The Cubs had a good weekend and started the ‘second half’ of the season with a series win over the Rangers. The Cubs welcome the Mets to Wrigley for a three-game series to wrap up the homestand. Jon Lester faces Steven Matz in the opener on Monday night (6:05pm CDT).
Joe Torre sent out a memo Friday to all 30 teams to stop arguing balls and strikes.
According to the report from ESPN, Torre’s memo was sent to managers, general managers and assistant general managers and said, “This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately.”
Managers are using replay and information they are receiving in-game due to the technology that is now available to argue their cases that an umpire is not calling a good game behind the plate.
ESPN reported Torre’s memo explained, “Although disagreements over ball and strike calls are natural, the prevalence of manager ejections simply cannot continue. This conduct no only delays the game, but it also has the propensity to undermine the integrity of the umpires on the field.”
Joe Maddon said Sunday that he has never argued with an umpire based on information from replay. Maddon said he reacts to what he sees.
Joe Torre said that “any manager or coach ejected for arguing balls and strikes hereafter will be disciplined, including at least a fine.”
Joe Nathan pitched Sunday as planned and completed a scoreless inning in a game the I-Cubs eventually lost 6-2.
Sunday was the first time Nathan has pitched on back-to-back days since he started his rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee. And Sunday was Nathan’s third appearance in four games for the I-Cubs.
Nathan faced five batters and made 20 pitches, 11 for strikes. Nathan walked one, struck out one and hit a batter. Randy Wehofer described the hit-by-pitch as more of a “graze” than Nathan just missing badly and plunking the batter.
Joe Nathan was eligible to come off the DL last Saturday and is expected to be added to the mix in the Cubs’ pen this week.
Brian Matusz started for Iowa on Sunday and completed five innings against the Las Vegas 51s. Matusz allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Matusz made 75 pitches, 51 for strikes, and both the runs he allowed came on one swing of the bat, a two-run homer by Kevin Plawecki in the second inning. Matusz walked Travis Taijeron with one out before serving up the homer to Plawecki.
Matusz allowed just three singles over three innings after the Plawecki two-run homer in the second inning.
Brian Matusz had a good outing Sunday in what was his longest start in over four years. It will be interesting to see how, and where, he pitches in five days.
It’s an incredibly small sample size. But Addison Russell batted fifth again Sunday, collected another hit (1-for-3) and in six games batting fifth, Russell is 9-for-25 with a double and three home runs. That is a .360/.360/.760 slash line for a 1.120 OPS.
If Joe Maddon sticks to what he’s been doing with his lineup, Russell should hit fifth again Monday with the lefty Steven Matz on the hill. Maddon has been hitting Russell in the five-hole when the Cubs face southpaws.
Russell explained to Comcast SportsNet why he’s thriving in the five-hole. Russell thinks he gets better pitches to hit in the fifth spot in the lineup. Plus, he gets to bat with runners on base.
With runners on base this season, Russell has a .266/.350/.468 slash line with a .818 OPS. And in every situation with runners on base, Russell has an OPS of above .800. With the bases empty, Russell’s OPS this season is .635.
Joe Maddon does not have a set lineup but it would seem Addison Russell batting in the five-hole would be worth taking a longer look at for a team with an inconsistent offense.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler tested their hamstrings by running on the field before Sunday’s game. Fowler and Soler should begin rehab assignments this week.
• Jake Arrieta dismisses critics and is ready to move forward according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Buster Olney bumped the Cubs up a couple of spots in his weekly top 10: Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Orioles, Indians, Red Sox, Rangers, Blue Jays, Dodgers and Cardinals.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs couldn’t solve Cole Hamels again and failed to close out sweep of Rangers. The Cubs are still encouraged after dropping series finale to Rangers according to ESPN Chicago.
• Jesse Rogers posted answers to questions from Twitter on ESPN Chicago.
• According to Bill Shaikin, the Cubs could have a grand fall, one way or another.
• Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington regrets the brutally honest comments he made about Jon Niese.
• The Indians traded LHP Ross Detwiler to the Oakland A’s for cash considerations. The A’s optioned Detwiler to Triple-A Nashville after the trade was official.
• Rich Hill made just five pitches Sunday before the blister that pushed his start back a couple of days popped. All of the scouts on hand to see Hill face the Blue Jays were not able to see him get through one batter. Hill said after the game he will need at least three or four days to give the blister a chance to heal. And he’s not sure when he will make his next start.
• According to Chris Cotillo, the Rangers are talking to the Rays about a starting pitcher and have not shown a preference for Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore or Drew Smyly. The Rangers are checking on all available pitching according to Ken Rosenthal.
• The Rays have told teams Chris Archer is not available unless somebody totally overwhelms them according to Buster Olney.
• The Dodgers and Marlins have reached out to the Diamondbacks about Shelby Miller.
• The Mets made two roster moves after Sunday’s game that will have an impact on the series with the Cubs. Michael Conforto was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets optioned OF Brandon Nimmo to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Conforto.
• And speaking of the wonderful Mets, Yoenis Cespedes said Sunday he would prefer to play left field the rest of the season.
— MLB (@MLB) July 18, 2016
Earning those fire emojis. ????????????https://t.co/MQNk1t47kZ
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 17, 2016
And last, but not least, Roger Clemens heads roster of MLB alums to play together in NBC World Series,
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Yorvit Torrealba
2013 – Cubs released Esmailin Caridad
2005 – Cubs traded Jason Dubois to the Indians for Jody Gerut
1979 – For the second straight year, Cubs fireman Bruce Sutter was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game when the NL topped the AL 7-6 in Seattle. Sutter struck out three batters.
1957 – Ernie Banks and Chuck Tanner both hit inside-the-park home runs at Forbes Field as the Cubs beat the Pirates 6-5.
1956 – Razor Shines, born
1916 – With the game tied 4-4 in the tenth, umpire Bill ‘Lord’ Byron forfeited a game to Brooklyn when Hippo Vaughn, as a protest to alleged sign stealing by baserunners, refused to pitch.
1912 – Gavvy Cravath stole home in the 11th inning as the Phillies beat the Cubs 9-8 in the first of two in Chicago. The Cubs won the second game 4-2 on back-to-back home runs by Johnny Evers and Vic Saier
1910 – Cubs purchased Vic Saier from Lansing for $1,500
This Day In Baseball History
1927 – Ty Cobb became the first player to collect 4,000 hits in the Majors
1921 – Babe Ruth became the All-Time Home Run leader when he launched the 139th homer of his career. A monster shot that reportedly traveled over 500 feet. Ruth passed Roger Connor, the previous record holder with his 36th dinger of the season. Connor hit 138 longballs over his 18-year career in the National League