Extra innings delayed the daily report on a Monday following a good weekend for the Cubs.
The Cubs improved to a season-high seven games over .500 with the team’s eighth walk-off win of the year Sunday night. The Cubs are 17-11 in the 28 one-run games they have played this year. Almost half of the games the Cubs have played this season have been decided by one-run. And because of coming out of the right side of the close games, Joe Maddon’s team enters play Monday with the third best winning percentage in the National League.
Starlin Castro delivered the game winner for the second straight day. The Cubs have won eight games in walk-off fashion this season, and Castro has knocked in the winning run in three of those games. And Castro became the first Cubs’ player with walk-off RBI in back-to-back games since Ron Santo in 1966.
Joe Maddon said that Castro is “starting to get his mojo back” and he is really pleased with the progress he has made this season.
Starlin Castro is turning his season back around after a rough May. Castro is 14-for-50 over his last 12 games with a double, a triple and two home runs (.280/.308/.460) for a .768 OPS. And in his last seven games, Castro is 10-for-32 for a .313/.313/.406 slash line.
Jon Lester was obviously happy with Sunday’s results. Lester tweeted, “Another great team win! Does All-Starlin have a flare for the dramatic or what!?! Walking off never gets old! #NRVQT #LetsGo #LetsGoHawks.”
RHP Jacob Turner made his second rehab start Sunday. And Kyle Schwarber was behind the plate again.
Turner made only 21 pitches, 13 for strikes, in the first two innings Sunday. Turner completed five innings and gave up just two hits with no runs and a walk. Turner was charged with a wild pitch, struck out three batters and made 63 pitches, 36 for strikes.
Corey Black pitched two innings out of the Smokies’ pen Sunday. Black gave up one unearned run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts. Black threw 39 pitches, 20 for strikes. Black has made five relief appearances, four have been solid, one not so much. Black has allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits with six walks and eight strikeouts. Black must throw more strikes and cut down on the walks that have been his undoing over the course of his career.
Corey Black and Carl Edwards Jr. are believed to be in the front office’s bullpen plans for this season. And both right handers are showing improvement, consistency is key for Black and Edwards Jr. at this point.
Kyle Schwarber walked three times Sunday, the second three-walk game of the season for the Cubs’ top prospect.
Schwarber is hitting .318/.439/.578 in 57 games with nine doubles, a triple and 13 home runs for a 1.017 OPS. Schwarber has walked (42) almost as many times as he has struck out (48) this season. Schwarber leads the Southern League in walks and is tied for eighth in all of minor league baseball in free passes.
The first year of pro ball might just be catching up with Schwarber. Over his last 12 games, the slash line is down to .289/.385/.400 with a .785 OPS.
Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach pulled off a double steal in Sunday’s game.
Buster’s Top 10
The Cubs moved up a spot in Buster Olney’s weekly power rankings. After slipping back in the top 10 last week, the Cubs ended up at No. 9 (insert mandatory Beatles reference) this week.
Buster Olney’s top 10: Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Astros, Blue Jays, Giants, Cubs and Yankees.
With the teams on the Cubs’ schedule over the next three weeks (Indians, Twins, Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets), Joe Maddon will have to continue to push the right buttons to get the best out of his roster as hopefully the DL shrinks and he gets a couple of key players back.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Reports late last week indicated Jorge Soler was out of his walking boot. That is not the case according to a report from Carrie Muskat. Soler might get the walking boot off Monday. Soler played catch again Sunday. He has not started hitting again.
• The Cubs rotation is in an innings slump according to a report from Bruce Levine.
• Joe Maddon is ecstatic with Addison Russell’s progress at second base according to the Sun-Times.
• And Maddon was very happy with the way his team played the game Sunday night.
• The Giants are scouting both Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake as teams wait to see if the Reds will soon be sellers. And the Yankees and Tigers both watched Johnny Cueto on Friday at Wrigley … maybe they left their seats during his rather bad at bat in the first inning.
• An MLB exec told Jerry Crasnick that he doesn’t think the Brewers will be able to trade either RHP Kyle Lohse or RHP Matt Garza.
• Andy MacPhail is on the Phillies’ radar for a leadership role in the front office according to a report from Jim Salisbury.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are candidates to participate in the Home Run Derby in the upcoming All-Star Game according to Buster Olney … Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Joc Pederson, Justin Upton and Todd Frazier are also on the list of possibilities for the National League.
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Cubs released Thomas Diamond
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit three home runs in 6-5 win over the Brewers. Sosa hit 15 home runs in a 16 game stretch. Kerry Wood picked up the victory
1997 – Cubs beat the Brewers 4-3 at Wrigley to win the Interleague series. Frank Castillo allowed five hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Cubs drew 112,690 fans for the three games, 7,638 shy of the Wrigley Field record of 120,328 for a three-game series set in 1994 against the Reds.
1996 – Cubs released Doug Jones
1991 – Bijan Rademacher, born
1978 – Cubs traded Joe Walls to the Indians for Mike Vail
1969 – En route to setting the NL record of playing in 1,117 consecutive games, Billy Williams, after fouling a pitch off his foot the day before, hobbled to the plate as a pinch hitter in the Cubs 7-6 loss to the Reds at Crosley Field. It was the first time Williams had not been in the starting lineup during the 878 games of the streak
1964 – Cubs traded outfielder Lou Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth to the Cardinals for pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens
1962 – Phillies signed amateur free agent Ferguson Jenkins
1960 – Cubs traded Walt Moryn to the Cardinals for Jim McKnight
1951 – Cubs traded outfielder Andy Pafko, pitcher Johnny Schmitz, infielder Wayne Terwilliger and catcher Rube Walker to the Dodgers for outfielders Gene Hermanski, pitcher Joe Hatten, infielder Eddie Miksis and catcher Bruce Edwards
1949 – Cubs traded outfielders Peanuts Lowrey and Harry Walker to the Reds for Hank Sauer and Frankie Baumholtz
1949 – Dusty Baker, born
1941 – Cubs purchased Babe Dahlgren from the Boston Braves
1941 – Braves purchased Al Montgomery from the Cubs
1938 – Billy Williams, born
1925 – Gene Baker, born
1912 – Babe Dahlgren, born