Believe it or not, it’s the last weekend in July and with the non-waiver trade deadline (Aug. 1) quickly approaching, the Cubs have the best record in baseball (61-40) and are the only team in the big leagues with 61 wins on the season.
By sweeping the Wrigley portion of the Crosstown Series and splitting the four-games with the White Sox, Joe Maddon’s team maintained a 6 ½ game lead over the red-hot Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Cubs cannot afford to slow down any longer with the Cardinals firing on all cylinders.
With Jorge Soler and Chris Coghlan ready to come off the disabled list, Joe Maddon talked to the beat writers about the Cubs roster prior to Thursday’s finale with the Sox.
Maddon said the team has tough decisions to make and he has been talking with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
Maddon said he’s had “a lot of conversations” with Epstein and Hoyer about what the Cubs “can do and not lose the inventory
Jorge Soler and Chris Coghlan have been rehabbing with Double-A Tennessee. Soler and Coghlan did not play Thursday. Maddon said Soler’s hamstring has healed and he’s just working on his timing. Coghlan has been hitting the cover off the ball. The Cubs appear to just be stashing him in the minors at this point.
ESPN Chicago explained the options the Cubs have and do not have at this point of the season. The Cubs may decide it is best for the depth of the team to option down players, such as Carl Edwards Jr., Willson Contreras and/or even Jorge Soler once he comes off the DL. Edwards Jr. and Contreras are on optional assignments and Soler has one more option.
Matt Szczur, on the other hand, is out of options and there is no way he gets through waivers. The Cubs will lose what has been a valuable and dependable back up this season.
Bottom line is that a couple of players could be sent to the minors for the good of the team moving forward this season.
The Cubs welcome the Mariners to Wrigley, and weather permitting the two teams will kick-off a three-game series on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). The Cubs are 6-3 in Interleague play this season.
The Cubs have not played the Mariners in three years. And for the next three days, the Cubs must stay focused and finish what has been a difficult month on a five-game winning streak.
Joe Maddon begins a three-game series with a pretty rested bullpen, which should help if Jon Lester stumbles. Maddon said Thursday that Hector Rondon would be unavailable for Friday’s game.
Maddon did not “completely rule out” Aroldis Chapman for Friday. Maddon doesn’t know Chapman like his other relievers. Maddon said he had not talked to Chapman yet after using him in back-to-back days, the second for a four-out save. ESPN Chicago reported that Chapman will probably be unavailable for the opener of the Mariners series.
Here are the probable starting pitchers for the next three days:
- Friday, July 29 (1:20pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
- Saturday, July 30 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. LHP Wade Miley
- Sunday, July 31 (7:08pm CDT) – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Felix Hernandez
Jason Hammel and John Lackey are scheduled to start the first two games of the Marlins series. And the Cubs will have to deal with Jose Fernandez for a second time this season.
Aroldis Chapman – New Translator
Aroldis Chapman saved his first game with the Cubs on Thursday when he recorded four-outs in the same appearance for the first time this season. Chapman created a lot of buzz for the second night in a row with his triple-digit fastball.
Chapman has given the Cubs what the front office traded for on the field. Off the field has been a story of its own and it appears the Cubs are going to address one area.
According to Comcast SportsNet, “the Cubs are in the process of hiring a new translator for Aroldis Chapman.”
Comcast SportsNet reported that Chapman “requested a new translator.” The Cubs told Comcast SportsNet the team offered to bring a translator after the trade was completed with the Yankees.
Cahill gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Cahill struck out five, allowed Destin Hood to take him deep in the third inning and made 71 pitches, 37 for strikes, in 3 2/3 innings.
Cahill walked three in the first inning and gave up a run on a bloop single. Cahill struck out the side in the first inning and made 18 pitches, 15 for strikes.
Cahill is 0-2 in three starts with a 6.10 ERA and 2.32 WHIP. In 10 1/3 innings with the I-Cubs, Cahill has allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 17 hits with seven walks and 13 strikeouts.
News, Notes and Rumors
• New bullpen clicks as advertised in Cubs victory over the White Sox according to Comcast SportsNet. With Aroldis Chapman in the fold, Comcast SportsNet asked if the Cubs now have a bullpen that rivals the World Champion Royals. The Cubs have a three-headed monster at the backend of their bullpen according to ESPN Chicago.
• The Sun-Times reported Chris Sale starts for Sox, but Aroldis Chapman finishes as Cubs split series.
• Comcast SportsNet asked if the Cubs are done dealing, Chris Bosio said he wouldn’t put anything past Theo Epstein.
• Rick Renteria is not concerned about managing again according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Buster Olney explained how the Aroldis Chapman trade altered the reliever market. Executives told Olney that “the Chapman deal dropped a value grenade into the trade market … and teams are scrambling to adjust.” The high-price the Cubs paid for Chapman made teams reassess their asking prices.
• According to Jon Heyman, the Cardinals are looking for a top reliever. Heyman reported Huston Street and Joe Smith could make sense for St. Louis, along with Wade Davis if he’s dealt.
• The Giants acquired INF Eduardo Nunez from the Twins for LHP Alberto Mejia. The former Yankee and Twins’ All-Star representative hit .296/.325/.439 with 15 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs for a .764 OPS in 91 games this season.
• The Cubs will see Andrew Cashner at Wrigley Field next week. According to reports from Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins acquired Cashner along with Colin Rea from the Padres on Friday morning for top prospect Josh Naylor. The deal could be more according to a report from Miami. Cashner will have to visit the barber before pitching for the Fish due to the team’s no facial hair policy.
• Maury Brown asked if MLB expansion and more playoff teams pave way for 154-game season.
• Bill Mitchell liked what he saw from Bailey Clark in his “second strong outing.” Mitchell reported the Cubs fifth round pick featured a fastball in the 91-94 mph range that topped out at 95 mph and a slider in the 84-85 mph range. Clark gave up one hit over three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
• Ian Happ made his first start of the season in right field on Thursday for Double-A Tennessee. Happ is batting .283/.318/.408 with nine doubles and two home runs for a .726 OPS in 31 games for the Smokies.
Friendliest Confines. pic.twitter.com/8UgJsEn2kg
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – In the longest game, by time, in Cubs’ history, John Baker became the first position player to earn a victory since the Orioles’ Chris Davis in 2012. In the six hour and 27 minute marathon at Wrigley Field, the backup catcher tossed a scoreless 16th inning and scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning on a Starlin Castro sac fly. The Cubs beat the Rockies 4-3.
2006 – Greg Maddux beat the Cardinals 4-2 at Wrigley Field and earned career-win No. 327 in his last start in a Cubs’ uniform. Maddux walked off the field to a thunderous, standing ovation.
1998 – Cubs traded Jon Garland to the White Sox for Matt Karchner
1989 – Eric Jokisch, born
1988 – In an 8-3 win over Kevin Gross and the Phillies in Philadelphia, Rick Sutcliffe stole home. Sutcliffe was the first pitcher to steal home since Pascual Perez in 1984. Sutcliffe was on the front end of a double steal with Mitch Webster. Sutcliffe was the first Cubs pitcher to steal home since Hippo Vaughn in 1919.
1970 – The Cubs purchased Joe Pepitone from the Astros
1968 – The Angels purchased Dennis Bennett from the Cubs
1954 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Bob Anderson
1951 – Manager Phil Cavarretta hit a pinch-hit grand slam off Robin Roberts in the seventh inning of the second game of a doubleheader against the Phillies. The Cubs swept the doubleheader 5-4 and 8-6 at Wrigley and Cavarretta drove in seven runs in the two games.
1951 – Ken Kravec, born
1916 – Cubs acquired Otto Knabe and Art Wilson from the Pirates for William Fischer and Frank Schulte