The Cubs notched win No. 48 on Friday night in Miami. It was a grind, but the team with the best winning percentage in baseball (.667) found a way to win a game with the 5-4 victory over the Marlins.
And with Adam Lind hitting a three-run homer off Trevor Rosenthal to lift the Mariners to a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cardinals, the Cubs will begin play Saturday with a 10-game lead in the NL Central.
Willson Contreras had another big night at the plate. In a game in which he started catching Kyle Hendricks and finished at first base, Contreras delivered the game winning hit, a single to right in the seventh inning that plated Kris Bryant.
Contreras has impressed his teammates and manager with the way he’s played over his first week in the majors. As for what he’s meant to the Cubs, Joe Maddon told the beat writers, “It’s like oxygen. He’s absolutely necessary.” And Ben Zobrist said, “He’s been incredible. What he’s done his first week is nothing short of amazing.”
After Friday’s game, Maddon said that Contreras will be in the starting lineup Saturday. Maddon was not sure where Contreras would play with Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Montero due back. According to Carrie Muskat, Contreras took fly balls in the outfield on Friday.
Willson Contreras made quite the impression during his first full week in the majors. After making his big league debut on June 17, Contreras is 7-for-17 with three home runs and a walk (.412/.474/.941) for a 1.415 OPS. Contreras has eight RBI and has scored four runs while hitting safely in each of the six games in which he had a plate appearance.
Counting the 20 straight games he had a hit in at the time he was called up, Willson Contreras has a 26-game hitting streak.
Willson Contreras is willing to do whatever is asked of him. He will play anywhere, and could start Saturday in left field. Contreras just wants to help the Cubs win ballgames.
The Cubs received good news on Anthony Rizzo and he is expected to return to the starting lineup Saturday.
Rizzo has been dealing with tightness in his lower back. Rizzo was not available for the first two games of the series with the Marlins. Joe Maddon said Friday that P.J. Mainville, Cubs trainer, was a “little” concerned about Rizzo but his back “loosened up and relaxed.”
According to the Sun-Times, Joe Maddon acknowledged Friday that Rizzo’s “recurring issue might require extra monitoring.” Rizzo doesn’t like to take time off, which is to be expected. Maddon said he would talk to Rizzo about getting him more time to ensure his back doesn’t keep him out of the lineup when the Cubs need him most later in the season.
The Cubs will likely be without Ben Zobrist on Saturday. Zobrist was hit in the left ankle by a pitch in the seventh inning and was in a lot of pain. Zobrist took his base and ran the bases. But Zobrist did not return to the field on defense in the bottom of the inning.
Injuries are really piling up for the team. Zobrist said after the game, “It’s been a tough week or week and a half, having guys go down. It’s not been easy on anybody.”
As it turns out, Miguel Montero is more banged up than the Cubs let on. Montero has been dealing with two bulging discs in his back, now the veteran catcher has a sore right knee that made him unavailable Thursday and limited him to pinch hit duty Friday.
Montero twisted his right knee on a play at the plate in Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals. Montero limped off the field and was visibly frustrated in the dugout. Montero admitted he heard a pop. But he passed all the tests and was not expected to miss any time.
Montero was not available for Thursday’s game. With Anthony Rizzo sidelined, Joe Maddon played two men short in the opener with the Marlins. Montero was available Friday night to pinch-hit and is expected to start Saturday.
The Cubs found a way to get back in the win column. Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant drove in a combined four runs. And Contreras plated Bryant with the game winner in the seventh inning.
Kyle Hendricks did his job Friday. On a night he struggled with his command and a high pitch count limited him to five innings, Hendricks put his team in position to win the game. And the bullpen stepped up with Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood and Hector Rondon pitching multiple innings.
Joe Maddon said after the game he “loved the tenacity” of the players. “After losing four, winning one like this tonight really says a lot about our group.”
According to Christopher Kamka, Friday was the “first time in Cubs history they allowed a first inning Grand Slam and no other runs in the rest of the game.” Justin Bour hit the 38th first inning Grand Slam off Cubs’ pitching. And Hendricks also made Cubs history on Friday night. Hendricks made the first start (since 1913) by a Cubs pitcher of at least five innings while allowing four or more runs on no more than one hit.
Here are the post-game reports and recap …
- CCO – Contreras and Bryant Deliver, Cubs Grind Out a Win Over the Marlins
- Cubs.com – Cubs team effort ends skid with 5-4 win over Marlins
- ESPN Chicago – Bullpen picks up Hendricks as Cubs snap losing skid
- Comcast SportsNet – Contreras, Bryant help Cubs end four-game skid in win over Marlins
Cubs-Mets – July 18
The Cubs announced Friday that the Monday, July 18 game versus the Mets at Wrigley Field will begin at 6:05pm CDT to accommodate a national broadcast by ESPN. The game will be seen locally on WPWR My50 Chicago and will be blacked out in the Chicago market.
Make a note on your schedule, the game was originally slated to begin at 7:05pm CDT.
Keep an eye on RHP Armando Rivero.
Rivero had another good outing for Triple-A Iowa on Friday. Rivero struck out the side in the sixth inning and pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Drew Rucinski. Rivero gave up a hit and walked a batter. Rivero made 43 pitches, 28 for strikes, and struck out four in Iowa’s 7-4 win over the Sounds.
Rivero is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 22 games this season. Rivero has allowed 10 runs, all earned, on 22 hits with 20 walks and 47 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.
Over his last seven appearances, Rivero has issued just three walks with 14 strikeouts, allowing two runs on nine hits in 11 innings (1.64 ERA, 1.09 WHIP).
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Comcast SportsNet, Chris Coghlan understands his role with Cubs is different this time around. Coghlan really had a hard time with the A’s (.487 OPS). With the Cubs, Coghlan is batting .250/.438/.417 with a .854 OPS in 13 games.
• Joe Nathan told the Knoxville News Sentinel he’s looking to contribute to Cubs’ title hopes. Nathan said the Cubs kept calling him and “were very persistent.” Nathan’s rehab from his second Tommy John surgery is going well. He made his first appearance for the Smokies and believes he will be ready to help the Cubs win games when his minor league rehab assignment is completed next month.
• Scott Lindholm posted how teams with a plus-163 run differential at 72 games, like the Cubs, have finished the season … click here for the graphic.
• Entering play Friday, the Cubs had two players in the top 10 of defensive runs saved for the season. One of the two might catch some of you by surprise … click here.
• RHP Neil Ramirez completed 2 1/3 innings for the Twins on Friday in the 5-3 loss to the Yankees. Ramirez retired seven of the nine batters he faced, giving up a walk and a hit while striking out two on 38 pitches, 26 for strikes. Ramirez has appeared in four games for the Twins. Ramirez doesn’t have a decision or a save. In seven innings, Ramirez has given up two runs on six hits (one home run) with three walks and six strikeouts (2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP).
• According to Jerry Crasnick, the Angels are listening on INF Yunel Escobar and the Giants are one of the teams that have expressed interest in him.
• Junior Lake is back in the majors. The Blue Jays selected his contract from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday and called him up. Lake was added to the Jays active roster that already included INF Darwin Barney. The Blue Jays enter play Saturday in third place in the AL East, 3 ½ games behind the first place Orioles and two back of the second place Red Sox.
And last, but not least, Dan Vogelbach told the Des Moines Register, “I feel like I’m big league ready and I can help somebody at the plate.” Vogelbach is batting .293/.415/.513 with 13 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs for a .928 OPS. In 68 games (232 at-bats), Vogelbach has 46 walks and 58 strikeouts.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Casper Wells
2013 – Cubs released Ian Stewart
2010 – Carlos Zambrano was suspended indefinitely after throwing a tantrum in the dugout that involved Derrek Lee at the Cell. Zambrano blamed Lee for the White Sox scoring six runs on him in the first inning.
2007 – A distraught fan jumped onto the field and charged the mound toward Bob Howry after he blew an 8-3 lead to the Rockies at Wrigley Field. The fan made it a few feet from his intended target before security guards tackled him. Howry picked up the victory after Alfonso Soriano hit a walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. The Cubs won the game 10-9.
2005 – Cubs released Travis Phelps
1998 – Sammy Sosa broke the Major League record for home runs in a month. Sosa hit his 19th longball in June and passed the mark set by Rudy York of the Tigers in August of 1937.
1989 – Rubi Silva, born
1985 – Daniel Bard, born
1982 – Paul Maholm, born
1978 – Aramis Ramirez, born
1975 – Cubs released Bob Locker
1971 – Michael Tucker, born
1969 – Brad Woodall, born
1967 – Ernie Banks hit two home runs to back rookie Joe Niekro’s three-hitter in the Cubs 8-0 win over the Astros
1950 – Hank Sauer (4-for-4, 12 total bases) drove in four runs with two home runs and two doubles and Roy Smalley and Phil Cavarretta hit homers as the Cubs beat the Phillies 11-8 at Shibe Park.
1949 – Hank Sauer hit a second inning home run for his fourth home run in as many days and his fifth in the last six games. Sauer led the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Giants at Wrigley Field.
1947 – Jose Ortiz, born
1939 – Cubs purchased Bill Nicholson from the Senators for $35,000
1937 – Augie Galan became the first switch hitter in Major League history to hit a home run left-handed and right-handed in the same game. The Cubs beat the Dodgers at Wrigley Field 11-2.
1930 – Gabby Hartnett drove in seven runs, including the game winner in the ninth inning by hitting two singles and two homers as the Cubs beat the Phillies 13-12 at Wrigley Field