Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Jake Arrieta and The Chicago Cubs Have A Date With Destiny

Chicago Cubs

Tomorrow, the Cubs will face the Pittsburgh Pirates. They own the season series against the 11-8 and their best pitcher will be taking the mound. Yesterday, I talked about the possibility of them not winning the Wild Card. It could happen and fans could be swallowed up with their disappointment but that’s all right.

By now, you’ve heard of student Ben Larson  @ben_larson6 who was able to switch his midterm so he could watch the game tomorrow. Now that’s dedication.

So, for all you long suffering Chicago Cubs fans, your team is back in the post season where they belong.  It’s not just the fans that are excited about the post season. The players are getting excited as well.

“Joe said at the beginning of spring training that the hardest thing to do is crack the postseason the first time,” Anthony Rizzo said. “Then you learn how to win. I think this organization has really grown, especially since I’ve been here.”

For as long as I can remember, this has been the first season in a long while where the Cubs just won. There were no high priced players, ok, Jon Lester aside. Joe Madden is a rare breed. He makes a lot of money but he also loves what he’s doing. He could have cashed his check and sat on the bench chewing Double Bubble, but the guy showed how to have fun in the game.

Then there’s Theo Epstein who helped shape and craft this team to be where they are.

“In October, it’s an odd feeling to be a nonparticipant in something you’re so invested in. During the regular season, you start counting outs. Maybe, ‘Hey, we need seven more outs. Let’s figure out how are we going to script that.’ You start doing that with 15 outs in the postseason games. Everything’s amplified.”

Scripted. That’s funny coming from a guy who’s Great Uncle helped script Casablanca. Then again, that doesn’t surprise me.

Sites like Bleacher Report have the Cubs going deep into the playoffs getting past St. Louis Cardinals. After reading that, I thought about it and that has the potential to be a series for the ages. The Cubs have every right to win that one. They’re due.

So, I wanna know how you’ll be spending your time watching and hopefully celebrating the Chicago Cubs tomorrow evening.

Believe it.

Cubs Give Fans Reason To Believe

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs finish the regular season riding an eight game winning streak and finishing the season with 97 wins. The last time they finished with 97 wins was 2008. Going into the 2015 post season the Cubs are the best team in baseball or at least the hottest team.

The good news is that they play really well against Pittsburgh boasting a record of 11-8 but of course, you can break it down any way you want it but the simple truth is that the Wild Card game is one game, winner moves on and loser stays home.

“We’ve played well there, we know this team, they know us, they know we’re good, we know they’re good,” David Ross said. “It’ll be about who goes out there and plays the cleanest game. It’s all about the starting pitcher, too, and we have a really good one.”

Yes, the Cubs have not just a really good one but an amazing pitcher in Jake Arrieta who is poised to be a leading contender for the Cy Young award. Will he win it? Well, that depends on how voters look at it. If they only look at his post All Star break numbers, well then yeah, hand Jake the award. On the other hand, if they look at the full season then that other amazing pitcher on the Los Angeles Dodgers will win, Zack Greinke.

I’m biased. Going with Jake Arrieta.

This has been a season to remember. No fan was expecting this kind of outcome except a chance to compete. The Cubs have done that and then some. Joe Maddon was brought in with the expectations that he was the best manager in the game. He’s proven that.

“You put it all together and it’s hard to beat,” Maddon said. “I often talk about how I feel fortunate to be here because all the heavy lifting was done prior to me coming here. They took a beating for a couple years doing the right thing and all of a sudden guys are playing like they are. It was a combination of all that. It’s played out pretty good the first year.”

Maddon set a franchise record with first year managing the Cubs beating out Jim Frey in 1984 who had 96. Yes, it’s been an historic run but there’s just one more concern;

Should the Cubs fail to win it all, how will fans react?

  1. “I’m just glad they made it”
  2. “After a season like that, they should have won it all”
  3. “I wasn’t expecting much”

Win or lose, the Cubs accomplished something that is special. They played well together, they didn’t carry that “Cubs chip on their shoulder” and most importantly the goal of every sports franchise,

They gave fans a chance to believe.

Believe it.

Cubs One Game Closer To Wrigley Wild Card

Joe Maddon

There’s nothing like a little suspense to make the baseball season move along. Last night the Cubs dropped the Brewers 1-0 and now are one game behind the Pirates. Today is the last day of the season. Here’s the situation:

If the Cubs win and the Pirates lose then Chicago hosts the Wild Card game on Wednesday. If Pirates win and Cubs win, then Pirates host. Of course, if Pirates win and Cubs lose, then it’s in Pittsburgh.

How’s that for rivalry? Pirates lost last night to the Reds.

The Cubs are 96-65 this season. A far cry from last year’s 73-89.

Call it the end of the season blues, but the Cubs seemed like a tired bunch by stranding 12 runners in last night’s victory. They’ll have to sharpen their pencils if they want to beat Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“It’s obviously something we have to get better at,” Anthony Rizzo said. “Hopefully, now we’re so bad at it, come playoff time, we’ll be good at it then. It is what it is, and we can’t get too mad about it. We know we have to get it together.”

Joe Maddon acknowledged the problem the Cubs are having with RISP.

“Just not swing at pitches in the dirt would really help,” Maddon said. “It has nothing to do with the swing or mechanics or anything else. It’s just pitch selection if you replay the tape. It has nothing to do with physical mechanics. It’s not. It’s about what you’re thinking and what you’re swinging at. That’s where you’re successful or not. Nobody hits those pitches — Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, none of those guys hit those pitches. We just have to hit a better pitch.”

On the upside, Kyle Hendricks had one of his best outings of the season by pitching six shutout innings and capping off the season with a win that when it comes time to evaluate his off season, he’ll have something to build upon.

So now that the season is all but over, we have to talk about another subject that Cubs fans aren’t really obliged to discuss around this time of year.

Is the “Curse of the Billy Goat” going to come into play?

“Superstition for me has no place in Cubs history or tradition,” Joe Maddon said this weekend. “If you choose to vibrate on that, that’s your concern. Our guys, for me, it’s about playing winning baseball every night and that’s it. We’re not going to get caught up in stuff that really should not matter. And if you’re really caught up in what’s happening today, that other stuff won’t matter.”

Last week, there was a GoFundMe campaign to bring Steve Bartman to the National League Wild Card game. Well, it wasn’t successful.

If you remember a few months ago I wrote about it here. Although I think it’s graceful on the part of Steve to not come to the Wild Card game, I do think the Cubs organization should acknowledge the fact that he didn’t do anything wrong. Let bygones be bygones.

Believe it.

After All Star Break, Cubs’ Jake Arrieta is Now Best Pitcher In MLB History

Chicago Cubs

There’s a reason people love sports the way they do. The drama, the heartache, the thrill of victory and of course, seeing history unfold. Last night, the Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1. Sure, the game doesn’t really matter much the Cubs are in but they are vying to be host of the National League Wild Card matchup on Wednesday.

Then there’s Jake Arrieta. That pitcher who came out of nowhere this year to thrill and excite fans across North America and beyond. With last night’s victory, Arrieta may have put to rest any decisions regarding a Cy Young winner. Right now, Mr. Arrieta is the best pitcher post All Star Game in history. His ERA is  0.75. He has 22 victories. He is incredible.

This year, the Cubs record is currently 95-65

“Tremendous,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Watching from the side you could see the explosive stuff. If that did not clinch his award I don’t know what would. That had to be the clincher. Another quality start, a dominating performance. For me, that should put the icing on the cake right there.”

The Cubs are still two back of the Pirates. That chances are unlikely that they’ll be hosting the Wild Card game after the Pirates came from behind to beat the Reds 6-4. Pittsburgh will have to lose two in a row and the Cubs will have to win.

This is an historic season for the Cubs. It’s fitting that Arrieta will lead his teammates against the Pirates on Wednesday. Has all this success changed him?

“Before I get to the field, I’ve got to be Dad,” Arrieta said. “We just got back from doing a little shopping. The kids need jackets. It’s getting a little cold. Summer’s gone up here in this part of the country. Had to get some stuff to keep the kids warm. “I want to be the same guy every day, regardless of what’s going on off the field, on the field, show up and be consistent for my teammates, both in my performance and just being a good person. I think those kinds of things that you take serious in your life off the field carry over on the field. That’s the only way I know how to do it.”

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Cubs Beat Reds. Now Cheer For Cincinnati Over Swashbuckling Pirates. What?

Austin Jackson

In front of a sparse crowd, the Chicago Cubs continued their dream season by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 and inching closer to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are two games ahead of the Cubs.

The biggest surprise of the game, well it’s not really a surprise but Austin Jackson hit a three run homer to help with the destruction of the Reds.

“When you’re in the role that I’m in, when you get in there, you just want to try to do whatever you can to contribute to a win,” Austin Jackson said. “I’ve been getting some good pitches to hit and doing my best not to miss them when I get them.”

Jason Hammel has struggled all season and lasted the routine five innings before stepping down. He got the win, but there will be some question marks going into next season.

“We’re good and we know it,” Hammel said. “It was nice to see it come together so quickly. It was something I saw the last couple weeks I was here last year before I got traded. Obviously, that’s one of the reasons I came back was because I thought we had a good chance to win.”

The Cubs are a deep team with guys that can change the course of the game no matter where they are in the lineup. The addition of Jackson could very well be the glue that fastens this team together throughout the playoffs. With less than a week to go until the game, the Cubs not only have to beat the Brewers but watch with bated breath as the Reds try to end a 12 game drought against the Swashbucklers of baseball.

“Our best attribute our last 45 games was depth,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We’re running out a really deep team, and Joe can mix and match the lineups well. To a man, the guys we’ve added have brought something to the clubhouse and brought something to the team.”

Some folks say that it’ll be tricky and downright next to impossible for the Reds to beat the Pirates, but as the late, great Catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over”

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Chicago Cubs Still Hoping To Host Wild Card

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs’ Austin Jackson looks on at a double.

There’s a difference between professionals and amatuers. Sure, Pros get paid and amatuers don’t. There’s something more though. People like Jon Lester who have had a bad year, are suddenly coming together. He’s a proven winner and he knows how to get things done. Is he worth the $155 million? There are a lot more people who do far more important work that get paid far less. That’s professional sports and probably a debate that shouldn’t be brought up.

Jon Lester is doing his job. The Cubs are getting closer to hosting a Wild Card game. This would be monumental and a huge achievement if this were to happen. Last night the Cubs walloped the Reds 10-3, if they didn’t achieve that score I’d start to worry about the Wild Card game.

“We have a few more to go,” Jon Lester said. “It was a good one to end on. Nice to finish on that note.”

It would be nice to finish on that note, but the Cubs have that important task ahead of them and that is to host the game.

So, let’s just say for argument’s sake that Jon Lester is worth every penny of the $155 million then perhaps it’s his winning attitude that is one of the driving forces behind this successful 2015 season. Let’s face it, the whole culture of the team has shifted from previous years.

“I told Theo in the meeting that we had in the off-season, before everything kind of got going,” Lester said, “that, `Hey, man, I’m not here to grind through 2015. I want to make sure that we’re going to be contenders. I want to make sure that we’re going to be somewhat in this thing.’ I didn’t want to be in last place and have to deal with that again.”

Did anyone think the Cubs were going to be as good as they are this year? Probably not.

I figured they’d be good and maybe field a competitive team but man, what they’re doing is just downright short of a miracle. Is this team the best Cubs team in history?


Believe it.

Cubs Take Batting Practice Against Reds

Chicago Cubs

It took a rain delay of over two hours before the Chicago Cubs got down to business against the Cincinnati Reds. They didn’t disappoint by beating the Reds 4-1.

Dan Haren got the start in what very well could be his last Major League outing(unless of course, those wily Cubs go farther in the post season)

“I’m confident I can get the job done. That said, it’s just been a pleasure being around the guys. I’ll be there with them in the dugout regardless. When my name’s called, I’ll be ready for sure.”Haren said.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of discussion about Manager of The Year. Should Joe Maddon be a lock for the award? There’s been some really good things in baseball. In the American League, AJ Hinch of Houston Astros and John Gibbons in Toronto have done outstanding jobs. In the National League along with Maddon is Terry Collins of the New York Mets and ugh, Clint Hurdle from the Pittsburgh Pirates

So, who is it going to be? Of course I’m going to make my case for Maddon. He’s been a huge part of the on field success of the Chicago Cubs, but it’s his attitude off of the field that matters to the club. He walks around like there’s no reason to have a curse or perhaps the fear of a drought hanging over his head. No pressure. He keeps things loose and brings back the fun in baseball.

“I do vibrate on a different frequency, man,” Maddon said. “I’m not worried about that stuff. I don’t understand those kinds of concepts. So, really, for me, it’s a moot point.”

And there’s the De Facto. There’s no curse, there’s no superstition and there’s no reason to not believe the Cubs have a chance to win the World Series. It doesn’t matter who the Cubs will face in the Wild Card game. They have to face someone. What makes this team so special is that I could name all the players who’ve contributed to this memorable season but it’s been a team effort in every sense of the word.  I’m not one of those fans who say,”I’m just happy they’re in the playoffs”


I want them to win the whole thing. I knew they’d be good, you faithful readers(believe me, I think it’s awesome that you still read my blog) believed the Cubs would do it.

They’re not the “2014 Kansas City Royals” underdogs. They’re the 2015 Chicago Cubs and they bite.

Believe it.

Chris Denorfia Gives Fans and Cubs Reason To Believe

Chicago Cubs

Last home game of the season?

The past few days have seen some interesting milestones in an awesome 2015 year for the Chicago Cubs. First, Jake Arrieta gains his 21 win of the season and belts a home run plus almost adds another one–in one game.

Last night, the Cubs beat the Kansas City Royals in a make up game at Wrigley Field 1-0 in the 11th inning. Who got a walk off home run?

Chris Denorfia. Great things come in the strangest places.

“This is what we play for,” Denorfia said. “I’ve had the opportunity to do that one other time in my career and it’s just the best feeling. I can’t describe it. I feel like a little kid at 35 years old, running around the bases, knowing what just happened and what’s waiting for you at home plate, it’s really something special.”

The entire year is something special, Chris.

All right, so I’ve resigned myself to the Cubs not catching the Pirates. I mean, it could happen, but the scenario is unlikely. The good news that they play the Reds and then the Brewers to close out the season. The Pirates on the other hand, continue with the Red Birds before taking on the Reds.

The Cubs have the better of the two schedules and should the Cubs tie the Pirates at the end, then the Cubs will get home field for the Wild Card game.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

“It is pretty crazy to see the plan come together in this way,” Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts said. “It feels great. It’s always the way we looked at it. I think a lot of people would say it’s maybe a year earlier than we expected, but it’s fabulous, all good.”

Every team wants to win. Wether you stick to a plan or not, it comes down to making it or not making it.The Chicago Cubs have reintroduced themselves as household names. Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta and Kris Bryant are putting their names into the Cubs history books of legends.

“Every day’s a happening, man. It’s every day. If you are tired at all, the fans will definitely provide some energy for you. They’re fabulous. It’s a fabulous fan base. I would imagine as a visiting team coming in here, you would find some energy, too. I believe it’s the best in all of baseball. I mean this sincerely, I feel very fortunate to be part of this. It’s not lost on me. I walk in and I get it, I get it. I’m appreciative. It’s different, and I’d like to keep it going for many years to come.” Joe Maddon said.

We get it too, Joe

Believe it.

Cubs Clinch Post Season Berth #FlyTheW

Chicago Cubs

So I woke up this morning to some pretty exciting news. Yes, your 2015 Chicago Cubs are officially in the post season. This means that they’re qualified to compete for baseball’s most coveted prize, they have an opportunity to end curses and droughts that have plagued the team for over a century, and they can prove that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Joe Maddon were right all along.

How they got to the post season wasn’t the most exciting way to get in, but they’ll take take.

The Cubs should have clinched by a win over the Pirates yesterday, but then that wouldn’t be the Cubs way now would it? No, the San Francisco Giants had to lose so the Cubs would get in. The poetry folks, is staggering. The 2014 World Series Champs had to lose so the Cubs could get in.

Remember when Jake Arietta got his no hitter? His last strikeout was Clayton Kershaw. Last Year’s Cy Young Award winner.

See the pattern here?

“I love playing in what is perceived to be the best division in baseball,” Joe Maddon said. “It’s about the end of the season and the last game of the season, and getting to that particular moment. Sometimes it takes a different route to get there.”

The Cubs lost a tough one to the Pirates yesterday 3-2.

Fans may say that there’s a rivalry that’s unparalleled in baseball between the Cubs and the Cardinals but this year has things shaping up to be a Pirates/Cubs hatred like no other.  Today’s 1:05 eastern time matchup should be an exciting affair. The Cubs have nothing else to prove for the rest of the season. They can phone in the next week, practice on moving the ball but you have to remember something;

The Cubs have a lot of players who haven’t seen post season action. They’re hungry and they want to win it all. They don’t know what to expect.

“I don’t think there’s much more to learn until you get to the battle,” Lester said. “We can talk about playoff atmosphere and playoff intensity and all that stuff, but until you’re actually there, it’s something you can’t really describe and explain to guys. We all know what’s in front of us, and the Pirates will probably be our opponent. I think guys have been learning all year.”


Believe it.

Kyle Hendricks Works Magic Despite Cubs Loss

Chicago Cubs

When Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks is good, he’s amazing. Even though the Cubs lost last night to the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1.

“He’s a young Major League pitcher, he’s going to keep getting better,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. “He had it all going on. He pitched really well, we just didn’t score any runs.”

It was just a case of the pitching was there but the runs weren’t. The Cubs now are three games behind Pittsburgh and have a day off before hosting the Pirates at home in a crucial series.

One thing is for certain in this somewhat fairy tale season for the mighty North Siders and that is they’re keeping it interesting. As it stands now, the Cubs still hold the second Wild Card spot.

“It’s a big series, obviously,” said Kyle Hendricks. “We want to catch those guys, and we want to get the Wild Card Game here.”

Jon Lester gets the ball in tomorrow’s matchup and with a September that’s seeing every series as being the most important series of the year, well naw, I’m not even going to go there.

Why not?

It’s going to be the biggest series of the year.

After Joe Maddon brought in a couple of zoo animals to lighten things up a bit yesterday, there’s a party vibe within the Cubs camp. I mean not winning a World Series since 1908, you have to laugh. They celebrate after every win and they’ll celebrate once they clinch even though their eye is on a much bigger prize; beating the Cardinals.

“We’re going to celebrate then, too; I promise you,” Maddon said. “You celebrate along the way because the threat is you may never get to the end, so why miss all these opportunities to celebrate achievement?”

Speaking of celebrating, did anyone see this:

A competitive eater in Chicago, Tim “Gravy” Brown decided he wanted to reverse the “curse” so what does he do? He contacts Takeru Kobayashi a six time hot dog eating champ to do, yeah, EAT A GOAT! in 10 minutes!

The event took place at Taco In a Bag and did they do it? well…

Stranger things have happened in Wrigleyville.

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