Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Cubs End the Trip Poorly

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Cubs 0 @ Dodgers 1 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

The Cubs road trip is over and they come home to their fans and drop a 5-4 result at their doorstep. Personally, against the teams we were playing, I wanted to see more. Sweeping the Padres was good, but expected. As we sat in the stands watching those games, none of us had any idea who half the guys being announced for the Padres were. You should sweep a team like that, but to lose both series to the Rockies and the Dodgers is unacceptable.

We now have a tough week with the Pirates, a team you know would love to come into Wrigley Field and secure a sweep and stay in this race, and then the Giants come to town. Personally, I think this team will rise to the occasion and play really good baseball, but sometimes guys can get complacent when they have little to worry about. The good this is that we’ll have some reinforcements starting on game one of the Giants series. I’m looking for four wins this week.

Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Lost 7 to 2

SP – Stephen Fife – 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 0 K

C – Tim Federowicz – 1 for 4, 2B, RBI

Smokies [AA] Won 11 to 5

SP – Jen-Ho Tseng – 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K

RF – Lane Adams – 3 for 3, 4 RBI, 2 SB

Pelicans [A+] Won 8 to 7

SP – Erick Leal – 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K

C – Erick Castillo – 3 for 5, R

Cubs [A] Lost 2 to 0

SP – Duane Underwood – 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K

DH – P.J. Higgins – 1 for 1, 3 BB

Emeralds [SS] Won 6 to 5

SP – Erling Moreno – 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K

RF – Jose Gonzalez – 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

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

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Organization Update: August 25

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

It’s a good day to be a Cubs fan. It’s a good time to be a Cubs fan. I don’t think there’s a time in Cubs history when they have been this strong as an organization, from top to bottom. This is a special thing we’re watching unfold, and my hope is that we can relax enough to enjoy and appreciate it. I know it’s a Cubs fan instinct to grit our teeth and brace ourselves for the letdown, but I think it’s time to trust this team. They’re as good as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.

As for the farm teams, it was a good day for most of them as well, with two of them winning in extra innings.

MLB: Cubs 6, Padres 3

A sweep in San Diego made all the sweeter by the fact that the VFTB crew was in attendance. The Cubs never trailed in this series, and truly took all three games with relative ease.

The Cubs opened the game with a series of extra base hits to ultimately push across three runs in the 1st inning. They capitalized on the sloppy San Diego defense in the 6th to score two more, and then Willson Contreras homered in the 7th just for good measure. Lest the Padres think they had a chance, even as they got within a run in the 3rd, Kyle Hendricks and the offense never allowed them to make anything substantial of it.

Hendricks wobbled a bit in the 2nd and 3rd innings, but ultimately assembled another masterpiece at the mound, this time going 6 innings and striking out 8 while giving up just the two runs.

It’s an off day today, and the Cubs are taking a bus to Los Angeles for their series against the Dodgers that starts tomorrow night.

(Full box score here)

AAA: Off day

The Iowa Cubs had the day off today, and they’ll start a four game series against Omaha tomorrow at Principal Park in Des Moines.

AA: Tennessee 6, Jackson 5

Michael Wagner pitched  solid 6.1 innings for the Smokies last night. He struck out 4 and gave up 2 earned runs and one scored on an error.

Reliever R.J. Alvarez struggled a bit and gave the Generals a chance. Alvarez allowed 2 runs to score in his inning and a third of work.

At the plate, the Smokies pummeled Jackson’s starter, Bryan Evans, for 4 runs, three of which came in the 3rd inning. Lane Adams blasted a 3 run homer in the 3rd, and the Smokies also got RBI from Chesny Young, Kelly Dugan, and Daniel Lockhart.

(Full box score here)

High-A: Myrtle Beach 2, Carolina 1 (10)

It took an extra inning, but the Pelicans scored a run in the top of the 10th after a 1-1 stalemate that had lasted four innings. David Bote and Andrew Ely both collected two hits and drove in the two runs for Myrtle Beach, and Preston Morrison put together a solid start on the mound. Morrison threw 5 innings and struck out 5 while giving up just 1 run. He did give up 6 hits, but scattered them enough that Carolina had little real scoring opportunity.

The Pelicans face Carolina for the final game of this series tonight before heading on to Wilmington for the weekend.

This win also means that they have secured a spot in the playoffs for the second year in a row.

(Full box score here)

A: South Bend 11, West Michigan 10 (10)

Another extra innings victory. South Bend benefited mightily from the work of Eloy Jimenez at the plate again, not just for his three run home run, but a lead off double in the 10th inning was the catalyst for them to eventually score the winning run.

Nearly everyone in the lineup got hits for South Bend, and it was a walk off single from Adonis Paula that made the difference.

The Cubs also had a home run from Matt Rose, his 12th of the season, and he was 3 for 5 on the night with a double in the 10th inning as well.

(Full box score here)

Low-A: Eugene 0, Everett 1

The Emeralds got blanked last night, and only managed one hit against the Everett pitching staff. Their lone hit came on a single from first baseman Trent Giambrone.

To the pitching staff’s credit, they only allowed one run and did not give up an extra base hits. Starter Manuel Rondon went 3.2 innings and gave up the only run of the night. The reliever corps shut things down from there, but the one run damage done in the 4th inning proved to be sufficient.

(Full box score here)

Well, it’s been a joy making even a brief return to VFTB. I really would not be doing what I am now if not for Joe giving me a shot and then letting me learn as I went during my time contributing to this site. Thank you to all of you, too, for being patient with some of my writing along the way. I know I didn’t hit the mark every time, but I appreciated the chance to grow as a writer here. If you’re interested, you can find me on Cubs Den and BP Wrigleyville, and I even got a piece published on the Baseball Prospectus main site (here it is, if you’re interested. ‘Twas fun to write.) Farewell for now. I’m sure I’ll pop in again sometime.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Organization Update: August 24

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

It’s been a while. Some of you who have been around VFTB for a while will remember when I contributed here, and though I have since moved on to write for a couple of other sites, this is where it started. Joe asked me a couple of weeks ago about filling in while he’s in San Diego, and I’ll do my best in his absence.

MLB: Cubs 5, Padres 3

The Cubs took the second game of this three game series in San Diego, and again relatively easily. I saw the first few innings and then was off to bed, but I was up long enough to at least see Addison Russell‘s home run. His power surge of late has been something to watch, and if not for a horrible first inning on Sunday, we might be crediting these Russell bombs for three wins in a row. Kris Bryant started the scoring with a home run of his own, his 33rd on the season, and the fan celebration was perhaps as epic as the blast.

On the mound, Jake Arrieta tossed a gem, even after looking a little wobbly in the first couple of innings, especially the very first few at bats. He also tripled because, well, he’s just a freak of nature. He threw 8 scoreless innings and gave up just 2 hits while striking out 6. It was only after the bullpen took the game that the Padres scored, putting up all 3 of their runs against Felix Pena, who unfortunately turned it into a save situation and necessitated the use of Aroldis Chapman. For his part, he walked walked a couple, but got through the needed 2 outs to finish the game.

(Full box score here)

AAA: Iowa 3, Memphis 2

The Iowa Cubs beat the Cardinals affiliate at Principal Park in Des Moines yesterday. The scoring started on a 4th inning solo shot from second baseman Stephen Bruno, and though the Red Birds would put up 2 runs in the top of the 5th, the Cubs chipped away with another run in the bottom of the 5th to tie the game, and then one more in the bottom of the 8th to ultimately win.

Tommy La Stella, after a brief showing in Double-A Tennessee, has been in Iowa for a few days now, and yesterday he added two hits, including a double, and scored a run. Barring injury to someone at the major league level, he will likely stay there until rosters expand on September 1.

Here’s a full game story on yesterday’s win. The Iowa Cubs are off today and will host the Omaha Storm Chasers beginning on Thursday night.

(Full box score here)

AA: Tennessee 4, Jackson 2 (Game 1) – Tennessee 11, Jackson 5 (Game 2)

The Smokies took both games of their doubleheader in Jackson, Tennessee yesterday. In game one, Jen-Ho Tseng threw 6 innings and gave up the 2 runs on a pair of homers, but his offense put together 4 runs of their own, largely through home runs from right fielder Kelly Dugan, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, and first baseman Ben Carhart, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI as well.

(Full box score here)

Game two was an explosion on offense from the Smokies, who had tallied 6 runs by the end of the third inning. Starling Peralta struggled in his start, giving up all 5 runs in 3 innings, but Juan Paniagua pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief. On offense, Dugan and Carhart both homered again.

(Full box score here)

High-A: Myrtle Beach 7, Carolina 0

After having Monday off following a series against Lynchburgh, the Pelicans added to their win total as they have built a record that rivals the Cubs. Going into today’s game they are 72-55. Yesterday, Trevor Clifton mowed down 10 batters while walking just 2 and giving up 3 hits across 6.2 innings.

At the plate, every batter other than catcher Tyler Pearson got a hit, and third baseman David Bote went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles.

(Full box score here)

A: South Bend 5, West Michigan 6

The Cubs dropped the second game of their series against the Whitecaps yesterday, largely because of the struggles of starting pitcher Sandy Baez. He was able to go 5.2 innings, but gave up 11 hits and 5 runs.

On offense, Eloy Jimenez went 1 for 5 with a home run, his 13th for South Bend this season. If this is a name not yet on your radar, be sure to remedy that. Jimenez wowed a lot of people in the Future’s Game last month with a towering home run at Petco and an equally impressive catch in right field.

(Full box score here)

Low-A: Eugene 1, Everett 3

The Emeralds lost a close one yesterday, but they are still cruising at a 46-18 clip this season. Dylan Cease threw just 4 innings last night, but struck out 7 and gave up just 1 run on 4 hits. He’s one of the better pitching prospects in the system, and can regularly touch the upper 90s with his fastball.

The offense was quiet, striking out a collective 10 times. They had just one extra base hit yesterday, a double from Jose Paniagua. They’ll face off against Everett again tonight.

(Full box score here)

That’s it for today. I’ll be filling in again tomorrow, so look for another organization update in the morning.


Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

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

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: