Anthony Rizzo Pitched And Guess What Happened Next?

Image result for chicago cubs

Luke Farrell found his rhythm a little too late in yesterday’s 7-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was pulled in the fourth inning.

“It was a tough start,” Maddon said of Farrell. “That’s the one thing we couldn’t have happen tonight and it happened.”

Which probably if there’s a game where the Cubs sat back and figured out the holes in their pitching, last night was their game. Let’s face it, Anthony Rizzo threw out a couple of balls from the mound.

“The game we lost to the Cardinals late was the one that stings the most. These games, you know, they’re going to happen. We move on from them pretty easily. Obviously, we don’t ever want to pitch as position players. We always joke around about it, but on a serious note, it is what it is.” Rizzo said.

Yeah, that’s definitely a sign that things weren’t working well for the Cubs. Although, it was pretty cool seeing Rizzo and Victor Caratini pitch. It’s just ironic that just over the halfway mark of the season and the Cubs found themselves in this position of well, position players tossing balls across the plate. They were supposed to have the best rotation in baseball. The bullpen is getting tired.

“That would be difficult because you’re totally going to wear out the better part of your bullpen,” Maddon responded. “That’s my concern.”

That’s all of our concern. The way I figure it, the Cubs schedule is going to be “relaxed” in August so if they can rebound against the Cardinals next after the D Backs, they should be all right.

“You get into those head-banging games in September and you don’t know how everyone (rookies) is going to react at that point,” the manager stated. “We’ve had some guys step in and perform really well, but some of them have never done it under those circumstances before. I have no idea what they’re going to react like.” Maddon said.

August is going to be key on how well the Cubs are going to perform this fall. We’ll see at the deadline.

Believe it

Cubs Have Tickle Fight With Marlins

Cubs 4, Marlins 3

 

It was all there last night in the Cubs 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins. Kris Bryant‘s running skills (even some tickling ) Victor Caratini and David Bote got into the game and did a great job, oh and then there was Ben Zobrist’s throw from the corner that kinda started the faux bench clearing scrum.

“It was rather entertaining,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “There was no reason for it. I was surprised. There was no animosity. It wasn’t a dirty play, it was nothing. [Dietrich] is out by 52 feet, [Caratini] has got the ball. [Dietrich] bumps into him, play over. It was kind of surprising. I don’t think there was anyone who got heated. it probably required more tickling than punches.”

Ah baseball!

The Cubs have strung two in a row. Should we dust off the parade gear? Um, I’m going to wait until they do it against the Washington Nationals or St Louis Cardinals. No offence to Marlins fans but winning back to back games against them amounts to nothing. The Cubs should’t have a problem with them.

Bryant had the go ahead run in the eighth and man, is it good to see him back in business.

“He’s a great base-runner, he’s probably one of the best in the league,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “He shows that time and time again. It gets overshadowed because of everything else he does. But his base-running is something every young player should look at.”

For a tall guy, he moves real quickly.

So now the Cubs have got their hands full. Jason Heyward is on the concussion list and Bryant could see time out on the field. This is what’s going to test the Cubs patience and skills. Heyward is huge in the lineup (not his plate skills). We’ll see just how well the Cubs can weather the storm while he’s out.

“He popped it on that fly ball the other day in St. Louis on the home run by Dexter,” Maddon said. “I knew he was not feeling 100 percent. We just have to go through protocol and take our time with it.”

Jose Quintana gets the ball today. Here’s hoping the Cubs can sweep the Marlins. Right now, they’re 1.5 games out of first but yet it feels a lot more.

Believe it

Cubs Get Happ-y in Milwaukee

 

Cubs 5, Brewers 2

“We never quit” has been an ongoing saying within the Cubs organization for a couple of years now, well, since they won the World Series. In yesterday afternoon’s 5-2 9th inning heroics over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs looked like that team that doesn’t quit. Jon Lester hit a sacrifice bunt, now that’s a true non-quitter!

Ian Happ strikes out a lot. He also comes through when it counts, yesterday was no different.

“You’ve just got to keep working,” Happ said. “It’s the reason why we play this many games and it’s a game of averages, because there’s going to be some ups and downs. Hopefully this is going to be the biggest of the downs and I’ll get back going on a normal pace.”

He was the big reason the Cubs turned the corner. Yeah, I’m liking this rivalry a lot. Rivalries over time and situation, the Milwaukee/Cubs rivalry is getting exciting and we’re going to see a good one today.

“We always fight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve been unable to get the big hit. It was nice for ‘Happy’ to get off the schneid there. Big at-bat. Loved that it went to left center, that’s a good sign as opposed to being pulled. That’s a huge at-bat right there. And of course, Jonny Lester. That could not have been placed more perfectly. We’re playing well. We’re just not getting hits when we need it.”

They are playing well. Whether it’s a miscue or just an unlucky break, the Cubs have managed to claw their way through the month and manage to stay within the pack. It’s great news that Yu Darvish bounced back in this game from his Cubs debut as well.

“Darvish was tremendous,”  Maddon said after the game. “He hit a groove in his delivery. Once he gets to that point, heads up, because he’s going to throw strikes exactly where he wants to. That’s exactly where he was at by the time we had to take him out.”

Also, Brandon Morrow picked up his first save with the club. You know what? It felt like yesterday’s game was the game that dusted off the regular season dust and got them into a sync for the months ahead–I hope. So, what was with the umpire picking on Victor Caratini? There were more than a few missed calls with the guy, I don’t know I’m going to keep my eye on that in the future, it could be the Milwaukee crowd or just a coincidence. Another thing I’ve been meaning to ask is what’s with the foggy atmosphere in Milwaukee?

So, with the series finally today(I’ll be keeping an eye on the Masters as well)the Cubs are gearing up for their home opener tomorrow. What’s on the menu and how do you celebrate it?

Believe it

 

Cubs Commit Costly Errors In Milwaukee

Brewers 5, Cubs 4

So, it wasn’t the outcome the Chicago Cubs had hoped for in their 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers but it sure was a fun game for the most part. I mean, c’mon Javier Baez‘s Little League Home Run. I know he’s the player that causes headaches for managers and third base coaches but, man if there’s a spark plug in the Cubs’ offence, it’s got to be him.

Whatever is wrong with the Cubs so far in this young season, I believe is slowly getting fixed. Let’s forget the fact that Kyle Hendricks wasn’t his usually stoic self. After all, he did give up two homers which, in fact, was only the second time he’s done that in his career. I know it’s hard for me to pick on the guy when he doesn’t play as well as he usually does, but in this case it looked like the Brewers finally figured him out. I think too the problem with a pitcher who doesn’t throw hard, it becomes much more problematic when they make mistakes.

“They capitalized on two bad pitches,” Hendricks said. “That was definitely two bad pitches, and you don’t get away with either one of them. I thought [I was] making really good pitches early, getting some quick outs, a few hits but they were soft-contact hits. It was a couple bad pitches, and I didn’t get away with it.”

Hey, it happens to the best of us(If the rest of us could throw 90MPH with pinpoint accuracy)

It also happens to the best Rookie of The Year/NLMVP/World Series Champion/All around decent guy, Kris Bryant when he bobbles a throw to first baseman Victor Caratini, I mean  they can’t be Bryzzo everyday especially when the other half is out with back stiffness.

“I honestly shouldn’t have thrown it,” Bryant said. “[Perez] was safe all the way. I was trying to make a play there. It didn’t work out. Sometimes that’s how it is. It’s a little frustrating.”

Yeah, it’s frustrating. This April has been frustrating but with Yu Darvish getting the ball today, things will get better. They have to get better, right? Problem is , Anthony Rizzo will probably be out day to day. Look on the bright side, if you’re feeling frustrated about the Cubs, turn it over to the Masters.

“We played really well,”Joe Maddon said. “We did a lot of things well. We just couldn’t get a hit when we needed it, but we worked good at-bats, pitched really well. We did a lot of things well. We should’ve won that game and we didn’t. Give them credit. They got the two two-run homers and then punched the last one across. But I’m here to tell you, man, we play that game consistently, I’ll take it.”

Believe it

 

Cubs Lose But Welcome The Professor Back

Image result for kyle hendricks

Kyle Hendricks is always hard on himself. He was even harder on himself after the Cubs 3-1 loss to crosstown rivals, Chicago White Sox. While his comeback lasted only 4 1/2 innings, the road to recovery will take a few more games to get his sync back with the team.

“Just too many innings today for the bullpen to cover, really. That’s my fault,” Hendricks said of the loss. “I think that’s just a factor of me getting in my routine, getting in my bullpen routine, throwing again every day, just getting my legs back underneath me.

“Being on five days [moving forward] I think suits me a lot better. It’s just more normalcy in a way.”

Baseball is a game built on rhythm. To find that groove where pitchers can throw their best pitches at will, takes time. Sure, it takes a lot of skill and practice but timing and rhythm is everything.

“He was not what you would call ‘on.’ He’d be the first one to tell you that,” Maddon said. “But he threw [92] pitches, which is good to get him stretched out moving into the next start. The fact that he got out of there with one run — I was really pleased with that, too. It’s just a good outing to build off of.”

A 92 pitch outing is decent enough and even better when coming off the DL. If it were up to me and I suspect in a perfect world, pitcher’s would show at least 100 pitches and last 7 1/2 innings minimum. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way, but for me, the ideal outing would be those benchmarks.

So let’s talk about the trade deadline coming up. The Cubs are playing good ball and I don’t have to tell you about the success of Jose Quintana who is all ready 2-0 since joining the Northsiders but what else is there for the Cubs to acquire? Catching? I think that’s a safe bet because as we know, Willson Contreras might get a little burnt out before the end of the season if he keeps playing the way he’s been doing.

“We have a couple more days to put it all together,” Maddon said of the Deadline. “Of course, that makes sense [to get a veteran backup] — I can’t deny that. I don’t know if that will happen or not. That’s not denigrating Victor. Victor is at a point in his development that you don’t want him sitting around much.”

The “Victor” is rookie Victor Caratini who’s been doing fine as a back up but is he up to the grind of a potential playoff run or should they go with a veteran?

The Cubs are 8-2 since the break and are finally finding their rhythm can they keep it up?

“We all understand in this clubhouse it’s an exciting time,” Jason Heyward said. “It’s the second half, we’re playing for the playoffs and the division race is close. It’s exciting. It’s where you want to be. … It’s fun. Embrace that.”

Believe it

The Cubs Hit Peak Over Rockies, Bon Voyage Bonifacio

CT spt_0801_cubs_rockies_25.JPG

Why is it that the excitement always mounts on the trade deadline? Sometimes, it’s way better than a playoff race, Opening Day, or the playoffs(sometimes)

Why? Hope Springs Eternal.

Take for instance yesterday’s victory over the Rockies. Jake Arrieta. His tenth quality start. The Cubs didn’t exactly cruise to the win, but it was steady and convincing. The Cubs’ll take it.

Yesterday was bittersweet. What started the season with a kind of a back door grab by signing veteran Emilio Bonifacio turned into a smooth deal that landed Bonifacio in Atlanta with Jimmy Russell for catching prospect Victor Caratini. How will this move play out? Only time will tell.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around it,” Russell said. “It’s obviously a shock. There’s nothing that can kind of prepare yourself for this. It’s still kind of weird. I don’t know how to feel; there’s a lot of excitement, mixed emotions. It’s going to be a good thing.”

Absolutely it’s shocking. The Cubs are finally a team that players would really like to play for. They’re turning into the next Oakland Athletics. I liked Bonifacio. He’s an amazing talent who can work just about every position on the team. He’s not quite the pitcher that Johnny Baker is but I hated to see him go.

But—

I believe it’s the right thing for both clubs. Both players might get a shot at the post season with Atlanta and the Cubs are getting another stud in their ever growing stable of champions. That’s going to bode well in the future.

But—

Pretty soon, oh heck, I’ll say within two weeks, we’re going to see the fresh face of Javier Baez at second base.

“The way the organization has been going and acquiring players and drafting and developing kids in the system, I would hope it comes to the point where it shifts in a different direction,” manager Rick Renteria said. “All of us are hopeful that will be the case in the near future. That’s been the hope and desire of the organization to get to a point like that. Things happen over the course of seasons and things change. Right now, we’re hopefully moving in the right direction.”

Get ready folks, Just. Get. Ready.

Believe it.

—Mark