Cubs Look to End 5-Game Losing Streak, Midwest League Finals Begin

Cubs finish up their north of the border series versus the Blue Jays and attempt to end a 5-game slide. With Kyle Hendricks on the mound, it seems possible. Although not in the lineup, Anthony Rizzo was spotted taking BP and might be ready to return sometime this weekend.

In non-depressing news of the day, it's is the opening of the Midwest League Finals. Kane County takes on Lake County (Indians affiliate).  Jen-Ho Tseng gets the start and the lineup for the Cougars will be: Dunston Jr. LF, Zagunis DH, Candelario 3B, Balaguert RF, Rogers 1B, Brockmeyer C, Penalver SS, Martin SS. I presume Clint Frazier is Lake County's biggest prospect name if you're looking for such things.

While you were sleeping, Bryant took home the and the Cubs got 5 mentions on their all-minor league teams (Bryant and honorable mentions for Schwarber, Soler, Russell and Rivero at their individual positions).

Just for kicks...potential 2015 Opening Day Lineup?

Alcantara CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Baez 2B, Castro SS, Olt LF, Castillo C, Arrieta P


If Bryant wasn't up in September, he won't be up until late April. It's not about the 40-man roster spot (not primarily); it's about the arb clock. Gotta get that extra year.

I'm sure it will play out that way, but I would be less than surprised if it doesn't either. If Bryant is crushing the ball in the spring and Valbuena and Olt aren't doing much, think he heads north. Also depends on what they do with the roster over the winter.

And i think you mean free agency clock, arbitration would keep him from getting called up until June or even July to avoid Super 2 status. They can bring him with them in April and send him down as well if he struggles to gain that extra year. Less likely scenario, but in the land of pre-arbitation extensions, I think Cubs are less worried about all that right now.

Yes, I know Boras and all, but plenty of clients have fired Boras or gone against his wishes. I think Carlos Gonzalez was a Boras client who signed pre-free agency. It can happen at the right price in the right situation.

Yes, free agency clock I meant, thanks. Theo Co. will definitely work the free agency clock, but arbitration won't be an issue that holds his back unless he looks terrible next year. Boras is Boras. Gonzalez got an $80M+ contract that bought out 3 free agency years at more than $17 million apiece. I don't think Bryant is getting offered that deal under any circumstances. Bryant won't do a Longoria or Jon Singleton contract just to get to the majors. I-Cubs have an 8-game homestand ending April 24, so I figure he gets called up April 20-23 range (if the math works on those dates) since I've noticed this regime likes to promote guys before road trips. As a coincidence, Cubs will be in CIN on April 24-26, which is also where Castro and Soler had their MLB debuts. I hope you're right Rob, I just don't see it.

missed that Bradley Zimmer is on Lake County roster, another good prospect for them'

KC up 2-1 on a Zagunis HR

That lineup sucks! BAM.

did jose abreu kick jeff passan's dog or something? that was quite an odd "player of the year" writeup. also, he has as the minor league 3rd baseman of the year. alright, then.

D. Hutchison making Cubs look silly, 10 K through 6

Baez and Olt with 2 each, Abracadabra felt left out and has 2 as well.

(Baez does have a walk).

Strikeoutapalooza? Strikeoutageddon? Strikeoutasaurus?



The K'ing Fields?

Hendricks killed by BABIP in the 6th (and errors).

1B, 1B, Soler error scored a run, line out, K, 1b, BB, 2B scores 2 more

5.2 IP, 5 K, 6 H, 2 BB...deserved better

Soler gets his run back, HR to right.

That was one of the longest most effortless opposite field homers I've seen in a while. Soler. I thought it was a fly out when it left his bat.

baez's side-arm throwing strikes again...and luckily olt snagged it. castro's picked up a side-arm throwing thing this season, too. he's doing a lot of it...mostly well...but he also has had rizzo around for most of it.


/shows self out

ugly stuff. also, w.wright's has raised his ERA by 0.75 points in his past 2

KC Cougars win 4-3. Heard in the background of radio broadcast, fans singing Go Cubs Go.

Cougars have cubs (or they'd be an endangered species).

15 strikeouts and 3 errors tonight; I guess theo and jed sat the boys down and explained just how important getting a protected pick is

homeruns: Cubs 1 Blue Jays 1 runs scored: Cubs 3 Blue Jays 28 wins: Cubs 0 Blue Jays 3 lessons to learn: Cubs 1 Blue Jays 0

"One of the most pleasant surprises this season has been being a teammate of Starlin Castro and how he talks about baseball, how he has the desire to win and how he wants to play every day," Baker said. "He requested to be here in his (walking) boot with his teammates. That says more about him than any of those anecdotal stories." ________________________ More about Castro is said in the article. It might be a key reason we keep him, he may have a lot of heart and competitive fire that might be underestimated:

pic of Castro at the above meeting

A close up!

If anybody remembers me saying the Cubs were fun to watch because they play good baseball, I formally apologize for the hex. But it was true for most of the season. In all fairness, we are in truth observing how a Triple A team would fare playing MLB teams for a few weeks. That's not a dig at those guys, it's the truth. It is pretty much the Iowa Cubs against the rest of the league. I can honestly say I'd rather watch this than the journeymen we have been watching the previous few years. Sometimes it's mighty ugly, but other times pretty fun. Normally I'd say it'll be good to see them get out of Toronto, but Pittsburgh likes to beat up on them, too.

I can honestly say I'd rather watch this than the journeymen we have been watching the previous few years. --- just a reminder to reinforce the above point...two Cubs box scores (non-memorable games) from Sept 2011: Lineup: Castro SS, R. Johnson RF, ARam 3B, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, Barney 2B, Soto C, Coleman P Brian LaHair was the alternative to Reed Johnson. Blake DeWitt played 3B when ARam was ouchy. John Grabow coming in out of the bullpen. Need I mention Randy Wells?

I think until these young players get time in the big leagues, the team will be very schizophrenic like they've been the past few weeks- big highs, big lows.

That makes sense, especially without Castro and Rizzo in the lineup. I think I honestly didn't realize what a steadying influence Castro has been in the lineup.

BP Cub prospect stuff..
Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), BB, 8 K. Because he’s just 19, because he’s coming off of a strong year in full-season ball, and because of Cubs fans, Tseng should receive a lot of helium this winter when it’s horribly cold in Chicago and the Wrigley faithful need a reason to be excited about their pitching prospects. But just because he may be the best pitching prospect in the Cubs system doesn’t mean the hype warrants the same level of intensity as other clubs’ top pitching prospects. Tseng is impressive, but the most impressive aspect of his game is his polish for a 19-year-old, something that will be less impressive as he gets older and his competition catches up. He has big-league stuff, but it’s not the top-of-the-rotation, impact stuff you want from your top pitching prospect. He should be a starter, but he’ll fall in somewhere in the middle of the rotation when it’s all said and done.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs (Kane County, A-): 2-4. As if it weren’t tough enough to make a name for oneself in the Cubs system, Candelario laid an egg in the Florida State League to begin the year, then rebounded only slightly after being demoted back to Kane Country, performing on par with his previous stint in the league. The good news is that he’s only 20, so there’s plenty of time to take another hack at the FSL and move quickly, but the obstacles in between him and Wrigley seem a lot less surmountable than they did at this time last year, and Candelario didn’t make things any easier on himself with a disappointing season.

Reality check!!

it'd be nice to lay a little more out there about tseng other than he's 19 and we should be excited about his mid-rotation stuff. that link helps.

But just because he may be the best pitching prospect in the Cubs system

Tseng greater than Edwards or Pierce Johnson? Not sure about that...

Of course, just noticed Pierce's walk rates in AA (5.3 BB/9)...gadzooks.

What about Underwood? I thought he was considered a better prospect. Had a good game last night.

"gadzooks" With language like that I'm just glad my children weren't reading over my shoulder. Didn't know this site was rated X rob.

Gadzooks --- Rob probably has heard such language from his twin daughters

Who the gadzook pours water on a child's gadzooking head? Gadzook the gadzooking Brits!

chavs, bro.

Cubs picked up a draft spot yesterday with loss and Astros win. Currently with 7th pick, game behind Red Sox and they have tiebreaker. Twins lost game 1 of a doubleheader already today.

-edit- and Game 2...sheesh, is there no pride in baseball anymore?

Can E-jax go on short rest?

I mean he only needs a couple three innings per start to do his magic right?

& RHP Underwood v LC: Dunston 7, Zagunis DH, Candelario 5, Balaguert 9, Rogers 3, Brockmeyer 2, Young 4, Penalver 6, Martin 8

Game 2 tonight...

2-0 KC up in bottom of 3rd, Balaguert RBI single brings in Dunston, wild pitch brings in another run

Underwood so far: 3 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 4 K

-edit- 3-0, BB loaded walk to Penalver

4 IP, 5 BB, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K for Underwood so far...

Ihrig in for Underwood top 7th. Still 0 hits. 5-0 KCC, last run on a Dunston single, Zagunis dooble.

Um Cobb is pitching REALLY good against the Yankees heading into the 8th...

that can't be right. Jeter is 0-3 with a strikeout? That's unpossible.

Haha! And Chris Young doubles with 1 out in the 8th to break up the no-hitter.

Ihrig 1-2-3 top 7th.

Tyler Ihrig gives up back to back singles in the 8th, but no runs score. On to the bottom of the 8th. Dunston rbi, he's having quite a series. 6-0...and that's the final score. One more win in Cleveland clinches the series/championship for the Cougars.

Also 6-0 in the postseason for Cougars, a mere 97 wins overall against 49 losses (48 over .500). What a spectacular season. I'm trying to figure out what it means for the Cubs.

The GM told local TV station the are leaving Boise.

Giants likely taking over Boise.

Report on Stanton...

"Stanton suffered a facial laceration requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage.”"

This was an ugly and scary evening of baseball. I think the umpires left something to be desired in the way they handled everything, I feel tha the Marlins actually kept their composure relatively speaking, and you could almost argue Roenicke has some culpability for keeping Fiers out there that long when he'd lacked control and been buzzing people's china all night. Fiers was freaked out but also dude chill the hell out, you're not the one in the hospital and getting dental surgury - frankly nobody cares it wasn't on purpose. They care you were putting lives at risk and it's almost scarier when it's unintentional. And yes I know he was sincerely freaked out and sympathetic. Clearly.

Did they leave him in to pitch after that? Because if I hit somebody in the face and lacked control all night, I would want my game to be over (frankly, if I broke somebody's face I might just be done, but I didn't go very far in baseball).

Exactly right. He was devastated and they left him in and then he hit Reed Johnson high and tight - Reed was in to finish Stanton's AB. It was just a nightmare. On top of it the umps called swinging strikes on both pitches (seemed they were turning in self defense as ball approached their faces, not swinging. Jesus.) - it was really inexplicably stressful and horrible for everyone involved I'm pretty sure.

Fiers has a deceptive delivery and a rising fastball (well technically doesn't rise, but that's what we call it in baseball). Both guys committed to the pitch and it rode in on them. Not sure about the lack of control all night, but I didn't watch the game. He had 3 walks through 5, but also 8 K's and 0 runs allowed.

Stanton got hit in the face because his first reaction was to swing at the pitch (he was obviously fooled by it a little), and then couldn't protect himself in time.

Reed Johnson got hit because that's what Reed Johnson does.

The umps can't eject a pitcher for a HBP that wasn't a HBP because in both cases they were called strikes because they deemed the hitter was trying to swing at pitch. Don't forget, although it's never called, that a hitter is suppose to make an attempt to get out of the way of a pitch.

It was all terrible and unfortunate of course, but I don't know what the umps should have done differently and Fiers certainly didn't deserve to be ejected. Brewers took him out after second HBP and end of inning cause he was shaken up.

Ah. That doesn't sound so strange. Here's hoping that Stanton is OK and doesn't suffer any career- or life-altering post-concussion symptoms or vision loss.

it seemed to avoid his eye, his mouth took the beating...lost some teeth, no concussion apparently. Hockey players are all like, whatever...

Hockey players are all like, whatever... --- Duncan Teeth

Well I suggest watching it yourself. Fiers was visibly disturbed and he's even quoted many places as saying he felt weird throwing another pitch. Also this MLB article and many others gives you some of the Marlins' perspective: "I've never in my life experienced something like that," Fiers said, his voice cracking. "It was very hard for me to take in everything at the moment and come back and throw another pitch." Fiers, visibly shaken during the delay, remained in the game only to throw another high-and-tight pitch in the 0-2 count to Stanton's replacement, Reed Johnson, who was struck on the hand -- again during the act of swinging. Before Kellogg could appeal to Reyburn for a ruling, Marlins players rushed the field and Brewers players followed. "It's up around my face, as well," Johnson said. "I think that's why you started getting some chirping a little bit from our dugout. He was up around everybody's hands and face the whole night. I think that's why the frustration really set in at that point. "When you're trying to pitch a guy in and you have a tendency to miss up a lot, it's just a bad combination. There were just a lot of balls up around guys' faces tonight. One of them gets our big boy."

sure, Roenicke or Fiers himself could have taken himself out of the game at that point I suppose, I'll certainly buy that he was distraught in the moment. His gestures were clearly that of being pissed that Marlins thought any of that was intentional.

Stanton was clearly taking a step and ready to swing, maybe he was trying to lift the bat up to protect himself at the last second, but was obviously unsuccessful.

Reed's is a little more sketchy, you could say the swing came after he was hit and just reacting from getting hit.

Here's a good breakdown of why the umps were probably right (from a Marlins fan even).

Marlins announcers are douchebags btw.

I hadn't seen the Reed Johnson footage or Fiers reaction. I guess my thoughts are this: I understand why the Brewers management might want to leave Fiers in there to finish the AB and hopefully the inning. What you hope is that he can finish the inning quietly and the game can move beyond it. I also agree with Rob that Fiers obviously has a fastball with a lot of running action and hitters must not get a good look at it because he K's people all the time with an 88 MPH fastball up and out of the zone. Neither one of those are intentional beanballs, obviously. Fiers's reaction to people shouting from the dugout isn't all that strange either, especially since he was clearly already upset. Gotta say that I did once hit 5 batters in a row (I was 9 and after the first one it just became a psychological thing) and if somebody had started yelling at me for it I would have... crumbled into a weeping puddle on the mound. Ok. But if I were 16 or older I would have resisted doing that by getting angry, because crumbling up on the mound would've been my only other option. It's easy in hindsight to say that Fiers's night should've been over as soon as Stanton had to get taken out on a stretcher.

Also Fiers has been fined for his gestures etc, which is part of what I was getting at in my post: The umpires showed a lack of judgement in my opinion because it is debatable that those were actual swings in my opinion, but I might be wrong. In the case of the Reed Johnson pitch I just think it was ridiculous that Fiers came up and in, the bat probably never crossed the plane, and you don't reward the pitcher in that situation. Benefit of the doubt certainly should have gone with Marlins. And there sure as hell are a lot if judgements calls by umpires. Again just my bush league opinion.

the anti-Baez...

Pujols struck out 4 times tonight, first time in his career.

Manny flew in for some personal coaching.

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  • crunch 6 hours 17 min ago (view)

    kevin rizzo is in camp with the cubs and is in workouts with the team.

    very tiny guy, no power, but he can run down a ball in the field and he's almost impossible to pitch to.  time to give him a contract and put him in the OF.


  • crunch 6 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Marquee has added a tuesday game, so now the first televised cubs game is March 2nd (3pm EST)


  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 47 min ago (view)

    The DFA of Robert Stock to make room for Kyle Ryan coming off the CoViD-related IL wil need to be followed by removing another player on the 40 to make room for Ryan Tepera. 

    It's possible somebody (like a pitcher) is injured to the extent that he might be placed on the 60-day IL, or else maybe somebody else will go on the CoViD-related IL (which is 40-man roster exempt) in the coming days to make room for Tepera.


  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 22 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed LHSP Ben Holmes (ex-LAD) and RHRP Jose Moreno (ex-NYM) to 2021 minor league contracts. Both were post-2020 minor league 6YFA and neither has been on an MLB 40-man roster.

    Holmes pitched collegiately at Oregon State and has some AAA experience, but Moreno hasn't pitched above Lo-A over the course of seven seasons in the Mets organization.  


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    side note...k.wong is on 1st putting on one of those "baserunning mitts" (hand protection for sliding) that's extending past the length of his hand/fingers by at least 2-3 inches.

    they're going to have to start regulating this piece of equipment if this keeps up...


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Q with LAA in his debut for them...HBP, a wild pitch, and BB through 7 pitches...then 3 pop-outs to follow.

    blah blah spring training...

    baseball on TV...neat.


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    We just traded for Maddux!!!   ......... nope, the other one.


  • crunch 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    yeah, i'm just saying i did consider piling onto it with a troll-level post about the's practically asking to be written that way.

    jeff passan did it quite well...

    that said, i had no idea zach bryant existed before today, but his early numbers looked oddly good (which means nothing without context that early in his career).


  • Charlie 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Oh, I mean the trade. You were quite diligent in posting!


  • crunch 2 days 9 min ago (view)

    i contemplated writing the post totally trolled out as hell with "zach" coming after a wall of text.

    i decided the cubs being cheap was enough pre-season punishment without piling on.


  • Charlie 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    This is a straight up troll 


  • crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    rsox aquiring ZACH bryant from the cubs.

    ptbn from the josh osich deal.

    totally useless trade...hopefully not a terrible loss.


  • Hagsag 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber invited to the ML camp.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Ryan Tepera returns. Major League deal


  • crunch 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...

    first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.

    radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised.  the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.


  • crunch 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.

    looks like he's going to try to avoid having surgery.