The Cubs won for the 16th time in 19 games on Saturday night (15-3 in August) behind an excellent combined outing from Mike Montgomery and Trevor Cahill. Joe Maddon’s team improved to 78-44 on the season. With the Cardinals losing 4-2 in Philly, the lead in the NL Central is back to 13 games.
The Cubs have a five-game lead over the Nationals (73-49) for the best record in the National League. And the Cubs plus-215 run differential on the season is best in baseball with the Nationals (+146), Red Sox (+121), Indians (+104) and Blue Jays (+96) rounding out the top five.
After a shaky start to his Cubs’ career in which many questioned the front office’s decision to acquire him from the Mariners, Mike Montgomery put together another good outing in his first start with the Cubs.
Montgomery took a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Rockies. Montgomery walked two, struck out five and gave up only one hit in 4 1/3 innings, unfortunately the one hit was a solo home run by Nick Hundley. Montgomery became only the second pitcher this season to pitch four innings of no-hit ball at Coors Field.
In his last four appearances, Mike Montgomery has allowed one run on four hits with five walks and 13 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings (0.96 ERA, 0.96 WHIP). With the Cubs, Montgomery is 1-1 in eight games, one start, with a 2.77 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.
Mike Montgomery is settling in with his new team after last month’s trade with the Mariners. While players are expected to produce right away, as Chris Bosio has pointed out players are not machines and in some instances it just takes time for a player to get acclimated and in a routine.
Joe Maddon was very pleased with Montgomery’s performance against the Rockies. And with John Lackey on the DL, the Tribune reported that Montgomery “could give the Cubs a big lift in the final six weeks.”
The Cubs targeted a 60-65 pitch count for Montgomery on Saturday night. He made 60 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. Montgomery will have a higher pitch count (80-90) to work with his next time out.
Mike Montgomery is scheduled to start Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
John Lackey talked to the beat writers Saturday for the first time after being placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder strain.
Lackey doesn’t “think it’s anything too serious right now.” Lackey admitted he will not know for sure until he starts throwing again. Lackey said he is “working with the trainers right now.”
Multiple reports indicated Lackey did not fight being placed on the disabled list.
Lackey thinks he will be fine and that he has plenty of time to prepare for the playoffs according to ESPN Chicago.
“If I can pitch, I’m going to pitch. I’m not taking a vacation,” Lackey said. “It’s not like it takes me a whole lot of time to get ramped back up. I’ll be able to go back out there pretty quick, as soon as I start throwing.”
The Cubs have not said when John Lackey will begin throwing again.
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Aroldis Chapman will not be available on Sunday for the finale of the three game series with the Rockies. Chapman was unavailable on Saturday. As it turns out, the Cubs did not miss having their closer at the end of the game.
Chapman admitted to ESPN Chicago that he “was a little fatigued” on Friday when he could not get the job done in the 11th inning after the Cubs took the lead in the top half. Chapman was pitching in his fourth game in as many days.
“I felt a bit tired [Friday] night,” Chapman told Marly Rivera from ESPN Deportes. “I did not perform at 100 percent. Also, the game was long, and I was throwing and preparing [in the bullpen] to come in, in case they scored a run, and that may have contributed to me feeling a little tired.”
“The manager and I are just getting to know each other, but we do have very good communication, and we will figure things out in terms of innings workload and need for rest and so on,” Chapman said. “I’m going to rest Saturday and Sunday, and then Monday I know I’ll be back at 100 percent.”
Aroldis Chapman is not concerned. He just feels he needs rest after pitching a lot on consecutive days.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella returned to the Smokies lineup on Saturday after missing two days with a bruised foot. La Stella batted second and played second base for Mark Johnson. La Stella reached base three times and scored a run in the Smokies’ 9-4 win over the Suns.
La Stella singled to center in his first at-bat. La Stella went 1-for-3 with two walks and played the entire game. La Stella worked a seven-pitch walk in his last plate appearance of the night. La Stella is 2-for-4 with two walks and a HBP in two games with Double-A Tennessee.
The Sun-Times reported Saturday that La Stella has gone AWOL before and questioned whether or not if the Cubs should have known if he would do it again.
According to the report, La Stella has “incidents of unexplained tardiness and ‘where’s Tommy’ moments.” Gordon Wittenmyer explained that as a rookie with the Braves two years ago, La Stella left the park during batting practice without telling anyone. There was “a sudden health issue involving a girlfriend that prompted La Stella to leave the ballpark.” That incident made La Stella available the next time the Cubs asked about him.
Reports from the Des Moines Register have pointed to the possibility of La Stella reporting to the I-Cubs this week as he works his way back to the majors.
Cubs-Padres Probable Starters
The Cubs open a three-game series on Monday night in San Diego. And there will be a familiar face on the mound for the Padres in game one at PETCO Park.
The Padres announced Saturday that Edwin Jackson will start Monday against the Cubs. Jackson is 3-2 in six starts with a 5.20 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 4.36 FIP since joining the Padres’ rotation. Jackson started the season with the Marlins.
Jon Lester is scheduled to face Jackson on Monday. It appears the Cubs will miss Clayton Richard.
Here are the probable starters for the three-game series:
- Monday, Aug. 22 (9:10pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Edwin Jackson
- Tuesday, Aug. 23 (9:10pm CDT) – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. LHP Christian Friedrich
- Wednesday, Aug. 24 (2:40pm CDT) – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Paul Clemens
Jeimer Candelario hit third for Marty Pevey on Saturday night at Principal Park. The I-Cubs beat the Redbirds 6-3 … and even at the Triple-A level, it’s always a great day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Candelario went 1-for-4 with two RBI and extended both of his streaks. Candelario has hit safely in eight straight games and has reached base in 27 in a row.
Candy is 17-for-44 in his last 10 games. And his slash line with Iowa is .313/.406/.521 with 14 doubles, three triples and eight home runs for a .927 OPS.
Lefty Jack Leathersich is on his way to Iowa, at least that’s what he tweeted early Sunday morning.
Leathersich was activated from the DL on July 22 after spending almost a month on a rehab assignment with the AZL Cubs. Leathersich appeared in 11 games for Double-A Tennessee and was charged with four runs on 11 hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings (3.48 ERA, 1.45 WHIP).
Over his last seven appearances, Leathersich was charged with two runs on five hits in seven innings with three walks and nine strikeouts (2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP).
Leathersich limited left-handers to a .111 batting average. Right-handers his a robust .429 against him.
Jack Leathersich is not currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. There is one open spot on the 40-man and moves the front office could make to open spots to call-up pitchers, like Leathersich, in September.
News and Notes
• The Tribune reported Miguel Montero makes his case for the playoffs.
• Kris Bryant took over the lead in the NL in homers on Saturday night and is firmly planted in the conversation for NL MVP. Mike Petriello pointed out that amid a great season, Bryant still has one weakness.
• The Tribune reported Rob Zastryzny kept news of his promotion to Cubs a secret. Zastryzny found out before Felix Pena that both pitchers were going to The Show. Marty Pevey asked him to not say anything before Pena was told. Take a minute to read Mark Gonzales report … just a good story about players when they get The Call.
• OF Carlos Gomez signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. Gomez will spend a short time in the minors before the Rangers call him up. For all of the good moves and decisions Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels has made this is not one of them.
— Rob Botts (@RobBottstoons) August 21, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
1999 – Sammy Sosa became the fourth player to hit 50 or more home runs in consecutive seasons. Sosa joined Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey Jr.
1989 – Jerome Walton went 0-for-4 in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Reds and snapped his 30-game hitting streak.
1987 – Andre Dawson hit his 39th and 40th home runs of the season and Lee Smith picked up his 30th save in the Cubs 7-5 win over the Astros.
1978 – Jason Marquis, born
1975 – Rick and Paul Reuschel combined on baseball’s first all-brother shutout as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 7-0 at Wrigley Field
1968 – Tuffy Rhodes, born
1965 – Jim Bullinger, born
1935 – After losing the first game of a doubleheader, 13-12, the Cubs scored 12 runs in the sixth inning of the second game and beat the Phillies 19-5 in Philadelphia. Phil Cavarretta and Frank Demaree collected five hits in the second game after Cavarretta recorded two and Demaree three in the first game. Chuck Klein scored eight runs in the doubleheader, three in game one and five in game two.
1929 – Charlie Grimm was sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with a hand injury. Grimm returned for the World Series
1898 – Walter Thornton threw a no-hitter and beat the Dodgers 2-0 in the second game of a doubleheader at West Side Grounds.
1881 – With his team already ahead 5-0 in the eighth inning, Abner Dalrymple became the first player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded in the history of the game.