Ben Zobrist delivered the Cubs first clutch hit in the 4-0 victory over the A’s, a two-out single to center that plated Willson Contreras and Dexter Fowler. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the third and Jake Arrieta took care of the rest.
The Cubs improved to 68-41 on the season and coupled with the Cardinals loss to the Braves, Joe Maddon’s team begins play Sunday with a 10 1/2 game lead in the division.
Ben Zobrist went 2-for-5 with two RBI and in the two games back in Oakland he is 3-for-9 with a double, a run scored and two RBI.
After a bad stretch in June and July following an incredible May in which he should have been named the NL Player of the Month, Zobrist appears to be back on track. Zobrist limped out of the break with no hits in his first 18 at bats.
Zobrist has hit safely in eight of his last nine games and he’s reached base with either a hit or a walk in nine of his last 10 games.
In the last 15 games, Ben Zobrist is 17-for-56 with four doubles, a triple, seven walks and only four strikeouts. That’s a .304/.391/.411 slash line for a .802 OPS. Over the last week, Zobrist is 10-for-27 in seven games with two doubles, a triple, three walks and three strikeouts (.370/.433/.519) for a .952 OPS.
Tommy La Stella
Still nothing official from the Cubs on Tommy La Stella as Cubs’ fans continue to play ‘Where’s Tommy?’
The Des Moines Register asked Marty Pevey for an update on La Stella and he did not have one. La Stella still hasn’t reported to Iowa. La Stella was optioned to Iowa on July 29.
Pevey did tell the Des Moines Register, “As far as I know, he’s got some family business to take care of in New Jersey.” Pevey did not provide any other details.
The Cubs shifted the rotation and pushed Jason Hammel back a day.
John Lackey will move up a day and start Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT) against the Angels. Jason Hammel will come off the bereavement list on Wednesday and start the finale of the two-game series with the Angels.
The Angels have Jered Weaver (Tuesday) and Ricky Nolasco (Wednesday) scheduled for the two games against the Cubs.
Moving Lackey up a day will put him in line to start the finale against the Cardinals.
Unless changes are made, the Cubs will have Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey on the hill for the four games with the Cardinals at Wrigley (Aug. 11-14).
Trevor Cahill made his fifth rehab start for the I-Cubs on Saturday night. From all indications, Cahill will be activated from the DL and start one of the games of the day-night doubleheader with the Brewers on Aug. 16 at Wrigley.
Cahill pitched into the fourth inning Saturday. Pierce Johnson replaced Cahill on the mound with one out in the fourth. Iowa beat New Orleans 6-1.
Cahill gave up four hits Saturday, but no runs, and had two strikeouts with two walks on 68 pitches, 36 for strikes, in 3 1/3 innings.
Trevor Cahill is 0-2 in five starts with a 3.57 ERA and 1.92 WHIP. Cahill has allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 23 hits with 11 walks and 21 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
Ryan Williams was the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season. Williams had an excellent year, first in South Bend’s rotation then with Double-A Tennessee. Williams earned a non-roster invite to Spring Training and was rather impressive in big league camp.
After a rough I-Cubs debut, Williams appeared to settle in. Williams was 4-1 in nine starts with a 3.27 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. In the hitter-friendly PCL, Williams allowed 18 runs, 16 earned, on 43 hits with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 44 innings.
Williams was placed on the DL on May 20 with what was reported as a minor shoulder injury. Reports indicated Williams was not expected to miss any significant amount of time.
Ryan Williams began the season with a real possibility of making his big league debut this year. Williams is the closest pitching prospect to the majors. Williams is at the top of a rather long list of Cubs’ pitching prospects that have dealt with injuries this season.
News and Notes
• Slump? What slump? It’s as if it never happened for the Cubs according to ESPN Chicago. The Cubs are 15-6 over the last 21 games replacing the 6-15 stretch in the previous 21 games. The Cubs are back to 27 games over .500, equaling the high-water mark on the season set on June 19 when the Cubs were 47-20.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Jake Arrieta dominates and leads Cubs to sixth straight win. ESPN reported on how the Cubs won Saturday. The Tribune reported the Cubs’ second wind evident as they extended winning streak to six games. Jake Arrieta is ‘almost’ back to Cy Young form according to the Sun-Times.
• Over his last 42 starts, Jake Arrieta has a 1.71 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed 173 hits and 77 walks while striking out 290 batters and giving up 10 home runs. Arrieta has not allowed a run in 17 of the 42 starts.
• Addison Russell is showing the A’s the cost of going ‘all-in’ at the deadline according to the Sun-Times.
• Willson Contreras could play a bigger role in games down the stretch according to the Sun-Times. And the Cubs are expecting more catching opportunities for Willson Contreras according to the Tribune.
• According to the Tribune, the recent home run drought is of little concern to Kris Bryant.
• The Cubs 2017 schedule will not be released until the fall. Mark Gonzales has learned the Yankees will play at Wrigley Field in May (May 5-7) and the Cubs travel to Baltimore in July (July 14-16).
• The Pirates traded flamethrower RHP Arquimedes Caminero to the Mariners for a PTBNL. The move cost former Cubs’ reliever Blake Parker his spot on Seattle’s roster. Parker was designed for assignment.
• Speaking of former Cubs’ farmhands and relievers, the Marlins acquired LHP Hunter Cervenka from the Braves.
And last, but not least, Cubs’ starting pitchers have a 2.56 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 21 games since the All-Star break, a 2.20 ERA minus the start made by Brian Matusz. As a staff, the Cubs have a 2.38 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in the last 21 games (15-6). The Cubs lead baseball in ERA, WHIP and batting average (.209) against while allowing the fewest hits (142) in the ‘second half.’
This Day in Cubstory
2009 – Mets purchased Jason Dubois from the Cubs
2008 – Cubs traded Scott Eyre to the Phillies for Brian Schlitter
2005 – Victor beat Carlos in the ‘Battle of the Zambranos’ at Shea Stadium. The Mets topped the Cubs 6-1.
2004 – Greg Maddux won the 300th game of his career. Maddux and the Cubs topped the Giants 8-4 and became the 22nd pitcher in MLB history to win 300 career games.
2001 – Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael from Wrigley Field. McMichael disputed a call made in the previous half inning and said he would speak to the umpire about the call before he sang ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’ Hernandez had McMichael removed from the old ballyard
1990 – Tony Zych, born
1984 – Cubs swept a doubleheader against the Mets at Wrigley Field. Rick Sutcliffe beat Ron Darling in the opener 8-6 behind a three-run homer by Keith Moreland and a two-run homer from Ron Cey. Cubs won game two 8-4 behind Tim Stoddard and Lee Smith’s 25th save of the season.
1967 – Angels purchased Curt Simmons from the Cubs
1921 – Cubs replaced manager Johnny Evers with Bill Killefer
1911 – Joe Tinker was one of the few players that hit Christy Mathewson and he had his best day against Mathewson with a 4-for-4 performance that includes two singles, a double and a triple. Tinker scored three runs, stole home and helped turn two double plays. Mordecai Brown beat the Giants 8-6 at West Side Grounds.
1906 – Under orders from Giants manager John McGraw, umpire James Johnson is refused admittance to the Polo Grounds and the scheduled game was forfeited to the Cubs, 9-0. The Giants owner, John Bush allowed Johnson to enter the park the next day and the Cubs beat the Giants 3-2 behind Mordecai Brown and Ed Reulbach.