Joe Maddon isn’t worried about Jason Heyward. And he shouldn’t be. Even if Heyward is not getting hits, he talks his walks and is a difference maker in the field. Heyward has maintained an on-base percentage at least 100 points higher than his batting average. As Maddon recently pointed out, that is elite.
Over the last seven days, Heyward has been getting hits and is squaring up the ball better than before he was forced out of the lineup with a sore right wrist.
Heyward is 10-for-28 over his last seven games (.357/.455/.357) with five walks and five strikeouts. And since the calendar flipped to May, Heyward is batting .262/.367/.286 with a .653 OPS.
When looking at Heyward’s numbers for the season his home-road splits really stand out. In 20 games at Wrigley, Heyward is hitting .189/.294/.216 with two doubles and a .510 OPS. Outside of Wrigley, Heyward has a .302/.413/.358 slash line with three doubles and a .771 OPS.
For the season, Heyward is batting .236/.345/.276 with five doubles and a .620 OPS. As the weather continues to improve, the balls that did not fall in earlier in the season should turn into hits when the Cubs need the offensive production from Jason Heyward.
The Cubs are obviously in the heads of the Pirates players, coaching staff and manager. The Pirates made one ridiculous comment after another during the three-game series. Any respect that remained for the current group of players, with the exception of Andrew McCutchen, was lost Sunday.
Gerrit Cole was not satisfied with just pitching an excellent game and beating the Cubs. Cole had to take a shot through the press. Cole told the beat writers he does not think the Cubs are the best team in baseball.
“I really don’t think they’re the best team in baseball,” Cole said. “So it’s just one game at a time.”
It’s too bad the Pirates do not realize they are a very good team and feel like they have to resort to the comments that were made after barely salvaging one game of the weekend series at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are 5-1 in six games against the Pirates this season. And Joe Maddon pointed out the Cubs only focus when it comes to the Pirates is to win the games on the field.
Cubs-Brewers Probable Pitchers
The Cubs and Brewers finalized the starting pitchers for three-game series at Miller Park that begins Tuesday night.
Joe Maddon is sending Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey and Jason Hammel to the hill against the Brewers. As long as there are no changes Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will face the Giants (May 20-22) which would lineup John Lackey, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta for the Cardinals series (May 23-25).
- Tuesday, May 17 (7:10pm CDT): Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Chase Anderson
- Wednesday, May 18 (7:10pm CDT): John Lackey vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson
- Thursday, May 19 (12:40pm CDT): Jason Hammel vs. RHP Junior Guerra
At least the Cubs will not have to watch the weather forecast for three days and will be able to hit in a controlled environment.
News and Notes
• Buster Olney’s Weekly Top 10: Cubs, Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Nationals, Mets, Mariners, Dodgers, Giants, Rangers
• Joe Maddon was forced to defend Jake Arrieta in the wake of the Pirates comments following Saturday’s game. The Pirates, media and fan base maintain Arrieta hit Jung Ho Kang on purpose. Maddon poked fun at the Pirates by saying Arrieta “definitely has a cyborg look about him.” Maddon agreed with what Arrieta said that if he intended to hit Kang he would have known it. Maddon thought Arrieta was “obviously distraught” after he plunked Kang and “he would have been more Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque had it been intentional.”
• And speaking of Cubs starting pitchers … the Cubs extended their streak to 36 straight games to begin the season in which their starting pitcher completed at least five innings.
• The Cubs are currently carrying three catchers on the 25-man roster. Miguel Montero and David Ross are only catchers but Tim Federowicz gives Maddon another player on his bench that can play multiple positions. Federowicz made sure to bring his infield and first baseman’s glove with him from Iowa. Federowicz played third and first base with the I-Cubs before he was called up.
• Josh Reddick is on fire at the plate. Reddick is 8-for-20 in his last seven games. Over his last 15 games, Reddick has a .377/.441/.434 slash line. Reddick is batting .316/.387/.451 with six doubles and four home runs for a .838 OPS in 37 games for the 16-22 Oakland A’s. Maybe Reddick talked to Jeff Samardzija and/or Matt Garza, because he is certainly playing his way out of Oakland.
• Albert Almora Jr. went 1-for-4 on Sunday and extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
This Day in Cubstory
2005 – Cubs sent Mike Moriarty to the Orioles as part of a conditional deal
2001 – Sammy Sosa became the 33rd player all-time to hit 400 home runs. Sosa went deep at Wrigley against the Astros’ Shane Reynolds for the historic homer.
2001 – Cubs released Damon Buford
1997 – Cubs collected 21 hits in a 16-7 win over the Padres. Brian McRae had four hits and Sammy Sosa went 4-for-4 with a career-high six RBI.
1996 – In a 13-1 win over the Astros, Sammy Sosa became the first player in Cubs history to hit two homers in the same inning. Sosa went deep twice in the seventh inning once off Jeff Tabaka (solo) and the other off Jim Dougherty (two-run).
1994 – Cubs released Willie Wilson
1972 – Rick Monday hit three home runs in support of Burt Hooton in an 8-1 victory in Philadelphia.
1966 – Cubs signed free agent Rick Bladt
1959 – Bob Patterson, born
1959 – Mitch Webster, born
1954 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Bob Will
1949 – Cubs traded Hank Schenz to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Bob Ramazzotti
1949 – Rick Reuschel, born
1939 – Cardinals purchased Woody English from the Cubs
1926 – Rube Walker, born
1924 – Brooklyn Robins purchased Tiny Osborne from the Cubs
1902 – Howard Fitzgerald, born