Dexter Fowler reported Friday to the South Bend Cubs and began what is a scheduled two-game rehab assignment.
Fowler batted ninth and was South Bend’s designated hitter. Fowler went 0-for-2 with two walks in South Bend’s 5-3 loss in 10 innings to Bowling Green. Fowler walked in his first two plate appearances. Fowler grounded into a double play in his first official at bat and struck out in the fourth trip to the plate.
Fowler is supposed to play center field Saturday and will be re-evaluated after the game. If everything goes as planned, Fowler will be activated from the DL at some point Sunday so he can play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in San Diego.
The Cubs have really missed Dexter Fowler, offensively and defensively, especially during the stretch of 24 games in 24 days leading up to the break. The Cubs have lost eight of nine. After starting the season 25-6, the Cubs are 27-28 in the last 55 games.
Miguel Montero summed it up Friday night, “Before everything was pretty, and now everything is kind of ugly. It’s baseball. You get a lot of ups and downs.”
And Joe Maddon said, “We’re unable to play through our mistakes right now, and probably in the beginning of the year, we did.”
The Cubs will enter play Saturday with a 7 ½ game lead over the Pirates and eight games ahead of the Cardinals. Joe Maddon’s team could really use the All-Star break and have a chance to hit the reset, not panic, button on the season.
Jake Arrieta continued to struggle Friday night in a game the Cubs eventually lost in which the offense gave him a lead in the seventh inning. Arrieta was sharp in the first inning, served up two homers in the second inning that accounted for the Pirates first three runs and then he settled down for the middle innings. The two homers in the second were the first longballs the Pirates hit off Arrieta since 2013, a span of 10 starts. Arrieta gave up hard contact but retired 10 of 12, did not walk a batter and kept his pitch count low. Arrieta completed his best inning of the night, the sixth, before the game got out of hand in the seventh inning.
Sarcastically, Arrieta said after the game, “I don’t know where Low-A is, but maybe I can go there and work on some stuff.”
In his first nine starts to the season, Arrieta had a 1.29 ERA and 0.841 WHIP (two home runs, .153 opponent’s batting average in 63 innings). Over his last nine starts, Arrieta has a 4.38 ERA and 1.402 WHIP (five home runs, .243 opponent’s batting average in 51 1/3 innings).
“I’m good. It’s not ideal,” Arrieta said. “But I like what I do in between starts and the stuff’s fine. Just got to be better.”
Arrieta appears to be off mechanically, plus he is not pitching with the confidence he has since his first start of the 2014 season. No one expected him to repeat what he did after the break a year ago. At the same time, no one saw Arrieta struggling the way he has for really the first time with the Cubs.
- ESPN Chicago – Jake Arrieta loses again as the bottom keeps getting deeper for the Cubs
- The Tribune – Jake Arrieta’s struggles cap Cubs’ first half mysteries
- Comcast SportsNet – Cubs starting to look lost when Jake Arrieta is off his game
- The Sun-Times – Arrieta can’t stop skid as Cubs lose for 14th time in 19 games
- ESPN – Where has Jake Arrieta’s slider gone?
Clayton Richard made his third rehab start Friday. Richard was transferred to Double-A Tennessee and pitched into the fifth inning. Richard made 61 pitches, 44 for strikes, in 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The Smokies ended up losing the game 2-1.
According to Justin Rocke, Richard’s fastball was in the 92-94 mph range with a slider and a changeup in the mid-80s.
In three rehab games, Clayton Richard has allowed one run on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.
The Cubs designated RHP Joel Peralta for assignment on July 6 to make room on the active roster for Adam Warren. The Cubs posted Friday that Peralta was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs have not said if Peralta will become a free agent or accept the assignment to Triple-A Iowa.
The Red Sox announced early Saturday morning the team acquired RHP Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks for a pair of minor leaguers, RHP Jose Almonte and INF Luis Alejandro Basabe.
Ziegler was 2-3 in 36 appearances for the Diamondbacks with 18 saves, a 2.82 ERA and 1.46 WHIP (13 runs, 12 earned, 41 hits, 15 walks, 27 strikeouts, 38 1/3 innings).
With Craig Kimbrel struggling (1-3, 17 saves, 3.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), dealing with a sore knee and Junichi Tazawa dealing with a sore shoulder, Dave Dombrowski added a late-inning reliever to help in the bullpen.
Luis Alejandro Basabe, 19, was playing for Low-A Greenville in the Sally League. Basabe hit .310/.412/.467 in 64 games with 16 doubles, four triples and four home runs for a .879 OPS.
Jose Almonte, 20, was also with Low-A Greenville. Almonte made 10 starts and posted a 2-2 record with a 3.91 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. In 53 innings, Almonte allowed 23 runs on 50 hits with 13 walks and 45 strikeouts.
Baseball America ranked Basabe as the ninth best prospect in the loaded Red Sox system prior to the season. Almonte was not included in Baseball America’s list of top 30 prospects in the Sox organization.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Willson Contreras has received positive reviews from the Cubs’ pitching staff. According to the Sun-Times, Kyle Hendricks was the latest to “rave about the quick progress he’s making with his game management ability start to start.” Contreras catches Jon Lester for the first time Saturday night with David Ross on the 7-day concussion DL. The Cubs believe Willson Contreras and Jon Lester can work together according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Joe Maddon liked what he saw from Willson Contreras during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. Contreras stood his ground against Jeff Francoeur after the veteran took exception to an inside pitch. Maddon said, “I think it’s great. It’s not often you’re going to see a rookie stand his ground as well as he did. He has demonstrated that he is fearless. He is not intimidated by playing in the Major Leagues at all.”
• Theo Epstein acquired 11 members of the 2016 National and American League squads through the draft, free agency, the international signing market and trades. Jerry Crasnick explained the imprint he’s made on the All-Star Game and the teams in Chicago and Boston. Epstein’s front office in Boston drafted Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Anthony Rizzo. The Red Sox signed Xander Bogaerts under his watch. And the Cubs selected Kris Bryant with the second overall pick in the draft.
• The Cubs will open the 2017 season in St. Louis according to multiple reports. Preliminary schedules for the 2017 season have started surfacing and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found out the Cubs and Cardinals will square off on Opening Day. The Cubs home opener will be April 10 against the Dodgers. And next season the Cubs have the Rays on the home schedule for an Interleague series around the Fourth of July. The Cubs will also travel to Fenway Park next season. With the Cubs playing the AL East, a matchup with the Yankees should be on the schedule. Will Starlin Castro return to Wrigley? Or will the Cubs play in the Bronx?
• And speaking of schedules, the Cubs did not arrive to Pittsburgh until early Friday morning. The team checked into the hotel at 6:00am. The Cubs will have played 24 games in 24 days and 30 games in the 31 days leading into the All-Star break. The players are not making any excuses. The beat writers are pointing out the schedule has taken its toll on the team.
• ESPN posted the week in interesting and unusual Chicago Cubs stats.
• The Mets announced RHP Matt Harvey decided to undergo season ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
• Noah Syndergaard left Friday night’s game with arm fatigue after allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Syndergaard will likely miss the All-Star Game. The Mets said Syndergaard’s lack of velocity was not elbow related. It was a bad night for three No. 1 starters across baseball … Jake Arrieta, Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard allowed a combined 17 runs on Friday.
• The A’s plan to begin the ‘second half’ with Rich Hill and Sonny Gray in the first two games.
• Jose Altuve changed agents and will now be represented by Scott Boras.
• Former Cubs’ right-hander Casey Coleman signed a minor league contract with the Rays and was assigned to Triple-A Durham.
• LHP Eric Jokisch is on the move again. The Marlins outrighted Jokisch to the minors on Friday before he was traded to the Texas Rangers. Jokisch was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. At least Jokisch will not have to face Joey Gallo. The homer Gallo hit of Jokisch in Spring Training two years ago still hasn’t landed.
This Day in Cubstory
2011 – Cubs released Augie Ojeda
2005 – On the first pitch in his first big league plate appearance, 24-year old outfielder Adam Greenberg was struck in the back of the head by a 92 mph fastball thrown by Marlins pitcher Valerio de los Santos. Greenberg suffered a concussion and experienced positional vertigo as a result of the beaning. Greenberg entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch hitter.
2001 – Sammy Sosa lost the Home Run Derby during All-Star Game festivities to Luis Gonzalez
1983 – Miguel Montero, born
1981 – Tommy Hottovy, born
1970 – Cubs traded Archie Reynolds to the Angels for Juan Pizarro
1969 – Rookie Jimmy Qualls one-out single in the ninth spoiled Tom Seaver’s no-hit bid. The Cubs lost to the Mets 4-0 at Shea Stadium in ‘The Imperfect Game’
1955 – Willie Wilson, born
1946 – Cubs purchased Doyle Lade from the White Sox