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 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.