It was both a good and a not-so-good weekend for Joe Maddon’s team. The Cubs won the first two games of the series with the Cardinals and should have won the last two. The Cubs took the opener on a walk-off walk late Thursday in extra innings. Friday was a blowout as the offense scored 13 runs on a big day from Matt Szczur and five home runs behind Jake Arrieta.
The Cubs’ bullpen imploded in the last two games of the series. The Cubs gave up a combined 11 runs in the eighth inning on Saturday and Sunday. While the Cardinals did not quit, the Cubs lost the two games.
The Cubs split the series with the Cardinals and will spend Monday’s off day with the same 12-game lead they had before the series started. What makes the two losses tough to take, the Cubs had leads late in both games and allowed the Cardinals to leave Chicago with two in the win column.
Joe Maddon’s team is 73-43, 30 games over .500 and owners of the best record in baseball.
With the bullpen issues mounting and Pedro Strop out four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday to repair a torn meniscus, the Cubs were connected heavily to Jonathan Papelbon. The Nationals released Papelbon on Saturday and he was almost immediately linked to the Cubs.
Here are the headlines from the last three-plus days to get you caught up with all of the news, rumors and home run replays …
Cubs Walk-Off Walk Downs Cardinals in Extra Innings – Cubs 4, Cardinals 3
The opener of the four-game series with the Cardinals went the Cubs way on Thursday night. Anthony Rizzo got the call and worked a bases loaded walk in the 11th inning and the Cubs took game one of Round Four against the Redbirds.
Jon Lester was very good in the opener and made only one mistake on the night. The Cubs tied the game on a Chris Coghlan single and took the lead on a David Ross bunt. But a solo homer by Randal Grichuk off Travis Wood tied the game.
The Cubs eventually won a game and pushed the Cardinals further out of the top spot in the NL Central.
Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/12/16
Tom recapped all of the action at the end of the week from down on the farm. Several of the Cubs’ pitching prospects are turning in good performances as the minor league season winds down.
Click on the link to get up to date with all of the news from the Cubs’ system.
The Daily CCO: Walk-Offs, Bullpen and Cubs News and Notes
The Cubs posted their third walk-off win since the end of July, and fourth of the season, in the opener with the Cardinals. The Cubs won games on a pinch-hit safety squeeze bunt by Jon Lester, a wild pitch and a walk.
The Daily Report includes updates on Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Mike Montgomery and Joe Nathan.
The Cubs received excellent performances from Oscar De La Cruz and Trevor Clifton down on the farm.
Video, all of the news, notes and links, along with This Day in Cubs History are part of Friday’s daily.
Szczur Fuels the Offense, Cubs Rock the Longballs, With 11th in a Row – Cubs 13, Cardinals 2
Matt Szczur had an incredible day subbing for Dexter Fowler and hitting at the top of the lineup. Szczur did more than just spark the lineup. Szczur scored two of the Cubs’ first three runs and then played longball against one-time Cubs’ starter Jerome Williams. Szczur launched two of the Cubs’ five home runs on the afternoon.
Four different Cubs went yard, Matt Szczur, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Willson Contreras, and the Cubs cruised to their 11th straight win.
Jake Arrieta was really sharp and his performance was lost in the 13 runs the offense put on the board against Adam Wainwright and Jerome Williams.
Cubs Connect for Five Dingers in Latest Homer Party
If you missed any of the five home runs the Cubs launched on Friday afternoon, this report is for you. Click on the link for video of all five of the dingers the Cubs hit off Cardinals’ pitchers.
Friday was the fourth time on the season the Cubs went yard five times in the same game … it was the first time in 13 years the Cubs smacked five homers off Cardinals pitching in the same game.
The Daily CCO: Jorge Soler is Punishing Baseballs Again and Other Cubs News and Notes
Jorge Soler has picked up offensively where he was in early June before landing on the DL. Soler is hitting the ball hard, for extra bases and out of the park. Soler went yard three times in a week and actually led the Cubs in home runs during the 11-game winning streak.
Trevor Cahill and Mike Montgomery are set to pitch in game one of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Brian Matusz returned to Iowa and made his first start since re-signing with the organization.
The Daily Report includes all of the news, notes, links and This Day in Cubs History.
Can’t Win ‘Em All – Cardinals 8, Cubs 4
Kyle Hendricks allowed two runs in seven innings. Addison Russell launched a two-run homer in the second inning that gave the Cubs an early lead. But the bullpen imploded in the eighth inning. Carl Edwards Jr. and Joe Smith gave the Cardinals six runs on two hits. And once again, Cubs’ pitching allowed a mediocre player deliver a big hit.
The Cubs scored a pair of run in the ninth. But the deficit was too much to overcome and the Cubs 11-game winning streak came to an end with the team’s first loss in two weeks.
Jonathan Papelbon Rumors
The Nationals released Jonathan Papelbon on Saturday, right around the time Addison Russell smacked a two-run homer in the second inning at Wrigley.
Papelbon was almost immediately linked to the Cubs due to the history with the Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the front office. And then there is Jon Lester, who pushed for the Cubs to trade for Papelbon a year ago.
Multiple reports and rumors surfaced quickly and two updates were posted on Sunday. Click on the links for the info on the Cubs interest in Jonathan Papelbon.
- Nationals Release Jonathan Papelbon, Cubs Could Be on Short List of Interested Teams
- Cubs Reportedly One of the Teams Interested in Signing Jonathan Papelbon
Addison Russell Hits 14th Homer, Sets New Career-High
Addison Russell has made strides offensively this season. And Saturday, he set a new-career high in homers for a single season. In his first full year in the majors, Russell has already gone yard 14 times. Russell is on pace for 20 home runs and 100 RBI while providing Gold Glove defense for the best team in baseball … and oh yeah, he’s only 22 years old.
Report includes video to Russell’s longball.
The Daily CCO: Cubs Continue to Look for Left-Handed Bat, Relievers and Other Cubs News and Notes
The Cubs were unable to work out a deal with the A’s (Josh Reddick) or the Reds (Jay Bruce) before the non-waiver trade deadline. Now the front office will try to fill the team’s need for a left-handed hitting outfielder during before the waiver deadline on Aug. 31. It’s going to be hard for the front office to add a player that can help during the month in which every contender will block a player from getting to the Cubs.
The Daily Report includes updates on Hector Rondon, the bullpen and Tommy La Stella.
Rob Zastryzny’s scoreless streak came to an end but he set a new-career high for strikeouts.
Kyle Schwarber, Jeimer Candelario, all of the news, links and This Day in Cubs History are part of Sunday’s Cubs news and notes.
Cubs Bullpen Serves Up Another Los, Settle for Split with Cardinals – Cardinals 6, Cubs 4
John Lackey put the Cubs in position to win Sunday’s finale with the Cardinals before he left the game with shoulder stiffness. Lackey allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings. And the Cubs took a 3-1 lead into the eighth.
Hector Rondon was quite rusty after not appearing in a game since Aug. 2. Three batters into the eighth inning, the Cardinals were given the lead on a three-run homer by Stephen Piscotty. The Cardinals scored five runs in the eighth inning.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant supplied the offense but could not outhit mistakes made in the eighth inning.
The Cubs split the four-game series with the Cardinals and will spend Monday’s off day 12 games ahead of the Redbirds in the division.