Anthony Rizzo went yard twice in the same game for the second time this season Wednesday and really bounced back from a bad night at the plate in the Cubs’ 6-2 victory over the Mets. In less than 24 hours, Rizzo went from striking out four times in a game for the first time to notching the 11th multi-homer game of his career. And with the two dingers Wednesday, Rizzo has hit the most home runs (110) in the National League since 2013.
Each of Rizzo’s last five hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles, three home runs) and in 16 games this month, Anthony Rizzo is batting .328/.386/.688 with six doubles, a triple and five home runs for a 1.073 OPS … 12 of his 21 hits have gone for extra bases.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are now at the top of the NL leader board in home runs. And Rizzo’s 71 RBI equal Nolan Arenado for tops in the National League.
Kris Bryant (25) has one more longball this season than Anthony Rizzo (24). The last time teammates finished one-two in home runs in a league was Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz in 2004. And according to ESPN Chicago, the last time two Cubs finished one-two in the National League in home runs was 1912. Heinie Zimmerman (14) and Frank Schulte (12) led the Cubs and the NL in homers 104 years ago.
The Bryzzo Souvenir Co. has had a good year so far … 49 combined dingers in 94 games and there are a lot of games left on the schedule at Wrigley Field.
Kyle Hendricks had another sensational outing on Wednesday.
Hendricks improved to 9-6 with a 2.27 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with the win over the Mets. Hendricks tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings. And in his last four games, three starts, Hendricks has not allowed an earned run. Hendricks is 3-0 in in July with a 0.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP (one unearned run on 14 hits with five walks and 13 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings).
In the six games after the break, Cubs’ starters have a 1.54 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.
Kyle Hendricks has the third best ERA in the NL behind only Clayton Kershaw (1.79) and Madison Bumgarner (2.12). And his 1.36 ERA at Wrigley is the second best home ERA in the majors.
The Cubs traded Dan Vogelbach, and Paul Blackburn, to the Mariners for Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries. Vogelbach was in Iowa’s lineup for game one of the doubleheader before he got the call that he had been traded.
Vogelbach knew he did not have a future with the Cubs and was happy about the trade. Vogelbach posted his appreciation to the Cubs on Twitter late Wednesday night.
Excited for this opportunity. pic.twitter.com/5IwMYkbsxd
— Daniel Vogelbach (@DanielVogelbach) July 21, 2016
Theo Epstein told the beat writers after the trade that he is “sad to see Dan go.” Epstein said Vogelbach “was a great guy to be around” and admitted he is happy that Dan will get an opportunity with another organization.
Dan Vogelbach is now in a better position to succeed in the majors. Vogelbach can hit and has the tools to be a good designated hitter. Vogelbach is limited, at best, defensively and is a station-to-station runner on the bases. Most look at only Vogelbach’s offensive numbers and not all aspects of his game. J.J. Cooper made an excellent comp of Billy Butler. Cooper said after the trade that Vogelbach is a “left-handed hitting Billy Butler with less defensive/baserunning value.”
Most think the Mariners made a good pickup in Vogelbach and that he will help them win games one day. Vogelbach was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma after the trade but is expected to make his big league debut at some point this season.
Joe Nathan had his first bad outing in the Cubs organization on Wednesday.
With reports suggesting Nathan could be added to the Cubs pen this week and likely Friday for the opener of the Brewers’ series, Nathan replaced Gerardo Concepcion for the top of the seventh. And Nathan couldn’t throw strikes.
Nathan retired the first batter he faced (Rafael Ortega) on a fly out to Dexter Fowler in center. Nathan then walked the next three batters he faced before Marty Pevey went and got him. C.J. Riefenhauser replaced Nathan and allowed two of the three inherited runners to score.
Nathan was charged with two runs on no hits and three walks in a third of an inning. Nathan made 21 pitches, eight for strikes.
With Iowa, Nathan has allowed two runs on no hits, five walks and a HBP with three strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings (6.75 ERA, 1.88 WHIP) and in 11 games (9 1/3 innings) in the Cubs’ system, Joe Nathan has given up four runs on three hits (two solo home runs) with five walks and nine strikeouts (3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP).
Jason Hammel is scheduled to pitch the opener of the Brewers series on Friday night at Miller Park. On Wednesday, he had five boxes of Utz Chips waiting for him at his locker.
Jason Hammel had a really good start against the Rangers and said after the game that the doctor prescribed chips to help prevent cramping.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Comcast SportsNet asked after winning this round versus the Mets, will the Cubs have enough pitching for October. The Sun-Times reported Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo beat Mets on Wednesday as Cubs finish winning homestand. Bruce Levine reported, it’s not sexy but Hendricks keeps mowing them down.
• Kris Bryant stole second base in the first inning of Wednesday’s game. The Cubs have swiped at least one base in each of the last five games, first time in almost a calendar year Joe Maddon’s team as done that (July 21-25, 2015).
• With the Dodgers uncertain about Clayton Kershaw’s return for this season, Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday that many within the industry are wondering if they will “try to overwhelm the White Sox with offers for Chris Sale or Jose Quintana.” Morosi pointed out the White Sox “have given no public indication they will become sellers, yet they have a worse record than the much-talked about Yankees.” It would be hard for the White Sox “to sell after adding James Shields in June.” Morosi said the Dodgers will have to add pitching in the off-season and it might be the right time to push for Sale, Quintana, Sonny Gray or one of the Rays’ starting pitchers (Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, Drew Smyly). The Dodgers, according to Morosi, have what it takes to make a blockbuster trade. Jerry Crasnick reported earlier in the day that the Dodgers are “big game hunting” and looking “for impact moves, not incremental upgrades.”
• According to Jerry Crasnick, the Giants “are blanketing the reliever market.” The Giants have scouts watching the Phillies (Jeanmar Gomez, David Hernandez) and Brewers (Jeremy Jeffress, Will Smith). The Giants are interested in Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman “but might be outgunned” by the Cubs or Nationals.
• Several teams are talking to the Brewers about Jonathan Lucroy, but nothing is imminent. The Indians are one of the teams showing the most interest, according to Buster Olney. The Indians are focused on the bullpen, according to Ken Rosenthal.
• Andrew Cashner is scheduled to start Thursday and the Padres could trade him before his next start according to multiple reports. The Rangers, Marlins and Orioles are among the teams believed to be interested in Cashner.
• The Marlins are interested in Jeremy Hellickson according to Ken Rosenthal, especially after he beat them on Wednesday.
• Buster Olney reported that rival evaluators think the Rangers would trade Joey Gallo.
• The Rays shut down Alex Cobb due to fatigue and mechanical issues according to Marc Topkin.
• The A’s said Wednesday that it’s doubtful Rich Hill will be able to start Sunday due to the blister on his pitching hand.
• The A’s recalled Arismendy Alcantara on Wednesday. Alcantara was 2-for-11 in four games with the A’s during an earlier call up. In 23 games with Triple-A Nashville, Alcantara has hit .296/.327/.429 with five doubles, a triple and two home runs for a .755 OPS.
• RHP Neil Ramirez was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester and off the Twins 40-man roster. Ramirez struggled with the Twins and in eight games (14 2/3 innings) he allowed 10 runs on 15 hits with 10 walks and 11 strikeouts (6.14 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 8.13 FIP).
• The Cubs and Astros were among the teams that had scouts at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
And last, but not least, Carl Edwards Jr. was able to pitch Wednesday despite having issues with his uniform before the game. The ’88 throwback uniforms the Cubs wore did not have a belt and Edwards Jr. was having problems keeping his pants from falling down.
This Day in Cubstory
2004 – Cubs traded Ricky Gutierrez to the Red Sox
2000 – Cubs traded Glenallen Hill to the Yankees for Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena
1998 – Kerry Wood outpitched Greg Maddux and beat the Braves. Wood struck out 11 batters in 7 2/3 innings and was the sixth time in 18 starts Wood recorded double-digits strikeouts. Wood handed Maddux his first loss against the Cubs.
1992 – Cubs released Dennis Rasmussen
1989 – Before the game against the Giants at Wrigley Field, OF Dwight Smith sang the National Anthem. Smith went 0-for-4 in the game the Cubs dropped 4-3. Mark Grace hit a two-run homer in the eighth. All of the Giants runs scored off Rick Sutcliffe.
1986 – Cubs traded Davey Lopes to the Astros for Frank DiPino
1980 – Kyuji Fujikawa, born
1972 – Billy Williams drove in six runs with four hits that included a double and a home run in an 11-3 victory over the Astros
1971 – Ernie Banks hit the 511th home run of his career, tying Mel Ott, in the Cubs 11-7 win over the Mets at Wrigley Field
1951 – Phil Cavarretta replaced Frankie Frisch as Cubs manager
1881 – Johnny Evers, born
This Day in Baseball History
1988 – Yankees traded Rick Balabon, a PTBNL and Jay Buhner to the Mariners for Ken Phelps