The Cubs’ three-city, 11-game road trip continues Thursday with the first of four against the Metropolitans. The Cubs used the three games in Cincinnati to get back on-track and now have to deal with the Mets’ pitching staff in Panic City.
The Cubs begin Thursday a full 11 games ahead of the Cardinals in the division with the best record (51-26) in the National League.
Kris Bryant made history Monday night in Cincinnati. Bryant has torched Reds’ pitching this season with a 1.553 OPS in 10 games (.442/.529/1.023). And at Great American Ball Park, Bryant has nine extra basehits (four doubles, five home runs) and a .485/.553/1.061 slash line with a 1.613 OPS. Bryant is thriving outside of Wrigley this season, which is the exact opposite from his Rookie of the Year campaign.
In 41 road games this season, Bryant is batting .317/.408/.611 with 13 doubles and 12 home runs for a 1.019 OPS. At Wrigley in 34 games, Bryant has a .230/.322/.492 line with six doubles and nine home runs for a .814 OPS.
Last year, Bryant hit .311/.408/.629 with 14 doubles, four triples and 21 home runs at Wrigley for a 1.037 OPS. And on the road, Bryant managed a .243/.333/.360 line with 17 doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .693 OPS.
Kris Bryant has shown a lot of improvement at the plate this season. He’s cut down on his strikeout rate and has really been the Cubs most consistent hitter while playing all over the field. After 75 games, Bryant has a .280/.372/.560 slash line with 19 doubles and 21 home runs for a .931 OPS. And with 21 home runs before the break, Bryant became the youngest player in Cubs’ history to hit 20 home runs in the first half of a season, surpassing Ernie Banks.
When a player continuously breaks or equals Cubs’ records previously held by the likes of Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ryne Sandberg, it only proves what Bryant has done offensively during his short time in the majors is special.
The Joe Maddon Game
With the quick turnaround, more information came out about what is being called ‘The Joe Maddon Game’ throughout Wednesday. Here’s some additional cool stuff and a rule explanation …
• Len Kasper explained the rule that allowed Maddon to use Travis Wood and Spencer Patton in left field and on the mound in the 14th inning. A pitcher may assume another defensive position one time per inning. Patton started the inning on the mound, moved to left field and recorded the last out as the Cubs’ pitcher. Patton, by rule, could not have played left field for a second time in the 14th inning.
• Tuesday was just the fourth time in the last 100 years where two players pitched and played left field in the same game according to High Heat Stats.
• Joe Maddon is not a fan of baseball’s unwritten rules and he explained why to Fox Sports.
Tommy La Stella, Adam Warren and Jorge Soler
According to reports from ESPN Chicago and the Tribune, INF Tommy La Stella will play at least one more rehab game with Triple-A Iowa before he is activated from the DL. In other words, multiple reports indicate there will not be any roster moves made before the opener at Citi Field to add La Stella to the active roster.
The I-Cubs kick off a road series Thursday with Round Rock.
Adam Warren is scheduled to start Thursday for Iowa. If the Cubs keep him on regular rest and recall him to start a game next week as planned, Warren will start Tuesday against the Reds at Wrigley.
Jorge Soler is not ready for a rehab assignment yet according to Mark Gonzales. Soler was set to travel with the Cubs from Cincinnati to New York. Soler has been working out on the field and taking BP. Reports have suggested he’s making progress with the hamstring injury (left hamstring strain) that forced him to the DL on June 7.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Tom Ricketts is cherishing the Cubs success.
• The Sun-Times asked if Carl Edwards Jr. could be the impact power arm that bolsters the Cubs’ bullpen. Edwards Jr. looked really good in Tuesday’s marathon and in Wednesday’s finale.
• FanGraphs took a look at Jake Arrieta’s elevated walk rate.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the secret to Willson Contreras’ success with the Cubs has been channeling his emotions.
• The Sun-Times reported “anyone who still believes the Cubs will shop Javy Baez for pitching near the trade deadlines hasn’t been watching very closely.”
• And speaking of Baez, ESPN Chicago reported Javier Baez and the Cubs found their mojo in Cincinnati.
• Instead of the Reds throwing at players, maybe Bryan Price should have his pitching staff work on executing pitches instead … the Cubs beat up on Reds’ pitching in the three-game series. Christopher Kamka pointed out Kris Bryant had a three homer game, Jake Arrieta hit a home run, Ben Zobrist led off a game with a homer, Javier Baez hit a slam in the 15th inning, Anthony Rizzo recorded his first career inside-the-park home run and Albert Almora Jr. went yard for the first time in his career. Seven different Cubs hit homers at the Great American Launching Pad … Bryant (3), Rizzo (2), Baez, Zobrist, Arrieta, Russell and Almora Jr.
• Spencer Patton is aware of the unexpected from Joe Maddon according to the Tribune.
• Tony Massarotti thinks Kris Bryant is overrated.
• According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are delusional if they think trade sell-off is ‘nonsense.’
• Joel Sherman reported the Yankees can build off momentum from tremendous comeback.
• According to Baseball America, the California League and Carolina League (High-A, Advanced Class-A) will hold separate All-Star Games in 2017.
• The Reds optioned RHP J.J. Hoover to Triple-A on Wednesday just a few hours after giving up five runs in the 15th inning to the Cubs.
• Interesting note from Peter Gammons … The Indians have the best rotation in the American League. Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin never made a top 100 prospects list.
• Buster Olney reported that by not rewriting foreign-substance rule, MLB could find itself in a sticky scenario.
• RHP Mat Latos signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. Latos will be reunited with Dusty Baker if he makes it back to the majors. Baker does not think Latos is done and can help the Nationals win games.
• The Phillies announced Wednesday that RHP Mark Appel had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. Appel was traded from the Astros to the Phillies in the Ken Giles deal last winter. Appel’s season is over but he’s expected to be ready for Spring Training.
• Jim Bowden posted a trade deadline preview.
• The Diamondbacks are getting calls on relievers Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson. The D-Backs could move both in the same deal. According to Jesse Sanchez, there were a lot of scouts watching the Phillies and Diamondbacks series.
• Cubs’ fans can now purchase their own mini LEGO version of Wrigley Field.
And last, but certainly not least, Willson Contreras took one for the team …
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Boston. A two-out single by Stephen Drew broke up Arrieta’s no-hit bid. Arrieta and the Cubs beat the Sox 2-0.
2012 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jorge Soler
2012 – Anthony Rizzo hit his first homer in a Cubs uniform off the Astros’ J.A. Happ. The Cubs beat Houston at Wrigley Field 3-2.
2006 – Cubs released Tony Womack
1999 – President Bill Clinton showed up in time to see Sammy Sosa hit his NL best 30th homer of the season in a 5-4 victory over the Brewers. Nine of Sosa’s previous 13 hits were home runs.
1998 – With an eighth inning home run, Sammy Sosa extended his Major League record for home run in a month. Sosa hit 20 home runs in June of 1998.
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Jose Nieves
1986 – Cubs traded Dave Lenderman and Dave Liddell to the Mets for Ed Lynch
1982 – Mitch Maier, born
1972 – Joe Pepitone rejoined the Cubs after a brief retirement and went 1-for-4 in the Cubs 4-3 victory over the Pirates. Rick Reuschel allowed two hits in 7 1/3 innings before leaving the game with a twisted ankle. Billy Williams drove in three runs.
1970 – Mark Grudzielanek, born
1964 – Doug Dascenzo, born
1956 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jerry Kindall
1932 – The Cubs took the field at Wrigley wearing numbers on their uniforms for the first time. The Cubs were the last team to add numbers to the back of their jerseys. The Cubs topped the Reds 7-0
1909 – Cubs spoiled the Pirates opening of Forbes Field with a 3-2 victory in the new park.