The Cubs reached another team goal with Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the Angels. The Cubs improved to 71-41 on the season, 30 games over .500. With 50 games left on the schedule, Joe Maddon’s team begins a four-game series Thursday against the Cardinals with a full 12-game lead in the division over the long-time rival.
The Cubs are 18-6 since the break, 8-0 in August, and have outscored their opponents 104-55 in the second half. This is the best start of a calendar month for the franchise since the ’27 Cubs went 8-0 in August of that season 89 years ago. And this is the earliest any Cubs team has reached 30 games over .500 in 47 years.
The Cubs have a tough task with the Cardinals at Wrigley for the next four days. Joe Maddon’s team has a chance to bury the Redbirds in the division and at the same time hurt their chances at one of the NL Wild Card spots.
Jason Hammel, Post-Game Reports and Recap
Jason Hammel said after he improved to 5-0 in the second half with a 1.16 ERA and 0.94 WHIP that he’s “never been on a team this good before.”
Hammel is 12-5 on the season, after Wednesday’s win, with a 2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. And the 12 wins, are a career-high for the veteran right-hander.
The Cubs took care of business against an Angels team that is holding down last place in the AL West. The Cubs did just enough to complete the sweep at Wrigley and win all four games of the season series.
Carl Edwards Jr. stepped up in another big spot late in the game. Edwards Jr. entered in the eighth inning with runners on second and third with no outs. The Cubs were clinging to a 2-0 lead. Pedro Strop started the inning but after facing one batter had to be helped off the field with a left knee injury. Travis Wood made one pitch and served up a double to Kole Calhoun. With Maddon needing a strikeout (or three) he turned to Edwards Jr.
Edwards Jr. struck out Mike Trout and got out of the jam after giving up just one run and the Cubs leading 2-1.
The Cubs pitching staff is the main reason for the 18-6 record out of the break.
In the 24 games since the All-Star break, the Cubs starting rotation has a 2.31 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while holding opponents to a .199 batting average.
Here are the post-game reports and recap from the Cubs’ ninth straight win …
- CCO – Cubs Scratch Out a Win, Sweep the Angels
- ESPN – How they won: Carl Edwards Jr. provides outside assistance
- ESPN Chicago – Pedro Strop injured, but the Cubs’ roll continues
- Comcast SportsNet – Cubs bullpen in flux with Pedro Strop down and Hector Rondon sidelined
- The Sun-Times – Cubs win ninth straight but not before another reliever goes down
- The Tribune – Cubs tune up for Cardinals with 3-1 victory; Pedro Strop hurts left leg
The Cubs are hoping for the best with Pedro Strop but it did not look good Wednesday when he had to be helped off the field after facing one batter in the eighth inning. Strop appeared to jam his left knee making a sliding stop on a bouncer up the third baseline off the bat of Yunel Escobar.
Strop tried to walk back to the mound after the play was over, could not and was helped off the field by Javier Baez and the Cubs’ trainer. Strop left Wrigley on crutches.
Strop is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday morning to determine the severity of the injury.
Based on what is known, Strop will miss time and will likely be placed on the 15-day DL before Thursday’s opener with the Cardinals. Justin Grimm is expected to be recalled to take his spot in the bullpen.
Joe Maddon obviously could not comment on the Cubs’ plans for the pen. Maddon did say if Strop misses time it changes the entire complexion of group. Maddon said he will “not beat up” Carl Edwards Jr. and that Joe Smith will have a more predominant role in the pen.
Hector Rondon played catch Wednesday and said after that he felt good. Rondon thinks he will be ready to pitch in a game again in two days. Based on his timeframe, Rondon should be available again on Saturday.
Rondon is dealing with sore right triceps and has not pitched in a game since Aug. 2.
Joe Maddon indicated that Rondon is “trending in the right direction” and is listed as day-to-day.
As of Wednesday, the Cubs did not have any plans of placing Rondon on the disabled list.
Trevor Cahill made his final rehab start Wednesday for the Iowa Cubs. Cahill is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL on Tuesday (Aug. 16) and start one of the two games against the Brewers.
Cahill allowed three runs on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts in two innings. Cahill served up back-to-back homers in the first inning that accounted for all three runs. Cahill made 36 pitches, 23 for strikes.
Trevor Cahill has made six rehab starts with Iowa. In 19 2/3 innings, Cahill has allowed 12 runs, 10 earned, on 25 hits with 12 walks and 25 strikeouts (4.58 ERA, 1.88 WHIP).
During his weekly spot on the Mully and Hanley Show (670 The Score), Chris Bosio said the Cubs will stick with a five-man rotation. The Cubs do not have any plans of shifting to a six-man rotation and the only time an extra starter will be used is in the doubleheader with the Brewers.
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. left Wednesday’s game early with an apparent injury to his hand. The Des Moines Register talked to Marty Pevey after the game and the I-Cubs skipper passed on good news about Almora Jr.
Almora Jr. has a bruised thumb (thumb contusion) and is day-to-day. X-rays were not scheduled.
Albert Almora Jr. is batting .309/.323/.429 with 16 doubles, three triples and four home runs for a .752 OPS in 71 games for Iowa this season. Since he was optioned back, Almora Jr. is hitting .279/.286/.382 with four doubles and a home run for a .668 OPS in 16 games.
Iowa is off Thursday and begins an eight-game road trip through Fresno and Sacramento on Friday.
Kyle Schwarber played catch before Wednesday’s game on the field at Wrigley. Schwarber was in the outfield with his catcher’s mitt throwing a baseball as he continues his season-long rehab.
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday RHP Luiz Escanio was suspended 144 games without pay for testing positive for PEDs.
Escanio was pitching on the DSL Cubs2 team in the Dominican Summer League.
The 24-year old was 3-1 in 10 games, all in relief, with a 1.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs are out to bury the Cardinals.
• According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs will closely monitor pitchers’ workloads down the stretch.
• The Sun-Times explained why Miguel Montero remains a key for the Cubs even in a reduced role.
• Joe Maddon did not have an update on Tommy La Stella before Wednesday’s game. La Stella has not reported to Triple-A Iowa.
• Kris Bryant is somehow blowing past sky-high expectations according to Larry Scott.
• John Lackey and Pedro Strop did something Tuesday that has been done once in the last 15 years. Lackey (6) and Strop (1) had seven called third strikes.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 11, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – The Blue Jays, Rays, Marlins, Mets, Indians, Cubs, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers and Giants all win, making it the first time in the live ball era that every contest is won by the home team in a full slate of games.
2010 – Cubs traded Mike Fontenot to the Giants for Evan Crawford
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Mac Suzuki
2005 – Gregg Maddux tossed a complete game against the Cardinals and snapped the Cubs eight-game losing streak. Maddux posted the 314th win of his career.
2003 – Kerry Wood became the youngest pitcher in Major League history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts mark. Wood set the record in 134 games. The Cubs lost to the Astros 3-1.
2002 – Sammy Sosa hit a grand slam and a run scoring double against the Rockies and set a National League record with 14 RBI in a two-game stretch. The Padres’ Nate Colbert (1972) and the Cardinals’ Mark Whiten (1993) held the previous record (13).
1981 – Cubs traded Jesus Figueroa, Jerry Martin and Mike Turgeon to the Giants for Phil Nastu and Joe Strain
1972 – Milt Pappas drove in five runs with a single, a double and a home run in the Cubs 7-2 victory over the Mets at Wrigley Field
1968 – Billy Williams hit two home runs, a three-run inside the park homer in the 15th inning and a two-run homer in the sixth. Don Kessinger recorded five hits in seven trips to the plate as the Cubs beat the Reds 8-5 in Cincinnati.
1966 – Randy Hundley hit for the cycle and drove in three runs in the Cubs 9-8 victory over the Astros at Wrigley Field
1961 – Warren Spahn beat the Cubs 3-1 in Milwaukee for the 300th win of his career
1941 – Phil Cavarretta, Stan Hack and Bill Nicholson went back-to-back-to-back in the fifth inning, but the Cubs lost 7-5 to the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. The three-straight homers in the fifth inning marked the first time in Cubs history three players hit three consecutive longballs.