The spotlight has been taken off the Cubs’ minor league system with the way the big league team is playing this year. It has been a good start to the season throughout the organization.
Albert Almora Jr. is heating back up after a short stay on the disabled list.
Albert Almora Jr. went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer on Saturday, his first longball of the season. Almora Jr. batted second in the lineup and played left field.
In 25 games for Double-A Tennessee this season, Albert Almora Jr. is batting .293/.330/.384 with a .714 OPS that includes four doubles, a triple, a home run, seven walks and 10 strikeouts.
Javier Baez put together a nine-pitch at bat during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game that ended with a double. Baez extended his hitting streak to seven games and went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a strikeout in Iowa’s 1-0 loss.
Javier Baez is batting .313/.389/.453 on the season after Saturday’s game.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella played in his second rehab game with the Smokies’ on Saturday night. La Stella hit leadoff for the second time and was the team’s DH. La Stella went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Edwards Jr. has appeared in 10 games out of the Smokies’ pen and has struck out 27 batters with 12 walks and 11 hits allowed in 17 2/3 innings (3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP).
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs did not win their 21st game last year until June 3, a 2-1 victory over the Mets.
• Jon Lester looks the part in the Cubs’ sixth straight win according to a report from the Sun-Times. ESPN reported Lester is settling in to his role as the Cubs ace. And Lester lived up to his ace status according to Comcast SportsNet. Joe Maddon thought Lester was fabulous Saturday.
• Jorge Soler went 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch Saturday. With the temperature rising Soler appears to be heating up. During the homestand (six games), Soler has reached base in five of the six games and is riding a modest three game hit streak. Soler is 6-for-21 with six walks and seven strikeouts. Soler is batting .281/.354/.410 on the season with a .765 OPS. The Cubs still see Soler as a monster player in the making according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And the Cubs ride the roller coaster with Jorge Soler according to the Tribune.
• Anthony Rizzo has seen the fewest pitches in the zone this year according to Baseball Savant. And there are two players in baseball this season with eight home runs and eight stolen bases according to Christopher Kamka … Anthony Rizzo and Justin Upton.
• Anthony Rizzo leads MLB in OBP (.469) and is third in the NL in batting average (.349), fifth in slugging (.612), fourth in OPS (1.082) and tied for sixth in stolen bases (8). Rizzo has hit safely in nine straight games (14-for-34).
• And according to Peter Gammons, Anthony Rizzo is the foundation of the new Cubs. The Hall of Famer went as far as saying the deal that landed Rizzo in Chicago is the “flipcard of Brock/Broglio.”
• Kris Bryant is fourth in the National League in walks (24), seventh in OBP (.425), 13th in OPS (.900) and eighth in RBI (24) despite missing the first eight games of the Cubs season. Bryant reached base in seven of 11 plate appearances in Friday and Saturday’s games. Bryant scored four runs and drove in four runs.
• On the day Travis Wood was moved to the bullpen, the Astros traded INF Ronald Torreyes to the Blue Jays for a PTBNL or cash. And the Reds announced LHP Sean Marshall will undergo shoulder surgery next week. Marshall has not been able to recover from surgery last year to repair a tear in his shoulder. The Cubs acquired Travis Wood, Ronald Torreyes and Dave Sappelt from the Reds for Sean Marshall in December 2011.
• For Joe Maddon, the world revolves around confidence according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Joe Maddon told the beat writers that Matt Szczur understood why he was optioned to Iowa. Szczur was “wonderful about it” according to Maddon. The Cubs had no other choice but to option Szczur out in order to bring in a reliever.
• Maddon likes what he sees from Kyle Hendricks despite the results according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Kris Bryant talked to Ken Rosenthal after Saturday’s game [Video].
And last, but not least, Manny Ramirez is with the Cubs and spotted in the clubhouse prior to Saturday’s game.
This Day In Cubstory
2006 – Cubs released Raul Valdes
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Enrique Wilson
1981 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Lum
1979 – Cubs lost to the Phillies 23-22 in 10 innings in one of the most famous games at Wrigley Field. Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in six runs. Bill Buckner hit a Grand Slam and drove in seven runs. The Cubs trailed 21-9 just to lose it in the 10th on a Mike Schmidt homer, one of two on the day for the Phillies’ third baseman. The two teams combined on 50 hits and 11 home runs. The 11 longballs tied a Major League record set at Wrigley Field in 1967 (Reds) and 1977 (Mets). In 2010, the MLB Network named it the 20th greatest game in the previous 50 years.
1978 – Carlos Pena, born
1977 – The Cubs tied a franchise record by hitting seven home runs in a 23-7 victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field. Larry Biittner hit two longballs … Dave Rosello, Gene Clines, Bobby Murcer, Jerry Morales and Steve Ontiveros each hit a homer.
1972 – Cubs traded Johnny Callison to the Yankees for Jack Aker
1952 – Porfi Altamirano, born
1949 – Cubs released Don Johnson
1927 – Cubs beat the Braves 4-3 in 22 innings in Boston. Charlie Grimm drove in Hack Wilson with the winning run. Wilson went 4-for-8. The Cubs collected 20 hits, the Braves had 15. Bob Osborn pitched the last 14 innings to earn the win. The Braves’ Bob Smith went the entire 22 innings and was hung with the loss. The game took four hours and 13 minutes to complete and is the longest game, in terms of innings, in franchise history.
1923 – Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning and beat the Phillies 7-4 in Philadelphia. All seven runs scored after two outs. Gabby Hartnett drove in the last two runs of the inning with a double. Grover Cleveland Alexander was the winning pitcher. In the first inning, Alexander walked Curt Walker and snapped his streak of 51 consecutive innings without issuing a free pass.
1892 – Hal Carlson, born