Cubs Looking for a Productive End to the Season and Other News and Notes

Another long season at the big league level is coming to an end for the Chicago Cubs. Just five games remain on the schedule, counting Tuesday’s night game with the Pirates. The Cubs are looking for several players to finish the year on a positive note. Jeff Samardzija had a solid outing on Monday and he will start the team’s final game on Sunday in St. Louis. Chris Rusin, Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson are scheduled to make one last start and for Rusin and Arrieta their outings are very important going to into an off-season in which the Cubs figure to add starting pitching options to the roster.

According to a report from the Daily Herald, Dale Sveum would like to “see something special out” of Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Darwin Barney over the final games that would help them going into the off-season after the tough season each player has had. Sveum would like to see some of the guys they are evaluating for next season leave good impressions going into the off-season as well.

Arizona Fall League

Jim Callis is looking forward to seeing Kris Bryant play in the Arizona Fall League, along with two other of the Cubs’ top prospects that are set to play in the AFL.

According to Callis’ report, “no team has a better quartet of position prospects than the Cubs” and Callis thinks that Albert Almora has the highest floor of the four.

Callis released a position-by-position list of the players he is looking forward to seeing and Kris Bryant (3B), Jorge Soler (OF) and Albert Almora (OF) were among his starting eight.

Daniel Bard

Daniel Bard has not pitched in a game since the Cubs claimed him off waiver from the Red Sox. Bard has been throwing bullpen sessions, off the mound at Wrigley and working with Chris Bosio. According to a report from the Tribune, there is a good chance that Bard pitches in winter ball.

The Tribune reported Bard has a couple of teams he could pitch for in Puerto Rico and is expected to finalize his plans for the off-season in the near future.

Bard told the Tribune that he is “truly healthy” and has “been able to work on stuff instead of worrying about reinjuring the ab muscle.”

News and Notes

As expected, the Cubs announced on Monday that Welington Castillo had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Recovery time is expected to be four to six weeks and Castillo should be ready to go well before pitchers and catchers report in February.

The Cubs have hit 101 longballs at home this year the most at Wrigley since the 2008 team hit 106 home runs.

Dale Sveum is scheduled to meet with Theo Epstein on September 30 after the season wraps the day before in St. Louis.

Dale Sveum is encouraged by the performances turned in by Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon. Strop picked up his first save on Saturday and has a 2.70 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP in 35 games with the Cubs. Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Monday and has not allowed a run in six appearances in September (0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP). Rondon is 1-1 in 17 appearances since the break with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija thinks the Cubs are improving but feels they have some things to iron out in order to get the team where they are “not shooting to survive” but “shooting to win and thrive.”

Jeff Samardzija said he has learned a lot this season and plans to change his off-season program after pitching a full season in the rotation.

The Cubs are 30-49 at Wrigley this season with two games left to play. In the nearly 98 years of playing ball at the old ballyard at the corner of Clark and Addison the Cubs have lost 49 games in a single season four times (1962, 1966, 1974, 2013) but have never reached the 50-loss mark at Wrigley Field.

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  • triple

    How often does a team get the pleasure of having two opponents celebrate clinching a playoff spot on their home field on back-to-back days? And it sure looks like the Cardinals will have their opportunity to clinch the home advantage against the Cubs too. That’s 3 for 4 for the Cubbies.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I did see this happen one time some years ago against the Cubs….at least no opposing players jumped into above ground pools in the Wrigley neighborhood afterwards.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Rondon got his ERA under 5.00 yesterday.

    • 07GreyDigger

      He didn’t look to be any good, but he was quite the Rule 5 pickup after all.

      • Ripsnorter1

        He’s progressing. A last place team can afford a guy like
        this, but a contender could not. Hopefully he continues to
        progress next year.

        Still…remember the rule…don’t get excited about September stats…..

        • 07GreyDigger

          I’m not. Read what Neil reported. “Rondon is 1-1 in 17 appearances since the break with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.”

          • Ripsnorter1

            I saw that before I wrote. I also saw this:

            “Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning on Monday and has not allowed a run in six appearances in September (0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP).”

            I was referring to that line.

            He’s had a very nice second half. Look who’s had a nice year: Blake Parker.

            Look at Blake Parker’s line:
            43 IP…36 H…3 HR…1.186 WHIP….51 K….15 BB….3 WP…2.72 ERA
            NICE. He’s pitched very well.

            I wonder why the team doesn’t seem to like Parker. They don’t mention
            him as a potential closer. They don’t talk much about him. Tony Hall
            says he’d send him to AAA Iowa next April because he has an option.
            I say, “Man alive, he’s the best bullpen arm you have! Why send him down?”

          • 07GreyDigger

            I agree. He’s been their most consistent bullpen arm (arguably). I imagine he starts the season with the team.

          • Tony_Hall

            If you are going to quote me, at least be accurate. I wouldn’t lose an arm that we want to keep that doesn’t have options, and if that means Parker starts the year back in Iowa, so be it.

            There are only 7 bullpen spots and the chairs empty pretty quick when you start putting names that you want to keep, or at least give a month or two to see what they got again, that Parker may have to be sent down again.

  • John_CC

    I’m really curious what becomes of the coaching staff this winter. I don’t have much feeling one way or the other – unless of course a top choice manager is actually interested, i.e. Mike Maddux, Girardi. Otherwise I don’t see much point in canning Sveum for a “replacement level” manager, and I don’t think Theo does either. I’ve read that they may be interested in getting a Latin manager or at least hitting coach in place for the coming of Baez and eventually Soler, and maybe to help Castro. But what do I know? Not near what Neil does!

    Neil, what is gut feeling on how the coaching staff plays out this winter?

    • Tony_Hall

      My thought is if they can get a commitment from Girardi, they fire Sveum, if not he stays.

      I believe Rowson is in his last week as the hitting coach. He will be reassigned or fired beginning of next week.

      • John_CC

        I agree with both of those thoughts. Will Mariano Duncan be “promoted?” I put it in quotes because it seems that the best hitting instructors are much more important and have more impact in the minors, an MLB hitting coach that is successful gets very little to no recognition but is the scapegoat 90% of the rest of the time.

        • Tony_Hall

          One name to keep an eye on is Bill Buckner. A couple different people have run with rumors that they would like to bring him up from Boise, but feel he may be to valuable working in the minors.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      John, sorry for the delay. Long day.

      I cannot get a read right now, sorry. I was hearing they were going to pickup his option and possibly extend Sveum two weeks ago, now there is so much noise I cannot get a gauge on what could happen.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    50 home loses will seal Dale’s fate with this club……last time Cubs lost over 90 games three years in a row was 1960 – 62

    • Ripsnorter1

      I am not betting that Sveum will be fired. If so, imo,
      he’s simply being a scapegoat for following Team Theo’s
      instructions about making MLB players do it “the Cubs’ way.”

      I don’t see a lot of pressure from the fan base to fire Dale, either.
      It’s not like Dusty Baker’s last year, when fans were so sick of situation
      management that they were screaming in angst.

      And I don’t think the fan base cares all that much about Dale running Rizzo
      out there in the #3 hole endlessly, despite the horrible hitting stats. I hear no angst
      about his mismanagement of Rizzo, Barney and Samardzija. There is some squawking
      about Castro, but not an overwhelming amount.

      I just don’t think so.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Rondon will be heading to Double AA in 2014…..build him up as a starter.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Who is in…..
    Dejesus….263 avg
    Fuld……….183 avg
    who is out…..
    Soriano ……17 HR, 50 RBI w/ the Yanks
    go figure.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Huh?

    • Ripsnorter1

      What do you mean that DeJesus is “in?”

      What do you mean that Soriano is “out?”

      • Tony_Hall

        He is referring to in or out of the playoffs. Don’t try to figure out his posts, it will give you a headache.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Soriano became the 5th MLB player with 50 or more RBI’s with two different teams in the same season……name the other four players to do so.
    Hint…..two are still playing, one was looking for a comeback this past year, and the other is retired and was married to an actress one time not so long ago.

  • paulcatanese

    Sveum would like to see “something special” out of Castro, Rizzo and Barney, to carry them into the off season towards next year.
    What, five games left? That has to be one of the most ridiculous statements ever by a manager.
    Also include the improvement by other players to evaluate for their future towards next year. Where has Sveum been all season? Talk about “small samples”. How many cans in a six pak, Dale?

    • SuzyS

      Paul, The scribes don’t have a lot to write about at this point in the season…and yet, they still have to file stories and make stories out of nothing….I wouldn’t take anything seriously at this stage.

  • jtrain23

    At least the Cubs DO have something to play for during the last 5 games. If they can lose the next two and by some miracle beat the Cardinals to close the season out, they could help the Pirates win the division and push the Cards into the play in wild card game. So, there’s something. Right? Ok, maybe not.

    • paulcatanese

      You are correct, as a team, hope it works out the way you describe. Hope the Pirates do win the division. Would not like it if they are in the one game playoff, too many things can happen.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I want the Cards to win the division. At least
      that organization knows how to be competitive year after year.

      Besides, wouldn’t it be sweet if Dusty is knocked out of the playoffs
      by the lowly Pirates?

      • SuzyS

        I’m rooting for the Pirates. Rip, I almost joked when I read your sentence: “I want the Cards to win the division.”

        Ummmm????

  • Ripsnorter1

    Isn’t Blake Parker a rookie in 2013? He pitched a mere 6 games for the Cubs in 2012.

    AND…he isn’t even listed in top rookies for 2013…..no Cubs mentioned. No, not Jr. Lake, either.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9714074/breaking-race-national-league-rookie-year

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Hey Shark…if I were you, I would worry less about the team, and take a look in the mirror at the mediocre season you just produced.