The Cubs won their eighth game in a row Friday after holding off the Sox and taking game-one of round two of the Crosstown Cup series. The Cubs are playing with a lot of confidence right now, receiving contributions from the entire roster.
The Cubs season-long eight-game winning streak has come at the right time. The Cubs have maintained their 4 ½ game lead over the Giants for the second NL Wild Card. San Francisco has won two straight while Pittsburgh has also won on back-to-back days. The Pirates beat the Mets and own a 1 ½ game lead over the Cubs for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.
Joe Maddon still has his eye on the division crown. But the Cardinals are 7-3 in their last 10 games and the Cubs will take the field Saturday 7 ½ games back in the division.
The Cubs can only control the outcome of their games. It’s up to Maddon to keep pushing the right buttons and putting the players in the best position to succeed.
Almost a year to the day the Cubs moved Edwin Jackson to the bullpen from the starting rotation, the veteran right-hander inked a contract with the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves signed Edwin Jackson to a Major League contract. The announcement was made Friday and he was added to the Braves active roster. Jackson will be with his new team next week when the Braves make their annual trip to Wrigley Field (Aug. 20-23) for a four-game series.
The previous regime in Atlanta talked to the Cubs last summer about swapping Jackson for OF B.J. Upton (known as Melvin Upton Jr. now). The trade never happened but Atlanta finally added Jackson to their pitching staff.
Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell has a connection with Jackson from their days together in the Dodgers’ organization. Fredi Gonzalez said Friday that Jackson will have a chance to put his name into the mix for a spot in the Braves’ bullpen for next season.
The Cubs are still responsible for the remaining $15.63 million on the four-year, $52 million contract he signed in January 2013. The Braves signed Jackson for the Major League minimum which prorated will cost Atlanta around $150,000 for the remainder of the season.
Javier Baez started at second base and batted third for the I-Cubs on Friday night. Baez went 0-for-4 and committed his 17th error of the season. Baez booted a grounder with a report from the park suggesting he did not give it his best effort. Baez has not seen time at third base yet.
Since he was activated from the DL, Baez is 15-for-69 (.217/.304/.464) with four doubles, two triples and three home runs for a .768 OPS. In 17 games, Baez has seven walks and 21 strikeouts.
Javier Baez is expected to be one of the players called up when the roster expands Sept. 1.
LHP Zac Rosscup was activated from the 15-day DL on Friday and optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Rosscup had been on the disabled list since June 17 with left shoulder inflammation.
Rosscup started a rehab assignment on July 15 and was transferred to the Iowa Cubs to continue his rehab on July 28. In three appearances for the Iowa Cubs, Rosscup allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings (15.43 ERA, 2.57 WHIP).
It has been an up and down season for the lefty reliever. Rosscup should be included in the call-ups on Sept. 1 when the roster expands.
In 26 relief appearances in the majors this year, Rosscup is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 4.63 FIP (11 runs on 21 hits with 11 walks and 25 strikeouts in 23 innings).
INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara was placed on the inactive list Thursday and Marty Pevey explained why Friday.
According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Pevey said Alcantara left the team to be with his mother, who is having surgery. Alcantara should be back with the I-Cubs soon.
Alcantara has struggled for a majority of the season after starting the year with the big league team. Alcantara is down to .233/.285/.421 with 17 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs for a .706 OPS in 100 games for the I-Cubs. Alcantara got hot in May, but has numbers have steadily declined. Since the break (24 games) he is hitting only .163/.198/.279.
Arismendy Alcantara does not turn 24 until October and will benefit greatly by hitting the reset button in the off-season.
Pedro Strop created quite the controversy with his double fist pump after he struck out Adam Eaton and Tyler Saladino to end the eighth inning. The Cubs were clinging to a one-run lead at the time. And the White Sox had Alexei Ramirez at second base and Emilio Bonifacio at first, who was running for Geovany Soto.
Strop explained after the game he felt Ramirez was showing him up at second base. Ramirez waived his finger from side-to-side, a “no-no-no” gesture. Strop said he took what Ramirez did personally and it fired him up.
Alexei Ramirez denied trying to show up Strop and explained that he meant no disrespect.
Pedro Strop’s gestures as he’s leaving the mound and the way he wears his hat has garnered too much attention this season. Strop did his job Friday and considering the way the Cubs have been doormats for the better part of a decade his reaction was fun to see from a Cubs player after succeeding in a big spot in a game.
Pedro Strop said, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing how much I care.”
According to a report from the Des Moines Register, the Cubs released LHP Joe Ortiz. The lefty reliever was claimed off waivers from the Rangers in the off-season and had a rough year pitching out of Iowa’s bullpen.
In 38 relief appearances this season, ‘Mini-Me’ was 3-1 with a 5.24 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Ortiz allowed 36 runs, 32 earned, on 61 hits with 16 walks and 25 strikeouts in 55 innings.
Ian Happ went yard for the second time in as many days in South Bend’s 12-2 win over Wisconsin on Friday night. Happ collected his second multi-hit game of his pro career. Happ was 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored. Happ hit a solo homer Friday in the fifth inning after smacking a granny in the fifth inning against Beloit on Thursday night.
Happ is batting .265/.320/.456 with four doubles, three home runs and a .776 OPS in 17 games with the South Bend Cubs.
News and Notes
• Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 in his first start at second base on Friday. Castro and Addison Russell worked extremely well together. Castro is expected to start the next two games at The Cell with lefties on the mound for the White Sox. If Castro keeps hitting and the front office does not make any additions to the roster, he could see more time at second base according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• RHP Rafael Soriano should start throwing simulated games soon and then start a rehab assignment according to multiple reports Friday. That would put Soriano inline to return around the time the roster expands in two weeks (Sept.1). Soriano landed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation Aug. 8.
• RHP Neil Ramirez is not close to starting a rehab assignment and based on reports Friday, the Cubs might have to make plans without him in them for the remainder of the season. Ramirez ended up back on the DL on July 29 with left abdominal soreness. Ramirez said at the time his shoulder felt fine and he was frustrated that he had to be placed on the disabled list. With the minor league season winding down, it is hard to see how he would have enough time to continue the rehab process if he is not close to reporting to a minor league affiliate.
• Kyle Hendricks said his bad outing Friday was a direct result of his mechanics being off. Hendricks called his start “absolutely terrible.”
• The Cubs beat the Sox for the teams 14th win in 15 games, but Jed Hoyer and the players reminded the Sun-Times there is a long way to go in the season.
• The Tribune talked to LHP Clayton Richard about returning to The Cell with a 95 mph fastball.
• According to the Sun-Times, Jason Hammel has cooled off but would still like to have a meeting with Joe Maddon to discuss the two quick hooks.
• Bruce Levine reported Jeff Samardzija will remain a hot free agent despite the way he’s pitched.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – The Cubs beat the Cardinals 9-7 despite Ryan Dempster serving up a first inning home run to Albert Pujols. Pujols became the first player in Major League history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first 10 seasons.
1981 – Cubs traded Lynn McGlothen to the White Sox for a PTBNL. The Cubs received Bob Molinaro from the White Sox on March 29, 1982 to complete the trade.
1979 – Roberto Nova, born
1964 – Mayor Richard Daley declared it “Ernie Banks Day” in Chicago and 26,000 fans cheered on Banks at Wrigley in a 5-4 loss to the Pirates.
1964 – The Phillies purchased Bobby Shantz from the Cubs
1953 – Third baseman Ransom Jackson grounded into three doubles plays in a 2-0 Cubs loss to the Braves, Jackson tied a NL record that was later broken by Joe Torre.
1952 – Phil Cavarretta signed his contract to manage the Cubs in 1953.
1945 – The Cubs recorded 19 hits, two home runs by Paul Gillespie, in a 20-6 win over the Dodgers. The Cubs scored eight runs in the fourth inning after the first eight batters reached base for an out was recorded
1917 – The Cubs acquired Pete Kliduff from the Giants for Al Demaree