The Cubs made their way back from the West Coast to the Midwest Sunday night. The Cubs begin a three-game series Monday night in St. Louis. Despite their recent struggles and 2-4 record after six of the nine games on this road trip, the Cubs have the best record in baseball at 29-13, two wins better than the Nationals and Giants. The Cubs lead the NL Central on May 23 by six games over the Pirates and seven games ahead of the third place Cardinals.
Kris Bryant has played four different positions for the Cubs this season while continuing to produce at the plate. Bryant hit two homers over the weekend and could be the team’s most valuable player at the quarter mark of the season according to the Sun-Times.
Joe Maddon talked to Comcast SportsNet and the Sun-Times about the how much Bryant’s position versatility means to the Cubs. Maddon compared his willingness to move around the diamond to that of Ben Zobrist. Bryant has shown a lot of improvement at third base, especially with this throws.
Bryant lined up at three different positions in one-half inning last week in Milwaukee. So far this season, Bryant has played 27 games at third base (24 starts), 24 games in left field (13 starts), five games in right field (four starts) and first base for a third of an inning.
In 41 games this season, Kris Bryant is batting .277/.362/.500 with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 19 walks for a .862 OPS. Bryant has 31 RBI and scored 29 runs.
Kris Bryant has quietly gone about his business this season while playing whatever position his skipper thinks would give his team the best chance to win that day’s game.
- Comcast SportsNet – What Kris Bryant’s off-the-charts versatility means for Cubs
- The Sun-Times – Why do-everything Bryant is Cubs’ MVP at quarter mark of season
Sunday Post-Game Reports and Recap
The Cubs struggles in San Francisco and against Madison Bumgarner continued Sunday. The Cubs haven’t been able to figure out the Giants in their park the last couple of years. The Cubs will see Bruce Bochy’s team at least one more time this season. The Giants make their annual trip to Wrigley in September (Sept. 1-4) for a four-game series.
“I know they feel they can beat us … and we feel like we can beat them,” Joe Maddon said to Comcast SportsNet. “We match up well. We can play against these guys. It’s always going to be a closely contested game. No side has a clear-cut advantage.”
“We’re there; they’re there,” Maddon said. “I know they feel they could beat us, and I feel we could beat them, too.”
Here are Sunday’s post-game reports and recap:
- CCO – What a Bum-mer
- ESPN Chicago – No panic, only small frustration setting in as Cubs drop another series
- ESPN Chicago – Cubs drop another series as offense is unable to solve Madison Bumgarner
- ESPN Chicago – Joe Maddon confused by ‘out of base path’ call on Javier Baez
- Comcast SportsNet – Madison Bumgarner shuts down Cubs in what could be an October preview
- The Sun-Times – Three-time champs beat best-in-baseball Cubs 1-0, win series
The Oakland A’s added a rather big name to its disabled list Sunday. RHP Sonny Gray was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right trapezius, “the muscle extending over the back of the neck and shoulders that supports the arm” according to the report from Jane Lee.
Lee reported that Gray “first experienced tightness in the area” before his start on May 15 in Tampa. Lee explained “it locked back up on him during his first warmup pitch in the fourth inning” of Friday’s game against the Yankees.
Gray received a shot in the area, “half cortisone, half anti-inflammatory” before Friday’s game ended and felt better Sunday. Gray does not think he will be on the shelf for longer than the required 15 days.
Gray is 3-5 in nine starts this season with a 6.19 ERA, 1.64 WHIP and 5.09 FIP. Jane Lee reported this is the first time Gray has been placed on the DL in his career.
Rob Zastryzny posted Sunday night on Twitter that he is reporting to Triple-A Iowa on Monday morning. Zastryzny started the season with Double-A Tennessee, his second stint with the Smokies.
The 24-year old lefty was the Cubs second round pick in the 2013 draft.
Zastryzny was 3-2 in nine starts with the Smokies this season with a 4.28 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Zastryzny allowed 29 runs, 26 earned, on 50 hits with 20 walks and 42 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings.
News and Notes
• Buster Olney’s top 10: Cubs, Red Sox, Orioles, Giants, Nationals, Mariners, White Sox, Indians, Pirates, Rangers
• Anthony Rizzo is not worried about his dip at the plate according to the Sun-Times.
• Patrick Mooney reported that Joe Maddon said “it’s unclear whether or not Jason Heyward will be available” for the Cardinals series.
• The Des Moines Register reported former Cubs’ farmhand Anthony Giansanti signed with Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League (Independent Baseball). Giansanti is teammates with Josh Vitters again. Vitters is hitting .236/.299/.438 in 24 games with six doubles and four home runs for a .737 OPS.
This Day in Cubstory
1991 – Andre Dawson stole second base in the fourth inning of the game at Shea Stadium and became the third member of the 300/300 club with his 300th stolen base. Dawson had hit 354 home runs at the time joined Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays as the only three players in Major League history to accomplish the feat.
1991 – Cubs signed Amaury Telemaco
1979 – Cubs traded Ray Burris to the Yankees for Dick Tidrow
1977 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Carlos Lezcano
1973 – Ramon Ortiz, born
1970 – Ricky Gutierrez, born
1967 – Cubs purchased Lee Elia from the Chicago White Sox
1963 – Tom Ricketts, born
1957 – Cubs acquired Don Elston from the Brooklyn Dodgers for Jackie Sollum and Vito Valentinetti
1926 – Hack Wilson hit a fifth inning home run off the centerfield scoreboard at Wrigley Field. The scoreboard was located at ground level. The Cubs scored seven runs in the eighth inning of a 14-8 victory over the Braves. Wilson and “a few others” were arrested later that night at a friend’s apartment for drinking beer in violation of the Prohibition Act. The scoreboard was moved to left field in 1937 while the structure for the current location was being built that season.
1912 – Augie Galan, born