Joe Maddon broke down Friday’s game perfectly while pointing out the difference between the Cubs and Royals with one comment. “They showed us why they went to the World Series last year. We showed why we are not ready yet.”
The Royals make very few mistakes in the field and statistically have the best bullpen in the game. The Royals are 20-0 when they have the lead after seven innings and 25-0 when leading after eight innings according to the Sun-Times.
The Cubs’ pen ranks eighth in the National League and have blown the third most saves (8, 11-for-19) in the Senior Circuit, only the Diamondbacks and Marlins have lost more leads late in the game. Defensively, the Cubs lead the National League in errors (41).
The Cubs have been charged with 11 errors in the last seven games. The team has actually made more mistakes in the field over the last week than the 11 errors indicate. And it feels like every time this season the Cubs make a mistake, the other team takes advantage of the extra opportunities the Cubs have given them.
Maddon talked about the importance of pitching and defense prior to Friday’s game.
“On a nightly basis, the part of the game that should be more solid and consistent would be defense. That’s the area that, once you get good defenders, that is gonna show up every night. When you have a solid pitching staff with a good bullpen, that should show up most of the time, percentage-wise. Those are two constants that you can rely on every night.”
As Maddon pointed out there were a lot of good things to come out of Friday’s game that were forgotten after the ugly eighth inning.
The Cubs are not executing the fundamentals of the game. It’s been a long time since the Cubs played a complete game and there is a lot of work to do. At least for the first four games of this homestand, the players are able to see what it takes to be a first place team. And the front office is seeing firsthand what areas must be addressed to put the Cubs in a better position to win games.
The Cubs shifted the rotation Friday. Jason Hammel was scheduled to start Saturday night but was pushed back a day to give a cracked fingernail on his right hand a little longer to heal in between starts. Hammel has been dealing with the issue for a couple of weeks now.
Tsuyoshi Wada will take the hill on normal rest Saturday night and Jason Hammel will start Sunday afternoon.
According to a report from James Wagner, RHP Rafael Soriano left his agent, Scott Boras. Soriano is looking to sign with a team but remains a free agent. Changing agents points to Soriano blaming Boras for still being on the market. But according to Peter Gammons, Soriano’s market problem is not Scott Boras.
The Cubs are believed to be one of the teams in the mix for the veteran reliever.
Dale Sveum returned to Wrigley for a game for the first time since he managed the Cubs. Sveum told the Cubs beat writers he would like to manage again but he is not holding his breath. Sveum told Jesse Rogers he “loved managing the NL game but thinks it’s time for the DH in both leagues.”
As for being back at Wrigley and if it was weird for him to be in the visitor’s dugout, Sveum pointed out to Carrie Muskat that he has been on the visitor’s side more than in the Cubs dugout over the course of his career.
The Cubs released LHP Hunter Cervenka on Friday. Cervenka was the PTBNL in the trade that sent Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox in April 2012 for RHP Michael Bowden. Cervenka was in big league camp this past spring on a non-roster invite.
The 25-year old lefty really struggled at the Triple-A level this season. Cervenka appeared in 12 games and was 0-1 with an 11.08 ERA and a 2.77 WHIP. In 13 innings, he allowed 21 hits with 15 walks and 20 strikeouts. Between stops with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Cervenka was 1-1 in 15 appearances with an 8.83 ERA and a 2.37 WHIP.
PTBNL and the Draft
With the draft just over a week away, questions about the new PTBNL rule popped up on the site. Here is the report from May 2 in which the new rule is outlined.
According to a report from Dave Cameron, Major League Baseball and the Players Association closed a loophole in the rules and beginning this year teams will be able to trade players selected in the draft the day after the conclusion of the World Series.
In what will be known as the Trea Turner rule, teams received an email Friday that a change to the rule where teams could not trade a player selected in the draft until 12 months after he signed. As of this year “players selected in the Draft may be traded beginning on the day following the conclusion of the World Series” and drafted players cannot be used as players to be named later (PTBNL) in order to complete a trade.
From Dave Cameron: “Please be advised that the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association have agreed to amend the Major League Rules in advance of this year’s Rule 4 Draft with respect to players-to-be-named-later (“PTBNLs”) under Rule 12(e)(2), and the trading of draft picks under Rule 3(b)(6). …commencing with players eligible for the 2015 Rule 4 Draft, (a) players selected in the Draft may be traded beginning on the day following the conclusion of the World Series, and (b) drafted players cannot be PTBNLs unless they otherwise could be traded pursuant to Rule 3(b)(6), as amended, at the time of the trade.”
The change is a positive step forward for Major League Baseball. Draft picks should be allowed to be traded, but at least now players like Trea Turner will not have their development and careers put on hold.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Bruce Miles asked Joe Maddon why he doesn’t have his pitchers bunt. Maddon said “bunting is overrated” and he is “not bothered if pitchers strikeout to keep them off the bases if the bunt fails.”
• RHP Dallas Beeler had a bad outing Friday night. Beeler allowed nine runs, all earned, on five hits with three walks and a strikeout in 2 1/3 innings.
• Jorge Soler remains confident with men on base according to ESPN Chicago.
• The Cubs see Addison Russell taking a big step forward according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Joc Pederson is leading Kris Bryant in NL Rookie of the Year race according to Sports Illustrated.
• And speaking of Kris Bryant, click here for a different view of Bryant’s mammoth home run.
• ESPN’s Outside the Lines will focus on Wrigley Field and the renovations this Sunday morning.
• Johnny Cueto will not pitch until at least Tuesday according to a report from the Score.
• The Cubs are going to try to wear their Blackhawks jerseys during batting practice on Saturday.
• The Cubs dress code for the upcoming nine-game, three-city road trip is “a sport coat with shorts or chinos” and “if the players opt to wear sandals, their toe nail must be painted” … some stuff just writes itself and cannot be made up.
• Junior Lake is getting a fresh look from Joe Maddon according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Peter Gammons: The Importance of First-Round Draft Picks
• Jerry Dior, the designer of Major League Baseball’s logo, died on May 10 at the age of 82.
And last, but not least, Ron Santo was among 10 inductees into WGN Radio’s Walk of Fame on Friday.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs purchased Jim Brower from the Reds
2000 – Cubs released Brian Williams
1986 – Tony Campana, born
1983 – Jose Asencio, born
1983 – Jae Kuk Ryu, born
1972 – Manny Ramirez, born
1972 – Scott Eyre (Stevie Ire), born
1965 – Phillies purchased Lew Burdette from the Cubs
1963 – Ron Santo collected five hits in six trips to the plate. Santo doubled in the 12-0 victory over his favorite team, the Mets.
1956 – Cubs and Braves hit a combined 15 home runs in both games of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, Bobby Thompson hit four.
1927 – Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney turned an unassisted triple play in the fourth inning. Cooney snagged a liner from Paul Waner, stepped on second to double off Lloyd Waner and tagged Clyde Barnhart coming from first base. Cubs beat the Pirates 7-6 in 10 innings.
1922 – Cubs acquired Cliff Heathcote from the Cardinals for Max Flack, the trade was made in between games of a doubleheader
1912 – Cubs acquired Tommy Leach and Lefty Leifeld from the Pirates for King Cole and Solly Hofman
1910 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 6-1 in game one of a doubleheader behind Mordecai Brown. The Cubs won their 11th game in a row before losing the afternoon game 3-1.
1906 – Jack Pfiester struck out 17 batters in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis.
1888 – Bill Hutchinson pitched and won both ends of a doubleheader at Brooklyn 6-4 and 11-7. Hutchinson pitched all nine innings in each game.
1884 – Third baseman Ed Williamson became the first player in Major League history to his three home runs in a single game. The team now known as the Cubs beat Buffalo 12-2 in the second game of a doubleheader at Lakefront Park. Cubs won the first game 11-10.