Tuesday was a good day for the Cubs even with the rough loss to the Mets. Jake Arrieta looked like Jake Arrieta for the first time in at least a month. Arrieta threw quality strikes, pounded the strike zone, pitched ahead in the count and repeated his mechanics. Arrieta was very sharp and really didn’t make any mistakes in seven innings.
Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester have to pitch as the top of the rotation starters they are in order for the Cubs to win the division and play deep into October.
Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio must feel positive about the starting rotation the first time through after the break. Four of the five starters turned in very good outings and John Lackey had one of his better starts in a month. Kyle Hendricks blanked the Rangers and Arrieta, Lester and Jason Hammel each allowed one earned run.
In the five games after the break, the Cubs starting rotation posted a 1.82 ERA and 0.86 WHIP after allowing seven runs, all earned, on 21 hits and nine walks with 29 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.
As Jake Arrieta said after the game, “That was a little more like it.” Arrieta was happy with his performance on Tuesday night. And he should be. Arrieta admitted he could have been “significantly better” but Tuesday was the step in the right direction.
Arrieta allowed one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings. Arrieta made 85 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Of the first 27 pitches Arrieta threw in three innings, 25 were for strikes. According to ESPN, that was the “fastest a starting pitcher had gotten to 25 strikes in a game this season.”
Over his last 39 starts, Jake Arrieta has a 1.64 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 268 1/3 innings. Arrieta has allowed 163 hits with 71 walks while striking out 276 batters. And Arrieta has not allowed a home run at Wrigley in his last 14 starts, the longest streak in franchise history since Bill Lee (1942-47).
Jake Arrieta built on his last start before the break and took advantage of the time off. Seeing Arrieta pitch like Arrieta is expected to made a bad loss a lot easier to take.
Anthony Rizzo was named the Cubs recipient of the 2016 Heart and Hustle Award.
The annual award is given out by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to one player “on each of the 30 Major League teams on the basis of their passion for the game and that best embodies the value, spirits and traditions of the game.”
Anthony Rizzo won the award last season. And the 2016 winner will be announced at the 17th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York on Nov. 15.
Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler
Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler reported to Triple-A Iowa and were ready to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday. Iowa’s game was rained out and will be made up Wednesday as part of a doubleheader. Fowler and Soler are expected to play in one of the two seven-inning games on Wednesday.
Fowler could still return to the Cubs by the weekend series in Milwaukee, even with the rainout. Soler is further behind Fowler in his rehab.
According to the Sun-Times, while Fowler is expected to need a few days to get ready in Iowa, Soler will likely need weeks in the minors before he is ready to be activated from the DL.
With the trade deadline 12 days away, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer spent a lot of time Tuesday fielding questions about Kyle Schwarber, the trade rumors and his future with the organization.
As Comcast SportsNet reported, Epstein went out of his way a month ago to say he expects Schwarber to hit big home runs for the Cubs next season.
Epstein and Hoyer reiterated Tuesday that Schwarber will not be traded. The Cubs see him as part of their core of players. And he is one of the players Epstein said it would be foolish for them to trade.
Here are the reports the Schwarber reports from Tuesday:
- CCO – Yankees Keep Floating a Deal with Cubs for Andrew Miller Must Include Kyle Schwarber
- Comcast SportsNet – As Yankees consider selling, ‘no question’ Cubs see Kyle Schwarber as part of their 2017 plans
- The Sun-Times – Why the Cubs won’t trade Kyle Schwarber at the deadline
- Bruce Levine – Cubs covet more pitching, but will they deal Schwarber?
News, Notes and Rumors
• Carrie Muskat reported that Joe Maddon said any trade needs to be an obvious fit. Maddon is looking forward to having Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler and Trevor Cahill back. Maddon told the beat writers prior to Tuesday’s game, “The ‘fitting in’ component is very big. When you do something like that, it has to be obvious that the guy is going to help. You want to bring somebody in who’s physically talented and fits what you’re looking for, and beyond that, fits, period.”
• Missed opportunities haunt the Cubs’ offense in loss to Mets … again according to ESPN Chicago.
• According to a report from The Score, it’s not too soon for Theo Epstein to burn the Cardinals over the hacking scandal.
• The Sun-Times explained Matt Szczur is going to have to steal a starting spot.
• Keith Law posted his midseason ranking of the top five farm systems: Braves, Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers. Honorable mentions: Phillies, Rockies and Brewers.
• Bill Ladson reported bullpen and outfield help are priority for the Nationals. Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Carlos Beltran and Charlie Blackmon are among the potential targets and the Yankees have a scout following the Nationals until Sunday.
• According to Buster Olney, rival executives said the Yankees are “going full bore in shaping possible deals with Aroldis Chapman, etc.” The Nationals, Rangers and Indians are among the teams involved in talks with the Yankees.
• Jerry Crasnick reported that rival executives “have the sense the Indians are more inclined to shoot the moon on an Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman than they typically would.” The Indians view this season as a “rare opportunity” and Terry Francona “can only ride Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen so hard.” The Indians need an impact arm for the back of their bullpen.” If the Indians are all-in, the Yankees will increase their return for either Miller or Chapman.
• According to Jim Duquette, eight or nine teams are interested in the Rays’ Matt Moore. Duquette has even heard the Nationals are in on him.
• The Marlins are “working hard to add a starter” according to Jon Paul Morosi. Jeremy Hellickson, Andrew Cashner and Michael Pineda are among the pitchers on their list.
• Susan Slusser didn’t really have an update on Rich Hill. The A’s are not thinking about putting him on the DL yet “but it’s wait and see as the skin in on his finger heals.” Hill does not know when he will start again.
• The Braves addressed the Julio Teheran rumors. And GM John Coppolella said they are not going to trade him.
• Clayton Kershaw was shut down indefinitely and the Dodgers are uncertain when he will be able to return after suffering a setback in his rehab from an injured back Kershaw was placed on the DL on July 1 with a mild disk herniation.
• The Cardinals placed Jhonny Peralta on the DL with ligament strain in his left thumb, recalled OF Jeremy Hazelbaker and RHP Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A Memphis and DFA’d catcher Michael McKenry.
• The Pirates activated RHP Jameson Taillon and catcher Francisco Cervelli.
• LHP Jack Leathersich reported to Double-A Tennessee. The Smokies were off Tuesday and play the Braves at Smokies Park on Wednesday night. Leathersich was 1-0 in 10 games, one start, with a 1.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP for the AZL Cubs (one run, four hits, three walks, 16 strikeouts in eight innings).
• Chris Coghlan took batting practice before Tuesday’s game. The Cubs have not said when he will begin a rehab assignment.
This Day in Cubstory
2001 – Cubs acquired Michael Tucker from the Reds for Ben Shaffar and Chris Booker
1994 – Duane Underwood, born
1989 – Matt Szczur, born
1982 – Jake Fox, born
1980 – Cubs released Ken Henderson
1969 – At Connie Mack Stadium during the top of the third inning of the nightcap against the Cubs, play is stopped and the two teams moved silently to their respective baselines to look skyward as the crowd is informed word has been sent from Neil Armstrong to Mission Control in Houston that the Eagle had landed on the moon. The game was resumed after a rendition of God Bless America is played and a prayer is said for the astronauts.
1966 – Ernie Banks collected the 2,000th hit of his career in a 5-4 loss to the Reds at Wrigley Field
1954 – Gary Woods, born
1938 – Gabby Hartnett replaced Charlie Grimm as manager of the Cubs
1933 – Babe Herman hit three home runs, including a Grand Slam, and a single while driving in eight runs in a 10-1 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field
1929 – Hack Wilson his safely in his 26th consecutive game as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-1 in Brooklyn.
1911 – Frank Schulte hit for the cycle in a 4-3 Cubs victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Schulte ended the year as the first player in big league history to top the 20-mark in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. Willie Mays (1957), Curtis Granderson (2007) and Jimmy Rollins (2007) are the other three players in the history of the game to accomplish the feat.
1886 – Mike Kelly recorded four hits, all singles, and scored four runs. Cap Anson, Jimmy Ryan and Abner Dalrymple homered in the third inning in a 20-4 win over St. Louis at West Side Park.