The Cubs wrapped up the seven-game homestand in dramatic fashion Monday with a 2-1 win over the Indians in the make-up game thanks to an excellent outing from Jon Lester and the walk-off oppo blast from Kris Bryant.
The Cubs are 21 games over .500 after completing the first 20-4 stretch for the franchise since 1945. And with Monday’s celebration at homeplate, the Cubs now have 12 walk-off wins this season, tops in baseball.
With the Pirates and Cardinals both winning Monday night, the Cubs picked up a half game on the idled San Francisco Giants. The Cubs will start the three-game series in San Francisco on Tuesday night 6 ½ games in front of the Giants for the second Wild Card spot. The Cubs are three behind the Pirates for second in the division and 6 ½ back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.
Monday ended a string of 19 straight days, 17 games, in Chicago for the Cubs. The only games the Cubs played outside of Wrigley were three at The Cell (Aug. 14-16). The Cubs went 14-3 in those 17 games and did exactly what they had to do during the stretch of home games.
The team with the best road record in baseball (33-25) plays its first game Tuesday since Aug. 5 (Pittsburgh) outside of Chicago. The Cubs have three games in San Francisco (Aug. 25-27) and three in Los Angeles against the Dodgers (Aug. 28-30) before returning to Wrigley for three with the Reds (Aug. 31-Sept. 2)
Kris Bryant may have benefited from the Cubs extended stay in Chicago than any other player on the roster. Bryant really heated up at the plate and is batting .338/.437/.676 over his last 21 games with five doubles, a triple and six home runs for a 1.112 OPS.
Bryant has gone yard 20 times in the majors this season. Bryant’s first 20 big league home runs include two grand slams and two walk-off homers. Bryant is the only player in the NL this season with multiple walk-off home runs … and he’s one of five players in the game (Brian Dozier, James McCann, Jason Castro and Josh Donaldson) that has walked off the opposition.
According to Ace of MLB Stats, Kris Bryant is the first Cubs’ rookie with multiple walk-off homers in the same season since Gabby Harnett in 1923.
It will be interesting to see how Kris Bryant hits over the next six games.
Jorge Soler and Jason Motte
Monday ended on a positive note when Kris Bryant walked off the Indians, but the day started with the announcement Jorge Soler and Jason Motte were headed to the DL. And both Soler and Motte could be out for a month.
Jorge Soler strained his left oblique late in Sunday’s game. Soler had an MRI on Sunday night that revealed the injury. Soler is expected to be miss at least a month. When it comes to oblique injuries it is hard to put a timetable on a player’s recovery.
Obviously, the Cubs will miss Soler at the plate but his absence in right field will be also be felt. While his routes have been inconsistent and questionable, teams do not run on Jorge Soler.
Jason Motte has been shut down for 7-10 days. Motte will be re-evaluated around Labor Day. The Cubs are hopeful he will be able to start a throwing program at that point. Motte is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks.
INF Tommy La Stella and LHP Zac Rosscup were recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take the two spots on the active roster. La Stella is expected to see a lot of time at second base in a platoon with Starlin Castro with Chris Coghlan moving to right field for now.
Addison Russell was held out of Monday’s lineup, but his absence could have had more to do with his fiance having a child than anything. Maddon downplayed the tightness in Russell’s groin that led to him being lifted before the sixth inning of Sunday’s game.
Maddon said he was thinking about giving him a day off. Russell will be available Tuesday according to his skipper. Maddon did not say if Russell will be in the starting lineup.
According to a report from Ben Badler, the Cubs deal with International prospect Christopher Martinez “has fallen apart following an issue with his physical.” The Cubs agreed to terms with the 16-year old third baseman for $1 million. Badler reported the Cubs tried to sign him for $50,000 after the physical, but he rejected the team’s offer.
Details of the physical were not provided.
Christopher Martinez was considered one of the top infielders in this year’s class.
- Cubs Agree to Terms with Six International Prospects [July 2]
- Cubs Sign OF Kwang-Min Kwon [Aug. 17]
News, Notes and Rumors
• Joe Maddon likes what he has seen from his team this month. And Maddon pointed out on ESPN 1000 the Cubs “continue to play good baseball.” Maddon believes the Cubs could get to the playoffs and advance according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• Tom Ricketts is happy as Cubs keep riding the wave according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• Jon Lester had a good day at the plate Monday afternoon. Not only did Lester drop down two successful sac bunts but he put together an 11-pitch at bat against Corey Kluber in the third inning. Lester flied out to the warning track in left field. Lester’s 11-pitch plate appearance was the fourth time this season a Cubs’ pitcher had a 10-plus pitch plate appearance. Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks, twice, are the other two pitchers to have a rather lengthy time at the dish this year.
• Joe Maddon is the front-runner for NL Manager of the Year according to CBS Sports.
• An important stat for the week courtesy of Christopher Kamka … before Monday’s game, Joe Maddon said if last week was ‘American Legion Week,’ this week is ‘Cy Young Week.’ The Cubs started the run against former Cy Young award winners with a win in a game started by Corey Kluber. This season the Cubs are 5-1 in games started by Cy Young winners (Corey Kluber, Jake Peavy, Bartolo Colon, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, the loss was against Max Scherzer).
• The Cubs held on to the No. 4 spot in this week’s ESPN Power Rankings.
• According to Baseball America, the Blue Jays signed RHP Lendy Castillo to a minor league contract. Castillo was in the Rangers organization and pitched at both High-A High Desert and Double-A Frisco. Castillo has had a rough season.
• Ken Rosenthal reported Monday that the Cubs tried to acquire Chase Utley while he was rehabbing. Utley was “uncomfortable about getting traded while he was on a rehabilitation assignment.” Talks picked back up between the two teams for Utley once he returned from the DL and cleared waivers. The injury to Howie Kendrick created a need for the Dodgers. Utley preferred a trade to Los Angeles over the Cubs. According to Rosenthal, Utley viewed the Cubs “as nothing more than a fallback option.”
• Comcast SportsNet reported Justin Grimm is finding a new level in Cubs’ bullpen.
• The NL Central is in a class of its own according to Peter Gammons.
This Day In Cubstory
2002 – Cubs traded Jeff Fassero to the Cardinals for two players to be named later. Cubs received Jared Blasdell and Jason Karnuth on Sept. 24, 2002 to complete the trade.
1998 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and cash to the Twins for Mike Morgan. The Cubs sent Scott Downs to the Twins on November 3, 1998 to complete the trade.
1991 – Doug Dascenzo committed an error in the Cubs 12-9 loss to the Padres and ended his National League record streak of 242 consecutive games without an error (442 chances). Dascenzo’s streak began in 1988 and ended two games short of the AL record.
1981 – Dennis Lamp lost his bid for a no-hitter when Robin Yount led off the ninth with a bloop double. Lamp settled for a one-hit, 5-1 victory over the Brewers.
1974 – Gary Matthews Jr., born
1970 – Doug Glanville, born
1950 – Dutch Leonard beat Warren Spahn and the Braves 7-6.
1947 – Billy Jurges, who shifted from coach to active player just two days prior, hit a two-run homer in the 10th that gave the Cubs a 9-7 win over the Giants. Bob Scheffing and Andy Pafko also homered for the Cubs
1922 – In the highest scoring game ever played, the Cubs beat the Phillies 26-23 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs scored 10 runs in the second and 14 in the fourth. Cubs led 25-6 after four innings but held on for the win. The Phillies had the bases loaded in the ninth when the last out was recorded. Cliff Heathcote collected five hits and Hack Miller hit two home runs and drove in six runs.