The Cubs didn’t pass their first test of the season in St. Louis. The Cubs went toe-to-toe with the best team in the National League for three games and should have won three of four instead of the other way around.
The gap between the Cubs and Cardinals has been shortened. But there is still a way to go and a lot the young core of the team must learn. The Cubs saw firsthand that a good team can capitalize on extra opportunities and miscues by the opposition. The Cubs just gave the Cardinals too many outs throughout the series.
During his post-game discussion with the beat writers, Joe Maddon said he was not discouraged by the series with the Cardinals. Maddon pointed out it is a long season. He thought his team “played really well for four games.” Maddon likes what he is seeing out of a lot of the players. The Cubs’ skipper also thinks “the pitching will come together” and the “young hitters will start figuring this stuff out.”
Maddon acknowledged there is a gap between the two teams, but mostly in “repetition or reps, experience.” And he added he “was pretty happy” with the group.
Over the course of the first month of the season, Joe Maddon pointed out that as long as he receives consistent effort the Cubs will win a lot of games. Maddon and his coaching staff have to make sure there is not a hangover effect from the series in St. Louis at Miller Park this weekend.
Even with dropping three of four against the Cardinals, the Cubs are 14-13, second in the NL Central and one of four teams in the Senior Circuit with a record above .500.
If the league is not reviewing one situation with Joe Maddon, MLB is reviewing another.
As expected, Major League Baseball is looking into the situation with Maddon that led to him being ejected from Wednesday night’s game in the sixth inning. Maddon argued balls and strikes with homeplate umpire D.J. Reyburn, and did not mix words following the game.
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada completed his fifth rehab start for Iowa on Thursday. And he was pretty good for the second outing in a row.
Wada allowed one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Wada threw 91 pitches, 60 for strikes. The only run he allowed, a solo homer by Joey Wendle in the first inning.
In five starts, Tsuyoshi Wada is 0-3 with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … 13 runs, 10 earned, on 28 hits with 10 walks and 23 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings.
Billy McKinney continues to impress at High-A Myrtle Beach. The 20-year old outfielder lifted the Pelicans to a 2-1 win on Thursday night with a walk-off home run. McKinney was 1-for-1 with a home run, four walks and two runs scored.
On the season, Billy McKinney is hitting .313/.431/.518 (26-for-83) with three doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .949 OPS. In 24 games, McKinney has walked (16) more times than he has struck out (11).
News, Notes and Rumors
• Iowa activated lefty reliever Drake Britton from the 7-day DL prior to Thursday’s game. Britton has appeared in four games prior to the stint on the disabled list and was 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP (three runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings).
• In catcher news, Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, the Indians were in the process of signing RHP Carlos Marmol to a minor league contract Thursday night.
• Clark was the answer to a Final Jeopardy question.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball issued a memo reminding teams of minority hiring practices.
• Jake Arrieta was not happy with the way he pitched Thursday. Arrieta said “it’s just frustrating” and admitted he has not been very good his last two times out.
• A scout Jon Heyman spoke to thinks Javier Baez could use a change of scenery.
• Jake Arrieta detailed his routine, what he does on a daily basis in between starts, with Jesse Rogers.
And last, but not least, according to Paul Sullivan, the Cubs are conducting tests Friday at Wrigley on the new sound system. Several reports, not from the team, have suggested the right field video board will be operational for the next homestand, which begins Monday. The tests on Friday would seem to fall in line with those reports if the Cubs are “working to find the right volume.” Sullivan said the tests would be completed by 8:00pm.
This Day In Cubstory
1991 – Cubs signed free agent Tom Filer
1973 – Ernie Banks replaced Cubs’ manager Whitey Lockman after he was ejected in the 11th inning of a game at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Banks was the Cubs’ skipper for two innings in a game the Cubs won 3-2 in 12 innings. Banks technically became the first African American manager in the history of the game.
1970 – Billy Williams hit a pair of home runs in a 10-7 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field. A total of nine home runs were hit at Wrigley on the afternoon.
1958 – Cubs traded Turk Lown to Redlegs for Hersh Freeman
1926 – Grover Cleveland Alexander beat the Giants 6-4 in what was Alexander’s final win with the Cubs.
1885 – Bill Powell, born
1850 – Ross Barnes, born