The Cubs had a rough time Friday night against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Clayton Kershaw was at the top of his game while several mistakes in the sixth inning led to the Cubs third straight loss.
The Cubs slipped a game back of the Pirates in the NL Wild Card race. Pittsburgh scored two runs in the eighth and beat the Rockies 5-3. And the Giants gained ground on the Cubs after Kelby Tomlinson delivered the game winner in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.
The Cubs have a 4 ½ game lead, five in the loss column, over the Giants for the second NL Wild Card while the Pirates lead the Cubs by five games for home field advantage in the one-game playoff.
Joe Maddon was not concerned with his team’s performance Friday night. The Cubs have not made a lot of contact over the last two games. After striking out 16 times Thursday, 12 against Madison Bumgarner, the Cubs struck out 15 times Friday with Clayton Kershaw adding 14 of those to his season total.
Maddon told the beat writers, “I absolutely love the fact we went to school over the last two days.” Maddon said his young players are “getting an education this week.” Miguel Montero and Anthony Rizzo said the older guys are too.
Maddon explained, “We had a hard time, and that’s okay. As we move forward, I anticipate we’re going to do a lot better against guys like this.” Maddon pointed out his players are not robots, they are young and learning.
For as much as the team struggled in the finale with the Giants and in the opener against the Dodgers, if the Cubs can take care of business the next two days with Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta on the hill, a .500 trip to the West Coast would be considered a success.
Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney made his Cubs’ debut Friday night. Rodney faced four batters in the eighth inning. Rodney hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in his scoreless inning on 14 pitches, nine for strikes.
Joe Maddon thinks the Cubs can straighten out Rodney to the point he will be able to play a big role in the Cubs bullpen for the remainder of the season. Maddon explained to the beat writers, “We did some research on it, so we were able to like drill in a little bit, try to figure out what the differences were, and we have some ideas.”
The Cubs feel Chris Bosio and Lester Strode will be able to turn his season around.
Fernando Rodney met with the media prior to Friday’s game. Rodney believes some of his issues this season came from not getting enough work. Rodney knows he has the stuff to get big league hitters out. Rodney has seen highlights of the Cubs and said, “It’s a good team.”
Maddon does not plan on using Rodney in a closing role right now. Rodney will only see time in low-leverage situations until the Cubs can fully evaluate where he is and see what adjustments they think he should make.
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from the Tribune
Duane Underwood Jr.
RHP Duane Underwood Jr. was activated Friday from the DL. Underwood Jr. has been on the disabled list since June 28. Underwood Jr. made two rehab starts for the AZL Cubs (Aug. 18, Aug. 23) and did not allow a run in five innings. Underwood Jr. struck out six, did not issue a free pass and surrendered just three hits.
Prior to the stint on the DL, Underwood Jr. was 6-3 in 12 starts for the Pelicans with a 2.66 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Underwood gave up 46 hits with 20 walks and 42 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
Duane Underwood Jr. started Friday and completed four innings in the Pelicans 7-5 loss to Wilmington. Underwood Jr. allowed two runs on three hits (one home run) with a walk and three strikeouts. Underwood Jr. made 59 pitches, 36 for strikes.
According to Nathan Barnett, Underwood Jr. was sitting 94-95 with his fastball on Friday night and hit 96 a few times and 97 once.
Jason McLeod and Jim Hendry
The Mariners fired GM Jack Zduriencik on Friday. Seattle would like to have a new GM, reportedly with experience, in place by the end of the season. The Cubs’ Jason McLeod was mentioned Friday in a long list of possibilities for the opening. McLeod does not have the GM experience the Mariners are believed to be looking for according to Bob Nightengale.
Jason McLeod removed his name from consideration for the GM opening in San Diego. Multiple reports last year indicated being the Padres’ general manager is McLeod’s dream job. But McLeod believes in The Plan that he helped put in motion nearly four Octobers ago. McLeod has said several times publicly in recent weeks that he is happy with the Cubs and wants to see through what they have been working on. McLeod figures to be linked to all of the GM openings this off-season. He will be in charge of a team one day.
Multiple reports suggested Jim Hendry could a candidate for the Mariners’ job. According to Bruce Levine, the Mariners tried to get Hendry to leave the Cubs following the 2008 season. Hendry signed a four-year extension to stay with the Cubs. And he was dismissed late in the 2011 season.
Hendry has been linked to the Red Sox opening because of his ties with Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox new President of Baseball Operations. Levine reported that the Angels could also be a possibility for Hendry. Levine indicated “some baseball executives have been backing Hendry for the GM job that is open with the Los Angeles Angels, a few have called Angels’ owner Arte Moreno on his behalf.”
Jim Hendry is currently a special assistant to the Yankees’ Brian Cashman. Hendry has an excellent reputation within the game and often referred to as a good baseball man.
With the Cubs figuring to pick in the backend of the first round of the draft for the foreseeable future, keeping Jason McLeod with the organization for as long as possible will only benefit the Cubs in the long run.
The Cubs have not announced hiring Jared Porter, much less his position within the organization.
Based on Peter Gammons report, Jared Porter may not be the only Red Sox executive to make the move from Boston to the Cubs’ front office.
The Cubs are winning ballgames and are in the mix for a spot in baseball’s post-season tournament. And with the team winning again, the Cubs ratings are exploding according to Ed Sherman.
The ratings have exceeded WLS-Ch. 7’s expectations and WBBM-AM 780 is “experiencing ratings increases between 30 and 50 percent for its game broadcasts.”
Comcast SportsNet is “averaging a 3.2 rating, up dramatically from 1.50 in 2014” and WGN-TV Ch.9 is “averaging a 4.7 for its telecasts, more than double from last year.” Sherman reported WLS has averaged a 4.5 rating for its 22 telecasts. Sherman explained since the All-Star break the “ratings have exploded” and even bigger numbers are expected in September.
Pelicans’ Broadcaster Nathan Barnett
Nathan Barnett, the play-by-play broadcaster for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, has earned the Carolina League’s fourth-annual Broadcaster of the Year award. Barnett garnered the most votes among the circuit’s lead broadcasters and broadcast assistants.
Barnett, 26, is finishing up his second season as the Media Relations Manager and Broadcaster with the Pelicans. He joined Myrtle Beach after spending the 2013 season as the Broadcast and Media Relations Assistant with the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, near his hometown of Dallas.
“To join the list of broadcasters who have previously won this award is an incredible honor, especially one voted on by my peers whom I admire and respect greatly,” said Barnett in a statement. “To me, however, this is not simply an individual award. It is a testament to the environment that the Pelicans front office has created, under the leadership of Pelicans President and General Manager Andy Milovich, which has allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow as a professional.”
“I’d like to thank everyone in our front office and ownership group for their support and hard work in what has been an incredibly successful and fun season,” added Barnett. “Thank you as well to our coaches, players, and the Chicago Cubs for such a magical year on the diamond and for their support.”
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jon Heyman broke down the keys to the Cubs’ success this season … Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, More Good Young Players (Addison Russell, Jorge Soler) and the Starters (Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel in the first half and Kyle Hendricks).
• In this must read report, Paul Sullivan looked at how Manny Ramirez is influencing the Cubs. Ramirez has made a positive impact on several of the young players in the organization. Ramirez knows his role with the team. Sullivan indicated Ramirez is “probably more counselor than consultant.” Ramirez listens to players, gives advice when asked and “goes out of his way not to step on John Mallee’s toes or take credit for the grind-it-out approach the Cubs have adopted.” Sullivan talked to Pedro Martinez, who is pulling for the Cubs, about his former teammate and Pedro credited Theo Epstein for making the smart move to give Ramirez another chance.
• ESPN Chicago reported Jason Hammel’s outing not as bad as it looked against the Dodgers.
• Kris Bryant in the outfield opens up options for the Cubs according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs are building Joe Maddon’s egoless bullpen.
• RHP Daury Torrez was placed on the 7-day DL. Torrez is 9-6 in 23 games, 22 starts, for High-A Myrtle Beach this season with a 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. The specific injury was not given but he’s close to a career-high in innings pitched and the move could just be to give him a break to he can pitch in the post-season.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, Padres’ closer Craig Kimbrel was claimed on waivers by an unknown team. It is highly unlikely Kimbrel would have gone unclaimed long enough for the Cubs to have a shot at him. Rosenthal reported that a Padres’ official told him the team “has no intention of moving him.”
And last, but not least, the home run Anthony Rizzo hit off Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning of Friday’s game traveled 441 feet, tied for the longest allowed by Kershaw in his career.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Darwin Barney established the single-season record with his 114th straight errorless game at second base.
2012 – Indians selected Scott Maine off waivers from the Cubs
2005 – Cubs traded Todd Hollandsworth to the Braves for Todd Blackford and Angelo Burrows
2002 – Mariners signed amateur free agent Luis Valbuena
1989 – Trailing 9-0 after five innings, the Cubs rallied and beat the Astros 10-9 in 10 innings at Wrigley. Dwight Smith entered the game as a defensive replacement and singled in a run in the seventh, threw out a runner at the plate in the eighth, tied the game with a sac fly in the eighth and drove in the winning run in the 10th.
1989 – Logan Watkins, born
1973 – Cubs traded Pat Bourque to the A’s for Gonzalo Marquez
1971 – Henry Blanco, born
1966 – Picking up a win in relief in a 4-2 victory over the Braves, Robin Roberts became the first and only pitcher to record a win against the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves and Atlanta Braves.
1955 – Harry Chiti, Dee Fondy and Gene Baker homered in the fourth inning as the Cubs beat the Giants 6-3 at the Polo Grounds.
1918 – In a war-shortened season, the Cubs clinched the NL Pennant after George ‘Lefty’ Tyler beat the Reds 1-0 at Wrigley Field
1908 – Cubs beat Christy Mathewson and the Giants 3-2 with Mordecai ‘Three-Finger’ Brown picking up the victory in the Cubs eighth straight win.