Happy Labor Day!
Before the Cubs beat the Giants 3-2 in 13 innings to win the four-game series (3-1) and maintain the 16 ½ game lead in the division over the Cardinals, Joe Maddon announced they would be moving forward with a six-man rotation.
Mike Montgomery will stay in the rotation and start Wednesday’s finale at Miller Park. Kyle Hendricks (Monday) and Jason Hammel (Tuesday) will start the first two games against the Brewers. Maddon pointed out that using a six-man rotation “makes all the sense in the world.”
“Just trying to keep guys fresh for the rest of the year. It’s no more complicated than that.”
“Right now our starters are pitching as well as they have all year,” Maddon said. “I’d like to think if we continue along this path, we’ll keep that freshness about them.”
With Thursday’s off day, the starters will get six days in between starts.
Multiple reports indicated the Cubs would use a ‘soft six-man rotation,’ ESPN Chicago reported that Montgomery will remain in the rotation for the month.
The Cubs have Hendricks, Hammel and Montgomery scheduled for the Brewers’ series. Unless there are changes, Maddon has Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey lined up for the series in Houston (Sept. 9-11) and Hendricks, Hammel and Montgomery for the three games in St. Louis.
The Cubs pitching staff stepped it up during the four-game series with the Giants. The Cubs won three of four because of the team’s pitching that gave up 14 total hits in four games (40 innings), tying the franchise record for the fewest hits at Wrigley during a four-game series set in 1934 against the New York Giants.
Jason Heyward had his best game, offensively, of the season Sunday. Heyward drove in all three of the Cubs runs and finished the game 3-for-6 with three RBI. Heyward made up for his second inning error that ended up costing the Cubs a run.
Heyward tied the game twice with singles in the fourth and ninth innings. And he drove in the game winner in the 13th inning, Anthony Rizzo from second base.
According to ESPN, Sunday was the first extra innings walk-off hit of Heyward’s career … and first walk-off hit of any kind since the 2010 season.
The Cubs have managed just fine without Heyward contributing much offensively this season. With baseball’s second season just around the corner, the Cubs could really use for Jason Heyward just to be Jason Heyward for the next seven weeks.
Over his last 15 games, Heyward is hitting .304/.316/.429 … and he is 13-for-39 in his last 10 games dating back to the start of the Dodgers series with two doubles, seven RBI and five multi-hit games.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 4, 2016
LONG WEEKEND! pic.twitter.com/diX8o5MNN0
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 4, 2016
Hector Rondon and the Bullpen
Hector Rondon could be activated from the DL as soon as Monday. Joe Maddon would not commit to a specific day in which Rondon will be back in the bullpen. Maddon said Sunday that Rondon will “be available soon” and probably during the first part of the road trip.
The bullpen kept the Giants in check throughout the four-game series. When Joe Panik singled off Rob Zastryzny with one out in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game he became the first baserunner of the series against the Cubs’ bullpen (8 1/3 innings).
Bruce Miles reported that in the 16 innings the bullpen pitched in the series, Maddon’s relievers did not allow a run and held the Giants to three hits, two walks and two HBP with 17 strikeouts.
Albert Almora Jr.
Albert Almora Jr. is one of a handful of players the Cubs are expected to call-up Tuesday. Iowa plays their final game of the season Monday at Principal Park. Almora Jr. is producing at the plate while continuing to play Gold Glove caliber defense.
At the plate, Almora Jr. has hit safely in eight of the nine games he’s played in since coming off the DL. Almora Jr. even managed to work in a walk.
Albert Almora Jr.’s numbers with the I-Cubs look very good with one game left to play. In 80 games this season at the Triple-A level, Almora Jr. his .303/.317/.416 with 18 doubles, three triples and four home runs for a .733 OPS. Almora Jr. scored 46 runs with 43 RBI and nine walks with 44 strikeouts in 320 at bats.
The Cubs make their final trip of the season to Miller Park for a three-game series that begins Monday with an early start time. Joe Maddon loves the fact the Cubs are playing a game at 12:10pm CDT. The Cubs three-city, nine game, 10-day trip moves to Houston for the weekend (Sept. 9-11) and concludes next Wednesday in St. Louis (Sept. 12-14).
The Cubs and Brewers announced the starting pitchers for the series.
- Monday, Sept. 5 (12:10pm CDT) – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Zach Davies
- Tuesday, Sept. 6 (7:10pm CDT) – RHP Jason Hammel vs. RHP Wily Peralta
- Wednesday, Sept. 7 (7:10pm CDT) – LHP Mike Montgomery vs. RHP Matt Garza
With the Cubs using the six-man rotation, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are lined up for the three-game series in Houston.
News and Notes
• ESPN Chicago reported Joe Nathan feels better about release from Cubs after the Giants picked him up.
• Planning a clinching party, shoring up playoff questions are at the top of the Cubs’ to-do list according to ESPN Chicago. Left-handed hitters matter come playoff time according to ESPN Chicago. The Sun-Times reported on the Cubs potential bench lefty battle.
• Buster Olney reported Albert Pujols is quietly closing in on the All-Time Home Run greats.
• The Padres released veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
• The Dodgers announced Sunday that Clayton Kershaw will start Friday against the Marlins in Miami.
• Sunday was the Cubs sixth walk-off win of the season, five of the six have come in the last 21 home games.
• Tony Andracki pointed out the Cubs are 9-0-1 in the 10 series at Wrigley since the All-Star break. The Cubs are 51-20 at home this season. And for those that keep asking, home field advantage does matter in the postseason.
• According to Comcast SportsNet, Javy Baez’s ‘running back’ instincts have made him an x-factor with the Cubs.
— MLB (@MLB) September 5, 2016
And last, but not least, the quote of the day belongs to Jon Lester … “100 wins would be cool but it doesn’t matter how many W’s you have during the season it matters how well you play in the postseason.” If the Cubs win 100 games this season it will be the first time Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have had one of their teams reach the 100-win mark in their careers.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – White Sox selected Mike Olt off waivers from the Cubs
2006 – Oakland selected Jerome Williams off waivers from the Cubs
2006 – Cubs acquired Adam Harben from the Twins for Phil Nevin.
2000 – Cubs released Matt Karchner
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Orlando Merced
1985 – Tyler Colvin, born
1983 – Jeff Stevens, born
1969 – Billy Williams collected all four Cubs hits in a 9-2 loss to the Pirates, Pittsburgh’s first win at Wrigley Field since July 5, 1968 (13 straight losses). Williams set the National League record and tied the All-Time record for the most hits in a single game without any other hits. Williams hit a pair of doubles and two home runs.
1964 – Ernie Banks doubled and homered in the same inning of a 8-5 win over the Cardinals
1962 – Ken Hubbs broke Bobby Doerr’s Major League record by handling 418 chances in 78 games without an error at second base. Hubbs made a wild throw in the fourth inning of the game in Cincinnati that the Cubs lost 7-5.
1931 – The Cubs lost a 10-inning game to the Reds 4-3 in 10 innings. Hack Wilson was in the doghouse for drinking and not hitting and spent his time warming up pitchers in the bullpen while manager Rogers Hornsby, short of outfielders, used pitcher Bud Teachout in left field. On the train back to Chicago that night, Wilson got into an argument with two writers and punched both of the reporters out with the encouragement of Pat Malone. The Cubs fined Malone $500.00 and suspended Wilson without pay for the rest of the season before trading him to the Cardinals in the off-season.
1918 – Babe Ruth outdueled Hippo Vaughn in game one of the World Series at Comiskey Park. The Red Sox beat the Cubs 1-0. The Cubs used Comiskey Park for the Series due to the larger seating capacity.
1908 – Ed Reulbach allowed four hits as the Cubs beat the Pirates 11-0.