The Cubs gave one away Saturday night in Philadelphia. Three two-out walks and an error in the seventh led to a five-run inning for the Phillies and a two-out walk in the ninth inning set up the two-run walk off homer. The Cubs slipped three back of the Pirates in the division and Wild Card race while the Giants moved to within 8 ½ games, nine in the loss column, with 21 games left to play.
Even with the loss, Joe Maddon’s team inched closer to the Cardinals in the division. . The Cardinals lost two games to the Reds on Saturday, the suspended game from Friday 4-2 and the regularly scheduled game 5-1. The Cubs will enter play Sunday 5 ½ games behind the Redbirds.
Pedro Strop had a good outing Saturday night, which is pretty much the norm for Strop against every team in baseball not from St. Louis. The perception of Strop is so off base from the numbers.
Pedro Strop made his 68th appearance Saturday night and is 2-6 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Strop has been charged with 23 runs, 21 earned, on 35 hits with 28 walks and 69 strikeouts in 60 innings. Strop has allowed 11 of 24 inherited runners to score which is why Joe Maddon prefers Strop to start an inning. A solid, but not quite the season a team would like to see from its primary eighth inning setup man. Strop was 2-4 a year ago with a 2.21 ERA and 1.07 WHIP (19 runs, 15 earned, 40 hits, 25 walks, 71 strikeouts and 61 innings in 65 games).
Strop faced a very different Mets team than the one that currently plays at Citi Field three times and allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings without a walk and five strikeouts (0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP). In two appearances against the Dodgers, Strop gave up a hit and two walks while striking out three over two shutout innings (0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). Strop has faced the Pirates five times this year and in four innings he has allowed two runs on one hit with two walks and five strikeouts in four innings (4.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP). Both runs the Pirates scored off Strop came in one game (May 15) on an Andrew McCutchen three-run homer.
In nine appearances against the Cardinals this year, Pedro Strop is 0-2 with two blown saves and four holds. Strop has allowed nine runs on nine hits (two home runs) with six walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings (15.19 ERA, 2.81 WHIP).
Removing the horrible outings against the Cardinals, Pedro Strop has allowed 14 runs, 12 earned, on 26 hits (three home runs) with 22 walks and 63 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings (2.01 ERA, 0.89 WHIP).
Pedro Strop is an easy target when talking about the bullpen issues because of the way he’s pitched against the Cubs biggest and most disliked rival, but the numbers back up that he’s done his job in the other 58 games he’s pitched in this season.
The weather in Philadelphia over the last three days has really messed with the Cubs pitching plans and has forced Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio to shuffle the rotation twice.
The Cubs announced Saturday that Jon Lester and Jason Hammel will pitch the doubleheader Tuesday at PNC Park against the Pirates. Jake Arrieta will go in game three on Wednesday and Kyle Hendricks will start the finale Thursday afternoon.
Clint Hurdle set his rotation for the four games in three-day series. Gerrit Cole and J.A. Happ are scheduled for the doubleheader. A.J. Burnett will start Wednesday and the Pirates have Charlie Morton slated for Thursday.
Dan Haren is in line to pitch the opener of the Cardinals series on Friday at Wrigley and Maddon will have Jon Lester or Jason Hammel on regular rest for Sunday’s finale (Sept. 20). The Cubs have not said who will start Saturday’s game (Sept. 19), but due to the rain and rescheduling it may be another bullpen day. Hammel and Lester would have to pitch on short rest to start game two of the Cardinals’ series.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Kris Bryant keeps delivering in the clutch for the Cubs according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Kris Bryant tied the Cubs single season strikeout record Saturday night that was set by Sammy Sosa in 1997. Bryant went 1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and three strikeouts. Bryant has struck out 174 times this season.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs were handed a walk-off loss to the Phillies while trying to create playoff momentum. And the Cubs were not able to close in on reeling Cardinals with Saturday’s loss to the Phillies according to the Sun-Times.
• Cubs’ first base coach Brandon Hyde told the Sun-Times, this Cubs’ rookie crop surpasses anything he saw in nine years in Miami.
• The Cubs view Kyle Schwarber as a catcher. With the way he has hit the ball this year there will be a spot for him in the lineup next season. Schwarber continues to work on being a better receiver even though he is primarily an outfielder right now. With Miguel Montero and David Ross under contract, plus Willson Contreras, who will be added to the 40-man roster and will be in big league camp in the spring, where Schwarber plays next season will be a topic of conversation throughout the winter. Patrick Mooney took a look at Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and where the Cubs go from here.
• And speaking of the Cubs’ rookies, the rehabbing Jorge Soler talked with Max McKinnon about playing with the Pelicans during Myrtle Beach’s post-season. Soler was glad to be back on the field and playing again. Soler traveled with the team to Wilmington and will play at least one more game with the Pelicans.
• Joel Sherman ranked the five teams with GM openings: 1. Red Sox, 2. Phillies, 3. Mariners, 4. Angels and 5. Brewers.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, two likely candidates for the Tigers’ job if Brad Ausmus is fired are Ron Gardenhire and Rick Renteria. The Cubs former skipper interviewed with the Tigers before Ausmus was hired and Renteria managed in the Marlins system when Tigers’ GM Al Avila was there.
This Day In Cubstory
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs No. 61 and 62 in the Cubs 11-10 victory over the Brewers in 10 innings. Sosa tied Mark McGwire for the MLB lead in home runs. Sosa passed Ted Kluszewski (Reds, Crosley Field in 1954) for the most home runs in a season in a single park. Sosa hit numbers 34 and 35 at Wrigley Field. Sosa also tied Ralph Kiner’s NL single-season record with his 10th multi-homer game of the season.
1976 – Wade Miller, born
1972 – Roberto Clemente hit the last regular season homer of his career off Ferguson Jenkins at Wrigley Field.
1960 – Eighteen-year old OF Danny Murphy became the youngest player in Cubs history to hit a home run. Murphy smacked a three-run homer off Bob Purkey. The Cubs lost 8-6 to the Reds in Cincinnati.
1942 – Shortstop Lennie Merullo made four errors in the second inning in the second game of a doubleheader against Boston. His son is born later in the day and was named “Boots”.
1931 – The Cubs beat the Braves 11-7 at Wrigley Field when player-manager Rogers Hornsby cracked a pinch-hit grand slam in the 11th inning, the first pinch-hit extra inning grand slam in Major League history
1906 – Mordecai ‘Three-Finger’ Brown won his 11th straight games in a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals.
1902 – Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance lineup at short, second and first base for the first time. Germany Schafer played third and the Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-0.