Soler Goes Deep Twice In Cubs Victory

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Now, I just want you nice folks to sit back and imagine what the score in last night’s game would have been if Anthony Rizzo was playing.

Jorge Soler dominated in the Cubs 7-2 victory over arch rivals the St. Louis Cardinals by banging two home runs, one of those beauties nearly left the park.

It’s always the sweetest when the Cubs beat up on the Cardinals. There’s an argument to be said that the Cubs are, “Playing For Pride” but what if they’re not? This is a team that has something to prove. From Manager Rick Renteria all the way to Arismendy Alcantara. It’s as if the Bad News Bears were on a payroll.

“We have a really tough schedule the rest of the way,” Jed Hoyer said. “I like it because watching our young guys play against callups from other teams or Triple-A guys, we wouldn’t feel we were learning anything. Now we’ll watch these guys almost every series against a contender and against teams going full bore. It’s going to be a full learning experience for the young guys.”

The Cubs in August are not your typical,” Fold up the concert chair and head home early” kind of show. Fans and team management have been waiting for this kind of team for a few years. This is Cubs season right now. Sure, it’s got me salivating for next season but watching guys like Javier Baez finding his stride at the plate and Jorge Soler demonstrating his power; well folks, this isn’t a barnstorming tour, these kids want to win it all. For the fans, it’s great to see them, but to the rookie players, this is their dream, the reason they’ve been working their tails off to swing at an Aroldis Chapman 102MPH heater. They want to win it all now. And Why Not?

Today, the Cubs will play a double header. Today, if the Cubs beat the Cardinals not only will the Cubs go up in the standings, but their confidence will go up. Today, if the Cubs beat the Cardinals; it’ll feel like they won the World Series.

Believe it.

—Mark

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Cubs Chalk It Up To Youthanism

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There’s an old saying that, “You can’t win em’ all” and nothing is more truer than yesterday’s loss to the Cincinnati Reds 7-2. Now, even though we’re all excited and I’m assuming every Cubs fan is as excited as I am in the direction the Cubs are taking, we have to  remember that most of these guys are just kids. Javier Baez’s miscue from Luis Valbuena was an example of this kind of youthanism.

It’s a bold statement to wish anything more than what these kids can do during the rest of the season. They’re learning the game and games like that one will be plenty.

“It wasn’t a clean game — I’m sure everybody is thinking the sky is falling, the wheels are coming off the wagon,” Renteria said. “I just want to make sure the players understand we’re still there for them and they have to keep playing the game.”

Let’s play Armchair Manager right now. If I were Renteria, I’d be telling the kids that there’s one month left in the season. Forget about the standings. Forget about the post season and playing spoiler to those contending teams, concentrate on each series and focus on the fundamentals. Learn the game all over again. pretend it’s sand lot ball.

Ok, that was a little much. Binge watching Friday Night Lights. Sorry about that.

Jake Arrieta had an off game throwing only 96 pitches. That’s all right as well. He’s been impressive to watch all season , so I can forgive him, but let’s look at it this way, the Reds are a dangerous team and although they’ve been struggling too, somehow they’ve got the Cubs number.

“The thing we’re going to try to concentrate on is give the pitcher some support by defending well, and making sure the little things we have to do in terms of the game are taken care of,” Renteria said. “The at-bats and the offense could come and go, and there could be hiccups. That’s to be expected.”

The Cubs are looking forward to tonight’s series against arch nemesis, St. Louis Cardinals. Kyle Hendricks gets the ball.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rise Of Soler

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All right, I promised myself I wouldn’t throw a pun in. Jorge Soler destroyed the ball in his first at bat. Welcome to the Show Jorge! Ladies and Germs, it was fantastic. In a 7-5 loss, the Cubs played really well. Folks, if you’re going to lose, this is the way to do it.

“I feel real proud about it,” Soler said. “All of my family was watching the game, especially my father here at the game. I feel real happy and proud that I did well today.”

There’s an old adage saying, “Goal scorers need to shoot the puck” and well, the same applies to baseball. Sluggers need to hit the damn thing and hit it far. Look at Javier Baez’s last at bat. He took Chapman deep and the look on Chapman’s face, well, he thought that ball was going into orbit but Billy Hamilton caught it at the wall. The fastest thrower versus the fastest swing. Crazy.

This is only the beginning for Soler and the Cubs. Here’s the scary part; at the start of the season, the Cubs were projected to be the “doormat” of the league but with a few key moves they’ve become something to be feared around the league. Sure, they’re a little green but suddenly, they’re getting run support. They’ve got solid pitching from Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada.

The Cubs are 59-73 heading into tonight’s game against the Reds. Arrieta gets the ball.

“I want to make every start that I have lined up throughout the end of September,” Arrieta said. “If something comes up, I guess that will be addressed. I’d love to stay in the mix and finish out on a high note.”

With that kind of competiveness, Chicago is the place to be.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo Blast Home Run Thirty

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All right, so I was wrong. Jorge Soler joins the club today. Did the Cubs need Soler last night? Nope. The Cubs have the best winning streak in the Majors with 4W’s in a row. Sure, it was a bit wet and Anthony Rizzo hit the thirty club sending a fan home with a souvenir but what about Travis Wood? He looked like the Wood of old. The only piece missing was a home run.

“He was attacking the strike zone, he was probably working the fringes more effectively this time, changing speeds, using the curveball today to get some swings and some early strikes,” Rick Renteria said. “He was pitching with some confidence today. I thought he had a real good feel for his pitches.”

The Cubs had a scare when Rizzo left the game in the eighth inning, but he’ll be playing tonight. Who wouldn’t want to be playing tonight in the debut of Cub’s prospect, Jorge Soler. I promise no puns.

“I think it’s pretty exciting for the whole organization,” manager Rick Renteria said. “A young man that’s been talked about quite a bit will be joining us tomorrow. Everybody’s pretty excited about it.”

So whether the Cubs, who are now 10 back of the wild card turn into the “Miracle team” of the year or just providing the kid with some practice, remains to be seen. There’s no denying that the Cubs are looking good. Although some cynics and I’m included aren’t too sure whether the team can finish at .500, for the first time in a long time, the Cubs are winning and there’s a feeling of hope in the dugout.

“I’m not surprised,” Rizzo said. “He’s been on a tear, he’s been doing everything you can do, and having an extra week, to having five weeks in the big leagues would be good — to have him up here and get him going and go into the offseason on a high note, or maybe he doesn’t do so well here, but going into the offseason knowing what to work on.”

Tonight, newly acquired pitcher Jacob Turner gets the start.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

Cubs Using Soler Power

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It’s an interesting situation in the late months of the baseball season. Although the Cubs are in theory, out of contention but does it mean that they should call up the young players with hopes of not making the post season?

Jorge Soler, the Cub’s next one is joining the team today against the Reds. Should we view this as a good thing or a not so good thing?

The Cubs are doing all right as it is. They’re on a three game winning streak and they’re a long shot at the Wild Card, but not so long at finishing with a .500 team. There is certainly a lot of chemistry going on with this team and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s on one hand, but on the other hand this is the Cubs we’re talking about. A team with the most exciting farm system out there right now. If anything, calling young Jorge Soler up for BP and joining Javier Baez in the rook department should be a treat and enhance the Cubs’ opportunity to finish with a .500 record.

Soler is coming off a three run homer with Iowa on Monday. He’s swinging the bat well and has a .373 Avg with Runners In Scoring Position.

But this isn’t Triple A anymore.

Things just got more interesting.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

 

 

 

Wada Feeling For Cubs Pitcher

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Well that was one for the ages, Cubs style! The Cubs swept the Baltimore Orioles to cap the series in a 2-1 victory with Tsuyoshi Wada on the verge of a No-No. If anyone left their seats, they were foolish. Let’s see, the Orioles are in first place and the Cubs swept them. Now, that’s incredible.

“I knew a no-hitter was going on, but I tried not to focus on it too much,” said Wada, through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “The pitch count was getting to me and fatigue was a factor as well.”

So how are the new kids doing? Well, the “Cubs Winning Ways” as outlined by fearless GM, Theo Epstein is in full motion. Through all the doubters of the plan, including myself at times, the Cubs are now clawing their way up the standings and heading into the off season with a little over a month away, on a winning note. Of course, things could turn the other way, but I know this fan is liking the transitions and transactions the club has made this year.

I have to admit though I was skeptical, especially when they sent down Mike Olt, but hey, it worked out, right?

No, yesterday’s victory was an important one for many reasons. The Cubs are 10 1/2 back of the wild card and fourteen games under .500

“In my mind, he was going to keep throwing until someone got a hit,” Renteria said. “He gave us a great outing.”

You guys are all probably sitting back reading this and thinking, “This guy is nuts if he thinks they can pull it off” which you would be justified in thinking that considering a very tough schedule to close out the season, but the Cubs just beat the freakin’ Orioles with the top of the rotation and Castro away on bereavement. It’s not impossible.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

 

The Kids Are All Right For The Cubs

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Javier Baez getting Home Runs has become old news, I’m afraid to admit. Yesterday, the Wonder Kid registered his first back to back home run game of his career after a long rain delay again. The Cubs went on to defeat the Orioles, 7-2.  Even though Kyle Hendricks, geez, that name sounds like a Nascar Driver didn’t get his quality start. at least the Cubs won and that, as we know, is the most important thing.

“They’re a good, solid aggressive bunch and they’re trying to establish themselves in their organization,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Their intensity level is always going to be good. They’ve got a lot of things to establish and prove, as we do.”

The fun doesn’t end there, because Logan Watkins has been joining in the fun since he’s been on the team gathering two hits and two RBI’s.

Even the grounds crew had an ovation. They’ve been working hard and have become the extra men on the team.

The Cubs have all but flat lined in their chances in making the post season, but consider if Javier Baez had played since the season opened. Would their chances have improved? It’s hard to say, but since the call up August 5th, the Cubs are 12-9 and the Wonder Kid has given fans a souvenir seven times. The numbers say it all.

Now, it may have been nice if Baez had played the season, but I think it was the wiser choice waiting. He still swings a lot more than he hits and the off season will be kind to him.

You know, if the numbers don’t lie, then the Cubs still can finish .500 on the season.

Believe it.

—Mark

 

Cubs Take First Game Against Soaring Orioles

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If Javier Baez decided that baseball wasn’t his thing and he switched careers to take up boxing, we all know he’d go down swinging, but man, he’d have a killer knockout punch. Yesterday, the Cubs clobbered the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 with Baez and Luis Valbuena hitting the ball hard and long. The Orioles are playoff bound so the win was all that more sweet. I was kind of hoping the Cubs would do the Toronto Blue Jays a favour but the Jays lost 8-0, and that’s a whole different train wreck all together.

Maybe the Cubs win was a result of Jake Arrieta out to prove his old Orioles something, or the Cubs are starting to be that good.

“There was a little more to it, being your former team,” Arrieta said. “After the first inning, it was just business as usual. It was nice to face those guys. It’s good to see a lot of them again — it’s been a while.”

Forget golf being a Gentlemen’s game, baseball is all class. If that was Arrieta’s way of being nice to former teammates, I’d hate to see him mean.

Then there was Baez’s out of the park rocket. if he can cool his swinging, there’d be more of those launching over the heads.

“You want to see every one of that kid’s at-bats,” Arrieta said of Baez. “It’s starting to get to the point, even though it’s so early in his career, that nothing surprises me with what he does at the plate. Everyone knows when he connects with that swing, he’ll hit it a long way. I don’t know if many of his home runs will touch the seats here, honestly.”

This is an important series for the Cubs. They have nothing to gain in the standings, but beating a first place club like the Orioles isn’t just a confidence booster, but more of an accomplishment and like that Gentlemen’s game, they’re playing against themselves. The season’s still got plenty of games left and let me tell you, I’m excited for the post season, but I’m all ready dreaming of next year.

My wife Mary Beth asked me recently, “Are the Cubs all you think about?”

“They day we were married, I won the World Series.”

Believe it,

—Mark

Cubs Fall Off Slippery Slope

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In probably one of the oddest games in memory, the Cubs held on to win Wednesday’s game on Thursday. What? you might be wondering. Long story short for those who are just tuning in, the Cubs game on Wednesday was rained out, the Cubs were awarded the victory but the San Francisco Giants appealed and rightfully so, because it ended early. So, they played the rest of the game yesterday before their regularly scheduled ball game. The Cubs won the shortened game 2-1

“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that we wanted to close it out, especially since everybody tried to do everything possible to get it in,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

We wouldn’t want you to lie, Rick.

Now, for the encore. The Cubs lost the second game by a score of 5-3. I have to say I like Justin Ruggiano. Even though he and Welington Castillo garnered home runs each, they still provide some much needed relief for Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Javier Baez. Like I said, this season is an audition for next year.

“Every ball they seemed to hit just seemed to go right down the line,” Travis Wood said. “They had a lot of doubles, and doubles score runs.”

Ah, so that’s the secret to success. Doubles Score Runs. So, what about those RISP’s ?

“Stranded RISP’s will never score runs.” Canuck Cubbie said.

Today’ll be a tough game against the Orioles. The Cubs need to win it for the Blue Jays. Yes, the Canuck Cubbie has a soft spot for the Blue Birds. Obvious reasons of course. Plus, Jake Arrieta has something to prove to the Orange Birds.

I’m excited for this one.

Believe it.

—Mark 

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Could This Be Jackson’s Last Stand For The Cubs?

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It’s hard to put a positive spin on the Cubs 8-3 loss to the Giants last night, especially when Edwin Jackson is on the mound. However someone can spin it, Edwin Jackson lost. They had the hits 11 to the Giants 14 but leaving those runners on base killed the Cubs chances. It wasn’t all Jackson’s fault, but if management doesn’t do something now with the struggling pitcher, their integrity will be in question going forward. Remember Jose Veras? The Cubs cut ties with him early and somewhere down the line, they’ll have to do the same with Jackson.

“No one wants to be moved, but if it happens, it happens,” Jackson said about a potential shift to the bullpen. “The only thing you can do if you don’t like it is go out and pitch your way out of jams. Like I said, you just have to relax and have fun and get back to having fun. And tonight was an example of absolutely not doing that.

Yes, but Edwin are you going to pitch your way out of a 52 million dollar jam? Those things stick to the rye bread in the breakfast of franchises and leave a mess long after the jam’s been consumed.

On a happier note, Chris Valaika crushed the leather from the rubber in his first dinger of the season and Luis Valbuena added one in the eighth.

I think it’s time Edwin goes to the bullpen. They can bring up Dan Straily and give him the practice he needs. Hey listen, I was a fan of Edwin Jackson, but it’s a business they’re running and the Cubs are on the verge of something special and don’t need a distraction like Jackson. He’s not a starter.

Believe it

—Mark