Monday was the Cubs last scheduled day off until Sept. 3 and while no one on Joe Maddon’s team threw a pitch or swung a bat, the Cubs gained ground in the NL Wild Card race.
The Cubs moved to within two games of the Pirates on Monday for home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game. Pittsburgh lost 4-1 to the D-Backs at PNC Park. And the Cubs lead over the Giants increased to four games when San Francisco lost 2-1 in St. Louis.
By taking two of three on the South Side, the Cubs will enter play Tuesday night having won 15 of 17 and with a 67-49 record, 18 games over .500. The Cubs are two behind the Pirates for second in the division and eight behind the Cardinals, seven in the loss column, in the NL Central. The Cubs have a four game lead over the Giants, five in the loss column, for the second NL Wild Card.
The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand Tuesday night with the first of two with the Tigers. Over the next week the Cubs face three teams at Wrigley with a sub-.500 record. Keeping pace with the Pirates and Cardinals is a must at this point of the season while at the same time holding off the Giants.
The Cubs hit the road for six games on the West Coast next Tuesday and trips to San Francisco and Los Angeles are rather challenging, especially for a young team. Taking care of business over the next seven games would give the Cubs a little leeway if they have issues on the left coast.
NL Wild Card Game and MLB Postseason Schedule
By no means are the Cubs settling for just a spot in baseball’s post-season tournament, Joe Maddon still has his sights on the NL Central Division crown. But if the playoffs started today, the Cubs would travel to Pittsburgh for the one-game NL Wild Card.
Major League Baseball announced Monday the Post-Season Schedule.
MLB announced the NL Wild Card Game will be Wednesday, Oct. 7 and will televised on TBS. The AL Wild Card Game is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6 and will be carried on ESPN.
The National League Division Series begin Friday, Oct. 10. The ALDS begin Thursday, Oct. 8.
The National League Championship Series is scheduled to begin Saturday, Oct. 17, a day after the Junior Circuit begins its final post-season series.
Game one of the 2015 World Series is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27. The American League Champ will host games one, two, six and seven.
Cubs-Cardinals – Sunday, Sept. 20
The Cubs announced Monday the Sunday, Sept. 20 game versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field, originally listed as “TBD,” has been scheduled to start at 1:20pm CDT. Comcast SportsNet will televise the game.
Miguel Montero and Kyle Schwarber
Miguel Montero believes Kyle Schwarber has what it takes to be a full-time catcher in the big leagues. And he’s already inked plans with Schwarber to work on his defense before Spring Training begins next year.
Montero asked Schwarber to meet him at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa on Jan. 10. The rookie willingly accepted the invitation from Montero. And the two will spend a month working only on his defense … no hitting, just defense.
Schwarber has made an impression on Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and his teammates. Schwarber is a hard worker and has been labeled a ‘sponge.’ He wants to learn and wants to be a Major League catcher. Miguel Montero thinks Schwarber just needs experience. And he plans to help Kyle Schwarber become the best catcher he can.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Comcast SportsNet, Kyle Schwarber gave the Cubs the shot in the arm they needed.
• Jake Arrieta told the Sun-Times that his career rebirth with the Cubs has staying power.
• The Cubs moved up a spot in ESPN’s weekly power rankings. And for the first time in 20 weeks, the Cubs slipped into the top five. ESPN’s top 10 for the week: Cardinals, Royals, Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mets, Astros and Giants. The Cubs moved up four spots, from nine to five in MLB.com’s power rankings. FOX Sports has the Cubs eighth in its weekly power rankings. And Sports Illustrated bumped the Cubs up two spots to No. 6 in its weekly ranking.
• Paul Sullivan reported decisions loom for the Cubs as race heats up.
• Jesse Rogers fielded questions on Twitter and posted the answers on ESPN Chicago.
• David Golebiewski, Getting Graphic: What Happened to Starlin Castro?
• According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are talking to the Red Sox about OF Alejandro De Aza. The Dodgers could be looking at De Aza as an option in case they are not able to acquire Chase Utley. The Dodgers would be able to use Kike Hernandez at second base while Howie Kendrick is out and not have him split time in the infield and outfield.
• Closer or not, Cubs believe Hector Rondon can be the man in the ninth inning according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs traded Derrek Lee to the Braves for Ty’Relle Harris, Robinson Lopez and Jeffrey Lorick
1995 – Cubs beat the Rockies 26-7 at new Coors Field. Luis Gonzalez drove in six runs, Sammy Sosa went 4-for-4 with four RBI and four runs scored. The Cubs tied several Major League records: Nine teammates scored two or more runs, 14 Cubs hit safely and 26 RBI tied a National League record. The Cubs extended their own record by scoring 20 or more runs 39 times in franchise history.
1989 – Andre Dawson collected the 2000th hit of his career
1982 – In the second longest game in franchise history, at the time, the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 2-1 at Wrigley Field. The game took two days to complete, lasted 21 innings and the Cubs dropped the game after Dusty Baker hit a sac fly in the 21st inning.
1977 – Cubs traded Steve Renko to the White Sox for Larry Anderson
1972 – Cubs released Steve Hamilton
1952 – With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Phil Cavarretta hit a two-run pinch-hit homer and gave the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field. It was Cavarretta’s last home run as a Cub.
1930 – Woody English scored five runs and Hack Wilson hit his 42nd home run of the season as the Cubs beat the Phillies 17-3 at Wrigley Field. Starter Pat Malone went the distance and hit a home run.
1911 – Cubs traded Cliff Curtis to the Phillies for Jack Rowan
1910 – Cubs purchased Jim Doyle from Louisville of the American Association
1909 – For the second time in eight days, Ed Reulbach won his 16th straight game against an opponent. Reulbach beat the Reds and extended a winning streak against the Redlegs that began on April 15, 1906.
1907 – Grandstand caught on fire during an exhibition game in Bridgeport, CT. Cubs players help put out the fire then beat Bridgeport 3-1.
1886 – John Clarkson set a franchise record, at the time, by striking out 16 batters in a 7-2 win over Kansas City at West Side Park.