Joe Maddon does things a little bit different from other managers, besides not reading from the old book. So after the Cubs dropped their season-worst fifth game in a row Sunday night, Maddon decided it was the right time to pull a trick out of his hat to make the losing streak disappear.
A couple of hours before game time, the Cubs cleared the media and brought in ‘Simon the Magician.’ Mentalist/mind reader Simon Winthrop performed a magic show in the clubhouse.
While the media was focused on what the Cubs are struggling with right now. Maddon decided to lighten the mood in the clubhouse and try to get his players to stop thinking about baseball for a short time and just relax. Maddon went with a magician because he said it is hard to get zoo animals on the road at the last minute. He got the idea to bring in a magician while he was on the bus Sunday.
“We are always trying to create some magic around here, so why not bring a magician in?”
Manny Ramirez and Ken Ravizza were also with the Cubs at Citi Field on Tuesday to talk to the players.
And the Cubs pulled a win out of their collective caps Tuesday night.
Jorge Soler batted second and played right field for the Iowa Cubs on Tuesday night in his second rehab start. Soler was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the 6-4 loss to New Orleans. Soler played all nine innings.
Marty Pevey told the Des Moines Register that he thinks Soler is moving well. His timing is off. And Soler, like so many of the young players on the roster, gets it. Soler bought Tuesday’s post-game meal for the Iowa Cubs.
Jorge Soler appears to be on track to return to the Cubs at some point during the Marlins’ series this weekend.
Duane Underwood Jr.
RHP Duane Underwood Jr. flew to Chicago on Tuesday to have an MRI on his right elbow. Underwood Jr. left his last start early after feeling discomfort in the elbow. Underwood Jr. was placed on the disabled list Monday.
Underwood Jr. is widely considered the top pitching prospect in the Cubs system. And he was having a very good season.
The Cubs are expecting the results on the MRI at some point Wednesday.
Mike Olt batted clean-up and played third base for Iowa on Tuesday night. Olt had a rough night at the plate and in the field. Olt was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and committed two errors, one fielding and one throwing.
Olt is batting .240/.269/.480 in seven games (6-for-25) with three doubles, a home run, a walk and eight strikeouts. Olt has played more third base (six games) than first base (one game).
Joe Maddon said Tuesday there is no timetable for a decision on when Olt may or may not return to the big league team.
MLB Grammar Power Rankings
Grammarly.com teamed up with The Wall Street Journal to see which team has the most grammatically correct fans. And Cubs fans ranked fifth behind the Indians, Padres, White Sox and Mariners. The National League fan base also committed fewer grammatical errors than fans of American League teams.
Cubs Rumors Links Corner
• A report from Comcast SportsNet looked at Jon Niese, Duane Underwood Jr. and the search for pitching.
• The Sun-Times reported the Cubs’ bright future lacks starting pitching depth.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, Mets’ LHP Jon Niese is “not an especially appealing option for AL teams.” Morosi cites his struggles in Interleague play as the reason.
• RHP Armando Rivero reported to Principal Park on Tuesday. Rivero was given permission from the Cubs to leave the team in order to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
• According to Ken Davidoff, it would be a mistake for the Mets to undervalue Jon Niese and Daniel Murphy.
• The Cubs have not decided who will start Saturday’s game at Wrigley against the Marlins. Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta get the last two games in New York and Jason Hammel is scheduled to start Friday’s opener with Miami.
• OF Kevin Encarnacion: .275/.359/.406/.765 in 22 games for South Bend with a double, a triple, two home runs, six walks and 14 strikeouts … plus this excellent throw.
• OF Eloy Jimenez: .288/.362/.365/.727 in 13 games for Short-Season Eugene with a double, a home run, six walks and nine strikeouts. Jimenez smacked his first home run Tuesday night.
• OF Donnie Dewees: 6-for-18 in four games with four doubles, two walks and three strikeouts.
• RHP Dave Berg made his pro debut Tuesday night. Berg struck out two of the four batters he retired in route to saving Eugene’s 9-4 win over Tri-City.
• Patrick Mooney reported, after building around hitters, Cubs don’t have magic to fix offense.
• When Kris Bryant walked in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game, it marked the ninth time this season Bryant went from 0-2 to 4-2.
• Adam Rubin and Jesse Rogers debated the Mets’ young arms and the Cubs’ young bats.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted Chad Tracy free agency
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Travis Miller
2002 – Cubs released Luis Ordaz
1973 – Ron Santo recorded five hits in five at bats and Randy Hundley hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning as the Cubs edged the Mets 6-5 in the second game of a twin bill at Wrigley. 43,105 showed up at the Friendly Confines to see the Cubs split a pair with the Mets. Santo had two hits in the first game, the Cubs lost 6-5.
1958 – Tony Taylor got an inside-the-park home run after Giants’ lefty Leon Wagner is confused while getting instructions from the Cubs’ bullpen as to the whereabouts of the ball, which rolled into a drain. The Cubs topped the Giants 9-5 at Wrigley.
1957 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jim Woods
1955 – Hank Sauer, Randy Jackson and Gene Baker homered in the second inning in an 11-7 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Ernie Banks also went yard in the victory.
1936 – Dick Drott, born
1935 – The Cubs played their first night game and beat the Reds 8-4 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati behind Roy Henshaw. Billy Herman led the way with two triples, two doubles and a single.
1933 – Frank Baumann, born
1928 – Hersh Freeman, born
1921 – Cubs traded Dave Robertson to the Pirates for Elmer Ponder
1912 – Frank Schulte homered in the 12th inning and beat Marty O’Toole and the Pirates 1-0 in Pittsburgh. Jimmy Lavender pitch the complete game shutout.
1909 – Cubs purchased Eddie Stack from the Joliet of the Independent League.
1906 – Cubs traded Fred Beebe, Pete Noonan and cash to the Cardinals for Jack Taylor.
1903 – Cubs signed free agent Jack Doscher
1891 – Jimmy Ryan hit for the cycle in a 9-3 win over Cleveland behind Bill Hutchinson at West Side Park.
1886 – Jim McCormick won his 16th straight game as the Chicago National League Ball Club topped New York 7-3 at West Side Park.
1885 – Fred Pfeffer, Abner Dalrymple, Tommy Burns and John Clarkson homered as the Chicago National League Ball Club beat Boston 24-10 at West Side Park.
1861 – John Clarkson, born