The Cubs made a lot of changes to the bullpen before Tuesday’s game and announced Adam Warren was being sent to Iowa to stretch him out so he could make a start before the All-Star break.
The Cubs optioned RHP Adam Warren to Triple-A Iowa. Warren has struggled of late and is a better pitcher than he’s shown this season. Warren will be stretched out and make two starts for Triple-A Iowa. Warren will not be in the minors long enough to use an option.
The Cubs plan to recall Warren and he will start a game before the All-Star break (July 11-14). The plan is not set on how the rotation will be lined up after the break, but the Cubs could use a six-man rotation at least one time through to start the second half. And if that’s the direction the Cubs go, Warren will be used as the sixth starter.
The Cubs are in the midst of 24 games in 24 days leading up to the All-Star break, Wednesday is the sixth day of the stretch. According to multiple reports, the Cubs did not provide specifics on the team’s plan for Warren or the rotation after the break, for now it appears the Cubs will at least begin the second half with a six-man rotation.
“Between rainouts and off-days, a lot of our guys have pitched with an extra day’s rest,” Maddon said. “Now we’re going through this stretch where they’re not. I’d have to say that our starters have been pretty successful in this first half and a lot of them have had the benefit of an extra day for a variety of different reasons. So let’s keep it going. This is where it gets a little bit sticky. Guys get into this time of year, leading into August and September and you really want to make sure they are healthy and well, so we thought it was the right thing to do. I love it. I’ve been part of this before, primarily after the break.”
RHP Spencer Patton was recalled to fill Warren’s spot in the bullpen.
The Cubs placed Clayton Richard on 15-day disabled list with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. LHP Gerardo Concepcion was added to the 40-man roster, called up and made his Major League debut Tuesday night. Concepcion will be the Cubs’ second lefty in the pen, a role Richard had before the blister issue popped up.
The Cubs are carrying an eight-man bullpen. With all of the changes this week, here’s how the Cubs pen should look for the finale of the three-game series with the Cardinals: Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood, Carl Edwards Jr., Spencer Patton and Gerardo Concepcion.
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from The Tribune
- Report from The Sun-Times
Post-Game Reports and Recap
Tuesday’s game did not go the Cubs way. The Cubs had chances to score runs but dropped another one-run game to the Cardinals. For as well as the Cubs have played this season, just 9-11 in one-run games. The Cubs are not doing the little things in close games. For comparison, last season the Cubs were 34-21 in games decided by one-run.
The Cubs lost the first series to Cardinals in almost a calendar year (June 26-28, 2015) as Comcast SportsNet pointed out. And Tuesday marked the first time this season the Cubs lost on consecutive days at Wrigley Field.
For as bad as it may seem, and the fan reaction was not good after dropping the second straight game to the Cardinals, just a reminder the Cubs are 47-22 which is 25 games over .500 and Joe Maddon’s team is more games over .500 than the number of games they’ve lost all season.
Joe Maddon said post-game, “It’s wonderful that people are shocked that we’ve lost two in a row. That’s how the season’s going to roll. It’s going to happen again. I have no complaints about the last two nights. Zero. I’ll say it again. If we keep playing that game I’ll be very pleased. That’s a good game of baseball. If you’re a baseball fan, you saw good baseball.”
The Cubs starting pitching (John Lackey, Jason Hammel) was not sharp early in the first two games of the series, which has been a rarity this season. The Cardinals took advantage, built a lead and hung on both nights.
Jason Hammel allowed four runs on six hits, two home runs, in 5 2/3 innings. Hammel broke a string of 23 straight games in which the starting pitcher allowed three earned runs or less.
Here are the post-game reports and recap …
- CCO – Groundhog Day
- ESPN Chicago – Another one-run loss to the Cardinals but positives aren’t hard to find
- Comcast SportsNet – Groundhog Day: Cubs come up short against Cardinals again
- Bruce Levine – In a rare occurrence, Cubs lose series
As part of the bullpen shakeup Tuesday, the Cubs selected LHP Gerardo Concepcion from Triple-A Iowa. And the southpaw made his Major League debut Tuesday night in relief of Jason Hammel.
Concepcion struck out Brandon Moss swinging for the final out in the sixth. Concepcion returned for the seventh and picked up three outs. Concepcion struck out two of the four batters he faced.
Signs pointed to the Cubs calling up Concepcion. After a good start to the season with Double-A Tennessee, he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa as lefty Clayton Richard continued to struggle.
Concepcion appeared in 12 games for Iowa and posted a 1-0 record with a 2.60 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Concepcion allowed six runs, five earned, on 15 hits with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. Concepcion held lefties to a .190 batting average with four walks and nine strikeouts in six innings. Left-handers had four hits against him.
Between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Concepcion held left-handers to a .116/.191/.140 line with a .331 OPS this season and right-handers had a .544 OPS with a .192/.300/.244 slash line.
According to Bruce Miles, Gerardo Concepcion became the first Cuban-born pitcher to make his Major League debut with the Cubs since Oscar Zamora in 1974. The right-hander appeared in 148 games and made two starts for the Cubs from 1974-76.
The A’s recalled INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. Alcantara was issued No. 30, but did not play in the A’s 5-3 win over the Brewers.
Alcantara was traded to Oakland for Chris Coghlan and was immediately optioned to Triple-A. Alcantara played in 10 games for the Sounds and was 6-for-37 with a triple and a home run (.162/.220/.297/.517).
Arismendy Alcantara would seem to be a good fit for the A’s home park. Hopefully he will be able to get his career back on track.
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs won’t match Willson Contreras up with Jon Lester yet.
• The Cardinals will try to carry over success against Jake Arrieta and his slider according to ESPN. Arrieta is scheduled to start Wednesday’s finale with the Cardinals, weather permitting, and he’s struggled against the Cardinals to the tune of a 4.55 ERA in his last five starts versus St. Louis. The Cardinals have scored at least four runs in three of the five games.
• A must read … the Tribune reported, inspired by ailing father, rookie Albert Almora Jr. is making his family proud.
• Billy Williams cherishes Chicago and its Cubs according to Chris Emma.
• According to ESPN Chicago, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler worked with strength coaches again on the field Tuesday. Reports suggested La Stella will begin a rehab assignment this week.
• LHP Jack Leathersich was officially sent to the AZL Cubs to begin a rehab assignment.
• RHP Aaron Crow officially started a rehab assignment with the AZL Cubs.
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Rockies purchased Hisanori Takahashi from the Cubs
2002 – Joe Girardi announced to the crowd at Wrigley Field that Darryl Kile had been found dead in his hotel room and the game between the Cubs and Cardinals would not be played that afternoon.
1999 – Hack Wilson was awarded another RBI, increasing his Major League record for RBI in a single season from 190 to 191. Historian Jerome Holtzman discovered Wilson did not receive credit for driving in Kiki Cuyler with a third inning single in a game played in July 1930.
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Walker
1990 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Clear
1982 – Jason Motte, born
1980 – Cubs signed free agent Bill Landrum
1971 – Brant Brown, born
1966 – Cubs purchased Curt Simmons from the Cardinals
1966 – Cubs traded Billy Cowan to the Phillies for Norm Gigon
1926 – Cardinals selected Grover Cleveland Alexander off waivers from the Cubs
1912 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 10-2 behind five RBI from Heinie Zimmerman. The Great Zim hit two doubles, a triple and a single.
1914 – Jim Asbell, born
1902 – Jack Taylor went the entire way in a 3-2 win over the Pirates in 19 innings at West Side Grounds. Bobby Lowe drove in the game winner. Pirates’ starter Deacon Phillipe also pitched a complete game, but took the loss.