Cubs Take Batting Practice Against Reds

Chicago Cubs

It took a rain delay of over two hours before the Chicago Cubs got down to business against the Cincinnati Reds. They didn’t disappoint by beating the Reds 4-1.

Dan Haren got the start in what very well could be his last Major League outing(unless of course, those wily Cubs go farther in the post season)

“I’m confident I can get the job done. That said, it’s just been a pleasure being around the guys. I’ll be there with them in the dugout regardless. When my name’s called, I’ll be ready for sure.”Haren said.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of discussion about Manager of The Year. Should Joe Maddon be a lock for the award? There’s been some really good things in baseball. In the American League, AJ Hinch of Houston Astros and John Gibbons in Toronto have done outstanding jobs. In the National League along with Maddon is Terry Collins of the New York Mets and ugh, Clint Hurdle from the Pittsburgh Pirates

So, who is it going to be? Of course I’m going to make my case for Maddon. He’s been a huge part of the on field success of the Chicago Cubs, but it’s his attitude off of the field that matters to the club. He walks around like there’s no reason to have a curse or perhaps the fear of a drought hanging over his head. No pressure. He keeps things loose and brings back the fun in baseball.

“I do vibrate on a different frequency, man,” Maddon said. “I’m not worried about that stuff. I don’t understand those kinds of concepts. So, really, for me, it’s a moot point.”

And there’s the De Facto. There’s no curse, there’s no superstition and there’s no reason to not believe the Cubs have a chance to win the World Series. It doesn’t matter who the Cubs will face in the Wild Card game. They have to face someone. What makes this team so special is that I could name all the players who’ve contributed to this memorable season but it’s been a team effort in every sense of the word.  I’m not one of those fans who say,”I’m just happy they’re in the playoffs”

No.

I want them to win the whole thing. I knew they’d be good, you faithful readers(believe me, I think it’s awesome that you still read my blog) believed the Cubs would do it.

They’re not the “2014 Kansas City Royals” underdogs. They’re the 2015 Chicago Cubs and they bite.

Believe it.

Chris Denorfia Gives Fans and Cubs Reason To Believe

Chicago Cubs

Last home game of the season?

The past few days have seen some interesting milestones in an awesome 2015 year for the Chicago Cubs. First, Jake Arrieta gains his 21 win of the season and belts a home run plus almost adds another one–in one game.

Last night, the Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals in a make up game at Wrigley Field 1-0 in the 11th inning. Who got a walk off home run?

Chris Denorfia. Great things come in the strangest places.

“This is what we play for,” Denorfia said. “I’ve had the opportunity to do that one other time in my career and it’s just the best feeling. I can’t describe it. I feel like a little kid at 35 years old, running around the bases, knowing what just happened and what’s waiting for you at home plate, it’s really something special.”

The entire year is something special, Chris.

All right, so I’ve resigned myself to the Cubs not catching the Pirates. I mean, it could happen, but the scenario is unlikely. The good news that they play the Reds and then the Brewers to close out the season. The Pirates on the other hand, continue with the Red Birds before taking on the Reds.

The Cubs have the better of the two schedules and should the Cubs tie the Pirates at the end, then the Cubs will get home field for the Wild Card game.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

“It is pretty crazy to see the plan come together in this way,” Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts said. “It feels great. It’s always the way we looked at it. I think a lot of people would say it’s maybe a year earlier than we expected, but it’s fabulous, all good.”

Every team wants to win. Wether you stick to a plan or not, it comes down to making it or not making it.The Chicago Cubs have reintroduced themselves as household names. Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta and Kris Bryant are putting their names into the Cubs history books of legends.

“Every day’s a happening, man. It’s every day. If you are tired at all, the fans will definitely provide some energy for you. They’re fabulous. It’s a fabulous fan base. I would imagine as a visiting team coming in here, you would find some energy, too. I believe it’s the best in all of baseball. I mean this sincerely, I feel very fortunate to be part of this. It’s not lost on me. I walk in and I get it, I get it. I’m appreciative. It’s different, and I’d like to keep it going for many years to come.” Joe Maddon said.

We get it too, Joe

Believe it.

Cubs Clinch Post Season Berth #FlyTheW

Chicago Cubs

So I woke up this morning to some pretty exciting news. Yes, your 2015 Chicago Cubs are officially in the post season. This means that they’re qualified to compete for baseball’s most coveted prize, they have an opportunity to end curses and droughts that have plagued the team for over a century, and they can prove that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Joe Maddon were right all along.

How they got to the post season wasn’t the most exciting way to get in, but they’ll take take.

The Cubs should have clinched by a win over the Pirates yesterday, but then that wouldn’t be the Cubs way now would it? No, the San Francisco Giants had to lose so the Cubs would get in. The poetry folks, is staggering. The 2014 World Series Champs had to lose so the Cubs could get in.

Remember when Jake Arietta got his no hitter? His last strikeout was Clayton Kershaw. Last Year’s Cy Young Award winner.

See the pattern here?

“I love playing in what is perceived to be the best division in baseball,” Joe Maddon said. “It’s about the end of the season and the last game of the season, and getting to that particular moment. Sometimes it takes a different route to get there.”

The Cubs lost a tough one to the Pirates yesterday 3-2.

Fans may say that there’s a rivalry that’s unparalleled in baseball between the Cubs and the Cardinals but this year has things shaping up to be a Pirates/Cubs hatred like no other.  Today’s 1:05 eastern time matchup should be an exciting affair. The Cubs have nothing else to prove for the rest of the season. They can phone in the next week, practice on moving the ball but you have to remember something;

The Cubs have a lot of players who haven’t seen post season action. They’re hungry and they want to win it all. They don’t know what to expect.

“I don’t think there’s much more to learn until you get to the battle,” Lester said. “We can talk about playoff atmosphere and playoff intensity and all that stuff, but until you’re actually there, it’s something you can’t really describe and explain to guys. We all know what’s in front of us, and the Pirates will probably be our opponent. I think guys have been learning all year.”

#FlyTheW

Believe it.

Kyle Hendricks Works Magic Despite Cubs Loss

Chicago Cubs

When Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks is good, he’s amazing. Even though the Cubs lost last night to the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1.

“He’s a young Major League pitcher, he’s going to keep getting better,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. “He had it all going on. He pitched really well, we just didn’t score any runs.”

It was just a case of the pitching was there but the runs weren’t. The Cubs now are three games behind Pittsburgh and have a day off before hosting the Pirates at home in a crucial series.

One thing is for certain in this somewhat fairy tale season for the mighty North Siders and that is they’re keeping it interesting. As it stands now, the Cubs still hold the second Wild Card spot.

“It’s a big series, obviously,” said Kyle Hendricks. “We want to catch those guys, and we want to get the Wild Card Game here.”

Jon Lester gets the ball in tomorrow’s matchup and with a September that’s seeing every series as being the most important series of the year, well naw, I’m not even going to go there.

Why not?

It’s going to be the biggest series of the year.

After Joe Maddon brought in a couple of zoo animals to lighten things up a bit yesterday, there’s a party vibe within the Cubs camp. I mean not winning a World Series since 1908, you have to laugh. They celebrate after every win and they’ll celebrate once they clinch even though their eye is on a much bigger prize; beating the Cardinals.

“We’re going to celebrate then, too; I promise you,” Maddon said. “You celebrate along the way because the threat is you may never get to the end, so why miss all these opportunities to celebrate achievement?”

Speaking of celebrating, did anyone see this:

A competitive eater in Chicago, Tim “Gravy” Brown decided he wanted to reverse the “curse” so what does he do? He contacts Takeru Kobayashi a six time hot dog eating champ to do, yeah, EAT A GOAT! in 10 minutes!

The event took place at Taco In a Bag and did they do it? well…

Stranger things have happened in Wrigleyville.

Believe it

Jake Arrieta Gets 20th Win. Kris Bryant Passes Billy Williams On All Time List

Chicago Cubs

There’s only one thing to add to last night’s 4-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers that would have made it go from an incredibly historic night, to one of the best written games in the history of baseball. You know what that is,don’t you?

Jake Arrieta pitches a shutout. He records his 20th win of the season and becomes the first Cubs pitcher to do that since John Lieber in 2001. That’s awesome! In fact, I’d go out on a limb to say that if Jake doesn’t win the Cy Young, then maybe there’s some truth to those curse rumours.

“It just means that I’m putting my team in position to win ballgames,” Arrieta said. “At the end of the day, that’s our goal, to try and pile on as many as we can, especially where we are at in the season. Wins now, at this time, are more important than ever. I’m just happy about getting one for the team and keeping the momentum going into tomorrow.”

The Cubs’ Magic number now is 3. They’re still two games back of Pittsburgh and six behind the Cardinals. Those teams just keep on winning.

“The thing that Jake has done, like you saw today, is just the total domination of the other team. He never even permits the other team to come back on us when we’re not scoring a lot of runs. It’s just incredible what he’s done in this second half. It’s Bob Gibson-esque, which for me was my favorite pitcher of all time. I know this, 20 years from now, when he comes back to the reunion of the 2015 team and he stands out on that line, and Arrieta was a 20-game winner, it means something.” Joe Maddon said.

All right, there was another story to last night’s game. Kris Bryant crushed his 26th home run of the season, passing Sweet Swinging Billy Williams as the Cubs all time Rookie home run leader. like Arrieta, Kris Bryant should be a lock for Rookie of The Year.

“I was joking around with Arrieta after the game and told him he always has to outdo me,” Bryant said.

We live in a day and age where athletes make incredible amounts of money. Astronomical. Call it what you will but there’s something different about baseball compared to other team sports. Baseball is an everyman’s sport. Or a game. We see ourselves up at the plate. We dream of hitting that home run with bases loaded full count in the bottom of the ninth. Drama is engrained in the game. Look at Toronto? The stadium is packed and every convenience store across the nation is chock full of Blue Jays merchandise. People are talking baseball. In Canada, hockey season is about to start but around the water coolers it’s all Blue Jays.

Canadians are cheering on the Cubs. We love cheering for the underdogs.  People used to ridicule me for liking the Cubs but I love answering questions about the team. In a game where there’s no time limit, baseball is certainly timeless.

Believe it

Cubs Keeping Up With The Cardinals And Pirates

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are having a great September. Heck, the North Siders are having a great year. last night’s victory, albeit over the struggling Milwaukee Brewers, of a score of 9-5 showed that although there’s plenty of work to do in order to get to the playoffs, the Cubs are doing things right.

“Sometimes a lot of teams get good in April,” said Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro. “But when you get good in September, it’s good. I think we’ve got a tremendous group, and everybody is on the same page.”

Jason Hammel’s got to break his first inning blues and last night, the Cubs committed three errors against the Brewers.  I’ll tell you, that if and when the Cubs face the Pirates in October, the Bucs won’t let the Cubs get away it.

Now, that being said; the Cubs are a force to be reckoned with. They have Jorge Soler swinging a hot bat and Anthony Rizzo continuing with his MVP calibre season.

“The guys like being around Maddon,” Theo Epstein said. “They feel they can be themselves. It’s fun to come to work every day, it’s fun to be around him. That environment has really accelerated the process with these guys, to not just be big leaguers but [to be] good big league players. We wouldn’t be where we are without the contributions of a lot of first- and second-year players.”

Another thing that hasn’t been talked about with the Cubs success is the confidence from such a young team. Now, wether that transcends into the post season will be hard to tell until the post season. The Cubs proved they can beat the Cardinals, they’ve shown they can go toe to toe with the Pirates and of course, the Cubs have had plenty of one run games this year and in the end the Cubs are currently sitting third place in baseball. Not just the division, not the League but baseball!

Today, Jake Arrieta seeks out his 20th win. Their magic number is four but for Cubs fans the world over, the real number is 2015

Believe it

Rookies Getting It Done For Cubs

Chicago Cubs Win

It was the Catch Heard Around The League yesterday and Cubs’ shortstop Addison Russell deserved all of the accolades bestowed upon him. It was a great catch and a thrilling way to end the ballgame and secure the 5-4 win over the Cardinals.

“If you put a clock on him, he’s not going to be the fastest guy on the team — not nearly the fastest guy on the team,” Joe Maddon said. “But when it comes to quick lateral movements, he’s among the best I’ve seen in awhile.”

And Addison isn’t the only player who is gaining a lot of attention. Kris Bryant walloped his 25th home run of the season just after Jorge Soler connected on a score crusher. With the home run, Bryant ties the Cubs rookie record set by Sweet Swinging’ Billy Williams in 1961.

“Since Bryant came out on the other side from the midseason when he had a little bit of a struggle, he’s been outstanding,” Maddon said. “How about his defense today, too? Great defense, wonderful hitting, one of the best baserunners in the National League already. Effort level can’t be any better than it is. He is the Rookie of the Year.”

Both teams played like the playoffs were here. Joe Maddon was tossed after Hector Rondon was ejected after a wild pitch. Both clubs were warned about the tension.

So now the Cubs are sitting one game back of Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card spot. The Pirates won narrowly over the Dodgers last night, keeping the gap between the Cubs open.

What is the secret behind the Cubs success? It could be the players, actually it’s definitely the players, but one thing I’ve noticed this season more than all the years I’ve watched baseball is just how important the manager is. Joe Maddon has earned every cent the Cubs are paying him. In a sports world made up of high priced salaries, it’s refreshing to see managers like Maddon come out to the park and enjoy his chosen profession. He doesn’t whine, he has the humour and he’s humble.

“Maddon has had my back the whole year, all the way back into Spring Training,” Kris Bryant said. “He’s just an awesome guy to play for. I’ve learned so much, I’ve had a blast with him, and to hear that from him and to hear that he believes in me that much, it’s just a really cool thing.”

Believe it.