When the schedule came out, Monday was a day off for the Cubs to make the trip to San Francisco for the start of a six-game road trip with the Giants and Dodgers. After rain cancelled the game on June 15 with the Indians, the two teams decided to make-up the game on the mutual off-day.
The Cubs will end their extended stay in Chicago with a 1:05pm first pitch against Terry Francona’s Indians on Monday afternoon. And it’s Jon Lester versus Corey Kluber in what is the finale of a seven-game homestand (4-2).
The bar and expectations were set incredibly high for Kris Bryant before he took a swing in the majors. The media hype was unfair and to Bryant’s credit, he handled the pressure incredibly well. By the end of July, Bryant was being labeled a bust by the uninformed media and a small portion of the impatient fan base.
The extended stay in Chicago has certainly allowed Bryant to rebound from a rough July.
Bryant is hitting .343/.446/.657 over his last 20 games with five doubles, one triple and five home runs for a 1.103 OPS. For the season, Bryant has a .262/.367/.476 slash line with 21 doubles, five triples and 19 home runs for a .843 OPS … only seven of Bryant’s 19 homers have been solo.
At Wrigley, Kris Bryant is batting .291/.401/.617 with 11 doubles, five triples and 16 home runs for a 1.017 OPS. On the road, Bryant is hitting .233/.332/.335 with 10 doubles, a triple and three home runs for a .667 OPS. If Bryant could show improvement outside of Wrigley down the stretch, the team with the best road record in the majors will receive a boost from a bat in the middle of the order.
Dexter Fowler started turning his season around in July and he’s been just about as good as it gets in the second half. Fowler set a career high in home runs on Sunday when he led off the first inning with his 14th of the year.
Joe Maddon has told Fowler all season, “You go, we go.” And Fowler credited Maddon “with teaching him how to let go of poor at bats” according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
Over his last 34 games, Fowler is batting .320/.457/.578 with nine doubles, three triples and six home runs for a 1.035 OPS. Fowler has 31 walks and 31 strikeouts while working a quality at bat every time he’s stepped into the box. Defensively, he’s shown steady improvement all season and made several catches over the weekend that he might not have earlier in the year.
Addison Russell has really turned the corner in the second half and is looking better by the day at shortstop. Russell has provided consistent defense at short the team was missing before he was moved there on a permanent basis. Russell is batting .294/.336/.471 since the break with an .807 OPS. Russell has seven doubles, a triple and four home runs in his last 34 games.
Joe Maddon lifted Russell before the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. It was believed at the time Maddon was just giving Russell a breather with the Cubs leading 8-2.
Maddon said during his post-game meeting with the beat writers that Russell left the game with tightness in his groin. Maddon did not sound concerned but multiple reports indicated Russell could miss Monday’s make-up with the Indians.
If Russell is not in the starting lineup Monday, the team will have to provide more information on his status.
Cubs-Giants Pitching Match-Ups
The Cubs leave for the West Coast following Monday’s make-up for three games in San Francisco and three at Dodger Stadium.
Jake Arrieta faces Matt Cain in the opener on Tuesday night in San Francisco. Kyle Hendricks has Jake Peavy on Wednesday and the series wraps on Thursday afternoon with Dan Haren taking on Madison Bumgarner.
News and Notes
• The Cubs completed their fourth, four-game sweep of the season Sunday. The Cubs took all four from the Mets, Brewers, Giants and Braves. This is the first time since 1945 the Cubs swept four, four-game series in the same season. As Christopher Kamka pointed out, two of those teams didn’t exist in 1945 and the other two played in different cities.
• Since coming off the disabled list (12 games), Miguel Montero is 11-for-38 with four doubles and three home runs (.289/.400/.623) for a 1.032 OPS.
• American Legion Week has Cubs rested, rockin’ according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• The Cubs hit nine home runs in two days … four on Saturday and five on Sunday. The back-to-back days of four or more home runs are the first for the Cubs since Sept. 21-22, 2007. And the last 12 home runs hit by the Cubs were from eight different players: Kris Bryant, Chris Coghlan, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Miguel Montero, Jorge Soler, Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber.
• Chris Coghlan and Chris Denorfia are hoping they will be able to play in the post-season for the first time in their career according to a report from the Tribune.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs playing greedy down the stretch is a good thing.
This Day In Cubstory
2007 – Greg Maddux became the first pitcher to win at least 10 games in 20 straight seasons when the Padres beat the Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park.
1999 – Cubs acquired Micah Bowie, Ruben Quevedo and Joey Nation from the Braves for Jose Hernandez and Terry Mulholland
1996 – Kerry Wood combined on a no-hitter with the Daytona Cubs, his second no-hitter in the minors. The D-Cubs beat Vero Beach 3-0. Wood pitched eight innings.
1989 – Cubs acquired Paul Assenmacher from the Braves for two PTBNL. Cubs sent Kelly Mann and Pat Gomez to Atlanta on Sept. 1 to complete the trade.
1971 – Ernie Banks hit his 512th and last home run in a 5-4 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field. Banks final longball was hit off Jim McGlothin in the first inning.
1947 – Eddie Waitkus hit an inside the park grand slam in the second of two with the Giants. The Cubs won 8-3.
1930 – Cubs purchased Jesse Petty from the Pirates
1927 – Hack Wilson went 4-for-5 with two home runs, a stolen base, five runs scored and four RBI in a Cubs 13-1 win over the Phillies in the second game of a doubleheader in Philadelphia. Spark Adams went 5-for-6 with three doubles, two in the first inning. Wilson homered in the first game, but the Phillies won 7-6.
1905 – Ed Reulbach pitched a complete game as the Cubs beat the Phillies 2-1 in 20 innings. Frank Chance singled in Jack McCarthy with the winning run. Phillies’ Tully Sparks pitched the entire 20 innings but was hung with a loss.
1886 – Cap Anson hit two home runs and scored six runs in 18-6 win over Boston at West Side Park.