The Cubs have a full day of ball on tap at Wrigley Field with a day-night doubleheader against the Brewers. Joe Maddon’s team begins play Tuesday with a 12-game lead in the NL Central over the Cardinals. The Redbirds will spend the next two days in Houston.
Trevor Cahill and Mike Montgomery are scheduled to pitch in game one (12:20pm CDT) against Matt Garza. And Jason Hammel takes on Chase Anderson in the nightcap (7:05pm CDT).
Jason Hammel has quieted his critics since the break with five excellent performances. Whether it’s been the potato chip diet or just improved fastball command, Hammel has looked good on mound.
Hammel is 5-0 in five starts since the break, or what is considered the second half of the baseball season, with a 1.16 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Hammel has allowed four runs on 20 hits (two home runs) and nine walks with 27 strikeouts. For the season, Hammel is 12-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. In 22 starts, Hammel has allowed four or more earned runs three times and in 17 of the 22 starts he has allowed less than three earned runs.
Nick Cafardo reported over the weekend that it “would appear to be a no-brainer” that the Cubs will pick up Hammel’s option for next season.
Hammel signed a two-year, $20 million contract in December 2014 that includes a $12 million club option for the 2017 season with a $2 million buyout. Hammel can void the third year if he completes 200 innings this season. The club option becomes a mutual option if he reaches 200 innings during the 2016 season or is traded. Hammel has pitched 127 1/3 innings in 22 starts.
With the way Hammel has pitched coupled with the lack of options in the organization as Cafardo reported it would be hard to see the Cubs not picking up his option in the fall.
For now, it’s all about the chips and beating the Crew for Jason Hammel.
The Cubs have assigned RHP Josh Collmenter to Triple-A Iowa.
Collmenter spent time at the Cubs facility in Mesa after signing a minor league contract. The veteran right-hander is looking forward to getting back to the majors with the Cubs in September.
Collmenter recently told the Battle Creek Enquirer that he is excited about being with the Cubs and the possibility of pitching for a team that is in win-now mode. Collmenter said several teams reached out after he was designated for assignment. Collmenter was “excited” about the Cubs wanting to sign him and the possibility he could help during the stretch run in September.
The Cubs have not said when Collmenter will make his first start. The plan is to stretch him out in a starting role in order to provide Joe Maddon with options next month.
Josh Collmenter said he is healthy and ready to show the Cubs he can help the team at the Major League level.
Cubs Fire Wrigley Field DJ
The Cubs fired the DJ on Monday that played Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ on the Wrigley Field PA system while Aroldis Chapman walked off the field after retiring the Cardinals in order in the ninth inning Sunday night.
The Cubs issued the following statement:
“We apologize for the irresponsible music selection during our game last night. The selection of this track showed a lack of judgment and sensitivity to an important issue. We have terminated our relationship with the employee responsible for making the selection and will be implementing stronger controls to review and approve music before public broadcast during our games.”
Duane Underwood Jr.
Duane Underwood Jr. made a rehab start for the AZL Cubs on Monday.
In his first appearance on a mound since going on the DL last month (July 7), Underwood Jr. completed one inning and gave up a hit with no runs or walks while striking out two.
It’s good to see the Cubs have not shut him down for the year and are trying to get him to finish what has pretty much been a lost season on a positive note.
Monday Headlines and Rumors
For those that stepped away from baseball with the Cubs not playing Monday, here are the headlines with all of the news, notes and rumors to get you caught up from the off day:
- Cubs Down on the Farm Report
- Cubs Reportedly Sign Veteran Lefty Joe Thatcher to Minor League Contract
- The Daily CCO: Cubs Still 30 Games over .500 and Other Off Day News (includes Almora Jr., Matusz to DL, Heyward, Cubs-Brewers Series, Candelario)
- John Lackey Exits Early with Right Shoulder Stiffness, Downplays Injury After Game
- Jon Lester Says Jonathan Papelbon Would Be Welcomed Into Cubs Clubhouse
- Wladimir Galindo Named Northwest League Player of the Week
- Oscar De La Cruz Named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs’ bullpen needs a ‘restructure’ after second late inning loss.
• As a reliever, RHP Pierce Johnson is 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Johnson has allowed seven runs, all earned, on nine hits with two home runs, six walks and 18 strikeouts (5.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP).
• The Giants released Chris Denorfia from his minor league contract. Denorfia spent the spring with the Yankees and hasn’t played in the big leagues this season. Denorfia played in 36 games for Triple-A Sacramento and hit .255/.308/.382 with two doubles and four home runs for a .690 OPS.
• Alex Rodriguez, through his spokesman Ron Berkowitz, said Monday he is not playing for any team this season “it’s not happening.” Reports early Monday suggested Rodriguez would sign with the Marlins to play first base after he cleared waivers.
• Players embrace Wrigleyville living according to a report from the Tribune.
• Cubs are 30 games over .500, David Haugh asked if we can save the angst for October?
• According to the Tribune the surging starting pitchers have been the backbone of the Cubs’ success.
• As advertised, John Lackey brings it for the Cubs according to the Tribune.
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Ryne Sandberg was named interim manager of the Phillies
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Horacio Ramirez
1997 – The Cubs acquired Frisco Parotte from the Yankees for Rey Sanchez
1992 – Greg Maddux gave up four hits in the Cubs 1-0 victory over the Astros
1988 – Justin Grimm, born
1973 – Damian Jackson, born
1956 – Dee Fondy homered and “Sam Sam” Jones struck out 13 batters as the Cubs beat the Braves at Wrigley Field.
1932 – It was Charlie Grimm Day at Wrigley Field. The Cubs rallied in front of 32,000 and beat the Braves 4-3.
1930 – The Cubs beat the Phillies 10-9 in the first game of a doubleheader and the second game of the twinbill was suspended in the 11th inning due to darkness with the game tied at three. Gabby Harnett drove in the winning run in game one and Hack Wilson hit his 41st homer of the season.
1911 – Frank Schulte set a record that would be broken in 1955 by Ernie Banks, when he hit his fourth grand slam of the season. The Cubs beat the Braves 13-6 in Boston