The Daily CCO: Cubs Won Second Series of the Season

The Cubs had a good weekend at the old ballyard and took two of three from the Brewers. After a sloppy, mistake filled game on Friday, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood and the bullpen held Milwaukee to a Rickie Weeks two-run home run over the last 18 innings of the series and beat the Brewers in back-to-back days. Cubs’ pitching struck out 25 batters and the team posted their second series victory of the season (Cardinals, May 2-4).

The Cubs are 9-12 at Wrigley and their run differential this season is now -3, the same as the Dodgers as Christopher Kamka pointed out on Sunday night.

Hector Rondon, Jose Veras and the Bullpen

Hector Rondon closed out Saturday and Sunday’s games and is now 5-for-5 in save situations. Rondon told Carrie Muskat he is “ready for any situation” the Cubs want to put him in. And while the backend of the pen of Rondon, Neil Ramirez and Brian Schlitter have performed rather well of late, Jose Veras may transition back into the closer’s role according to a report from Carrie Muskat.

Rick Renteria said late last week that he would “continue to ease Jose Veras into situations.” According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Renteria added, “We’ll chip away and let him have success and continue to work.”

Hector Rondon has allowed four runs, three earned, on 14 hits with six walks and 24 strikeouts in 19 appearances (20 1/3 innings) out of the pen this season and two of those four runs scored in two-thirds of an inning on May 4 against the Cardinals. Rondon was pitching in his fourth straight game and third day in a row and should not have been used in the tied game.

Neil Ramirez has allowed one run on five hits with two walks and 15 strikeouts in 10 appearances (9 1/3 innings, 0.96 ERA, 0.75 WHIP). The one run scored on a solo homer by Gordon Beckham.

Justin Grimm threw strikes on Friday and pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. After starting the season 0-1 in 12 appearances with a 0.82 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP (one run, nine hits, five walks and 12 strikeouts in 11 innings), Grimm is 0-2 in his last eight appearances with a 7.36 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP (six runs, nine hits, six walks and nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings). Grimm is keeping his head up despite his struggles according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Justin Grimm said “the last straw” was hitting a batter with the bases loaded in the 12th inning and losing to the Cardinals on May 13.

For the season, the Cubs’ pen ranks seventh in the National League in ERA (3.48) and WHIP (1.27) but have only six saves, are 6-for-11 in save opportunities and are fourth in the NL in walks (57).

The Cubs young relievers have done their job for the most part this season and another power arm could be added to the pen in a couple of months.

Minor League Notes

Albert Almora is back on track and has his slash line up to .275/.300/.387 with 10 doubles and two home runs for the year. Over his last 10 games, Almora is hitting .333/.364/.476 with three doubles, one home run and a .840 OPS.

Lars Anderson was placed on the 7-day DL on Saturday retroactive to . Anderson had not played since May 12 due to recurring dizziness according to a report from the Des Moines Register.

News and Notes

Rick Renteria told Bruce Miles that Nate Schierholtz’s approach at the plate has been better lately. Nate Schierholtz has not hit a homer this season and after a slow start in April (.215/.226/.266), he’s hitting .159/.283/.227 in May and .197/.248/.252 with five doubles and one triple for the season.

According to a report from Bruce Miles, Pedro Strop will report to the Cubs facility in Mesa “to continue his recovery from the left groin strain” that landed him on the 15-day DL on May 7.

David Kaplan passed on a link from the LA Times about the Dodgers huge TV deal and that a large part of their fanbase still can’t watch the games.

Mike Olt leads the Cubs in home runs (9), and 10 of his 18 hits this season have gone for extra bases (nine home runs, one double). When Olt took Marco Estrada deep on Sunday, he became the first Cubs’ rookie since Geovany Soto (2008) to hit nine longballs before June 1.

The Cubs are going to correct the mural outside of Wrigley Field according to a report from ESPN Chicago. Julian Green acknowledged the mistake of including Charles Lindbergh on one of the prints outside of Wrigley (near intersection of Waveland and Kenmore) that clearly showed Lindbergh at Comiskey Park and not Wrigley Field.

Starlin Castro leads the Cubs in hits (51) and is hitting .302/.341/.491/.832 with 12 doubles, one triple, six home runs in 42 games this season. In 21 games hitting out of the fourth spot in the lineup, Castro is hitting .329/.374/.600 with nine doubles, one triple and four home runs … that’s a .974 OPS for the Cubs’ shortstop.

Anthony Rizzo is learning to conquer his fears according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Weekend Headlines

For those that missed anything from the weekend, here are the links to the news you can use …

This Day In Cubstory

2002 – Fred McGriff tied Ellis Burks’ record of homering in 40 different Major League ballparks when he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning at Miller Park that tied the game at three. The Cubs beat the Brewers 4-3 in 11 innings.

1973 – Cubs traded Joe Pepitone to the Braves for Andre Thornton

1970 – Cubs traded Garry Jestadt to the Padres for Chris Cannizzaro

1960 – Cubs traded Art Ceccarelli to the Yankees for Mark Freeman

1959 – Cubs traded Chick King to the Cardinals for Irv Noren

1942 – The St. Louis Browns returned Babe Dahlgren to the Cubs after he failed to hit in two pinch-hit at bats. The Brooklyn Dodgers purchased Babe Dahlgren from the Cubs.

1941 – Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau hit a grand slam off of Hugh Casey and the Cubs scored nine runs in the second inning in route to a 14-1 win over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Brooklyn manager, Leo Durocher protested the game by claiming the Cubs were over the 25-man roster limit. The protest was tossed out but the Cubs were fined for $500 for the infraction. The Dodgers also protested the mound at Wrigley was several inches over the 15 inch height allowed. At the suggestion of the umpires, Hugh Casey pitched from several inches in front of the mound.

1928 – Cubs won their 13th game in a row as they edged the Braves 3-2 at Wrigley Field on a Charlie Root sacrifice fly. Hack Wilson homered in the victory. The winning streak would come to an end the next day.

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Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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  • The Dude Abides

    Worse record in baseball at the quarter turn before our
    annual purge of players.

    Rizzo, Castro & Castillo still here end of season who
    else is left standing is anyone’s guess…

    • John_CC

      True. Of the current ML rostered players I would add Viscaino, Ramirez, Rondon as certain keepers. They aren’t going to trade away young bullpen guys, they aren’t “worth” enough. I think Kalish and Lake will still be here too.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        agreed…and likely Travis Wood.

        Wood is still young/cheap, and has been productive…not an Ace, but part of the future I would think.

  • BillyFinT

    If someone can steal Charles Lindbergh from St. Louis, then it must be the Cubs. Stay put with your roadside dust, Comiskey Sucks!

  • Tony_H

    Great positive article Neil! There is plenty of things to be excited about with this team.

  • jtrain23

    I am all for getting long term value out of short term assets, but if the Cubs put Veras back into the closer role without Rondon choking majorly, then they are going to far.
    The ONLY reason to put him back in that role right now is to hope you can milk some good appearances from him for the next month and then flip him for prospects. You take a guy out who is thriving in the role right now to do so and it isn’t always as easy as putting him back into the role after Veras is gone. No matter what “plan” a team is using, you’ve still got to make players earn positions and reward other players for earning the position.

  • jtrain23

    I am all for getting long term value out of short term assets, but if the Cubs put Veras back into the closer role without Rondon choking majorly, then they are going to far.
    The ONLY reason to put him back in that role right now is to hope you can milk some good appearances from him for the next month and then flip him for prospects. You take a guy out who is thriving in the role right now to do so and it isn’t always as easy as putting him back into the role after Veras is gone. No matter what “plan” a team is using, you’ve still got to make players earn positions and reward other players for earning the position.

    • Tony_H

      They haven’t said they would do that. They are going to work Veras back in and if he stays successful he is another option in higher leverage situations. And if others fail and he is successful, he could move back into the set-up or closer role.

      • jtrain23

        I am totally fine with that situation, Tony. I think they would be foolish not to do that because Rondon has such a small sample size at the closer. I just hope that he has the chance to keep or lose the job based on his performance. If he loses the job, I hope they put the guy in that appears to be performing the best.
        There is no indicator right now that Veras would be anywhere near the top of that list. I am not saying to bury the guy. I just hope they don’t unfairly put him ahead of guys that are outperforming him in the name of maximizing his trade value.

        • mutantbeast

          Maybe Rondons sample size is small. His results are rather large. 96-98 velocity with a k rate of better than 9/9. Same with Neal Ramirez. Meanwhile, Verass cant find the plate with a GPS system. I say ride Rondon and Ramirez until they cant cut it. We also have Vizciano who will likely be in the bigs by the all-star break. Who knows, maybe next yeat those 3 will be the 21st century version of the early 90s Reds Nasty Boys.

          • Tony_H

            Veras has only given up 1 single and no walks in his 2 outings since coming back. 2 k’s in 1.2 innings. Small sample size, but he has looked good.

          • jtrain23

            Hey, I’m all for it. I like what I am seeing from those guys, Schlitter has thrown the ball well, Grimm has struggled as of late, but started hot, and then you have Strop who struggles with command but has electric stuff.

            It gives hope that our pitching system is maybe not as far behind our position players as originally thought. Plus, I am still hoping that one or more of these guys will project as starting pitchers in the long term.

  • cc002600

    Calling Cubtex, calling cubtex….come in. cubtex :-)

    Did you happen to notice (I know you did) your boy Cashner is on DL ?

    I don’t want to say I told you so, (well, yea, who am I kidding, of course I do. LOL) but I told you this guy has history of arm injuries, like so many other hard throwers. And now its the elbow, not the shoulder. NOT good. I think you put him in the Hall of Fame just a wee bit early, as I said before many times. He has never proven a thing, except land on the DL.

    You still would rather have him than Rizzo ?

    I would take Rizzo a million times over.

    • mutantbeast

      Typical of Hendry,Cashner is an arm thrower who will always have problems as a starter, until he learns how to use his legs in his delivery. Seems he cant pitch in relief either, he requires too long to warm up before he gets loose.

      • jtrain23

        I’ve never heard of such. A Hendry guy that people say throws with his arm too much and his body too little and needs to work on mechanics to stay healthy. It’s like 2004 all over again. Hopefully it works out better for Cashner.

        I don’t know what it is like to have a golden arm, but I have to think it would be ultimately frustrating to work so hard and have so much God given talent but have nagging injuries that you cannot control constantly derail your success. I’m really glad we have Rizzo manning 1st base, but wish Cashner the very best in his recovery and career. He seems like a top notch guy.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      When the news surfaced about Cashner on Saturday, I asked for everyone to respect one another when discussing his injury due to all of the heated arguments about the Cashner-Rizzo trade.

      You guys are more than welcome to discuss the unfortunate injury to Cashner. But like Saturday, please do so in a respectful manner.

      Thank you

      • cc002600

        Will do. I did not see that.
        Thanks

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I appreciate it.

    • Vivid_Reality

      I was happy the trade was working out for both teams. Cashner’s career was riddled with injuries and that is what made the trade better for me. I always thought he had the stuff to be a quality ML starter but the injuries took their toll. He was already 25 when he got traded and only had 43 starts in 4 years in our system. Its a shame he got hurt again but I’m happy that risk / reward is elsewhere.

    • cubtex

      yes I would still take him over Rizzo a million times over. How many pitchers never go on the DL or miss time from time to time? Answer- You can count on one hand. CJ Edwards is on the DL in the minors now….is his career written in stone and will he always be hurt? I am glad that you are thrilled that another pitcher is hurt(not hard to predict) but that is not something that is unusual.

      • cc002600

        No. I’m not happy he is on the DL
        Just stating fact that he is a pitcher that already arm problems when the cubs traded him, so it was smart to acquire a player like Rizzo and get what you can for him, as the risk was too high with Cashner.

        And yes, I agree that most pitchers will go on the DL at some point, but Cashner has NEVER pitched 200 innings due to injuries and I doubt he ever will, as he has been hurt almost every year of his career. Sorry, but that’s not opinion, that’s fact.

        And I wouldn’t call his DL stints as “time to time”. This is not an isolated incident. It’s too bad as he has some talent, but I said this 3 years ago – he won’t be able to withstand the rigors of starting, so he should be in the bullpen as a closer.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I take Rizzo every time…great trade.