The Daily CCO: Cubs Post Back-to-Back Wins in Boston and Other News, Notes and Rumors

The Cubs have started a very difficult 11-game, three city road trip with two victories at Fenway Park. Reports after Tuesday’s game indicated the Cubs clubhouse was pretty happy and Chris Bosio is “thrilled with his pitching staff.”

Jake Arrieta, Edwin Jackson and the Cubs’ pen, along with help from the defense, have held the struggling Red Sox offense to one run over the first 18 innings of the series.

The Cubs began the series at Fenway with only two wins on the season when the offense scored two or fewer runs, the Cubs are now 4-28 when scoring two or less runs this year … and 4-32 in games in which they’ve trailed after five innings.

After posting a 15-13 record in June and winning back-to-back games at Fenway Park, the Cubs are 17-13 since June 1 and no longer have the worst record in baseball. The Diamondbacks have the fewest wins in the majors and the Cubs have a better winning percentage than the Astros, Phillies and Rockies.

And the Cubs have won three straight road series for the first time since winning five in a row to close out the 2010 season.

Arismendy Alcantara

Arismendy Alcantara is more than pushing for a promotion at this point. Alcantara extended his hitting streak to 10 and then 11 games in Tuesday’s doubleheader. Alcantara went 1-for-3 with a run scored in game one while playing centerfield, then 2-for-4 in the night cap after lining up at second base. Alcantara also swiped a base in each game of the twin bill.

Over his last 10 games, Arismendy Alcantara is hitting .475/.488/.725 with four doubles, two home runs, two walks, nine strikeouts, three stolen bases and a 1.213 OPS.

Arismendy Alcantara is one of two players in the minors with at least 10 triples, 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases … the other is Mike Yastrzemski of the Orioles.

PrintAccording to a report from ESPN Chicago, Alcantara “has taken another step in his development at Triple-A Iowa in recent weeks, putting him squarely on the Major League club’s radar.”

Jesse Rogers caught up with Jason McLeod and he indicated the front office and the Major League coaching staff has noticed how Alcantara is playing.

Jason McLeod said, “He’s getting closer.”

Cubs News and Notes

The Cubs day off Thursday will help Jake Arrieta. Rick Renteria said Tuesday that his rotation will stay on schedule and that will give Arrieta an extra day after throwing a career-high 120 pitches Monday.

Hector Rondon has converted 11 of 13 save opportunities and closed out back-to-back games at Fenway Park. Rondon told ESPN Chicago, he is “just trying to make good pitches and see what happens.”

Clark the Cub was at Fenway Park on Tuesday … and a lot was made about him being there.

Cubs Rumors

According to Ken Rosenthal, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are the two Cubs starters that are likely to be traded. Jake Arrieta is under club control through the 2017 season and the general consensus is that the Cubs will not trade him. And Travis Wood “could be a candidate for a contract extension once the Cubs get through their annual sell-off.” The Cubs were rumored to be discussing a contract extension with Wood last off-season.

The Giants are one of several teams interested in both Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. Brian Sabean addressed the rumors and said “he has not yet exchanged names with other teams in trade discussions.” According to Henry Schulman’s report, Sabean indicated “the number of available players is not close to what the media make it seem” and “none of his minor leaguers is untouchable.”

Minor News and Notes

Brett Jackson had a very good start to his month. Jackson collected four hits and drove in six runs in Iowa’s doubleheader along with a walk. Jackson tripled in game one and went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Jackson hit the game winner in the night cap, a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth.

 

Brett Jackson’s walk-off homer was the first for the Iowa Cubs since Brad Snyder walked off New Orleans on May 7, 2011.

After going hitless in the first game with a walk, Kris Bryant went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored in the night cap. Bryant is slashing .400/.500/.771 in his last 10 games with four doubles, three home runs, seven walks and eight strikeouts with a 1.271 OPS. Bryant did commit his first Triple-A error in the first game, he made a high throw to first base.

Javier Baez keeps improving at the plate while taking grounders at second base before games. Baez did not record a hit in Iowa’s doubleheader. But Baez went 0-for-2 with a sac fly RBI in game one and 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored in the night cap. Baez is hitting .364/.488/.485 in his last 10 games with nine walks, 10 strikeouts, four doubles and a .973 OPS.

James Pugliese will handle the ninth inning duties for Kane County.

The Cubs will likely have three prospects in Baseball Prospectus’ top 20 and four in the top 40 in BP’s top 50 that is being released Monday.

Zak Hermans received a spot start for Triple-A Iowa in the nightcap of Tuesday’s twin bill. Hermans allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Hermans tweeted he had an awesome experience after making it to the park just in time for the start. Hermans went back to Kane County following his Triple-A debut.

Albert Almora tripled Tuesday as part of a 1-for-4 day at the plate … .356/.383/.511 in last 10 games with two walks and five strikeouts.

Eloy Jimenez went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored Tuesday night.

Jorge Soler was 0-for-3 with a RBI and a walk Tuesday night.

Mark Zagunis hit a triple Tuesday and is 5-for-13 in three games with Boise that includes a double, a triple, one walk and one strikeout.

C.J. Edwards threw a side session, 25 pitches, Tuesday and he said it felt good to be back on the mound.

News and Notes

Jason Hammel was the 12th best signing of the off-season according to Jon Heyman.

Jim Deshaies bought a River North condo.

The Astros were hacked and “Ground Control” provided a little too much information about internal trade talks.

Ken Rosenthal reported the Blue Jays are on Cole Hammel’s no-trade list.

Joel Pineiro began the season in the Cubs’ system after signing a minor league contract. After the Cubs released him, Pineiro signed a minor league contract with the Angels and was pitching in their system. The Angels released Pineiro Monday and not long after he was released, MLB announced Pineiro has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for Heptaminol, a banned stimulant by Minor League Baseball.

This Day In Cubstory

2013 – Cubs traded Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and cash

2013 – Cubs traded Carlos Marmol and cash to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier

2009 – Cubs acquired Jeff Baker from the Rockies for Al Alburquerque

2009 – Derrek Lee drove in a career-high seven runs with a grand slam and a three-run homer in a 9-5 win over the Brewers

2007 – Yankees signed amateur free agent Arodys Vizcaino

2004 – Cubs traded Jimmy Anderson to the Red Sox for Andy Shipman

2003 – Matt Clement combined with three relievers on a one-hit shutout over the Phillies. The Cubs beat the Phillies 1-0 on a Sammy Sosa homer leading off the ninth inning against Turk Wendell. David Bell collected the Phillies only hit.

2000 – Cubs signed free agent Robinson Chirinos

1993 – Sammy Sosa collected six hits, one short of the NL record, in an 11-8 victory over the Rockies

1984 – Cubs traded Dickie Noles to the Rangers for players to be named later. The Cubs received Tim Henry and Jorge Gomez from the Rangers on Dec. 11, 1984 to complete the trade

1972 – The Cubs completed a triple play in the seventh inning at Three Rivers Stadium … Ron Santo to Glenn Beckert to Jim Hickman at first base.

1969 – So Taguchi, born

1967 – After the Cubs 4-1 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field, many of the 40,464 fans at Wrigley stayed in the ballpark to wait for the final score of the Cardinals and Mets game. When the final score was posted with the Mets beating the Cardinals, the Cubs moved into a first place and the fans at Wrigley refused to leave until the flags were changed at the top of the scoreboard that showed the Cubs were a half game in front of the Cardinals. Ferguson Jenkins pitched the Cubs to their 17 win in 19 games at the time.

1957 – Lee Walls hit for the cycle, but the Cubs lost to the Reds 8-6 in 10 innings after Wally Post his a grand slam in the 10th inning at Wrigley Field

1950 – Andy Pafko drove in five runs with a double, a triple and a home run. Bill Serena hit a three-run homer and Hank Edwards collected four hits and three RBI as the Cubs beat the Reds 16-0 at Crosley Field.

1949 – Cubs selected Mickey Owen off waivers from the Brooklyn Dodgers

1937 – Gabby Harnett hit the 200th homer of his Cubs career, a two-run shot off the Pirates’ Red Lucas in the eighth inning at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 8-7 on Augie Galen’s two-run homer in the ninth inning.

1891 – The Chicago National League Ballclub scored 11 runs in the third inning on the way to a 20-5 victory over Cleveland at West Side Park.

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  • triple

    So it certainly looks like Bryant can stick at 3rd base, if he’s only making his first error after a couple weeks worth of games in AAA. Nice to read that Baez is taking grounders at 2B. Obviously Alcantara is splitting time between 2B and CF. There is alot of flexibility with all these prospects. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to even let Bryant get a little time in the OF, but I can see him sticking at 3B. But like I said, more flexibility with these guys never hurts! So at some point next year (hopefully by late May at the latest) I think we’ll be seeing an IF of Bryant, Castro, Baez, Rizzo, probably Castillo behind the plate, and then an OF that includes Junior Lake in LF, Alcantara in CF, and maybe a FA signing in RF. I’d be all for Melky Cabrera, as I think he’d make a good 2-hole hitter. And maybe he can be had on a 3yr/$30ish mil deal? This could be a fun lineup to watch with 2 switch-hitters at the top: Alcantara, Cabrera, Castro, Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, Lake, Castillo, Pitcher.

    Let’s just crown them right now!

    • Denver Mike

      I was daydreaming about possible line-ups a couple weeks ago, and at the time I though Jason Heyward was going to be a FA this year, but it turns out he has 1 more year left. Either way, he is the type of experienced power bat I’d like to see added, and at the time I had thrown this lineup out there which isn’t that different from yours:

      1. Alcantara – CF
      2. Rizzo – 1B
      3. Bryant – 3B
      4. Baez – 2B
      5. Heyward – RF
      6. Castro – SS
      7. Lake – LF
      8. Castillo – C

      With Rizzo’s with OBP and walk rate I think he’d be great in the #2 hole, similar to how Votto was earlier this year. Castro is a great hitter, and I’d like to get him higher in the lineup to get more at-bats but don’t think his SLG or OBP is high enough to warrant a 3/4/5 spot so I plugged him in at #6. I don’t know if Baez will ever cut down the K rate enough to warrant a 3/4 spot, but if not then you could push him down to #5 and bump Heyward up. Also, keep in mind I paid no attention to RH/LH, but otherwise I think it looks great and to think it would require adding just one FA hitter. That could take away some of the sting if we have to overpay for a top-end SP.

      • triple

        I see why you’d want another lefty power bat, but I don’t think the Cubs will need it so bad. Especially when Hayward will cost a lot and he isn’t even really that special (and I’m not trying to put him down). He hit 27 HRs in 2012 and beyond that, he next best is 18 from his rookie year. Yes it would be nice, but I kinda like the chances of Schwarber filling that need in another year and a half, at a much cheaper cost, and with better production.

        I don’t get people’s comparison of Rizzo to Votto, but not saying he couldn’t turn out that way. With the season that Rizzo is having, I don’t think that is a good fit for a future 2nd spot in the order. Afterall, this is only his 2nd full season at the age of 24, and his HR totals have climbed from 15 (half season) to 23, and now at 17 (over half a season), and likely to hit about 30. I don’t think we’d want him clearing the bases in the 2 hole while guys like Castro, Bryant, and Baez are still waiting to bat. I gotta admit, this is a nice problem to have!

        • Denver Mike

          It will be really nice if Alcantara, Bryant, Baez, and Schwarber all come up and become lynch-pins for the Cubs but odds are that at least one fails to live up to the hype (my money is on Baez for the record). Also, I think the FO would be putting these kids in a tough spot by bringing them up without any veteran leadership showing them how to prepare and carry themselves at the ML level.

          I don’t think Rizzo has the experience to fill that role quite yet, and Castro just doesn’t seem to have the personality. I like Melky’s numbers the last few years, but with the recent PED issues, I don’t think I really want him to be the veteran example either.

          Heyward’s numbers aren’t off the charts in terms of power, and I’m not completely set that he has to be the guy. What I do like about him is that he came into the league at 20 years old as the #1 prospect in baseball and really impressed (18 HR, 72 RBI, .843 OPS, 2nd in ROY voting), he then struggled quite a bit in year 2 (.227 AVG, .708 OPS, 42 RBI), but worked on his craft and returned to form in year 3 (27 HR, 82 RBI, .814 OPS, 28th in MVP voting). He will be a 6 year veteran at 25 years old after next year. I think he would be the perfect combination of age/power/experience that the Cubs need in the OF, and a perfect guy to help the Bryant, Baez, Soler, Schwarber’s of the system find their way in the big leagues.

          If Atlanta is smart he’ll never see FA, but if he does he is exactly the type of guy the Cubs need to make a serious run for. Heck, if this team is at .500 come next July and ATL is selling, I would offer a nice little package of prospects and intl signing $ to snatch him up.

    • Denver Mike

      Looking at it, if Heyward was at 4 and Baez at 5 it could be S/L/R/L/R through the first 5 slots…not terrible.

      • VBCubs

        I wouldn’t mind Melky. Then in two years we could potentially see a lineup of this

        1- Alcantara CF
        2- Cabrera RF
        3- Bryant 3B
        4- Baez 2B
        5- Rizzo 1B
        6- Castro SS
        7- Schwarber LF
        8- Castillo C

        It’d be real cool if the NL added a DH so we could put Schwarber there and Kalish in the 9 hole and in the outfield.

        • Denver Mike

          In a perfect world I completely agree, but as I mention to Triple above all of those guys aren’t going to make it, and if/when they do they aren’t going to immediately be able to carry the team to the World Series. All of the players you mention above (outside of Schwarber) are likely deserving to be in the majors to begin 2015, but if they were to all come up at the same time and slot into that lineup without some proven veterans around them they would likely put up the worst W-L record in the Theo/Hoyer era. There has to be proven veterans around to teach them how to prepare for the grind of a 162 game season, how to handle the spotlight, how to struggle, and how to work through struggles and succeed. I personally don’t want a 30 year old former PED user as the veteran leader on a team full of young players trying to break into the league.

          I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’d just rather have a couple proven veterans with integrity to help ease the transition.