One year ago today, Addison Russell made his Major League debut in Pittsburgh. The 21-year old shortstop moved over to the other side of the second base bag and hit ninth in Joe Maddon’s lineup. Russell went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in a game the Cubs won 9-8 after scoring four runs in their last two at-bats.
Russell collected his first hit in the big leagues the next day and went on to hit safely in 14 of his next 15 games. Russell launched his first homer on May 1 at Wrigley, the only run in a 1-0 win over the Brewers behind Jon Lester.
Addison Russell moved to shortstop permanently on Aug. 7 and turned in one highlight after another as the Cubs pushed for a spot in the post-season tournament.
Offensively, Russell showed steady improvement and hit .242/.307/.389 in 142 games with 29 doubles, a triple and 13 home runs for a .696 OPS.
Russell turned 22 in January and after 155 games in the big leagues, he owns a .240/.308/.383 line with 30 doubles, a triple and 14 home runs for a .691 OPS.
Addison Russell is the anchor of an infield that features three former All-Stars, a Rookie of the Year and two MVP candidates. Many in the game feel Russell is primed for a breakout season and that this is the year his bat starts catching up with his defense.
Wednesday’s Post-Game Reports
The Cubs were unable to dig out of an early hole Wednesday to complete the sweep in St. Louis. Rain delayed the game for close to three and a half hours and it took just over six hours from first pitch to last pitch to play the third game. The Cubs scored two runs in the eighth and cut the Cardinals lead to 4-3. But the Cubs gave the Cardinals another run and had to settle for meat loaf.
Kyle Hendricks struggled early and gave up four runs in the first two innings. Hendricks admitted to ESPN Chicago “he was off from the moment he started warming up and had no movement on his sinker.”
Joe Maddon echoed Hendricks’ comments. Maddon thought he elevated his pitches early before he settled down with better command.
Even with Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs took two of three from the Cardinals in St. Louis. And Maddon’s men remain one of only two teams in the majors with 11 victories on the young season.
- CCO Recap – Cubs Drop Finale, Getaway with a Series Win in St. Louis
- Comcast SportsNet – Have Cardinals done enough to keep up with Cubs?
- ESPN Chicago – Who has edge in Cubs-Cardinals rivalry after first series of 2016?
- The Tribune – Cubs-Cardinals rivalry moves into a new era
- The Tribune – Despite setback, Cubs confident they can play better than their 11-4 mark
- USA Today – Cubs’ memo to Cardinals in NL Central: We are for real
Try Not to Suck
There could be a good ending to a bizarre story that surfaced just before first pitch of Wednesday’s game at Busch Stadium.
Joe Maddon told the beat writers he heard from Cubs fans that were “denied access to Busch Stadium for wearing his ‘Thy Not to Suck’ T-shirts.” Maddon wanted to know why the ushers at Busch Stadium found the saying on his T-shirt to be offensive.
As it turns out, Busch Stadium has a strict and “long-standing policy of disallowing shirts with the word ‘suck’ on them” according to ESPN Chicago. Jesse Rogers spoke with the head of the security at Busch that said the team just banned all T-shirts, clothing, etc. with the word on it. The policy keeps the ushers from using their own discretion and possibly creating other issues.
When the news first surfaced, the way it was reported made it seem like the Cardinals were just keeping Cubs fans from wearing Maddon’s ‘Try Not to Suck’ T-shirts to the game. And that’s not the case.
Cardinals’ spokesman Ron Watermon talked to ESPN Chicago and told Jesse Rogers, “It’s not targeted at any one shirt. We should have a new policy in place by next homestand.” It appears the Cardinals will relax their stance.
According to the Southern League transactions page, the Cubs released RHP Jonathan Pettibone.
The Cubs signed Pettibone to a minor league contract in the off-season. Pettibone was one of 18 players that received a non-roster invite to Spring Training when the Cubs announced the NRIs at the end of January.
Pettibone is recovering from a second shoulder surgery and did not pitch in Cactus League games. Pettibone was recently assigned to Double-A Tennessee from Triple-A Iowa.
The Padres placed RHP Tyson Ross on the DL back on April 9 with right shoulder inflammation. Reports indicated at the time Ross was placed on the disabled list for precautionary reasons and the Padres were not concerned about his shoulder.
It appears Ross will be on the DL much longer than the minimum 15 days.
Ross played catch Tuesday for the first time since he went on the disabled list. Ross stretched out from 25 to 75 feet but the session ended after about five minutes. According to Lin, the Padres “believe his issue is muscular and not structural.” Ross has not progressed the way the Padres thought he would. The next step is an MRI to take a closer look at the shoulder.
Tyson Ross is one of a handful of starting pitchers that have been connected to the Cubs rather heavily over the last calendar year.
News and Notes
• According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs hope Jorge Soler can again be the hitter who crushed St. Louis last October.
• The Sun-Times asked who needs a DH? Cubs pitchers make noise with bats, too.
• Prior to Wednesday’s games, the top pitching prospects in the Cubs system had a better ERA than any other organization in the game.
• Wednesday marked the 100th anniversary of the first game the Cubs played at Wrigley Field … ESPN posted feats and facts from the first 100 years of Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field.
• Jesse Rogers answered questions from Twitter and posted the answers on ESPN Chicago.
• RHP David Garner was activated from the temporarily inactive list.
• The Cubs topped CBS Sports weekly power rankings.
• The Phillies designated LHP James Russell for assignment to make room on the roster for RHP Andrew Bailey. Russell made the Phillies roster out of Spring Training but the 30-year old lefty allowed nine runs, all earned, on nine hits (two home runs) with five walks and four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings (18.69 ERA, 3.23 WHIP).
• In this must read report, Matt Snyder asked a knee surgeon about the chances of Kyle Schwarber returning at any point during the 2016 season. Dr. Rodney Benner explained the seriousness of the knee injury and what lies ahead for Schwarber and the Cubs.
And last, but not least, Kyle Schwarber watched the Cubs and Reds game Wednesday from his hospital bed in Dallas.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Addison Russell made his Major League debut.
2012 – Cubs traded Marlon Byrd and cash to the Reds Sox for a PTBNL and Michael Bowden. The Red Sox sent Hunter Cervenka to the Cubs on May 15, 2012 to complete the trade.
2006 – Derrek Lee broke his wrist in a collision at first base with the Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal on April 19. The Cubs announced Lee would be out and miss a significant amount of time two days later after test results proved he broke his wrist.
2003 – Cubs purchased Trent Hubbard from Oaxaca of the Mexican League
2003 – Cubs released Javier Cardona
1990 – Zack Godley, born
1982 – Cubs traded Paul Semall, Paul Mirabella and cash to the Rangers for Bump Wills.
1966 – Cubs traded Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl to the Phillies for John Herrnstein, Adolfo Phillips and Ferguson Jenkins.
1964 – Cubs scored all of their runs on homers by Jimmy Stewart, Ron Santo, Andre Rodgers, Billy Cowan and Billy Williams, but the Cubs lost 8-5 to the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The Pirates also scored all of their runs on homers, three-run shots by Jim Pagliaroni and Gene Freese and solo homers by Roberto Clemente and Dick Schofield.
1962 – Les Lancaster, born
1959 – Stan Musial broke up Glen Hobbie’s no-hit bid with a two-out double in the seventh inning. Hobbie settled for a one-hitter (or what would later be called a Greg Maddux) in a 1-0 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
1940 – Bill Faul, born
1922 – Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning and beat the Reds 8-3 at Cubs Park. Hack Miller went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer.
1917 – Cubs purchased Fred Merkle from the Brooklyn Robins for $3,500.
1902 – Lefty Weinhart, born
1887 – Joe McCarthy, born