The Cubs and Reds waited out the bad weather in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. Dan Haren had a good start against a depleted Reds team and the Cubs notched win No. 92 on the season. The Cubs picked up a half game in the Wild Standings on the Pirates.
The Cardinals and Pirates were rained out Tuesday. A day-night doubleheader is scheduled for Wednesday. Game one (12:35pm CDT) is Gerrit Cole versus Michael Wacha and game two (6:05pm CDT) is Charlie Morton against Tyler Lyons. The Cardinals need only one victory in the twin bill to secure the NL Central crown.
The Cubs have started talking about a roster and a starting lineup for the NL Wild Card Game. Joe Maddon told the beat writers Tuesday that he has “assigned his stat guys to run numbers based on offense versus defense.” Maddon doesn’t want to overthink things, but he would like to see the information he’s asked to be put together.
Maddon hasn’t decided if the Cubs should carry 16 position players and nine pitchers or 15 position players and 10 pitchers on the Wild Card Roster. Maddon said planned to use players in different roles this week and would like to see how Carl Edwards Jr. and Zac Rosscup respond in higher leverage situations late in games. Maddon is using this week to evaluate players to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together for the one-game playoff.
Jon Lester could be included on the Wild Card Roster according to Comcast SportsNet. Lester would be a fallback option, or first out of the pen, in the event something happened to Jake Arrieta.
With Arrieta and Lester on the roster, the Cubs would have either seven or eight spots open for relievers. Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Clayton Richard and likely Fernando Rodney would take six spots that would only leave one or two vacancies to fill. Trevor Cahill should be included with the way he has pitched.
The Cubs currently have 17 position players on the active roster. Based on recent playing time, Jonathan Herrera is a longshot to be included the roster. Maddon hasn’t called Herrera’s number since Sept. 9 and he has a grand total of 12 plate appearances since Aug. 20. Maddon has used Matt Szczur sparingly this month, but more than Herrera.
If the Cubs win the Wild Card Game a different 25-man roster can be submitted for the NLDS.
Kris Bryant has been a team player and willing to play wherever Joe Maddon asks him to. Maddon talked about Bryant’s versatility Tuesday and told the beat writers he “embraces playing all over the field.”
If Bryant was given a choice he would play third base. And in the outfield he likes center field more than left or right field. He is confident he can play any of the five positions Maddon has used him at this season. Bryant played four different positions on Monday … center field, right field, first base and third base. Bryant has also lined up in left field this year.
Bryant could be an option for the Cubs in center field next season if Dexter Fowler rejects the qualifying offer. The Cubs would be looking for a short-term solution to give Albert Almora time to continue his development. According to Comcast SportsNet, a player like Denard Span could be an option as well on a short-term contract.
Maddon feels the reason Bryant’s successful moving around the field is because he has only one agenda … to win ballgames. Maddon pointed out that not every player in the big leagues is like Bryant, “they might be more worried about themselves” than the team.
Anthony Rizzo joined a rather exclusive club that included only one player until Tuesday night. Rizzo was hit by a pitch for the 30th time and joined a 30-30 Club with Don Baylor (1986). Baylor was hit 35 times while hitting 31 longballs for the Red Sox in 1986.
Rizzo and Baylor are the only two players in the history of the game that have hit 30 home runs and were hit 30 times in a single season.
According to STATS Inc., Anthony Rizzo is the seventh player to get hit by a pitch 30 times in a single season since 1910, the first since Craig Wilson (Pirates) in 2004.
Jon Lester makes his final start of the regular season on Wednesday night. Lester has put together a good first year with the Cubs. In 31 starts, Lester is 10-12 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 3.01 FIP. Lester has given up 82 runs, 75 earned, on 180 hits with 47 walks and 198 strikeouts in 197 innings.
Lester is two strikeouts away from 200 and three innings short of 200 on the season.
After a rough start to his Cubs’ career and a poor June, Lester is 6-4 in his last 13 starts with a 3.22 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Lester is five strikeouts away from having the most strikeouts in a single season by a Cubs’ left hander. Lester topped Hippo Vaughn (195, 1917) his last time out and trails only Ken Holtzman (202, 1970) on the Cubs’ All-Time list.
Jon Lester has taken a lot of heat this season. Lester helped change the culture in the Cubs’ clubhouse and has been pretty good, with a few exceptions, on the mound this year.
News and Notes
• According to the Tribune, the Cubs should expect the unexpected in the Wild Card Game.
• Carl Edwards Jr. is confident he can supply more rookie power for the Cubs in the playoffs according to the Sun-Times.
• ESPN the Magazine: The Cubs’ Family Trust
• According to FanGraphs the Cubs have a No. 3 starter in Kyle Hendricks.
• Joe Maddon doesn’t believe in curses or all the stuff that has been tied to the Cubs over the year. He doesn’t vibrate on that frequency. Maddon believes his team with block out all the playoff noise according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And the Sun-Times reported these young Cubs say it’s a new age, a new day.
• The Tribune reported rediscovering patience at the plate could help the Cubs advance in the playoffs.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum
2007 – Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th home run of the month off the Reds’ Homer Bailey and set the Cubs record for the most homers in September.
2002 – Cubs released Ron Mahay
1998 – Cubs dropped game one of the NLDS 7-1 to the Braves. Michael Tucker and Ryan Klesko homered by John Smoltz.
1992 – Greg Maddux shutout the Pirates 6-0 and became the Cubs first 20-game winner in 15 years. Maddux tied Tom Glavine for the most wins in the National League.
1988 – President Ronald Reagan threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field. President Reagan, whose nickname was ‘Dutch’, was a play-by-play announcer for the Cubs and joined Harry Caray during the first inning and a half in the WGN booth.
1983 – Cubs released Jerry Morales
1983 – Cubs selected Mike Chris off waivers from the Giants
1962 – Cubs completed a triple play in the eighth inning of a 5-1 victory over the Mets at Wrigley Field … second baseman Ken Hubbs to first baseman Ernie Banks to shortstop Andre Rodgers.
1962 – Dave Magadan, born
1954 – Cubs received Sam Jones and a PTNBL from the Indians for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Ralph Kiner on Nov. 16, 1954 and the Cubs received $60,000 on Nov. 16, 1954 from the Indians and Gale Wade on Nov. 30, 1954 to complete the trade.
1943 – Cubs traded Ken Raffensberger and Rip Russell to the Phillies for players to be named later. The Phillies sent Andy Karl and Dick Conger to the Cubs on Sept. 30. Andy Karl refused to report to the Cubs on April 1, 1944.
1942 – The Philadelphia Athletics purchased Jesse Flores from the Cubs.
1933 – Babe Herman hit for the cycle and Guy Bush won his 20th game as the Cubs beat Dizzy Dean and the Cardinals 12-2 at Sportsman’s Park. Herman became the first player to hit for the cycle three times in Major League history.
1926 – Robin Roberts, born
1889 – Jimmy Ryan hit George Haddock’s first pitch for a home run, Ryan’s sixth leadoff homer of the season. Ryan set the Major League record for hitting six homers to start a game. Ryan’s record would stand until 1973 when Bobby Bonds hit seven leadoff homers in a single season.
1885 – The Chicago National League Ball Club clinched the pennant on a Fred Pfeffer homer in the seventh inning. John Clarkson edged Tim Keefe and the Giants 2-1 at West Side Park.
1884 – John Clarkson struck out seven batters in a row in the second, third and fourth innings in a 17-2 victory over the Giants. Clarkson ended up with 13 strikeouts.
1882 – Sixteen-year old Milton Scott, a back-up first baseman, became the youngest player in Cubs history when he went 2-for-5 with a run scored in a 6-5 victory over Buffalo at Lakefront Park.