The Cubs started the weekend in Oakland with a 7-2 win on Friday night behind Jon Lester. Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler hit dingers in the first inning and gave Lester a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch. The Cubs went on to a 7-2 victory over the A’s.
Dexter Fowler jump started the Cubs offense once again. Fowler led off a game for the fifth time this season with a home run.
The Cubs are 67-41 on the season after winning for the fifth time in five games, the first five-game winning streak for Maddon’s team since May. The Cubs are now 14-6 since the break.
Dexter Fowler has been the difference in the Cubs’ offense in the second half. Fowler is batting .295/.411/.500 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the 13 games he’s played in after coming off the DL. And over the last four games, Fowler is 7-for-15 with two walks. Fowler has a leadoff triple and a leadoff home run in two of the last three games.
The Cubs are 21-4 on the season when Fowler reaches base at least two times in a game. And after Friday night, the Cubs are 34-8 when Fowler scores at least one run.
As Jason Hammel said earlier in the week and the numbers back up his statement, Dexter Fowler is the engine in the Cubs’ machine.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella has not reported to Triple-A Iowa and he’s not expected in Des Moines in the coming days.
By all accounts and statements made by Joe Maddon, La Stella was upset after he learned he was being sent down to Iowa to make room on the active roster for Chris Coghlan. La Stella was not demoted due to poor performance but because he has minor league options.
The Cubs haven’t addressed why he has not reported. The Cubs said he was given extra time to handle a personal matter. The Cubs have not given any other details.
When asked about La Stella before Friday’s game, Maddon said, “We’re trying to get ready to get him to come back up there. He’s taking batting practice. He’s staying active. We’re trying to figure out how to get him back up here. It’s not clear cut yet. That’s why you talk about getting Jorge [Soler] back up here. Tommy is next, and getting Trevor [Cahill] back up here.”
The Sun-Times questioned if La Stella hasn’t slipped behind Albert Almora Jr. and Jeimer Candelario on the depth chart in terms of a call-up in case of injury because he has not played in a game in over a week.
If Tommy La Stella has a personal/family reason for not reporting to Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs are fine with it then he has every reason to be away from the organization at this time. If La Stella has not reported to Iowa for any other reason, the Cubs have to address this immediately. La Stella may have not deserved to be demoted but if he is not capable of helping the team when he’s called on again, he is hurting the organization and his career.
In a rather surprising move that not many saw coming, the Cubs designated Joe Nathan for assignment on Friday to make room on the active roster for Jorge Soler.
Nathan was effective in two of his three appearances after working his way back to the majors from a second Tommy John surgery.
“He just needed more time and we had so many other people to get involved, it just didn’t work out immediately in a sense,” Joe Maddon said. “I do believe he’s on the right path. I hope he gets another opportunity. Part of it is we’ll miss him in the clubhouse. This guy immediately demonstrated why he’s so good in the clubhouse, the professional that he is. That part is tough. Again, we have so many folks to get involved, it was the only way we possibly do it.”
Joe Nathan said the Cubs were really aggressive before he decided to sign with them. Nathan wanted to be part of a contending team and the deal he inked with the Cubs included an option for next season.
Oscar De La Cruz
Oscar De La Cruz made his second start Friday for Low-A South Bend. And De La Cruz was rather impressive in a game the SB Cubs eventually lost 4-3 to Fort Wayne in 15 innings.
De La Cruz completed five innings and allowed one run on three hits and a walk.
De La Cruz struck out nine batters in five innings. In other words, nine of the 15 outs he recorded were on strikeouts. De La Cruz made 69 pitches, 45 for strikes.
In two starts with Low-A South Bend, Oscar De La Cruz has allowed one run on five hits with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings (0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP).
Dylan Cease started Friday for Short-Season Eugene. Cease pitched 1 2/3 innings and faced nine batters. Cease completed his outing as scheduled.
Cease struck out the side in the first inning and ended up allowing one run on one hit and three walks. Cease struck out three while consistently sitting in the mid- to upper-90s with his fastball (96-97 mph, touched 98 mph).
According to a report from Dennis Lin, the Padres signed LHP Clayton Richard.
Richard pitched with the Padres from 2009 until 2013 after being traded from the White Sox to San Diego in the Jake Peavy deal.
The Cubs acquired Richard from the Pirates on July 3, 2015. Richard appeared in 48 games for the Cubs, making three starts, over two seasons and was 4-3 with a 4.47 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 3.70 FIP.
The Cubs designated Richard for assignment on July 26 after acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. The Cubs released Richard on Aug. 3.
Richard received a Major League contract from the Padres and will reportedly work out of the bullpen. The Padres could use him in a starting role according to Lin.
The Cubs have a series in San Diego during the next road trip that begins Aug. 19 in Denver.
The Cubs designated LHP Brian Matusz for assignment last Monday (Aug. 1) and outrighted him to Iowa on Wednesday (Aug. 3). According to the Triple-A transactions page, Matusz has elected free agency and will not report to Iowa.
The Cubs have not posted on the team’s official transactions page that Matusz did not accept the assignment to Triple-A Iowa and is now a free agent.
News and Notes
• According to multiple reports, Trevor Cahill remains in line, and a strong candidate, to start one of the games of the doubleheader with the Brewers at Wrigley on Aug. 16.
• The Tribune reported Joe Maddon was stressed by Cubs roster decisions.
• According to the Sun-Times, if Hector Rondon didn’t quit in 2011, his new role won’t faze him now.
• Jesse Rogers posted answers to questions he received via the Twitter machine on ESPN Chicago.
• Former Cubs’ outfielder Nate Schierholtz received an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. Schierholtz was with the Tigers in Spring Training and released in late May after beginning the season with Triple-A Toledo. Schierholtz has not re-signed with another team. Schierholtz would have to serve the 80-game suspension if he signs with a team.
• The Cardinals activated Matt Carpenter from the 15-day DL. Carpenter was 0-for-4 in the Cardinals 1-0 win over the Braves.
• Ian Happ was back at second base for Double-A Tennessee on Friday. Happ went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Smokies 3-1 loss to the Biscuits.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 6, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2007 – Cubs released Wade Miller
2004 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Rafael Dolis
1998 – Jack Brickhouse passed away at the age of 82. Brickhouse was the voice of the Cubs from 1941-1981. Hey! Hey!
1988 – Goose Gossage became the second player in big league history (Rollie Fingers) to record 300 career saves when he faced one batter and recorded the out in the Cubs 7-4 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field.
1982 – Justin Germano, born
1981 – National League owners agreed to the $20.5 million sale of the Cubs to the Tribune Company. The sale was finalized three weeks later when Bill Wrigley and the stockholders approved the sale of the team.
1978 – Cubs traded Larry Anderson to the Phillies for Davey Johnson
1974 – Luis Vizcaino, born
1959 – Billy Williams made his Cubs debut and went 0-for-4 with a RBI in a Cubs 4-2 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field
1955 – Ron Davis, born
1934 – Cubs signed free agent Bob O’Farrell
1919 – Cubs lost 2-0 to the Braves after Boston’s pitcher, Ray Keating, hit a fly ball to center that bounced through a hole in the wire fence for a home run. Cubs collected three hits, Grover Cleveland Alexander was hung with the loss.
1894 – Bill Dahlen extended his hitting streak to 42 games with two hits in a 12-9 victory over the Reds at West Side Grounds.
1890 – Cy Young made his major league debut and was credited with the win over the Colts (Cubs) at West Side Grounds
1884 – Cap Anson hit three home runs in a 13-4 victory over Cleveland at Lakefront Park that gave him five home runs in two days. Anson established the franchise record for number of homers in a two day period that was equaled by Billy Williams in 1968 and Dave Kingman in 1979.