The Cubs won their fourth game in a row Tuesday night, a 1-0 victory in 10 innings over the first place Dodgers. The Cubs improved to a season-high nine games over .500 (39-30) with their Major League leading ninth walk-off win of the year.
It’s been a long time since the Cubs were nine games over .500 (Aug. 4, 2009) and even more time has passed since the Cubs played good baseball.
Joe Maddon has his team believing in itself and playing with a lot of confidence. The Cubs are 18-12 in one-run games, both the 18 victories and 30 one-run game lead the majors.
The Cubs will enter play Wednesday with the third best winning percentage in the National League. Only the Cardinals (46-24) and Pirates (40-30) have won more games than the Cubs while the Rays (41-32), Royals (40-28) and Astros (42-31) are the three teams in the American League with more victories than the Cubs to this point of the season.
These Cubs appear to be on the same page and playing as a team.
Anthony Rizzo said after the Cubs’ ninth walk-off win of the season, “As a team, we keep getting better. We’re really not even close to what we can really do.”
Kyle Schwarber, Mike Olt and Carl Edwards Jr.
Kyle Schwarber and Mike Olt were in Iowa’s starting lineup, as expected, on Tuesday. Schwarber batted third and was behind the plate. Olt hit fourth and played third base. Iowa lost 4-2 to Omaha.
Kyle Schwarber went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Triple-A debut. Schwarber threw out a runner trying to steal second base. Schwarber was also charged with a passed ball and the Storm Chasers stole three bases.
Carl Edwards Jr. pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. Edwards Jr. walked a batter and struck out three. In seven relief appearances for the I-Cubs, Edwards Jr. has allowed four runs on five hits with eight walks and 12 strikeouts in 11 innings (3.27 ERA, 1.18 WHIP).
Theo Epstein had nothing but praise for Kyle Schwarber and talked about how far he has come as a catcher. Epstein told the beat writers that “pitchers love throwing to him.” Epstein pointed out he is improving as a pitch framer and how he blocks pitches.
Tsuyoshi Wada and Travis Wood
Tsuyoshi Wada played catch Tuesday and is expected to throw a bullpen Wednesday. The Cubs and Wada are “cautiously optimistic” Wada will be able to make his next start Saturday night in St. Louis.
If Wada cannot start, the Cubs might have to bring up a pitcher to take his spot in the rotation. Joe Maddon said he really likes Travis Wood coming in from the bullpen. Maddon does not want to take Wood out of the pen. And Edwin Jackson does not appear to be an option for the rotation right now.
X-rays were obviously negative on the left ankle of OF Dexter Fowler. The Cubs’ centerfielder was not in the starting lineup in Tuesday’s game. Fowler pinch hit for Jason Motte in the 10th inning, worked a walk to load the bases and was lifted for pinch-runner Travis Wood.
The Cubs say Dexter Fowler is day-to-day, but based on the way he moved Tuesday, a roster move to bring in an outfielder would not come as a surprise.
OF Ian Happ batted third and played center field in Short-Season Eugene’s home opener Tuesday night. The Emeralds lost 4-2 to the Boise Hawks.
Happ was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. Happ is 7-for-20 in five games with two doubles, two home runs, three walks and five strikeouts (.350/.435/.750/1.185).
News, Notes and Rumors
• Joe Maddon made headlines Tuesday for the way he handled the situation Monday when lighting banks went out at Wrigley Field. Maddon stood behind what he said. It was not gamesmanship. Maddon wasn’t trying to do anything but make sure his players could see the spin on the balls Clayton Kershaw was throwing. Keith Olbermann did not believe him and had A.J. Ellis on his show to discuss it.
• RHP Armando Rivero has left the Iowa Cubs to be with his wife in Miami for the birth of their child.
• The Cubs checked in at No. 8 on Sports Illustrated’s latest power rankings.
• According to Jesse Rogers, the Cubs can make a case for trading or keeping Starlin Castro.
• Two former Cubs’ relievers that are now in the Braves’ system are close to returning from PED suspensions. RHP Arodys Vizcaino has started a minor league rehab to prepare for his return and LHP Andrew McKirahan will begin a rehab assignment in the Braves system in a week. Vizcaino is eligible to return on July 4, McKirahan on July 20. The Cubs travel to Atlanta for the first series after the break (July 17-19) and the Braves make their annual trip to Wrigley in August (Aug. 20-23).
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Royals are looking for help and are interested in INF/OF Ben Zobrist, RHP Johnny Cueto and RHP Mike Leake. The Reds have been contacted by multiple teams, according to Morosi, about Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman. The Reds “remain reluctant to engage in serious trade talks.” The Royals, according to Ken Rosenthal, “are discussing virtually every available name.” And the Nationals had a high-level scout watching the A’s on Tuesday night.
• Kris Bryant has gone from 0-2 to 4-2 (walk) eight times this season.
• Addison Russell talked about facing Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in back-to-back games, two pitchers he used to play with on PlayStation when he was in high school, three years ago. Maddon thinks Russell “is doing really, really well” and he does not plan on moving him up in the batting order. Comcast SportsNet explained how Russell is gaining confidence in the majors.
And last, but not least, MLB released an update on the NL All-Star team voting Tuesday … and it appears Anthony Rizzo will have to be added to the NL squad. Rizzo has slipped to fifth among NL first basemen, Kris Bryant is third, Starlin Castro is fourth and Miguel Montero is fifth in the voting for catcher. It’s too bad, the shortstop vote is still favoring the wrong player.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Cubs pounded six home runs in a 9-1 win over the Brewers. Kerry Wood, Mark Grudzielanek and Alex Gonzalez went back-to-back-to-back in the sixth inning. It was the ninth time in team history the Cubs hit three home runs in a row.
1983 – Jeremy Papelbon, born
1980 – Cubs released Steve Ontiveros
1951 – Ken Reitz, born
1930 – In the Cubs 6-1 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field, Hack Wilson fouled a pitch into the stands. The ball was caught by 17-year old Arthur Porto. Porto was confronted by an usher who told him the Cubs could not “afford to let the customers walk off with their baseballs” and demanded the return of the baseball. Porto and two friends argued and were arrested by stadium security and charged with disorderly conduct. In court the next day, the judge issued a landmark decision and ruled that a ball hit into the stands belongs “to the boy who grabs it.” The charges were dismissed.
1915 – Heine Zimmerman stole home with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 14-13 at West Side Grounds. The Cubs trailed 13-10 going into the ninth. Zimmerman drove in the tying runs with a pinch-hit double.
1907 – The Cubs traded Newt Randall and Bill Sweeney to the Boston Doves for Del Howard
1905 – Ed Reulbach went the distance in a Cubs 2-1 victory over the Cardinals and Jack Taylor 2-1 in 18 innings. Frank Chance had 27 putouts and two assists for the Cubs in St. Louis
1885 – John Clarkson won his 13th game in a row and the Chicago National League Ball Club won its 18th straight with a 12-2 victory over the Phillies at West Side Park.
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