The Cubs came out on the wrong end of two of the three games with the Nationals and have Thursday off before welcoming the Royals to Wrigley for three games over the weekend.
The Cubs will get another shot at the Nationals next week (June 4-7) for four games in D.C. The Jon Lester–Max Scherzer match-up Wednesday night lived up to the hype according to ESPN Chicago. But Lester made one more mistake than Scherzer while the Cubs defense gave the Nationals a run.
Prior to Wednesday’s finale with the Nationals, Major League Baseball released the first National League All-Star game balloting update.
Anthony Rizzo (489,255) trails Adrian Gonzalez (929,016) in the voting for NL first basemen. Kris Bryant (583,583) is behind Matt Carpenter (1,113,060) at third base. Starlin Castro (571,574) trails Jhonny Peralta (595,741) and Miguel Montero (347,329) is third among NL catchers, looking up at Yadier Molina (859,520) and Buster Posey (759,187). And both Dexter Fowler (311,908) and Jorge Soler (291,658) are well behind Bryce Harper (1,116,582), Matt Holliday (979,008) and Giancarlo Stanton (746,926) for spots in the NL outfield.
The Mid-Summer Classic is July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
With the off day, log in and Vote Cubs.
Joe Maddon shuffled Dexter Fowler down the fourth spot in his lineup Wednesday. And based on the performances by Fowler and Chris Coghlan, who went 0-for-3 in the leadoff spot with three strikeouts, it will be interesting to follow how many games moving forward that Fowler is not hitting at the top of Maddon’s batting order.
Fowler is the key to the Cubs’ offense right now, when he gets on base, the Cubs have scored enough runs to win more times than not this season.
Counting Anthony Rizzo’s three-run homer Saturday night at Chase Field, the Cubs last 10 runs have scored on six home runs and one RBI walk-off double from Addison Russell.
Dexter Fowler is hitting only .206/310/.412 over his last 26 games and since May 15, Fowler has eight hits and seven walks. Maddon has to figure out a way to get him back on track while leaving him at the top of the lineup.
The Cubs shortstop went 2-for-4 on Wednesday night as he continued to struggle at the plate and in the field. Starlin Castro will not stop rolling over the outside pitch and grounding out to shortstop, as was the case again in the eighth inning with the tying runs in scoring position. Castro should not be hitting fourth in the lineup right now while he works through his slump.
Castro is batting .226/.259/.283 over his last 26 games with a .542 OPS. And he appears to be pressing after a carefree, productive start to his season. And Castro committed two more errors in the field, both on routine plays, Wednesday.
Joe Maddon answered the Castro questions again and continues to defend his shortstop. Starlin Castro looks like a player that could use a day or two off to recharge and just watch the game.
Here are the Starlin Castro reports with Maddon’s post-game comments:
- ESPN – Addison Russell’s error is costly but Starlin Castro hears the boos
- Comcast SportsNet – Starlin Castro leaves Cubs with questions to answer at shortstop
- Sun-Times – To err is human, to do it 12 times in nine games is Cub
1B Dan Vogelbach was placed on the 7-day DL, retroactive to May 26, prior to Wednesday’s game. Vogelbach hurt his hamstring going from first to second on Monday.
The hamstring injury is not believed to be serious but a timeframe has not been given on when he could return to the lineup.
Vogelbach tweeted, “Going to suck going to the field and not being able to play with my boys.”
Dan Vogelbach was hitting .320/.436/.497 with 12 doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .933 OPS before the injury. And his absence could have an impact on Kyle Schwarber’s numbers.
Javier Baez went hitless Wednesday as Iowa lost both ends of a doubleheader to the Reno Aces.
Baez was 0-for-3 with a RBI and two strikeouts while playing shortstop in the first game. Baez played second base in game two and went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
In 26 games, Javier Baez is hitting .295/.376/.495/.871 with four doubles, five home runs, nine walks and 27 strikeouts.
News, Notes and Rumors
• OF Kevin Encarnacion was added to the South Bend Cubs roster prior to Wednesday’s game from extended Spring Training. This was a lot more than just a roster move for Encarnacion, who went 0-for-1 in a pinch hitting role Wednesday. Encarnacion missed all of last season recovering from injuries suffered in a car crash in January 2014. Encarnacion was severely burned and his career was put in jeopardy moving forward. Encarnacion’s progress with the South Bend Cubs is another story that will be closely monitored this summer.
• The Rays released RHP Grant Balfour from his minor league contract. The Cubs were interested in Balfour before he re-signed with the Rays. No word yet if the two sides will rekindle those talks.
• Tyler Kepner: Kris Bryant, a Cub in the Image of the Game’s Ideal Hitter
• The Cubs defense continues to be an issue. After going eight straight games without being charged with an error, the Cubs have been charged with 12 errors in the last nine games according to the Sun-Times.
• Mike Olt tweeted he is about at 50 percent but is excited to be back … click here for a video.
• Jeff Passan broke down the upcoming free-agent class … the greatest, and most expensive, ever.
• The Cubs have two starting pitchers among the leaders in the fewest pitches thrown per inning … Jason Hammel (14.4) and Kyle Hendricks (15.2).
• The Red Sox could use more help than just LHP Cole Hamels, but according to Nick Cafardo, the Phillies had two scouts watch the Red Sox and Twins this week.
• RHP Daniel Bard pitched in an extended Spring Training game Wednesday. According to Bill Mitchell, Bard had his fastball up to 95 mph with a good breaking ball. But he is still having command issues and hit two batters.
• OF Jacob Hannemann made one heck of a catch for the Smokies in extra innings Wednesday night.
And last, but not least, Hardball Talk posted an interesting proposal for changing up the way teams deal with retired numbers.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Jason Dubois
2006 – The Braves set a new club record in an 11 inning game at Wrigley Field. Atlanta hit eight home runs in the 13-12 victory over the Cubs … Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans, Adam LaRoche (2), Brayan Pena and Edgar Renteria (2) hit the longballs.
2005 – Cubs traded LaTroy Hawkins to the Giants for David Aardsma and Jerome Williams
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Joey Dawley
2004 – Matt Clement became the 21st big league pitcher and the first Cubs pitcher in over a century to hit three batters in one inning. Clement hit Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall and Craig Wilson in the fifth inning. The Cubs lost the first game of a doubleheader to the Pirates 5-4 at PNC Park.
The doubleheader against the Pirates at PNC in 2004 is remembered as Rob Mackowiak day. His wife gave birth to their son in the morning, Mackowiak hit a walk-off grand slam in the first game of the doubleheader and he tied the second game in the ninth with a two-run homer.
1990 – Tigers signed free agent Jody Davis
1988 – Justin Bour, born
1985 – Cubs signed free agent Larry Gura
1983 – Cory Wade, born
1977 – Cubs traded Ramon Hernandez to the Red Sox for Bobby Darwin
1977 – Cubs moved into first place with a 6-3 victory over the Pirates. Bruce Sutter picked up the save after tossing three scoreless innings.
1969 – The day after Todd Hundley was born, Randy Hundley hit a grand slam and a double in the Cubs 9-8 victory over the Giants. ‘The Rebel’ drove in five runs at Candlestick Park.
1966 – Cubs traded Ted Abernathy to the Braves for Lee Thomas
1930 – Grover Cleveland Alexander called it a career after a relief appearance with the Phillies. ‘Old Pete’ was 128-83 in nine seasons with the Cubs (1918-1926) with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Alexander pitched 1884 1/3 innings in 242 games (224 starts) for the Cubs with 158 complete games … that is 7.78 innings per appearance during his nine seasons with the Cubs.
1925 – Cubs scored 12 runs in the seventh inning on 11 hits en route to a 13-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. In the 12-run inning, Barney Friberg doubled and tripled, Charlie Grimm singled and doubled and Wilbur Cooper, the Cubs pitcher, collected two singles.
1914 – Larry Cheney went 13 innings as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 4-3 in 16 innings in Chicago. George Pearce was the winning pitcher in relief of Cheney.
1892 – Jimmy Ryan walked five times and helped the Colts beat the Giants 10-4.