The Cubs spent the last day off of the regular season Thursday and received a much-needed breather before the final 10 games of the year.
The Cubs can clinch a spot in the tournament Friday afternoon with a win over the Pirates. The Padres walked off the Giants on Thursday night and the 5-4 victory reduced the Cubs magic number to one. The Pirates and Cardinals have already punched their tickets to October. The Cubs could be the third NL Central team in the post-season as soon as Friday afternoon.
Jon Lester goes in game one with the Pirates. Clint Hurdle rearranged his rotation to lineup Gerrit Cole to face the Cubs and Cardinals in the last week of the season and for the Wild Card Game. The Pirates are starting Francisco Liriano (Saturday) and A.J. Burnett (Sunday) in games two and three of the series.
Joe Maddon shifted his rotation and will send Jason Hammel to the hill on Saturday afternoon. Jake Arrieta gets the ball Sunday night in the finale.
The Cubs are focused on catching the Pirates and enter play Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) 3 ½ games behind the Bucs in the standings.
Wild Card Games
Major League Baseball announced Thursday starting times for the American League and National League Wild Card Games.
The AL kicks off the 2015 post-season on Tuesday, Oct. 6. ESPN will carry the Junior Circuit’s Wild Card Game with first pitch scheduled for 7:08pm CDT. The Yankees currently hold the top spot in the AL Wild Card race with the Astros 1 1/2 games in front of the Twins and Angels.
Cubs and Wood Family Foundation Celebrate the Grand Opening of Kerry Wood Cubs Field
The Cubs, Cubs Charities, Wood Family Foundation, City of Chicago, State of Illinois, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Turner Construction all contributed to make the ballpark project possible.
“Cubs Charities believes developing the next generation of all-stars starts with a strong foundation in health, fitness and education,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts in a statement. “Our support of Kerry Wood Cubs Field underscores our commitment to improving the quality of life in our great city and fostering a love of baseball.”
Kerry Wood has been actively involved in the community during and after an illustrious career that included two All-Star appearances, National League Rookie of the Year honors and a share of the record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game, 20, on May 6, 1998, against the Houston Astros. Kerry and his wife Sarah formed the Wood Family Foundation in 2011. The foundation works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children’s programs and other children’s charities they support. Their support to build Kerry Wood Cubs Field is a visible sign of their family’s commitment to Chicago youth and families.
“It’s very exciting to see Kerry Wood Cubs Field open and ready for kids to start playing baseball,” said Kerry Wood in a statement. “I am humbled by the generosity of the Chicago Cubs, Cubs Charities, City of Chicago and Chicago Park District for making this dream a reality, not only for me and my family, but for all of the youth baseball players who will have the opportunity to play at the field.”
Beyond a field of dreams for young baseball players, Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be a strong community anchor to enhance the surrounding area, increase recreational activities and improve the quality of life for Chicago residents.
“Once again, the Chicago Park District is pleased to partner with the Chicago Cubs,” said Superintendent Kelly in a statement. “The new Kerry Wood Cubs Field is a great investment in the community and will further strengthen our efforts to ensure that America’s favorite pastime continues to grow in Chicago’s parks.”
Alderman Ameya Pawar praised the public-private partnership as a driving force behind the successful completion of the project.
“I’m happy to see Kerry Wood Cubs Field open at Clark Park,” said Pawar in a statement. “I’m proud of the partnership between my office and the Chicago Cubs, Wood Family Foundation, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and the Clark Park Advisory Council – together we took this idea from a concept to reality.”
“It is fantastic that a ballpark of this magnitude will be available to high school students across the city who want to develop and showcase their talents,” said Earnest Radcliffe, head baseball coach, Morgan Park High School. “Playing at Kerry Wood Cubs Field will give these student athletes a sense of pride, especially understanding this field was named after one of the best pitchers to ever play the game.”
Following the ribbon cutting, Kerry Wood threw a ceremonial first pitch and the field was immediately opened for community residents to enjoy. The first high school regular season game will be played in March of 2016.
Cubs Charities Launch Cubs On the Move Fitness Challenge
Cubs Charities Launches “Cubs On the Move Fitness Challenge” at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
Kyle Schwarber and Clark kicked off the fitness program with elementary school students and showcased new fitness center funded by Cubs Charities
Cubs Charities launched the Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge, a program and contest designed to get kids in the Chicagoland area active, beginning Sept. 21 and running through Dec. 1. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge was inspired by the success of the Cubs on the Move Fitness Program in motivating kids in Chicago to play every day. The program has been developed for Cubs Charities through By Kids For Kids (BKFK).
The Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge aims to provide educators with resources to promote physical activity in the classroom while empowering kids ages 5-through-13 in the Chicago area to develop ideas to keep themselves, their schools and communities active for healthy bodies and minds. Details about the educational program and contest, as well as teacher guides, program flyers and activity materials, can be downloaded at www.cubs.com/onthemovechallenge. The program includes a contest encouraging teachers to log minutes spent on physical activity in the classroom, as well as an individual competition to bring out the best ideas from students to promote physical fitness at their schools. Prizes include tickets to a Cubs game with on-field recognition, a Cubs Fitness Ambassadorship and Cubs on the Move Fitness Assemblies for schools.
“We’re proud to introduce the Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge and excited to see kids across the Chicago area participate,” said Cubs Executive Vice President of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano in a statement. “Cubs Charities promotes improvements in health, fitness and education. By encouraging students to participate and providing educators and parents with resources to promote the value of physical exercise, we hope to help improve physical activity and performance inside and outside the classroom.”
The program was introduced to students, teachers and media at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lakeview earlier this morning. Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber and Clark, the Cubs’ mascot, joined a fourth grade class at Hawthorne Academy in a “Catch a Break” exercise designed to keep students active with various baseball exercises.
School officials and Cubs Charities also celebrated the completion of the school’s new fitness center, funded by a grant from Cubs Charities and decorated with paint provided by the team’s corporate partner, Benjamin Moore.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Sun-Times posted the top 10 moves the front office made to get the Cubs to the brink of the playoffs … 1) Joe Maddon 2) Trade for Anthony Rizzo 3) Trade for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop and 10) Sign Jorge Soler.
• And Comcast SportsNet examined the chain reactions that turned the Cubs into a playoff contender.
• The Red Sox hired Mike Hazen to be the team’s general manager. Hazen was Boston’s assistant general manager under Ben Cherington. Theo Epstein hired Hazen in 2006 to be the Red Sox director of player development. According to Ken Rosenthal, with Hazen in the GM’s chair it is unlikely a mass exodus from the Sox’s front office will take place. Peter Gammons reported, “Theo Epstein hires who went on to be general managers: Jerry DiPoto, Josh Byrnes, Jed Hoyer, Ben Cherington, Allard Baird and Mike Hazen.”
• Starlin Castro visited patients at Lurie’s Children Hospital.
• According to the Sun-Times, Aramis Ramirez still sees the All-Star in Starlin Castro.
• The Sun-Times reported playoff elimination is as easy as 1-2-3 for Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals.
• Joe Maddon is going to keep using Justin Grimm. According to the Tribune, Maddon has a lot of faith in Grimm and the Cubs are hoping to get him right soon.
• According to Comcast SportsNet, Kris Bryant proves he’s even better than the hype.
• Jake Arrieta is among the players that Keith Law was wrong about.
• LHP Rich Hill is back in the majors and has been outstanding for the Red Sox. Hill has made two starts and has 20 strikeouts with one walk and eight hits allowed in 14 innings (1.93 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 1.86 FIP). Peter Gammons took a look at Hill’s journey from Legion fields to Fenway Park.
• Terry Collins, Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny figure to finish 1-2-3 for the NL Manager of the Year, that is if Clint Hurdle does not sneak in the top three (Please note, list is in alphabetical order … predictions are not being made). Jayson Stark reported the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry spices up race for top National League manager.
• Bob Nightengale reported Dusty Baker and Ozzie Guillen want to be big league managers again. Baker and Guillen cannot find job and Nightengale questioned if the two are being blackballed.
• Dexter Fowler has walked 78 times this season hitting out of the leadoff spot in the lineup. Fowler’s 78 walks are the most for a Cubs’ player since Richie Ashburn had 95 walks in 1960 hitting at the top of the batting order.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Sammy Sosa became the first player in NL history to drive in at least 100 runs (100 RBI) in nine straight seasons. Sosa joined Rafael Palmeiro and Jimmie Foxx as the only three players in Major League history to accomplish the feat in nine consecutive seasons.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 66, a 462-foot blast at the Astrodome. Sosa took the lead in the home run title chase against Mark McGwire. But Sosa did not hit another longball the rest of the season. McGwire tied Sosa less than an hour after Sosa hit his round tripper.
1997 – Game between the Cubs and Astros is included as part of the live episode of NBC’s “ER.”
1995 – Frank Castillo one-hit the Cardinals in a 7-0 win over St. Louis. The only hit, a triple by Bernard Gilkey. Castillo struck out 13 and issued two free passes.
1989 – Cubs clinch a tie for the NL East title with the Cardinals after dropping a 10-inning game in Montreal. Andre Dawson hit a pair of home runs, the second was an inside the park homer after Dave Martinez caught the ball but fell to the ground in pain after pulling a muscle.
1987 – Lars Anderson, born
1978 – Joel Pineiro, born
1969 – A Grand Slam in the ninth inning off the bat of Ron Santo gave the Cubs a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at Wrigley.
1969 – Tony Womack, born
1969 – David Weathers, born
1966 – Ken Holtzman lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning, but still outpitched Sandy Koufax in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Holtzman surrendered two hits.
1935 – Phil Cavarretta hit a home run that accounted for the only run in a 1-0 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Cubs won its 19th straight game and moved into a tie for first place in the National League.
1934 – Phil Cavarretta went 4-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored and four RBI while Dewey Williams drove in four runs with two singles. Bill Nicholson drove in three runs with a double and a triple. And Lou Novikoff hit his final home run with the Cubs.
1885 – The Chicago National League Ball Club played a ‘home’ game in Milwaukee and beat Providence 21-3 behind 26 hits and 20 errors by the Providence club.
This Day in Baseball History
1974 – Dr. Frank Jobe repaired Tommy John’s ulnar collateral ligament by replacing the elbow tendon of the pitching arm with a tendon from the right wrist.