It was a successful return to the majors offensively for Kyle Schwarber on Friday night. Schwarber went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Schwarber contributed at the plate but was charged with two errors in his first start at catcher … a throwing error in the first inning and catcher’s interference in the sixth.
Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Schwarber defensively. And Kyle Hendricks said, “He knows what he’s doing back there. For his first start catching in the big leagues, pretty damn good.”
The plan for Kyle Schwarber moving forward is that he will catch two to three times a week. Schwarber will not be behind the plate on the days either Jon Lester or Jake Arrieta starts. And Schwarber will only catch for now.
The Cubs have not discussed with him about playing outfield and Maddon said there are not any plans to play him in the outfield. Those plans could change, but Schwarber has not played in the outfield this season.
Maddon said their job now is to make ‘Schwarbs’ a Major League catcher as quickly as possible. The player development staff feels Schwarber is ready to be a catcher in the big leagues.
While Friday night’s focus was on Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs have to start hitting with runners in scoring position and take the pressure off the pitching staff and defensive so every mistake does not lead to a loss.
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from the Sun-Times – Post-Game
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago – Post-Game
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
Pedro Strop had his second bad outing in a row Friday night. Strop walked a batter that was in a slump prior to serving up the game winning hit. After the game Strop admitted he has to be more consistent from outing to outing.
Joe Maddon did not waiver in his support of Strop after the game. Maddon has a lot of faith in him and feels the Cubs have to help him find his confidence again. Maddon believes in Strop and his stuff.
Strop is not being aggressive and not executing his pitches. Late-inning relievers cannot walk batters and two of the last three free passes he has issued (one intentional) have scored.
According to ESPN Chicago, Maddon will continue to use Pedro Strop as his primary eighth inning setup man.
RHP Rafael Soriano is almost ready to join the Cubs’ bullpen. Soriano made his sixth appearance in the Cubs’ system on Thursday night. In his first game for the Iowa Cubs, Soriano struck out the side and gave up an infield single. Soriano’s slider was sharp in his I-Cubs’ debut and he’s touched 94 mph with his fastball his last couple of outings according to Comcast SportsNet.
Soriano has allowed one unearned run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa (0.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP).
The Sun-Times reported Soriano may be ready a little earlier than first thought, that he would not need seven to eight minor league games. Soriano has already pitched in six games and is scheduled to make his second appearance for Iowa on Saturday. Soriano “could be up sooner than planned” according to the Tribune. And if that is the case, decision time for the Cubs could be coming as soon as Sunday, not early in the week as first thought.
Joe Maddon pointed out when Soriano is ready it is going to be a tough decision as to which pitcher is removed from the roster.
The Cubs placed Miguel Montero on the 15-day DL prior to Friday’s game with a jammed thumb and did not address how long he is expected to be out. Multiple reports have indicated Montero could be sidelined until September. Montero saw a hand specialist in Chicago on Friday and “may get a second opinion in Arizona” according to Carrie Muskat. Montero has a sprained left thumb.
According to the Sun-Times, Montero will see another doctor in Arizona this weekend before starting the rehab process at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa.
The Cubs should provide updates on Montero’s injury in the coming days.
Jason Hammel worked out Thursday and said he is ready to go for Tuesday’s start in Cincinnati. Hammel left his last start on July 8 after the first inning with left hamstring tightness. An MRI at the time did not show any damage and he was not expected to miss a start. The All-Star break came at the right time for Hammel and the Cubs.
Jason Hammel was penciled in as the fifth starter after the break because the Cubs felt the extra rest would give him enough time to be ready to pitch again.
If there are not any problems Tuesday, Hammel and the Cubs really dodged a bullet.
Cubs-Giants Start Time
The Cubs announced Friday the Sunday, Aug. 9 game versus the Giants at Wrigley Field, originally listed as “TBD”, has been scheduled to start at 1:20pm CDT. Comcast SportsNet will air the game.
The start times for the remaining “TBD” games on the Cubs schedule will be determined at a later date.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jon Paul Morosi reported Friday that he has heard “as many as a dozen teams are actively looking for starting pitchers.” Joel Sherman added later in the day, the Dodgers, Astros, Blue Jays and Royals are viewed as the teams working hardest to add starting pitching. Toronto heavily scouted the Reds prior to the break.
• Joel Sherman confirmed a previous report there is a growing feeling around the game that Cole Hamels might not be traded prior to the deadline. Andy MacPhail could wait until the off-season to deal him.
• The contract the Phillies signed Marlon Byrd to could end up hurting the Reds. Byrd has a limited no-trade clause and can block deals to teams (Royals, Mariners, Rays and Blue Jays) that could use him.
• The Astros and Padres have discussed RHP Tyson Ross and RHP Andrew Cashner according to Dennis Lin.
• And speaking of the Padres, according to Buster Olney “a rival evaluator places odds of James Shields being dealt before July 31 at 75-90 percent and thinks San Diego will move Craig Kimbrel as well.”
• From Christopher Kamka: Last two Cubs same name starting batteries: Kyle Hendricks and Kyle Schwarber – July 17, 2015 … Jason Marquis and Jason Kendall – September 26, 2007.
And last, but not least, Kyle Schwarber’s presence reminds Peter Gammons of a young Jason Varitek.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Yorvit Torrealba
2013 – Cubs released Esmailin Caridad
2005 – Cubs traded Jason Dubois to the Indians for Jody Gerut
1979 – For the second straight year, Cubs’ fireman Bruce Sutter was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game when the NL topped the AL 7-6 in Seattle. Sutter struck out three batters.
1957 – Ernie Banks and Chuck Tanner both hit inside-the-park home runs at Forbes Field as the Cubs beat the Pirates 6-5.
1956 – Razor Shines, born
1916 – With the game tied 4-4 in the tenth, umpire Bill ‘Lord’ Byron forfeited a game to Brooklyn when Hippo Vaughn, as a protest to alleged sign stealing by baserunners, refused to pitch.
1912 – Gavvy Cravath stole home in the 11th inning as the Phillies beat the Cubs 9-8 in the first of two in Chicago. The Cubs won the second game 4-2 on back-to-back home runs by Johnny Evers and Vic Saier.
1910 – Cubs purchased Vic Saier from Lansing for $1,500.
This Day In Baseball History
1927 – Ty Cobb became the first player to collect 4,000 hits in the Majors
1921 – Babe Ruth became the All-Time Home Run leader when he launched the 139th homer of his career. A monster shot that reportedly traveled over 500 feet. Ruth passed Roger Connor, the previous record holder with his 36th dinger of the season. Connor hit 138 longballs over his 18-year career in the National League