Theo Epstein spoke with the beat writers Monday before the 8-7 win over the Pirates in 13 innings. The Cubs maintained the 14-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central when Miguel Montero came off the bench and delivered the game winner. The Cubs (83-47) are eight games in front of the Nationals (76-55) in the loss column for the best record in the National League.
The Cubs are not taking anything for granted. Even with the sizeable lead in the division, the Cubs are not going to back down. Joe Maddon will stick with the team’s plan to rest his regulars and limit the innings of his starting pitchers.
“I think our guys understand where we’re at and it’s going to be important to get where we want to go to be at their best,” Theo Epstein said. “Last year’s stretch and playoffs especially was instructive. I think we pushed guys hard during the year and it’d be nice for them to be at their absolute best during the most important time of year down the stretch and hopefully into October.
The Cubs are not going to take the foot off the pedal as the team prepares to play in baseball’s postseason tournament.
“I think once you go through a year in which you have a double digit lead right before Labor Day and screw it up and don’t even get into October, you don’t take anything for granted,” Epstein said. “I guess that’s the only good thing to come out of September 2011 for me. I’ll never look too far ahead and I’ll never take anything for granted. We’re still trying to win each game and each series. You have to have a broad perspective and look ahead and understand what might lie ahead, but you have to go earn it. That’s been our team’s approach from the very beginning is not to accept some of the praise that’s come our way. It’s to go out and try to earn it with our play and that’s definitely true in the month of September.”
The Cubs know they have not won anything. And Monday’s two comebacks after falling behind by three runs in a game they did not have to win proved the players are focused and are not looking past September to October.
Post-Game Reports – Recap
It took over five hours and 13 innings for the Cubs to beat the Pirates on Monday night, into Tuesday morning. The Cubs did a lot of good things and received contributions from the entire roster. Javier Baez had four hits that included a double and a triple. Jorge Soler smacked the game-tying home run in the ninth. Willson Contreras had a big impact on the game offensively and defensively. A rookie left-hander making his first appearance at Wrigley Field went from walking off the field with his head down to winning his first big league game. And a player that had been sitting all night delivered the game winner off a lefty … just a normal night for the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Here are the recaps and post-game reports from Monday’s memorable win over the Pirates:
- CCO – Cubs Out-Battle the Bucs, Win a Wilder One in Extra Innings – Cubs 8, Pirates 7 [includes video]
- ESPN – How they won: Jorge Soler reaches out and crushes one
- ESPN Chicago – Cubs outlast Pirates to win wacky extra-inning affair
- The Tribune – Monday’s Recap
- Comcast SportsNet – Never Say Die: Cubs battle back for wild walk-off win over Pirates
Albert Almora Jr., Chris Coghlan, Josh Collmenter and Jeimer Candelario
Josh Collmenter started Monday as he tunes up for a likely September call up. Collmenter allowed two runs, both earned, on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Collmenter made 84 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings. Iowa lost the game 3-2 in 11 innings.
Albert Almora Jr. played center and hit fifth in Marty Pevey’s lineup behind Jeimer Candelario. Chris Coghlan hit third and played left field.
Almora Jr. was 0-for-5. Candelario went 1-for-5 with a double and a RBI. Candelario has reached base safely in 33 of his last 34 games.
Coghlan was 3-for-4 with three doubles and a run scored.
Almora Jr., Coghlan and Candelario are expected to be added to the Cubs’ active roster this week after the roster expands.
Dan Vogelbach was named to the 2016 All-PCL Team on Monday. Vogelbach is expected to be called up by the Mariners around Sept. 1 when rosters expand. Vogelbach has struggled somewhat since the trade from the Cubs. He put together a very good season and earned the recognition from the league.
Vogelbach hit .318/.425/.548 with 18 doubles, two triples and 16 home runs for a .972 OPS in 89 games with the I-Cubs. In 39 games with Tacoma, Vogelbach has hit .237/.402/.400 with seven doubles and five home runs for a .802 OPS. Vogelbach has more walks (37) than strikeouts (29) with the Rainiers.
For the season, Vogelbach has batted .293/.417/.502 with 25 doubles, two triples and 21 home runs for a .920 OPS. Vogelbach has 90 RBBI, 92 walks and 96 strikeouts in 128 games.
News and Notes
• According to ESPN Chicago, John Lackey took a step toward returning from the DL with bullpen session.
• According to Comcast SportsNet, with the season’s final month looming the Cubs apply lessons learned from 2015 playoff run. Despite Cubs’ success, Theo Epstein isn’t taking anything for granted according to The Tribune.
• ESPN Chicago reported strikeouts, or lack thereof, might be key to Cubs’ postseason.
• ESPN Chicago reported on the rise of Kyle Hendricks from high school underdog to surprising ERA leader.
• Kyle Hendricks (1.53) and Jon Lester (1.71) have the best ERA in August among qualified National League starting pitchers.
• Tommy La Stella will be among the players the Cubs’ call up around Sept. 1 when the roster expands according to a report from CBS Chicago.
• Bruce Levine reported Wrigley Field will have new sod installed in the outfield after the homestand at a cost of $250,000. Concert promoters are picking up the bill for the Cubs new grass.
• With Mike Leake on the DL, the Cardinals will leave rookie right-hander Alex Reyes in the rotation according to Jenifer Langosch.
• The Pirates placed RHP Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to Aug. 25, with right elbow posterior inflammation in order to recall LHP Steven Brault to start against the Cubs.
• According to Doug Padilla, LHP Clayton Kershaw will pitch a simulated game Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
• The Nationals will call up RHP Mat Latos when the roster expands on Sept. 1. According to Ken Rosenthal, Latos had an opt-out in his contract for Monday but he agreed to waive it and stay in the minors until Thursday. Latos started the season with the White Sox, was released and signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. Dusty Baker thinks Latos can help the Nationals down the stretch and into October. Latos started three games for Triple-A Syracuse and was 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Latos allowed four runs, two earned, on 16 hits with seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 17 innings.
• Jim Bowden reported Robin Ventura (White Sox), Brian Snitker (Braves), Chip Hale (Diamondbacks), Terry Collins (Mets) and Walt Weiss (Rockies) are five managers on the hot seat.
• Ballparks are seeing a major spike in attendance when the Cubs come to town this year according to Bill Savage.
And last, but not least, Dan Haren is just awesome. For those on Twitter, Haren is a must follow. Not only does he correct reports about him throwing to Tim Tebow in his showcase, but tweets nuggets about Albert Pujols catching him playing Pokemon in the produce section of his supermarket as the latest reminder probably needs to get a job.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Jake Arrieta no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers … Arrieta pitched the first no-hitter of his career. Arrieta turned in one of the most dominating performances in MLB history. Arrieta struck out 12 and walked only one batter on an unforgettable Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.
2010 – Carlos Zambrano became the first pitcher to hit a home run in eight straight seasons since Gary Peters (1963-1971). Zambrano hit a homer in a 14-2 victory over the Pirates
2007 – Cubs traded Buck Coats to the Reds for a PTBNL. Cubs received Marcos Mateo on Sept. 12, 2007 to complete the trade
2001 – Bill Mueller hit a walk-off home run that gave the Cubs a 5-4 victory over the Marlins. Fred McGriff hit a three-run homer and reached 80 RBI for the 14th straight season, only the second player in big league history to drive in 80 or more runs in 14 straight seasons, Hank Aaron holds the record, ‘Hammerin Hank’ did it 17 straight seasons.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 54 in a 4-3 victory over the Rockies
1992 – Rookie Jim Bullinger tossed a one-hitter against the Giants in his third big league start
1989 – The Cubs acquired Luis Salazar and Marvell Wynne from the Padres for Darrin Jackson, Calvin Schiraldi and a PTBNL. Cubs sent Phil Stephenson to San Diego on Sept. 5, 1989 to complete the trade
1982 – Sean Marshall, born
1979 – Cubs purchased Bruce Kimm from the Tigers
1978 – Todd Wellemeyer, born
1977 – Marlon Byrd, born
1971 – Cubs signed free agent Al Spangler
1945 – Stan Hack collected the 2,000th hit of his career, a single off the Pirates’ Preacher Roe in the first inning in Pittsburgh.
1941 – Carmen Fanzone, born
1930 – Hack Wilson drove in six runs in his return to the lineup. Wilson hit home runs No. 45 and 46 on the season in a 14-6 win over the Cardinals. Wilson finished August with 13 home runs and 53 RBI
1915 – Cubs traded Larry Cheney to Brooklyn for Joe Schultz
1898 – Kiki Cuyler, born