The Cubs made it 21 wins in 27 games on Tuesday night with the 3-0 shutout of the Pirates. The Cubs are 84-47 (.641), 37 games over .500. Anthony Rizzo reiterated Tuesday the Cubs are taking it one game at a time as the team focuses on winning the NL Central.
“Yeah, it’s definitely one game at a time,” Rizzo said. “But it is also definitely now how many games do we have to win to clinch. We just have to stay focused and keep going.”
The Cubs look to complete the sweep of the Pirates on Wednesday night.
Kyle Hendricks delivered another dominating performance with seven sensational shutout innings on Tuesday night. Hendricks lowered his Major League-best earned run average to 2.09. Hendricks is close to half a point better than Madison Bumgarner (2.49). Noah Syndergaard (2.55), Jon Lester (2.70), Jose Quintana (2.77), Jose Fernandez (2.79), Jake Arrieta (2.84), Tanner Roark (2.87), Max Scherzer (2.89) and Cole Hamels (2.91) round out the top 10 in ERA in baseball. And for those keeping score, three of the Cubs’ five starting pitchers have the best ERA in the majors.
Hendricks has a 1.34 ERA since the break, which is the best in baseball, and his 1.21 ERA at Wrigley Field is the best home ERA in the majors. Over his last 10 games, nine starts, at Wrigley, Hendricks has a 0.82 ERA and 0.822 WHIP (44 hits, 59 strikeouts, 65 2/3 innings).
Hendricks is 13-7 in 26 games, 25 starts, with a 2.09 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Hendricks is second to Max Scherzer (0.91) in WHIP. Hendricks has allowed 45 runs, 37 earned, on 117 hits with 39 walks and 139 strikeouts in 159 innings.
Hendricks has pitched his way into the middle of the conversation for the NL Cy Young Award. And what Hendricks has done over his last 30 starts compares to Jake Arrieta as Christopher Kamka pointed out. Hendricks has a 2.36 ERA and 0.969 WHIP over his last 30 starts (182 2/3 innings). Arrieta has a 2.45 ERA and 0.969 WHIP in his last 30 starts (198 innings).
Clint Hurdle told Mark Grote after Tuesday’s game that Hendricks reminded him of Greg Maddux.
“I thought I was back in 1987, and I was watching Greg Maddux pitch.”
Kyle Hendricks admitted after Tuesday’s start that he did not see himself being part of the NL Cy Young Award race when the season started. Hendricks said, “It means a lot just because of where I was last year, and my goals coming into this year. I definitely didn’t see myself being a part of that. I had my sights set a little lower. I’m just taking it in stride.”
Anthony Rizzo lined a two-run homer out to right in the first inning of Tuesday’s game. The two runs would be all Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs pen would need. The Cubs won 3-0 over the Pirates.
Rizzo smacked home run No. 26 on the season, his first since Aug. 14. Rizzo has put together a good month (.333/.400/.500) at the plate even with only hitting two home runs. Rizzo has a .900 OPS and hasn’t slowed down in the second half as much as a year ago. Rizzo is batting .287/.342/.480 with a .822 OPS over his last 42 games (14 doubles, two triples, five home runs) after hitting .299/.416/.591 with a 1.006 OPS in his first 85 games of the season (23 doubles, two triples, 21 home runs).
For the season, Anthony Rizzo has hit .294/.391/.551 with 37 doubles, four triples and 26 home runs for a .942 OPS. Rizzo has 93 RBI with 78 runs scored in 127 games.
Rizzo’s two-run dinger Tuesday night moved him past Andy Pafko to No. 16 on the Cubs’ All-Time Home Run list. Rizzo has hit 127 home runs with the Cubs. Leon Durham (138) is next up for Rizzo on the Cubs’ homer list.
John Lackey – Rotation Changes
The Cubs announced changes to the rotation Tuesday.
Jason Hammel was moved up a day and will start Wednesday against the Pirates in the finale of the three-game series. Mike Montgomery was pushed back to Thursday and will start the opener of the four-game series with the Giants.
The Cubs moved Hammel up due to the 39-pitch outing he had against the Dodgers. Hammel also matches up well with the Pirates.
Mike Montgomery (Thursday), Jon Lester (Friday) and Jake Arrieta (Saturday) are scheduled for the first three games with the Giants. If everything goes as planned with a 30-pitch bullpen Thursday, John Lackey will be activated from the DL and start Sunday against the Giants. Kyle Hendricks would start on regular rest Sunday if Lackey is unable to pitch.
John Lackey completed the first of two bullpen sessions Monday. By all accounts it went well and he is scheduled for another pen on Thursday. Barring a setback, Lackey will start Sunday.
The Giants make their annual trip to Wrigley for a four-game series that begins Thursday night. Bruce Bochy hasn’t officially posted his starters for the series, but John Shea did last weekend. Bochy has Jeff Samardzija, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto lined up for the Cubs.
With the changes the Cubs announced Tuesday, and as long as John Lackey does not have a setback Thursday, here are the probable starting pitchers for the four-game series …
- Thursday, Sept. 1 (7:05pm CDT) – LHP Mike Montgomery vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija
- Friday, Sept. 2 (1:20pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Matt Cain
- Saturday, Sept. 3 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
- Sunday, Sept. 4 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP John Lackey vs. RHP Johnny Cueto
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet explained why Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball and what that means for Tommy La Stella.
• Bruce Levine reported Anthony Rizzo leads Cubs’ well-oiled machine again.
• Patience with Jason Heyward is working according to Bruce Levine.
• The Sun-Times asked if wild dangers lurk for Cubs in NL playoff field.
• With teams able to expand roster as soon as Thursday, Armando Rivero struck out the side in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game. Rivero gave up a home run for the first time since April … and he’s pitched the entire season out of the I-Cubs’ pen in the PCL. Rivero passed the 100-strikeout mark on the season Tuesday, quite the accomplishment for the right-handed reliever. Rivero is 5-3 with one save, a 2.22 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 42 games this season. Rivero has allowed 19 runs, 16 earned, on 40 hits with 35 walks and 102 strikeouts in 65 innings.
• LHP Jack Leathersich pitched another scoreless inning for Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday night. Leathersich has appeared in three games for the I-Cubs since he was promoted from Double-A Tennessee. Leathersich has not allowed any runs or hits in three innings while walking two and striking out three. In 24 games over three levels in the Cubs’ minor league system this season, Leathersich is 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 1.13 WHIP (five runs, 15 hits, nine walks, 31 strikeouts, 21 1/3 innings).
• According to Bruce Levine, the new outfield grass at Wrigley will be installed by Sept. 8. The Cubs will be in the middle of a nine-game road trip (Brewers – Sept. 5-7; Off Day on Sept. 8; Astros – Sept. 9-11; Cardinals – Sept. 12-14) when the new sod is scheduled to be installed. The Cubs first home game with the new grass is Sept. 15. The new grass comes with a $250,000 price tag that concert promoters are paying.
• It is possible RHP Joe Nathan will be with the Giants for the four-game series at Wrigley. Bruce Bochy told Henry Schulman that it is possible the Giants will call up Nathan on Thursday if the Giants can work out 40-man issues.
• According to Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers said “everything went smooth” with the two-inning simulated game Clayton Kershaw threw on Tuesday. The Dodgers are hoping he can return to the rotation in two weeks.
• Coco Crisp is on the move and a deal that will send the veteran outfielder from Oakland to Cleveland will be officially announced Wednesday. Crisp will return to the Indians and be reunited with Terry Francona.
• Yasiel Puig was claimed on waivers according to Jon Heyman. It’s unclear if he will be traded before Wednesday’s deadline. The Dodgers may pull him back and wait until the off-season to deal him. According to Bob Nightengale, the White Sox were one of the teams that claimed him but were not awarded the claim.
• OF Desmond Jennings cleared waivers and is now a free agent according to Marc Topkin.
• Tim Tebow held his workout Tuesday as he attempts to pursue a career in baseball. The Cubs were one of two teams that did not have scouts at the workout … 28 of the 30 teams had scouts in attendance, the A’s were the other team not represented at the event.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs skipped Tim Tebow’s showcase. Patrick Mooney reported the Cubs viewed the showcase as a promotional stunt.
• Kyle Schwarber played catch Tuesday.
• Fox Sports reported Anthony Rizzo pens heartfelt letter to child with leukemia.
This Day in Cubstory
2007 – Cubs traded Rocky Cherry and Scott Moore to the Orioles for Steve Trachsel
2006 – Cubs traded Phil Nevin to the Twins for a PTBNL. Twins sent Adam Harben to the Cubs on Sept. 5, 2006 to complete the trade
2004 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and cash to the Brewers for Ben Grieve. The Cubs sent Andy Pratt to the Brewers on Sept. 3, 2004 to complete the trade
1999 – Cubs traded Rod Beck to the Red Sox for Mark Guthrie and a PTBNL. Red Sox sent Cole Liniak to the Cubs on Sept. 1 to complete the trade
1999 – Cubs traded Tyler Houston to the Indians for Richard Negrette
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 55 in a 5-4 win over the Reds. The longball was Sosa’s 30th of the year at Wrigley which put him three short of Hack Wilson’s record for a single season at Wrigley and tied him with Ernie Banks.
1997 – Cubs sent Shawon Dunston to the Pirates as a part of a conditional deal (PTBNL)
1984 – Cubs acquired Davey Lopes from Oakland for Chuck Rainey and a PTBNL. The Cubs sent Damon Farmar to the A’s on March 18, 1985 to complete the trade
1973 – Cubs acquired Mike Paul from the Rangers for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Larry Gura to Texas on Nov. 14, 1973 to complete the trade.
1971 – Don Kessinger collected five hits in six at bats, including the game-winning single in the 10th inning as the Cubs beat the Expos 7-6 in game one of a doubleheader at Wrigley. Kessinger had two more hits in the second game, but the Cubs lost game two 11-2.
1963 – In the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Wrigley, Ellis Burton hit a walk-off grand slam off Houston’s Hal Woodeshick and gave the Cubs a 6-5 win.
1932 – With the Cubs trailing 9-7 with two out in the bottom of the 10th at Wrigley, Kiki Cuyler hit a three-run homer that gave the Cubs a 10-9 victory over the Giants and extended the Cubs winning streak to 12 games. Cuyler’s walk-off homer was his fifth hit of the day and his fourth home run in five games.
1915 – Jimmy Lavender pitched a no-hitter as the Cubs beat the Giants 2-0 in the first game of the doubleheader at the Polo Grounds.
1902 – The Chicago National League Ball Club purchased Johnny Evers from Troy in the New York State League