The Cubs took care of business during the three-game series in Oakland. Joe Maddon’s team won all three games against the A’s. The Cubs have won seven in a row after completing the sweep and improved to a season-best 28 games over .500 with a 69-41 record.
Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks turned in excellent outings, the pitching staff allowed three runs in three games, the Cubs outscored the A’s 14-3 and completed its 10th series sweep of the season.
Sunday’s win, coupled with the Cardinals’ struggles in St. Louis against the Braves, and the Cubs increased their lead in the NL Central to 11 ½ games. The Cardinals begin a three-game series with the Reds on Monday night at Busch Stadium. The Cubs are off Monday and have two games with the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday. The long-time rivals kickoff the four-game series at Wrigley on Thursday.
Jorge Soler returned to the lineup Friday and had a big impact on the three games in Oakland. Soler launched a three-run homer in his first at-bat back from the DL, drove in runs in each of the three games, hit two home runs and a double in 12 at bats. Soler finished the series 4-for-12 with a double, two home runs, three runs scored and five RBI. Soler showed once again what he is capable of when he is focused.
The Cubs designated Joe Nathan for assignment in order to activate Soler from the DL. The Cubs also said good-bye to a pair of left-handers and one has already signed with another team.
Down on the farm, Ian Happ hit home runs and took over the top spot on a Cubs’ prospect list. Rob Zastryzny had a perfect outing. And another lefty in the system was named the Northwest League Player of the Month.
Here are all the headlines from the last three-plus days chock full of all the news, notes, recaps and video clips …
Cubs Released LHP Clayton Richard
The Cubs parted ways with lefty swingman Clayton Richard a week after designating him for assignment.
Richard helped the Cubs make the post-season a year ago but was unable to get on track this season.
Clayton Richard has since signed a Major League contract with the Padres. Richard, for now, will pitch out of the Padres bullpen.
Cubs Sign Outfielder Lane Adams to Minor League Contract
With just over a month to go in the minor league regular season, the Cubs signed outfielder Lane Adams to a contract and assigned him to Double-A Tennessee.
Mark Zagunis is likely out for the remainder of the season and Bijan Rademacher was bumped up to Iowa, signing Lane Adams helps the Cubs finish the year without having to promote any players they do not feel are ready for Double-A ball.
Ian Happ’s Longball Lifts Smokies to Extra Innings Win
Ian Happ tore up the Southern League when he was promoted from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee earlier in the year. The league adjusted and Happ cooled off rather quickly. Happ appears to be adjusting back, well that’s at least what the numbers say.
Ian Happ lifted the Smokies to an extra innings win with a solo home run.
Report includes video of Happ going yard.
Cubs Pitching Prospect Rob Zastryzny Making Strides with Triple-A Iowa
Rob Zastryzny was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft and three years later the lefty appears to be making strides on the mound. Zastryzny hasn’t progressed through the system like many thought he would when he was drafted. But as of late, Zastryzny is pitching well.
Zastryzny had a career day on the mound with five perfect innings. And the report includes video.
Cubs Defense Has Been Simply Spectacular
The Cubs had one heckuva homestand. And the defense was one of the reasons the Cubs won seven of the eight games.
This report includes lots of video of the Cubs making really good plays in the field.
Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/05/16
Tom recapped all of the action from the Cubs system at the end of the week.
If you missed any of the action, including excellent pitching performances from Trevor Clifton, Preston Morrison, Zach Hedges and Ryan Kellogg, then this report is for you.
Click on the link to get caught up on down on the farm.
The Daily CCO: Addison Russell Set to Play First Games in Oakland and Cubs News and Notes
The Cubs made the trip to Oakland on Wednesday following the sweep of the Marlins. For Addison Russell, he prepared to play his first games in Oakland after many thought he would be the A’s shortstop for at least a decade.
Ben Zobrist, Chris Coghlan and Jon Lester also returned to Oakland. Russell, however, is the one player A’s fans and media felt got away.
The Daily Report includes an update on Jorge Soler before he was activated, Kyle Hendricks, Ben Zobrist, and Scott Frazier.
Along with all the news, notes and links, the daily includes This Day in Cubs History.
Chapman Watch vs. Watch Chapman
Sue’s latest focused on the dilemma some Cubs’ fans faced after Theo Epstein and the front office traded for Aroldis Chapman.
Ian Happ Moves Into Top Spot in MLB Pipeline’s Cubs Prospect List
Ian Happ took over the top spot in MLB Pipeline’s Cubs prospect list once Willson Contreras lost his eligibility. Happ deserves to be ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the system, plus he’s had a really good first full year of pro ball.
Eloy Jimenez, Jeimer Candelario, Dylan Cease and Mark Zagunis round out the top five.
Click on the link to read the list of the top 30 young players in the system.
From the Wire: Cubs Activate Jorge Soler from 15-Day DL, Designate Joe Nathan for Assignment
The buzz started Thursday night that the Cubs could activate Jorge Soler from the DL … and the Cubs started him Friday night at DH in the opener with the A’s.
The move that not many saw coming … the Cubs designated Joe Nathan for assignment.
- Jorge Soler Returns to Cubs Lineup in Opener with the Athletics
- From the Wire: Cubs Activate Jorge Soler from 15-Day DL, Designate Joe Nathan for Assignment
Jorge Soler Smokes Three-Run Homer in First At-Bat Back from DL
Jorge Soler reminded all of his doubters just how good he is at hitting a baseball. In his first big league game in over two months, Soler cranked a three-run homer.
Click here to watch the video of Soler’s screamer to left.
Cubs Keep It Rolling Behind Lester In Oakland – Cubs 7, Athletics 2
Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler homered in the first inning. The Cubs scored three more runs in the third on knocks from Jason Heyward and Javier Baez.
Jon Lester pounded the strike zone and other that a small hiccup had a solid outing against his former team.
Recap includes video.
The Daily CCO: Fowler Continues to Fuel Cubs Offense and Other News
The Cubs are a different team when Dexter Fowler is in the lineup and getting on base, which he has about 40 percent of the time this season. Fowler is the engine in the Cubs machine … and the numbers back up what Joe Maddon always says to Fowler, “You go, we go.”
Maddon kinda explained why the Cubs let Joe Nathan go.
Oscar De La Cruz had an excellent outing for the South Bend Cubs. Dylan Cease was pretty good for Eugene, too.
The Padres signed Clayton Richard and the Cubs granted free agency to Brian Matusz.
The Daily Report includes all of the news, notes and link, plus the popular This Day in Cubs History.
Cubs Prospect Jose Paulino Named Northwest League Player of the Month for July
Lefty Jose Paulino dominated the Northwest League last month before the Cubs promoted him to Low-A South Bend. Minor League Baseball was paying attention to Paulino and on Friday named him the Player of the Month in the Northwest League.
Arrieta Brings A-Game, Cubs Shutout the Athletics – Cubs 4, Athletics 0
Ben Zobrist delivered a two-out, two-run single in the third inning. The Cubs added two runs in the sixth on an infield single from Addison Russell and a two-out double from Jorge Soler. The Cubs used productive outs to their advantage to setup all four runs.
Jake Arrieta was really sharp Saturday. The results against a struggling A’s team were good but his command and mechanics for a majority of the eight innings were excellent.
Javy’s Highlights from the Week That Was
Javier Baez seemingly makes a play once a game to add to his highlight-reel for the season. Baez had a ridiculous week in the field … and this report has the video to prove it.
Click here for video.
The Daily CCO: Ben Zobrist, The Return of Zorilla and Other Cubs News and Notes
Ben Zobrist struggled at the plate for a couple of months after being denied the NL Player of the Month Award for May. Zobrist is hitting again, which is great news for the Cubs and the inconsistent offense.
The Daily Report includes updates on Tommy La Stella and Trevor Cahill.
The Cubs shifted the rotation and will have John Lackey pitch the opener Tuesday against the Angels.
Ryan Williams appears to be done for the season after what was believed to be a minor injury turned into him losing all but two months of the year.
Report also includes all of the news, notes, links and This Day in Cubs History.
Hendricks Keeps the A’s in a Haze – Cubs 3, Athletics 1
Kyle Hendricks allowed just three hits, two infield singles and a home run in the eighth inning. Hendricks set down 17 in a row from the second inning until one out in the eighth and the one mistake he made in what was another stellar outing left the yard.
Hendricks dominated again and the offense did just enough for the Cubs to complete the three-game sweep in Oakland.
Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler homered. Anthony Rizzo doubled in Dexter Fowler for the Cubs’ third run.