Addison Russell made his Major League debut last Tuesday and hasn’t played a game at Wrigley Field yet. Obviously that will change Monday night when the youngest player in the National League crosses the lines at the old ballyard at the corner of Clark and Addison.
While he has not hit the way some thought he would, Addison Russell had his hands in both of the Cubs’ wins in Cincinnati. Russell made the game changing play in the field Friday night when he threw out Billy Hamilton at first base leading off the fifth inning. And he delivered the bases clearing, three-run double in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game.
After five games, Russell is 3-for-22 with two doubles, four RBI, no walks and 12 strikeouts (.136/.136/.227). And Joe Maddon is not concerned about Russell in any way. Maddon knows Russell is going to hit, it’s just going to take a little time and patience.
Addison Russell said Sunday that he started seeing the ball a little better and he admitted that he is sticking with his approach. Russell has to stay patient with himself and not try to do too much.
According to ESPN Chicago, Russell will have his family, fiancée and friends on hand to watch his first game at Wrigley Field. And Addison Russell is excited to play at Wrigley for the first time “in that atmosphere.”
Veteran lefty James Russell re-signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal on April 8 and he has been pretty good in four appearances out of the Iowa Cubs bullpen.
James Russell has given up three hits with no walks or runs in 6 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts.
While Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio are sorting out the bullpen at the big league level, Russell could be an option in the near future.
According to Bruce Levine, Russell could be back in the Cubs’ pen within the next week to 10 days. If Levine is correct, the Cubs will have to clear a spot for him on the 40-man roster and on the active roster.
Buster’s Top 10
After a 4-2 road trip and a 10-7 record to start the season, the Cubs stayed in Buster Olney’s Top 10 for the week. Olney ranked the Cubs the seventh best team in baseball.
Olney’s Top 10: Cardinals, Tigers, Mets, Royals, Dodgers, Pirates, Cubs, Rays, Angels and Astros.
Joe Maddon announced prior to Sunday’s game that he and Chris Bosio tweaked the starting rotation after the rainout.
Instead of Travis Wood opening the series against the Pirates, Jason Hammel moved up a day to stay on regular rest and will start Monday. Travis Wood gets the ball on Tuesday and Kyle Hendricks will start the finale on Wednesday.
The Cubs have Thursday off before welcoming the Brewers to Wrigley.
Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel are lined up to face Milwaukee in the three-game weekend series.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs lead the National League in pitches per plate appearance (3.93 entering play Sunday). When asked about the Cubs leading the league, Joe Maddon told the beat writers, “We’re just not up there hacking, we’re working mindful at-bats.”
• According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs have several players among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearance. Anthony Rizzo (4.18) is tenth in the NL, Jorge Soler (3.95) and Dexter Fowler (3.86) rank in the top 40 and Addison Russell (4.50), on a very small sample size, has seen more than any player on the Cubs roster outside of the 5.00 pitches per plate appearance that Tommy La Stella saw in the two games he played in.
• After nine games, Kris Bryant has very close to a 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Bryant entered play Sunday with eight walks and eight strikeouts. Bryant left Cincinnati with nine strikeouts and eight walks and his patience is paying off according to ESPN Chicago.
• Joe Maddon is not worried about Jorge Soler according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Soler is just expanding right now according to Maddon, he just needs to be a little less eager and go back to organizing the strike zone.
• Joel Sherman looked at the early season flukes, fads and flops and thinks the Cubs could remain contenders if Jon Lester gets straightened out.
• According to Jon Heyman, in the wake of the Adam Wainwright season ending injury, Max Scherzer advocated for the DH in both leagues. The Cardinals placed Wainwright on the 15-day DL on Sunday because of a left Achilles and ankle injury. The announcement is expected Monday that Wainwright will be out for the remainder of the season.
• The Sun-Times asked if the Cardinals’ loss of Adam Wainwright is a gain for the upstart Cubs.
• Jake Arrieta dealt with command issues in the fourth and fifth innings of Sunday’s start and held the Reds to two runs. Arrieta kept his team in a position to win the game. Arrieta showed how far he’s come in his time with the Cubs compared to where he was in Baltimore according to Comcast SportsNet.
• The Cubs have played good ball on the road according to the Sun-Times.
• The Cubs see things starting to come together after sweep of Reds according to Comcast SportsNet.
• According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs are keeping their heads down while winning.
And last, but not least, Clint Hurdle said Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero are key to the Cubs.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Tommy Hottovy
2008 – Cubs released Les Walrond
1981 – Joey Gathright, born
1981 – Cubs traded Barry Foote to the Yankees for Tom Filer and cash
1969 – Cubs traded James Armstrong and cash to the Reds for Don Nottebart
1959 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Tony Balsamo
1958 – Hank Sauer, playing for the Giants, grounded into a triple play (pitcher Dick Drott to second baseman Tony Taylor to first baseman Dale Long) in a Cubs 5-4 win over the Giants at Seals Stadium in San Francisco.
1955 – San Diego of the Pacific Coast League purchased Cal McLish from the Cubs
1922 – For the second time in as many days, Ray Grimes drove in the tying and winning runs as the Cubs beat the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
1896 – Rogers Hornsby, born