The Cubs are two games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2009 season, which means under Ricketts family ownership the Cubs had not been more than a game over .500 (2-1 after three games in 2013) until last night.
The Cubs are trying to avoid placing Tommy La Stella and Mike Olt on the disabled list. La Stella was not available Monday after missing all three games in Denver. And Mike Olt was a late scratch from Monday’s lineup. Reports indicated Joe Maddon said if the game would have continued past the 10th inning, Olt would have been an option. Multiple reports suggested the Cubs wanted to give him one more day to rest. Olt could be back in the starting lineup Tuesday.
The Cubs third base situation has gotten to the point where Chris Coghlan played third on Monday night after starting the game in left field. And Welington Castillo has also been taking grounders at third base.
If the injuries La Stella and Olt “linger” and one or both of the players land on the DL, Theo Epstein did not rule out calling up Kris Bryant early.
Nine days have come off the baseball calendar, which means Bryant could be called up in time for the Padres series this weekend. Or the Cubs can wait another week or so and make sure they are not short in gaining the extra year of control. The Cubs have to be careful and not call him up earlier than planned.
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, “One more factor to consider is an end-of-season tie for the playoffs. That would extend the regular season up to several days adding service to potentially giving him a full year if he comes up this Friday.”
When asked about third base following Olt’s scratch from the lineup, Epstein did not shoot down bringing up Bryant early. Epstein said “maybe, yeah, we’ll see” and the team “will weigh all the factors.”
If either player is placed on the DL, the Cubs could say that Bryant was called up to take the place of an injured player which would take some heat off the front office. Even if Bryant is called up “early” he will be past the point where the Cubs gain the extra year of control.
At the plate, Kris Bryant went 3-for-5 on Monday night in New Orleans. Bryant committed two throwing errors on Monday as well in Iowa’s 4-1 win over New Orleans. After five games, Bryant is 8-for-21 with a double and two home runs (.381/.375/.714) for a 1.089 OPS.
Jon Lester had another rough outing Monday night, his second in a Cubs’ uniform eight days after he officially made his first start with his new team.
Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein are not worried about Lester. The Sun-Times reported Lester has struggled in April throughout his career compared to the rest of the months on the baseball calendar.
Lester basically completed his fifth Spring Training start Monday, according to the Cubs’ brass. Lester will be able to get into his routine now. And unless there is another weather delay or Maddon changes his rotation, Lester will pitch against in six days.
Jon Lester took responsibility for his performance. Lester said he has to do better and there “is a lot of work to be done.” Lester also explained what happened on the pick off throws to first base. He said it was good to throw to first. But the reason the second throw over sailed past Anthony Rizzo is Lester got excited when he saw Zack Cozart leaning.
The six earned runs Lester allowed Monday was the most in a single game since May 22, 2014 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Manny Ramirez was at Wrigley Field on Monday. Ramirez is scheduled to be at Wrigley this week (throughout homestand) to work with the hitters.
Ramirez told the beat writers he likes what he has seen early this season from the Cubs. The team is working counts and has been showing patience.
Manny Ramirez reached out to Javier Baez after his sister passed away last week. Ramirez told Baez to “Leave everything to God” according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
The Cubs need Javier Baez back at second base according to Ramirez.
Manny Ramirez described Baez has “an unbelievable kid” and he thinks Baez has “a bright future” in the game.
Six games into the season Jorge Soler notched the second multi-homer game of his career, first at Wrigley Field. Soler launched two home runs Monday night, one to left and the other to straight away center. Soler drove in a career-high four runs.
The 23-year old outfielder is batting .302/.320/.652 (7-for-23) with a triple and two home runs for a .972 OPS.
Cubs to Collect Funds for Illinois Tornado Victims
The Cubs announced Monday the team will collect funds for Illinois Tornado Victims at Tuesday’s game.
The Cubs and its fans will help those affected by tornadoes that swept through Fairdale and Rochelle, Illinois, last week, during Tuesday night’s Cubs vs. Reds game.
Cubs’ associates will collect monetary donations at the gates at Wrigley Field before the start of the game. Money raised during the evening will benefit the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a campaign of the McCormick Foundation to support nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hit hardest by the tornadoes.
Proceeds from the night’s Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle also will benefit the cause.
The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, a campaign of the McCormick Foundation, supports nonprofit agencies providing disaster relief and recovery efforts to those communities hit hardest by the tornadoes. The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar. All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100 percent of all funds raised, plus the match, to be granted directly to nonprofit organizations helping those most affected by the storm.
Fans who cannot attend the game but would like to make a donation to the tornado disaster relief effort can give through Sunday, April 19, by visiting Cubs.com/give.
Fifth Annual Bricks and Ivy Ball Raises More Than $1.35 Million for Cubs Charities
Last Wednesday night, guests gathered at Union Station to show their support for Cubs Charities at the fifth annual Bricks and Ivy Ball. The event collected more than $1.35 million to support Cubs Charities’ programs. The evening featured the 2015 Chicago Cubs team and coaching staff, who mingled with more than 700 guests in attendance.
Cubs Charities sponsors three ongoing Signature Programs to further its mission to increase access to sports opportunities and target improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Program promotes a fitness plan and healthy eating campaign while encouraging kids to “Play Every Day.” The Cubs Charities Diamond Project expands opportunities for children to play baseball by creating or preserving green space and baseball facilities. Finally, the Cubs Scholars program offers quality scholarship and financial contributions for Chicago area high school students, coupled with a program that promotes academic achievement and encourages post-secondary educational advancement.
“Each year, we look forward to our Bricks and Ivy Ball as a way to celebrate the impact Cubs Charities is making in communities all across Chicago,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts in a statement. “We are proud of the success of this event over the last five years. The support from our fans, corporate Chicago, and our coaches, players and front office help to fuel our community outreach and charitable giving. Together, we are creating a brighter future for Chicago’s next generation of all-stars.”
Last year, the Cubs and Cubs Charities combined to support donations of more than $4.5 million and thousands of autographed items, experiences and tickets to deserving nonprofit organizations. For more information, please visit www.cubscharities.org.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Mark Gonzales, prior to Dexter Fowler’s two-run homer Sunday, the last time the Cubs won a game in which they were trailing with two outs and down to the last strike was Sept. 21, 2012 against the Cardinals. Darwin Barney hit a game-tying two-run homer on a 1-2 pitch in the ninth. The Cubs won 5-4 in 11 innings.
• Joe Maddon called Jorge Soler’s throw that nailed Zack Cozart ten feet from the third base bag in the second inning “ridiculous.” And Soler’s raw power reminds Jon Lester a little bit of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz according to ESPN Chicago and Comcast SportsNet.
• And Jorge Soler admitted he was nervous making the curtain call Monday night.
• Javier Baez could return to the I-Cubs by the end of the week according to Patrick Mooney.
• Joe Maddon acknowledged the fact all three of his catchers would like more playing time. Maddon said he hopes to get Welington Castillo a start against a left-handed starting pitcher.
• Carrie Muskat provided injury updates: Justin Grimm is rehabbing at the Cubs facility in Arizona. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada threw 72 pitches over five innings Sunday. And Dallas Beeler is scheduled to pitch midweek.
• The Mets are being careful with Noah Syndergaard after he felt tightness in his right forearm according to Anthony DiComo.
• The Dodgers essentially paid $2.75 million for a competitive balance draft pick according to Hardball Talk. MLB has to correct this loophole in the rules.
• The Cubs offense is balanced to win according to Bruce Levine.
And last, but not least, it was from perverse to first place for the Cubs on Monday night according to the Sun-Times.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Casey Coleman
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Kevin Gregg
2013 – Cubs selected Kameron Loe off waivers from the Mariners
2000 – Cubs traded Ray King to the Brewers for Doug Johns
1988 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Pedro Castellano
1978 – A record Opening Day crowd of 45,777 at Wrigley Field saw the Cubs edge the Pirates 5-4 on Larry Biittner’s ninth inning home run.
1976 – Kyle Farnsworth, born
1972 – Cubs signed free agent Art Shamsky
1966 – Greg Maddux, born
1966 – Ty Cline collected five hits and two RBI as the Cubs beat the Giants 9-4 in San Francisco.
1936 – Billy Herman set a Major League Opening Day record with a single, three doubles and a home run as the Cubs and Lon Warneke topped Dizzy Dean and the Cardinals 12-7 in St. Louis. Frank Demaree hit two home runs, and both Chuck Klein and Gabby Harnett also went deep in the win.
1934 – Marty Keough, born
1926 – Charlie Root made his Cubs debut in a complete game victory over the Reds, 9-2, in Cincinnati. The Cubs scored seven runs in the fifth inning and turned four double plays.
1925 – The first regular season Cubs game was broadcast on the radio. Quin Ryan called the game on WGN from the grandstand roof as the Cubs beat the Pirates 8-2 before 38,000 at the season opener at Wrigley Field. Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched a complete game and collected a single, a double and a home run at the plate.
1922 – Cap Anson passed away in Chicago at St. Luke’s Hospital at the age of 70.
1899 – The Chicago National League Ball Club beat Louisville on Opening Day 15-1 behind seven doubles. Bill Lange and Jimmy Ryan both hit two doubles and Clark Griffith pitched a complete game.
1893 – Ben Tincup, born