Kris Bryant set a career mark Sunday in Oakland. Bryant went yard for the 27th time on the season surpassing the 26 home runs he hit a year ago in route to the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Bryant’s blast in the sixth inning broke a scoreless tie and the Cubs went on to sweep the A’s.
Bryant quieted a lot of concerns with the home run, his first dinger since July 27 against the White Sox. Bryant was still hitting and getting on base but he was lacking power. Sunday’s longball was his first extra basehit of any kind since July 29.
Bryant has looked a little off at the plate since the series with the Sox when he banged his head sliding into second base. But even with his recent ‘struggles,’ Bryant is 5-for-19 with a home run and five walks in his last five games (.263/.440/.421).
In the 21 games he played in since the break, Bryant is batting .280/.392/.402 with four doubles and two home runs for a .794 OPS.
For the season, Bryant is batting .285/.386/.543 with 25 doubles and 27 home runs for a .928 OPS.
Kris Bryant should benefit from the 10-game homestand that starts Tuesday. Based on his track record, his numbers, both at Wrigley and in the second half, should look a lot more Bryant-like before the Cubs leave for Denver on Aug. 18.
Jorge Soler came off the DL on Friday and immediately started mashing the baseball again. Soler smacked a three-run homer in his first at-bat back and went on to have an excellent weekend at the plate. Soler was the Cubs’ DH for all three games and three of his four hits went for extra bases.
Soler was 4-for-12 with a double, two home runs and five RBI in Oakland.
It’s easy to forget how dynamic a player Jorge Soler actually is, then he swings a bat.
In his last eight big league games, Soler is 9-for-23 with two doubles, two home runs, a walk, six runs scored and six RBI.
Now it’s up to Joe Maddon and the coaching staff to put him in the best position to succeed. Jorge Soler is an impact player, both offensively and defensively. As long as the Cubs can keep him focused, Soler will help win games over the next three months.
Zastryzny did not allow any runs over the first six innings of the game. Zastryzny completed his second straight scoreless outing. The lefty allowed two hits and walked a batter while striking out five. Zastryzny made 73 pitches, 50 for strikes.
In his last two starts, Zastryzny has pitched 11 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts (0.00 ERA, 0.59 WHIP). Zastryzny has been charged with only one unearned run in his last three starts (15 innings). And since the break, he is 2-1 in five games, four starts, with a 2.05 ERA and 0.91 WHIP (six runs, five earned, on 11 hits with nine walks and 21 strikeouts in 22 innings).
According to Gordon Wittenmyer, LHP Jack Leathersich is a reliever to keep an eye on down on the farm.
The Cubs claimed Leathersich off waivers from the Mets in November. After non-tendering a contract to Leathersich, he re-signed with the Cubs on a minor league contract in December. Leathersich spent the first half of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Leathersich has appeared in six games for Double-A Tennessee. In 5 1/3 innings, the lefty has allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts (3.38 ERA, 1.69 WHIP).
Wittenmyer reported “the Cubs consider him a possible key addition to the bullpen.”
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella did not report to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.
The Cubs will be forced to address his situation Tuesday, even if he reports to Iowa before the Cubs’ kickoff the two-game series with the Angels at Wrigley Field.
La Stella was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on July 29. By rule he has 72 hours to report. The Cubs gave him additional time to attend to a personal matter.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Kyle Hendricks has allowed one run on 10 hits in his last 16 1/3 innings over two starts with three walks and nine strikeouts. Willson Contreras has caught Hendricks the last two times out and ‘The Professor’ praised the work Contreras has done behind the plate with the beat writers after Sunday’s start.
• ESPN Chicago posted a Q&A with Kyle Hendricks before he went out and beat the A’s on Sunday afternoon.
• In the 22 games after the All-Star break, Cubs starters have a 2.49 ERA and 1.007 WHIP … and the starting staff’s ERA over that span drops to 2.15 when Brian Matusz’s start is removed.
• Joe Maddon thinks Carl Edwards Jr. could develop into a closer according to the Tribune.
• According to Jon Heyman, Brian McCann cleared waivers which makes him eligible to be traded to a team this month if the Yankees decide to move him.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Cubs acquired Jacob Turner from the Marlins for Jose Arias and Tyler Bremer
2003 – Cubs released Jose Silva
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Dalesandro
1997 – Cubs traded Brian McRae, Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell to the Mets for Lance Johnson and two PTBNL. Mets sent Matt Clark (Aug. 11) and Manny Alexander (Aug. 14) to the Cubs to complete the trade.
1989 – Anthony Rizzo, born
1988 – The Cubs and Phillies played the first night game in the history of Wrigley Field. 91-year old Cubs fan Harry Grossman flipped the switch on the lights at Wrigley. Rick Sutcliffe started the game, Ryne Sandberg homered and the game was rained out in the third inning. The Cubs and Mets completed the first full night game at Wrigley Field the next day.
1984 – Cubs completed the four-game sweep over the Mets with a 7-6 victory at Wrigley Field. Keith Moreland collected three hits, drove in four runs.
1965 – Pinch-hitter Ed Bailey was walked twice as the Cubs rallied for six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Mets 14-10 in the second game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. Cubs won the opener 7-6.
1947 – Shortstop Lennie Merullo and first baseman Eddie Waitkus combined on a triple play in the seventh inning (Merullo grabbed a liner, stepped on second and threw to first) and Bill Nicholson hit a home run in the 11th inning as the Cubs nipped the Reds 2-1 at Wrigley Field
1929 – Rogers Hornsby cracked a fourth-inning home run, one of four hits, in a Cubs 1-0 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field. Charlie Root picked up the win after allowing seven hits.