Cubs News and Notes: Bullpen fails, Cubs scouting outfielder, Hamels and Contreras update


by - Columnist -
Quinn Harris - USA Today Sports
Quinn Harris - USA Today Sports

Next Game: Today, 8:45 PM (WGN): RHP Alec Mills (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs RHP Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.87).

Sunday's Game Recap:

Entering play with a 7-2 record since returning from the break, Kyle Hendricks took to the hill to close out the homestand, while attempting the sweep. While Cal Quantrill was initially slated to start for the Padres, manager, Andy green, elected to give Adrian Morejon his MLB debut in a bullpen start, bringing in Quantrill in the mid-second inning.

The Cubs would tag Morejon for a run in the first after Javier Baez singled, advanced to third on Kris Bryant’s bloop-double, then scored on Anthony Rizzo’s groundout, but unfortunately, the scoring for Chicago stopped there.

It’s too bad the Cubs couldn’t get some offense rolling, as Hendricks actually pitched a gem; he even showed a little (more) offense…

The Friars tied it up in the fifth, then went ahead 2-1 in the seventh on Mejia’s homerun. Not that the Cubs would ever tie it at two, but the combination of Kyle Ryan and Carl Edwards Jr. sabotaged any hope, giving up three runs between them. Final score: Padres-5; Cubs-1.

Cubs News, Notes and Commentary:

Cubs/Giants Probable Pitchers: Tuesday: 8:45 PM (ABC-7) RHP Yu Darvish vs LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65); Wednesday: 2:45 PM (NBC Sports Chicago) LHP Jon Lester (9-6, 3.87ERA) vs RHP Tyler Beede (3-3, 4.70).

Mayday: The Cubs, now 18-27 on the road, better figure it out- and fast. 19 of their next 25 are road games.

Cole Hamels: As Hamels continues to heal, the Cubs are discussing the next steps. Currently, a rehab assignment is being planned, but it’s unclear where that’ll take place.

Edwards spirals: After being gone for nearly a month, Edwards got himself in the game yesterday, and during a pretty crucial situation; it turned into an epic fail. After inheriting men on first and second from Kyle Ryan, Edwards walked the first man he faced on five pitches to load ‘em up. Next, he plunked a man, forcing in a run. Then, a two-run single to Tatis, Jr. (making the score 5-1), as fans started either flooding the exits or booing. Many seem to be on thin ice in Theo’s book at this point, and those appearances aren’t going to curry favor.

Contreras returning soon: Willson Contreras is reportedly doing well, as he heals from a strained foot. The Cubs say that a return to the lineup as early as Wednesday (vs. the Giants) isn’t out of the question.

Giants’ scouts at Wrigley The following is from Cole Little’s article on CubsHQ.com: “According to baseball analyst Bruce Levine of Chicago's 670 The Score radio station, two Giants scouts were in attendance at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon. Furthermore, Levine also reported that the Giants have had at least one of their scouts attend nearly every series at the Friendly Confines since May.”

Interesting that the Cubs are being scouted by San Francisco, especially when Chicago has been linked to lefty-relievers Will Smith and Tony Watson. Rumors circulated last year that the Giants would deal the two southpaws to the Cubs, but that they wanted Jason Heyward, Ian Happ and a prospect in return. Rumors now say that the Cubs are showing interest in Madison Bumgarner as well and that the Giants may have some interest in both Addison Russell and Robel Garcia. The Bumgarner thing is interesting, as Bumgarner has a no-trade clause in his contract which includes Chicago, so any trade to the Cubs would require his approval. I think that trading Russell would be good for Russell, the Cubs, and the Giants, but I also think trading Garcia is foolish.

Or, how about Nick Castellanos? As the rumors continue to circulate, the Cubs are now reportedly showing serious interest (along with other teams) in Tigers outfielder, Nick Castellanos.

According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, “This one has some teeth.” As per the MLB Trade Rumors article (link below), “Castellanos has slashed .280/.339/.467 (111 wRC+) with ten home runs in 404 plate appearances and has posted a formidable .887 OPS over the past 30 days.” Castellanos has smoked left-handed pitching, but the downside is that his defense is very subpar, as he currently holds a -33 defensive runs saved rating.

Ah, but who do they want in return? Certainly not Kyle Schwarber, who’s current slash line doesn’t rate being a DH. Albert Almora Jr., although much more talented in the outfield than Castellanos, doesn’t exactly rake hits either (at least not consistently). So, why does the name Ian Happ keep ringing in my ears? A much improved Happ (at least by Triple-A standards), could provide the Tigers with reasonably solid defense, while potentially contributing at the dish.

Strode on Kimbrel: Cubs’ bullpen coach, Lester Strode, weighed in on Craig Kimbrel: “He’s still building to be that consistent guy that he was over the years. He’s through the spring training. I think now it’s getting into that real season mode of feeling what he wants to be.” You can read more in Patrick Mooney’s article in The Athletic (subscription required).

Speaking of closers…

Hendricks on Maldonado: “He just did a really good job knowing- between my two-seam and four-seam- kind of how to ride the ball and how to set up a little different for each one. Willy and Caratini are coming along just like that. They’re getting really close. But, no, you could definitely see it. He was really good. It was a great target. Rode it in. I think he got me a couple pitches today.”

Maddon on keeping Descalso involved: "It is difficult, but he makes it less difficult. He's a professional. He's always working." (Huh?)

Baseball Quotes: “Guessing what the pitcher is going to throw is eighty percent of being a successful hitter. The other twenty percent is just execution. -Hank Aaron

Cubs Birthdays: Celebrating yesterday, were Kyuji Fujikawa (39), Nelson Mathews (78), and posthumously, Myron "Moe" Drabowsky (84), Billy Holm (107), and Johnny Evers (138).

THIS WEEK’S NL CENTRAL SCEHEDULE:

(Wins are in green, losses in red)

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