Kris Bryant reached a milestone Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Bryant launched his league leading 24th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the second inning that tied him with the Orioles’ Mark Trumbo for the most home runs in the majors.
Bryant’s booming blast was the 50th homer of his career.
Kris Bryant homered on July 4 for the second year in a row. Bryant has played in two games at the big league level on the Fourth of July and he has three home runs. Bryant went 2-for-4 with two home runs (Grand Slam) and six RBI last July 4 against the Marlins. Bryant became the first Cubs player to homer on July 4 in back-to-back years since Bobby Murcer (1977-78).
Bryant is batting .279/.373/.575 with 19 doubles and 24 home runs for a .947 OPS in 80 games this season. Bryant has 63 RBI and has scored 67 runs. And there are some in the game that believe Bryant was the NL MVP in the first half of the season.
Kris Bryant hit the 50th homer of his career at almost the same age as Ernie Banks. Bryant was just four days older Monday than Mr. Banks when he hit No. 50 of his career in 1955. Bryant is the fastest to 50 home runs in Cubs history. Bryant hit his 50th homer in his 867th career at-bat. Ernie Banks hit his in the 889th career at-bat.
After 231 big league games, Kris Bryant has a career slash line of .277/.370/.519 with 50 doubles, five triples and 50 home runs for a .889 OPS.
According to multiple reports, Dexter Fowler stepped up his rehab Monday as he works his way back from a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL back on June 20. Fowler was eligible to come off the disabled list Monday.
Once he’s ready to play, Fowler will require a rehab stint in the minors before he is activated. The Cubs have not provided a timetable on when he could begin a rehab assignment. Maddon said, “We’ll just play out the rest of the week and see where that takes us.”
Joe Maddon basically told the beat writers, according to ESPN Chicago, that if Fowler is able to play by next Tuesday the Cubs will allow him to participate in the All-Star Game “even if that’s his first game back.” Fowler would obviously like to play in the All-Star Game.
Dexter Fowler talked to the beat writers Monday and said he could not put a timeframe on when he will be able to return. Fowler said, “It’s getting better, it’s getting better fast. That’s a good sign. I can’t really look toward the future.” Fowler said he hasn’t had any setbacks.
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from Bruce Levine
- Report from Carrie Muskat
- Video from ESPN Chicago
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella hit second and played third base Monday and had a hand in Iowa’s 4-3 win over Omaha. La Stella was on-base three times (2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) and scored the tying run in the fifth inning. La Stella walked and scored from first base on a double by Dan Vogelbach.
Tommy La Stella's got moves ???? pic.twitter.com/3HQ2dWjFvM
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) July 5, 2016
The Des Moines Register reported before the game the plan was for La Stella to play all nine innings Monday, which he did, and “barring any setbacks it sounds like he’s close to wrapping up this rehab assignment.”
The Cubs face lefty Brandon Finnegan on Tuesday.
There will be at least two roster moves prior to Wednesday game in order to recall Adam Warren to start against the Reds. If Tommy La Stella is close to being activated from the DL, two more roster moves are on the horizon for the Cubs.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jason Heyward batted sixth in Maddon’s lineup on Monday. Heyward doubled in two runs with two outs in the first inning and finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBI. Comcast SportsNet reported Joe Maddon is trying to get Heyward going at the plate. According to ESPN Chicago, Maddon hopes lineup shuffle will help Heyward break slump. As of Monday, Maddon planned to leave Heyward in the sixth spot in the lineup for at least the next week leading up to the All-Star break.
• Speaking of the Cubs lineup, Addison Russell “loved batting fifth” on Monday. Russell told ESPN Chicago, “Today was the most comfortable I felt all year.” Russell was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. And he put the ball in play in the fourth inning with the bases loaded. An error by the Reds led to two runs for the Cubs.
• The Cubs improved its National League best home record to 26-11 with Monday’s win over the Reds. The Cubs have played the fewest home games in the NL, only the Indians have played fewer home games to this point of the season.
• Monday was the first time the Cubs scored 10 runs in a single game on July 4 since 1930 according to Christopher Kamka.
• Ken Rosenthal spent time around the Cubs over the weekend while the team was in New York. Rosenthal provided information on Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs got back to normal, snapping losing streak by beating up on lowly Reds. Bruce Levine reported on the Cubs offensive explosion against the Reds. And the Cubs look heathy again with the Reds in town according to the Sun-Times.
• When asked about the Cubs “only” beating the Reds, Maddon responded, “When people say that kind of stuff, they have no idea what it takes to win a Major League Baseball game.” ESPN Chicago reported, don’t tell Joe Maddon beating up on the Reds is meaningless.
• Under-the-radar Kyle Hendricks is pitching as good as any Cubs pitcher according to Comcast SportsNet. Kyle Hendricks has looked like more than a No. 5 starter for the Cubs according to the Sun-Times.
• Joe Nathan has appeared in four games for Double-A Tennessee and the rehab process has gone so well for the veteran reliever that the Des Moines Register has heard good things about the way he’s pitched. Nathan has allowed one run on one hit (a solo homer) in four innings. Nathan has not walked a batter and has four strikeouts. According to Justin Rocke, Nathan’s fastball is sitting in the 91-92 mph range, slider in the high-80s and his changeup is in the low-80s.
• The Rays and Rangers have talked about a deal that would send Jake Odorizzi to Texas in exchange for a bat according to Jim Bowden. Rays have shown interest in Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson. The two teams are not close to a deal but continue to talk.
• The Reds fired pitching coach Mark Riggins prior to Monday’s game with the Cubs. Riggins was the Cubs’ pitching coach under Mike Quade.
• The Pirates placed Jameson Taillon on the 15-day DL with right shoulder fatigue. Taillon is 2-1 in five starts since his call up with a 3.86 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 4.17 FIP.
And last, but not least, Jeff Garlin announced Joe Maddon will make a guest appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Cubs signed free agent Ben Rowen
2002 – Cubs fired manager Don Baylor and replaced him with Bruce Kimm
2001 – Greg Maddux posted his 250th big league victory
1992 – Umpire Bill Hohn ejected an Atlanta Braves fan from the Cubs-Braves game for making obscene gestures. The Cubs shutout the Braves 8-0. Greg Maddux pitched seven innings and beat John Smoltz. Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace and Kal Daniels hit home runs.
1972 – Bo Porter, born
1967 – Tim Worrell, born
1966 – Three seasons after acquiring him from the Cardinals for Lou Brock, the Cubs sent Ernie Broglio to the team’s PCL affiliate in Tacoma. Broglio never pitched in the big leagues again.
1951 – Rich Gossage, born
1951 – Boston Braves selected Barney Schultz off waivers from the Cubs
1950 – Gary Matthews, born
1944 – Cubs released Jimmie Foxx
1937 – Frank Demaree recorded eight hits as the Cubs swept a doubleheader over the Cardinals. The Cubs topped the Cardinals 13-12 in 14 innings in game one on a Billy Jurges’ bases loaded single. And took game two 9-7. The two games took six and a half hours to play at Wrigley Field.