Wada Win For Cubs

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Yesterday was, perhaps a turning point in the future of the Cubs. Darwin Barney is now an LA Dodger and most likely going to have his first shot at a post season. This is baseball, right? Anything can happen.

The Cubs soundly beat the Colorado Rockies in a suspenseful game if you include that eighth inning bases loaded Anthony Rizzo at the plate kind of nail biter. Of course there wasn’t a grand slam, I mean this is the Cubs right? for a brief moment, the friendly folks at Wrigley almost witnessed a chance at immortality for their young captain.

Tsuyoshi Wada collected his first win as the Cubs beat the Rockies 4-1 and earning his first win.

“I appreciate that the Cubs used me again after that outing I had [against San Diego], which wasn’t very good,” Wada said “My command was definitely better than last time, and it’s the second time I pitched in Chicago, so I was a little more relaxed. The last time I was more excited and anxious about that game.”

The Cubs have virtually no chance at a post season, but stranger things have happened to this club. With the Dodgers signing Barney and the deadline fast approaching, who should the Cubs deal? Is it Nate Schierholtz or send Junior Lake down? Schierholtz is on a bit of a hot streak lately, but I think he’s good trade bait.

“When you have players who are working together over time, continuity does seem to help,” manager Rick Renteria said. “You can’t guarantee that change won’t occur after the Trade Deadline. I wish I could tell you that I have a crystal ball and I know exactly what’s going to happen, but I don’t.

All right Ricky, I’m going to tell look into my crystal ball and see what’s going to happen.

I see a lot of smoke. I see a face. A big C on a shirt. Bonif, oh no wait…

Baez.

The ball is cloudy, I see no more.

Believe it.
—Mark

Cubs And Cardinals Friends Forever

You can learn a lot from yesterday’s tough loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. A 1-0 defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. So are those 70’s uniforms. What were those designers thinking?

It’s not going to matter too much in the standings at this point of the season, but one can hope that the Cubs would play spoiler to a Cardinals team in position to snag the NL Central. Of course, that didn’t happen.

“All pitchers are out there thinking, at least that’s the goal,” Hendricks said. “I just take that mindset, watching video, trying to figure out the hitters, and then on the mound, the biggest thing is making the adjustments. I think that’s what separates a lot of good pitchers from being average — just figuring out what the hitters are trying to do against you during the game is huge and making adjustments to combat that.”

Yes, the Cubs pitching is looking solid going into next year’s young class coming up. Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks are putting together a solid foundation on the mound.

“The big picture is that we want to win every game, but the way we’re competing and holding our own on a daily basis, I think the attitude that these young men have is in the right place,” Renteria said. “I think they’re trying to do things the right way and we just fell a little short.”

Yes, the Cubs are trying to do things the right way and building for a long term organization so history doesn’t repeat itself. Hopefully, not those 70’s uniforms. Wow.

So, I want to send out some positive vibes to Cardinal fans. Sure, there’s a bitter rivalry going between the Cubs and Cardinals, but it’s a only a game. I came across this song by PS I Love You and thought of the rivalry.

Why can’t we be Friends Forever?

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs Almost Clawed Out A Victory Against Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs

In what is supposed to be the Hall of Fame Weekend where generations upon generations enjoy the magic and whimsical wonder of a Nation’s pastime, the Cubs seemed in a nostalgic mood against the Cardinals. One day after a spectacular win, the Cubs decided to give a Hall Of Fame worthy loss 6-3. Was it the jitters of seeing AJ Perzynski in the division red?

“I’ve faced him several times in the past, and he’s had quite a bit of success against me,” Jake Arrieta said of Pierzynski, who is now 6-for-8 against him. “He’s a veteran hitter and knows what he’s doing up there. … He’ll be big for the team, especially with Yadi gone. It’s a good pickup on their part because he’s been around for a long time.”

And so the end result wasn’t exactly the outcome the Cubs were hoping for but Arrieta had a quality start. He fought back and went six innings. You see? even in a loss there’s always some sparkling good things for fans to see.

“That performance is indicative of how much he’s grown,” Rick Renteria said. “If that had been a couple years ago, and he was struggling, he wouldn’t be able to grind through and pitch six innings without his best command or stuff. Today he did.”

Jake Arrieta could very well be that pitcher who’ll lead the pitching staff to the playoffs real soon. They kept it close, but sometimes the games can run away from a team.

Maybe Nate Schierholtz wants to remain a Cub? He homered. It could be his last ditch attempt at saying, “Hey guys, don’t trade me. Last year wasn’t a fluke. The old Nate’s back.”

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Take Flight Against Cardinals

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

You have to hand it to Luis Valbuena. The guy who gives the “Peace sign to the sky” quietly goes about his business and gets it done. Knocking out another home run to put the Cubs ahead of rivals St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs went on to defeat the Red Birds 7-6.

The Cubs haven’t had it easy in July and this win was only their fourth out of the last seventeen. Their Wild Card dream is just a child’s “before bed prayer” but what the Cubs proved yesterday was they do have some talent and these sporadic wins are paving the way for a bigger picture.

Neil Ramirez. What more can be said about a guy who gives a kid a baseball at his first ball game? Well, the guy also throws some spectacular flames. He proved that yesterday against Matt Carpenter. If Mona Lisa played baseball, she would look like that out in the eighth. A thing of beauty leaving runners stranded.

“Carpenter is a tough out, a very tough out,” Ramirez said. “I tried to reach back and get a little bit extra today. I was able to get it past him and it was exciting.”

No way, Carpenter a tough out? If I looked into my crystal ball again, that play will be the Cubs every game in a couple of years. The Cubs haven’t seen those kind of moves since, well, since Carlos Marmol had that lights out kind of year.

Nope, those low key guys like Valbuena and Ramirez are key cogs that are slowly turning this team around. Never mind the leadership of Anthony Rizzo or the starry eyed Castro, the Cubs are hitting pay dirt with the extraordinary workmanlike play of these unassuming gentlemen. Wait, let’s not forget the Home Run hitting machine, Travis Wood. Now that’s versatility!

Speaking of unassuming turnarounds, our son was saying his prayers last night and I quote, “Bless baseball. I love you so much.”

Yup, you never know what comes out of a three year old’s mouth.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs In a Pearl Jam Against Padres

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs

Everytime I see the Cubs these days, I can’t help but hum that old familiar song, “Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you?” after last night’s debacle the song really took over and I woke up this morning singing it again. It could be that my son has gotten into watching it. Damn you Netflix! Then it hit me. Are you ready?

“Javy Javy Baez, where are you? We’ve got some work to do now.” Last night, the Padres dismantled the Cubs 13-3. Somewhere in the sixth inning, the wheels came off.

“The bullpen is such a roller coaster ride, you try to ride the good stretches as long as you can,” Reliever Wesley Wright said. “I think for the most part we did that. Coming out of the break, we’ve gotten off to a slow start. All it takes is a couple of us finding that groove”.

No matter what spin they might put on it, losing 13-3 is not a good thing. Yeah, it happens from time to time with great teams, but the San Diego Padres aren’t that great team.

There’s a book out there called, “Golf Monster” by Alice Cooper. If you haven’t read it, read it. He says in it that, “People asked me why I haven’t joined the PGA” Yes folks, Alice is quite the golfer. “Sure, I could hit 70 sometimes I could hit in the 60’s but I’m not a pro. Pros do that everyday.”

That’s the difference. Great teams don’t lose 13-3 against really bad teams. I’m not saying the Cubs are that great team, because they’re not. Going 3 for 15 with RISP is not how a team wins championships.

If the Cubs are going to move forward, I agree with those kind folks who suggest it must be that time to cut ties with Edwin Jackson. The experiment just isn’t working out. The Cubs should just eat his contract and move on.<a

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Out of The Frying Pan and Into The Friar Against Padres

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That was a tough one, no doubt about it. The Padres pounded the Cubs 8-3 it was almost a polar opposite to the night before where the Cubs treated the Padres like a Pee Wee team. Ah, but such is life with an up and down baseball club. Tsuyoshi Wada wasn’t as lucky as Kyle Hendricks in getting his first win.

“It seemed like he just didn’t get into a rhythm,” Rick Renteria said of Wada. “When you were watching him on the mound today, he was constantly fidgeting and it seemed like he was trying to get loose. He was grinding through it.”

There was some good news within the organization yesterday. Prospect, Javier Baez was conveniently moved to second base at Triple A Iowa. Hmn, one day removed of Darwin Barney being Designated For Assignment and Baez being moved to Second Base. It doesn’t mean a thing, but—

“The Baez second-base thing is really more big-picture than anything else,” Jed Hoyer said. “We want to increase his versatility. We thought it was the right thing to do to start putting him there. … These moves are not connected.”

So why did they make the move if they weren’t going to make a decision on something? Everything has a reason and moving Baez to second more likely than none means someday soon, we might just see Baez in one of those nifty retro uniforms.

Hey, what about Brian Schlitter’s awesome grab yesterday? As Jim Deshaies so astutely commented, “It’s an add for Selsun Blue!”

It’s Edwin Jackson on the mound tonight. Should be interesting.

Believe It.

—Mark

Cubs Crystal Ball looks Clearer. Bye Bye Barney

San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs

It’s amazing what a day can do. The Cubs designated Darwin Barney For Assignment, Anthony Rizzo became the National League Home Run leader and Arismendy Alcantara decided on his own that he wants to remain a Cub as the NorthSiders toppled the Padres 6-0. Wow!

Kyle Hendricks received his first win as well. Now, I’m not looking into a crystal ball, but suddenly things are looking a lot clearer than they have in the past. Nobody likes to be a “Told You So” either, but if you nice folks have been following closely, you would have saw that The Canuck Cubbie foretold Darwin Barney’s departure.

But nobody likes a “Told You So” right?

“We’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “‘Mendy’ coming up is helpful. The way Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro are playing is great. I think, in the not too distant future, [the prospects] will be out there.”

See? I’m not the only one. Hey, it’s a good sign when a player gets a nickname from the GM. That says, “Yeah, you’re in.”

So, what exactly happened to Darwin Barney? I’m reaching out because I honestly don’t have an answer. A former Gold Glove Winner who seemingly could do no wrong on the other side of the plate, just couldn’t hit the freakin’ ball this season. Never a power hitter, his AVG never reached .250 but he was just plain bad. To be fair to the guy, he was still great on defence, but I don’t know, there was something missing this year.

Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Hendricks, your first win is out of the way and many more to come.

“It’s definitely a day to remember,” Hendricks said. “It’s definitely the best day of my life. First Major League win, it’s what you work for since you were a little kid playing T-ball. I really can’t put it into words — it’s awesome.”

Speaking of T Ball, my son and I were hitting Wiffles in the backyard yesterday and for a three year old, Darcy can sure give Rizzo a run for the money. He went yard twice too. I tell you, the kid sure can hit.

Anthony Rizzo takes over the Home Run lead with 25 dingers. Is a possible MVP in the works? Can the Cubs make a turn around and win it all? Will we see a Javier Baez appearance?

I’m looking in the crystal ball, there’s still a lot of smoke. It’s swirling. Wait!! I see pinstripes, I see Ivy, I see lots of people smiling.

That’s all you get.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs’ Rizzo Star Shines Brighter

Is there a feeling of pride when All Star First Baseman Anthony Rizzo, and yes we can say that now, wins National League Player of The Week? Of course.

Rizzo went 5 for 11 and knocked out three home runs, two of those blasts were in one game. Why is this significant, you might ask and then again I won’t blame you if you didn’t. The reason this is significant is that during this season, the young All Star has captured the respect and admiration of Managers and Players alike. Suddenly, there’ll be more players who want to come to the windy north side and play. Good players. Great and Outstanding players like, David Price.

‘‘I’m just trying to put good swings on the ball,’’ Rizzo said .

Don’t think he’d be a good fit in Chicago? Does Theo Epstein have the Chutzpah to pull off a deal. Remember, this is the guy that almost pulled off a deal that could have brought Masahiro Tanaka to Chicago. So, is there an ace up his sleeve?

The timing is perfect for this kind of deal. The team is on the verge of greatness. I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s behind either. The struggles that the Cubs have been enduring for some time now could possibly be over as these young guys make their way up to the team.

Believe it.

—Mark

Despite Catch of The Year, Rizzo And Cubs Stymied By D’Backs

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks

If there’s one word to describe Anthony Rizzo, it has to be, “Amazing” and you better believe it’s a damn cliché when I say the “Amazing” Anthony Rizzo or Captain Amazing. Because folks, that’s exactly what he is, amazing.

Sure the Cubs lost yesterday. The Diamondbacks poisoned any chance of the Cubs making the Wild Card but that will forever be known as “The Catch” Why? Because in true Cubs lore, only a player like Rizzo could destroy a Rawlings, make a catch like that, tie the lead in the National League in home runs and still end up losing the game.

Cubs eventually succumbed to the D’Backs 3-2

“We need to just win,” Rizzo said. “It’s another close game. We keep fighting and we’re in a position to tie it up. We didn’t come through, but we have to keep grinding.”

So, is it just another curse for the Cubs? Since the trade, they’re 11-13. Coincidence? Or is it just a case of a struggling team. Emilio Bonifacio will be back soon and Arismendy Alcantara made the first cut so you know what that means? Darwin Barney and Nate Schierholtz are most likely on the move. Or what about Junior Lake? He could be sent down. In baseball, anything can happen.

“We’re well aware trades will continue to take place and guys will be shuffled in different positions and get experience across the board and they’ll fit guys in certain situations,” Jake Arrieta said. “That doesn’t take away from our mindset of going out there and trying to win every series.

It could sound like a broken record. It might be a cliché taking one series at a time but I tell you, these are just growing pains. Theo Epstein’s plan is a year away from fruition. It’s working. Cubs fans aren’t the most loyal fans in sports; they’re the most patient.

106 Years? Pretty soon we’ll be saying “Last year’s World Series Champions”

Believe it.

—Mark

Diamondbacks Rear Their Ugly Head Against Cubs

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks

Last night’s game wasn’t pretty. Sure, Castillo’s home run was awesome and Starlin Castro going 2 for 4 showed promise but for some reason, the lowly Diamondbacks seem to own the Cubs. I don’t know why that is, but numbers don’t lie and since the “Big” trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the Cubs have lost 10 of their last 12. Yes, Arizona beat up on the Cubs 9-3.

That’s disgusting. There’s no getting around that. I do have sympathy for the Cubs but they should have won those last two games against Arizona. However, “Should” has been scratched out, deleted and wiped from the books of baseball. It just simply does not exist. I’ve looked it up. You do the same.

I thought about not writing a post about last night’s game, but old habits die hard.

“For me, once we lost Hammel and Jeff, it’s a big gap to fill in the rotation,” Travis Wood said. “For sure, I really want to go out and give seven, eight innings as strong as I can every time and so far it hasn’t been happening. Like I said, I promise we’ll get there.”

He should know. There was a point in last night’s game when Welington Castillo went to the mound to have an old tete a tete with Wood, but you know that hurler just didn’t want to come out of the game. He’s been a struggling warrior all season and guys like him will turn their game around.

I’m holding out hope that Theo Epstein will pull the trigger and bring Baez up to get his feet wet. It’s inevitable because I’m confident Darwin Barney and possibly Nate Schierholtz will be packing their locker soon.

Folks, believe me when I tell you that good times are coming for the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo is in a position to lead the National League in Home Runs and although he went hitless last night, Arismendy Alcantara has got that explosive potential to be an all star.

“We still have to have conversations to see how we’ll go. It’s one of those situations where it’s still day-to-day.” Rick Renteria said.

All right, I was singing Mike Olt’s praise at the start of the season, but he’s faltered and gone cold. I think the Cubs shouldn’t make a quick decision on his future but he might be one of those sleeper players that a couple of years down the road might mature into something great.

Believe it.

—Mark

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