Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Cubs Take Mets To School

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You know, it’s a real treat when Kyle Hendricks plays. I’m not taking anything away from the other starters, but in yesterday’s win over the Mets, the Cubs looked and felt like winners as if they were playoff contenders. In other words, they looked good. Yes, the Cubs showed the Mets what a couple of rookies can do for a club. 4-1, baby!

The unfortunate part about these late call ups is the ineligibility for MVP’s or Cy Youngs. Don’t jump all over me for even suggesting Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks in the same breath with these awards, but imagine, what if?

What if they played all season long? Would Anthony Rizzo be looking at 48 Home Runs instead of the still awesome 28? How many of those rockets would Javier Baez be sending out into the stands? What about Starlin Castro?

“Having a lot of young guys coming up, we’ve played together for a long time, so it makes it more comfortable and it’s easier to play — you feel more comfortable out there,” Hendricks said.

Well gosh, that makes a whole lot of sense. These rooks have been playing together a lot in the well documented “Farm System Supreme” that the Cubs have been touting for quite some time now. Even though children are putting their backpacks at the door and school bus drivers are cleaning their machines, I’m glad Cubs fans are getting a chance to have a glimpse at the future.

The key issue is control and patience. The all ready awesome Kyle Hendricks needs to reel it in a bit. He’s got many years ahead of himself.

Javier Baez will learn his patience but man, am I glad he’s getting his chance.

“Over the long haul, he understands that if he’s swinging at pitches that are really unhandable, they’re going to keep [throwing them], for sure,” Renteria said. “He’s 21 years old. He’s learning.”

Believe it.

—Mark

Castro powers Cubs To Victory Over Mets

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Well, as the old saying goes, “A win is a win.” Even though Jake Arrieta didn’t receive the victory over the New York Mets yesterday, the Cubs got the 2-1 win and that is why baseball is the team sport that it is.

So, here’s the difference between the Starlin Castro of last year and the one who takes to the field this season. Yesterday, Starlin Castro got a ninth inning home run to give the Cubs the eventual win. How good is that  you might say? Well, Starlin Castro would have swung at anything or if he was out in the infield, “OH look, there’s a monarch butterfly.”

Not Starlin Castro of this year. Nosiree Bob. This one waits for pitches, communicates with other players and focuses entirely on what happens at the plate. In other words, this is the Starlin Castro the Cubs dreamed he would be.

“That was a big one,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “When he hit it, it came off his bat, and we were hoping it would get away from [the right fielder] — and it just carried enough to get out. That was a big at-bat for him, big at-bat for us.”

Or perhaps it’s Rick Renteria that’s put the change in Castro. The communication driven Renteria isn’t the laid back Morning After/Night Before looking Dale Sveum. Do you honestly think Sveum would have challenged all those calls this year?

There’s also the triple threat of Baez/Rizzo/Castro that’s sending fear into opponents that wasn’t there last year.

But wait! Could we possibly see Jake Arrieta at the All Star game next season? it might happen. Even though the Cubs would love to rest their new ace a little bit, he’s liking the challenge this brings.

“I want to make every start that I have lined up throughout the end of September,” Arrieta said. “If something comes up, I guess that will be addressed. I’d love to stay in the mix and finish out on a high note.”

Although a post season has as about as much chance as Jim Morrison walking the streets of Paris, I think the Cubs should still compete until the end of the season. I’d love to see the new kids as well, but really what difference is it going to make? The off season will be here before long and then what?

I’m predicting a .500 season for next year.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Wood If They Could

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It’s amazing what a couple of days can do to the Cubs. Last night, the Cubs fell to the Mets 3-2. A close game and you have to hand it to Chicago, they.ve been keeping it relatively close all season. However, Travis Wood is having a rough season. Yesterday, I railed on Edwin Jackson, but can you blame me for that? Travis Wood is a far more consistent pitcher, so yesterday’s struggles were more forgiving.

“Walks killed me,” Travis Wood said. “If you take out half the walks, it’d be a pretty solid game. That was the game. I had the two walks to start the fourth and the guy hit the ball out of the park. I gave up four hits, and one of them happened to be a long ball with two walks, and that was the game.”

The great news in the loss is the triple team of Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro did it again for the team. Castro went 2 for 4 quietly putting together a banner season for the kid.

It’s going to be a rough finish to the season, but an exciting one when the Cubs bring up Dan Straily who was brought over in the Jeff Samardzija deal. This is one Cub fan who is excited about the struggles the team has faced all year. Bringing the young kids up like, Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez and now Dan Straily is proving the Cubs aren’t throwing in the towel. This is Wrigley’s 100th birthday and even though the team isn’t,” there” just yet; there’s something around the corner that’s exciting. There’s a plan coming to fruition. Whether it’s sending Junior Lake to Triple A. This is a team that wants to succeed.

Last year, it was Starlin Castro who struggled and this year it’s been Lake that’s had to learn how to hit. Sending him down was a good thing, the right thing to do.

“We tried to do everything we could throughout the course of the season, especially early, to put him in a decent place,” Rick Renteria said. “Obviously, it’s very difficult for the young man. Right now he’s a little disappointed, but I think he’ll catch a breath of fresh air, play again, get some at-bats, have some fun again, and we’ll see him here soon.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs decide to ship the young outfielder during the off season.

Believe it.

Mark Gauthier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cubs’ Edwin Jackson Drops The Ball

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You can tell how good a game is when they show the Blue Angels flying overhead more than the game.

To say Edwin Jackson had a bad game is a bit of an understatement. He was brutal. I’d like to think that while he was on the bench marvelling in the deconstruction of the Brewers that took place the two nights before by Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada that Edwin simply got to the mound, looked at the white sphere in his hand and said, “What do I do with this thing?”

If Edwin Jackson was sitting at the head of the class watching Hendricks and Wada give instructions on the mechanics of the game, he failed miserably.

“At the end of the day, you can’t be on the mound thinking about mechanics,” Edwin Jackson said. “It doesn’t allow you to throw quality pitches or have the effectiveness on your pitches as you normally would. If you get too mechanical, you’re kind of out there like a robot, like I was thinking about way too many things instead of simplifying: see the ball down, see the glove and throw the pitch.”

Yesterday, the Cubs lost 6-2 at the hands of the Brewers. Sure, critics can say that there weren’t any hits. Where’s the run support, but the hits were 9-5. The Cubs lost yesterday because their fifty million dollar arm just couldn’t get it done.

So, what are the Cubs going to do with Jackson? The experiment has failed and you can’t say Theo Epstein didn’t give him a chance. I mean, the guy has played all over the league. What does that tell you?

There’s not many times when I scream for players to be traded or demoted or whatever the heck they have to do with him but the fact that is on every passionate Cubs fans mind right now is, “He won’t be here next year.”

Believe it,

—Mark

 

 

 

 

Cubs Show Their Teeth Against Brewers

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You know how that old saying goes? You never forget the first time. Oh C’mon, I was talking about baseball. You could see where all those metaphors came from now, can’t you?

Last night, Javier Baez collected his first of many home runs on Wrigley soil. The Cubs went on to defeat the Brewers 4-2 and now sit above .500 since Javier Baez joined the club.

“It feels great,” Javier Baez said. “I hit the ball pretty good. As soon as I hit it, everybody went crazy. I knew it was gone because I hit it really good.”

Not only Baez’s blast but Anthony Rizzo wanted to remind the Wonder Kid to respect his elders and took one yard right after that. Is it too early to put those rally caps on?

“Sitting back, you look at them and say, ‘I’ve got a 21-year-old and a 24-year-old doing the things they’re doing,’ and yeah, it’s pretty exciting,” Renteria said.

Speaking of the new guys, Tsuyoshi Wada received another quality start and now the tandem of Kyle Hendricks, Wada and Jake Arrieta is looking pretty darn good at the moment.

it’s exciting times in Chicago and next month, the Cubs take on Toronto.  @  gave a shout out to his Ontario born Mother. The broadcaster hails from Massina NY just across the border. Did you guys ever sit on a Chesterfield?

Believe it,

Mark

Cubs’ Hendricks Serves Up A Pitcher Against Brewers

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In Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs have a Bona Fide Superstar. He’s 4-1 since joining the team and then you’d have to look at Javier Baez and the Cubs record since the Wonder kid got the call up. They’re 4-4. not a great record by any means but if you’ve been following the blog, I’ve been preaching the Cubs could finish with a .500 record. Now, could that be since Javier Baez’s Call Up?

Last night, Kyle Hendricks went to work like a surgeon against the Brewers and carved them up 3-0. The Cubs have now shut out the Brewers four times this season. Perhaps a nickname like, “The Surgeon” is in order?

“When guys get on base, they’re saying he’s tough, he’s sneaky, he has good pitches, he commands them,” Anthony Rizzo said of Hendricks. “The best part is, it seems he can induce a double-play ball whenever.”

Anthony Rizzo was no slouch last night either. He destroyed a baseball making his Home Run totals now at 26 and ending putting to rest any criticism of a slump.

Nope, the Cubs are suddenly for real and although it’ll take some time for the rust to clear and the gears to turn smoothly, but something’s happening and this isn’t the same team that took to the field in April.

“You get to see the young men everybody has been talking about for the last couple years, and you’re seeing them contribute in some way, shape or form in a positive way,” Rick Renteria said. “Maybe it starts to validate the direction the organization is going in, which is good. We all understand it’s been a long time, and it’s going to take a while to chip away and have everybody feel positive about the organization, but it’s going that way.”

Believe it!

—Mark

Chicago Born Robin Williams Passes Away at 63

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In a Perfect world, Javier Baez would get called up, hit a home run every game and the Cubs would bounce back and win the World Series. In a Perfect World, Chicago born Robin Williams would have found a cure for what ailed him.

We don’t live in a Perfect World and that’s what’s so damn beautiful about it.

Today, the world mourns the passing of one of its most famous entertainers. A man who’s gift was to make us laugh, cry and sometimes make us writhe in our seats. From a radio DJ comforting soldiers in Vietnam, a homeless man searching for the Holy Grail or a single father trying to connect with his children by dressing as a kind old woman. Robin Williams played a role for everyone. He was our voice. If Dying is easy and comedy’s hard, then Robin Williams was a workhorse.

There were so many roles and I’m sure you have your favourites, but here’s mine.

He did a 1986 Stand Up Concert and in this routine he talked about cocaine. Now, just to warn you, it’s offensive in the language, but it’s Robin Williams in all his glory.

A comedian has that ability to make us laugh, but inevitably they’re laughing at themselves. Robin Williams could do it all. To take life’s tragedies and make us feel that it’s ok to laugh. We’re all tied together in that bond.

Robin Williams laughed at his own demons and his own insecurities. That’s why we loved him.

Give me that Imperfect World any day and somewhere wherever Robin Williams is, there are Angels peeing their pants.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Rizzo Walks Off A Win

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It’s a relief in many ways to not be sharing excitement about Javier Baez for a change. Yesterday’s throwback game brought on lots of different celebrations including Anthony Rizzo’s walk off single in the 12th inning to drive Ryan Sweeney home and give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays but although Javier Baez still hadn’t christened Wrigley Field with a home run, he still went 2-6. The Wonder Kid is here to stay.

“I’m ecstatic he’s here,” Anthony said. “He’s struck out a few times, but it doesn’t bother him. Me, at 21, I strike out seven times in two games, I’d be up the wall. He’s playing, and he’s got the type of attitude that is a winning player that I like to see. He backs down from no one, nothing. It doesn’t phase him. The aura around him, I’m very impressed with.”

The return of Anthony Rizzo from the dark abyss of slumps that baseball players sometimes go through is a welcome addition to the “Trio” of Baez, Rizzo and Castro. if I could call them the Good, The Bad and The Ugly, I would. I mean without being offensive to anyone, every time they step up to the plate, I hear that theme music and get excited that it means it’ll be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for the opposing pitcher.

He’s not the only one who is impressed with him. The Cubs have been a much different team since Baez joined the club last week. They’re winning games and although they’re 16 games under .500, it’s not impossible for them to put on the afterburners and possibly with an even record. All right, what I mean to say is, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they did it by the end of September.

In other news, it’s good to see Neil Ramirez back in the lineup again. A great pitcher and a stand up guy. Welcome back.

“I just feel like the ball is coming out good again,” Neil Ramirez said Sunday. “I feel loose and ready to go.”

The Cubs are set to take on the Brewers tonight at 7:05 CT and Jake Arietta gets the start.

Believe it

Mark

Cubs Get Stung By Rays

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There’s a problem with a media circus surrounding young talent when they come up into the leagues. Now, I’m not saying the hype had anything to do at all with the Tampa Bay Rays shutting out the Cubs 4-0 but I feel sometimes that especially around a guy like Javier Baez it had to have got to him.

Every little move he makes like despite striking out got a double and then everyone remembers that one double he made. If it were any other player he would have just stunk in that game.

“He wants to prove to the whole world that he belongs here,” Rick Renteria said of Baez. “It’s part of the conversations are that, ‘You don’t have to carry the team on your back, you just have to be yourself. You have a lot of teammates.’ I think he’ll continue to make adjustments and I think he’ll be fine.”

Renteria is right, he’s got teammates. There’s Arismendy Alcantara with the great glove yesterday. Oh wait, what about Justin Ruggiano who went 1 for 2 and is a steady player on the team’s roster. Although I haven’t mentioned Chris Coghlan much, he’s had an impact on the club.

So please folks, even though it’s easy to get caught up in the Baez circus, I know I have, let’s remember the other guys.

Speaking of other guys, I feel bad for Edwin Jackson. He had a quality start yesterday and yet, the Cubs fell. I think the Cubs are going to try and buy out his contract at the end of the season or perhaps, someone like the Yankees could pick it up.

Today is throwback day. Let’s remember the 80’s, or let’s not. Should be a great game.

Believe it,
—Mark

The Friendly Confines Welcomes Its Newest Cub Javier Baez

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The game at Wrigley Field was arguably the most anticipated game this season by any Major League Team. it was the Wonder Kid’s debut at the Friendly Confines and despite the 10th inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 4-3, Javier Baez was exactly what my anointed nickname to him states; a “Wonder Kid.”

Imagine for a moment that a 2,3,4 batting lineup consisted of Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. That would make any General Manager salivate at the prospect. But, that is exactly what the Cubs have in their arsenal. Those three batter’s ages combined is still younger than Mick Jagger. Where am I going with that, I don’t know, but it sure as hell sounded awesome to use Mick Jagger in the same sentence with Baez, Castro and Rizzo.

The euphoric state in the stands was evident, this was their chance, I’m sure there were a few tears of elation at seeing the Wonder Kid step to the plate and, yeah, he got his hit going to one knee with that mythic swing of his.

“They were very excited,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of the fans. “You could sense it. [Baez] got to the plate and got a roaring ovation. … that’s pretty special. And we’re glad, because we’re starting to see some of the young men that have been talked about for a little while.”

However, I’m a little pragmatic in thinking that this Wonder Kid from Puerto Rico is going to swoop in and stomp on curses and stand in line for those big shiny rings players get when they’ve done something outstanding. No, there’s a lot of work to be done.

Baez needs to learn patience at the plate that so many crafty batters understand. Wily pitchers will eat Baez for brunch and lick their chops at that swing of his.

That’ll come though with time. The youth movement is officially here and it’s a great time to be a Chicago Cubs fan.

Believe It.

—Mark

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