Cubs Get Shut Out On Father’s Day

Cardinals 5, Cubs 0

How great would it have been if the Cubs completed the sweep on Father’s Day of the St. Louis Cardinals? Two rivals, one on the way up, and the other, just being there. The Cubs lost 5-0 and remain a half game back of the Brewers.

A scary incident occurred when Javier Baez left the game after being hit by a pitch.

“I’m fine,” Baez said. “It’s just really sore. It got me really good right on the elbow. I thought the pain was going to go away right away, but it kind of numbed my whole arm and even my ribs. We’ve been icing it. It feels pretty sore, but I know I’m good.”

There was nothing funny about that. The Cubs haven’t hit as many home runs as they have in the past but they’ve made contact more. Home Runs are exciting but give me guys on base any day then going yard. Now, don’t get me wrong; going yard is incredible to see it’s not everything.

“I think it’s something we have to evaluate over a little bit of a longer period of time,” general manager Jed Hoyer said regarding the Cubs’ reduced power. “We haven’t hit as many home runs, and in theory that’s concerning, but it’s a small sample. Let’s look later on and see where we’re at.”

It’s not the Cubs biggest worry. You can spin any cliche you want but a win is a win. Last night, the Cubs couldn’t manage a run and that happens from time to time. They’re stringing together the wins when it counts and staying with the pack.

“We’re all out there trying to do our jobs and put ourselves in the best position to win a baseball game,” Kyle Schwarber said. “Getting on base is the simplest form of that.”

If the Cubs go on to compete this fall, it’ll be a more well balanced team than the 2016 World Series guys.

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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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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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Cubs Sound An Awful lot like Guns N Roses

Image result for chicago Cubs

You know when you go back years later and you’re driving to work or somewhere and you just want to listen to something different, so you throw on a tune you haven’t heard in a while and realize it’s not as bad as they said it was all those years ago?

I did that with Chinese Democracy, Guns N Roses much maligned cd they put out ten years ago. It was awesome man, and gets stuck in your head.

The 2018 edition of the Chicago Cubs are kind of like that record. Last night, they beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 to take the series.  Javier Baez connected with a three run homer in the fourth inning and the Cubs never looked back.

“In batting practice I pulled one ball,” Baez said. “I felt great after that whole batting practice. It was to the right side. I was just trying to get my timing down and see the ball through the sun. When I do that, I see the ball really well.”

Like the Chinese Democracy record, when the Cubs are great, they’re bang on but sometimes, they feel like a work in progress a la Tyler Chatwood.

He’s walked a lot of batters which isn’t going to cut it in October. In fact, that could be just downright nasty if that happens.

“We have work to do,” Maddon said. “I really believe in this fellow, and his stuff is that good. We just have to get a more stable routine that permits him to control himself when he gets out there. We need to get him more routine oriented, that he has an anchor to hold onto when the ball’s not going where he wants it to.

“When he’s out on the mound, he’s trying so hard to throw a strike and not to walk somebody, and that’s the issue. We’ve got to get him beyond that. If that’s your focus, sure enough, you’re going to walk somebody. We’ve got to get beyond that.”

True champions are made with pitching and the Cubs need to figure out their rotation in a hurry or their chances will fall, come, well the fall.

“I’m grinding right now, for sure,” he said. “But the good thing is we won the game.”

 

Willson!!!! Cubs Pull Up White Sox in Win

City Series Game 2: White Sox at Cubs

I’ve been looking at the standings and came to the realization that the Cubs aren’t in a bad spot. With their 8-4 win over the White Sox yesterday, the Cubs have now won five in a row and sit 1/2 game out of first in the Central Division. Whatever happened in April was just a hiccup in the season. They’re not out of any danger yet but everything’s clicking well and how about Willson Contreras? He connected on his third home run of the series as well as adding three RBI’s.

“It’s no surprise to me — I think that’s who he is,” Joe Maddon said of Contreras, who is 10-for-15 with three doubles, two triples, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last three games. “When he’s right, he hits better pitching, he hits better pitching hard, he puts balls in gaps and over walls. He’ll move the baseball with two strikes. That’s what I’m seeing, and on top of that, his catching is very good, too.”

What’s interesting with this win streak is the Cubs are feeling loose. I’m hesitant to say having fun but the whole team is feeling the looseness and getting warm. There’s also Javier Baez, whom I said should hit lead off, was practically a one man show. He had a triple, a single and stole a base.

“He’s just so smart and so athletic that he can make up for mistakes,”Jon Lester said. “That’s where you see the swim move [at second] today and running the bases. The game just looks easy to him. He has the potential to be that guy.”

Not only will Baez be an All Star this year, he very well could wind up an MVP candidate.

Today is Mother’s Day. Bring out the pink bats because Kyle Hendricks takes to the mound going for his second straight win. He’s an inning eater going seven innings in his last three games. He’s that guy that goes under the radar, gets the job done and spares the bullpen.

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Cubs Catch Marlins, End Losing Streak

Cubs 14, Marlins 2

 

Last night, the Chicago Cubs sure did look like the team that won the big one almost two years ago. The Cubs snagged the Miami Marlins 14-2 in the series opener at Wrigley Field.

In an almost marketing move, the Cubs took the #EverybodyIn campaign and put it on display. Ian Happ collected two home runs and Kris Bryant almost had the cycle minus a triple but the real hero of the day was Kyle Hendricks.

The Cubs needed him to go deep into the game and he delivered eight solid, workmanlike innings that padded his legend and put the bronze in place at Cooperstown.

“It’s just been a tough skid,” Hendricks said. “Guys are putting together the [at-bats], swinging at good pitches, taking the bad ones. On the mound, we’re making the right pitches. We just haven’t had plays go our ways. Things weren’t going well for us. We’ve been sticking with our plan, come in here every day, get our work in and we know it will turn around.”

If last night’s win was any indication, then the Cubs have pulled a 360. Even though Javier Baez is listed day to day after what appeared to be a hamstring tightness, he left in the seventh inning but should be back. Also, Yu Darvish is on the 10 day DL listed with a virus.

But the real promise was Ian Happ getting those long balls. The Cubs need him to perform desperatly

“Happ’s got all kinds of tools. He’s dripping with ability. He’s one of the best throwing arms we have. If you had a contest from center field and put a gun out there, he might win it. Speed wise, he might clock as the fastest guy on the team. If you did a little home run derby before the game, he’d probably hit the ball farther than anyone else. His exit velocity might be as good as anybody else’s. He can play the infield and the outfield and he’s a switch-hitter and he’s very bright. He’s really a great conversation and he loves wine. There’s really nothing to not like about this guy.” Joe Maddon said.

Yup, he had a huge game and if the Cubs broke out of their spiral, then Ian Happ’s return could signal, and I do mean could because his play , I think is the most important area for the Cubs to return to form.

“Baseball is designed to torture you,” Theo Epstein said . “And then it makes it that much better when things go your way.”

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Cubs Blame It On The Rain

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 (14 inn.)

It must have been his chance encounter with Ozzie “The Wizard of Oz” Smith at Target but Dexter Fowler crushed his first career walk off in the 14th inning to lift the Cardinals past the Cubs 4-3.

I thought I’d lead in with that because it sounded better than the Cubs lose their fifth straight. I wish Fowler was still with the Cubs.

“We’re not hitting the ball like we can,” Joe Maddon said. “We’re not scoring any runs. The pitching has been good enough to have a really good streak going, but we’ve been void of hard contact. It’s a lot of softly hit balls on the infield and not driving the baseball, and that’s pretty much it. Luke gave up a homer, but we just have to strike the ball with more consistency.”

The mantra around baseball and especially Cubs fans, has been “Just wait, the Cubs will get going” but it’s more than that, the Cubs struggles are real. Any team can lose five straight, that’s a slump, but the Cubs have been on a spiral the whole season.

“We’re trying,” Javier Baez said. “We’re still not completely hot. We’re going to keep battling and making adjustments. The season is pretty long. I think we just have to make adjustments, step by step.”

How many adjustments do they have to make before they consider the fact that something is broken right now and needs fixing. Now, before I throw in the towel and say that the Cubs suck (Forget the one I said yesterday) they’ve shown flashes of brilliance. Of course Baez has been playing an outstanding season but even the electricity he’s brought early on has fizzled a bit.

“[The rain delays] were awkward. We’re pretty good with the rain. It was a long game, we didn’t get any hits, and neither did they. Both sides were out of pitching. We were one pitch away and didn’t get it. Nobody feels worse than Luke does. He was one pitch away from getting a save, and it didn’t happen. You move on, and that’s exactly where I’m at.” Maddon said.

It’s about the only thing the Cubs can do.

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