It’s Deadline Day and with Thursday night’s come from behind win over the Brewers the Cubs guaranteed themselves a winning July. The Cubs will play meaningful games in August for the first time in six years.
With one game left on the schedule, the Cubs are 14-12 in July after posting a 14-13 record in June, 14-14 in May and 12-8 in April.
The Cubs will enter play Friday night seven games over .500 with a 54-47 record, five games behind the Pirates for the top NL Wild Card and two games behind the Giants for a spot in the post-season.
Even with winning three of the last four games, the Cubs must play better than the 7-7 record since the break. With that said a majority of the fan base would have been thrilled in February if you told them the Cubs would be seven games over .500 and in the mix for a playoff spot on the last day of July.
Joe Maddon has to talk to the trainers about Montero. The Cubs were waiting on the results of the MRI on his left thumb prior to game time Thursday.
Maddon said Montero should have to go out on a minor league rehab. Montero told ESPN Chicago that he does not think he will need a rehab. He is ready to be back in the Cubs’ lineup. Teams cannot send players on rehab assignments without their permission.
According to Mark Gonzales, Montero caught bullpens Thursday.
The Cubs should address the next step for Montero at some point Friday. The pitching staff has missed Miguel Montero behind the plate and with Kyle Schwarber seeing time in the outfield, Maddon will be able to keep him in the lineup when Montero returns.
Kyle Schwarber started back-to-back games in left field and is expected to be behind the plate Friday night with Jason Hammel on the mound. As Joe Maddon continues to explore ways to keep his bat in the lineup, Schwarber could see time at first base.
Anthony Rizzo is the Cubs’ first baseman and Schwarber would obviously not take any time away from Rizzo. But Schwarber might be able to spell Rizzo from time-to-time in order to give him a breather. The Cubs do not have a back-up first baseman on the roster.
Maddon said Thursday it is possible that Schwarber will play first base “as part of his graduate school studies.”
Maddon thought about giving Rizzo the night off Thursday and was rather happy he decided against it. Having Schwarber as an option at first base could be a win-win for the team.
News and Notes
• Joe Maddon plans on giving his regulars days off throughout the final two months of the season in order to keep his players as fresh as possible. Kris Bryant said he feels fine physically for his first six-month season. Maddon is concerned about the mental grind that can wear on a player just as much if not more than the physical grind of a 162-game season.
• Joe Maddon has not named a closer but according to ESPN Chicago, Hector Rondon has resumed closer duties.
• The socks Jake Arrieta wore Thursday night became a trending topic and Joe Maddon thought his socks were the reason for his rough outing. Arrieta threw Cubs’ clubhouse manager Tom “Otis” Hellmann under the bus for the socks according to the Sun-Times. Anthony Rizzo’s three-run shot allowed the Cubs to joke about Arrieta’s socks, that he will not wear again, after a much-needed win over the Brewers.
• Anthony Rizzo’s home run helped keep the focus on the team and not on the trade deadline according to ESPN Chicago. And Anthony Rizzo delivered before the Cubs face moment of decision at trade deadline according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Those that were hoping the Cubs would trade for RHP Mike Leake might have missed the news late Thursday. The Reds traded Leake to the Giants for INF Adam Duvall and RHP Keury Mella.
And last, but not least a Joe Maddon quote courtesy of Bruce Miles: “There are a lot of things in today’s existence that make everything better. I can’t tell you social media actually does.”
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs traded Emilio Bonifacio, James Russell and cash to the Braves for Victor Caratini
2012 – Cubs traded Ryan Dempster to the Rangers for Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva
2010 – Cubs traded Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and cash to the Dodgers for Kyle Smit, Brett Wallach and Blake DeWitt
2006 – Cubs traded Greg Maddux to the Dodgers for Cesar Izturis
2006 – Cubs traded Todd Walker to the Padres for Jose Ceda
2005 – Cubs traded Jody Gerut to the Pirates for Matt Lawton
2004 – Cubs acquired Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton in a four-team deal … The Red Sox sent Garciaparra and Murton to the Cubs. The Twins sent Doug Mientkiewicz to the Red Sox. The Expos sent Orlando Cabrera to the Red Sox. The Cubs sent Francis Beltran, Alex Gonzalez and Brendan Harris to the Expos and sent Justin Jones to the Twins.
2002 – Cubs acquired Chad Hermansen from the Pirates for Darren Lewis
2000 – Cubs traded Henry Rodriguez to the Marlins for Dave Noyce and Ross Gload
2000 – Cubs acquired Rondell White from the Expos for Scott Downs
1999 – Braves traded Micah Bowie, Ruben Quevedo and a PTBNL to the Cubs for Jose Hernandez and Terry Mulholland. The Braves sent Joey Nation to the Cubs on Aug. 24, 1999 to complete the trade.
1998 – Cubs traded Todd Noel, Kevin Orie and Justin Speier to the Marlins for Steve Hoff and Felix Heredia
1997 – Cubs selected Dave Stevens off waivers from the Twins
1975 – Angels purchased Adrian Garrett from the Cubs
1968 – Billy Williams, Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman hit longballs in the fourth inning and backed Ferguson Jenkins in a 6-1 win over the Astros at Wrigley Field.
1959 – Mike Bielecki, born
1957 – Leon Durham, born
1947 – Earl Stephenson, born
1913 – Bill Fleming, born
1910 – Len Cole pitched a seven-inning no hitter as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 4-0 in St. Louis. The game was abbreviated because both teams had to catch a train.
1901 – ‘Long Tom’ Hughes struck out 15 in 14 innings but the Chicago National League Ball Club lost to the Reds 5-4 in Cincinnati.
1892 – Art Nehf, born
1886 – Larry Doyle, born
1883 – Tuffy Stewart, born