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A Chicago Cubs Fan Community Since February 9, 2005



Updated: 2018-01-19T17:55:05-06:00

 



Randal Grichuk, modern-day Cubs killer, is headed to the American League

2018-01-19T17:55:05-06:00

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Good riddance.

News item: Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk has been traded.

The Blue Jays and the Cardinals swung a trade on Friday afternoon, with St. Louis sending outfielder Randal Grichuk to Toronto in exchange for right-hander Dominic Leone and righty pitching prospect Conner Greene.

Unless you follow Cubs/Cardinals games closely, you might not realize what a great deal this is... for the Cubs.

That’s because Grichuk has absolutely smashed Cubs pitching for his three-plus seasons in the big leagues, and that’s during a time when Cubs pitching has been mostly good.

In this FanPost you can read about Grichuk’s 11 career home runs against the Cubs. That’s right, 11 out of a career total of 66. That’s... a lot. Each of the 11 is described in excruciating detail.

Grichuk has hit the Cubs better than any N.L. team (except the Mets, where he has only 60 PA against them). In his career against the Cubs, covering 161 plate appearances, he has hit .296/.335/.638, which is All-Star level play, nearly MVP-quality if that were extrapolated over a full season.

But Grichuk hasn’t played nearly as well against the rest of baseball. Against teams not named “Cubs” he has hit .242/.296/.468 in 1,225 plate appearances. The slugging percentage there is pretty good, the other numbers not so much.

And now he’s going to be facing primarily American League teams, against whom he’s done poorly, in about the same number of PA (175) as he’s dominated the Cubs: .228/.276/.438

Randal will be playing almost half his games (76) against A.L. East teams. In what’s admittedly a small sample size, he has not done well against those clubs: 2-for-35 with 16 strikeouts.

This doesn’t seem like it will end well for Randal. Good luck in the American League, buddy. Cubs pitchers will be relieved to see you go. And the Cubs aren’t scheduled to play the Blue Jays again until 2020.




2017 Cubs victories revisited, August 14: Cubs 15, Reds 5

2018-01-19T17:00:01-06:00

The Cubs just love hitting Reds pitching. For the second straight day, the Cubs scored 15+ runs. This win brought the Cubs to 62-55 and they led the N.L. Central by 1½ games. Pretty much all of us said, or thought, that when the Cincinnati Reds came to town the Cubs had to warm up the big bats and begin demolishing Reds pitching the way they’ve done over the last two years. And with this beginning a stretch of 13 games against last-place teams, it was really a time to assert leadership in a division that was there for the taking. Man, did they, with authority and, for lack of a better term, “swagger.” The Cubs smashed three home runs in a 17-hit attack that crushed the Reds 15-5, a game that felt very much like a 2016 Cubs win. It began early. Jon Jay singled leading off the bottom of the first and one out later, Kris Bryant doubled. Anthony Rizzo singled them both in for a 2-0 lead... a lead that Jose Quintana coughed right up in the top of the second. It might have been worse except for this terrific throw and tag by Kyle Schwarber and Alex Avila: Kyle Schwarber nails Tucker Barnhart at home. pic.twitter.com/CVNi2TKZJG— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) August 15, 2017 It was still a good bit of fun on a night where everything Cub-related was fun. This is exactly the type of game the Cubs needed to have to begin a homestand where they can hopefully put some distance in between them and the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates. All three of those were off Monday, so the Cubs gained half a game on all of them, now leading St. Louis by 1½, Milwaukee by 2½ and Pittsburgh by 4½. The Cardinals are playing the Red Sox at Boston the next two days and the Pirates play the Brewers at Milwaukee the same two dates. I am going to open the complaint department door just a tiny bit for a non-game-related note. I’ve hesitated to do this here because I thought perhaps it could be handled at the ballpark, but multiple requests there have been ignored, so here goes publicly: The PA speakers in the bleachers are way, WAY too loud, to the point of becoming painful to listen to. The music and ads between innings make it impossible to carry on a conversation with people sitting next to you (and sure, I get it, the ads are needed, but they don’t have to be mind-numbingly loud). So I’m asking, nicely: PLEASE turn them down! That out of the way, the Cubs have now won three of their last four and are 7-3 against the Reds this year. Their +52 run differential is the high point of the season. Let’s keep this going! Tuesday night, Kyle Hendricks goes for the Cubs and Luis Castillo for the Reds. [...]



Pearl Jam is returning to Wrigley Field this summer

2018-01-19T14:45:18-06:00

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Here’s still more concert info.

Many times, concert dates are zealously guarded by promoters and acts until they’re totally ready to release dates, ticket sale info, etc.

Sometime Friday, Pearl Jam’s official website apparently accidentally leaked the dates of several baseball park shows for 2018, including two dates at Wrigley Field: August 18 and 20.

According to that link, Pearl Jam will also be playing Safeco Field in Seattle and Fenway Park in Boston.

No information on ticket sale dates for these shows is yet available.

Here’s the updated complete list of Wrigley Field concerts as of today, a total of six concert nights for four acts:

July 14: Def Leppard/Journey (Cubs in San Diego, next home game July 19)
July 29-30: Foo Fighters (Cubs in St. Louis, next home game August 2)
August 18, 20: Pearl Jam (Cubs in Pittsburgh, next home game August 23)
September 8: Fall Out Boy (Cubs in Washington, next home game September 10)

There will, no doubt, be more shows announced. Last year there were 10 concerts and the Cubs have more weekday afternoon games scheduled this year than last, implying they have left more weeknight dates for concerts.

As always, we await developments.




Cubs Heroes and Goats, 1984 edition: Games 85-95

2018-01-19T14:00:02-06:00

The Cubs wrap up play with the West Coast teams. When last we checked in the 1984 Cubs, they’d just won three consecutive series on the west coast with an overall record on the trip of 8-3. Their overall record was up to 48-36. They were in second place and half a game out of first place. With three days off for the All-Star break, the team was rested and ready to go for the second half and looking to chase history, as no Cubs team had been to the playoffs in 39 years. Let’s see how the chase goes. This week we’ll be looking at an 11-game homestand that finishes the season series with the teams from California. Game 85, July 12 - Cubs walk it off in 10 versus Dodgers (49-36) Superhero - Tim Stoddard (.375). Tim continued his recent run of good outings leading up to the break with two innings of one hit, one walk, no run baseball and picked up a win for his efforts. Hero - Ryne Sandberg (.333). It was a two hit day for Sandberg, but he lands here because he delivered the eighth walk off hit of the season. This one was a home run leading off the bottom of the 10th (.354). He also singled and scored the first run of the game in the first inning. Sidekick - Steve Trout (.233). With Rick Sutcliffe starting the final game before the break, Trout gets the ball to start the second half. He gives the Cubs eight innings of nine hit, two walk, two run ball. Billy Goat - Ron Cey (-.116). The Penguin had just one walk to show for four plate appearances. Goat - Bob Dernier (-.109). Bob had five at bats and just one hit to show for it. The hit was a single leading off the bottom of the eighth with the score tied at 2-2 (.063). Kid - Thad Bosley (-.098). Thad was increasingly used as one of the first pinch hitters as the season moved on and that’s how he was used here. He pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and one out, but he flew out. Ryne Sandberg was one of just two All-Stars for the Cubs. He was voted to start the game and it would start a string of 10 consecutive appearances in the mid summer game. I was a little surprised while researching that this was the only walkoff home run of Sandberg’s career. He had two inside-the-park home runs later in his career, but never had another walkoff. This one pairs nicely with the two game tying home runs a month earlier against Bruce Sutter in the ninth and tenth innings of that game. For a guy who only hit 19 home runs, two of them tied a game with his team in their last at bat and one of them won one. These were the games that surely stood out in the minds of MVP voters later in the season. Game 86, July 13 - The Cubs jump out to an early lead and hold on to win second straight over Dodgers 7-5 (50-36) Superhero - Keith Moreland (.284). It was another strong day at the plate for Moreland who was back to his familiar place in right field with Leon Durham returning to the lineup following the break. Moreland had two hits in four at bats and drove in four runs. Keith had a two run single with the bases loaded in the first (.146) and a two run homer with two outs in the third (.162). Hero - Lee Smith (.161). Smith got two innings of work in this one and didn’t allow a hit or a walk. He recorded his 19th save (in 24 opportunities) for his effort. Sidekick - Rich Bordi (.143). Rich also gave the Cubs two scoreless innings, though he did allow an inherited runner to score. He allowed only a single hit. The Cubs pen combined for four scoreless innings allowing just one base runner over the final four innings in a game that had been 6-4 when Bordi came in and 6-5 after the inherited runner scored. Billy Goat - Rick Sutcliffe (-.187). This was not one of the Red Baron’s better days. He threw five innings plus one batter in the sixth (a double). He allowed seven hits, four walks and five runs (all earned). And he picked up his fifth win as a Cub (ninth overall). In 20 starts for the Cubs, this was one of five in which he allowed five or more runs. [...]



2018 Cubs spring training broadcast schedule

2018-01-19T11:30:02-06:00

Here you will find all the radio, TV and online outlets for Cubs broadcasts this spring. “The Chicago Cubs are on the air!” Those of us of a certain age remember well that Vince Lloyd saying, which introduced every Cubs game on WGN radio. We’re far past that sort of broadcasting now, especially during spring training, when many games are carried over the internet. Here’s the full schedule of broadcasts for the 36 games, 34 of which will be available either online, on radio, or on TV. All told there will be six games televised by Cubs broadcast partners (two by NBC Sports Chicago and four by WGN-TV), 10 on the 670 The Score Cubs Radio Network and 24 via internet broadcast on cubs.com. The only games excluded are two split-squad games, Sunday, March 18 vs. the Royals and Saturday, March 25 vs. the Mariners. The cubs.com games will again be called Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie, while Len and Jim Deshaies return as TV voices, and Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer will call the games on the Score. This schedule is complete as of January 19 to show all the games carried by any TV or radio channel, including TV from the Cubs’ opponents’ channels. The latter should be available on MLB.tv and are shown in italics. I will add more of those to this schedule as they are announced. All games at 2:05 CT through March 10, then at 3:05 CT, unless otherwise noted. (ss) indicates a split-squad day. Fri 2/23: vs. Brewers at Maryvale, cubs.com Sat 2/24: vs. Rangers at Sloan Park, 670 The Score Sun 2/25: vs. Giants at Scottsdale, cubs.com, NBC Sports Bay AreaMon 2/26: vs. Mariners at Sloan Park, cubs.comTue 2/27: vs. White Sox at Sloan Park, WGN-TV, cubs.comWed 2/28: vs. Athletics at Sloan Park, cubs.comThu 3/1 : vs. Rockies at Sloan Park, cubs.comFri 3/2: vs. Angels at Tempe (2:10 CT), cubs.comSat 3/3: vs. Reds at Sloan Park, 670 The ScoreSun 3/4: vs. Diamondbacks at Talking Stick (2:10 CT), 670 The Score Mon 3/5: vs. Rockies at Talking Stick (2:10 CT), cubs.comTue 3/6: vs. Dodgers at Sloan Park, cubs.comWed 3/7: vs. Indians at Goodyear (7:05 CT), WGN-TV, cubs.comThu 3/8: vs. Padres at Sloan Park, cubs.com Fri 3/9: vs. Angels at Sloan Park, cubs.comSat 3/10 (ss): vs. White Sox at Sloan Park, 670 The ScoreSat 3/10 (ss): vs. Dodgers at Glendale (8:05 CT), cubs.comSun 3/11: vs. Athletics at Mesa (DST begins), 670 The ScoreMon 3/12: OFF DAY Tue 3/13 (ss): vs. Giants at Sloan Park (9:05 CT), 670 The ScoreTue 3/13 (ss): vs. Padres at Peoria (3:10 CT), cubs.com, Fox Sports San DiegoWed 3/14: vs. Royals at Surprise, cubs.com Thu 3/15: vs. Diamondbacks at Sloan Park, cubs.com Fri 3/16: vs. White Sox at Glendale, cubs.comSat 3/17 (ss): vs. Indians at Sloan Park, cubs.comSat 3/17 (ss) vs. Indians at Las Vegas (6:05 CT), WGN-TV, 670 The Score, SportsTime Ohio Sun 3/18 (ss): vs. Royals at Sloan ParkSun 3/18 (ss): vs. Indians at Las Vegas (3:05 CT), NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score, SportsTime OhioMon 3/19: vs. Reds at Goodyear (8:05 CT), cubs.comTue 3/20: OFF DAYWed 3/21: vs. Rangers at Surprise, cubs.comThu 3/22: vs. Giants at Scottsdale, cubs.com, NBC Sports Bay AreaFri 3/23: vs. Brewers at Sloan Park, cubs.comSat 3/24 (ss): vs. Rockies at Sloan Park (9:05 CT), NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The ScoreSat 3/24 (ss): vs. Mariners at Peoria (8:40 CT), Root Sports Northwest Sun 3/25: vs. Royals at Surprise, WGN-TV, 670 The ScoreMon 3/26: vs. Red Sox at Ft. Myers, Florida (5:05 CT), cubs.com, NESNTue 3/27: vs. Red Sox at Ft. Myers, Florida (12:05 CT), cubs.com, ESPN [...]



2018 Cubs top 20 prospects countdown: The top 5

2018-01-19T11:00:02-06:00

The top five prospects prove the Cubs farm system may be down, but it’s not out. Welcome to the final installment of my countdown of the top 20 Cubs prospects. I know I said the Cubs farm system is down (and it is), but I think after reading about these players today you’ll agree that there is still some value down on the farm. Before introducing the final five, I want to mention some other prospects who didn’t make my list but whom I’m going to be keeping an eye on this coming summer: C Ian Rice, RHP Jake Stinnett, C PJ Higgins, LHP Jose Paulino, 3B Austin Filiere, C Miguel Amaya, RHP Javier Assad, RHP Keegan Thompson and SS Luis Vazquez. All five of the top Cubs prospects hail from Latin America. All the articles in this series are available in this storystream. 5. Oscar De La Cruz. RHP. B:R/T:R. 6’4”, 200. DOB: 3/4/95. International free agent (2012), Dominican Republic. Is he ever going to stay healthy? De La Cruz has as much upside as any pitcher in the Cubs system, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him pitch. But that’s because you can’t watch him pitch because he’s always hurt. De La Cruz was enjoying a solid start to the season in High-A Myrtle Beach. Then after his May 25 start he was shut down with a tender elbow. No surgery was required, just rest, but he didn’t return to the mound until mid-August. He was scheduled to make up the lost development time in the Arizona Fall League, but once again the Cubs had to shut him down with a “sore arm.” Overall, he made 12 starts, threw 54⅔ innings and went 4-3 with a 3.46 ERA for the Pelicans. He struck out 47 and walked just 13. It wasn’t just 2017 either. Injuries kept De La Cruz from making more than nine starts and throwing 39 innings in 2016. He hasn’t pitched 100 innings total over the past two years combined. But if you were fortunate enough to see De La Cruz pitch, you’d probably be impressed. He’s got a mid-90s fastball with good side-to-side movement. His curve is above-average and his change is solid with the chance the be even better than that in the future. He’s an imposing figure on the mound at 6’4”, even if the movement on his pitches is more horizontal than vertical. That’s a potential No. 2 starter if he ever manages to put together a healthy season. The weird thing about De La Cruz’s health is that he hasn’t had any major injuries that required any significant surgeries. No Tommy John, no arthroscopic knee surgery or anything like that. His injuries have always been termed “soreness” or “tenderness” requiring rest. That sounds like a precursor to Tommy John surgery, but so far, he’s avoided the knife. It should also be mentioned that as an amateur in the Dominican Republic, De La Cruz was an infielder. The Cubs converted him to the mound after he signed, so it’s not like there are a ton of miles on that elbow. If De La Cruz ever does get healthy, expect the Cubs to rush him to the majors before he breaks down again. Here’s De La Cruz finishing off a complete-game, seven-inning shutout against Lynchburg in May. It only took him 71 pitches to get the complete game. He only had one strikeout in this game, but he didn’t walk anyone either. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nIaGW33lZvU?rel=0&showinfo=0" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> 4. Victor Caratini. C. B:S/T:R. 6’1”, 215. DOB: 8/17/93. Trade with Braves (2014). I have no doubt that Caratini can hit. The switch-hitting converted infielder from Puerto Rico hit a whopping .342/.393/.558 with 10 home runs, 27 doubles and three triples in 292 at-bats for Iowa last summer. He was named to the World team at the Futures Game and then got his first call-up to the majors, hitting a very respectable .254/.333/.356 in 66 plate appearance for his first crack at the big show. Caratini can hit f[...]



Two more 2018 Wrigley Field concerts announced

2018-01-19T10:15:01-06:00

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Lots of nostalgia coming to the ballpark concert scene.

Back in October, the first Wrigley Field concert event for 2018 was scheduled — Foo Fighters.

Friday, two more Wrigley shows were announced. First, Def Leppard and Journey:

Def Leppard and Journey are scheduled to play Wrigley Field on July 14 as part of a 58-date North American tour they announced Friday.

And, Chicago-area natives Fall Out Boy:

Fall Out Boy is coming home to play Wrigley Field on Sept. 8, the North Shore natives announced Friday as they dropped their new album “Mania.”

Tickets for the Fall Out Boy show go on sale a week from today, January 26. Tickets for the Def Leppard/Journey show go on sale February 3. I assume that season-ticket holders and Wrigley neighbors will, as they have in the past, have access to presales.

Here’s the up-to-date concert schedule, where the Cubs are on that date and how many days until the next home game:

July 14: Def Leppard/Journey (Cubs in San Diego, next home game July 19)
July 29-30: Foo Fighters (Cubs in St. Louis, next home game August 2)
September 8: Fall Out Boy (Cubs in Washington, next home game September 10)

As always, to me the most important thing is getting the field in baseball shape after the shows. Over the last couple of years the team has gotten much better at doing this.

There will be more shows announced; last year there were 10 concerts and given the Cubs’ stated desire to have more revenue from these shows, there will almost certainly be at least that many in 2018.




MLB’s pitch clock proposal is going to be implemented, and that’s a good thing

2018-01-19T09:00:07-06:00

Here’s how this and other pace-of-play rules would affect the way the game is played. News item: Major League Baseball owners are going to institute a pitch clock and other things they think will improve the pace of play this year, even if the players don’t agree to these changes. According to that linked article by Tom Verducci, if the players don’t sign off on the pace-of-play modifications by the time of the next owners meeting in Los Angeles on January 30, the owners are going to put them in place unilaterally, as they are permitted to do under the current CBA after a year of negotiating (which is why these proposals were first made last year). Before I get into some discussion of what this all means, here are the details of the changes: • A 20-second pitch clock with the bases empty, similar to what has been used for three years in some minor leagues. First violations by a pitcher or batter would receive a warning. Subsequent violations would result in a ball charged to the count upon a violation by the pitcher or a strike charged upon a violation by the batter. • A limit of six mound visits per game by players. • A trigger mechanism for further change in 2019. If the average time of game remained at three hours or more in 2018—it was a record-long 3:05.11 last season—the pitch clock would be used for all pitches, including with runners on, in 2019. I’ve written about the 20-second clock here before, most recently about two weeks ago. It’s something that’s been in place in the minor leagues (Double-A and Triple-A) for the last three seasons; I personally haven’t been at a game at those levels in that time frame, but people who have say the clock is never even noticed. This would simply be a mechanism to enforce a rule that’s been on the books for decades. According to Verducci, “about two-thirds” of current big-league pitchers have pitched in the minor leagues during the time this clock has been in place, so theoretically at least those pitchers should be used to it. Here are more details on the above from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan: MLB intends to use a 20-second pitch clock with the bases empty and runners on, according to the memo. In the proposed agreement, the pitch clock would have been 18 seconds with the bases empty and would have been shut off with runners on. The clock will start when a pitcher has the ball on the mound and stop when the pitcher begins his windup or comes set. If the pitcher steps off the rubber, the clock resets. Batters must be in the box five seconds after the clock starts. Should a pitcher run afoul of the rule, he will receive one warning per game. The next violation would result in an automatic ball. The penalty will begin on opening day, as opposed to the rejected proposal, which would’ve delayed the implementation until May 1. The restrictions on mound visits are particularly acute. Any time a coach, manager or player visits a pitcher on the mound, or a pitcher leaves the mound to confer with a player, it counts as a visit. Upon the second visit to the pitcher in the same inning, he must exit the game. Under the proposal, each team would have received six so-called “no-change” visits that would have prevented the pitcher from leaving the game. In addition, there will be a 30-second between-batters timer implemented starting opening day. Each hitter will receive one warning per game. Part of the rejected proposal includes expanding that timer to 35 seconds. The mound visit proposal is probably the biggest and most important of these changes. I’ve noticed over the last few years that players, catchers in particular, seem to be making more mound visits. I love Willson Contreras, but he’s one of the biggest offenders, often making multiple visits to the mound during a single at-bat. The penalty is pretty harsh. Right now a pitcher must be replaced [...]