching someone like Montgomery pitch as the 5th guy seems bad, but in truth, the 5th starter is usually garbage in a rotation. I’m OK with Montgomery in that spot for now so we don’t have to rush John Lackey back.

Is it just me or does it seem the Aroldis Chapman has been a little more hittable of late. While we were in San Diego at the game, he seemed to be taking a few mph off his fastball and even the Dodgers hit him a little. Personally, I’m hoping for two blow outs this weekend so he can get some rest.


Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Lost 6 to 5

SP – Jordan Pries – 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K

3B – Jeimer Candelario – 3 for 3, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI

Pelicans [A+] Won 5 to 0

SP – Jeremy Null – 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K

DH – Ian Rice – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI

Cubs [A] Lost 2 to 0

SP – Jose Paulino – 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K

1B – P.J. Higgins – 1 for 3, 2B, BB

Emeralds [SS] Won 6 to 4

SP – Pedro Silverio – 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K

3B – Wladimir Galindo – 2 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI

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3AM Wake Up Call

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Cubs 5 @ Padres 1 (Box Score)

It’s 3am Eastern time and I’m awake. I’m getting ready to head to the airport to join Capn Obvious, Sherm, Raker, Caps and Al Berg at game 2 and 3 of the series, but I’m not looking forward to the flight. I didn’t get to sleep till after 11pm and then our smoke detector in the hall upstairs decided it was a good time to warn that the battery was low. It’s still doing a single chirp as I type this every 30 seconds. All that said, I did not see the game last night, but I found a good little summary on ESPN I wouldn’t mind commenting on.

Bryant, who hit a solo home run in the fifth inning Monday, leads the majors with 100 runs this season. The most recent Cubs third baseman with 100 runs in a season was Ryne Sandberg in 1982. It was Sandberg’s only full season at the position.

Monday’s hit was Bryant’s 32nd home run of the season, which is tied for the most in the National League (Nolan Arenado). Ron Santo is the only other Cubs third baseman in the past 100 years to hit at least 30 home runs and score 100 runs in a season.

I guess I never realized that Sandberg played third. I really started my Cubs fandom in 1989, when I was 11, so I didn’t get to really see that part of his career and I guess I never truly got to appreciate his career. I go back and forth about who should win the MVP and who will have a better career, Bryant or Anthony Rizzo, but tonight I’ll say Bryant.

Russell opened the scoring Monday with his fourth home run in his past four games, a solo shot in the second inning. It marked the third time this season that Russell has homered in consecutive games. He didn’t do that once last season.

Russell is now the third shortstop in Cubs’ history with 80 RBIs in a season (since RBIs became official in 1920). Ernie Banks accomplished the feat seven times, and Roy Smalley did it once.

As crazy good as Russell has been so far, it’s even crazier to think of how young he is and how high his ceiling still is…as a shortstop.

Lester pitched six strong innings and allowed one run and five hits with eight strikeouts. He has not lost since July 3 and is 5-0 in eight starts over that stretch.

At 14-4 on the season, Lester has posted the best record of his career through 25 starts.

He was a little unhappy after the game that Maddon pulled him, but you have to stay fresh for the playoffs. There is no reason to be a hero at this point.


Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Won 7 to 2

SP – Stephen Fife – 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K

C – Tim Federowicz – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI

Smokies [AA] Won 10 to 7

SP – Tyler Skulina – 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K

CF – Lane Adams – 3 for 5, 2 2B, 2 RBI

Cubs [A] Won 8 to 2

SP – Duane Underwood Jr – 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

RF – Eddy Martinez – 2 for 5, 3 R, RBI

Emeralds [SS] Won 1 to 0

SP – Tyson Miller – 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K

LF – Chris Pieters – 2 for 4

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August 22 – This Day in Cubs History

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

1882 – Al Carson is born

1893 – Oscar Fuhr is born

1930 – Frank Ernaga is born

1930 – Bob Speake is born

1930 – The Chicago Cubs traded a player to be named later and Mal Moss to Minneapolis (American Association) for High Pockets Kelly. The Chicago Cubs sent Chick Tolson (August 22, 1930) to Minneapolis (American Association) to complete the trade.

1933 – Bill Veeck suggests the idea of a mid-summer series of inter league games and proposes a split-season schedule format. Although the Cub president’s concept of games between two circuits receives some support, Senator owner Clark Griffith opposes the proposal, calling the American League a major league not in need of grandiose schemes he deemed as “Hippodrome stuff”.

1937 – The Philadelphia Phillies purchased Bob Allen from the Chicago Cubs.

1943 – Jose Arcia is born

1950 – Ray Burris is born

1960 – The Chicago Cubs signed Lou Brock as an amateur free agent.

1961 – The Chicago Cubs signed John Felske as an amateur free agent.

1963 – Darrin Jackson is born

1968 – Gary Scott is born

1982 – The Cubs pay tribute to Ernie Banks when the team retires the outfielder’s uniform number (14) that he wore for 19 seasons. The Hall of Famer, who retired in 1971, is the first player in the 106-year history of the franchise to be honored in this manner.

2002 – The Chicago Cubs traded Tom Gordon to the Houston Astros for players to be named later and Russ Rohlicek (minors). The Houston Astros sent Travis Anderson (minors) (September 11, 2002) and Mike Nannini (minors) (September 11, 2002) to the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade.

2003 – The Colorado Rockies purchased Tom Evans from the Chicago Cubs.

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August 21 – This Day in Cubs History

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Notes from National Pastime

1881 – With his team already ahead in the eighth inning, 5-0, White Stockings (Cubs) outfielder Abner Dalrymple becomes the first player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. The run-producing free pass is given up by Buffalo Bisons’ right-hander Jack Lynch in an eventual 11-2 Chicago victory.

1935 – At Braves Field, Cardinals’ first baseman Ripper Collins does not make a putout during the 13-3 nine-inning loss to Boston. The St. Louis infielder, who will also not make a putout playing first for the Cubs in a game against Brooklyn in 1937, is the only player to have accomplished the very rare feat twice in the major leagues.

1975 – The Reuschel brothers of the Cubs join forces to blank the Dodgers, 6-0. Rick goes 6 1-3 innings and Paul finishes the game for the first shutout thrown by siblings.

1999 – Joining Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., and Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa becomes the fourth player to hit 50 home runs in consecutive seasons. The Cubs right fielder, who hit 66 dingers last season, blasts his major league leading 50th and 51st home runs in an 8-6 victory over the Rockies at Wrigley Field.

Birthdays

1875 – Frank Isbell

1882 – Johnny Bates

1905 – Jim Mosolf

1920 – Whitey Platt

1924 – Vern Fear

1965 – Jim Bullinger

1968 – Tuffy Rhodes

1973 – Ismael Valdez

1978 – Jason Marquis

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An Easy Win

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Brewers 1 @ Cubs 6 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

I like games like last night. You can watch and kind of half way pay attention while you’re working on other things. For me, that meant working on actual work stuff while I watched the Cubs jump out to an early five run lead and never look back. The Brewers just aren’t really a good baseball team and the Cubs are really hot right now. It makes for a pretty easy series.

    • Both Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler contributed to the party. Heyward’s double was meaningless in the big picture, but a double is a double and it’s all about baby steps. To be honest, I could care less about if he hits the rest of this regular season. It’s all about what we do in the playoffs and that’s anyone’s guess. We could see Heyward catch fire and put the offense on his back (Note: not likely). For now, a double on the night does me fine. It was Soler’s bomb that gives you a little tingle in down deep in your loins.
  • Tommy La Stella reported to AA Tennessee yesterday (He was 1 for 1 before getting hit in the foot by a pitch, and leaving in the 5th inning., ending his long hold out. I don’t know what the answer is for La Stella. I can imagine that it will be awkward if/when the Cubs bring him up in a week or so when rosters expand. The Cubs could certainly use his left-handed bat off the bench, especially come playoff time, but I have to imagine that a lot of the players feel let down that he would just quit on them. My hope is that he goes down, kills it in AA and is a good soldier. I really want him on this playoff roster. I love the combo of La Stella and Matt Szczur off the bench. We’ll see how this plays out.

Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Won 8 to 7

SP – Stephen Fife – 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K

3B – Jeimer Candelario – 2 for 4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI

Smokies [AA] Lost 5 to 1

SP – Tyler Skulina – 5.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 B, 3 K

RF – Ian Happ – 3 for 3, BB, R

Pelicans [A+] Won 6 to 5

SP – Preston Morrison – 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K

LF – Charcer Burks – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 R

Cubs [A] Lost 8 to 5

SP – Oscar De La Cruz – 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 4 K

3B – Matt Rose – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI

Emeralds [SS] Won 3 to 2

SP – Dylan Cease – 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K

RF – Kevonte Mitchell – 2 for 4, 2B

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