The Cubs were flat Tuesday night coming off an unexpected day off and were shutout for the fifth time this season. Joe Maddon does not like off days for his young team.
Even with taking three of four from the Reds, the Cubs scored a grand total of 16 runs during the five-game homestand after putting 12 runs on the board in the finale of the two game series in Detroit. The Cubs have been shut out twice in seven games.
One of the main reasons for the offense sputtering is Anthony Rizzo has gone cold. Rizzo has made a lot of solid contact, but hasn’t had a hit since Thursday (0-for-17). The four-game slide is the longest Rizzo has gone without a hit this season.
The Cubs will spend the next five days in two AL Parks, Progressive Field in Cleveland and Target Field in Minneapolis, and the lineup should benefit from having an extra hitter in the lineup. The Cubs are confident Kyle Schwarber will be able to produce in that role.
While the rotation is going through its issues, the offense could take a little pressure off the entire pitching staff for the next week … and at the same time, gain a little confidence before the most difficult seven-game homestand of the season against the Dodgers and Cardinals.
Theo Epstein said Soler “has a legit ankle sprain” according to a report from Carrie Muskat. Soler hit in the cage Tuesday without his walking boot. But according to Mark Gonzales, he is “not close” to starting a rehab assignment.
Jorge Soler was placed on the DL on June 3 with a left ankle sprain.
LHP Zac Rosscup left Tuesday game in the ninth inning in the middle of Brandon Moss’ at bat. Rosscup pointed to his left shoulder while he was on the mound talking to Joe Maddon and trainer P.J. Mainville.
Maddon said after the game that Rosscup was dealing with shoulder tightness and could not get loose.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Rosscup will be placed on the DL prior to Wednesday’s game in Cleveland. RHP Brian Schlitter could be recalled to take his spot on the active roster in the bullpen. Schlitter would be eligible for a recall due to the injury to Rosscup.
Duane Underwood Jr.
RHP Duane Underwood Jr. made another good start for High-A Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night. Underwood Jr. tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed just two hits while issuing one walk and striking out four … and he recorded 12 groundball outs with only two fly ball outs. Underwood Jr. faced two over the minimum in his seven innings.
Underwood Jr. improved to 6-2 this season in 11 starts with a 1.85 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. In 63 1/3 innings, the 20-year old right hander has given up 42 hits with 41 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Carson Sands and Justin Steele
The Eugene Emeralds, the Cubs’ new Class A Short-Season affiliate, kicks off its season Thursday night in Everett. And it was announced Tuesday that LHP Carson Sands would be on the hill for Opening Night.
Gary Van Tol is in fact giving the ball to two lefties in the first two games of the season. LHP Justin Steele is scheduled to pitch the second game on Friday night.
LHP Carson Sands was 3-1 in nine games, four starts, for the AZL Cubs last year. Sands gave up seven runs, four earned, on 15 hits with seven walks and 20 strikeouts in 19 innings (1.89 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).
LHP Justin Steele did not have a record in nine games, four starts, last summer. Steele allowed six runs on 15 hits with eight walks and 25 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings (2.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP).
Cubs-Indians Makeup Game
The Cubs announced Tuesday the starting time for the makeup game with the Indians.
Monday’s game that was postponed due to rain and rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 24 will start at 1:05pm CDT.
The St. Louis Cardinals
For those that missed the news Tuesday, the FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into the Houston Astros database. This is a serious, federal investigation, that goes well beyond the amount of air in a ball.
This story seems to change by the minute as information continues to surface. The big question is how high in the Cardinals’ organization was it known that employees hacked the Astros’ database.
Jeff Passan did a good job of explaining what could happen to the Cardinals and even went as far to say if top officials knew about it, the “league could very well lay the hammer.”
MLB and the Cardinals issued a statement. And the digging will continue in the coming days in weeks on an investigation that started last year. All bad jokes aside, this is really not good for the sport.
Here are the links on the story from Tuesday/early Wednesday:
- New York Times
- Yahoo Sports – Jeff Passan
- Ken Rosenthal
- MLB Statement
- USA Today – Bob Nightengale
- Jayson Stark
- Hardball Talk
- Sports Illustrated
- Comcast SportsNet – Cubs Waiting to See What FBI Investigation Means for the Cardinals
News, Notes and Rumors
• John Baker picked up another win in extra innings with his report on playing the game the right way.
• According to Buster Olney, the Phillies “are pushing hard to move some veteran players, not necessarily Cole Hamels.”
• Voting for the NL All-Star team was released Tuesday afternoon. Anthony Rizzo is fourth in the voting for first basemen, well behind Paul Goldschmidt. And Kris Bryant is more than two million votes behind Matt Carpenter. The NL vote is not quite the mess the American League is, still Giancarlo Stanton slipped to fourth and a more deserving shortstop is trailing in the voting.
• Theo Epstein said RHP Neil Ramirez will take his rehab “slowly.” Ramirez is set to report to Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday to begin his a rehab assignment. Pitchers can be on a single rehab stint for 30 days. It is not expected to take Ramirez that long to work his way back to the big leagues. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have “scripted a plan for the right-hander, but his progression will depend on how he feels.”
• The Cubs were ranked fourth in FOX Sports latest power rankings.
• The Padres named Pat Murphy its interim manager Tuesday. At least it is now known why he was not allowed to talk to the Brewers about becoming Craig Counsell’s bench coach.
• Anthony Rizzo now features an elite strikeout rate according to FanGraphs.
And last, but not least, Theo Epstein told the media Tuesday, “We feel like we are in contention and will proceed with that in mind.”
This Day In Cubstory
1974 – Cubs purchased Oscar Zamora from the Astros
1971 – Don Kessinger had six hits in six at bats as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 7-6 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field.
1967 – Cubs acquired Rob Gardner and John Stephenson from the Mets for Bob Hendley.
1962 – In the first inning of game one of a doubleheader, Lou Brock became only the third player (Babe Ruth, Joe Adcock) to ever hit a home run into the center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds. Brock’s home run traveled 475 feet and the Cubs went on to beat the Mets 8-7. Ron Santo won game two on a home run in the ninth inning.
1960 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Paul Popovich
1915 – Zip Zabel replaced Bert Humphries with two out in the first inning and pitched the longest relief stint in Major League history (18 1/3 innings) as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 4-3 in 19 innings on Vic Saier’s home run at West Side Grounds. Losing pitcher, Jeff Pfeffer pitched a complete game.
1913 – Heinie Zimmerman was ejected from his third game in five days in a Cubs 4-0 victory over the Phillies at West Side Grounds.