Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

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

Diamondbacks Eat Cubs For Desert

Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks

There was something missing from last night’s game in Arizona. Sure, Anthony Rizzo added to his growing legacy with Chicago fans by teeing off on two home runs but the Cubs couldn’t get the win. They did however, keep it close and show that their fighting spirit is real.

“It’d be nice to pass that mark,” Rizzo said. “You want to keep having good at-bats and not try to hit home runs, just try to hit the ball hard. Good things tend to happen.”

That “Awe Shucks” attitude will win him points with teammates when the leader for the next generation comes calling. One of the few teams with a worse record than the Cubs, the brave North Siders should have had that game in the can, but like their records, the score was close.

So the Cubs started the second half on a losing note, but I don’t think it’s a clear reflection of what this team can do. Although I’m careful to point out that the team has a lot of potential, they still are a ways from being where they want to be.

“Whatever happened in the first half is the first half,” Edwin Jackson said. “There’s a lot of baseball left. It’s about how you finish. You finish up strong, the first half will be kind of forgotten. You just live in the present.”

Believe it.

–Mark

There’s Always This Year For Cubs

There’s a trade deadline fast approaching. Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel have all ready headed to the west. So, do the Cubs make another move? Well, the Cubs have a lot of holes to fill but deciding who will stay and who will go is going to be harder than finding the wins in the left column of the standings.

It shouldn’t be that hard of a choice. There’s a lot of players to choose from. Let’s start with Darwin Barney. A great defender considered one of the best in the majors and I’ll bet a dime to a dollar that he’s a great guy to boot any team will be glad to have him. Does he fit in the Cubs plans? No. His plate contributions haven’t been up to snuff this season and the Cubs have a well publicized stockpile of talent waiting in the wings. DARWIN BARNEY-TRADE

Nate Schierholtz is another guy who has stalled this year. He’s been getting better but not the same player he was a year ago. He’ll be gone.

Now for some of the difficult decisions. Junior Lake. After an explosive debut last season, the Lake’s run dry. He’s frustrated with his play and that’s a tough spot to be in because the talent is still there and he’s young so it wouldn’t benefit him or the Cubs to be in a situation where his confidence is not there. I’d shop him.

The team will have to make room for Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez. Fans have been waiting a long time for them and soon it’ll be that time.

It’s a great time to be a Cub and unless you’re Edwin Jackson with an embarrassing contract hanging over your head, this time next year the Cubs will be in the hunt. Fans across the nation and beyond(with the exception of those pesky Cardinals) should wish them well.

But wait. Didn’t they say that last year? “There’s always next year” has become a mantra in the blue pinstripes and red “C” but next season the Cub will grow into a bear and it will be playoff hunting season.

Believe it.

—Mark

Jeter Bids Farewell At 2014 MLB All Star Game

MLB: All Star Game-Workout Day

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the 2014 All Star Game. With all the Pomp that comes along with it and the celebration of Derek Jeter’s swan song as an All Star, the inevitable first ballot Hall of Fame selection and the pure awesomeness of Giancarlo Stanton. There was an amusing moment for Jeff Samardzija.

Lining up with the National League but standing next to his American League teammates, it was a bittersweet moment for Chicago Cubs fans seeing their former ace in an Oakland Athletics sweater. Cubs fans were left felling, well, green.

“I asked for the union’s opinion on what they thought I should do, but since this has never happened before, they also didn’t have too much to say,” said Samardzija. “I just felt like the best thing to do was show my respects to the National League team by doing the workouts with them. I also think it’s important I get announced as a National League All-Star, just because that’s who I pitched for when I got voted in.”

The Shark is getting his chance at a post season this year and it’s well deserved. He was due and this is his moment to shine. I know I’ll be cheering him on this post season.

oh c’mon, the Cubs aren’t going to be there, are they?

Now, I would have liked to see more than one At Bat for the Northside, but this is supposed to be a break in the season and it’s a great way to celebrate America’s past time. After all, last night wasn’t about the Cubs, it was about the Man, Derek Jeter.

“I’m not retiring at the end of the year, because I don’t think I can play — it’s just the time is right,” Jeter said. “So today, I was fortunate. I enjoy playing these All-Star Games and competing against the best, and today, I was fortunate to get a couple of hits. But I still feel as though I can play.”

Last night he did it all too. However, that Adam Wainwright pitch looked more like a gimme than anything significant in the hurler’s arsenal. So what? Jeter proved why he’s got the moxy and why he’s one of the game’s greats. I look forward to seeing him in Cooperstown.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Lose And Other Cliches

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It’s easy to forget that there’s a whole team when a player like Arismendy Alcantara comes along and captures the imaginations and starry eyed dreams of a potential post season(not this year)but can anyone blame us Cubs fans for buying into this wonder kid who put a dent in the books by collecting his first career Home Run? Don’t blame us. The kid is awesome, but beware a sophomore slump AKA Junior Lake.

Yesterday was a frustrating game by all accounts. One part maddening, and another part inspiring. I love Jim Deshaies banter with Len Kasper. They have one of the toughest jobs in sports. Trying to be neutral about a team going through challenging times and remaining optimistic about their future. Hey, that’s me!!!

Even though the Cubs lost to the Braves, there were a lot of good points. The Cubs fought back in late innings which is a sure sign of a team on the rise. What once was a struggle with Runners In Scoring Position is now a challenge to win from behind. There’s still the problem with RISP, but the Cubs are clearing a hurdle.

“For myself, I’m not happy with it at all,” Travis Wood said. “A lot of stuff to improve on. A lot of stuff to do better in the second half. … Every year is different. It’s kind of what I’ve taken into spring — that you’re never going to be the same as you were last year. Nothing is ever going to go the same way it did. It’s just a new year, different challenges, and you’ve got to overcome them.”

The Cubs have a strong front end with Chris Coghlan, Arismendy Alcantara, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. How will the Fantastic Four carry the momentum in the second half or will we see sightings of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant or Jorge Soler?

“I’m having fun,” Alcantara said. “I just try to do my job. If they want me to stay here, I will. It’s not my decision.”

“Dance with the one who got you here” is the cringing cliché, but even in a limited role, Arismendy will help. The Cubs are in a great position to try new things out and just go for it all. I’m excited about the second half.

For now though, we have two All Stars to watch!!!!

Believe It,

—Mark

Cubs Alcantara Roars Despite Loss To Braves.

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This one was a tough one to take. 11-6. Edwin Jackson had a tough one. I’ll go easy on him because of that great game in Boston. All right?

“It’s one of those games to put way back in the back of the memory bank.” Jackson said.

Yeah, and pray you get amnesia. Hey, these games happen and especially with young team. Jackson gave up nine runs in three and change innings but, like their previous games, the Cubs fought back. If you’re going to lose a game this is the way you do it. Showing some kind of improvements is paramount and the Cubs are looking like the exciting team they’re becoming. With the addition of Arismendy Alcantara, suddenly the Cubs are exciting. Really exciting. Players not named Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro have been putting up numbers worthy of 2016 All Star Games.

Depth on a team is crucial to win championships and the Cubs are starting to provide that depth. If they can put it all together and win games then a World Series will be on deck.

“We have a long second half. There’s definitely a lot of baseball left. I feel like I can definitely turn things around and have a better second half and have the whole first half forgotten about.” said Jackson.

There is a lot of baseball left in the season, he’s right. I’ve given up relying on statistics to tell if a team will make the playoffs but baseball is a game of numbers that’s no secret and if guys like Coghlan and Alcantara continue their play, then there’s no reason why the Cubs can’t be there in October.

Then again, I’m just a believer.
—Mark

Cubs Show Courage Against Braves

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When Theo Epstein decided to change the Cub’s culture and put out a plan for The Cub’s Way, suddenly, the team is looking good with back to back wins. The difference with these wins though is that one was a come from behind and the other was from a walk off heroes in Justin Ruggiano and Arismendy Alcantara. Could he be this year’s Yusiel Puig? Hmmn?

“Any player, when they impact you and show you what they have, I think the easiest thing to do is for people to start to speculate if he will stick around,” Rick Renteria said, while noting Alcantara will likely play center field on Saturday.

I hate the Braves. Don’t know what the reason is, but there’s something about that team that just doesn’t sit right with me. I’ll cheer on the Yankees before I cheer on the Braves. This win was great because of that but also because the Cubs are eleven back and ten back in the Wild Card Race. Unlikely for the post season, but hell, the Cubs have two All Stars and that is awesome.

Yes, there is definitely a winning culture spreading in Chicago.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs’ The Comeback Kids and All Star Rizzo

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds

Life is filled with small victories. They start at the youngest of ages and go on until sometimes, our last days. Taking those first steps. Man, when you see that smile flash across the kid’s face when they use their feet for the first time it’s priceless, don’t even touch that one Visa. For the parent, it’s pride. It’s an incredible moment in both the child and the parent. For the child, it’s accomplishment and for the parent it’s pride. A lot of it.

Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs took home a small victory that many Cub’s fans the world over felt. They felt pride and we all smiled. A lot.

They did it in extra innings. They did it with Valbuena. Yes folks, the Cubs came from behind to lead a charge past the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4.

There was a new kid in town named Arismendy Alcantara and man, can he strut. The kid went 4 for 5. He hit three RBI’s! His first game! A Chicago Cub hit 3 RBI’s Holy Cow!

“Like I said, you just have to do your job, play your game and see what happens,” Alcantara said.

Then the Cubs did something even more surprising; they promoted him. Yes, what many have been crying for all season, the team finally took a chance and did something daring.

Of course, the real star of the day was All Star Anthony Rizzo. Not only was there a bench brawl, but he made the All Star team. Millions of fans across Cub nation voted Rizzo, and I truly apologise for the constant feed. it was a one day thing only. In a challenging season for the Cubs, they have two All Stars. Holy Cow!!

While one player gets the promotion and another gets demoted in the form of Kyle Hendricks, this is good news. The Cubs took a chance, they fought back and they won.

That’s a Big Victory.

Believe It

—Mark

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