The Cubs posted their third walk-off win of the season Wednesday night, the team’s first walk-off victory since April 18 when Starlin Castro delivered the game winner in the 11th inning against the Padres.
The Cubs improved to 9-6 in the 15 games the team has played that has been decided by one run. The Cubs nine victories in one-run contests are tied for most in the National League with the Giants (9-4). Five of the Cubs six wins in May have been decided by one-run.
In games decided by two runs or less, the Cubs are 10-7 in those 17 games this season. And the Cubs have won six games in their last at-bat this year.
The Cubs were 19-21 in games decided by one-run last season.
As Chris Coghlan pointed out following his walk-off walk Wednesday night, “We’re a totally different team than last year. This team is just different. I know you guys like to compare but you can’t compare to last year or the years before because we have so much more talent, we have different chemistry, we have different options. It’s exciting to be part of that.”
Jorge Soler did not have a good game Wednesday. Soler went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, grounded into two double plays and left five men on base. Soler had a chance to win the game in the ninth inning but could not put the ball in play.
The Cubs are not worried about Soler according to a report from ESPN Chicago. And the team is looking for a more consistent effort from him once the cold weather is gone for the spring and summer. Soler is batting .271/.329/.411 in 33 games with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and a .740 OPS. Soler has 11 walks with a league leading 49 strikeouts.
Soler is not producing with runners in scoring position, especially with two outs and with the bases loaded. Soler is 7-for-37 with a home run with RISP this season and 0-for-13 with one RBI with runners in scoring position and two outs. With the bases loaded this year, Soler is 0-for-3 with one RBI.
Joe Maddon told ESPN Chicago that Soler has “to go beyond the cold weather” and “organize his strike zone.” Maddon believes in Soler. He just thinks Soler is “going through a rough patch right now.”
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella played in an extended Spring Training game Wednesday, his second in as many days. La Stella played second base and third base and batted third in every inning.
La Stella has been on the 15-day DL since April 14 (retroactive to April 9) with right rib cage inflammation. La Stella wasn’t expected to miss more than 10 days when he landed on the disabled list.
The Cubs have not given a timeframe on when Tommy La Stella is expected to be back with the big league team.
Quality and Ultra-Quality Starts
• Quality starts (three runs or less in six innings): Jake Arrieta (5), Jason Hammel (5), Jon Lester (4), Travis Wood (2) and Kyle Hendricks (1).
• Ultra-Quality starts (two runs or less in seven innings or more): Arrieta (3), Hammel (3), Lester (2) and Wood (2).
The Cubs are 10-0 this year when the team receives an ultra-quality start. And the Cubs are 15-2 when they have received a quality start this season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• David Ross is the only player in baseball to be intentionally walked in the first inning this season and it has happened twice. Both times Jon Lester grounded out after he was walked.
• Miguel Montero has walked in each of the last nine games he’s played in. Montero is the first Cubs’ player to walk in nine straight games since Gary Matthews Jr. in 2001..
• The glove David Ross used when he pitched Saturday night in Milwaukee was ordered for him by Clay Buchholz.
• RHP Donn Roach had another good outing for Iowa. Roach completed seven innings Wednesday and allowed one earned run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Roach threw 98 pitches, 59 for strikes. Roach is 4-0 in seven starts with a 2.03 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP (10 runs on 36 hits with 11 walks and 18 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings).
• Junior Lake delivered the game winner for Iowa on Wednesday. Lake and the I-Cubs walked off with a 3-2 win on Lake’s two run single. Lake is batting .266/.351/.313 at the Triple-A level this year with a .664 OPS. Iowa has two walk off wins this season and Lake has the game winning RBI in both games.
• The Cubs are in the process of converting OF Jae-Hoon Ha into a pitcher. Ha pitched in an extended Spring Training game Wednesday. Ha’s fastball was in the 90-92 mph range and he threw a curveball in the 74-76 mph range.
• Kris Bryant has all of the bells and whistles according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• Curtis Granderson explained to Comcast SportsNet how to survive in a big market.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs found a way to beat the Mets on Matt Harvey Day.
• Jon Lester called Jake Arrieta the ace according to the Sun-Times.
• Joe Maddon did not get a chance to meet Eddie Vedder when he was at Wrigley on Tuesday night to sing the stretch. Maddon said, “Just like they want to be athletes, we all wanted to be rock musicians.”
• The Reds claimed RHP Ryan Mattheus off waivers Wednesday.
• According to Bruce Miles, James Russell is two games shy of tying Willie Hernandez for the most appearances for a left-handed pitcher in franchise history. Willie Hernandez appeared in 323 games over seven seasons (1977-83) for the Cubs. Russell has pitched in 321 games for the Cubs over six seasons.
And last, but not least, Jon Lester was flattered Derrick Rose’s son wore his jersey during a press conference.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Jim Edmonds
2000 – Sammy Sosa collected five hits, Henry Rodriguez drove in seven runs and Eric Young stole five bases in a 16-15 loss to the Expos. Young’s five steals were the most in franchise history since 1881 when George Gore swiped seven bases.
1989 – In his first at bat with the Cubs, Lloyd McClendon hit a three-run homer in a 4-0 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field. The Cubs acquired McClendon in the previous off-season from the Reds.
1978 – Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in eight runs for the second time in his career at Dodger Stadium. Kingman delivered the game winner for the Cubs in the 15th inning, a three-run homer.
1967 – Cubs purchased Ted Savage from the Cardinals
1967 – Cardinals purchased Don Young from the Cubs
1966 – Cubs signed free agent Frank Thomas
1948 – Dave LaRoche, born
1947 – Dick Tidrow, born
1938 – Cubs purchased Eddie Mayo from the Boston Bees
1918 – Wimpy Quinn, born
1883 – The Quakers, known now as the Phillies, beat the White Stockings, now known as the Cubs, at Lake Front Park in Chicago. The Quakers won the first game in franchise history with a 12-0 victory over the White Stockings. The Quakers began the season 0-8 and finished the season 17-81 in the eight-team National League.