Cubs Win Big Over Dodgers

Orange Sky Chicago

The night the lights went out in Chicago. Yup, that’s what they’ll be calling it years from now. Last night’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers could prove to be a pivotal one this season as both teams are evenly matched but what stood out the most was it came over Clayton Kershaw.

The fact that they won after losing Tsuyoshi Wada and Dexter Fowler early on in the game is a testament to how good this team can be.

“My reading was that we’re not really concerned right now,” Maddon said of the injuries.

They shouldn’t be concerned when they have a guy like Kris Bryant knocking two out into the stands and sending fans home with a souvenir. This was Bryant’s first multi home run game in his young career. I’ve got me a feeling that he just might break the single game record before his career is over with.

“It’s another notch in the belt, I guess,” Bryant said after his night. “It’s cool to do that. Those are always good games you’ll remember forever.”

The fact that there was a delay in the game while some of the lights dimmed and that really cool orange hue in the sky was also a reason for a special game. Although Joe Maddon was wrong about arguing with the umps when it came time to maybe cancel the game. A guy like Kershaw was dialled in but after the delay he was through. Not that I’m sticking up for the other guy but if I were Mattingly, I’d be slightly disgruntled.

“I didn’t like the idea that we had to play against a guy that’s really, really, really, really, really, really, really good,” Maddon said. “You had to see spin and everything, and I didn’t like the fact that we had to go out and play without all the lights on”

Speaking of really, really, really, really good. The Chicago Cubs are in a wild card position. If they make the playoffs it’ll be the first time since 2008. Now, of course there’s a lot of baseball left to play but these next two series are turning points with the team. LA now and then the Cardinals. With the trade deadline approaching I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Starlin Castro could be moved.

“I don’t think you’re ever happy where you are,”Theo Epstein said. “Otherwise, you’d just go home or wish the season was over. We’re just constantly trying to improve, gain more consistency, but, of course, we’re thrilled with the character of the team, identity of the team.”

Believe it

There’s No Place Like Home For Cubs

Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field

Maybe we should start calling Miggy “The Magnificent” add it to the long lines of cheesy nicknames to pro athletes. Yesterday, Miguel Montero destroyed the ball with a three run homer to help the Chicago Cubs defeat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3

“It’s just about being more aggressive at the plate and being ready to hit,” Montero said. “Before that, I wasn’t ready to hit, and I was probably over-thinking. I was probably trying to think along with the pitcher instead of staying in my approach and staying just looking for one pitch to hit. Just see the ball, hit the ball, rather than think with the pitcher.”

Now, baseball is a funny game. We know it, the players know it and now the statisticians know it as well. Montero is the first player to hit a home run in the new bleachers with fans in attendance.

What?

An area of concern for the Cubs is Tsuyoshi Wada He didn’t get the win last night and was pulled relatively early, even for Wada. Was he rushed back into the game? in many ways, I think he should go to the bullpen and have Edwin in the rotation. You know, just to mix it up.

“Wada struggled tonight, and it’s going to happen as a starter — we’ve all been there,”Travis Wood said. “I was just happy to step up and eat some innings there and keep us with the lead. The rest of the bullpen did their job as well.”

Remember when I said that baseball is a funny game? Well, it can also do funny things with your mind. If a pitcher thinks they’re throwing their best stuff and it’s just not getting across the plate in the right way like for example, certain umpires not calling strikes when apparently they are strikes. Well, that just isn’t right. That’s baseball. For that, it’s got a lot in common with golf. Looks easy, but it ain’t.

“It wasn’t as bad as the last game,” Wada said of his 3 2/3 innings against the Nationals on June 5, when he gave up five runs on nine hits. “I just can’t make the adjustment. It’s not the way I pitch. I just can’t find it right now.”

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Cubs Have A Whale Of A Time

Chicago Cubs David Ross

Nobody can ever accuse the Chicago Cubs of not making things interesting. Yesterday, while wearing their throwback Federal League Chicago Whales jerseys, the Cubs defeated the Kansas City Packers, er, um Royals 2-1.

What made this victory all that much more interesting is David Ross. The catcher not known for his hitting came through with a blooper in the 11th inning. After Dexter Fowler was tossed out in a controversial play at home plate(although from my observation, he was clearly out.)

“You gotta love the fight,” manager Joe Maddon said. “If you’re standing or sitting in the captain’s chair and you got a bunch of guys that fight like that, what else could you possibly want? We’re not going to be perfect every night, of course we’re going to make mistakes, but if you have that kind of fight every night, I’ll take it.”

What started out as a pitcher’s dream between Tsuyoshi Wada and Yordano Ventura, the Cubs played it close against the excellent Royals but it was David Ross who stole the show.

After the Royals walked Starlin Castro it was Ross’s turn. I’m not going to lie to you. I thought the Cubs were done for seeing Ross step up to the plate but—

“I knew they were going to walk Starlin when I got up there,” Ross said. “I was batting .160? I’d do the same thing. I’m playing the game out in my head, and I knew it was coming the first time, but luckily I drove that ball right in the gap in the end.”

So now the Cubs are coming off a win going into tonight’s series opener against the struggling Miami Marlins. The Cubs could make up some valuable ground but the bad news is the Cardinals are playing the Brewers. It could be a stalemate. Nobody needs to say how bad the Brewers are doing.

The six game difference is nothing. This is a different Cubs team and judging from yesterday’s game, the Cubs are still a force to be reckoned with.

Believe it.

Wada Game For Cubs

Chicago Cubs vs San Diego Padres

We have to give Tsuyoshi Wada credit for that win(ok, I’ve been dying to use that one) He struck out nine batters in almost five innings of work yesterday to help the Chicago Cubs defeat the San Diego Padres 3-2. Not bad at all for a guy playing in his first game of the season. Imagine what he could have done if they kept him in?

“He’d done his job,” Cubs skipper, Joe Maddon said. “I’m more about the Cubs winning as opposed to any particular pitcher winning. You can let him go for one more third of an inning, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I thought it was a great game for him to build off of.”

There wasn’t any reason though for Wada to keep going. I think the Cubs wanted to ease him into the role.

“I wasn’t tired or anything like that,” Wada said about pitching in the Padres fifth. “The coaches and manager were watching closely, and I think it was the right decision.”

So, with Travis Wood in the bullpen, the Cubs are ready to mix things up in the young season. In order to keep pace with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs have to focus on that kind of lights out playing which can only come from pitching.

“I think the bullpen is going to be fine,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “The guys know they haven’t thrown the ball the way they want to throw. We know they’re pretty good, and sometimes they try a little bit too hard. They try too hard to manufacture the extra strikeouts. That’s when you have to back off a little bit and say, ‘Let me try a little bit less and let me concentrate on making a good pitch and not a nasty pitch.'”

Another player who is due to a return to the Cubs is Javier Baez. After taking some time off for family reasons, Baez is back in Triple A and making great strides. Could we see him come back to the Cubs lineup?

“Javy can make any defense better,” Maddon said Wednesday. “I talked about that in camp — I thought he was one of the finest young infielders I’ve seen, but I’m not displeased with anybody out there right now. Sometimes you just have to wait your opportunity, your turn.

Believe it.

Cubs’ Edwin Jackson Drops The Ball

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You can tell how good a game is when they show the Blue Angels flying overhead more than the game.

To say Edwin Jackson had a bad game is a bit of an understatement. He was brutal. I’d like to think that while he was on the bench marvelling in the deconstruction of the Brewers that took place the two nights before by Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada that Edwin simply got to the mound, looked at the white sphere in his hand and said, “What do I do with this thing?”

If Edwin Jackson was sitting at the head of the class watching Hendricks and Wada give instructions on the mechanics of the game, he failed miserably.

“At the end of the day, you can’t be on the mound thinking about mechanics,” Edwin Jackson said. “It doesn’t allow you to throw quality pitches or have the effectiveness on your pitches as you normally would. If you get too mechanical, you’re kind of out there like a robot, like I was thinking about way too many things instead of simplifying: see the ball down, see the glove and throw the pitch.”

Yesterday, the Cubs lost 6-2 at the hands of the Brewers. Sure, critics can say that there weren’t any hits. Where’s the run support, but the hits were 9-5. The Cubs lost yesterday because their fifty million dollar arm just couldn’t get it done.

So, what are the Cubs going to do with Jackson? The experiment has failed and you can’t say Theo Epstein didn’t give him a chance. I mean, the guy has played all over the league. What does that tell you?

There’s not many times when I scream for players to be traded or demoted or whatever the heck they have to do with him but the fact that is on every passionate Cubs fans mind right now is, “He won’t be here next year.”

Believe it,

—Mark

 

 

 

 

Cubs Show Their Teeth Against Brewers

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You know how that old saying goes? You never forget the first time. Oh C’mon, I was talking about baseball. You could see where all those metaphors came from now, can’t you?

Last night, Javier Baez collected his first of many home runs on Wrigley soil. The Cubs went on to defeat the Brewers 4-2 and now sit above .500 since Javier Baez joined the club.

“It feels great,” Javier Baez said. “I hit the ball pretty good. As soon as I hit it, everybody went crazy. I knew it was gone because I hit it really good.”

Not only Baez’s blast but Anthony Rizzo wanted to remind the Wonder Kid to respect his elders and took one yard right after that. Is it too early to put those rally caps on?

“Sitting back, you look at them and say, ‘I’ve got a 21-year-old and a 24-year-old doing the things they’re doing,’ and yeah, it’s pretty exciting,” Renteria said.

Speaking of the new guys, Tsuyoshi Wada received another quality start and now the tandem of Kyle Hendricks, Wada and Jake Arrieta is looking pretty darn good at the moment.

it’s exciting times in Chicago and next month, the Cubs take on Toronto.  @  gave a shout out to his Ontario born Mother. The broadcaster hails from Massina NY just across the border. Did you guys ever sit on a Chesterfield?

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs Go Into Extras But Can’t Hang On.

Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers

Have to admit that the Dodgers are tough. The Cubs ended up with another extra inning game. It didn’t have the storybook ending or the Hollywood finish, but hand it to the Cubs for keeping it in there against a tough Los Angeles team. The final score was 5-2 in twelve innings.

“We’ve played a lot of extra inning ballgames this year,” Renteria said. “No matter who their opponents are, these guys compete and we had some opportunities to cash in runs today and we weren’t able to do it.”

Plus, being the third time in five games that they’ve played in extras, I’m giving the Cubs a break on that loss. Starlin Castro continues to provide the fireworks by getting three hits and Anthony Rizzo notched a couple.

Tsuyoshi Wada did a fine job pitching six innings and perhaps solidified a triple threat in Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks.

So, the big question that is on everyone’s mind is, “Do they call up Baez?” Now, I’ve been a stalwart in the Baez camp but I’m beginning to think that perhaps the Cubs should stay the course and keep him down until next year.

Why rush the kid? The Cubs are certainly hanging in the games and the post season isn’t in the cards unless you’re St. Louis. Ha! I just got that.

“There’s big guns down there that everyone up here and everyone around baseball wants to see succeed and do well,” Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s always exciting when new young talent comes up.”

Who knows? Maybe a couple of games here and there, you know just to get some practice in might do the trick, but I don’t think the Cubs really need Javier Baez at this point.

However, I would love to see one game with him this year. Just one, Theo.

Believe it.

—Mark