Once again Jason Hammel was brilliant in six innings of work for the Cubs as they held on to beat the Marlins 3-2. Hammel thought he could have went longer, which is usually the case as he only threw 80 pitches before being lifted for Miguel Montero in the bottom of the 6th (Montero failed). The strike zone was getting worn out by Hammel who finished the night throwing 52 strikes, and just 28 balls. Joe Maddon felt it necessary to pull Hammel in favor of Montero to try and capitalize on a scoring chance against Jose Fernandez, it didn’t work out.
Pedro Strop was ineffective but his stuff was pretty darn good to this uneducated baseball watcher. Strop gave up two runs, only one of them was earned as he was charged with an error on a botched double play ball. It looked like there was a lack of communication between Zobrist and Russell on the play, shortly after that a ball ricocheted off of Strop and into right field for single to score the second run, just odd. Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman shut the door in the eighth and the ninth to secure the victory. Dexter Fowler was in the middle of it all as usual at the plate, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored. Willson Contreras also had a stellar night against one of the best in Fernandez, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI. The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow behind John Lackey, and the Cardinals lost so the NL Central lead swells to nine games.
Early on in this one it looked like the Cubs were going to fall back into their familiar, troubling ways as they put two guys in scoring position with one out in the first only to see Javier Baez foul out. Then Addison Russell, as he has done for the better part of the last two months, came up with a huge two run single to give Kyle Hendricks more than enough in this one. Hendricks was dominate as he went the distance against the Marlins for his tenth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.22, that’s an elite level right there. Joe Maddon needed a big effort from his starter, and allowed him to get there as Hendricks tossed 123 pitches which is a career high by quite a bit.
The Cubs had hits up and down the lineup but once again struggled to cash in as they left nine guys on base in the first four innings which is almost impossible. Hendricks came up big this time with the bat as he laced a one out RBI single in the fifth to push the Cubs lead to three, and they never looked back. Anthony Rizzo also had a huge night at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double, a triple, a walk, and a run scored. The win is the Cubs’ second straight and fifth in their last six on this home-stand which continues tonight against the Marlins.
It might come as a surprise to you, especially if you checked out of the Cubs game early last night because like me, you had to get up for work in the morning. Well, I stuck it out to the end, and I’m tired, but I’m also glad that I got to see whatever that was last night. The Cubs trailed 6-0 early to the Mariners and for the first time in what seems like forever they came all the way back to notch their biggest win of 2016, so far. The game featured five different players playing left field, one of said players was a pitcher who also made a tremendous catch at the wall. The Cubs tied the game in the ninth, scoring their third run of the inning on a wild pitch and walked off in the twelfth on a safety squeeze from Jon Lester, of course.
Here is some of the video from last night, a huge win for the Cubs.
Welcome to deadline day, the MLB non waiver deadline is 3:00 PM CST, so we are pretty much right up against it now. The Cubs have already made their big splash in acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees for Gleyber Torres among others. Indications are that the Cubs are done, but you never know with how things shake out towards the end of the day. Keep it here for updates from around the league all day!
7:03 AM — Jay Bruce is a popular guy right about now. Multiple reports from sources around baseball have mentioned a handful of teams as a possible destination for Bruce today. Bob Nightengale mentions that the Reds have found a match for Bruce, he goes on to identify that the Dodgers are not that team, and the Giants and Mets seem to be the likely destination.
Jon Heyman also mentions those two teams as possible spots for Bruce, as well as the Indians.
Ken Rosenthal also brings up the Giants, Dodgers, and Mets but throws the Rangers and Blue Jays into the mix as well. If I had to guess, I would think that the Giants are going to go all in for Bruce especially after missing out on Mark Melancon. They need to make an impact, and have been struggling since the all-star break, seeing their lead in the NL West shrink to just two games.
7:13 AM — The Cubs still could be in the market for another arm, and there have been links to the Tampa Bay Rays as of late. I know everyone wants Chris Archer, but it seems the most likely guy would be Matt Moore. Bruce Miles chimed in earlier on twitter about just this thing. Another team that will be hard after Matt Moore is the San Francisco Giants, see the note above about needing to make a move to bolster their lineup.
7:25 AM — The Chris Sale saga continues to unfold, or doesn’t I guess. I still don’t think the White Sox have the mentality needed to pull a deal like this off. Two teams in particular have a a bounty of prospects lined up ready to be shipped to Chicago, the Rangers, and the Red Sox. There are plenty of reasons for the White Sox to hang on to Sale, he’s an ace, he’s controllable (in terms of contract), he’s relatively cheap, etc. The reason the Sox would think about moving him is as their GM has said, they are mired in mediocrity, and this would be a tremendous jump start to their rebuilding process that they have not committed to for the last decade or so.
7:48 AM — Ken Rosenthal reports this morning that the Cubs are still looking for that controllable arm, and do not want to overpay for a left-handed hitting outfielder. Still expecting Soler back soon, and that would provide a lift, the obvious name that Ken is hinting at is Josh Reddick.
8:18 AM — Jon Morosi reports this morning that the Mets are still engaged with the Reds about Bruce.
9:01 AM — Jeff Passan jumps into the fray with some big news regarding Jay Bruce, he sees the Mets as the favorites to land Bruce. The usual suspects are still there in the Rangers and the Giants, I could definitely seeing a team get desperate and overpay for the left handed slugger.
9:06 AM — Bob Dutton is reporting on twitter that the Mariners are “closing in” on a deal to get Zack Cozart from the Reds. He also cautions that a deal is not done yet, but there appears to be smoke building on this one.
9:14 AM — Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Brewers might have to “lower their expectations” to get a deal done today. I’ll say, after dealing Lucroy to the Indians yesterday, and having Lucroy veto the trade is a blow to the Brewers and their leverage to get a deal done. If anything it could hurt the return and now Crasnick is hinting at just that, Brewers can’t be happy.
9:31 AM — Chris Cotillo now reporting that the Giants are long shots to land Jay Bruce. Bob Nightengale mentions that the Red Sox had discussions with the White Sox last night about Chris Sale. If Sale is moved (see my note above), the Red Sox or Dodgers are the likely landing spot. Those teams are so stacked when it comes to the minor league system, super interested to see what kind of deals they are putting together.
10:47 AM — The Red Sox are leading the charge for Chris Sale per Rosenthal, not really sure how serious that charge is, but it seems likely that if Sale is traded that it will be to the Red Sox.
10:52 AM — Mark Gonzales is reporting that Brian Matusz will indeed be released by the Cubs today, opens a spot if the Cubs want to make a deal today. Not sure the two are related, but there is that option now.
11:35 AM — Buster Olney finally has some news for us today, the Mets are “on the verge” of acquiring Jay Bruce from the Reds. Tim Brown adds to the report saying that Brandon Nimmo will be part of the package going back to the Reds.
11:42 AM — Rosenthal reports that Rich Hill and the A’s could not come to terms on an extension, the thought is that Hill will be traded. The Cubs have had their on Hill a little bit.
We have no Major League baseball until Friday, so why not take a look back at an eventful first half while we wait. First up, Jake Arrieta dominates the Angels on Opening Night to start 2016 the right way.
Eloy Jimenez owned the MLB Futures Game tonight, first he did it with the glove, then he eviscerated a baseball, and it was fun.