Jason Heyward returned to the lineup Monday after getting a four-day break to hit the reset button. The Cubs need for Heyward get on-track offensively. Heyward had one hit in four at bats in the 5-1 win over the Padres. The one hit was a big fly, a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Heyward looked more comfortable at the plate Monday night. Heyward made hard contact earlier in the at-bat that ended with a home run. Heyward just missed a double. Heyward grounded out (first base, pitcher) and struck out in his other three plate appearances.
For as much as Heyward has struggled this season, that one at-bat should have removed a little pressure and give him something to build on moving forward.
Joe Maddon talked about Heyward’s return to the lineup before the game. And Maddon stressed that he just wanted Heyward to go play.
“I’d rather see him cut back on his workload and just play the game. I want him fresh mentally and physically, because there are so many different ways he can help you win a baseball game. I mean that, sincerely,” Maddon said. “He can’t do any more work. He can’t try anything differently. He can’t work any harder. He can’t do any of that. It’s impossible. Just go play.”
Maddon said before Heyward hit a home run for the first time since July 29 that he hasn’t thought about playoff lineups and how he will use Heyward in October.
“I just want to make the playoffs and then we’ll take it from there,” Maddon said. “He’s still got six weeks or so. There’s so much baseball to be played. So many different things are going to occur. He could become the hottest hitter in the National League over the next month, and he’s very capable of that. I don’t even think about the playoffs. I don’t think about playoff rosters. I don’t worry about stuff like that. I’ve been involved in the playoffs several times. I don’t get ahead of myself ever, and I don’t want to do that now.”
Heyward knows and believes he can help his team win games.
“Playoff wise, my teammates know I can help this team win,” Heyward said. “My manager, my coaches … I know I can help this team win. That’s the bottom line.”
This core of this Cubs team is a very strong group. ESPN Chicago reported on the reaction of dugout when Heyward hit his first home run in close to a month. By all accounts, Heyward has worked incredibly hard to get out of the season-long slump.
J-Hey was able to just go out and play as Maddon wanted him to do. The Cubs are a better team with him on the field. If Maddon can get the Jason Heyward that he has been throughout his career over the next two-plus months the Cubs are going to win a lot more games this year.
- Home Run Video – MLB.com
- Report from The Sun-Times
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from The Tribune
Post-Game Reports – Recap
The Cubs took care of business on Monday night in San Diego against former teammate Edwin Jackson. The Cubs topped the Padres 5-1 with all five runs coming off Jackson in the first five innings. Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward homered for four of the five runs.
Addison Russell turned in an incredible play in the eighth inning. And it was more of Javy Being Javy at third base as Javier Baez has a knack of making extremely difficult plays look routine when the ball is hit his way.
On the mound it was all about Jon Lester and the Cubs’ lefty took a three-hit shutout into the seventh inning. Maddon lifted him after back-to-back singles started the seventh. It was another quality start for Lester on a night he was not happy about leaving the game. Lester had more in the tank.
Monday was the 14th time this season that Lester made a start of at least five innings and allowed one or no runs. Lester notched his 20th quality start of the season, which tied him with Madison Bumgarner (Giants) and Justin Verlander (Tigers) for the most quality starts in baseball.
Lester doesn’t like the quality start stat. “I don’t like quality starts. I think it’s kind of a made-up stat that helps guys that don’t go deep into ballgames. I think quality starts should go to the seventh inning.”
Lester is right as far as the quality start stat is concerned. To this point of the season, he has done his job. Lester is 14-4 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 3.67 FIP after 25 starts. And he’s pitched his way into the conversation for starting the Cubs first game of a playoff series.
Here’s the recap from the Cubs’ 79th win of the season and the post-game reports …
- CCO – Three Longballs, Terrific Defense and Jon Lester Adds Up to a Cubs Win
- CCO – Addison Russell’s Amazing, Incredible Defensive Play [includes video]
- The Tribune – Kris Bryant’s 32nd homer helps power Cubs past Padres
- The Tribune – Kris Bryant handling scrutiny as deftly as he handles pitchers
- The Sun-Times – Lester, power-hitting come up big in time of need for Cubs
- Comcast SportsNet – Jon Lester, Edwin Jackson and a Cubs rotation that keeps rolling
Jeimer Candelario went 1-for-4 with a run scored on Monday night in Iowa’s 7-2 victory over the Redbirds. Candelario batted cleanup for Marty Pevey.
Candelario extended both of his current streaks as he prepares for a September call up. Candelario has hit safety in 10 straight games and has reached base in 29 consecutive games.
Jeimer Candelario is 17-for-44 during his now 10-game hitting streak. And for the season at Triple-A Iowa, Candelario is batting .315/.405/.516 with a .921 OPS.
Tommy La Stella
La Stella went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. And according to Randy Wehofer, La Stella made “two nice plays” at second base.
Jimenez went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
News and Notes
• Addison Russell drove in two more runs on Monday. That’s 80 RBI on the season for Russell. According to ESPN Chicago, Russell became the third Cubs’ shortstop in franchise history to drive in 80 or more runs in a single season. Ernie Banks had 80 or more RBI in seven different seasons. Roy Smalley had 85 RBI in 1950.
• Comcast SportsNet made the Gold Glove case for Anthony Rizzo.
• The Tribune reported ‘personal awareness’ is helping Cubs’ hitters.
• According to the Tribune, Hector Rondon is looking to resume playing catch during the weekend series at Dodger Stadium.
• Carrie Muskat reported Rob Zastryzny will get looks as the setup man for Aroldis Chapman.
• The Sun-Times reported think nothing’s guaranteed for the Cubs in October? Think again.
• According to the Tribune, Matt Szczur embraces being ready in a pinch.
• Kris Bryant is the only player in Cubs history with 30 or more home runs and 100 or more runs scored in age-24 (or younger) season according to Christopher Kamka.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant answered questions from Twitter for ESPN Chicago.
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Cubs received Neil Ramirez from the Rangers as the PTBNL in the Matt Garza deal to complete the trade (Edwards, Olt, Grimm and Ramirez for Garza)
2013 – Cubs released Dayan Diaz
2012 – Cubs claimed Miguel Socolovich off waivers from the Orioles
2007 – Cubs acquired Craig Monroe from the Tigers for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Clay Rapada to Detroit to complete the trade on Aug. 30, 2007.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs No. 50 and 51 and joined Mark McGwire (53) with reaching the 50-home run plateau in the same season for only the second time in NL history. Ralph Kiner (Pirates) and Johnny Mize (Giants) both hit 51 home runs in 1947.
1994 – Billy McKinney, born
1983 – At Wrigley Field, Ferguson Jenkins lost to Reds’ rookie Jeff Russell (father of James Russell) 4-2. Russell hit the only home run of his career.
1977 – Cubs released Bobby Darwin
1975 – Rick Monday and Champ Summers hit pinch-hit home runs for the Cubs in a 14-12 loss to the Astros
1974 – Mark Bellhorn, born
1958 – Cubs selected Jim Marshall off waivers from the Orioles
1947 – Cubs signed free agent Billy Jurges
1929 – Cubs purchased Lon Warneke from Alexandria (Cotton States League) for $100
1909 – Cubs stole home three times, Johnny Evers, Del Howard and Solly Hofman, in an 11-6 win in Boston and tied a Major League record.