The Cubs play the final three games of the regular season this weekend against the Reds. The Cubs left Pittsburgh with the first tie game for the franchise since May 1993 when rain washed out the rest of the game at PNC Park.
The Cubs will continue to prepare for the NLDS that begins one week from today at Wrigley Field.
According to multiple reports, several players are not thrilled with the Spring Training mode the Cubs have been in this week. Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero have just been the most vocal. The Sun-Times reported “it had been building among several of the veterans and others trying to get or stay sharp, knowing they’ll have four days off before the playoffs.”
Joe Maddon addressed the issues prior to Thursday’s game. Maddon was quick to point out the Cubs were 7-2 in nine games leading up to the 1-1 tie with the Pirates. Maddon explained the players are fully aware of the team’s plans.
“I don’t see any kind of real negative patterns right there. They all knew what was going to happen before that game. There were no surprises. And there has been no surprises.”
“You probably heard some things last night. I think if they had more time to think about it, they probably would not have said those same things,” Maddon said.
Jake Arrieta said on his weekly spot on ESPN 1000 that he was “really unaware we were going to go with a catching change.” Arrieta admitted he was “a little bitter” and probably let his emotions get the best of him. Arrieta also acknowledged he probably could have handled the situation differently.
As for the catching situation, Maddon pointed out, “We didn’t change that until they had four runs. So there’s really not a whole lot of credence to that, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think it was attributable to a spring-training attitude as much as the Pirates had a good approach.”
Maddon explained the Cubs plans again to the beat writers.
“I utilized the word ‘Spring Training’ on several occasions, just to indicate the context regarding getting guys in and out of the game, not from the perspective of not trying to win. It’s still going to be scripted. They’re going to get their at-bats. Again, when you talk about recreating a ‘feel,’ that would be individualistic. It’s hard to replicate fighting for a playoff spot if you’ve already clinched it and you’re playing against a team that is not playing for anything either.”
The Tribune reported Ben Zobrist vowed Cubs “will amp it up this weekend at Cincinnati and in the sim game Tuesday” and will be ready when the bell rings next Friday at Wrigley Field.
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from The Sun-Times
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from The Tribune
Jorge Soler joined his teammates on Thursday in Pittsburgh for the final game at PNC Park. Soler worked out with the team’s trainers as the Cubs attempt to get him back on the field. Soler has been dealing with a sore right side. Soler stayed behind in Chicago and had an MRI on Monday.
“It’s not awful. I don’t think it’s dire,” Joe Maddon said to Comcast SportsNet. “He needs to get going, though. We got to find out. This is one of those things you want to test. But if you test too soon, then it could totally take him out of an entire postseason. You got to be careful, in a sense. He felt pretty good today, from what I was told. It’s just once in a while he just feels it in a very, very, very minor way. From a training perspective, it’s all good. We just have to wait for him to say: I feel up to par.”
Jorge Soler is expected to play this weekend against the Reds. But Maddon said he doesn’t necessarily have to in order to make the postseason roster.
“I’d love to see him play, but if he doesn’t, it doesn’t knock him out of the conversation,” Maddon said to ESPN Chicago.
Chris Coghlan suffered a mild left ankle sprain Wednesday when he crashed into the left field wall trying to catch a fly ball. Coghlan spoke to the beat writers Thursday and said he felt better. Coghlan is officially listed as day-to-day.
Following the organization’s first tie game in over 23 years, the Cubs made the way from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati and begin the final series of the regular season on Friday night (6:10pm CDT) at Great American Ball Park.
Joe Maddon plans to stick to his script of using his regulars for the first six innings or so of the game. Maddon would like to get his starters three to four at bats and then give them the rest of the game off. Maddon and Chris Bosio will also stay on plan for the bullpen. Relievers will pitch regardless of the score for the next three days if they are on the schedule.
Jason Hammel was scratched from his scheduled start Friday with right elbow tightness. The Cubs will have another bullpen day that will help relievers get work in that was unable to Thursday at PNC Park due to the rain. Jake Buchanan is first up for the opener against the Reds on Friday night.
Here are the probable starting pitchers for the final series of the 2016 regular season:
- Friday, Sept. 30 (6:10pm CDT) – RHP Jake Buchanan vs. RHP Josh Smith
- Saturday, Oct. 1 (3:10pm CDT) – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Tim Adleman
- Sunday, Oct. 2 (2:10pm CDT) – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Robert Stephenson
Every game across the league on Sunday starts just after 2:00pm CDT … and it could be a very interesting final day of the regular season if teams cooperate on Friday and Saturday.
Clear the Way! – Boys of Spring
Tim Sheridan, the long-time voice of Cubs Spring Training games in Mesa, updated his video for Clear the Way! If you haven’t seen it, this is must-see-TV for all Cubs fans. This is the best hype video that I’ve seen.
Here is a link where the song can be purchased and downloaded (CLICK HERE).
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 29 and running through Saturday, Oct. 8 all proceeds from every download will go to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. The song download is $1.29.
This is a great song that now can be purchased for a great cause due to the outstanding work Rizzo’s Foundation has done.
News and Notes
• Kyle Hendricks was one of the players Keith Law admitted he was wrong about this season.
• Comcast SportsNet asked what’s next for Cubs and Jason Hammel.
• ESPN Chicago posted what is at stake for the Cubs this weekend against the Reds.
• According to MLB Random Stats, Travis Wood is the first player to pitch 75-plus games and play three-plus games in the field since Old Hoss Radbourn and Guy Hecker in 1884.
• Rob Zastryzny is now the last name listed alphabetically of any Cubs pitcher to ever start a game … courtesy of the great Christopher Kamka.
• Jon Heyman posted his picks for the MLB Awards … Heyman has Kris Bryant as NL MVP, Anthony Rizzo fourth for the award. Jason Heyward is his NL LVP. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks finish two, three in the NL Cy Young to Max Scherzer. Joe Maddon is Heyman’s NL Manager of the Year. And Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer are Heyman’s NL Executives of the Year.
• The Red Sox’s five best position players by WAR this season are Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr., David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts … all five players were acquired by the Sox while Theo Epstein was calling the shots in Boston.
• The Cubs finished the season at No. 1 in the Yahoo Sports MLB Power Rankings.
• According to the Sun-Times, the Pirates are trying to pick up the pieces after 2016 Cubs storm and said they can win the NL Central Division in 2017.
• Dusty Baker said Thursday that he anticipates Daniel Murphy will be able to play again by the start of the NLDS on Oct. 7.
• The Mariners held their rookie hazing and made Dan Vogelbach (click here for photo) dress as Chris Farley from his SNL Chippendale’s skit. Vogelbach is 1-for-11 with the Mariners in seven games since his call-up with a walk.
And last, but not least, several of the players posted photos of the theme trip that was postponed from Sunday to Thursday. The veterans wore football jerseys … Kris Bryant donned a Mike Ditka jersey and several of the players, including Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Miguel Montero, represented with Walter Payton jerseys. And as expected, the rookies were dressed as cheerleaders. Click here, here, here, here, here and here for a few photos.
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum
2007 – Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th home run of the month off the Reds’ Homer Bailey and set the Cubs record for the most homers in September.
2002 – Cubs released Ron Mahay
1998 – Cubs dropped game one of the NLDS 7-1 to the Braves. Michael Tucker and Ryan Klesko homered by John Smoltz.
1992 – Greg Maddux shutout the Pirates 6-0 and became the Cubs first 20-game winner in 15 years. Maddux tied Tom Glavine for the most wins in the National League.
1988 – President Ronald Reagan threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field. President Reagan, whose nickname was ‘Dutch’, was a play-by-play announcer for the Cubs and joined Harry Caray during the first inning and a half in the WGN booth.
1983 – Cubs released Jerry Morales
1983 – Cubs selected Mike Chris off waivers from the Giants
1962 – Cubs completed a triple play in the eighth inning of a 5-1 victory over the Mets at Wrigley Field … second baseman Ken Hubbs to first baseman Ernie Banks to shortstop Andre Rodgers.
1962 – Dave Magadan, born
1954 – Cubs received Sam Jones and a PTNBL from the Indians for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Ralph Kiner on Nov. 16, 1954 and the Cubs received $60,000 on Nov. 16, 1954 from the Indians and Gale Wade on Nov. 30, 1954 to complete the trade.
1943 – Cubs traded Ken Raffensberger and Rip Russell to the Phillies for players to be named later. The Phillies sent Andy Karl and Dick Conger to the Cubs on Sept. 30. Andy Karl refused to report to the Cubs on April 1, 1944.
1942 – The Philadelphia Athletics purchased Jesse Flores from the Cubs.
1933 – Babe Herman hit for the cycle and Guy Bush won his 20th game as the Cubs beat Dizzy Dean and the Cardinals 12-2 at Sportsman’s Park. Herman became the first player to hit for the cycle three times in Major League history.
1926 – Robin Roberts, born
1889 – Jimmy Ryan hit George Haddock’s first pitch for a home run, Ryan’s sixth leadoff homer of the season. Ryan set the Major League record for hitting six homers to start a game. Ryan’s record would stand until 1973 when Bobby Bonds hit seven leadoff homers in a single season.
1885 – The Chicago National League Ball Club clinched the pennant on a Fred Pfeffer homer in the seventh inning. John Clarkson edged Tim Keefe and the Giants 2-1 at West Side Park.
1884 – John Clarkson struck out seven batters in a row in the second, third and fourth innings in a 17-2 victory over the Giants. Clarkson ended up with 13 strikeouts.
1882 – Sixteen-year old Milton Scott, a back-up first baseman, became the youngest player in Cubs history when he went 2-for-5 with a run scored in a 6-5 victory over Buffalo at Lakefront Park.