The Cubs open a seven-game homestand Monday night after winning five of the nine games on the West Coast road trip. The Cubs have the Pirates (Aug. 29-31) and Giants (Sept. 1-4) on tap for the next seven days. Jake Arrieta gets the ball in the opener with the Pirates as the Cubs have to face another rookie starting pitcher in lefty Steven Brault.
One of the many positives for the Cubs from the 5-4 road trip was the improvement Jason Heyward showed at the plate. After getting a four-game break, Heyward hit safely in each of the last six games on the trip. And counting the double he hit in the last game of the Brewers’ series he played in, Heyward has a seven-game hitting streak.
It’s a very small sample size, but Heyward looked like Jason Heyward in San Diego and Los Angeles. Heyward worked at bats and made solid contact. Heyward had hits in five straight at bats.
Heyward came within inches and an excellent play at first base by Adrian Gonzalez of giving the Cubs the lead with two outs in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. Heyward smoked the 1-1 pitch (103 mph exit velocity) from lefty Grant Dayton that Gonzalez caught to end the inning.
Heyward went 8-for-23 with two doubles and a home run. Heyward drove in three runs and scored two, including the tying run in the ninth inning of Friday’s game after doubling off Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen.
The Cubs need another left-handed bat in the lineup to compliment Anthony Rizzo for the next two months. If Jason Heyward is able to keep up what he started on the road trip, Joe Maddon would have another bat in his lineup that teams have to account for.
Albert Almora Jr. – Tommy La Stella
In his second game back from the DL, Almora Jr. was 1-for-4. La Stella also went 1-for-4.
Almora Jr. and La Stella are expected to be called up when the roster expands this week. Iowa’s final game of the season is next Monday.
News and Notes
• Lack of communication costs Cubs in loss to Dodgers according to The Tribune. Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs close out road trip with narrow loss to Dodgers. ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs lost on Javier Baez’s mental mistake but gain positives along the way. According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs were sent home in their pajamas after series spanking by the Dodgers.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Dodgers could be a playoff nightmare for the Cubs.
• According to the Tribune, Jon Lester longs for longer outings.
• Javier Baez has not adjusted back to the league. After hitting .325/.364/.482 in 26 games in July with seven extra basehits (four doubles, three home runs) and a .846 OPS, Baez is batting .197/.227/.296 over his last 24 games with three extra base hits (one double, two home runs) and a .522 OPS. For the season, Baez is hitting .268/.306/.429 with a .735 OPS, versus right-handed pitcher he is batting only .260/.280/.416 with a .696 OPS.
• Carl Edwards Jr. this season in the big leagues has allowed nine runs on nine hits with 10 walks and 35 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings (3.28 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 2.05 FIP) and eight of 21 inherited runners have scored (38%).
• RHP Tommy Hunter re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
• The Pirates pulled even in the loss column with the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card. The Pirates enter play on Monday night at Wrigley with a 67-61 record. The Cardinals are a half-game ahead of the Bucs for the last playoff spot in the National League. The Cardinals are 68-61 on the season. The Pirates have won eight straight on the road.
• The Des Moines Register heard former Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson is part of FOX’s new TV show, Pitch.
• Click here for The Tribune’s photo gallery of the Cubs onesies trip from Los Angeles.
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) August 28, 2016
And last, but not least … “I’m not going to beat up my guys. I’m pleased with our effort. We had a winning road trip. Any time you’re upset with a winning trip, then you’re really losing sight,” Joe Maddon said. “I’m pleased with everything we did. They were tough losses, but I promise you we’ll show up tomorrow.”
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Darwin Barney established the single-season record with his 114th straight errorless game at second base.
2012 – Indians selected Scott Maine off waivers from the Cubs
2005 – Cubs traded Todd Hollandsworth to the Braves for Todd Blackford and Angelo Burrows
2002 – Mariners signed amateur free agent Luis Valbuena
1989 – Trailing 9-0 after five innings, the Cubs rallied and beat the Astros 10-9 in 10 innings at Wrigley. Dwight Smith entered the game as a defensive replacement and singled in a run in the seventh, threw out a runner at the plate in the eighth, tied the game with a sac fly in the eighth and drove in the winning run in the 10th.
1989 – Logan Watkins, born
1983 – Anthony Recker, born
1973 – Cubs traded Pat Bourque to the A’s for Gonzalo Marquez
1971 – Henry Blanco, born
1966 – Picking up a win in relief in a 4-2 victory over the Braves, Robin Roberts became the first and only pitcher to record a win against the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves and Atlanta Braves.
1955 – Harry Chiti, Dee Fondy and Gene Baker homered in the fourth inning as the Cubs beat the Giants 6-3 at the Polo Grounds.
1918 – In a war-shortened season, the Cubs clinched the NL Pennant after George ‘Lefty’ Tyler beat the Reds 1-0 at Wrigley Field
1908 – Cubs beat Christy Mathewson and the Giants 3-2 with Mordecai ‘Three-Finger’ Brown picking up the victory in the Cubs eighth straight win.