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
2012 – Ron 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.