The Cubs won their fifth game in a row and for the 11th time in 12 games Tuesday night. The Cubs improved to a season-high 15 games over .500. And with the Pirates loss to the Cardinals moved to within 2 ½ games of Pittsburgh for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.
Joe Maddon is obviously pleased with the way his team has played. Maddon talked about for a majority of the first half about the importance of the Cubs getting to 10 games over .500. And once the team reached that goal, Maddon pointed to 15 games over as being the next mark to shoot for.
With a 63-48 record, the Cubs next goal is 20 games over .500. Maddon explained Tuesday night, “By fives. We went five, 10, now 15. Keep it rolling. The next one is 20.”
Joe Maddon made the announcement Tuesday on one of his weekly radio shows that Starlin Castro would be taking grounders at second base during pre-game and the Cubs had talked to him about playing second and third base. And the day ended with Starlin Castro playing second base for the first time in the majors.
All eyes were on Starlin Castro before Tuesday’s opener against the Brewers as he took grounders at second base. Maddon addressed the team’s plans for Castro and he answered questions about his new role with the Cubs.
For now, the Cubs plan to play Castro at second base against left-handed starters and use as a defensive replacement in games Chris Coghlan starts at second. Castro will only start at short on days Addison Russell is getting a breather. Russell is the Cubs’ everyday shortstop.
Starlin Castro is handling his role change and said Tuesday he will do what is best for the team to help win games. It is not about him but about the team.
Anthony Rizzo thought Castro looked natural at second base and pointed out to the beat writers that he is not a selfish player. And even though he is down on himself, Castro “is not going to show it to anyone” in the clubhouse.
Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, was at Wrigley on Tuesday to support his client and talked about what he described as a “very awkward” situation right now for everybody. According to the Sun-Times, Kinzer “stopped short of saying he wants to see Castro get a fresh start through a trade.” Kinzer said, “Sometimes a change of scenery is good for everybody. I think it would crush him to leave Chicago. He loves it here.”
Joe Maddon talked about the spectacular play Castro made in the ninth inning while pointing out how good his attitude has been, especially since last Thursday.
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from Carrie Muskat
- Full Report from ESPN
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. is on fire at the plate and is trying to make up for his season-long slump over a three-week period. Almora Jr. was 2-for-4 with a double on Tuesday, the seventh straight game he had at least two base hits.
Over his last 28 games, Almora Jr. is batting .311/.383/.500 with 11 doubles, three home runs, 12 walks and 11 strikeouts for a .883 OPS.
Albert Almora Jr. has raised his season slash line to .267/.319/.394 with 19 doubles, three triples and five home runs for a .713 OPS.
News and Notes
• There was history made Tuesday night in Major League Baseball. For the first time since there were 30 teams, the 15 home teams all won on the same day.
• Addison Russell’s nickname for Kyle Schwarber is ‘Fast Hulk’ and the Cubs are having fun watching him do his thing according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• And according to Comcast SportsNet, Joe Maddon loves Addison Russell’s boring style.
• Included in this must read report from Marc Topkin is why Joe Maddon has been growing a beard.
• Tuesday was team photo day for the Cubs at Wrigley … and Manny Ramirez was in uniform, wearing No. 24.
• Former Cubs’ outfielder Tony Campana signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals. The White Sox released Campana after he tore his ACL in February. Campana’s deal with the Nationals runs through the 2016 season.
• From Christopher Kamka: Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Cubs’ pitching staff had a 1.183 WHIP for the season. Last time Cubs finished a season with a lower WHIP was 1919 (1.123).
• OF Eloy Jimenez returned to the lineup Tuesday night and helped Eugene pound Boise 15-8. Jimenez was 3-for-6 with a walk, a RBI and three runs scored.
• OF Rubi Silva was suspended for three games for violating team policy. Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey would not tell the Des Moines Register what Silva did. Pevey said the matter would stay internal. Silva was not with the I-Cubs on Tuesday.
• According to a report from the Sun-Times, Dan Haren said these Cubs are not the same team he beat in June.
• James Russell became the seventh different Cubs’ reliever to earn a save Tuesday.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant has a new Champs Sports ad.
This Day In Cubstory
1994 – Major League Baseball players went on strike and for the first time in 90 years there would not be a World Series.
1974 – Matt Clement, born
1934 – The Cubs swept the Deans in St. Louis. The Cubs beat Paul in game one of a doubleheader 7-2 and Dizzy in game two, 6-4.
1876 – Cal McVey pitched and caught Albert Spalding in Chicago’s 5-0 victory over Cincinnati