Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Kris Bryant Gets Shutout But Is A Hit With The Fans

Chicago Cubs Kris Bryant

What did you think of Kris Bryant’s debut? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Before everyone goes all half cocked about him being shutout at the plate, keep in mind that he’s made it and one game doesn’t necessarily tell the full story.

Let’s start with the Umpires. They were awful. All those missed calls that led to Joe Maddon being ejected was terrible. I’m not always a big fan of managers going out to argue calls, I mean what does it really do? “Oh hey Mr. Maddon, I messed up, you’re right. Let me just rectify the situation.”

Naw, that doesn’t happen. However, Joe Maddon’s frustration with the umps was so justified, I was screaming and my son was screaming. “What’s he saying, Daddy?”

“It’s a great day for baseball”

“I felt really strongly about [Schlitter] right there,” Maddon said. “The biggest thing there is he’s probably the guy who puts the ball on the ground more than any of our relief pitchers, so I thought it was a better chance of a ground ball. Of course, we like to have that pitch called a strike, but even after it wasn’t, you have to make a better pitch than that. So, I’m not going to sit here and blame umpires for a lack of execution.”

Now, what that translates to is “You @!#$%”

Kris Bryant’s call up is a “Better late than never” situation

“We would’ve done it a little later, but you can’t script everything out in baseball,” Theo Epstein said. “It’s a great day and we hope the start of something special.”

So yeah, even though Bryant didn’t fare so well at the plate, the wait is over and he’s only going to get better from here.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life, and I’m out there trying to do too much in those four at-bats,” Bryant said of his big league debut. “It was a good day for me — my first game and the guys were treating me great. I couldn’t ask for a better day, honestly.”

Believe it.

Welcome to the Show, Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant  Chicago Cubs

“This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Field of Dreams

Today is a special day. This is the day Cubs fans have waited patiently for a very long time.

Today is Kris Bryant Day.

How many rookies can say that they have their own day named after them? Not many.

The talented rookie led the majors in home runs during spring training with nine but due to contractual reasonings was held in the minors. However, third baseman Mike Olt has an injury which is giving the opportunity to Bryant now to strut his stuff.

Of course Bryant will play third base, but what happens when Olt gets back?

“I see him as a third baseman,” Maddon said Wednesday. “That’s where I saw him, and I thought he could do that. Conversationally with him, he likes playing the outfield, which I thought was interesting. If you could play him at two spots, and injuries occur, things have to be moved around, maybe somebody is available who does better here than there, that’s a nice thing to have — a player that young amenable to doing more than one thing. It doesn’t happen all the time.”

This is what I hope happens. If they can somehow use Kris Bryant in a utility type role where he can play both third and the outfield, at least for this season anyways, I believe it’ll give him a chance to be a more grounded player and provide more depth to the Cubs.

On the other hand, if Bryant only plays third and they choose to trade Olt it’s another alternative but in both cases the Cubs are in a great spot both in April and those tough decisions to make on the field.

A little Caveat to consider is the hype machine. Yeah, Kris Bryant is going to be amazing. Yes, he’s going to be around for a very long time in the Cubs organization and yes, he’s going to be amazing. Wait, I all ready said that.

The Cubs have had patience with him and now it’s the fans turn to have patience with Kris Bryant. Let’s not scare him from the game too early.  Give him the chance to find himself, make mistakes and try to be that player we all know he can and will be. There’s been so many incidences of hyped rookies burning out or not living up to their expectations.

I learned something last night while I was hitting a few wiffle balls in the backyard with my son. First thing he asked me when  we got home last night was,”Daddy, want to play some baseball in the backyard?” He’s good. He can crush those balls into the neighbour’s yard. I can feel the wallet groan as one of those plastic balls soared towards the neighbour’s window.

He’s four years old and he loves to hear the sound as the ball connecting with the bat. He’s having fun.

Sorry about that, I got on a tangent now back to Kris Bryant.

“Today I got to tell my family that my dream is coming true. Can’t really put into words what that feels like. So excited for this journey!” Bryant said in a Tweet.

You just did Kris.

Believe it.

Cubs Seal Jackie Robinson Day with Victory

Travis Wood Chicago Cubs

There was a lot to celebrate on Jackie Robinson Day. The Cubs celebrated as well with a win over the Cincinnati Reds, 5-0. The win briefly puts the team into sole possession of first place in the Central. It also marked the season debut of Anthony Rizzo’s quest to crush his 32 home runs last year.

However, it was the decent from Travis Wood and of course the power of the team that helped with the victory.

“From the first inning, I could tell we had pretty good command of the fastball today, and that was the approach we took,” Travis Wood said. “I was able to keep them off-balance and get some early outs and pound the zone.”

Travis Wood is starting to get his groove back together after last year’s disappointing season.

“He’s different,” Maddon said. “As pitchers go, you could label him as a dirtbag. I love that phrase when you’re talking about a good baseball player.”

Last season, a major problem with the Cubs was the inability to gel together. Either it was great pitching and no offence, or the other way around but this year in all the victories and close defeats, the Cubs have received support from both sides of the ball.

The Cubs have a well deserved day off before San Diego comes to town tomorrow.

“You could sense it in Spring Training. It’s a good group of guys, and very relaxed and very hungry at the same time. We need to feel this and keep feeling it and get everyone rallying behind us.” Rizzo said.

It’s not hard to have a relaxed vibe with Joe Maddon in the dugout and clipboard.

Despite all the Cubs heroics on the field, the real hero of the day was Jackie Robinson. The adversity he went through has and will always make the difference in the game and felt everywhere.

“What he’s done for the game in breaking the color barrier, being able to stand up for what he stood for — obviously, I wouldn’t be playing if he wasn’t here,” Dexter Fowler said. “It’s definitely an honor to wear.”

Believe it

Cubs Keep It Close in Loss To Reds

Chicago Cubs Welington Castillo

The Cubs are quickly gaining the reputation as a great finishing team. Even though the team fell to the Reds last night 3-2, the Cubs never lost composure and never felt like they were out of the ball game and if it all came down to Aroldis Chapman ruining a great comeback for the club, then fellas, that’s an honour.

“If we keep giving that kind of effort all year long, I’ll be very happy,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.

Because you know, it’s that kind of effort that will keep the team in ball games all season. It was that amazing turn of events in the eighth inning by Welington Castillo with a two run rocket, that kept fans from leaving the park. If fortunes were reversed, then the team would have continued for a third game of a comeback in late innings.

“I can help the team win by doing little things like today and Sunday. Why not? I can still be part of the Cubs. Any time I get my chance, I’ll do my best to win the game and help my teammates.” Castillo said.

Welington Castillo is caught between a rock and a hard place. The team needs an anchor behind the plate. Lester needs David Ross, but the Cubs need the leadership that Miguel monitor can provide. If having three catchers gives the Cubs more options, then it’s a really good situation to be in.

“At the end of the day, they put some good swings on balls that were off the plate,” Arrieta said. “Their guy [Anthony DeSclafani] was tough. He pitched a really good game, stayed out of the middle of the plate, and had some good life on his fastball. From start to finish, they were solid.”

The Cubs are half game back of the Reds. It’s still too early for any kind of competition and the parades haven’t dusted off the floats. You know, those 1908 floats are really creepy looking right now.

Today is Jackie Robinson Day all around the big leagues. Travis Wood gets the start. 8:05 eastern.

Believe it

Chicago Cubs have that Esprit de corps

Chicago Cubs Win

Now, what was a previously somewhat boring game yesterday, turned into a key game for the Cubs. The Cubs went on to defeat the Colorado Rockies, 5-3 with a two run blast from newcomer Dexter Fowler in the ninth inning.

Nobody can say the Cubs don’t have a flare for the dramatics.

With the win, the Cubs record is now 3-2  going into a division series matchup with the Cincinnati Reds tonight. A good place for the team to be.

“It was an entire team victory,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. “I love when you win that kind of game on the road, utilizing everybody. It’s really good for esprit de corps.”

“Esprit de corps”?

In many ways, you couldn’t have written the script any better. Top of the ninth with one on and two out. Former Rockies Dexter Fowler, new guy hitting it out of the park with a come from behind victory. When Joe Maddon says it was a total team victory, these wins are the kind of wins the Cubs are going to need if they want to make it to the post season. No more relying on Anthony Rizzo and the sometimes focused Starlin Castro with whom I’ll always have that like ability with him just because my son Darcy thinks he’s awesome. It has to be the Chris Coghlan’s(who had a pretty good game himself) and Dexter Fowler’s who chip away every game.

“LaTroy has a history of getting me out,” said Fowler, who is now 1-for-3 against Hawkins. “I get 0-2 right there, and I’m sitting there like, ‘Man, not again.’ I stepped out and took a deep breath. Hats off to my teammates. They battled in that inning. Welington [Castillo] comes in and gets a key at-bat, Arismendy Alcantara’s walk, that sets the table for everything.”

I was a little disappointed with Kyle Hendrick’s rough outing. It was his first game of the season, so this was his”Shake it off” moment.

“I don’t think we win this last year,” Hendricks said. “Just the confidence factor, all the new guys coming in here, the winning attitude, winning ways. These guys know how to win, and they showed it.”

Believe it

#BringBackBartman Oh Yeah, and The Cubs Win.

Well, Starlin Castro must have been reading my blog yesterday because he hit a home run to help the Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 9-5 yesterday. The other two homers came from Mike Olt and Chris Coghlan.

As opening Week winds down, does this mean that the Chicago offence has finally come into their own?

“The at-bats have been good,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s just the ebb and flow of the season, and you want to get more consistent. I think our judgment at the plate has been good.”

Jason Hammel was solid as well yesterday pitching six innings with eight hits.

Today, is going to be a big game because of the Kyle Hendricks Experience. Yes, I’m a huge fan of Kyle. He’s probably one of the most underrated  pitchers in the game. He has no particular style but man, he gets the job done. I’m predicting before the end of the year, he’s going to move up in the order.

“I really believe he could pitch well in a phone booth, he’s such a precision kind of pitcher with good stuff. Everybody looks at him as being a command guy, but his stuff is good too. When he’s executing his pitches well, it doesn’t matter where he’s pitching.” Maddon said.

All right, so yesterday I was tweeting about the possibility of Steve Bartman getting pardoned by the Chicago Cubs. @cubs_scott and @metroboid were discussing this and I also wrote a post about this a couple of months ago.

It just seems like the time has come to forgive and forget. Sometime this season, the Cubs should have a pre-game ceremony to bring him back to Wrigley Field. The problem is that he’s a difficult guy to track down. Is he still in the Witness Protection Program? Is he in Canada?

So, I’m starting a Twitter campaign to #BringBackBartman

The Cubs should do this. Let’s get everyone on board. I want everyone to give a reason why they would like Steve Bartman back at Wrigley Field using that hashtag.

Hey Steve, Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Believe it.

Cubs Can’t Wait For Bryant

Joe Maddon Chicago Cubs bleed cubbie blue

As far as professional sports franchise go, the Chicago Cubs are probably the most storied team. Yes, that’s right I said it. Yesterday, Travis Wood and the Cubs lost a tough one to the Colorado Rockies, 5-1. Now, I say “tough one” not because the Rockies are on fire in this young season, but there were some oddities at work here. Let me start with Starlin Castro.

He made a crucial error in the game where the ball seemingly went right through his glove in what was just another routine play. Sure, you can chalk it up to leftover rust, but c’mon, he’s been doing this for a few years now and has quickly turned into the kind of player that no team wants. Yeah, he’s good but those mental mistakes should not happen at this stage of his baseball career. If the Chicago Cubs have any hope of winning the World Series, then he’s got to get rid of those mental mistakes quickly. Swearing into his glove is just not going to cover those mistakes either.

Now, in many ways I bleed cubbie blue just like the rest of Cubs fans who are die hards, but sometimes there is only so much we can give. I’m not talking about the team as much as Starlin Castro. The season is young so I can forgive the mistakes that a young season brings, but with Starlin Castro?

Get it together.

Another area for concern was the missed opportunities.

“We keep putting ourselves in position and battling and getting good at-bats,” Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo said. “We just have to learn to capitalize more on pitchers and when they’re in trouble, not us. We’re not the ones in trouble at that time, that moment. We had the pitcher on the ropes a few times and didn’t come through. If we keep giving ourselves opportunities, good things will happen.”

And I believe that too. Hey, it was good to see Edwin Jackson in his new role. I’m a believer that good things will happen now that “EJax” is putting a shift into his game.

Now, there’s a bit of a problem with RISP. It’s been a problem the last few years, but that’s practice. Once guys like Soler, Rizzo and when Kris Bryant eventually gets up then those things will iron itself out.

“I liked the way we went about our business,” Joe Maddon said. “We just couldn’t get the hit when we needed to.”

Kris Bryant, where are you?

Believe it.

Jake Arrieta Gets Win. For The Cubs, He’s A Man of The People

Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, Baseball

Jake Arrieta, Mr. Nice Guy

Who would have thought Jake Arrieta? Well, Cubs fans did, that’s who. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs and Arrieta picked up their first win of the season 2-0 over the rival St. Louis Cardinals. What made the win that much bigger was the stellar play of Mr. Jake Arrieta.

In an off season that was highlighted by big spending, few would have imagined that it would be Arrieta that would get out of the gates early and become the hero.

The game started a little rocky for Arrieta but catcher Miguel Montero(who I have in my fantasy draft) had a little chat with the pitcher.

“Some guys need a pat on the back and some guys need to be yelled at, and I’m one of those guys who likes to be yelled at,” Arrieta said. “Montero recognizes things in situations that I need to do differently, and it’s great to have a voice like that behind the plate. We worked very well together.”

But it’s not only that. There’s a different vibe in the clubhouse this season. It almost feels from a fans perspective that this year’s edition of the Northsiders are a little more relaxed in their approach. It could be confidence and it could be that they’re gelling together.

At first glance, I thought perhaps that Lester’s signing was just another big free agent thing but he seems to be having positive effects in the clubhouse.

“His presence alone is one that elevates everybody,” Arrieta said. “I think that’s what Jon has done for me. I’ve always admired him from afar, from the other side. The second part of the tweet I said ‘I’ve watched you do it for many years.’ That’s what I want to incorporate into my game. Those are things we’re going to have to do for each other throughout the year. We’re all going to struggle at times. But the starter the next day has the ability to go out there and right the ship, save some arms in the ‘pen and get us rolling again.”

It’s that kind of unselfish player that gets me excited for this season. Arrieta talks about the other guys even the most expensive guy on the team. Oh, and my favourite pitcher in the rotation?

The Kyle Hendricks Experience.

“Hendricks is probably one of the most underrated guys in baseball,” Arrieta said. “He’s in his second year. Not really everybody knows about him yet. Just watching this guy for the past couple of years, his composure is incredible. He understands the game plan. He works well with catchers, and he’s got an advanced pitchability that not many guys have at his age. He’s going to be huge for us. I think he’s going to continue to fly under the radar, maybe for some time. But he’s fine with that. He’s as even-keeled and laid back as anybody you’ll meet, and I think that’s what makes him so good.”

Oh yeah, I picked Hendricks too.

Believe it.

Cubs Left In The Cold During Opening Week

Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field

Jake Arrieta gets the start today. Game Time is 2:20 Eastern

After the thrill and excitement of Opening Night, I was all set to settle in and enjoy a good Cubs game last night. Did it happen?

No.

Rain and cold temperatures spoiled my plans. Welcome to April baseball. As it turned out, I watched what was probably the best Ottawa Senators games I’ve ever seen. They came back from a three goal deficite to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime and keep their playoff hopes alive.  A great game!

Now, the Chicago Cubs have a lot of work to do to get to the post season. It’s only the second game in but when they’re facing those pesky division rivals, now’s the chance to get ahead in the standings. Teams are rusty and April is a very important month to win.

“The start is so essential, especially when you’re in a real competitive division,”Theo Epstein said. “I thought it was nice we had a really good final third to Spring Training. We started out slow and kind of found our way and we played some really good baseball the last week to 10 days. Let’s try to have that carry over.”

What’s that Yoda saying, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Yeah, that keeps coming back to me. I think the team is so much different with a Can-Do attitude in Joe Maddon. He likes to learn new things, however, now is the time to do it, not a couple of months from now.

“I’ve got to learn the National League,” Joe Maddon said. “I don’t know these teams. You look at a scouting report, and when you actually know what this guy looks like visually, it’s a lot easier to understand the scouting report. … I have to understand the National League, I have to understand the Central fast, because we play them so often. I have to understand the other managers and how they think quickly. Those are my challenges.”

Even though the Cubs may have their challenges this year, I’m making a safe bet that they’ll be in contention throughout the season.

Believe it.

Cubs Look To Get Their Groove Back

Chicago Cubs, Opening Night, Joe Maddon

Although the Cubs took it on the chin in Sunday night’s home opener, the Cubs shouldn’t be too worried about how the season will play out. Ok, ok, that bobble Jorge Soler did looked scary but we all know that the Cubs have so much to look forward to that one game does not tell a story. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“I always think it takes that first month to understand the team,” Maddon said. “I try to have a winning record every month, and that’s something we’ll talk about and try to make a goal.”

He’s got a point and with so many new faces on the team, Spring Training is just that training. Call me an optimist, call me a realist,  call me crazy but the Cubs are just getting started and even though that throw to first by Jon Lester looked a little rusty, I’m sure there are $155 million reasons, both Lester and madden will look at that during practices.

“He wasn’t as sharp as he can be, that’s obvious,” Maddon said. “The cutter wasn’t there for him. The velocity started real well. In the first inning, I saw 93, 94 [mph]. It looked like he could find it when he wanted to after that. But I don’t think his breaking ball was where he wanted it to be.”

“It’s still getting the ball down in the zone, regardless of who you’re pitching against,” said Lester, who allowed eight hits. “I didn’t do that. I’ll get back at it on Tuesday. The biggest thing is getting that  angle. It was there at times. I threw some cutters that weren’t really good, really flat that can’t happen. We’ll make the adjustment and get back to work in the next one.”

Opening Night and Opening Day are over with. Today, is the day when teams knuckle down and find their groove. Jake Arietta squares off against Lance Lynn tonight. If Opening Night was about the festivities, then this is where old rivalries get renewed.

Hopefully, the restroom situation will get resolved. Fans were apparently pissed off about the bathroom struggles.

Sorry.

“There were already long lines on the lower level,” he said.  The plumbing problems were cleared up but, by then, the lines had grown to waits of more than an hour, We could’ve provided additional portable units and we didn’t,”  Cubs spokesman Julian Green said.

Believe it

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