The Cubs ended the first half on a positive note with a win over the White Sox and improved to 47-40 on the season. A win-loss record at the All-Star break most would have been more than satisfied with when pitchers and catchers reported in February.
The Cubs will spend the break with the fifth best winning percentage (.540) in the National League, eight back of the Cardinals and 5 ½ behind the Pirates in the NL Central. The Cubs are a game in front of the Mets for the second NL Wild Card.
The Cubs are 25-20 at Wrigley Field, 22-20 on the road and 19-19 in the NL Central. And the Cubs are 19-16 in one-run games after scoring 335 runs while allowing 319 runs over the first 87 games of the season.
The 47 wins at the break are the most for the Cubs since 2008 (57).
The Cubs are 32-25 over the last 57 games, 21-14 in the 35 games with teams above .500 and 11-11 against teams with a sub-.500 record. And the Cubs are 43-31 against teams this year that do not play their home games at Busch Stadium.
Joe Maddon’s team has a lot of work to do in the second half. And there is a lot of room for improvement as Maddon has pointed out. Based on the way the Cubs played in the first half, it should be a wild ride after the break as the Cubs look to secure a spot in the tournament for the first time in seven years.
Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero
The Cubs are not sure if Miguel Montero will start the second half on the disabled list or not. Montero reported to Wrigley on Sunday with his left hand wrapped. Montero jammed his left thumb in the first inning of Saturday’s game.
The Sun-Times reported Montero’s left thumb is not broken, but according to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs have not ruled out he broke his thumb. Joe Maddon said he had heard both good and bad news about Montero’s injury. The Cubs should know more in the next few days and will discuss their options if Montero has to be placed on the DL. If Montero cannot play by Friday, he will likely go on the disabled list.
Maddon fielded the Kyle Schwarber questions prior to Sunday’s game. Maddon would not rule out Schwarber being called up. But the discussions had not gotten to the point to include Schwarber. Maddon said if Montero goes on the DL that Schwarber would likely be part of the conversations.
Maddon said Schwarber is part of the Cubs future but he does not know where the team stands on his catching.
Multiple reports indicated the Cubs will likely go with a David Ross–Taylor Teagarden catching tandem if Montero lands on the DL.
The Cubs do not feel Schwarber has developed enough to catch right now in the big leagues according to Sun-Times. Schwarber is working hard to be an everyday catcher. And he thinks he’s ready now to catch in the majors according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
Kyle Schwarber was the talk in two different cities Sunday and he is now a part of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Jeff Idelson, the President of the Hall of Fame, grabbed Schwarber’s bat from the Futures Game and it is on its way to Cooperstown.
Kyle Schwarber tweeted Sunday night, “What an honor it was to play in the Futures Game. Great atmosphere and played with not just talented players but great people!”
- Full Report from Carrie Muskat
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet – Schwarber
Joe Maddon was asked Sunday about RHP Rafael Soriano joining the big league team after the break in Atlanta. Maddon does not think Soriano will have enough time to get ready for the series in Atlanta. Maddon indicated last week Soriano would need seven to eight appearances in the minors before he is added to the roster.
Soriano made his fourth appearance for Double-A Tennessee in Sunday’s 8-2 victory over Biloxi. Soriano retired the side in order in the seventh on eight pitches. Soriano has pitched every other day.
In four games with the Smokies, Rafael Soriano has allowed one unearned run on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in four innings (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP).
Buster’s Top 10
Buster Olney posted his power rankings of the top 10 teams in baseball. And the Cubs made the cut for the second week in a row. The Cubs checked in at No. 10 tied with the Houston Astros.
Buster Olney’s Top 10: Cardinals, Pirates, Royals, Nationals, Angels, Yankees, Twins, Dodgers, Cubs and Astros.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Kris Bryant told the beat writers prior to Sunday’s game that he is fine physically, “but every day is a mental grind.” Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs can’t expect Kris Bryant to carry the team on his shoulders. Bryant is looking forward to the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game because “that’s for all fun and smiles.”
• Travis Wood was able to get Jake Arrieta’s home run ball.
• Jake Arrieta plans to continue pitching at an elite level and his goal for every start is to throw a shutout according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• And speaking of Jake Arrieta, after Sunday’s win over the Sox he is now 13-6 in 27 starts at Wrigley Field with a 2.35 ERA and 0.91 WHIP (110 hits, 162 strikeouts, 50 walks and 10 home runs allowed in 176 innings).
• Along with the Cubs, the Mets, Yankees, Giants and Nationals are interested in Ben Zobrist.
• Jake Arrieta thinks Anthony Rizzo might have a slight advantage over Kris Bryant in the Home Run Derby. Dexter Fowler said he doesn’t know if Rizzo or Bryant will have a better derby.
• Joe Maddon is ready for the All-Star break and according to Carrie Muskat he will spend it in the same place he did in 2008.
• Six players that participated in the Futures Game caught Bernie Pleskoff’s eye.
And last, but not least, Chris Coghlan’s consecutive games played streak came to an end Sunday after playing in 150 straight games. Chris Coghlan was the leader among active players in consecutive games played.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Javier Baez hit a two-run homer in the SiriusXM Futures Game
2013 – Cubs selected Cole Gillespie off waivers from the Giants
1988 – D.J. LeMahieu, born
1987 – Cubs traded Steve Trout to the Yankees for Rich Schneid, Bob Tewksbury and Dean Wilkins
1977 – A blackout engulfs the New York area with the Cubs leading the Mets 2-1 in the sixth inning at Shea Stadium. The game is completed on Sept. 16 and the Cubs won 4-3 behind Ray Burris.
1966 – Cubs signed free agent Robin Roberts
1956 – Ernie Banks played in his 394th consecutive game and ties Al Simmons’ record for consecutive games played by a rookie to start his career. Mr. Cub drove in the winning run as the Cubs topped the Pirates 7-6 at Wrigley Field
1959 – Cubs purchased Art Schult from the Red Sox
1957 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Harvey Branch
1956 – Bill Caudill, born
1916 – Cubs purchased Joe Kelly from Indianapolis for the American Association for cash, plus two PTBNL