The Cubs nine-game, three-city road trip continues Monday night at Nationals Park. The Cubs have three games on tap against Dusty Baker’s team. And the Nationals will be out to prove a point after the series at Wrigley did not go their way.
The Cubs reached another goal with Sunday’s win in Atlanta. After 61 games, Joe Maddon’s team is 43-18, 25 games over .500. The Cubs are actually more games above .500 than they’ve lost this entire season. And the Cubs have five more wins by five or more runs (23) than they have losses (18) on the season. The Cubs are a National League best 8-3 in June.
Jason Heyward had a really good two games in his return home to Atlanta. Heyward appeared to be going in the right direction before Friday night’s game. Heyward’s timing appeared to be off again in the opener in Atlanta, but so did the entire team.
Over his last 11 games, Heyward is batting .325/.413/.600 with two doubles and three home runs for a 1.013 OPS. Heyward has five walks and 12 strikeouts in 46 plate appearances.
For the season, Jason Heyward is up to .240/.336/.346 with 10 doubles and four home runs for a .682 OPS … and he is definitely trending upward.
Jon Lester put together another excellent outing Sunday. Lester gave up one unearned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. And Lester drove in a run. It was his pitching that remains the story. Lester has been at the top of his game.
Over his last three starts, Lester has a 0.38 ERA and 0.54 WHIP. Lester has allowed two runs, one earned, on 13 hits with no walks and 26 strikeouts. According to Carrie Muskat, this is the first time in Lester’s career that he has not issued a free in three straight starts.
Jon Lester is 8-3 in 13 starts with a 1.89 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 2.82 FIP. In 85 2/3 innings, Lester has allowed 20 runs, 18 earned, on 64 hits with 17 walks and 85 strikeouts.
The Cubs starting five ERA: Arrieta (1.86), Lester (1.89), Hammel (2.36). Lackey (2.63), Hendricks (2.90).
After Lester’s outing, the starting staff’s ERA dropped to 2.30 and collectively they have a 0.97 WHIP while holding opponents to a .200 batting average. In 391 2/3 innings, the starting five has allowed 277 hits with 376 strikeouts.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Cubs.com
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from the Sun-Times
Jake Arrieta and the Home Run Derby
According to Buster Olney, there is an idea being floated of a pitcher’s only Home Run Derby. Madison Bumgarner “wants to be in a derby” and the Giants “are open to ideas.” The Giants discussed Sunday the possibility of Bumgarner participating in the derby according to Buster Olney.
Olney explained that the concern is Bumgarner being in a traditional Home Run Derby which has multiple rounds.
According to the Sun-Times, it was Jake Arrieta that “proposed a qualifying format for a pitcher, involving a shorter, four-pitcher bracket.”
“Get four guys who can really hit the ball a long way, and whoever wins can actually hit in the Derby. Me, Bumgarner and Syndergaard in a short derby. I’m just spit-balling some things.”
Adam Wainwright tweeted, “If Madbum and Arrieta want in on this home run derby … I might as well throw my name in the hat!” And Noah Syndergaard said he would like to have a pitchers’ hitting contest.
When asked about injury concerns, Arrieta said, “My oblique’s fine. What’s it going to do, mess up my swing?”
Joe Maddon said he would not have any issues with Jake Arrieta “participating in any kind of home run derby for pitcher or otherwise.”
Anthony Rizzo told the Tribune that “he would advise Arrieta not to do it.” Rizzo hasn’t decided if he will participate in this year’s derby but said, “It’s just different. Why mix it up? Though I’m sure it would be a lot of fun for him.”
The Willson Watch
Willson Contreras went 1-for-4 with a triple, a walk and a RBI in Sunday’s game and extended his hitting streak to 18 games, a career-best. Contreras struck out two times in the 10-7 loss to Round Rock.
Contreras was the DH on Sunday.
In 52 games, Willson Contreras has hit .351/.443/.598 with 15 doubles, three triples and nine home runs for a 1.041 OPS. Contreras has 28 walks and 32 strikeouts in 194 at-bats.
Cubs-Nationals Probable Pitchers
The Cubs open a three-game series at Nationals Park on Monday night against Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and the Nationals. It will be round two of Joe vs. Dusty and Sunday the two teams finalized the starting pitchers for three-game series.
- Monday, June 13 (6:05pm CDT) – Kyle Hendricks vs. Max Scherzer
- Tuesday, June 14 (6:05pm CDT) – John Lackey vs. Gio Gonzalez
- Wednesday, June 15 (3:05pm CDT) – Jason Hammel vs. Stephen Strasburg
The Nationals will miss Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, but the Pirates will not. Joe Maddon has Arrieta and Lester lined up for the first two games of the Pirates series at Wrigley that begins Friday afternoon (1:20pm).
News, Notes and Rumors
• Danny Ecker reported Sunday the City announced Wrigley plaza agreement … without Cubs.
• Buster Olney’s Top 10: Cubs, Rangers, Nationals, Giants, Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Mets.
• Comcast SportsNet reported star power, young talent and new attitudes will be on display for Cubs-Nationals.
• Justin Grimm talked to ESPN Chicago about his struggles this season. Grimm has appeared in 27 games this season and has been charged with 13 runs on 20 hits (four home runs) and seven walks with 23 strikeouts in 21 innings (5.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). And in two of his last three appearances he hasn’t recorded an out. Grimm pointed out to Jesse Rogers that in close games he’s done his job, and the numbers back up what the reliever said. Joe Maddon thinks Grimm’s command “has been off” and he’s “trying to do too much in situations.” Maddon, as would be expected, has faith in Grimm.
• Mark Simon explained how Anthony Rizzo is back to hitting the inside pitch. Rizzo went 3-for-6 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI on Sunday. Rizzo’s slash line is .264/.387/.528 with a .915 OPS. And in 10 games in June, Rizzo has hit .395/.439/.711 with three doubles, three home runs and a 1.150 OPS.
• According to ESPN Chicago, Cubs’ veterans welcomed Albert Almora Jr. to big leagues in style.
• The Des Moines Register reported Joel Peralta is aiming to get back to the big leagues with the Cubs. Joe Maddon called Peralta after he was released to see if he would be interested in signing with the Cub.
• LHP Gerardo Concepcion had another rough outing Sunday. Concepcion was charged with two runs on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning. Concepcion made 37 pitches, 20 for strikes. Concepcion has walked five batters in his last three innings of work. In 10 games (13 2/3 innings) for the I-Cubs, the lefty has allowed six runs, five earned, on 11 hits with 10 walks and 14 strikeouts (3.29 ERA, 1.54 WHIP).
• 3B Jeimer Candelario had another double and walk on Sunday in his fourth game with the I-Cubs. Candelario is 4-for-15 with three doubles, two walks and four strikeouts in his first four games in Triple-A.
• The Tribune reported Bill Murray lends helping hands to Cubs ace Jake Arrieta.
• Buster Olney explained LHP Julio Urias is a temporary solution for the Dodgers.
• The Twins claimed RHP Neil Ramirez off waivers from the Brewers. Ramirez was designated for assignment by the Brewers on June 9 after he was claimed from the Cubs.
— #VoteCubs (@Cubs) June 12, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
1994 – At the age of 34 years old, Ryne Sandberg suddenly retired and walked away from $16 million citing family reasons as why he was calling it quits. Sandberg would return to the Cubs in 1996 and play two more seasons to finish up his Hall of Fame career.
1985 – Pedro Strop, born
1985 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Les Lancaster
1984 – Cubs acquired Rick Sutcliffe, Ron Hassey and George Frazier from the Indians for Darryl Banks, Joe Carter, Mel Hall and Don Schulze
1950 – Phil Cavarretta, Bob Ramazzotti and Bob Borkowski homered in the sixth inning and Roy Smalley hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning as the Cubs beat the Dodgers in Brooklyn 6-3
1940 – The Cubs’ Bill Nicholson became the first Major League player to hit a home run at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. Ted Williams homered later in the exhibition called the Hall of Fame Game
1937 – Cubs scored 10 runs in the fifth inning en route to a 16-8 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Billy Herman and Rip Collins each collect four hits and three runs
1925 – Cubs beat the Braves 2-0 on Charlie Grimm’s two home runs at Wrigley Field
1905 – Christy Mathewson no-hit the Cubs and beat Mordecai Brown 1-0 at West Side Grounds
1904 – Frank Chance hit for the cycle as the Cubs and Mordecai Brown beat Christy Mathewson and the Giants 3-2 in New York