The Comeback Cubs struck again Tuesday night. And 13 games in the season the Cubs are giving the fan base reasons not to turn off the game.
After Tuesday’s game, Joe Maddon said he is proud of the entire group and pointed out the team is playing at a high level both mentally and physically. And Starlin Castro said the Cubs would not have won the games they have this season a year ago.
Last season, the Cubs were 0-79 when trailing going into the ninth inning, this year the Cubs are 2-5.
Starlin Castro admitted if the Cubs were losing after seven innings last season they would quit. Castro was quick to point out, this team doesn’t quit. The Cubs now play for nine innings.
The Sun-Times reported Tuesday was the first time in his six-year career that Starlin Castro played on a team that is three games over .500. Castro said this is what they’ve been waiting for, to play for a team that has a chance to win games.
Starlin Castro collected his third three-hit game of the season. Castro is 19-for-54 with one double, two home runs, two walks and eight strikeouts (.352/.375/.481) for a .856 OPS. Castro has 26 total bases in 13 games.
The Cubs have spent more days over .500 this year than the last five seasons combined.
The Young Cubs
Joe Maddon talked about his young roster following Tuesday night’s game. Even with Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara not on the active roster right now, the Cubs have three of the six youngest players on the roster in the National League (Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant). And two infielders in Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro that are only 25 years old.
Maddon said, “It’s not going to be an oil painting every night. But if you have a creative mind’s eye, you can see over the next couple year what it’s going to look like.”
The no quit attitude of the offense pushed the issues with the bullpen from the headlines and took Brian Schlitter and Jason Motte off the hook. Joe Maddon still fielded questions about his pen following Tuesday’s win but nowhere near what he would have gotten had the team lost the game.
Maddon said he thought Travis Wood was done for the night when he issued a free pass to Neil Walker to start the sixth. Maddon believed the pen could get the job done.
Maddon added that he has only so many relievers and he cannot burn out the pen in April. And Maddon admitted the Cubs have to get Brian Schlitter straightened out.
Schlitter said he has to do a better job, but pointed to bad luck more than poor execution as the reason for another rough outing.
Once again, the front office, Joe Maddon and the coaching staff are going to have to find solutions to the bullpen issues. Cubs’ relievers have been charged with 12 runs in the last four games.
Right now, there are not any options on the 40-man roster other than lefty Joseph Ortiz. Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Dallas Beeler, Blake Parker, Jacob Turner and Tsuyoshi Wada are on the DL. Eric Jokisch could land on the disabled list Wednesday. And C.J. Edwards just isn’t ready.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 40 players. In order to give another reliever from the system a chance to grab a job, room on the big league reserve roster will have to be created.
Jorge Soler is quietly going about his business. Soler started another run scoring inning Tuesday. Soler was only 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
For the season (13 games), Jorge Soler is 18-for-55 with three doubles, a triple and two home runs (.327/.367/.527) for a .894 OPS.
There is nothing quiet about what Kris Bryant has been doing at the plate. Bryant has three multi-hit games out of his first five games played. Bryant went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and drove in two runs Tuesday.
After five games, Bryant is 11-for-18 with three doubles, five walks, four strikeouts (.444/.583/.611) for a 1.194 OPS and six RBI.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from Tommy Birch, LHP Eric Jokisch will be placed on the 7-day minor league DL with a blister on his pitching hand.
• INF Mike Olt was transferred to the 60-day DL prior to Tuesday’s game to create a spot on the 40-man roster for INF Addison Russell.
• ESPN Chicago pointed out the OBP of four of the Cubs starters … Kris Bryant: .583; Anthony Rizzo: .475; Starlin Castro: .375; Jorge Soler: 367.
• According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Scott Boras would like an expert panel, not teams, to determine if a player is ready for the big leagues.
• Buster Olney reported, “Among players I’ve talked to privately, virtually no support to the notion Bryant service-time issue should be a collective-bargaining priority.”
And last, but not least, according to a report from the Sun-Times, Addison Russell thought he would be playing the entire season for the Iowa Cubs. The call he received really surprised him. Russell knows he’s in the big leagues for a reason.
This Day In Cubstory
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Kerry Ligtenberg
1993 – Cubs current pitching coach, Chris Bosio pitched a no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners. Bosio walked the first two batters he faced and Omar Vizquel made several plays behind Bosio to keep the no hitter intact. Bosio recorded the no-no in a 7-0 win over the Red Sox and made only 97 pitches.
1980 – Ivan DeJesus hit for the cycle and Barry Foote drove in eight runs that included a game-winning Grand Slam with two outs in the ninth in a 16-12 victory over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The Cubs trailed 12-6 at one point and Barry Foote tied the game in the eighth with a solo home run.
1976 – Cubs released Tom Dettore
1970 – Cubs traded Jim Qualls to the Expos for Garry Jestadt
1966 – Mickey Morandini, born
1959 – Terry Francona, born
1934 – Lon Warneke pitched his second consecutive one-hitter. Ripper Collins recorded a double in the fifth inning. The Cubs pounded the Cardinals 15-2 in St. Louis behind 22 hits. Gabby Hartnett and Chuck Klein homered and the Cubs did the damage against Dizzy and Daffy Dean.
1908 – Fabian Kowalik, born
1901 – Taylor Douthit, born
1895 – Bob Smith, born