After a much-needed day off, the Cubs get back to work Tuesday night in New York. And the Cubs will look to put the weekend behind them against a Mets team that is very, very good at Citi Field.
In between answering countless questions about possible trades with the Mets, Joe Maddon has to figure out a way to spark his offense. The Cubs went 2-for-27 with RISP and left 28 men on base during the recently completed three-game series.
The Cubs begin play Tuesday night in third place in the central, 2 1/2 games back of the Pirates, and 1 1/2 games behind the Giants for the second Wild Card. The Cubs are a half game in front of the Metropolitans in the National League standings.
Rumblings Monday pointed to Joe Maddon shaking up his lineup a little for the series with the Mets. And according to a report from the Sun-Times, Jed Hoyer is expected to be with the team at Citi Field for the series.
Following Thursday’s finale, the Cubs fly home for a 10-game homestand with the Marlins, Cardinals and White Sox leading up to the All-Star break. Winning a series in New York before an extended homestand will go a long way to chalking up the first part of the trip as a learning experience for young team.
Jorge Soler started for Iowa on Monday in his first rehab game. Soler batted third and played right field. Marty Pevey said prior to the game the goal for Soler was to get three at bats or play seven or eight innings.
Soler drove in the I-Cubs only run in a 2-1 loss in 12 innings to New Orleans. Soler was 0-for-3 with a RBI and a strikeout. Soler flied out to the warning track in right field in his first at bat.
Soler told the Des Moines Register he thinks he will need “maybe four or five games” in Iowa before he will be ready to return to the Cubs. Soler said he felt good after the game and “didn’t seem worried about the ankle.”
Home Run Derby, All-Star Selection Shows and Voting
Major League Baseball announced Monday the All-Star Selection Show has been split into two nights.
The 2015 All-Star starters will be unveiled Sunday, July 5 (6:30pm CDT) on ESPN. Reserves, pitching staffs and final vote candidates will be unveiled Monday, July 6 (6:00pm CDT) on ESPN.
Anthony Rizzo has slipped to fifth in the NL All-Star voting and Kris Bryant is currently third behind Matt Carpenter and Todd Frazier. Starlin Castro is fourth on the shortstop list that is still doesn’t have the best choice at the top of the voting.
And MLB announced significant changes to the Home Run Derby … click here for the details.
As June comes to an end and the Cubs look to end the month with a winning record, Joe Maddon’s team did not slip in the ESPN ranking. The Cubs remain the 10th best cub in baseball according to ESPN and the sixth best according to FOX Sports with a 59.1% chance to make the post-season.
Cubs Rumors Links Corner
• The Cubs can’t hold onto prospects forever but could cash in at the trade deadline according to Comcast SportsNet.
• The Sun-Times reported rumors king in Queens as Cubs weigh future vs. now in trade deadline strategy.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs and Mets did discuss Jon Niese “at some point but are not on him now.” Heyman explained Niese’s market is “less than robust at the present.” And according to Ken Rosenthal, Niese is “one of many pitchers Dodgers are considering.”
• The Angels are looking for a left-handed hitting left fielder than can get on base while tensions have returned between the Angels’ front office and Mike Scioscia.
• Cubs’ prospects OF Albert Almora Jr. and 1B Dan Vogelbach were named to USA’s roster for the Pan American Games. Almora will play for Team USA for the seventh time. Jim Tracy will manage the Team USA. Almora and Vogelbach will leave the Smokies later this week in order to train with Team USA from July 4-8. The first round of games begins on July 11. Former Cubs OF Brian Bogusevic and RHP Casey Coleman are also on the roster for Team USA.
• 3B/1B Mike Olt and C Kyle Schwarber received a day off Monday … that was all.
• OF Billy McKinney went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Smokies 3-2 loss on Monday night. McKinney is batting .310/.357/.465 in 39 games for Double-A Tennessee with 12 doubles, a triple and two home runs for a .822 OPS. In his last 22 games, McKinney is batting .319/.373/.500 with seven doubles, two home run, eight walks, seven strikeouts and a .873 OPS.
• RHP Corey Black was tagged with a blown save Monday and took the loss after allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts in two innings. Black, nine games out of the pen, is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA and 1.37 WHIP (nine runs, eight earned, on 11 hits with 10 walks and 18 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings).
• OF Mike Baxter is returning home this week with the Cubs in New York playing the Mets. Baxter made the sensational catch to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter and suffered an injury that derailed his career at the same time.
• C Willson Contreras: .330/.394/.493 with 17 doubles, two triples and five home runs for a .888 OPS in 63 games.
• RHP Ryan Williams had another good outing for the Smokies. Williams allowed one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in six innings. In five starts for Double-A Tennessee, Williams is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.06 WHIP (seven runs on 23 hits with six walks and 20 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings).
• Baseball lost a landmark Monday night. Fire destroyed the Civic Stadium in Eugene, the former home of the Eugene Emeralds. The 76-year old stadium was on the National Register of Historic Places.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Boston. A two-out single by Stephen Drew broke up Arrieta’s no-hit bid. Arrieta and the Cubs beat the Sox 2-0.
2012 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jorge Soler
2012 – Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer in a Cubs uniform off the Astros’ J.A. Happ. The Cubs beat Houston at Wrigley Field 3-2.
2006 – Cubs released Tony Womack
1999 – President Bill Clinton showed up in time to see Sammy Sosa hit his NL best 30th homer of the season in a 5-4 victory over the Brewers. Nine of Sosa’s previous 13 hits were home runs.
1998 – With an eighth inning home run, Sammy Sosa extended his Major League record for home run in a month. Sosa hit 20 home runs in June of 1998.
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Jose Nieves
1986 – Cubs traded Dave Lenderman and Dave Liddell to the Mets for Ed Lynch
1982 – Mitch Maier, born
1972 – Joe Pepitone rejoined the Cubs after a brief retirement and went 1-for-4 in the Cubs 4-3 victory over the Pirates. Rick Reuschel allowed two hits in 7 1/3 innings before leaving the game with a twisted ankle. Billy Williams drove in three runs.
1970 – Mark Grudzielanek, born
1964 – Doug Dascenzo, born
1956 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jerry Kindall
1932 – The Cubs took the field at Wrigley wearing numbers on their uniforms for the first time. The Cubs were the last team to add numbers to the back of their jerseys. The Cubs topped the Reds 7-0
1909 – Cubs spoiled the Pirates opening of Forbes Field with a 3-2 victory in the new park.