Cubs Beat Reds. Now Cheer For Cincinnati Over Swashbuckling Pirates. What?

Austin Jackson

In front of a sparse crowd, the Chicago Cubs continued their dream season by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 and inching closer to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are two games ahead of the Cubs.

The biggest surprise of the game, well it’s not really a surprise but Austin Jackson hit a three run homer to help with the destruction of the Reds.

“When you’re in the role that I’m in, when you get in there, you just want to try to do whatever you can to contribute to a win,” Austin Jackson said. “I’ve been getting some good pitches to hit and doing my best not to miss them when I get them.”

Jason Hammel has struggled all season and lasted the routine five innings before stepping down. He got the win, but there will be some question marks going into next season.

“We’re good and we know it,” Hammel said. “It was nice to see it come together so quickly. It was something I saw the last couple weeks I was here last year before I got traded. Obviously, that’s one of the reasons I came back was because I thought we had a good chance to win.”

The Cubs are a deep team with guys that can change the course of the game no matter where they are in the lineup. The addition of Jackson could very well be the glue that fastens this team together throughout the playoffs. With less than a week to go until the game, the Cubs not only have to beat the Brewers but watch with bated breath as the Reds try to end a 12 game drought against the Swashbucklers of baseball.

“Our best attribute our last 45 games was depth,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We’re running out a really deep team, and Joe can mix and match the lineups well. To a man, the guys we’ve added have brought something to the clubhouse and brought something to the team.”

Some folks say that it’ll be tricky and downright next to impossible for the Reds to beat the Pirates, but as the late, great Catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over”

Believe it

Coghlan Has Steller Game For Cubs

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs should have won that game. There’s no question about it. Any team that has the lead going into the ninth by all set of logic, should win the ballgame. Instead, the Phillies came back to claim victory in the tenth 5-3.

“If there’s anything we didn’t do well, it’s get the hit when we needed it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of his team, which was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10. “The opportunities were there.”

Other than that, the Cubs played really well. Nobody counts, “Should have won” yup, there’s SHW in the stat column on that. There’s just Wins and Losses. This is the second half of the season, the Cubs are expecting to play in October and that same logic applies here, there’s no more SHW’s especially with teams like the Phillies.

Were there any good takeaways from the game?

Chris Coghlan.

Here’s a guy who never gets mentioned in top players or All Star caliber stuff but this former National League Rookie of The Year winner quietly is getting the job done in the windy city. He went 2 for 4 adding a two run bomber and two stolen bases plus a walk in yesterday’s loss.

One of the main concerns that needs to be addressed is the closer. Jason Motte is their guy. Make a press conference to announce it Joe, and don’t forget to buy a round of drinks for the press.

“We have a lot of confidence in those guys,” Jed Hoyer said. “We’ve been in a team-wide slump for quite a while, and I’m actually very impressed with our ability to win games even though we’re not scoring runs. It says a lot about the pitching staff and the bullpen.”

It does say a lot. The team is showing a surprising amount of depth and the rookies carry some maturity too, but the bullpen has been inconsistent and that there closer issue needs resolving.

“I think we’re pretty darn good right now,” Lester said. “Having an addition would be a shot in the arm to maybe take some pressure off the other four guys, but I don’t think we can worry about that right now. … If Theo and those guys decide that’s what we need, then great. If they decide we’re going to stand pat, great.”

Believe it.

Chicago Cubs Lose Fourth In a Row, But That’s A Good Thing

Chicago Cubs lose four in a row Chicago Tribune

The cold hard reality is that the Cubs won’t catch the Cardinals this season. Last night, the Cardinals beat the Cubs 8-1 leaving the Northsiders with a four game losing streak and 10.5 back of the Redbirds.

There was a brief moment when I said to myself,”Hey Canuck Cubbie (Because that’s what I call myself when I’m looking at box scores and standings and making sure my wife isn’t around because if she heard me referring to myself as Canuck Cubbie, that would put an end to anything baseball) the Cubs might actually have a shot at a division title!”

This was before their unsavoury record against the St. Louis machine.

Donn Roach was activated and did an outstanding job but it was a little deflection that led to a bases loaded situation and when those bases are loaded with the Cardinals, man, that’s a hard situation to get out of.

“I’d love another shot, yes,” Donn Roach said. “You take away the mistake I made trying to make the play, and it could’ve been a better outing than it was.”

Now, the Cubs can focus on getting that wild card spot. We know they’ve got the team to keep the pace in the Wild Card spot, but needing to stay focused and getting solid outings from their pitching staff (That’s right Jon Lester, I’m looking at you.) will go a long way to keeping that momentum going. That’s the direction they’ll be heading down come the deadline.

“We know we have to add starting depth,” Jed Hoyer said. “We’ll see where we are as we get closer to the Deadline. You can’t make someone available. That’s why I think it’ll be a Deadline where we have to try to be creative and think through different avenues.”

Help is kind of coming in the form of reliever Neil Ramirez. He’s been on the DL since April and hopes to see some action tonight in the finale. An all around great guy, we still have that ball he gave our son last year.

“That’s why they are so good, because they didn’t give us any chances. If they have an opportunity to score runs, they score. We have to keep grinding. It’s a good test for us.” said  Starlin Castro

At least they know they’re not the best yet.

Believe it

Happy Joe Madden Day Going Back To The Future

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Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, their fans and all those hard working people within the organization who helped bring another championship to the Bay Area. Well deserved!

To you, the Kansas City Royals for providing Cubs fans like me to join in with the excitement you brought to the 2014 MLB Post Season. You fought hard, you played well, but most of all you believed.  I love baseball!!!

100 to 1 shot I tell ya. I wish I could back to the beginning of the season, and bet some money on the Cubbies.“—Terry to Marty McFly

That was from Back To The Future 2 where the Chicago Cubs defeated Miami on October 21 2015 to win the World Series.

Thank you @MCorcoran15 for giving me the reminder.

Now, as we hold our breath at the inevitable signing of Joe Maddon and the hash tags galore of #HappyJoeMaddonDay litter our twitter feeds, will that prediction come true?

Will the signing of Joe Maddon deliver a World Series championship to the long suffering fans in the Windy City?

Maybe.

As Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do Damage Control over a potentially ugly situation with Ricky Renteria, I have to say that I’m warming up to the fact of Joe Maddon presiding in the dugout.

Where will Ricky Renteria end up? Is this a mid life crisis for Theo Epstein dumping Renteria for the hot thing down the road?

Is it ethical for Joe Maddon to pursue the Cubs like a homewrecker? Or as some MLB Insiders calling a “Classless Act”

After careful mulling, I’ve decided it’s not as dirty pool as some might think. It’s business. Ricky Renteria is doing a fine job(as of this posting, there’s no word yet) but he should understand that in the best interest with the organization, they should hire the best manager.

I’d bet there’s a photo of Joe beside Ricky’s family at his desk. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tampa Bay hires Renteria.

Not one bit.

So, let us rejoice in #HappyJoeMaddenDay

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs Not Kidding Around

The Chicago Cubs season is just over 24 hours over and I’m all ready missing baseball Northside style. Wrigley Field has started the renovations over a few years but like any great Hollywood script, it’s part of the plot to a much bigger story.

The Cubs fit their namesake. They’re young and they’re hungry. Next season when they come out of hiding, they won’t be looking for berries or Mama Epstein, they’ll be searching for a championship.

“Not all of the prospects work out, but we like these players quite a bit and they have a chance to play together for a long time at Wrigley Field,” Epstein said. “When you put that together with a couple of 24-year-old All-Star caliber performers like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, you can’t be but excited about our future.”

These young prospects haven’t heard about curses, shoot Castro and Rizzo were thirteen when that “incident” happened out in left field.

So let’s wipe the slate clean, start fresh. It seems to be the belief in the organization. Next season, the Cubs will have a lot of depth in the lineup. Of course, they still need pitching because if I were Epstein and Hoyer, I’d dump Edwin Jackson’s salary. I’m not being mean when I say he’s a lame horse. Swallow up that salary because if there were a missing piece to that puzzle, it’s that spot in the locker room with the piece of tape reading,”JACKSON” He has to go.

I was so impressed with Neil Ramirez this season that maybe he could fill that spot, but then again I agree with Bleed Cubbie Blue, Neil Ramirez is best used in the relief spot.

The offence should be bolstered with Kris Bryant coming up next season and the maturation of Jorge Soler and Javier Baez as well.

“One of the hardest things to do in the National League, and what we want to do, is have a good lineup one through eight,” Hoyer said. “When you do that, it’s hard on the pitchers over here. The more we can eliminate the easier outs and the lack of depth lower in the lineup, I think the better our offense will be.”

Believe it.

—Mark

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

Straily Struggles For Cubs

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As debuts go, there are great debuts like Guns N Roses, “Appetite For Destruction” with its searing guitars and howling vocals and then there are the kind of debuts which aren’t as well known. Dan Straily’s debut last night after being acquired from Oakland was one he would have liked to get back.

“It felt pretty new until I got going,” Straily said. “Once I started playing catch, it was another day of baseball. All day today, it felt pretty new. The excitement of getting to pitch for a new team and all that good stuff that goes along with it. It’s just not the way I want to finish.”

Ah, but such is life with the Cubs in August. The call ups and debuts. Experiments and mishaps. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is all good. We all know and expect great things from the Cubs soon but last night’s game was tough.

“I’m sure we’ll see him again,” Rick Renteria said. “He gave us a good look.”

Their record, 52-70 resembles my golf score, but thank God this isn’t golf.  The Cubs are continuing with the call ups by bringing Matt Szczur. A guy with a batting average of .292 in July.

Baseball’s a long season, ask my wife about that one, so it makes sense for the Cubs to revaluate the team to see what works and what doesn’t, give some of the guys a rest and when you’re not in a race, there’s no point risking any kind of injury.

The Cubs have some major decisions to make and I wouldn’t want to be in Theo Epstein’s or Jed Hoyer’s shoes at all. Optioning Junior lake to Iowa was definitely the right choice. Being the arm chair manager that I am, Lake was awesome last year and provided a much needed boost but taking a year to figure out what kind of player he is shows that last year’s excitement was just that.

“Any time you have someone who has been with you as long as he’s been with us, and you send him down late, it’s obviously disappointing,” Renteria said, “but I think he understands he’ll get some at-bats and he knows he’ll be back.”

I doubt it.

Speaking of Edwin Jackson…

Believe it.

—Mark