The Cubs matched the team’s season-long winning streak Tuesday with the 5-1 victory over the Angels. The Cubs won their eighth straight and for the 11th time in 12 games. The Cubs improved to a season-best 29 games over .500 with a 70-41 record.
The Cubs are the first team to reach the 70-win mark.
ESPN pointed out this is the fastest any Cubs team has reached 70 wins in a season since 1945. And Joe Maddon’s team is three games off the 70-38 mark the ’45 team had. After starting the season 25-6, the Cubs have won 45 of the last 80 games.
The Cubs extended the lead in the NL Central to 12 games over the Cardinals. Buster Olney noted that the last time the Cubs had a 12-game lead in August or later was 1929. The Cubs dropped the Fall Classic in ’29 to Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.
There is a lot of baseball to be played. The Cubs have gotten off to a very good start in August (7-0) and are 17-6 since the break. It will be up to Joe Maddon, Dave Martinez, Chris Bosio and the coaching staff to stick to the plan, keep the players focused and the pedal down.
Hector Rondon did not pitch the ninth inning Tuesday in relief of John Lackey. Joe Maddon turned to Pedro Strop instead to lock down the win in a non-save situation. Rondon warmed up in Oakland over the weekend but did not pitch. Rondon has not appeared in a game since Aug. 2.
Joe Maddon said earlier in the day Tuesday that Rondon was fine that he was just trying to give him a break. As it turns out, Rondon is dealing with an injury that the Cubs downplayed after Tuesday’s game.
Maddon said Rondon was not used Tuesday night due to sore right triceps. Team trainers told him the injury was not serious and Rondon did not sound concerned when he was asked about the injury. Rondon started feeling tightness in his triceps Sunday according to the Sun-Times.
Rondon told the Sun-Times, “It’s not an issue. But I feel a little tired and tight too. So I prefer to doing my treadmill [instead of throwing] and see how I feel [Wednesday].”
Hector Rondon is supposed to play catch and be re-evaluated Wednesday.
Post-Game Reports-Recap and Willson Contreras
The Cubs beat the Angels for the third time on the season Tuesday. Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant homered. Anthony Rizzo had a pair of doubles. Ben Zobrist doubled and drove in a run. The Cubs made several outstanding defensive plays. And Lackey turned in one of his best starts of the season.
John Lackey faced his good friend Jered Weaver for the third time Tuesday night. Lackey has now won two of the three matchups.
The biggest story, outside of winning the game, was the way Willson Contreras worked with Lackey as he continues to make strides behind the plate as a receiver.
Lackey and Contreras appeared to be on the same page. Lackey said that Contreras called a good game. And anyone that watches the Cubs on a daily basis can see the improvements Contreras has made. Contreras is setting up different than he was, there is a lot less movement and pitchers are shaking him off less and less.
Lackey talked about Contreras’ development after the game.
“We’re starting to get some better results, not as much shaking,” Lackey said. “He got thrown into a tough spot, for sure, with some veteran guys in a playoff race. And I think he’s handled it well, absolutely. It’s just a matter of time until he figures out that side of the game. And he’s getting way better at it right now. The talent is all there. That’s the last step. Sometimes that takes a while. But he’s come along really fast right now, and it’s been good for us.”
Contreras has gotten on the same page with Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel. And now Lackey appears to be comfortable with him behind the plate. Contreras has not caught Jake Arrieta in a game and has worked with Jon Lester once, and that was when David Ross was on the 7-day concussion DL.
The Cubs are expected to continue pairing Arrieta with Miguel Montero and Ross with Lester. Having a catcher that can play every day and shut down a run game will be imperative in the post-season tournament. It will be interesting to watch Contreras work with the pitching staff for the rest of the regular season. And it will be up to Joe Maddon to make sure he gets enough time in other positions so he’s fresh enough to help the Cubs win games in October.
Here are the post-game reports and recap from the Cubs’ 70th win of the season …
- CCO – John Lackey, Cubs Make Quick Work of the Angels
- Comcast SportsNet – John Lackey shuts down Angels as Cubs create chemistry with Willson Contreras
- Bruce Levine – Lackey Growing More Comfortable with Contreras Behind the Plate
- The Sun-Times – Living on the edge: It’s what makes Lackey a force for the Cubs
- ESPN Chicago – John Lackey shines as Cubs win their eighth straight
- The Tribune – John Lackey, Willson Contreras provide stability
The Cubs increased the lead in the NL Central to 12 games on Tuesday. While John Lackey was busy taking care of the Angels in Chicago, the Reds bullpen did the job in St. Louis and the Redlegs beat the Redbirds 7-4.
The Cubs not only have a chance to bury the Cardinals in the division during the four-game series at Wrigley this weekend, they could have an opportunity to push the Redbirds further down in the NL Wild Card race. The Cardinals enter play Wednesday one game behind the Marlins for the second Wild Card.
The Cardinals placed Michael Wacha on the 15-day DL Tuesday with shoulder inflammation. The Cardinals called up top prospect Alex Reyes to take his spot on the roster. Reyes will pitch out of the pen for now and made his big league debut in Tuesday’s loss.
The Cardinals announced RHP Luke Weaver will start Saturday and make his big league debut against the Cubs at Wrigley. Weaver is considered the Cardinals’ second best pitching prospect, behind only Alex Reyes. Weaver was 6-3 in 12 starts with a 1.40 ERA and 0.94 WHIP for Double-A Springfield before the promotion to Triple-A last week. Weaver struck out 88 batters with 10 walks in 77 innings at the Double-A level. Weaver made one start for Triple-A Memphis, six innings of two-hit shutout ball against New Orleans on Monday.
With the changes the Cardinals made, here are the probable starting pitchers for the series:
- Thursday, Aug. 11 (7:05pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Carlos Martinez
- Friday, Aug. 12 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. RHP Adam Wainwright
- Saturday, Aug. 13 (1:20pm CDT) – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Luke Weaver
- Sunday, Aug. 14 (7:08pm CDT) – RHP John Lackey vs. RHP Mike Leake
News and Notes
• ESPN noted that Kris Bryant is the only player in Cubs history with 70 RBI in each of his first two seasons in the majors.
• According to ESPN, the Cubs hit the 70-win mark faster than most of their predecessors.
• Jesse Rogers sat down with John Lackey and posted the Q&A on ESPN Chicago.
• The Tigers claimed former Cubs’ right-hander Donn Roach off waivers from the Mariners.
• The Yankees claimed former Cubs’ right-handed reliever Blake Parker off waivers from the Mariners.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 10, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 10, 2016
And last, but not least, ESPN reported “only one player has posted 70 or more wins above replacement as a Cub since the team changed its name to the Cubs in 1903. That was Ron Santo, who amassed 72.0 WAR for the Cubs from 1960-73.”
This Day in Cubstory
2011 – Cubs released Dave Bush
2002 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs in consecutive at bats in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Sosa tied a Cubs’ record with nine RBI set in 1911 by Heine Zimmerman. Sosa’s sixth career three home run game tied the Major League record established by Johnny Mize and became only the fifth player in big league history to hit home runs in three straight innings. The Cubs beat the Rockies 15-1.
2001 – Cardinals selected Miguel Cairo off waivers from the Cubs
2001 – Pirates selected Gary Matthews Jr. off waivers from the Cubs
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Brandon Donnelly
1997 – Greg Maddux signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract with the Braves that made Maddux the highest paid player in the game.
1937 – Ripper Collins fractured his right leg sliding into home in a game against Pittsburgh
1934 – Phillies signed free agent Hack Wilson
1930 – In front of 45,000 at Wrigley Field, the Cubs swept two from the Boston Braves and moved within a game of Brooklyn. Hack Wilson drove in seven runs on three home runs.
1909 – Ed Reulbach won his 14th straight game when he held the Dodgers to six hits in an 8-1 Cubs victory at West Side Grounds.