The Cubs made it two in a row over the Braves on Friday afternoon. And not only maintained the four game lead over the Giants but gained ground in the division Friday night.
Madison Bumgarner beat the Pirates 6-4 and the Cardinals lost 9-3 in San Diego. The Cubs will enter play Saturday four games in front of the Giants and three back of the Pirates in the NL Wild Card race. The Cardinals have a 4 ½ game lead in the Central over the Pirates and the Cubs are 7 ½ behind St. Louis with 42 games remaining on the schedule.
Bruce Levine reported Friday that Theo Epstein and the Cubs are getting close on a new deal. The five-year contract Epstein signed in Oct. 2011 to be the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs runs through the 2016 season. Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts have talked off and on about a contract extension since at least last fall.
Crane Kenney’s contract runs through the 2019 season. And Joe Maddon inked a five-year deal that will keep him in the Cubs’ dugout through the 2019 season. It would only make sense for Tom Ricketts to extend Epstein’s contract for at least three seasons.
Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod also signed five-year contracts. McLeod received an extension last summer when he took his name out of the mix for the GM job in San Diego. Hoyer was believed to be in line for an extension last fall. Once Epstein is re-upped, Hoyer should not be far behind.
Epstein told Bruce Levine, “I am committed to the Cubs and could not be happier. I am very happy working with this group of people. Tom and I see this as a long-term partnership with a lot left to accomplish. I am happily under contract. As for an extension, there are a lot more important things going on right now in the organization. We just haven’t gotten around to it. I am sure we will at an appropriate time.”
Theo Epstein made similar comments last fall and before the Convention when asked about his contract and possible extension. Before the organization changed directions last November, Epstein was believed to be on the verge of signing an extension. In January, multiple reports indicated Epstein and his staff were close to signing long-term extensions.
Based on the contracts Andrew Friedman and Dave Dombrowski have signed, Theo Epstein is in line to receive a significant increase from the five-year, $18.5 million contract he signed in Oct. 2011.
Rumors surfaced when Larry Lucchino stepped down that Epstein might be a fit back in Boston calling the shots for the Red Sox again, but this time from the President’s chair. With Dave Dombrowski taking over baseball operations for the Red Sox, those rumors quickly went away.
One of the first big announcements of the off-season should be Theo Epstein has signed a contract extension. Until then, the focus is on the big league team and catching those Cardinals.
Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Hendricks on Friday. Maddon thought he showed improvement from his bad outing on the South Side. Maddon pointed out that Hendricks “had a better down angle” and he saw called third strikes that the Braves did not like.
Kyle Hendricks thought he pitched better Friday, but he was still a little frustrated by his performance.
Miguel Montero gave an honest assessment about Hendricks’ outing. The Braves jumped on Hendricks early in the at bats in the first inning. And according to Montero, they took advantage of “pitches that were not good pitches.”
Hendricks put together an outing he should be able to build on in five days.
Sammy Sosa was named to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday and will be inducted Dec. 2-5 along with Orlando Hernandez, Jesse Orosco, Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez and Omar Vizquel.
Slammin’ Sammy Sosa played a majority of his career with the Cubs and was the NL MVP in 1998. Sosa hit .284/.358/.569 with 545 home runs and a .878 OPS with the Cubs.
Sammy Sosa ended his career with 609 home runs.
Mike Olt was 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and a strikeout on Friday night. Olt played first base batted fifth. Olt and Christian Villanueva hit back-to-back jacks in the first inning. Olt has gone yard in consecutive games.
Olt is 4-for-8 in his last nine plate appearances with two home runs, a double, a walk and a strikeout. Over his last 34 games, Olt is batting .276/.353/.496/.848 with nine doubles, six home runs, 14 walks and 46 strikeouts (123 at bats).
Mike Olt is expected to be recalled when the roster expands Sept. 1.
News and Notes
• MLB and the MLBPA announced an agreement on a Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
• In a must-read report, Jay Jaffe took a deep look into how Jake Arrieta is emerging as a true ace for the Cubs.
• Joe Maddon is teaching the Cubs ‘expectations’ is a positive word according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• 1B Dan Vogelbach was activated from the DL and rejoined Double-A Tennessee on Friday.
• Darren Willman reported Jake Arrieta (85.4 mph) has the third lowest average exit velocity this season.
• Cliff Corcoran posted what the biggest needs for five fringe playoff contenders. The Cubs were not included in the report, but according to Corcoran, the Nationals need a new manager.
And last, but not least, Kyle Schwarber is working on being the Cubs’ left fielder of the present according to Comcast SportsNet.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Lou Piniella stepped down as the manager of the Chicago Cubs and retired from baseball
2002 – Cubs traded Tom Gordon to the Astro for two PTBNL and Russ Rohlicek. Cubs received Travis Anderson and Mike Nannini from Houston on Sept. 11, 2002 to complete the trade
2001 – Sammy Sosa hit three home runs in the same game for the second time in a week. Sosa was removed from the game after his third home run in the sixth inning. The Cubs beat the Brewers 16-3.
1983 – Dallas Green replaced Lee Elia with Charlie Fox as the manager of the Cubs
1982 – Cubs retired Ernie Banks No. 14. Banks played his entire 19-year career in the majors with the Cubs and was the first player to have his uniform number retired by the organization.
1970 – Ken Holtzman allowed only one hit, a single by Hal Lanier with one out in the eighth inning as the Cubs beat the Giants 15-0 in San Francisco. Gaylord Perry took the loss for the Giants. Billy Williams and Joe Pepitone doubled, homered and scored three runs.
1968 – Gary Scott, born
1963 – Darrin Jackson, born
1960 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Lou Brock
1954 – Hank Sauer Day at Wrigley Field … The Mayor of Wrigley Field was showered with packets of tobacco and other gifts when 30,093 filled up Wrigley Field for Hank Sauer. Sauer went 1-for-5 at the plate in the Cubs 12-6 loss to the Braves. Rookie Ernie Banks hit two home runs.
1950 – Ray Burris, born
1942 – Catcher Clyde McCullough, shortstop Lennie Merullo and first baseman Phil Cavarretta turned a triple play in the top of the 11th inning. Bill Nicholson hit a home run in the bottom of the 11th as the Cubs walked off with a 5-4 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field.
1930 – Cubs traded Chick Tolson and Mal Moss to Minneapolis (American Association) for High Pockets Kelly.