Anthony Rizzo wrapped up what was an excellent ‘first half’ of the season with back-to-back four hit games. Rizzo was 4-for-5 with two doubles and a triple, coming within inches of hitting for a cycle on Saturday. And Sunday, Rizzo had hits in each of his first four plate appearances. Rizzo went 4-for-5 with two doubles.
Rizzo went to the break batting .400/.478/.700 with a 1.178 OPS. Rizzo was 16-for-40 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. And that 10-game stretch followed 25 games in June in which he batted .378/.467/.744 with nine doubles and eight home runs for a 1.212 OPS.
On June 1 Rizzo was batting .238 and almost finished with a .300 average over the ‘first half’ of the season. In the 35 games leading into the break, Rizzo batted .385/.471/.731 with 13 doubles, a triple and 10 home runs for a 1.202 OPS.
In 85 games this season, Anthony Rizzo has hit .299/.416/.591 with 23 doubles, two triples and 21 home runs for a 1.006 OPS. Rizzo has 63 RBI and has scored 54 runs.
Joe Maddon announced Sunday the Cubs plans for the rotation out of the All-Star break. The Cubs will begin the ‘second half’ with a five-man rotation and Adam Warren in the bullpen.
The Cubs open a six-game homestand Friday (July 15) with the first of three against the Rangers (July 15-17). The Mets make their annual regular season trip to Wrigley next week for a three-game series (July 18-20). The Cubs have an off day Thursday, July 21 before a five-game road trip to Milwaukee (July 22-24) and the South Side for two against the White Sox (July 25-26).
Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face his former organization in the first game back on Friday.
The Cubs will have Kyle Hendricks (Friday), Jason Hammel (Saturday) and John Lackey (Sunday) start the three games against the Rangers.
Jake Arrieta (Monday), Jon Lester (Tuesday) and Kyle Hendricks (Wednesday) are scheduled to start Mets’ series.
According to the official transactions page on Cubs.com, Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Iowa following Sunday’s game. The Cubs recalled Kawasaki on Saturday and sent Jeimer Candelario back to Iowa. The Cubs have not announced the move with an official release or a corresponding roster move.
Kawasaki had one at bat and finished Saturday’s game at second base.
The Cubs will obviously announce at least one roster move before the season resumes on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) at Wrigley.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Joe Nathan could be an x-factor for the Cubs in the second half. Nathan has pitched well out of Double-A Tennessee’s bullpen. Nathan is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on July 16. Joe Maddon told the beat writers Sunday that Nathan is “getting close.”
• The Plan comes together according to Comcast SportsNet as Cubs begin their All-Star Game takeover.
• The Cubs dropped to fourth in Buster Olney’s weekly power rankings. Buster Olney’s Top 10: Giants, Indians, Nationals, Cubs, Rangers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Dodgers, Pirates
• During the first 67 games of the season, the Cubs starting pitchers allowed 30 home runs. Over the final 21 games leading into the break, the Cubs starting staff allowed 30 home runs.
• The Tribune reported after Cubs played 24 games in 24 days without a day off, Ben Zobrist would like to see a new rule.
• Comcast SportsNet reported in midst of rough stretch, Cubs went into the All-Star break with a much-needed win versus the Pirates.
• ESPN Chicago told the Cubs fans to take a breath, it’s only the All-Star break.
• The Cubs first-half finale had a good outcome according to ESPN Chicago.
• The Tribune reported the Cubs relieved to snap five-game losing streak before All-Star break.
• According to the Tribune, after a rough stretch ends with a win, the Cubs can relax and prepare to rebound in second half.
• Based on information Buster Olney received from rival evaluators, the Nationals, Giants and Rangers “are poised to be the most aggressive in pursuit of late inning relief help.”
• The White Sox’s Jose Quintana was added to the AL All-Star Roster on Sunday, replacing the Indians’ Danny Salazar. With Quintana becoming the second White Sox’s All-Star, 79 players have been named All-Stars this year, three more than a year ago and five less than the record of 84 players set in 2011.
• Jim Bowden posted a list of the Futures Game players who could be traded by the deadline … Eloy Jimenez was not included in Bowden’s report.
• The Brewers traded RHP Jaye Chapman to the Tampa Bay Rays for a PTBNL or cash. Chapman made his Major League debut with the Cubs back in 2012 after the front office acquired him in the Arodys Vizcaino deal with the Braves that sent Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to Atlanta. Chapman was 6-1 in 31 combined relief appearances between the Double- and Triple-A levels in the Brewers system with a 3.78 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this season.
• The Cubs catchers posted messages on Twitter following Sunday’s win. Miguel Montero: No Pain No Gain #Cubs#WeAreWarriors Willson Contreras: Good battle back to get the W. I do believe so MUCH in my Team. Now is time to get some rest and be back like we are ‘WARRIORS’
• Anthony Rizzo posted a photo of the seven Cubs’ All-Stars
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) July 10, 2016
And last, but not least, before Sunday’s game and the much-needed 6-5 win over the Pirates, Joe Maddon gave the quote of the day, “We have more than stubbed our toe. We have probably sprained it. I believe we will come out of it on the other side better for it.”
This Day in Cubstory
2003 – Mark Prior collided with the Braves’ Marcus Giles in the second inning. Prior pitched six innings but would not pitch again until August 5.
1992 – Cubs acquired Steve Buechele from the Pirates for Danny Jackson
1987 – Cubs traded Gary Matthews to the Mariners for a PTBNL. The Cubs received David Hartnett from Seattle on July 12 to complete the deal
1978 – The Cubs’ Bruce Sutter retired all five batters he faced, including striking out AL home run leader Jim Rice, and picked up the victory in the NL’s 7-3 win over the AL in San Diego.
1972 – Billy Williams went 8-for-8 in a doubleheader split with the Astros. Williams went 3-for-5 and 4-for-5 the next two games as part of a 22-for-38 run.
1969 – Ferguson Jenkins lost 1-0 to the Mets, his fourth 1-0 loss of the season.
1960 – Ernie Banks doubled and homered while driving in two runs in the NL’s 5-3 victory over the AL in the season’s first All-Star Game at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium
1944 – Phil Cavarretta set an All-Star Game record by reaching base five consecutive times. The Cubs first baseman singled, tripled and walked three times in the NL’s 7-4 victory over the AL.
1924 – Cubs first baseman Lee Cotter tied a Major League record for total chances when he made 21 putouts and one assist in a game against Brooklyn.