It’s Labor Day Weekend, the Cubs are 39 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the ’45 season and there is a lot of work to be done over the next month. The Cubs increased the lead in the NL Central to 15 ½ games with Thursday’s come from behind win in the first of four with the Giants.
Addison Russell came through again Thursday and delivered the clutch hit when the Cubs needed it. Russell’s two-out knock with the bases loaded in the seventh drove in Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant and was the difference in the game.
According to ESPN, Russell has driven in 22 of his 88 runs on the season when the Cubs are trailing in a game, second most on the team behind Anthony Rizzo (24).
Russell has become ‘Mr. Clutch’ for the Cubs.
With the bases empty this season, Russell is hitting .204/.300/.365 with .665 OPS and with runners on base he is batting .278/.349/.479 with .828 OPS. With runners in scoring position, Russell has a .806 OPS with a .264/.333/.472 slash line.
Twenty-eight of Russell’s 88 RBI on the season have come with two outs and runners in scoring position. Russell is batting .239/.320/.403/.723 OPS with two down and runners in scoring position. And with the bases loaded this season, Russell is 8-for-18 with 23 RBI … .444/.455/.722 with a 1.177 OPS.
At Wrigley Field this season, Russell is hitting .271/.347/.489 with 14 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs for a .835 OPS. Russell has 59 RBI in 63 home games.
For the season, Russell is batting .243/.326/.425 with 18 doubles, three triples and 19 home runs for a .751 OPS. Russell has 88 RBI with a month to go in his first full season in the majors. Since he started for the National League in the All-Star Game, Russell has hit .253/.320/.468 with seven doubles, a triple and eight home runs for a .788 OPS. Russell has 37 RBI since the break, second in the NL to the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (45) according to ESPN Chicago.
A day after arguably making the team’s catch of the year, Addison Russell delivered with the bat in the clutch … lots of highlight reel catches and clutch hits for the Cubs’ 22-year old shortstop this season.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from ESPN
Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to 14 games on Thursday, equaling a career-high. Bryant went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI. Bryant picked up on the first day of September where he left off in August.
Bryant should be named the NL Player of the Month for August after posting just ridiculous numbers.
In 27 games last month, Bryant hit .383/.472/.748 with seven doubles, a triple and 10 home runs … that’s a 1.220 OPS.
Since the All-Star break, Bryant has hit .347/.438/.613 with 11 doubles, a triple and 11 home runs for a 1.051 OPS.
For the season, Bryant is hitting .307/.403/.590 with 32 doubles, a triple and 36 home runs for a .993 OPS. Bryant has scored 112 runs and has 91 RBI.
John Lackey completed a second side session Thursday which was actually on the mound at Wrigley. Lackey said he felt good after the ‘bullpen’ and is ready to pitch again.
The Cubs will wait until Friday morning to see how he feels before announcing he will start Sunday in the finale of the four-game series with the Giants. From all indications, Lackey will be activated from the disabled list.
According to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have not decided if they will use a six-man rotation in September. Mike Montgomery struggled Thursday. The Cubs are thinking big picture. How Lackey pitches on Sunday will impact how the Cubs move forward with the starting rotation for September.
Hector Rondon threw a bullpen Thursday and everything went well. According to multiple reports, Rondon will report to Triple-A Iowa and make two rehab appearances out of the I-Cubs bullpen, one on Saturday and a second on Monday in Iowa’s last game of the season.
Unless Rondon has a setback over the next four days he is expected to come off the disabled list while the Cubs are in Milwaukee (Sept. 5-7) for the first stop of the three-city, nine-game road trip.
The news Thursday was not as positive for Pedro Strop.
The Cubs announced Strop had a setback in his rehab from left knee surgery. An MRI revealed he strained his right groin during workouts on Wednesday.
When Strop landed on the disabled list Aug. 11 with a left meniscus tear, the Cubs put a timetable of four to six weeks on when he would be able to return. Strop was ahead of schedule until Wednesday. The Cubs think Strop will be back by mid-September.
News and Notes
• The bullpen sparkles in Cubs’ comeback win according to ESPN Chicago. According to Comcast SportsNet, with their biggest lead in 109 years, it’s time for Cubs to preserve Aroldis Chapman for October.
• Joe Maddon said Thursday that Aroldis Chapman would likely be unavailable for Friday’s game. Chapman pitched in all three games of the Pirates series and received Thursday off. Chances are Maddon will stay away from using him as much as possible this weekend.
• Complacency? According to The Sun-Times, MLB-best Cubs plan to step up in September.
• The Tribune reported Joe Maddon believes it was just a matter of timing for Jason Heyward.
• The Sun-Times asked could Willson Contreras be the Cubs’ Buster Posey in rare World Series role.
• Among the things ESPN learned on Thursday was that the Cubs loom large in NL playoff races. ESPN posted storylines for the Cubs-Giants series. According to Fox Sports, the Cubs are one of the nine biggest storylines in baseball that will define September.
• Clayton Kershaw will make a rehab start at Rancho Cucamonga this weekend according to Bill Shaikin.
This Day in Cubstory
2002 – Sammy Sosa hit career home run No. 494 and passed Lou Gehrig on the All-Time home run list.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 56 and tied Hack Wilson’s 68-year old club record. Sosa smacked the home run off Jason Bere and helped the Cubs beat the Reds 4-2.
1992 – Ronald Torreyes, born
1986 – Cubs and Astros used a Major League record 53 players in Houston’s 8-7 over Greg Maddux at Wrigley Field.
1982 – Jason Hammel, born
1972 – Milt Pappas pitched a no-hitter against the Padres, the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field until Cole Hamels in 2015. Pappas set down 26 batters before walking Larry Stahl on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth. Pappas retired Gary Jestadt to preserve the no-hitter.
1969 – Cubs released Gene Oliver
1965 – Ernie Banks hit his 400th home run, a three-run shot off Curt Simmons in the third inning. The Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-3 at Wrigley Field. Banks drove in 106 runs in 1965. Ron Santo and Billy Williams also drove in 100 runs for the Cubs, the only team with three players with 100-plus RBI in 1965.
1955 – Ernie Banks hit his 40th homer of the season in Cubs 12-2 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley. Banks’ home run set a record for shortstops and passed the 39 home runs Vern Stephens hit with the ’39 Red Sox. Banks finished the season with 44 home runs and topped his own record in 1958 when he hit 47 homers.
1932 – Kiki Cuyler hit his fifth home run in six games in the Cubs 8-5 victory over the Cardinals. The Cubs won the 13th game in a row behind Burleigh Grimes and Charlie Root.
1929 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 11-7 and 12-10 in front of 81,000 at Wrigley Field. 38,000 showed up for the first game and 43,000 in the afternoon. Rogers Hornsby hit two home runs and Hack Wilson hit one longball.
1903 – Cubs signed free agent Jack McCarthy