The Cubs bounced back from a rough road trip with an impressive four-game sweep over the Mets. The Cubs took advantage of the extra opportunities the Mets gave them and won games started by two of the best young right-handers in baseball.
Joe Maddon has his team believing in themselves. The Cubs are 6-4 in their last 10 games, 7-7 in May, 11-7 at Wrigley Field this year and enter play Friday with the fourth best record in the National League.
With three games against the Pirates, the Cubs have a chance to keep pace with the Cardinals and create some breathing room in the division before a difficult six-game trip to San Diego and Arizona. The Cubs found ways to beat the Mets with contributions from just about the entire roster, now it’s time to build on the last four days against a team most predict will finish ahead of them in the standings at the end of the season.
Thursday was a milestone win for Joe Maddon … the 800th victory of his managerial career.
According a report from the Sun-Times, career win No. 800 came almost 19 years after he won his first game as an interim manager for the Angels in 1996 at Yankee Stadium. Maddon said Jason Dickson was the winning pitcher and he remembered rookie Derek Jeter hitting a home run.
After walking through Anthony Rizzo’s latest dance party and needing to clear his throat before talking to the media due to the fog machine, Maddon explained how business like the team is while still believing in one another and having fun.
Tommy La Stella
Joe Maddon announced Thursday that INF Tommy La Stella would report to Double-A Tennessee on Thursday night to begin a rehab assignment. La Stella is expected in the Smokies’ lineup Friday.
The Cubs have not said what the plans are for La Stella when he is ready to come off the disabled list. La Stella can be on a rehab assignment for 20 days. If the front office decides it would be better for him to get regular playing time, La Stella has three minor league options left and can be sent to Iowa.
With Addison Russell at second base, unless Kris Bryant is moved to the outfield, La Stella could be a left-handed bat off the bench the team does not have right now.
David Ross appeared to suffer an injury during an at bat in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game. Ross seemed to tighten up and could not get loose in the middle of his at bat. After a brief talk with Joe Maddon, Ross squared to bunt on a 2-2 pitch with two outs and Chris Coghlan on second base. Ross bunted the ball foul and struck out.
Ross had replaced Welington Castillo earlier in the game on a double switch and could not catch the ninth inning. Miguel Montero, who was used as a pinch hitter in the eighth stayed in the game.
Reports afterwards indicated Ross has abdominal tightness and will be re-evaluated Friday. The beat writers were not given any further details about his injury.
Based on Ross’ reaction and the fact he did not swing the bat, he could be headed to the DL. If he is placed on the disabled, the Cubs will have two catchers on the active roster due to rolling the dice and not trading Welington Castillo.
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada made the start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa … and had a very good outing.
Wada picked up his first win of the season after allowing one run on four hits in seven innings. Wada did not walk a batter and struck out six. Marty Pevey mentioned to the Des Moines Register that he felt the extra side session he did Tuesday “really locked him in with his fastball command.”
Wada has allowed 32 hits with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings this season at the Triple-A level (2.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP). Over his last three starts (19 2/3 innings), Wada has given up 10 hits with three walks and 17 strikeouts.
Tsuyoshi Wada told the Des Moines Register on Thursday he hopes to be called up soon, but he doesn’t know yet when that may happen.
While there is a lot of speculation the Cubs could remove Travis Wood from the rotation and give Wada a shot at keeping the job, Joe Maddon backed Wood following Thursday’s start. Bruce Miles reported, “Maddon did not seem inclined to want to go away from Travis Wood.” And according to a report from the Sun-Times, Maddon all but dismissed moving Wood out of the rotation for Wada.
Javier Baez took another positive step forward Thursday. Baez went 2-for-4 with three RBI … and no strikeouts. Baez is batting .281/.359/.421 in 15 games with a .780 OPS.
Since May 8 (seven games), Baez is 9-for-26 with a home run, four walks and six strikeouts.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Following Thursday’s comeback win over the Mets, Miguel Montero tweeted, “What about today game, now you believe me? #WeAreGood. I’m really happy to be part of his organization and even better come and play in front of all of you we are blessing to put this jersey.”
• Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch two more times Thursday … 11 times this season that Rizzo has been hit by a pitch. According to Christopher Kamka, 14 teams have been hit by a pitch fewer times than Rizzo has been this season. The Cubs franchise record for HBP in a single season is 17.
• Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in seven straight games. Rizzo is 9-for-24 during his hitting streak.
• Prior to Thursday’s game, Jorge Soler was hitting .171 when the game-time temperature was below 51 degrees … when the temperature is above 51 degrees, Soler was hitting .305. Joe Maddon reiterated Thursday that he believes in Jorge Soler according to the Sun-Times.
• Cubs’ computer contains walking chip according to the Tribune.
• Bruce Levine reported the Cubs are learning how to win together.
• According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the Cubs did not provide an update Thursday on OF Chris Denorfia. The veteran outfielder landed on the DL on May 5 with a strained left hamstring.
• RHP Neil Ramirez completed another bullpen Wednesday. Ramirez is working his way back, but the Cubs did not provide a timetable on when he could pitch in an extended Spring Training game.
• The Cubs completed a signature sweep according to a report from ESPN Chicago. The four-game sweep over the Mets was the first time the Cubs swept a four-game series since 2011 (Aug. 1-4, in Pittsburgh) and the first at Wrigley Field since the Cubs swept four from Colorado in 2008 (May 29-June 1) … and that series featured an historic comeback after Lou Piniella waived the white flag.
• Troy Tulowitzki said he will not demand the Rockies to trade him according to a report from Hardball Talk.
And last, but not least, during an interview on MLB Network Radio, Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi said, “There’s very limited trade dialogue. It’s very difficult emotionally and politically to trade away real assets at this point.”
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Jeff Samardzija posted his first win since Opening Day and hit a home run off Jon Garland in a 6-3 victory over the Rockies.
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Mike MacDougal
1998 – Diamondbacks claimed Amaury Telemaco off waivers from the Cubs
1997 – Brian McRae, Doug Glanville and Sammy Sosa tripled in the seventh inning off Padres’ right hander Tim Scott. Jose Hernandez tripled in the fourth inning in a 8-2 win over San Diego at Wrigley Field.
1987 – Cubs acquired Mike Mason from the Rangers for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Dave Pavlas to the Rangers on June 6, 1987 to complete the deal.
1985 – Jim Adduci, born
1971 – Billy Williams hit the 300th home run of his career in a 6-4 win over San Diego. Ferguson Jenkins led the way with a complete game, his seventh in eight starts, and hit a two-run homer.
1964 – Cubs purchased Jack Spring from the Angels
1960 – Don Cardwell no-hit the Cardinals in his Cubs debut. The Cubs acquired Cardwell from the Phillies along with Ed Bouchee for Cal Neeman and Tony Taylor. Cardwell became the first pitcher in Major League history to throw a no-hitter in his first game with his new team.
1956 – Cubs purchased Jim Hughes from the Dodgers
1950 – Cubs purchased Dick Manville from the Boston Braves for $2,500
1948 – Red Sox returned Johnny Ostrowski to the Cubs
1948 – Bill North, born
1943 – Cubs purchased Hal Peck from the Dodgers
1934 – Cubs selected Jim Weaver off waivers from the Yankees for $12,500
1931 – Ben Johnson, born
1926 – Fred Baczewski, born
1911 – Cubs traded Jack Pfiester to Louisville (American Association) for Reggie Richter
1907 – Ed Baecht, born
1888 – Steve Yerkes, born
1856 – Fred Goldsmith, born