Cubs News and Notes: Rizzo's blast, Yu Darvish's redemption, Yankees trade for HR leader
Gary Vasquez - USA Today Sports

Cubs News and Notes: Rizzo's blast, Yu Darvish's redemption, Yankees trade for HR leader

by - Columnist -

Next Game: Today, 8:10 PM CDT: Cubs @ Dodgers LHP Jose Quintana (5-2, 3.77 ERA). vs. RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.36 ERA).

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY Hey, Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dad’s out there. Enjoy your day today. To my father: I miss ya, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.


Saturday’s Game Recap:

Last night was, what I felt to be, the Cubs final chance to salvage a win in the series, before returning to Wrigley Field for another homestand. Going into last night’s game, the Cubs had posted a 1-4 record on this road trip, dropping two of three to the Rockies, then the first two in Los Angeles.

Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.98 ERA) took the hill for Chicago, facing his former teammates for the first time since being signed by Chicago. For the Dodgers, it was righty, Walker Buehler, who’s managed to post a 7-1 record with a 3.35 ERA.

Darvish pitched a gem- undisputedly his best outing as a Cub: 7.0 IP, two hits, one walk, ten strikeouts, and if it hadn’t been for one bad pitch to Verdugo in the fourth, he’d have been perfect. Even more prominent than the outing, Darvish faced a Los Angeles crowd full of booing fans as he came to the plate for his first at-bat, but he never cowered. He smiled, he laughed with the home plate ump, then he did his thing and went right back to pitching. When that man rang up his tenth strikeout in the seventh, he turned toward second base and let out a short, primal scream. Win, lose or draw, Darvish had nothing to be ashamed of last night.

The Cubs managed only two hits as they entered the ninth, down 1-0, and Kenley Jansen was on the mound. After plunking Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo delivered a 2-run smash, to put the Cubs up 2-1. Pedro Strop took the hill in the bottom of the ninth, and despite issuing a walk, locked down the save, Final score: Cubs-2; Dodgers-1.

Cubs/White Sox Probable Pitchers: Monday: LHP Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.98 ERA) vs White Sox TBD. Tuesday: LHP Jon Lester (5-5, 4.08 ERA) vs LHP Manny Banuelos (3-4, 7.00 ERA).

Today’s question: Will Tyler Chatwood rejoin the Cubs’ starting rotation in 2020? (HINT: ESPN thinks so. More on that below.)

Hendricks injured: Albert Almora may have escaped injury on Friday night, but Kyle Hendricks didn’t. Hendricks was placed on the 10-day IL yesterday, for right shoulder inflammation. The Cubs have recalled Rowan Wick, but with an off-day coming, Maddon thinks he can keep the rotation the same, without adding Tyler Chatwood.

Yu Darvish: Darvish is aware that the fans in Los Angeles would still be a little salty with Darvish after his performance in Game-7 of the 2017 World Series, but he says that he was mentally prepared to face them (and the Dodgers). Darvish said, “I used to think, ‘Of all the times to pitch poorly, why then?’ But I have to move forward. I think I have to view it as a learning experience.”

An intentional BALK? According to Jesse Rogers (ESPN), Kenley Jansen intentionally balked with Jason Heyward on second base in the closing inning of Friday night’s game. Jansen felt that Heyward was stealing signs, so he simply balked intentionally to get Heyward to third base. As the Dodgers were up by two, they saw no real threat in giving J-Hey an intentional pass from second to third. I’ve never seen this before- sort of an interesting strategy.

Kris Bryant on the 2021 reckoning: “I don't know if the Cubs have had a team this good for as long as we've been able to do it. We can't take that for granted at all."

Chatwood to start in 2020? I’ve said for a while now, that Tyler Chatwood seemed to be in a good position to return to the mound as a starter in 2020. That was an educated guess, but now, according to ESPN, “Reports are projecting Tyler Chatwood as a starting pitcher in 2020.” Based on the Cubs potentially losing Cole Hamels and Jose Quintana, this winter, sending an improved Chatwood to the mound makes sense.

Maddon on Friday’s umpiring: When asked about home-plate umpire CB Bucknor, who called the balls and strikes on Friday night, Joe Maddon offered this: “Unfortunately, whenever that fellow works, everybody expects that in advance. And it’s hard to argue because it’s equally offensive to both sides. That’s as kind as I can be.”

Lester’s Road Rally: Jon Lester may be having some off-and-on days during his outings, but his record is 1000-0 with a zero ERA when it comes to his NVRQT foundation, which works to help fight pediatric cancer.

Each year, Jon has what he calls a “Road Rally,” allowing him to reach out to kids stricken with the disease. Lester hosts the patients and their families at the various ballparks that the Cubs visit while on the road, giving him a chance to visit with more kids. Kudos to each club which allows Jon this opportunity.

Baseball quotes: “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.” -Tommy Lasorda

Cub Birthdays: Celebrating yesterday, were ex-Cubs Ken Henderson (73), Ty Cline (80), and posthumously, John "Champ" Summers (73), Gene Baker (94), Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren (107), and Charlie Dexter (143).

One Cub gets a special birthday greeting from me; one of my childhood heroes, Billy Williams, turned 81. Happy birthday, Billy!

Latest from the Summer Stove:

Although there haven’t been many trades to speak of, teams continue to poise themselves for the trade deadline.

Angels: Designated righty-closer, Cody Allen, for assignment, following a subpar set of performances in 2019.

Indians: Looks like All-Star SS, Francisco Lindor, may be on the trading block. Also surprising, Trevor Bauer, Brad Hand, and Carlos Santana may also become available. The Indians also claimed RHP Jordan Stephens off waivers from the White Sox on Saturday.

Mariners: The Mariners have traded Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees for 19-year old pitching prospect Juan Then. Encarnacion leads the American League currently with 21 homers.

Mets: In another Indians related deal, the Mets have purchased righty (reliever/closer), Brooks Pounders from Cleveland, for cash. Pounders is currently in the minors but spent parts of 2016-2018 in the majors with KC, the Angels, and the Rockies. Mets’ president of baseball ops (Brodie Van Wagenen) also alluded to either adding players by the deadline to compete, but also hinted at selling-off the farm if the situation called for it. What he does will defend on NY’s performance for the next month.

Padres: The Padres would be willing to deal ace-reliever, RHP Kirby Yates, but say that it would take an “overwhelming offer.” The 32-year old has pitched to a 1.24 ERA this season, (29 games), and remains controllable for another two seasons. Interestingly, The Friars are also rumored to be willing to sell “most of their position players.”

NL CENTRAL SCHEDULE (June 9 – June 15, 2019)

(Wins are in green, losses in red)


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