As Jake Arrieta prepares to face the Mets in his 17th start of the season, it was three years ago today that the Cubs made one of the best trades in franchise history. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer acquired RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop and cash from the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Jake Arrieta has not only turned his career around in three short years he’s become one of the best pitchers in the game. Arrieta put together a second half like no one in the game has ever seen and his historic performance led to the NL Cy Young Award.
Over four seasons with the Cubs, Arrieta is 48-15 in 83 starts with a 2.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 2.65 FIP. Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters, with the first being one of the most dominant single-game performances in the history of baseball.
Even with his recent struggles, Arrieta is 12-2 in 16 starts with a 2.10 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 2.76 FIP. Arrieta has allowed 26 runs, 24 earned runs, on 65 hits with 40 walks and 111 strikeouts in 103 innings. Those numbers reinforce how good he’s been while not pitching to his or the team’s expectations.
Chris Bosio thinks the Cubs identified and corrected what has led to Arrieta not being as effective of late. Bosio pointed to a mechanical and mental approach, and both of “those things are fixable.” The Cubs are not worried about Arrieta and do not believe anything is wrong with him physically. Bosio expects Arrieta to be back on track for Saturday’s start against the Mets.
Jake Arrieta is in the mix to start the All-Star Game with Clayton Kershaw no longer available. Terry Collins told the Cubs’ beat writers that Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner (Giants), Johnny Cueto (Giants) and Noah Syndergaard (Mets) are legitimate names to be the National League starting pitcher.
As for the Home Run Derby, it sounds like the idea of a Pitchers Home Run Derby or pitchers participating in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game will remain just that, an idea, and revisited next year.
Theo Epstein was asked about a pitchers only Home Run Derby. Epstein told ESPN Chicago, “That’s a definitely a bridge we’d cross when we come to it. I’m thrilled not to answer that question for you.” And Bruce Bochy seemed to quiet the talk even further before a game against the A’s in which he forfeited the DH in order to let Madison Bumgarner hit.
The Cubs have come a long way in three years. It’s been an incredibly fun season, one that has not even hit the midway point for the Cubs yet. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds and if the deal the front office made three years ago has any more significance added to it in the fall.
Anyone that did not understand what Dexter Fowler means to this team definitely should after the last two weeks.
Dexter Fowler landed on the DL with right hamstring discomfort on June 20 (retroactive to June 19) and the Cubs are 5-8 in the 13 games since. No reason to look at OBP or OPS or fWAR. The only stat that matters is a team’s win-loss record, and the Cubs have not won that many games since Fowler hurt his right hamstring running to first base.
The Cubs said at the time Fowler did not suffer a significant injury, but he would not be rushed back. The Cubs do not want the right hamstring injury to linger.
Fowler is eligible to come off the DL on Monday. Joe Maddon said Friday that Fowler will not be ready by Monday. And he doesn’t believe Fowler will be ready to return from the DL on Tuesday or Wednesday either.
According to multiple reports, Fowler did not suffer a setback. The Sun-Times reported Fowler is not recovering as quickly as the Cubs thought he would. Fowler will likely need a rehab stint before he’s activated. And it might be after the break before he returns from the disabled list.
The Cubs miss Dexter Fowler (12-13 last 25 games, 5-10 against winning teams). As Fowler goes, the Cubs go … and that’s been proven over the last two weeks.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella went 0-for-4 on Friday in Iowa’s 3-0 loss to Round Rock. La Stella started at second, batted second and played the entire game.
Earlier in the week it was reported La Stella could be activated from the DL before the series opener with the Mets. Now it sounds like the Cubs could wait until the team returns from the road trip before activating La Stella.
La Stella was to be re-evaluated after Friday’s game. Joe Maddon said La Stella could be activated from the DL while the Cubs are in New York but he did not know for sure if he would be or not.
The Cubs and Mets have a night game (6:15pm CDT) on Saturday and an early start Sunday (12:10pm CDT) in the finale of the series and the road trip.
Adam Warren will start either Tuesday or Wednesday’s game at Wrigley against the Reds. The Cubs have not decided which game Warren will make his first start of the season.
It’s still possible Warren could also start a game after the break. The Cubs have not decided (at least not announced) how they will lineup rotation after the break.
Tim Federowicz cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa last Monday. Reports at the time indicated he would accept the assignment and was on his way to Iowa. A mid-week report from Carrie Muskat indicated Federowicz had not decided whether to report to Iowa or not.
Friday was a bad game, one the Cubs will turn the page from by first Saturday night. The Cubs could use for Jake Arrieta to shut the Mets down and for Bartolo Colon to pitch the way he should be at this point of his career.
According to Comcast SportsNet, Friday was the sixth time in Cubs’ history that a pitcher gave up five home runs in a single game.
Jason Hammel had the right perspective after the game. Hammel told the beat writers, “Tomorrow’s a new day, and this game always has a way of basically humoring you and also humbling you at the same time. I’m not even going to sweat it. Obviously, not happy that we lost. But I’m not going to let it beat me up.”
“Over the course of 162 games, you’re going to have your ups and downs,” Hammel said. “You try to make those few and far between, but they’re going to happen. “As long as you don’t take it with you for the next day, it’s not going to affect us at all.”
This is only a series in now early July. The Cubs are not happy but are not reading more into the recent struggles than what they are.
“I’m very happy with where we’re at,” Joe Maddon said after the game. “We talked about getting off to a good start so that we can absorb some tough moments. The tough moment for us right now is playing .500. Not bad.”
Here are the post-game reports and recap from Friday …
- CCO – Hammel Hammered, Mets Rain Over Cubs Continues
- Comcast SportsNet – Mets hammer Jason Hammel, picking up where they left off against Cubs last October
- The Sun-Times – Cubs struggle vs. NL big boys, drop 10th of 15 vs. winning teams
- ESPN Chicago – No heartbreak for Cubs in New York this time as Jason Hammel was just plain bad
- The Tribune – Joe Maddon believes young Cubs can learn – some – from losing
- Comcast SportsNet – With lineup trending in wrong directions, Cubs seeing issues Mets exposed in NLCS
News, Notes and Rumors
• Ben Badler reported Friday that Lazarito Armenteros is expected to sign with the Oakland A’s when the new International signing period begins Saturday (July 2). According to Badler, Armenteros will receive around $3 million. The Cubs were one of several teams (more than half of baseball) that were heavily connected to Armenteros in the off-season.
• Kris Bryant remains grounded in second MLB season according to John Perrotto.
• Willson Contreras is showing why he belongs as big part of Cubs’ plans according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Carrie Muskat also reported Willson Contreras has shown he belongs in the big leagues. Contreras has impressed Joe Maddon.
• The Sun-Times explained why Kyle Schwarber won’t be traded and what it means for the Cubs’ bullpen.
• Tyler Kepner reported Joe Maddon’s zaniness keeps the game fun for his Cubs.
• ESPN posted its picks for the National League All-Star team … half of ESPN’s six experts think Anthony Rizzo should start at first base, all six have Nolan Arenado at third base and three believe Jake Arrieta should start the game. Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, Hector Rondon and Jon Lester received nods as backups.
• ESPN asked if anyone can catch the six division leaders.
• Cubs’ first base coach Brandon Hyde answered questions from Twitter for ESPN Chicago.
• According to Buster Olney, the Braves will trade RHP Julio Teheran if they get the right offer. The Braves are looking for a package of players for Teheran better than the one they received for Shelby Miller.
And last, but not least … Pedro Strop and his new (awesome) T-shirt
Strop, I say!! pic.twitter.com/oDYTj1ZF1S
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) July 1, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Jonathan Sanchez
2013 – Cubs traded Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and cash.
2013 – Cubs traded Carlos Marmol and cash to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier.
2009 – Cubs acquired Jeff Baker from the Rockies for Al Alburquerque
2009 – Derrek Lee drove in a career-high seven runs with a grand slam and a three-run homer in a 9-5 win over the Brewers.
2004 – Cubs traded Jimmy Anderson to the Red Sox for Andy Shipman
2003 – Matt Clement combined with three relievers on a one-hit shutout over the Phillies. The Cubs beat the Phillies 1-0 on a Sammy Sosa homer leading off the ninth inning against Turk Wendell. David Bell collected the Phillies only hit.
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Robinson Chirinos
1993 – Sammy Sosa collected six hits, one short of the NL record, in an 11-8 victory over the Rockies
1984 – Cubs traded Dickie Noles to the Rangers for players to be named later. The Cubs received Tim Henry and Jorge Gomez from the Rangers on Dec. 11, 1984 to complete the trade.
1981 – Angel Pagan, born
1980 – Jermaine Van Buren, born
1972 – The Cubs completed a triple play in the seventh inning at Three Rivers Stadium … Ron Santo to Glenn Beckert to Jim Hickman at first base.
1969 – So Taguchi, born
1967 – After the Cubs 4-1 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field, many of the 40,464 fans at Wrigley stayed in the ballpark to wait for the final score of the Cardinals and Mets game. When the final score was posted with the Mets beating the Cardinals, the Cubs moved into a first place and the fans at Wrigley refused to leave until the flags were changed at the top of the scoreboard that showed the Cubs were a half game in front of the Cardinals. Ferguson Jenkins pitched the Cubs to their 17 win in 19 games at the time.
1957 – Lee Walls hit for the cycle, but the Cubs lost to the Reds 8-6 in 10 innings after Wally Post his a grand slam in the 10th inning at Wrigley Field
1950 – Andy Pafko drove in five runs with a double, a triple and a home run. Bill Serena hit a three-run homer and Hank Edwards collected four hits and three RBI as the Cubs beat the Reds 16-0 at Crosley Field.
1949 – Cubs selected Mickey Owen off waivers from the Brooklyn Dodgers
1937 – Gabby Harnett hit the 200th homer of his Cubs career, a two-run shot off the Pirates’ Red Lucas in the eighth innings at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 8-7 on Augie Galen’s two-run homer in the ninth inning.
1891 – The Chicago National League Ballclub scored 11 runs in the third inning on the way to a 20-5 victory over Cleveland at West Side Park.