The Cubs will enjoy Monday’s off day and take a deep breath before playing four games against the Brewers in three days at Wrigley beginning with a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. The Cubs hit the road after Thursday’s game for a very difficult West Coast trip with nine games in 10 days in Denver, San Diego and Los Angeles.
The front office will spend the off day looking for ways to improve the roster, especially the bullpen, and have reportedly signed lefty Joe Thatcher to a minor league contract. The Cubs have been connected heavily to Jonathan Papelbon over the last two days.
The Cubs will spend the off day with a 73-43 record, 12 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central with the Pirates 13 ½ games back and in third place. Even with dropping two games in a row, by winning 11 of 13, Joe Maddon’s team has a four-game lead in the loss column over the Nationals for the best record in the Senior Circuit.
The Cubs have work to do and there is a lot of ball left to be played this season. With that said, no one associated with or that follows the team cannot say they would not have been thrilled back in Spring Training if they were told the Cubs would be 30 games over .500 and own the best record in baseball on Aug. 15.
Trevor Cahill – Cubs Rotation – Cubs-Brewers Series
Joe Maddon announced Sunday that Trevor Cahill will start the first game of the day-night doubleheader Tuesday against the Brewers. Jason Hammel will start the second game.
The Cubs and Brewers have four games in three days at Wrigley beginning with Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader. The first of two on Tuesday is the makeup of the rainout from April 27.
The Cubs are 5-3 against the Brewers this season and will have to play better ball against Milwaukee than they have. Those overlooking the upcoming series with the Brewers may want to rethink their position.
Here are the probable starting pitchers for the Cubs-Brewers series:
- Tuesday, Aug. 16 (12:20pm CDT) – RHP Trevor Cahill vs. RHP Matt Garza
- Tuesday, Aug. 16 (7:05pm CDT) – RHP Jason Hammel vs. RHP Chase Anderson
- Wednesday, Aug. 17 (7:05pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson
- Thursday, Aug. 18 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. RHP Zach Davies
Joe Maddon admitted Sunday that he cannot stand day-night doubleheaders. Maddon would welcome and has lobbied for traditional doubleheaders to be scheduled during the season in order for the players to have more off days. But day-night doubleheaders are ‘awful’ according to Maddon.
“The day-night doubleheader is awful,” Maddon said. “I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to try to pander to anybody. It’s awful. It’s awful to be here all day, I’m always concerned about injury, it’s just a bad day. It’s too long. If you’re going to have a doubleheader, have a real doubleheader … one game, the next game starts a half-hour after the first game … and the players won’t mind that nearly as much.”
Bruce Levine reported the Cubs plan on using Mike Montgomery after Cahill in the first game of the doubleheader.
John Lackey’s stiff shoulder could change the Cubs plans for the rotation. More will be known about Lackey in the next two days. For now, the Cubs will stick with a five-man rotation.
Jason Heyward continues to struggle at the plate. Heyward went 1-for-4 on Sunday, the one hit was an infield single that took a review to confirm. Heyward has made very little hard contact in weeks.
Heyward is 8-for-40 in his last 10 games (.200/.220/.225) with one extra basehit and a .445 OPS. Since the break, Heyward has a .174/.222/.239 line with three doubles, a home run and a .461 OPS.
By all accounts, Heyward is working daily to get out of his season-long slump.
Joe Maddon said Saturday Heyward will continue playing every day and players such as Jorge Soler, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez will not take at-bats or playing time away from Heyward.
ESPN Chicago reported that Maddon is going to stick with Heyward.
Jason Heyward has not carried his issues and lack of production at the plate to the field. Heyward continues to play outstanding defense. With that said, he has not provided the left-handed bat the Cubs signed to help balance the lineup and with situational hitting.
What Heyward has done, or not done, at the plate to this point of the season is all in the past. The Cubs have to get him right in order for the team to succeed in the post-season tournament.
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. was placed on the 7-day DL on Sunday, retroactive to Aug. 11, with a sore left thumb.
Almora Jr. bruised his thumb on Aug. 10 making a play in left field.
Since returning to Iowa, Almora Jr. is 19-for-68 in 16 games with four doubles and a home run (.279/.286/.382/.668).
In 71 games for the I-Cubs this season, Almora Jr. has hit .309/.323/.429 with 16 doubles, three triples and four home runs for a .752 OPS.
The Cubs have not said how long Almora Jr. is expected to be sidelined.
Lefty Brian Matusz landed on the DL on Sunday two days after making his return to the I-Cubs rotation. Matusz’s trip to the 7-day disabled list was also backdated (Aug. 13) but he is dealing with a sore left elbow.
Matusz had his first bad outing with the I-Cubs on Friday. Matusz was touched up for three runs on three hits and a walk in two innings. Matusz’s short start raised concerns that he might have been hurt. As it turned out, he was.
The Cubs have not provided an update on his status.
News and Notes
• Anthony Rizzo hit a towering homer to right in the eighth inning Sunday night. That was Rizzo’s 25th dinger of the season. Rizzo is hitting .291/.398/.572 with 34 doubles, four triples and 25 home runs for a .970 OPS on the season. Rizzo became the Cubs’ first left-handed hitter since Billy Williams (1970-72) to hit at least 25 home runs in three straight seasons.
• Cubs’ 12-game NL Central lead soothes the sting of loss to Cardinals according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Jeimer Candelario is not slowing down at Triple-A Iowa. Candelario was 2-for-4 with a triple, a walk and a run scored and four RBI on Sunday night in Fresno. Candelario is 16-for-47 in his last 13 games with two doubles, a triple and a home run (.340/.436/.489) for a .926 OPS. Candelario is batting .294/.388/.450 with six doubles, a triple and three home runs for a .837 OPS in the 38 games since he was optioned back to Iowa.
• Mike Montgomery has really impressed Joe Maddon according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• The Marlins bid for one of the two NL Wild Cards took a severe blow Sunday. Giancarlo Stanton and lefty Adam Conley were placed on the DL. Conley has tendinitis in his third finger on his pitching hand. Stanton has a severe groin strain and he’s likely out for the remainder of the season. With the Marlins focused on making the post-season, Michael Hill said they are “open to all available options.” And those options include Carlos Gomez and Alex Rodriguez. According to Jim Bowden, ARod will sign with the Marlins after he clears waivers Monday and he will play first base.
Cubs uniform logo evolution, reaching all the way back to 1909: pic.twitter.com/ekm35bIR8j
— Todd Radom (@ToddRadom) October 15, 2015
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – The Cubs beat the Cardinals 9-7 despite Ryan Dempster serving up a first inning home run to Albert Pujols. Pujols became the first player in Major League history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first 10 seasons.
1981 – Cubs traded Lynn McGlothen to the White Sox for a PTBNL. The Cubs received Bob Molinaro from the White Sox on March 29, 1982 to complete the trade.
1979 – Roberto Nova, born
1964 – Mayor Richard Daley declared it “Ernie Banks Day” in Chicago and 26,000 fans cheered on Banks at Wrigley in a 5-4 loss to the Pirates.
1964 – The Phillies purchased Bobby Shantz from the Cubs
1953 – Third baseman Ransom Jackson grounded into three doubles plays in a 2-0 Cubs loss to the Braves, Jackson tied a NL record that was later broken by Joe Torre
1952 – Phil Cavarretta signed his contract to manage the Cubs in 1953.
1945 – The Cubs recorded 19 hits, two home runs by Paul Gillespie, in a 20-6 win over the Dodgers. The Cubs scored eight runs in the fourth inning after the first eight batters reached base for an out was recorded
1917 – The Cubs acquired Pete Kliduff from the Giants for Al Demaree