The Cubs made their way to the coast following the rough series in Milwaukee. The Cubs have three games on tap this weekend against the red-hot San Francisco Giants. The Giants have won eight straight and are 25-18 on the season, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers and Rockies in the NL West. Even with the recent rough patch, the Cubs are 5-5 in the last 10 with a big league best 28-11 record. The Cubs lead the central by 6 1/2 games over the Pirates. Joe Maddon’s team is 5-5 in 10 games versus teams in the west this season.
Ben Zobrist has been very consistent for the Cubs hitting behind Anthony Rizzo in Joe Maddon’s lineup. Zobrist has stepped in the middle of the lineup and provided protection for Rizzo.
Zobrist was on base two more times Thursday. Zobrist went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Zobrist has reached base safely in the last 25 games he’s started.
Zobrist is 9-for-23 for a .391/.500/.522 slash line in his last seven games. And over his last 15 games, Zobrist has gotten on base more than 50 percent of the time. Zobrist is 23-for-53 with 12 walks and only six strikeouts for a .442/.538/.750 line.
Since May 1, 17 games, Zobrist is hitting .414/.514/.690 with four doubles, four home runs and a 1.203 OPS. Zobrist has 13 walks and seven strikeouts in 58 at bats.
For the season, Zobrist is batting .328/.448/.504 with eight doubles and five home runs for a .952 OPS with almost twice as many walks (30) as strikeouts (17) in 37 games.
Ben Zobrist celebrates a birthday next week (May 26) and is getting better with age according to ESPN Chicago.
Matt Szczur reported to Double-A Tennessee and started a rehab assignment with the Smokies. Szczur hit leadoff for Mark Johnson in the 7-2 win over Biloxi at Smokies Park.
Szczur played center field and made two plate appearances. Szczur walked on four pitches to start the game and scored from third base on a grounder to second off the bat of Jeimer Candelario. Szczur struck out in his only official at bat of the game. Jacob Hannemann replaced Szczur in the fifth inning.
Reports Thursday suggested Szczur could be activated from the DL when the Cubs return to Wrigley next Friday for the start of the 10-game homestand against the Phillies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
The Cubs released INF Ryan Dent on Thursday. Dent was with Double-A Tennessee and hit .138/.250/.155 in 25 games this season with one double and a .405 OPS.
Ryan Dent spent the 2015 season in the Cubs organization. In 97 games with Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Dent hit a combined .252/.313/.367 with 15 doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .680 OPS.
The Red Sox selected Ryan Dent in the first round of the 2007 draft. The 27-year old spent the first eight years of his pro career in the Red Sox system.
Runs Batted In
Dexter Fowler cracked his fourth homer of the season leading off Thursday’s game. It was the 15th time in Fowler’s career he started a game with a longball. Fowler has 20 RBI on the season, and became the fifth different Cub to drive in 20 or more runs this season.
Anthony Rizzo leads the Cubs and the NL with 34 RBI. Addison Russell (28), Ben Zobrist (28) and Kris Bryant (26) have also collected more than 20 RBI through the Cubs first 39 games.
According to Christopher Kamka, the Cubs are the first NL team this season with five players that have driven in at least 20 runs.
The Oakland A’s received quite the blow Thursday night. OF Josh Reddick broke his left thumb and will see a hand specialist on Friday. Reddick said Thursday the early timetable is that he will miss four-six weeks.
Reddick suffered the injury sliding headfirst into second base. The A’s lost to the Yankees 4-1.
In 40 games, Reddick hit .315/.389/.441 with six doubles and four home runs for a .829 OPS.
With Reddick out at least four-six weeks, his value dropped significantly on the trade market and really hurt the inconsistent team. The A’s are four games under .500 (19-23) but only five games back of the Mariners in the AL West.
News and Notes
• If the Cubs are slumping, they aren’t sweating it according to ESPN Chicago. Joe Maddon doesn’t plan major changes to his lineup, which would be out of character for the Cubs’ skipper. The Cubs went 1-for-30 in the last four games with RISP. In the three games at Miller Park, the Cubs were 1-for-24 with runners in scoring position and left 24 men on base.
• Christopher Kamka noted through 39 games last season the Cubs had 22 games with 10 or more strikeouts. This season, the Cubs have struck out 10 or more times in 10 games, including Thursday’s game in Milwaukee when the offense fanned 15 times.
• According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs will not overreact to rough week at the plate.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Cubs’ struggles continued with another loss to the Brewers.
• Slumping Cubs can’t get by Brewers according to Bruce Levine.
• Joe Maddon reminded Thursday, “You’re not going to win them all, despite feeling like you can. You’re not going to win them all.”
• Cubs’ starting pitchers the last four games: 31 innings, 16 hits, five runs, eight walks and 29 strikeouts (1.45 ERA, 0.77 WHIP). Jason Hammel completed six innings on Thursday … the Cubs’ starting pitcher has completed at least five innings in all 39 games this season.
• Jake Arrieta told the Tribune a pitchers’ duel with Chris Sale would be a dogfight.
• The Cubs are on record win pace, according to ESPN, but their stretch isn’t all that unique.
• ESPN Chicago reported win or lose, these Cubs are a tight-knit group.
• Prospect David Berg is slinging his way through the Cubs’ system according to the Tribune. Berg has appeared in three games with Double-A Tennessee since being promoted from High-A Myrtle Beach. Berg does not have a record and has allowed one run on seven hits with no walk and two strikeouts in four innings (2.25 ERA, 1.75 WHIP).
• Northwestern football hopes to return to Wrigley Field in 2017 according to the Tribune.
• Tim Lincecum finalized his contract with the Angels according to multiple reports. Lincecum passed his physical and received a pro-rated one-year, $2.5 million deal that includes a $1.7 million incentives package. Lincecum will be paid just under $2 million according to Joel Sherman.
• LHP Nick Greenwood signed a minor league contract with the Twins according to Baseball America.
And last, but not least, the Cubs are 125-76 in 201 games (.621) under Joe Maddon.
This Day in Cubstory
2006 – Michael Barrett punched A.J. Pierzynski at U.S. Cellular Field. Rich Hill and the Cubs lost the game 7-0 after a bench clearing brawl delayed the game for 15 minutes. Barrett received a 10-game suspension the following week.
2005 – Cubs released Darren Oliver
2001 – Cubs signed free agent David Moraga
1989 – Hayden Simpson, born
1967 – Cubs signed Joey Amalfitano
1962 – During a Cubs’ doubleheader sweep of the Phillies, Ken Hubbs stroke eight singles in eight trips to the plate at Connie Mack Stadium. Hubbs won NL Rookie of the Year that season.
1958 – Cubs traded Jim Brosnan to the Cardinals for Alvin Dark
1951 – In front of 42,088 at Wrigley Field, Dutch Leonard won a pair of games in Cubs wins over the Braves of 4-3 and 5-4. Leonard threw two innings in each game.
1946 – Bobby Murcer, born
1920 – The Chicago police, dressed as soldiers and farmers, raided the Wrigley Field bleachers, arrested two dozen Cub fans for gambling. Grover Cleveland Alexander won his eighth straight game that day.