Even with a disappointing weekend in which the Cubs were in a position to sweep the Padres, Buster Olney ranked the Cubs in his top ten. The Cubs are 6-5 after 11 games and have a very challenging road trip and stretch of games ahead of them.
The Cubs have played good ball. One cannot help to be disappointed with a 3-3 homestand.
According to Buster Olney, the top 10 teams in baseball are: Tigers, Dodgers, Mets, Royals, Cardinals, Red Sox, Athletics, Padres, Cubs and Braves. And based on winning percentage, the Cubs (.545) falls in behind the Tigers (.833), Mets (.769), Dodgers (.750), Royals (.750), Cardinals (.727), Braves (.667), Padres (.615), Rockies (.583), Orioles (.583) and Red Sox (.583).
Bullpen and Relief Options
Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio have work to do with the bullpen and are going to need help from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to find solutions for the pen.
The Cubs bullpen was off to a good start prior to Neil Ramirez landing on the DL. Before Ramirez went on the DL, the Cubs had the best pen in the National League, second only to the Royals in all of baseball. But with Ramirez and Justin Grimm on the disabled list, the relievers the team was counting on have really struggled. Plus the early use of Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Jason Motte showed up during the weekend series with the Padres.
In the first 11 games, Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop have appeared in seven games. And both Jason Motte and Phil Coke have pitched in six games. With Maddon already dealing with a short bench due to carrying three catchers, an eight-man bullpen is not feasible.
The Cubs do not have any options on the 40-man roster right now either. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada has completed one rehab start and is working his way back. RHP Dallas Beeler is getting close but he’s not ready after dealing with injuries this spring. And C.J. Edwards hasn’t exactly thrived in his new role as a reliever in Double-A. With Phil Coke and Zac Rosscup on the active roster, it doesn’t appear the Cubs would carry a third lefty which would take Joseph Ortiz and possible non-roster reliever James Russell out of the mix.
RHP Blake Parker was placed on the minor league 7-day disabled list Sunday. According to the Des Moines Register, Parker landed on the DL because of his elbow. The Des Moines Register did not provide any details as to the extent of the injury or how long Parker could be out.
There are power arms in the system that figure to be part of the Cubs bullpen down the road. But the likes of Armando Rivero, Corey Black and Donn Roach are not ready to take the ball in a big league game.
The Cubs might have to look outside the organization to bring in a reliever or relievers in order to keep from burning out the backend of the pen while waiting for Grimm and Ramirez to return.
Wintrust W to Stay Lit Up Following Wins at Wrigley
The Vine Line reported the Cubs will leave the ‘W’ in the Wintrust sign above the left field video board lit up after victories at Wrigley Field this season.
According to Vine Line, “After each Cubs win at Wrigley Field, the team will keep the Wintrust ‘W’ lit above the new video board once the ballpark lights turn off. The concept of keeping a blue light shining after a Cubs win is not new. During the major renovation of 1937, when the team constructed the modern-style bleachers and scoreboard and planted the ivy, the idea came about to install two lights atop the scoreboard along the W and L flags. That way, commuters on the El would still be able to tell if the Cubs won or lost even after it got dark and it was no longer possible to see the flags.”
The team installed a blue light on the third base side of the scoreboard that would be lit on the days the Cubs won. A white light was installed on the first base side and would shine when the Cubs lost the game.
The Anthony Rizzo Disco
According to a report from Bruce Levine, Anthony Rizzo hosts a dance party inside the clubhouse following every win at Wrigley Field. Rizzo started the post-game celebration last year that features “blasting music, disco light shows and smoke bombing.” By the time the media is let into the clubhouse, according to Levine there are “no traces of the electric party that lasts five to eight minutes.”
Rizzo’s disco caught Kris Bryant off guard Saturday. But Bryant admitted he really enjoyed and he hopes “to be partying in the disco clubhouse a lot this season.”
Kris Bryant reached base two times Sunday and recorded his first extra basehit, a double. Bryant has been base seven times in his last nine plate appearances. The Sun-Times was quick to point out this weekend Bryant is drawing a buzz that has not been heard since Mark Prior in 2002.
And while some were expecting more from Kris Bryant during his first weekend in the big leagues, he went 3-for-10 with a double, three walks and four strikeouts (.300/.500/.400) for a .900 OPS.
Kris Bryant, Kris Bryant and Kris Bryant … that’s what the Cubs weekend was all about. The Cubs could have won all three games against the Padres, but settled for only one extra inning win. The Cubs finished the homestand with a 3-3 record.
The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves. Outside from Bryant being added to the 40-man roster, RHP Neil Ramirez and INF Mike Olt were placed on the DL. Matt Szczur was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the active roster for Gonzalez Germen. Chris Denorfia was activated from the DL.
Here are the links to all of the news you can use from the weekend:
- Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/17/15
- Rambling About the Cubs from First Place
- The Daily CCO: The Wait is Over … It’s Kris Bryant Day
- From the Wire: Cubs Place RHP Neil Ramirez on 15-Day DL, Activate OF Chris Denorfia
- From the Wire: Cubs Select Contract of Kris Bryant from Triple-A Iowa, Place INF Mike Olt on 15-Day DL
- Two Pitches, Two Home Runs and a Cubs Loss – Padres 5, Cubs 4
- Addison Russell Playing Second Base Throughout the Weekend and Cubs News from the Farm
- The Daily CCO: Time for the Cubs to Just Play Baseball
- Mike Olt Could Miss More Time than First Expected with Broken Wrist
- Starlin Castro Delivers a Happy Ending in Extra Innings – Cubs 7, Padres 6
- The Daily CCO: Day Two Much Better for Bryant, the Red Bull Commercial and Other Cubs News
- From the Wire: Cubs Option OF Matt Szczur to Triple-A Iowa, Select Contract of RHP Gonzalez Germen
- Lester is Not More in Finale with Friars – Padres 5, Cubs 2
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jon Lester is slowly finding his way with the Cubs according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• C Taylor Teagarden was activated from the DL prior to Sunday’s game with Oklahoma City. Teagarden was added to Iowa’s active roster. Teagarden did not start the season on time due to a sore shoulder.
• Addison Russell started at second base Sunday for the third time in three games. Russell is 0-for-6 since Kris Bryant was promoted. Russell is still 11-for-37 in nine games with two doubles, one home run, one walk and five strikeouts in nine games (.297/.308/.432/.740).
• Chris Coghlan collected the 500th hit of his career Sunday afternoon, a RBI single in the second inning that plated Jorge Soler.
• Chris De Luca pointed out … since starting the season 1-for-13, Dexter Fowler is 12-for-35 with five walks and eight runs over the last eight games.
• Ernie Banks’ will was confirmed. It was determined, according to the Tribune, Banks was of sound mind when he signed the document that gave his caregiver, Regina Rice, all of his assets.
• Joe Maddon showed support for RIC after Friday’s game. Maddon will wear a different t-shirt after each Friday home game this season showing his support for the organization as part of his “Respect Community” initiative.
• Bruce Levine spoke with Jon Lester after Sunday’s loss to the Padres.
• The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have had more postponements in the last week (4) than all of last season (3) according to Nathan Barnett.
• RHP Barret Loux talked to the Des Moines Register about being healthy and bouncing back from injuries.
And last, but not least, Reds’ manager Bryan Price admitted to the St. Louis media his team doesn’t anticipate winning at Busch Stadium. The Reds have lost the last nine series at Busch and were swept in St. Louis over the weekend. Since Aug. 15, 2006, the Reds are 21-49 at Busch Stadium.
This Day In Cubstory
1997 – In the second game of a doubleheader, the Cubs stopped its 14-game slide to start the season with a 4-3 victory over the Mets. In losing the first game of the twin bill, the Cubs set a National League record for the most consecutive losses to start a season (0-14). The Baltimore Orioles own the big league record. The O’s dropped the first 21 games of the 1988 season.
1986 – Cubs and Pirates played to an 8-8 tie in 13 innings. The game was suspended due to darkness and completed on August 11. The Cubs lost the game 10-8 in 17 innings.
1977 – Cubs acquired Pete Broberg from the Mariners for a PTBNL. The Cubs sent Jim Todd to the Mariners on October 25, 1977 to complete the trade.
1973 – Todd Hollandsworth, born
1972 – Cubs purchased Tom Phoebus from the Padres.
1950 – Willie Prall, born
1950 – Milt Wilcox, born
1946 – White Sox selected Whitey Platt off waivers from the Cubs.
1926 – Hack Wilson hit the first home run of his career in a Cubs’ uniform. Wilson smacked a solo blast in the sixth inning off Wit Reinhart of the Cardinals. The Cubs, behind Wilbur Cooper beat the Cardinals 7-0 in St. Louis
1923 – Cubs beat the Pirates 12-11 on a Gabby Harnett homer in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Hartnett and Barney Friberg hit two homers each and both Arnold Statz and Cliff Heathcote hit one longball. Charlie Grimm also homered for the Cubs, who hit 12 homers in a two-day span.
1923 – Preston Gomez, born
1916 – Cubs played its first game at the corner of Clark and Addison in what is now known as Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Reds 7-6 in 11 innings. The Cubs scored two runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth to force extra innings. Vic Saier delivered the game winning, a RBI single in the 11th inning. 20,000 fans showed up to see the Cubs in their new ballpark, Weeghman Park that was later renamed Cubs Park before it was named Wrigley Field in 1926.
1904 – Pirates purchased Bobby Lowe from the Cubs.
1888 – Jimmy Ryan hit the first leadoff home run of his career as the Chicago National League Ball Club topped Indianapolis 5-4. Ryan hit 22 leadoff homers over the course of his career, 20 for the Chicago National League Ball Club.
1880 – Charlie Smith, born