The Cubs resume play tonight in Milwaukee with the first of three against the Brewers at Miller Park. Kyle Hendricks makes the start in the first of a nine-game, three-city trip in nine days that includes a weekend series in San Francisco and concludes next Wednesday in St. Louis. This is a difficult road trip for a team that likes playing outside of Wrigley. The Cubs are 13-3 on the road this season, the top winning percentage in baseball.
The Cubs enter play with the most wins (27) and fewest losses (9) in the majors. Joe Maddon’s team is considered the best in baseball by most in the game, well outside of Gerrit Cole and the Pirates.
Anthony Rizzo has played like an MVP candidate this season, offensively and defensively. Joe Maddon thinks Rizzo has quietly gone about his business. And during his pre-game radio show Sunday, Maddon called Rizzo the Cubs’ rock.
Rizzo’s numbers look better than they did a couple of weeks ago. Rizzo had some bad luck at the plate early in the season that has evened out.
After 36 games, Rizzo has a .273/.409/.606 line with nine doubles, one triple and 11 home runs. Rizzo has more walks (26) than strikeouts (19). Rizzo leads the NL in RBI (34), tied for third in home runs (11) and his 1.015 OPS is good enough for fifth in the league. And over his last 22 games, Rizzo has 23 RBI with only nine strikeouts.
Anthony Rizzo has hit .323/.447/.823 with a 1.270 OPS on the road this season with 14 of his 20 hits going for extra bases (five doubles, one triple, eight home runs). Maddon will need similar production from his ‘rock’ over the next nine days.
Dan Vogelbach and Jason Vosler
Two more prospects in the Cubs system received player of the week awards on Monday … 1B Dan Vogelbach and INF Jason Vosler.
Vogelbach was named Player of the Week in the Pacific Coast League and Vosler took home the award in the Carolina League.
- Dan Vogelbach Named PCL Player of the Week (Includes Video)
- Cubs Prospect INF Jason Vosler Earns Carolina League Player of the Week Honors (Includes Video)
RHP Stephen Fife has been on the DL for the last month with an oblique injury. Fife was forced to leave his start on April 13 after suffering the injury and was placed on the 7-day DL a couple of days later.
During Monday’s broadcast play-by-play man Randy Wehofer reported that Fife is set to catchup with the I-Cubs in Tacoma, the next stop on the road trip. Iowa wraps up the series in Reno on Tuesday afternoon and begins a four-game series on Thursday in Tacoma.
Fife will throw a bullpen but will probably not be activated from the disabled list until the I-Cubs return to Principal Park. Iowa’s next homestand, two four-game series versus El Paso and Albuquerque, starts Monday, May 23.
News and Notes
• Theo Epstein discussed his team on 670 The Score … this is a must-read for those that missed the report when it was posted Monday afternoon.
• Albert Almora Jr. went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI on Monday night and extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tied for the longest of his professional career.
• Willson Contreras was 1-for-4 with a run scored Monday night in Reno. Contreras has reached base safely in 30 of the 32 games he’s played in this season.
• Mark Harris reported through slow start, Jeimer Candelario is sticking to the process.
• Patrick Mooney explained how Pedro Strop guaranteed Cubs would win the Jake Arrieta trade with or without a Cy Young Award.
• According to the Tribune, the first-place Cubs won’t get involved in war of words with division rivals.
• The Tribune reported Cubs’ re-signing of Dexter Fowler continues to pay dividends.
• Justin Grimm answered questions from Twitter for ESPN Chicago.
• According to Chris Cotillo, LHP Craig Breslow accepted the outright assignment to Triple-A New Orleans instead of electing for free agency.
• Multiple reports on Monday afternoon indicated RHP Tim Lincecum was very close to signing a Major League contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Lincecum would be able to start with the Angels once he is ready. The deal that was expected to be announced Monday should be finalized Tuesday.
Jacob Hannemann added to his highlight reel.
• It was Cubs karaoke night Sunday … and the Score collected videos to prove it.
And last, but not least, according to Christopher Kamka, the Cubs have a 72-27 record since July 29, 2015, the best record in baseball. The Cubs winning percentage (.727) during that span is more than 100 points better than the Rangers (63-38, .624), the team with the second best winning percentage in baseball since July 29.
This Day in Cubstory
2006 – Cubs released Raul Valdes
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Enrique Wilson
1981 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Lum
1979 – Cubs lost to the Phillies 23-22 in 10 innings in one of the most famous games at Wrigley Field. Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in six runs. Bill Buckner hit a Grand Slam and drove in seven runs. The Cubs had a 21-9 lead just to lose it in the 10th on a Mike Schmidt homer, one of two on the day for the Phillies’ third baseman. The two teams combined on 50 hits and 11 home runs. The 11 longballs tied a Major League record set at Wrigley Field in 1967 (Reds) and 1977 (Mets). In 2010, the MLB Network named it the 20th greatest game in the previous 50 years.
1978 – Carlos Pena, born
1977 – The Cubs tied a franchise record by hitting seven home runs in a 23-7 victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field. Larry Biittner hit two longballs … Dave Rosello, Gene Clines, Bobby Murcer, Jerry Morales and Steve Ontiveros each hit a homer.
1972 – Cubs traded Johnny Callison to the Yankees for Jack Aker
1952 – Porfi Altamirano, born
1949 – Cubs released Don Johnson
1927 – Cubs beat the Braves 4-3 in 22 innings in Boston. Charlie Grimm drove in Hack Wilson with the winning run. Wilson went 4-for-8. The Cubs collected 20 hits, the Braves had 15. Bob Osborn pitched the last 14 innings to earn the win. The Braves’ Bob Smith went the entire 22 innings and was hung with the loss. The game took four hours and 13 minutes to complete and is the longest game, in terms of innings, in franchise history.
1923 – Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning and beat the Phillies 7-4 in Philadelphia. All seven runs scored after two outs. Gabby Hartnett drove in the last two runs of the inning with a double. Grover Cleveland Alexander was the winning pitcher. In the first inning, Alexander walked Curt Walker and snapped his streak of 51 consecutive innings without issuing a free pass.
1892 – Hal Carlson, born