Anthony Rizzo found out Tuesday he was the Cubs nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. And Tuesday night he hit two more home runs off Brewers’ starter Wily Peralta. Rizzo hit a solo homer to left in the first inning and a two-run shot to right in the eighth in the Cubs 12-5 loss to the Brewers.
Rizzo has obviously put together an excellent season. Rizzo is batting .294/.389/.552 with 38 doubles, four triples and 28 home runs for a .941 OPS. Rizzo has 96 RBI in 134 games.
Rizzo hasn’t been hitting the ball out of the park over the last six weeks. As the Tribune pointed out, Rizzo had hit only two home runs after July 20 until Tuesday night. Rizzo went yard twice and has actually hit three home runs in the last eight games.
Rizzo is approaching career-highs in doubles (40), home runs (32), RBI (101) and has the best slash line and OPS of his career after 134 games.
Rizzo is supposed to get Wednesday night off, which would give him basically three days with Thursday’s off day and a night game in Houston on Friday. Rizzo said he was going to try to talk his way back into the lineup.
“I’ll have to try to fight my way to get in there, especially after hitting two home runs,” Rizzo said. “Those have been a little scarce for me lately. This felt good.”
Anthony Rizzo has produced offensively without hitting longballs at the same rate he was early in the season. As long as Rizzo continues to drive in runs it doesn’t matter if the ball leaves the park or not.
Miguel Montero is making a case to be included on the Cubs’ playoff roster.
Montero has struggled this season both offensively and defensively. Montero has dealt with two bulging discs in his back for a majority of the season which has impacted his play. Montero has handled the loss of playing time while teaching Willson Contreras how to be a big league catcher and receiver.
The Cubs value Montero and his experience behind the plate, even with the throwing issues that lead to teams doing a lot of running on him.
Offensively, the Cubs lack of left-handed bats to balance the lineup is a concern that the front office tried to address leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline (Aug. 1) and throughout August.
It appears the Cubs are looking at Montero, Chris Coghlan or Tommy La Stella to be a left-handed bat off the bench when baseball’s second season starts next month.
For as much as Montero has struggled at the plate this season (.212/.331/.345/.675, seven doubles, one triple, six home runs), Miggy has been hitting the ball over the last five weeks when he’s gotten the opportunity.
Over his last 15 games dating back to Aug. 2, Montero is 11-for-38 with three doubles and a home run. Montero is 4-for-7 in his last two games (back-to-back starts Monday, Tuesday) with two doubles and a home run. Montero has three multi-hit games and six RBI.
Joe Maddon said after Tuesday’s game that Montero is looking “spiffy right now.”
“He’s looking really good,” Maddon said. “He receives so well. He made two pretty good throws, we were slow to the plate. I can’t denigrate him. He’s looking very spiffy and the ball is coming off hot again. That’s a good sign for us and him.”
News and Notes
• Barry Rozner exchanged texts with Theo Epstein … and Epstein expects to sign an extension and stay with the Cubs.
• Comcast SportsNet explained what a bad game in Milwaukee means for Cubs and Jason Hammel. According to ESPN Chicago, tryout or not Jason Hammel can’t be helping his cause for October. The Sun-Times reported Hammel rocked in Milwaukee, rolled from rotation in playoffs?
• According to Comcast SportsNet, Justin Grimm’s new attitude has keyed his resurgence in Cubs bullpen.
• The Cubs are chasing division history down the stretch according to the Sun-Times.
• The Tribune reported Joe Maddon says Cubs don’t miss a beat even when regulars rest.
• According to David Haugh, the Cubs should align Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks 1-2 for home playoff starts.
• Mark Gonzales noted that with Kyle Hendricks winning his 14th game, this year’s staff is the first time since 1936 the Cubs had four pitchers with 14 wins in the same season. Bill Lee (18-11), Larry French (18-9), Lon Warneke (16-13) and Tex Carleton (14-10) each won 14 or more games for the ’36 Cubs that finished the season 87-67, second in the National League.
• Joe Maddon (kind of) explained why the Cubs decided to add a fourth catcher to the roster (click on the link for a video from ESPN Chicago).
• According to Carrie Muskat, for Albert Almora Jr. it was a bit of déjà vu with call up. Joe Maddon said Albert Almora Jr. is in the conversation for October according to ESPN Chicago. And Comcast SportsNet explained how Albert Almora Jr. could factor into October plans for the Cubs.
• According to ESPN Chicago, there’s no one quicker than Javier Baez when it comes to tagging runners.
• The Giants know firsthand the Cubs are deep according to John Shea.
• Former Blue Jays’ GM and current Dodgers’ exec Alex Anthopoulos is on the list of candidates for the Twins’ GM job according to Jon Paul Morosi.
• The South Bend Cubs set an attendance record for the third straight year.
And last, but not least, David Ross answered questions from Twitter for ESPN Chicago.
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs claimed Jason Berken off waivers from the Orioles
2010 – The Cubs unveiled and dedicated the Billy Williams statue at Wrigley Field. Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams played for the Cubs from 1959-74.
2006 – Wrigley Field was landmarked and the Cubs received approval by The Landmarks Commission to begin the Wrigley Field Bleacher Expansion Project.
1990 – Cubs traded Lloyd McClendon to the Pirates for a PTBNL. Cubs received Michael Pomeranz from the Pirates on Sept. 28, 1990 to complete the trade.
1986 – Greg Maddux picked up his first win in an 11-3 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati.
1980 – Mark Prior, born
1977 – Cubs released Jim Dwyer
1973 – Billy Williams collected five hits, including a double, and drove in three runs as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 8-2 at Wrigley Field
1964 – Ellis Burton hit two home runs, one from each side of the plate for the second time in his career, in a 10-9 loss to the Braves at Wrigley Field.
1948 – Cubs signed free agent Dummy Lynch
1937 – Cubs purchased Carl Reynolds from Minneapolis of the American Association
1918 – On one day’s rest, Hippo Vaughn gave up seven hits and two runs but the Cubs lost 2-1 to the Red Sox in game three of the World Series. Game three ended with the Cubs Charlie Pick caught in a rundown between third and home trying to score on a passed ball.
1913 – Vic Saier had 21 put outs at second base as the Cubs swept a doubleheader from the Cardinals at West Side Grounds. Frank Schulte hit two homers on the day.
1911 – Frank Schulte hit his 21st home run and collected his 121st RBI of the year in a Cubs sweep of the Reds. Schulte led the National League in home runs and RBI that season. Schulte is also the first person to hit more than 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 home runs in the same season.