Rizzo Breaks Record in Cubs Win

Phillies Cubs Baseball

This could be a scary thing when Anthony Rizzo starts swinging the bat. Yesterday, Rizzo swatted his tenth homer of the season on route to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“We come in, we battle. [Wednesday] was a special moment at Wrigley for the whole team and all of Chicago. We’re going in the right direction. We just have to keep playing baseball.” Rizzo said.

In fact it was his 175th home run, beating The Hawk Andre Dawson’s record on the Cubs list.

“They’ve been trying to pitch him a certain way and he’s getting to it,” Maddon said. “He’s really smart. He hits balls [to right], but normally his home runs to me are gap to gap. He’s just getting his hands through on the barrel to the ball really well. … He’s been trending pretty good over the last month and a half.”

So, as the Cubs are steamrolling their way up the National League Central standings they’re 1/2 game back of the Brewers and Rizzo is connecting at the right time. If they could take the Central before the All Star break, things will be all right. If they can get Tyler Chatwood working, then things will be aces.

“His stuff was a little more crisp, a little more sharp execution-wise,” said catcher Chris Gimenez, who has caught Chatwood in back-to-back starts. “He did a good job battling. He’s so worried about trying to execute to the most perfect intent as opposed to really pound the zone. That’s what we’ve been trying to get in his head a little more. Throw the ball on the white and you can expand off it.”

Today’s game is a big one against Pittsburgh. The Cubs need to win and get some leverage heading into Monday’s all too important series against the Brewers. The Cubs are in a good position with the momentum, there’s still room for improvement because all of their wins have come against mediocre teams. They have to put on the burners and get a groove going and I can see it happening. If they can also get their pitching in sync with their hitters, they can win it all.

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Jason Heyward Hits Walk Off Grand Slam

Cubs 7, Phillies 5

What makes baseball the greatest game on the planet? At any given moment, someone will walk off a hero. See what I did there? Last night, Jason Heyward had a walk off grand slam to send the Cubs home with a 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Things do seem a little more clear,” Heyward said. “I keep saying it, but I’m trying to keep it simple, one at-bat, one pitch at a time, trying to make adjustments on the fly. It’s much easier said than done. I got a pitch to hit there and didn’t miss it. Pitchers don’t make many mistakes. I got one off a guy who’s really good and has good numbers and didn’t miss it.”

It couldn’t have been better. The guy’s had his share of struggles since signing a whopper of a contract with the Cubs a few years ago and after various stance changes and hitting adjustments, the guy’s been probably the Cubs most improved player even though they signed him because he’s such a good player, are you following?

“He’s a huge part of this team. He’s a guy who you can go up to and talk to. He’s going to give you his honest opinion. For him to be out there on the field and do what he does out there in the outfield and what he’s doing at the plate, it’s phenomenal. He’s a great human being.” Kyle Schwarber said.

Remember, Heyward was the guy in the dressing room with the famous speech that helped the Cubs win their first World Series yada yada yada.

That guy.

What makes this one so special was that Anthony Rizzo predicted it a few moments before.

“I asked Cory Mazzoni, ‘Have you ever had a Major League win?’ and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘You’re going to get your first one tonight,'” Maddon said. “Rizzo was better than me. He had talked, talked, talked on the bench. I’m saying, ‘C’mon, just a base hit or double down the line’ and he said, ‘No, how about a walk-off grand slam,’ like a nano-second before it occurred. That’s baseball.”

It’s the stuff of legends. Two outs, bottom of the ninth bases loaded and what the hell?

The Cubs are a game back of Milwaukee and playing well at the right time.

Baseball. The greatest game on earth.

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Cubs Lose, But Arrieta wins

 

Phillies 6, Cubs 1

Even the best in the game can have off nights, that’s what happened to Kyle Hendricks in last night’s 6-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Obviously, Kyle was not on top of his game, missing the plate, the home run early,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We still had plenty of time to get back into it. We worked some good at-bats. We had guys out there, but we could not get the hit to get back into the game. It was kind of a lazy game in a sense, and the engine never turned over.”

No, nothing really quite clicked but to give Hendricks credit, he lasted five innings in a sub par performance but even at that, he had five strikeouts. Not bad but of course, not good enough for the victory.

“I was inconsistent,” Hendricks said. “I wasn’t repeating my mechanics. I just have to get back to work this week and really dial everything in. It starts with fastball command, it wasn’t great. The first inning I felt good, and the second and third, I just wasn’t repeating my mechanics. The focus was there. I’ve just got to lock everything in and get to work this week.”

Which is kind of good news because Hendricks we know, is the type of guy who’ll hunker down and get back to the basics or in his case, the mechanics of the game.

The Cubs paid tribute to former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.

“It’s really nice to come back here,” Arrieta said. “I spent a nice day off walking around in Millennium Park. I went to one of our favorite dinner spots, spent some time with people we used to see quite often. I look forward to a great series. Just being in this ballpark is really special.”

Without a doubt, his legacy is forever enshrined in the Cubs organization. He’s part of the Cubs history and 2016.

“All the way around the organization, everybody was here to win. That was the ultimate goal. To have achieved that goal, and looking back on how much hard work it took from everybody involved, it’s just exceptional what we were able to create. I’m looking forward to reliving some of those memories through the players, through my former teammates — just memories that come up from past experiences I was able to have here.”

The only problem Jake is you’re wearing a Phillies Uni.

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Cubs Hit Stride With New York Sweep

Cubs 2, Mets 0

The Chicago Cubs have been playing really well lately, they’ve just finished a sweep of the New York Mets yesterday, beating them 2-0.

As much as sports grow and change throughout the years, there are basic fundamentals about the game that will never change and that is when a pitcher goes deep into a game, the odds increase of the team winning. Jon Lester gave up two hits over seven innings.

“I’m way too old and I had too many pitches going into the sixth to even really feel like I had a chance at it,” Lester said. “The biggest thing is the ‘W.’ I don’t really care about all the other stuff.”

Aw shucks Jon, but it’s true. He pitched a great game. It wasn’t only him, Javier Baez continues to shine, stealing home in the 7th inning to give the Cubs the lead.

“First move to the plate. [Matz] can’t see me,” Baez said. “I was just seeing how high he was going with the leg. The first move, if he would go to the plate, I would come back to third base. He kind of took his time to go to first. I just went for it. I’m glad I made it.”

It’s a rare move but when it happens, it can be one of the most exciting plays in sports.

“It doesn’t happen often that the world is set up the proper way for it to occur and absolutely everything was in place right there,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

The Cubs are two games out of the lead in the National League Central. With a day off today before a series with the Phillies and then the Pirates this weekend, the Cubs could take over the lead this time next week.

“We’re playing well. To go to one of our division guys [in Pittsburgh] and take two out of three, and to come here and win four against a team that seems to always give us a little bit of grief, especially in New York, it’s a good road trip for us. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling. We’re playing good baseball. That’s all you can hope for. Our bullpen has been really, really good for us. As long as our pitchers keep doing what they’re doing, we’ll be solid.” Lester said.

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Almora Comes of Age In Win Over Mets

Cubs 7, Mets 1 (14 inn.)

Yesterday was a marathon of a game but Luke Farrell pitched 4 shutout innings to help spark the Cubs 7-1win in extra innings over the New York Mets. It wasn’t just Farrell but also Albert Almora, the Cubs unsung hero who broke the tie to fuel the runs.

Yup, the Cubs found a way to win, albeit, it was against the Mets but a win is a win.

“I’m a lot chippier and happier right now because we won,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Had we not won that game with all those opportunities, it would have been difficult … We just have to move the ball. We started chasing again tonight.”

Those opportunities transitioned into 24 strikeouts, a season high but they won. Those strikeouts came against the Mets but if the Cubs, and I sound like a broken record, do that against the Nationals, they won’t stand a chance. They were lucky as much as confident that they could break out against the Mets. Yesterday was a great win. Jacob de Grom was aces for the Mets.

“He was unbelievable. It’s been a while since I’ve faced a pitcher like that. Everything was moving away from my barrel. His fastball had some late life, his slider was sharp, and he threw me one of the nastiest changeups I’ve ever seen. We didn’t have very much success against him. Some guys had really good at-bats. I wasn’t one of them. Tip your hat to the guy.” Alma said.

The Cubs have won three in a row and sit in the Wild Card spot. They’re hanging in but need to still put together a solid streak. The other key to the Cubs success is the dominance of Kris Bryant who’s been somewhat struggling of late. Last night, he struck out four times. That has to change. The former NL MVP and Rookie of the year has to show his dominance once again.

Here’s some food for thought; Does Albert Almora deserve an All Star nod? According to Cubbie’s Crib he does. I think so too. His defence has been nothing short of brilliant coupled with his At Bats, he’s providing some much needed depth to the Cubs order.

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Cubs Down Mets In Come From Behind Thriller

Cubs 7, Mets 4

 

The Cubs are inching their way to the top. After last night’s 7-4 comeback victory over the New York Mets they’re only three games back of the Brewers. Perhaps the Cubs are finding their swing again, but the caveat being this is the Mets.

Four really good things happened in last night’s game. Kyle Schwarber hit his 11th big one of the season, Ben Zobrist continues to be well, Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora has one sick glove that nobody outside of Cubdom is aware of and Tommy La Stella quietly goes about getting hits. If he were in the Rolling Stones, he’d be Charlie Watts.

“More than anything, my swing actually feels right,” Zobrist said. “That’s kind of the key. I search for that most of the time, and when I find it, it just comes a little easier and I can drive the ball more and square up more balls. That’s when I know I’m in a good spot.”

The Cubs came back last night, but is it a true indication of the way they can play or is it against the not so great teams that they’ve been able to beat? Sure, they’ve got the Brewers’ number but they’ve only beaten the Pirates, Mets, Rockies, Braves and Marlins. Throw in the Reds, Giants and we don’t count the White Sucks. Outside of Atlanta and Colorado( not counting the Brewers because they’re in the same division) the Cubs haven’t really won. I’m being critical here because I still feel that come August to October, the Cubs are going to run into a whole mess of problems unless they do what they’ve done the last couple of seasons and turn on the afterburners in the second half of the season.

“It’s just a matter of time with all of these guys to get them where they normally are and the back of the bubblegum card reads well,” Joe Maddon said.

Nobody’s denying that the Cubs have the potential. They’ve got a great team and Javier Baez is going to punch his ticket to the All Star Game but they’ve got to figure out their chemistry quickly.

So I have question for you guys, when you’re not watching the Cubs, which teams do you watch if you pick one from each division?

  • Toronto Blue Jays (They don’t call me the Canuck Cubbie for nothing)
  • Detroit Tigers (A friend of mine’s favourite team)
  • Oakland Athletics (Rollie Fingers was one of my favourite players growing up and their ties to Ottawa Ontario my hometown)
  • New York Mets (I can’t stand Atlanta and still sore about Montreal moving to Washington)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates( That Stove Top cap was my first ball cap. I loved the Pirates as a kid because the very first ball game I went to was an Expos/Pirates game where I got the cap. A couple of years ago, we visited Pittsburgh and not only is PNC my favourite park outside of Wrigley Field, but they have awesome fans. We were talking to the folks sitting behind us and they said that if the Pirates don’t make it, they’ll cheer for the Cubs. I’m returning the favour. )
  • San Francisco Giants (This is a good one. This has a connection to Ottawa’s Triple A team of the 1950’s, Ottawa Giants. Same kind of connection to the Oakland Athletics.)

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Zobrist is Turning Back Time With HR

Image result for chicago cubs

The Chicago Cubs opened their series with the New York Mets in style, grabbing a 5-1 victory with Jose Quintana on the mound. He went six scoreless innings but just ask Jason Heyward how good he was.

“He did an awesome job attacking the zone, making adjustments on the fly to the hitters,” right fielder Jason Heyward said. “He was able to mix and match stuff. It was pretty impressive to watch from behind.”

Then there’s Chicago’s aging veteran Ben Zobrist, who is vying for David Ross’s Grampa role on the team. Zobrist got another home run in the win. In limited play, Zobrist has three home runs in May.

This series against the Mets is an interesting one because the Mets aren’t that great this season. If the Cubs can sweep them, they’ll be in a good position to snag the Wild Card spot and be in a stronger position to stay afloat in the tough National League Central.

This season more than the last few has showcased great playing from guys like Jason Heyward and Tommy La Stella, who doesn’t get enough recognition for being there in the clutch. These guys are going to be the key to the Cubs reaching October because the top of the order hasn’t found their groove yet.

The Cubs need their pitching to get going and Tyler Chatwood will get his opportunity to shine tonight. It’s been a tough season for Chatwood and this series is so far, one of the more important series for the Cubs. Now’s the time for a sweep

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