The Daily CCO: Whole Lotta Swingin’ Going On, Weekend Headlines and Other Cubs News

It was a rather busy weekend for the Chicago Cubs and an excitement around the team that has been missing with Javier Baez making his Wrigley Field debut. The Cubs salvaged the finale against the Rays with yet another extra innings game, the sixth time in 12 games it took more than nine innings to decide the outcome.

Javier Baez went 4-for-15 over the weekend with a double, a RBI and nine strikeouts. Baez has hit safely in five of his first six games (.276/.276/.621) with four extra base hits and a .897 OPS.

As a team, the Cubs struck out 44 times in the three games against the Rays and tied the record of the most strikeouts in a three-game stretch in the Modern Era (1900). Saturday and Sunday also marked the first time since 1914 a Cubs team struck out 15 or more times in back-to-back games.

A lot is being made about the amount of swinging and missing the Cubs did over the weekend against an excellent Rays pitching staff. But as the prospects are promoted from the minors and integrated onto the Major League roster, the strikeouts will continue to pile up for the Cubs as players such as Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant learn how to hit Major League pitching.

Ryan Kalish

The Cubs announced Sunday that Ryan Kalish passed through waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs designated Kalish for assignment Friday to make room on the roster for RHP Jacob Turner.

PrintRyan Kalish made the Cubs roster out of Spring Training but in 39 games, Kalish hit only .242/.303/.330 with two doubles and three triples for a .633 OPS. Kalish was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on May 26 but he did not hit while receiving regular playing time. In 67 games, Kalish managed a .219/.306/.367 line with 11 doubles, three triples and five home runs.

Ryan Kalish can become a free agent at the end of the season.

Cubs Bullpen

The usage of the bullpen arms remains a concern for the Cubs with 20 days left before the roster expands for the final month of the season. Brian Schlitter was placed on the 15-day DL prior to Sunday’s game with shoulder inflammation to make room on the roster for Neil Ramirez, whose DL stint was seen as more of a break than an actual injury.

Rick Renteria admitted to Bruce Levine that handling the bullpen “has probably been the most challenging part of the job” and making sure the young arms have not been overworked has been the reason the Cubs have stayed with an eight-man bullpen for a majority of the year.

The Cubs’ pen currently consists of Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, Wesley Wright, Kyuji Fujikawa, Carlos Villanueva and Jacob Turner. With one scheduled day off (Aug. 25) until the roster expands Sept. 1, the relief corps would benefit from the starters at least completing six innings and pitching into the seventh inning each time out.

News and Notes

Left handed hitters are batting .143/.182/.143 against LHP Tsuyoshi Wada in a small sample size at the Major League level this season.

The Cubs have played free baseball in six of the last 12 games, the first such stretch since the Cubs played six extra innings games out of 12 from June 9-20, 1983.

Arismendy Alcantara has come a long way in a short time in centerfield. Sunday marked the 23rd time this season, between Triple-A Iowa and the Majors, that Alcantara played the outfield. And he’s adjusting rather well according to his skipper. Rick Renteria told ESPN Chicago he is “reading a ball off the bat and his reaction time is very good.” Alcantara showed off his range in center during the weekend series against the Rays, but he realizes he still has work to do in center as he learns the position.

Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to 13 games Sunday and is batting .364/.553/.788 in his last 10 games with two doubles, four home runs, 11 walks, 12 strikeouts and a 1.341 OPS.

Jorge Soler has 11 hits in his last 10 games and eight of those have gone for extra bases (five doubles, three home runs). Soler is batting .309/.433/.709 in 18 games with Iowa. Soler is 17-for-55 with seven doubles, five home runs, 12 walks, 12 strikeouts and a 1.142 OPS.

Mike Olt smacked three home runs in two games (Saturday and Sunday) and is batting .338/.372/.649 with eight doubles, five home runs, four walks, 23 strikeouts and a 1.020 OPS in 19 games with Iowa.

Addison Russell has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games and is now batting .308/.357/.556 in 31 games with Double-A Tennessee with five doubles, eight home runs and a .913 OPS. And over his last 10 games, three walks and six strikeouts.

Jacob Turner is excited for a fresh start with the Cubs.

The Cubs are trying to help Junior Lake get back on track.

Chris Valaika hopes he gets a chance to stick with the Cubs according to a report from Tony Andracki. Valaika likes his role with the team and wants to be part of the Cubs rebuild moving forward.

Weekend Headlines

It was a rather busy weekend for the Cubs. From Javier Baez’s home debut, to the roster moves, to the Phillies pulling Cole Hamels back from waiver to Jason McLeod discussing the farm system, and it all began with a little rambling.

This Day In Cubstory

2010 – Cubs traded Mike Fontenot to the Giants for Evan Crawford

2006 – Cubs signed free agent Mac Suzuki

2005 – Gregg Maddux tossed a complete game against the Cardinals and snapped the Cubs eight-game losing streak. Maddux posted the 314th win of his career.

2003 – Kerry Wood became the youngest pitcher in Major League history to reach the 1,000 strikeout mark. Wood set the record in 134 games. The Cubs lost to the Astros 3-1.

2002 – Sammy Sosa hit a grand slam and a run scoring double against the Rockies and set a National League record with 14 RBI in a two-game stretch. The Padres’ Nate Colbert (1972) and the Cardinals’ Mark Whiten (1993) held the previous record (13).

1981 – Cubs traded Jesus Figueroa, Jerry Martin and Mike Turgeon to the Giants for Phil Nastu and Joe Strain

1972 – Milt Pappas drove in five runs with a single, a double and a home run in the Cubs 7-2 victory over the Mets at Wrigley Field

1968 – Billy Williams hit two home runs, a three-run inside the park homer in the 15th inning and a two-run homer in the sixth. Don Kessinger recorded five hits in seven trips to the plate as the Cubs beat the Reds 8-5 in Cincinnati

1966 – Randy Hundley hit for the cycle and drove in three runs in the Cubs 9-8 victory over the Astros at Wrigley Field

1961 – Warren Spahn beat the Cubs 3-1 in Milwaukee for the 300th win of his career

1941 – Phil Cavarretta, Stan Hack and Bill Nicholson went back-to-back-to-back in the fifth inning, but the Cubs lost 7-5 to the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. The three-straight homers in the fifth inning marked the first time in Cubs history three players hit three consecutive longballs.

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Quote of the Day

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