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

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax