Cubs Feeling Crappy After Loss To Brewers

Justin Grimm

It’s funny because Matt Garza was the pitcher I loved to hate when he played with the Cubs and after the Cubs 1-0 loss last night at the hands of Garza and the Brewers, he’s still the guy I love to hate. It could be his cockiness or it could be the way that when he’s good, he’s amazing but when he stinks, well, he just damn well stinks.

The Cubs magic number is 9. Anthony Rizzo clobbered his 29th home run of the season but it wasn’t enough. Maybe it’s Milwaukee that pitches the Cubs fits.

“If we get a couple right there and get it rolling, it would’ve been different for Garza tonight, and we didn’t,” Maddon said.

As much as baseball is a game of skill and fundamentals, it’s still a game of luck and chance. A bad bounce here and it’s a completely different game.

Take for instance Justin Grimm. He left the game due to illness. It might have been the flu or perhaps, something he ate but I’ve never seen anything like it before and sorry about that Justin but I have to laugh at what Coach Maddon said.

“What happened was I did not want him to soil himself on the mound,” Maddon said. “He’s telling me he could get through it. He was ill, you could see the difference in his stuff — he was ill. We got him out.”

Yikes!

Despite the loss, the Cubs are poised to take their division. Although these are the Cubs, fans are certain that they’ll capture their first division title since 2008. For the first time in a long time, expectations are high that this is the year to end all droughts.

“This is something that I think is sustainable for many years to come, based on what we saw last year, what we’re seeing this year,” Maddon said. “And the majority of these guys are really young. It’s not like you’ve got a bunch of long-in-the-tooth whitebeards. It’s not. The guys are real, and they’re good, and a lot of them are going to continue to get better.”

Tonight, the Cubs are off. They’ll need the rest before series against the Astros, Cardinals Brewers again then the Reds. As proven in Milwaukee, nothing is a given but it’s a fairly easy stretch going into October. If you are one of the fortunate few to snag playoff tickets, I’ll be there with you in spirit sending all the cheers from abroad.

Believe it

Cubs Do It Just Like Old Times Against Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs

There’s something oh so satisfying with a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs beat the Brew Crew 4-2 yesterday and capped the series victory. The Cubs looked great doing it with those snazzy throwback jerseys circa 1937. Maybe they should unretired those jerseys more often. What do you think?

Let’s talk about Mike Olt. He’s the darling of the Cub Den and for good reason. He’s the first Cubs rookie to bang nine bobbers before June since Geovanny Soto and we know where that led to, don’t we?

I’ve been singing his praises way back in spring training and look what he did yesterday. Another home run folks. He now leads National League rookies.

“I’ve just gotten some good pitches to hit,” Mike Olt said. “As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy. The home runs come in bunches. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”

The other thing we know is Mike Olt was involved in the trade that sent Matt Garza to Texas. Yesterday, Garza was looking on popping sunflower seeds. At least his mouth was shut.

Tomorrow the Cubs take on the Yankees and they get their chance to square off against Masahiro Tanaka. Yeah, that Tanaka. 24-0 in Japan. He’s 6-0 since joining the Bronx Bast- I mean Bombers. The prized hurler that the Cubs tried in vain to acquire. Don’t worry Theo, I snagged him in my fantasy League.

—Mark

Cub’s Shark Samardzija Getting Chummy With Theo.

CT Cubs_Sox14234.JPG

As one of the biggest supporters of Jeff Samardzija, I think he pitched one hell of a game last night. In light of the recent comments that former Cubs pitcher matt Garza has made, “pitch your way out of there” (oh yeah, that lower case on his first name is not by accident in case you’re wondering). The Shark struck out seven batters over nine innings and do you think he stopped there? Nope. He scored a run to boot and that my friends, is how a pitcher is supposed to do it.

But…

The Cubs still lost to hometown rivals Chicago White Sucks, 3-1 in twelve innings. It was a tough loss for the Shark because he’s still searching for his first win of the season.

“You do your job,” Samardzija said. “I’m just going out and doing my job and doing my part to win a ballgame. I can’t control things on the outside. It’s not my job. Every fifth day is my job and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

No matter what’s going on off the field, Samardzija is at least, giving the illusion that he wants to remain a Cub. I like that. So, whatever Samardzija’s intentions are, whether he’s padding his stats for a possible deal or is doing it for the team, there’s no denying that he’s an elite pitcher and the Cubs should do the right thing and sign him to an extension.

“He’s big,” shortstop Starlin Castro said Monday. “That’s one of the guys you need when you try to be a winning team. . . . But I don’t make those decisions.”

I’ve discussed before about those big game pitchers like the Adam Wainwrights who are capable of pitching those complete games which he did five times last season and giving that bullpen the much needed rest that they deserve and in the Cub’s case need.

Listen up Theo and Jed. Keep Samardzija happy.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Preaching Patience

mike olt

The Chicago Cubs have a lot riding on this season. Odds of them winning the World Series are slim to none and making the playoffs are better than Alex Rodriguez admitting to his mistakes. They still have a shot.

There are choices to be made this spring and with every spring training game being a showcase for the depth that the Cubs have in their farm, it’s going to get harder and harder.

Fans have been holding up their Javier Baez signs hoping that he makes it to Opening Day. If Starlin Castro has anything to say, well, why not?

“Maybe, I don’t know,” Castro said. “I don’t make that decision. It would be good for us if he’s there.”

Personally, the Cubs need him. The Cubs might not be looking at this season as the year that they contend, but I challenge Theo Epstein and the coaching staff to give it their best. The last few years have been dismal. There’s nowhere to go but up. They have to improve from their 66 wins last year to I’d say 80-85 wins this year. That’s a fact. They’re in a tough division and it would strike fear in the other clubs if the Cubs brought up their young talent, if not for the whole season, maybe fluctuate throughout.

I’ve spoken highly of Rick Renteria’s involvement with the club. He’s a communicator and that’s what they need.

Should Luis Valbuena be a lock at third. Well, Mike Olt who was one of the players involved that sent matt Garza to the Rangers, has certainly sticking his thorns into that third base bag. He got a crucial home run yesterday.

“It’s really not me getting hits,” he said. “It’s about me seeing the ball well and that’s my main goal in Spring Training. Obviously, you want hits and you want to perform, but the main goal in Spring Training is to get comfortable and it’s definitely a noticeable difference just the way I feel right now, and that’s what I’m happy about.”

We’re happy too, Mike.

If anything, this is the most important year in the Theo Epstein era with the Cubs. Fans have got to buy in with his plan and the big word around the club is, “Patience”

Be warned though, “Patience” wears thin.

—Mark

Cubs Pay Their Pennants

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

It was a tough loss for the Chicago Cubs yesterday in St. Louis. The series sweep was just out of reach as the Cubs lost to the Cardinals, 8-4.

of course, St. Louis has a lot more to lose than the Cubs, but a win over the rivals would have been a sweet victory anyways.

“Obviously, they’re doing what they need to be doing, being in the pennant race,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

That’s exactly it. St. Louis is in a pennant race and the Cubs are not. So do the Cubs spend the rest of the season playing spoiler to the Reds and the other playoff bound teams or do they forge ahead and try to determine those players who will be with the club next year and stay the course.

I believe the Cubs should call up some more prospects and get them acquainted with the big leagues. I know a lot of teams that are out of playoff contention do this, but in the Cubs situation, it’s more important because they’ve been building for a few years. I don’t think the “spoiler” route is the right situation. Of course, if it happens then that is all the better.

“It’s really important,” catcher Welington Castillo said of the goals in the next seven weeks. “Not just for yourself, but for the team. I know we’re out of the race, but we’ve got to keep playing like we are close and we’re fighting. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing. Personally, you have to keep your head up and play like nothing has happened.”

Well Castillo, a lot has happened this year and it’s been a good year at that. Some players have gone like Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. There’ll be some money freed up for next year and the Cubs can finally sign a couple quality but not too expensive free agents to compliment rising stars like Junior Lake and Kris Bryant.

The Cubs head home to face the Reds tonight at 8:05 eastern. Travis Wood gets the start.

—Mark

The Great Lake

Junior Lake

We’ve got Lake Huron, Erie, Ontario, Superior and Michigan. We might as well add Junior to the mix. The Cubs needed some positives in the clubhouse and sometimes positive things happen in the most unlikely surprises. Junior Lake has played his fourth game last night in Arizona, but it could have been his 400th game. He delivered his first home run and collected three RBI’s.

“He might have found his niche right now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. The Cubs defeated the hard biting Diamondbacks, 4-2 last night.

In fact, the Cubs are going through a tremendous amount of change after starter Matt Garza was traded to the Texas Rangers earlier in the day for Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and possibly Neil Ramirez and a couple of more players.

I think it was an excellent move for the Cubs obtaining one of the Ranger’s highest draft picks in Olt. Garza’s going to be missed for sure in the clubhouse, but let’s face the facts that since Garza came back from his injury, he’s been playing extremely well for the team and now was the best opportunity for a guy like Matt to be dealt.

“He’s one of the hardest-working pitchers you’ll ever be around,” Sveum said. “Even the four days he doesn’t pitch, he’s on the bench and rooting his teammates on. You’re always going to hear him on the bench. He’s one of those special starting pitchers who will always be involved in the game, and position players who play every day and other people appreciate that.”

Now, if the Cubs can get a solid veteran with the ability to drive in runs, and free up some more cash with a deal for Alfonso Soriano, they’ll be set, but before I get the parade started, the Cubs have tons of work to do in getting the team in calibre form.

This is definitely a good move on Epstein and Hoyer.

How ironic is it that a guy named Braun is suspended for PED’s?

The Cubs continue their winning ways today when Travis Wood faces Patrick Corbin and the Diamondbacks at 9:40 eastern.
—Mark

Rookie Mistakes & Castro Gets It Done

castrorockies

It was close yesterday as the Cubs lost to the Colorado Rockies, 4-3. Junior Lake made rookie mistakes and left Runners on Base. That has been the problem of the Cubs all year round.

“It’s tough, but he’s young and he’s full of energy, and I’m sure he’s pretty excited. But he’s been doing a great job out there so far.” Edwin Jackson said.

The good news is that Starlin Castro had a great game and whatever was ailing him in the first half of the season, has somewhat subsided. He collected three singles and a double. Way to go Starlin!

I think yesterday’s game was a good one despite the loss. There was a lot to take away from it. Besides Junior lake’s learning curve, which I think it would be a huge mistake if they were to send him back now. I’m a believer of “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” philosophy. I’ve harped on it many times before, but I’m happy with the direction the tam is going, so, play the kids, take the lumps, but be exciting and experiment. The Cubs aren’t really in a Wild Card race, so now is probably the best time to just go out and play some ball. Have fun.

Anthony Rizzo collected his 14th home run of the season as well. Yeah, yesterday’s game really was good. The kids made errors, but learned through their mistakes and the veterans and next generation guys like Castro and Rizzo played very well. That’s how this team is going to win. What hurt the club yesterday was that little old thing RISP. They have to fix that.

“We outhit them, we just didn’t outscore them,” Edwin Jackson said. “So it was just one of those days where they have the timely hits and we didn’t. But nevertheless we still fought hard, and we don’t really have much to hold our heads down about.

The Cubs are in tough when they continue the desert trip against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Matt Garza gets the start. Will it be his last start for the Cubs?

Game time is 9:40 eastern.

—Mark