Happy Labor Day!
The Cubs hit the road following Sunday’s sweep of the Diamondbacks and were in St. Louis by the time the Pirates finished off the weekend series against the Cardinals with a 7-1 win.
Joe Maddon’s team opens its longest road trip of the year Monday afternoon with the first of three in St. Louis. The Cubs enter play Monday 8 ½ games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central and three back of the Pirates for home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game. The Cubs have a 7 ½ game lead over the Nationals for the second Wild Card.
The Cubs begin a four-game series in Philadelphia on Thursday. After Monday’s off day, the Cubs wrap up the trip with four games in three days in Pittsburgh. The Cubs and Pirates have a twin bill on Tuesday and single games on Wednesday and Thursday. The Cubs return to Wrigley on Sept. 18 for a weekend series with the Cardinals.
Outside of Wrigley, the Cubs are 35-29 this season, tied with the Pirates for the second most road wins in the National League.
Joe Maddon wants his players focused on one day and one game at a time. The Cubs have the opportunity on this trip to not only put a dent on the Cardinals lead in the division but to jump over the Pirates in the NL Wild Card race.
With the controversy surrounding the Mets’ Matt Harvey, Comcast SportsNet asked Joe Maddon about Jake Arrieta being on an innings limit this season. Arrieta is not coming off surgery but he has flown past his career high for innings pitched in a single season. Arrieta completed 176 2/3 innings a year ago between the minors (20 innings) and majors (156 2/3 innings). Arrieta has thrown 191 innings this season.
According to the report, Arrieta is not on an innings limit but “the Cubs are still watching his innings.” Joe Maddon explained he is managing Arrieta’s innings and pitch totals. Maddon has taken Arrieta out of games earlier than he would have liked this year. Maddon wants to conserve Arrieta’s innings when possible because he is going to pitch deeper into a season than he has before.
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. left Friday night’s game in the bottom of the first after colliding with the wall in left center field. Almora Jr. walked off the field under his own power but was not in Saturday’s lineup. Almora Jr. was placed on the 7-day DL prior to Sunday’s game that was eventually postponed.
With only two games remaining in the year, Albert Almora Jr.’s season has come to an end.
Albert Almora said Saturday he felt fine. The Cubs decided to place him on the disabled list for precautionary reasons. The Cubs want to ensure he does not have any concussion symptoms and with only two games left there was no reason to push him.
Almora Jr. had a tremendous end to his season after a rough first half. Almora Jr. finished the year with a .272/.327/.400 slash line that included 26 doubles, four triples and six home runs for a .727 OPS.
In 51 games in the second half, Albert Almora Jr. batted .301/.370/.464 with 18 doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .834 OPS.
Carl Edwards Jr.
RHP Carl Edwards Jr. was expected to be called up after Iowa wrapped up their season. But he may be up a little sooner. In an exchange on Twitter, Jesse Rogers said he thinks Edwards Jr. will be with the Cubs on Monday for the opener of the series in St. Louis.
Edwards Jr. made his second appearance Saturday since being activated from the DL. Edwards Jr. gave up a hit, with no runs or walks and struck out a batter in an inning of work. In his last two appearances, Edwards Jr. has given up one hit, with no walks and two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
Carl Edwards Jr. appeared in 23 games out of Iowa’s bullpen and went 3-1 with two saves (2-for-4 in save opportunities), a 2.84 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP (15 hits, 24 walks, 39 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings).
Kris Bryant created quite the buzz Sunday throughout baseball when he hit the longest homer of the year leading off the fifth inning. The ball traveled an estimated 495 feet, which according to Joe Maddon the measurement seemed a little short.
Bryant hit the ball high off the left field scoreboard, but Bryant didn’t see where the ball hit. He doesn’t watch his homers. “I don’t believe it that. I knew I hit it good. No reason to watch.” Bryant’s blast not only tied the game, it also put Bryant in the Cubs’ record book.
Kris Bryant tied the Cubs rookie record for RBI on Sunday. Bryant collected his 86th run batted in with his 23rd longball of the season. Bryant matched the Cubs franchise mark for RBI by a rookie that was established by Billy Williams (1961) and equaled by Geovany Soto (2008).
According to Christopher Kamka, 16 of Kris Bryant’s 23 home runs this season have either tied the game or given the Cubs the lead.
Buster’s Top 10
Buster Onley posted his weekly power rankings and the Cubs moved up to No. 6 in his top 10 after wrapping up a 4-2 week against the Reds and Diamondbacks.
Buster Olney’s top 10: Cardinals, Royals, Blue Jays, Pirates, Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, Rangers, Yankees and Mets.
Following up on the White Sox claiming Mike Olt off waivers from the Cubs, he reported to the White Sox and was in the Sox starting lineup for Sunday’s finale in Kansas City. The Cubs allowed Olt to stay with the Iowa Cubs so he could be prepared in case a team claimed him.
Mike Olt batted seventh, played third base and went 2-for-4. Olt singled twice and struck out two times in his Sox debut.
During the game, Christopher Kamka posted the lowest three batting averages all-time for players with 10 or more home runs in a single season belong to Adam Dunn (.159, 2011 White Sox), Mike Olt (.160, 2014 Cubs) and Jon Singleton (.168, 2014 Astros).
If Mike Olt can make enough contact, the White Sox should have a very good third baseman for several years. Olt told Comcast SportsNet he is ready and excited for the opportunity with the White Sox.
News and Notes
• Based on Joe Maddon’s comments Sunday, Kyle Schwarber will be out of the lineup at least for the first game Monday in St. Louis. When asked about Schwarber playing Monday, Maddon responded, “I’m anticipating not being able to use him, but if we are able to use him, that would be great.” Maddon later stated he did not know if Schwarber would be available or not.
• ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs can start talking about magic numbers.
• Miguel Montero became the first Cubs left-handed batter to hit a Grand Slam off a southpaw Sunday since Jason Marquis cranked a slam off the Mets’ Jon Niese seven years ago (Sept. 22, 2008).
• Miguel Montero hit the Cubs’ fifth Grand Slam of the season, second of the weekend. And Jonathan Herrera hit the Cubs third pinch-hit homer of the year.
• The Cubs put on a home run clinic to sweep the Diamondbacks according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• The Iowa Cubs won 8-5 over Round Rock on Sunday night. The I-Cubs posted its 80th win of the season (80-63), the eighth time in franchise history the I-Cubs won at least 80 games.
• Jon Paul Morosi reported with GM slots set to open, Major League Baseball is focused on diversity in searches.
• With three home runs Sunday (Kris Bryant, Miguel Montero and Jonathan Herrera), the Cubs have homered in 15 straight games at Wrigley Field the longest streak since April-May 1991 when the Cubs also went yard in 15 consecutive games.
And last, but not least, the Cubs .578 winning percentage would be the All-Time record for a team that finishes in third place in its division (divisional play began in 1969).
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs claimed Jason Berken off waivers from the Orioles
2010 – The Cubs unveiled and dedicated the Billy Williams statue at Wrigley Field. Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams played for the Cubs from 1959-74.
2006 – Wrigley Field was landmarked and the Cubs received approval by The Landmarks Commission to begin the Wrigley Field Bleacher Expansion Project.
1990 – Cubs traded Lloyd McClendon to the Pirates for a PTBNL. Cubs received Michael Pomeranz from the Pirates on Sept. 28, 1990 to complete the trade.
1986 – Greg Maddux picked up his first win in an 11-3 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati.
1980 – Mark Prior, born
1977 – Cubs released Jim Dwyer
1973 – Billy Williams collected five hits, including a double, and drove in three runs as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 8-2 at Wrigley Field
1964 – Ellis Burton hit two home runs, one from each side of the plate for the second time in his career, in a 10-9 loss to the Braves at Wrigley Field.
1948 – Cubs signed free agent Dummy Lynch
1937 – Cubs purchased Carl Reynolds from Minneapolis of the American Association
1918 – On one day’s rest, Hippo Vaughn gave up seven hits and two runs but the Cubs lost 2-1 to the Red Sox in game three of the World Series. Game three ended with the Cubs Charlie Pick caught in a rundown between third and home trying to score on a passed ball.
1913 – Vic Saier had 21 put outs at second base as the Cubs swept a doubleheader from the Cardinals at West Side Grounds. Frank Schulte hit two homers on the day.
1911 – Frank Schulte hit his 21th home run and collected his 121st RBI of the year in a Cubs sweep of the Reds. Schulte led the National League in home runs and RBI that season. Schulte is also the first person to hit more than 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 home runs in the same season.