The Cubs made their way to Pittsburgh on Monday night and have a work out scheduled at PNC Park on Tuesday afternoon (1:00pm CDT). Joe Maddon and Jake Arrieta are expected to hold a press conference prior to the team’s practice. It appears the weather is going to cooperate in Pittsburgh for the next two days. Forecast for Tuesday is 77/55, partly cloudy with zero chance of rain. Wednesday’s forecast is 74/47, partly cloudy and a zero percent chance of rain.
Major League Baseball announced Monday this year’s nominees for the Hank Aaron Award. And Anthony Rizzo is one of 30 finalists. This is the second straight year Rizzo has been a finalist for the award.
The Hank Aaron Award recognizes the top offensive player in each league.
Fans are encouraged to vote for the award. Voting ends Sunday, Oct. 11 at 10:59pm CDT. The awards will be presented during the World Series.
Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Eddie Murray, Frank Thomas and Robin Yount help select the winners.
Cubs TV Ratings
Comcast SportsNet reported the ratings for the 2015 season and the Cubs “average increased 121% for households (up 153% for adults 25-54) compared to 2014.” It was the highest season average on Comcast SportsNet in six years.
Cubs’ telecasts on CSN averaged a 3.32 household rating in 2015, a 121% increase from 1.50 final household season average in 2014. Comcast SportsNet saw an increase in every demographic for the 2015 season.
ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs “had the second-biggest ratings increase in baseball.” The report did not indicate which team had a bigger ratings increase than the Cubs. ESPN Chicago did state that the ratings average did not include numbers from WGN TV or ABC-7.
The Cubs posted five procedural roster moves on the official transaction page.
RHP Jason Motte was activated from the 15-day DL. Motte was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 24 with a right shoulder strain. Motte went to the Cubs’ facility in Mesa over the weekend to build up his arm strength in case he is needed later in the post-season. Based on a message on his personal Twitter account, he threw a live bullpen and it went well.
The Cubs recalled INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara, RHP Dallas Beeler, LHP Eric Jokisch and INF Christian Villanueva from Triple-A Iowa.
These are end of the regular season roster moves.
Wild Card Game Umpires
MLB released Monday the umpiring crews that will be used in the Wild Card Games and Division Series.
The Cubs and Pirates will have Jeff Nelson (home plate), Hunter Wendelstedt (first base), John Hirschbeck (second base), Jim Reynolds (third base), Mike Estabrook (left field) and Cory Blaser (right field) as the umpiring crew for the NL Wild Card Game.
News and Notes
• Joe Maddon is the perfect manager at the perfect time for the Cubs according to Patrick Mooney. The Sun-Times asked if Maddon can exorcise demons of Cubs Octobers after taking Devil out of the Rays. And Bruce Levine reported Maddon has been setting the Cubs up for this moment.
• Jed Hoyer answered a few questions for Carrie Muskat and admitted he loves “the vibe of this team.”
• According to Bruce Miles, the Cubs received 81 quality starts from the rotation and 81 non-quality starts. The Cubs were 66-15 with a starters ERA of 1.43 in the quality starts, 31-50 in non-quality starts with a 6.24 ERA.
• The Cubs got the most out of the depth-challenged rotation according to the Sun-Times.
• The Cubs (+24) and Rangers (+21) made the most improvement in number of victories from 2014 to 2015.
• The Cubs spent $1,354,819 million per win this season while the Dodgers spent $3,379,039 million per victory according to Maury Brown.
• MLB announced postseason game times through Sunday.
• David Haugh reported Tom Ricketts is thrilled the Cubs made the playoffs but not satisfied. The Cubs goal is to win the World Series, not be the second wild card.
• Hardball Talk posted the batting and pitching leaders for the 2015 season.
• Jay Jaffe broke down the biggest worries for each of the five NL playoff teams.
• The Pirates’ plan for Jake Arrieta is coming into focus according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Jake Arrieta talked about the Cy Young Award on ESPN 1000.
• Jon Heyman posted his picks for the year-end awards. Heyman has Anthony Rizzo second in the NL MVP behind Bryce Harper … Jake Arrieta fourth and Kris Bryant eighth for the most valuable player in the Senior Circuit. Heyman thinks Zack Greinke takes home the NL Cy Young Award with Jake Arrieta finishing second. Kris Bryant is the NL Rookie of the Year according to Heyman and Joe Maddon is NL Manager of the Year. The Pirates’ Neal Huntington is Executive of the Year followed by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer according to Heyman.
• One of the Cubs’ off-season targets, Jordan Zimmermann, said thank you and good-bye Monday to the Nationals fans.
• The Veteran’s Committee candidates for the Hall of Fame were announced Monday. Bill Dahlen played for the Chicago National League Ball Club (1891-1898) and is up for consideration as one of the Pre-Integration Era candidates . When Dahlen retired after the 1911 season he was the All-Time Home Run King. Dahlen hit 84 home runs over his 21-year career.
• Click here for an excellent audio montage of the 2015 season from Nick Shepkowski.
Just Watch …
And last, but not least, Jake Arrieta did not back down from the Pirates fan base on Monday night. Arrieta likes to have fun on Twitter and is creating quite the uproar with Pirates’ fans. It’s all in good fun and those accusing Arrieta of taking PEDs should really read the bios of several of the players they root for and support.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs selected Joe Ortiz off waivers from the Rangers
2007 – Cubs lost 5-1 to the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field and were swept in the NLDS by Arizona, three games to none.
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Ben Grieve
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Scott McClain
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Kevin Foster
1992 – Chesny Young, born
1992 – Cubs released Kal Daniels
1946 – Gene Clines, born
1945 – ‘The Billy Goat Curse’ … William Sianis bought a ticket for himself and his goat Murphy to game four of the World Series between the Cubs and Tigers. Sianis got upset with the Wrigley Field ushers when he was asked to take his goat out of the park. Sianis, a Greek immigrant, placed a curse on the Cubs that the team would never win a World Series.
1938 – Dizzy Dean held the Yankees to two runs in seven innings with his “nothing ball” in the second game of the World Series at Wrigley Field. But the Cubs could not hold onto the 3-2 lead. Frank Crosetti hit a two-run go-ahead homer in the eighth and Joe DiMaggio hit a two run homer in the ninth, Yankees won 6-3.
1930 – Hack Wilson hit a home run in the fifth inning to help the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the White Sox at Comiskey Park and clinch the City Series, four games to two. Throughout the game, Cubs fans showered White Sox centerfielder Carl Reynolds with lemons in retaliation to Sox fans throwing tomatoes and other objects at Hack Wilson in the first five games of the series.