In case you haven’t noticed, Addison Russell has been on fire at the plate. Russell reached base two more times Saturday and drove in the Cubs only run.
In the eight games since he started for the NL at shortstop in the All-Star Game, Russell is 11-for-28 with three doubles, a triple and two walks. That’s a .393/.452/.571 slash line for a 1.023 OPS.
Over his last 18 games, the Cubs’ 22-year old shortstop is 21-for-68 with four doubles, a triple and three home runs. Russell is hitting .309/.351/.529 with a .881 OPS.
This is obviously Russell’s best offensive stretch of his career.
Addison Russell looked lost at times at the plate early in the season. Russell has been the exact opposite over the last month. Russell appears to be playing with a ton of confidence. And if he can stay on the .350-plus OBP with an OPS over .800 the rest of the season, the Cubs will have another offensive threat in an everyday lineup that has lacked consistency.
John Lackey had another bad outing and pointed fingers at his teammates for not turning a double play in the first inning before he served up the two-run shot to Jonathan Lucroy on the 12th pitch of the at-bat. For one of the first times since the break, the Cubs looked off Saturday night. At no time did it feel like the Cubs were in the game after Lucroy’s two-run homer.
The offense did next to nothing against Zach Davies. And the game got out of hand on the three-run homer in the eighth.
Joe Maddon, Chris Bosio and the coaching staff must get the pitchers to focus on hitters that are perceived to be weak against the rest of the league because another sub-.200 batter was the difference in a ballgame.
Maddon handled the loss the right way, like he usually does, and said, “They just beat us.”
Here are the post-game reports and recap from Saturday:
- CCO – Lackey Struggles, Cubs Serve Up Three Homers in Loss to Brewers
- Comcast SportsNet – Frustrated John Lackey are Cubs lose in Milwaukee: ‘This is the big leagues’
- The Sun-Times – Cubs not talking playoffs in July, just trying to beat the Brewers
- ESPN Chicago – John Lackey’s quality start for Cubs not enough to snap winless drought
- The Tribune – Brewers pester Cubs, John Lackey
Brian Matusz started game one of the doubleheader in Memphis on Saturday. And the veteran lefty made another good start for Triple-A Iowa.
Matusz blanked the Redbirds for 4 1/3 innings. Matusz allowed four hits with two walks and struck out six. Matusz made 85 pitches, 55 for strikes, in a game the I-Cubs eventually lost 6-4.
Matusz struck out the side in the first inning and worked around a walk and an infield single to keep Memphis off the board. Matusz had five strikeouts after two innings (five of first six outs via strikeouts).
According to Randy Wehofer, Matusz worked “both sides of the plate and changed speeds” during an “impressive” outing.
In two starts with the I-Cubs, Matusz has allowed two runs on seven hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings (1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP).
Jorge Soler – Chris Coghlan
Jorge Soler and Chris Coghlan started for Double-A Tennessee on Saturday night in the Smokies 3-0 loss to the Braves. Soler batted second and played left field. Coghlan hit leadoff and was in right field.
Chris Coghlan went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Jorge Soler was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Coghlan appears to be close to coming off the disabled list. Soler is behind Coghlan and was expected to need at least a week with Smokies before he would be ready to be activated. Saturday was Soler’s first game with Double-A Tennessee.
Trevor Cahill started the second game of Iowa’s doubleheader in Memphis on Saturday night. Cahill completed four innings and made 73 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Cahill took the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits and no walks. Cahill struck out five in as Iowa dropped the nightcap of the twin bill 5-2.
Trevor Cahill is 0-1 in two starts with Iowa on his rehab assignment. Cahill has allowed six runs, five earned, on 13 hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings (6.75 ERA, 2.40 WHIP).
The Cubs and White Sox kick off the annual Crosstown Series on Monday. The first two of the four-game series is on the South Side at The Cell (Monday, Tuesday). The last two are back at Wrigley under the lights on Wednesday and Thursday. The White Sox will treat the four days as their World Series.
The White Sox are a huge mess and it starts with ownership and trickles down. And one of the best pitchers in all of baseball embarrassed his team and the game on Saturday with the ridiculous actions that led to him being scratched from a scheduled start and sent home.
Reports surfaced mid-afternoon the Sox scratched Chris Sale. With it being trade season (or the silly season depending on your point of view), speculation ramped up immediately that the Sox had traded Sale. That wasn’t the case. ESPN reported Sale was scratched due to the flu. Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal shot that report down quickly. So the Sox had to address what actually happened.
The Sox released the following statement:
Official: Chris Sale has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 23, 2016
While all of the details are still unknown, Chris Sale did not want to wear throwback uniforms and threw a hissy-fit that escalated to the point he cut up the throwback jerseys. Reports have indicated he ‘only’ cut up his jersey and others have stated he cut up multiple jerseys and uniforms so no one could wear them.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Sale asked that the Sox not wear the throwbacks on the day he pitches because they are uncomfortable. Rosenthal reported “things escalated when they wouldn’t relent.” Sale apparently went as far to say the team cared more about other things than winning.
Robin Ventura refused to go into detail about the incident after Saturday’s game was suspended.
Chris Sale is not starting Sunday. Jose Quintana will face the Tigers in the finale of that series after the suspended game from Saturday night is wrapped up. The Sox and Tigers played to a 3-3 tie in the ninth before rain delayed the game again. The field became unplayable and the game will be picked up in the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Sale should be suspended indefinitely and not allowed to pitch. His actions should not be ignored by the organization. With the Sox playing the Cubs this week, Jerry Reinsdorf will likely wait until he’s pitched against the Cubs before addressing this issue any further.
Cubs-Cardinals – Aug. 14
The Cubs announced the Sunday, Aug. 14 game vs. the Cardinals at Wrigley Field has been selected by ESPN for the national broadcast.
The game between the long-time rivals will now begin at 7:08pm CDT.
The Cubs and Cardinals have a four-game series (Aug. 11-14) that concludes with the Sunday night game.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Tribune reported the Cubs explore upgrades as the team awaits productions from Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist. The Cubs had “a representative watching the A’s last week.”
• The Sun-Times asked with Mike Montgomery and Joe Nathan, is the Cubs’ pen fully armed?
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs have ‘all kinds of different line in the water’ leading up to the trade deadline.
• With trade rumors seemingly increasing by the hour, the A’s scratched Josh Reddick two hours before game time Saturday with back stiffness. The A’s won Saturday in walk-off fashion. And Susan Slusser pointed out that Reddick’s back must not be bothering him too badly because he was the one running around with the pie in the celebration.
• According to the Sun-Times, Cubs’ assistant GM Randy Bush has not been contacted and doesn’t plan to seek the Twins’ GM job.
• David Ross developed bond with mentor Robin Ventura during the days together with the Dodgers according to the Tribune. Ross called Ventura “the mentor of all mentors.”
• Jon Heyman reported the price on the Wade Davis is high (more than Aroldis Chapman) but the Nationals and other teams have checked in with the Royals.
• The Rangers and Rays continue to talk according to Jon Paul Morosi. The Rays like several of the Rangers prospects (1B Ronald Guzman, LHP Yohander Mendez). But Tampa would prefer Jurickson Profar in a deal for one of the starting pitchers. The Rangers have said no, according to Morosi, on giving up Profar.
• The Tribune reported former Wrigley rooftop club owner was convicted of hiding revenue.
• Lefty Rob Zastryzny made a relief appearance for Triple-A Iowa on Saturday night in the second of two games with the Redbirds. Randy Wehofer reported Zastryzny pitched an inning of relief as “a tune-up” ahead of his next scheduled start on Wednesday. Zastryzny left his last start with arm fatigue and missed his turn through the rotation. Zastryzny allowed two runs on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts in two innings. Zastryzny made 38 pitches, 21 for strikes.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Ryan Buchter
2008 – Rays purchased Darin Downs from the Cubs
2006 – Cubs release Phil Norton
1986 – Cubs traded Billy Hatcher and a PTBNL to the Astros for Jerry Mumphrey. Cubs sent Steve Engel to Houston later in the day to complete the trade.
1986 – Miguel Socolovich, born
1974 – Jim Marshall replaced Whitey Lockman as Cubs manager. Lockman became Cubs Director of Player Development
1972 – Whitey Lockman replaced Leo Durocher as Cubs manager
1969 – Ken Holtzman beat Don Sutton for the fourth straight time, third time that season, as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-3. Sutton lost to the Cubs for the 13th straight start.
1967 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-1 in St. Louis and moved into a tie with the Cardinals atop the National League
1939 – Cubs claimed Rabbit Warstler off waivers from the Boston Bees