The Cubs got back on track Thursday night behind Jake Arrieta and started ‘American Legion’ week off with a win over the Braves. Joe Maddon wants his team to just show up to Wrigley ready to play. And the results were there for offense and defense in the opener with the Braves.
The Cubs picked up a game in the NL Wild Card race with the 7-1 victory over Atlanta. The Giants lost in Pittsburgh and the Cubs lead for the final spot in the post-season tournament increased to four games over San Francisco, five in the loss column. The Cubs will enter play Friday afternoon four back of the Pirates and four ahead of the Giants in the Wild Card race.
Jason McLeod will be a General Manager, if not the President of Baseball Operations, for a team someday. McLeod does not receive the same credit for the Cubs turnaround as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. But those in the game know how important McLeod has been in changing the franchise and what he did in Boston before joining Hoyer in San Diego. McLeod withdrew his name from the Padres’ GM job last year and received an extension to stay with the Cubs.
With several GM openings Jason McLeod figures to be in demand this off-season.
Jason McLeod told the beat writers Thursday his focus remains the Cubs and what is going on with the organization. “This place is special. We’re winning, and it’s exciting, and a lot of our younger guys are up here. And we have a lot of work to do still. That’s where our focus is.”
McLeod has maintained his commitment is to the Cubs and seeing through The Plan that he helped set in motion nearly four years ago. And his comments Thursday just backed up his previous statements.
Jake Arrieta put an end to the Cubs losing skid Thursday with his 12th straight quality start. While he posted his league-leading 15th win, Arrieta explained after the game he’s not into all of the stats, awards or win totals. The only thing that mattered to him, according to ESPN Chicago, was getting the Cubs going back in the right direction.
The Cubs don’t intend to be a Wild Card team and Arrieta thinks they can still win the division.
Joe Maddon echoed Arrieta’s statement about the Cubs goal remains winning the division. When asked who would start the one-game playoff game with the Pirates, Maddon said, “Let’s go for the division.”
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Jake Arrieta became the first Cubs pitcher to record 12 straight quality starts since Greg Maddux in 1992. And Arrieta became the first pitcher in 10 years to complete at least six innings and not allow a fly ball according to ELIAS.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Carl Edwards Jr. is expected be one of the players called up on Sept. 1 when the roster expands. ESPN Chicago reported Edwards Jr. will take a short-break from baseball for the birth of his child before his likely call-up.
Jason McLeod talked about the progress Edwards Jr. has made this season transitioning from a starter to a reliever. The Cubs like what they’ve seen from him with the Iowa Cubs. And McLeod pointed to a couple of outings elevating his walk total. McLeod admitted the walks are a bit of a concern and he has to do a better job of throwing strikes in order to be successful in the big leagues.
Carl Edwards Jr. has swing and miss stuff and could be a big part of the bullpen in September if he can improve his command with help from Chris Bosio.
Dan Vogelbach tweeted Thursday that his rehab with the AZL Cubs was over and he was on his way back to Double-A Tennessee to finish the season with his teammates.
Vogelbach played in five games for the AZL Cubs and was 5-for-14 with two doubles, six walks and a strikeout.
After a scorching start to the season, Dan Vogelbach was hitting .284/.410/.431 with 13 doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .842 OPS in 61 games.
News and Notes
• Joe Maddon to host charity boxing event Sept. 2 at Ringside at Ravenswood Event Center in Chicago.
• Joe Maddon made an interesting comment about the 3:05pm start times to Bruce Miles. Friday and Saturday are the last two 3:05pm scheduled start times. According to Bruce Miles, Maddon does not care for the late afternoon first pitch at Wrigley and called the start time “awkward.” The Sun-Times explained Maddon “plans to lobby against 3:05pm start times that tend to cause the most disruptions to players’ sleep and work patters among a slew of alternating game times for this team.”
• Anthony Rizzo hit home run No. 24 on the season on Thursday night, his 94th longball in a Cubs’ uniform. Rizzo is tied with Dave Kingman for 24th on the Cubs’ All-Time Home Run list.
• According to ESPN Chicago, the question in the Cubs’ clubhouse after the game was how did Anthony Rizzo keep his third inning, three-home run fair.
• The Tribune reported the Cubs are selling playoff tickets to season ticket holders.
• Edwin Jackson is back at Wrigley this weekend with the Braves and he’s prepared for the boos according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• According to the Tribune, Cubs’ starters coming up way short looming as a potential big issue.
• RHP Rafael Soriano is on schedule to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Soriano is expected to stay with the big league team through the weekend. When the Cubs leave for San Francisco following Monday’s makeup with the Indians, Soriano will report to a minor league affiliate.
• The Cubs believe the young hitters will show more plate discipline down the stretch according to the Tribune.
• Bruce Levine reported Addison Russell is making strides at shortstop.
This Day In Cubstory
1999 – Sammy Sosa became the fourth player to hit 50 or more home runs in consecutive seasons. Sosa joined Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr.
1989 – Jerome Walton went 0-for-4 in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Reds and snapped his 30-game hitting streak.
1987 – Andre Dawson hit his 39th and 40th home runs of the season and Lee Smith picked up his 30th save in the Cubs 7-5 win over the Astros.
1978 – Jason Marquis, born
1975 – Rick and Paul Reuschel combined on baseball’s first all-brother shutout as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 7-0 at Wrigley Field
1968 – Tuffy Rhodes, born
1965 – Jim Bullinger, born
1935 – After losing the first game of a doubleheader, 13-12, the Cubs scored 12 runs in the 6th inning of the second game and beat the Phillies 19-5 in Philadelphia. Phil Cavarretta and Frank Demaree collecte five hits in the second game after Cavarretta recorded two and Demaree three in the first game. Chuck Klein scored eight runs in the doubleheader, three in game one and five in game two.
1929 – Charlie Grimm was sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with a hand injury. Grimm returned for the World Series
1898 – Walter Thornton threw a no-hitter and beat the Dodgers 2-0 in the second game of a doubleheader at West Side Grounds.
1881 – With his team already ahead 5-0 in the eighth inning, Abner Dalrymple became the first player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded in the history of the game.