The Cubs surprised the Cardinals and won for the second straight day in St. Louis. With the Pirates beating the Reds, the Cubs did not gain ground on Pittsburgh in the NL Wild Card race but did move to within 6 ½ games of the Cardinals in the division.
With the Nationals blowing a big lead to the Mets, the Giants jumped over the Nats in the Wild Card standing and are nine games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot. The Cubs will enter play Wednesday two games behind the Pirates for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.
Starlin Castro had a big night in Tuesday’s win over the Cardinals. And by all accounts, Castro has dealt with his new role as a pro. Castro is working hard on a daily basis to stay prepared so when he’s called on he is ready to play.
Starlin Castro drove in four of the Cubs eight runs Tuesday and his second inning three-run homer gave Jason Hammel a six-run lead. Castro is 4-for-8 with a double, a home run, a walk, four RBI and three runs scored in the first two games with the Cardinals.
After batting .296/.315/.437 with seven doubles, a home run and a .752 OPS in August, Starlin Castro is 6-for-13 in his last five games with a double and a home run. Castro has hits in seven of the last 10 games he’s played in dating back to Aug. 27.
Starlin Castro’s season has not played out the way he or the Cubs envisioned. But to Castro’s credit over the last month he has done everything he could to help the team win when other players with Castro’s resume would have likely handled the situation a lot differently.
Joe Maddon and the 2016 Schedule
Major League Baseball released the tentative 2016 schedules for all 30 teams on Tuesday. Joe Maddon would like a more consistent home schedule for his players and he talked about the start times with the beat writers. Players have a routine and the different start times take them out of their routines, and that can impact their performance.
Maddon would like more 1:20pm start times and less of the 3:05pm start times that are better for the business side of the team. Maddon has talked to the front office and will continue to lobby for 1:20 over 3:05. Maddon would prefer the 1:20pm first pitch over 3:05pm unless travel dictates a later starting time.
Jed Hoyer addressed the start times. Hoyer said, “Inconsistent game times is something that players and managers and coaches all complain about, and rightfully so. That sentiment has been given to the appropriate people and we’ll see if we can get some of those changed.”
Joe Maddon fielded a lot of questions Tuesday about Kyle Schwarber and his status. Maddon said during his weekly spot on The Score (12:00pm CDT) that he would not be surprised if Kyle Schwarber would be available for Tuesday’s game. Maddon explained Schwarber was getting real, real close to returning.
Kyle Schwarber pinch-hit for Pedro Strop in the eighth inning Tuesday and could not check his swing on a 2-2 pitch from Steve Cishek and hit a weak tapper to the third base side of the mound.
During his weekly spot Tuesday afternoon on MLB Network Radio with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden, Joe Maddon said there was a chance Schwarber might be able to return to the lineup Wednesday. Maddon must have received a good report on Schwarber in the three hours in between his two radio spots.
Maddon talked to the beat writers about Schwarber prior to Tuesday’s game. Maddon said Schwarber “might not start again behind the plate the rest of the way but could be mid-, late-game replacement in spots” according to the Sun-Times.
After Tuesday’s game, reports from St. Louis indicated Kyle Schwarber will likely return to the starting lineup Wednesday.
Jorge Soler said he plans on playing again this season and he could take another step toward returning to the lineup Friday. Soler has hit off a tee, which is a good sign. And according to a report from Carrie Muskat, Soler could play in a simulated game on Friday in Philadelphia.
Jorge Soler was placed on the DL with an oblique strain on Aug. 24. The Cubs said at the time he could miss a month.
News, Notes and Rumors
• RHP Jason Motte has been out since Aug. 24 with a right shoulder strain. And according to reports Tuesday afternoon, Motte is progressing but has yet to throw off a mound. Motte threw off flat ground Tuesday from 120 feet.
• Chris Bosio talked about Jason Hammel’s toughness and about how he pitched through “a pretty significant knee injury” while avoiding the disabled list. Bosio thinks Jason Hammel is “going to be fine” according to a report from Mark Grote.
• The Cubs activated RHP Neil Ramirez from the 15-day DL prior to Tuesday’s game and recalled RHP Yoervis Medina from Triple-A Iowa. Mark Grote talked to Neil Ramirez about his velocity. Ramirez said, “I worried about that for too long. I think that might be one of the reasons why this thing happened.”
• The Cubs will be linked to Jeff Samardzija in the off-season. Samardzija has struggled with the Sox this year, especially in August. Ken Rosenthal thinks Samardzija might be looking at a deal similar to the one James Shields signed (four years, $75 million) not the $100-plus million he might have received before this year. Samardzija will also have draft pick compensation attached to him. The White Sox will make a qualifying offer.
• Joe Maddon used his seventh different leadoff hitter Tuesday night. Austin Jackson hit at the top of Maddon’s lineup … the other six players that have batted leadoff for the Cubs this season: Dexter Fowler, Chris Coghlan, Starlin Castro, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Chris Denorfia.
• From Christopher Kamka: Career homers by Cubs lefties … Billy Williams (392), Bill Nicholson (205), Mark Grace (148), Leon Durham (138), Rick Monday (106) and Anthony Rizzo (99). The most career home runs for players that spent their entire career for the Cubs: Ernie Banks (512), Starlin Castro (58), Stan Hack (57) and Bill Serena (48). And the most home runs in age 21-or-younger season in Cubs history: Ron Santo (23 in 1961), Addison Russell (13 in 2015) and Starlin Castro (10 in 2011).
• According to ESPN Chicago, catching the Cardinals is not the point for the Cubs, it’s about beating the best. The Cubs held on to beat the Cards according to the Sun-Times. And ESPN Chicago reported the standings in the Central Division tightened with the Cubs second straight win in St. Louis.
And last, but not least, the Cubs scored eight-plus runs in St. Louis against the Cardinals on consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday) for the first time since June 29-30, 1937.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Kris Bryant was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
1999 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 59.
1989 – Luis Salazar singled in the tying run in the eighth inning and doubled in the game winning run in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals. The Cubs took a 1 ½ game lead over St. Louis in the NL East.
1988 – Bruce Sutter recorded the 300th save of his career in his final Major League game. The Braves beat the Padres 5-4 at Jack Murphy Stadium.
1986 – Michael Bowden, born
1983 – Edwin Jackson, born
1971 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Bruce Sutter
1970 – Cubs released Al Spangler
1965 – Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers beat the Cubs 1-0. Koufax threw a perfect game at Dodger Stadium against the Cubs. Koufax struck out 14 in one of the most dominate starts in this history of the game. Cubs’ pitcher Bob Hendley allowed only one hit and an unearned run, a double by Lou Johnson that drove in the only run of the game. The Cubs were not no-hit again until the Phillies’ Cole Hamels broke The Streak on July 25, 2015.
1965 – Todd Zeile, born
1955 – Ernie Banks, Dee Fondy and Eddie Miksis homered in the first inning and Banks, Fondy and Gene Baker hit home runs in the eighth inning in the first game of a doubleheader against the Dodgers. The Cubs took game one 11-4 but lost game two 16-9. There were a total of 13 home runs hit in the doubleheader that day at Wrigley Field.
1952 – Jerry Mumphrey, born
1918 – In game four of the World Series, Babe Ruth knocked in two runs with a triple in the fourth inning and pitched seven innings of scoreless ball. The Cubs tied the game in the eighth inning ending Ruth’s World Series record of 29 2/3 scoreless innings. Cubs lost the game 3-2 after a wild pitch and an errant throw by reliever Phil Douglas. Babe Ruth was the winning pitcher.
1916 – Hippo Vaughn and Jimmy Lavender shutout the Pirates in both ends of a doubleheader
1915 – Albert Spalding passed away in San Diego at the age of 65
1894 – Bill Dahlen extended his second hitting streak to 28 games in a 9-5 loss to Cleveland in Chicago.
1882 – Cap Anson, Mike Kelly, George Gore, Tommy Burns and Franks Flint each collected four hits and Larry Corcoran tossed a three-hitter as the Chicago National League team beat Troy 24-1 in a game that was called after eight innings due to darkness at Lakefront Park.
1876 – Frank Chance, born