Tagged in: Chicago Cubs

Milwaukee Brewers clinch 4th straight playoff berth with win over Chicago Cubs

Manny Pina homered twice, Eduardo Escobar and Jace Peterson also connected, and the Brewers clinched their fourth consecutive postseason berth with a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

The Brewers won for the seventh time in nine games to ensure themselves at least a wild card after San Diego and Cincinnati lost earlier in the day.

Milwaukee’s magic number to lock up the National League Central title is three over St. Louis.

“There will be a little bit of celebrating tonight,” said Brewers starter and NL Cy Young Award contender Corbin Burnes. “But the main celebration is going to be when we clinch the division.”

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Burnes was shaky by his standards in his first start since throwing eight innings in a combined no-hitter a week ago. He permitted three runs and six hits over six innings, striking out 11.

The right-hander gave up Ian Happ’s 23rd homer with a man on in the fifth.

It was the first homer allowed by Burnes since Aug. 6, when San Francisco’s Brandon Belt took him deep.

“You’re not going to be perfect every night, so sometimes that zero in the sixth is still a huge part of a game that helps you win a ball game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s what he did tonight.”

Pina, Milwaukee’s backup catcher, scored the first run of the night when he sent Justin Steele’s first pitch of the second inning to center. Escobar followed with a solo shot to lead off the third, snapping a 1-1 tie.

Burnes left the game with a 3-2 lead thanks to a solo home run by Peterson to lead off the sixth, but the Cubs tied it an inning later when Willson Contreras, who was robbed of a home run by Lorenzo Cain in the second, tagged Brad Boxberger for a two-out solo shot that made it a 4-4 game.

Pina struck again from the leadoff spot in the eighth, sending an 0-2 slider from Scott Effross (2-1) down the left-field line. Kolten Wong added an insurance run later in the inning, driving in Pablo Reyes on an infield single.

“I wasn’t sure if it was fair or foul,” Pina said. “So I was using my body to say, ‘Stay in! Stay in!’ That was a good swing, good contact.”Devin Williams (8-2) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Josh Hader stranded a pair of runners in the ninth for his 33rd save.

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Milwaukee Brewers rally from 7-run deficit in first inning to beat Chicago Cubs 15-7, sweep series

The stage was set for the Chicago Cubs to break a five-game losing streak and gain a game on the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, but after taking an early 7-0 lead on Wednesday, the Cubs became just the second team since 1900 to score seven or more runs in the first inning, only to lose by at least that many.

“A bad ending to not our best road trip,” Cubs manager David Ross said after the 15-7 loss.

The Brewers scored a run in the first, five more in the second and then put up eight in the fourth — the final four of those runs coming on a Willy Adames grand slam. Luis Urias then added another home run in the sixth — his second of the game.

“I don’t know what to say,” Adames said. “This one was crazy.” Cubs veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta couldn’t hold on to the lead and was pulled after just 1⅔ innings. The loss dropped the Cubs six games behind the Brewers after the two teams were tied for first in the NL Central just a week ago.

Milwaukee has won eight in a row, while Chicago has dropped its past six games after throwing a combined no-hitter versus the Los Angeles Dodgers last Thursday.

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“I think first place can go up and down before September,” Cubs shortstop Javier Baez said. “I’m not worried about that. Javy Baez is not worried about that. I’m not paying attention to that. We’re playing against pretty good teams.”

The Cubs completed a brutal month in terms of both travel and playing elite opponents.

The result was a 12-16 record and a franchise-worst (since 1900).1875 batting average in a calendar month. They hit .188 in April 1944.

Their current position in the standings might determine the direction of the front office with a month to go before the trade deadline. Ross knows the Cubs have something to prove to team brass. They have more than 10 players set to become free agents after this season.

“The key is for us to represent a winning product and something that can win a division and go into the playoffs and do something special,” Ross said.

The Brewers, meanwhile, have opened up the largest lead of any first-place team in baseball this campaign.

The Cubs find themselves in rare company. On April 26, 1976, the Giants scored seven runs in the first inning and also lost 15-7.

Over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, there have been 8,691 instances of a team leading by seven runs at any point in a game. Entering Wednesday, only two of those teams had lost by eight-plus runs. Now there are three.

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Kyle Hendricks to once again start on Opening Day for Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross selected Kyle Hendricks to start on Opening Day last year, and it worked out quite well.

He sees no reason to make a modification this year.

Ross announced Tuesday that Hendricks will get the ball when the Cubs start the season versus Pittsburgh on April 1 at Wrigley Field. The right-hander tossed a three-hitter in a 3-0 triumph over Milwaukee on Opening Day last summer.

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent,” Ross said. “I feel like Kyle, his resume, his leadership, his poise, all that goes into being the Opening Day starter, just the extra, kind of, pomp and circumstance that goes with Opening Day, especially this coming year as well, every arrow points to Kyle.”

Ross said he wasn’t ready to announce the order for the rest of his starting pitchers. Chicago also has Jake Arrieta and Zach Davies, and Trevor Williams, Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay and Shelby Miller are in the mix for the last two spots.

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But there is no question about the leader of the rotation, especially after the Cubs traded Yu Darvish to San Diego in December.

The 31-year-old Hendricks, known for his precision, control and professor-like demeanor, is making his second Opening Day start.

He went 6-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts during the pandemic-shortened season, helping Chicago win the NL Central.

The opener versus the Pirates will be the first match at Wrigley with a crowd since Sept. 22, 2019. The Cubs have been cleared for as many as 8,274 fans per game at the beginnig of the season.

Hendricks has been a steady presence for Chicago since his big league debut in 2014. The Dartmouth graduate is 69-48 with a 3.12 ERA in 175 career games.

He had his best year in 2016, going 16-8 with a major league-low 2.13 ERA. Hendricks, an eighth-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft, was acquired by Chicago in the July 2012 trade that sent Ryan Dempster to Texas.

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New York Yankees agree to deal with LHP Justin Wilson

Left-hander Justin Wilson returned to the New York Yankees after two seasons with the Mets, agreeing Monday to a deal, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Wilson joins a bullpen headed by closer Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, both left-handers. Hard-throwing right-hander Chad Green is joined by side-arming right-hander Darren O’Day, who was signed after the Yankees dealt Adam Ottavino to Boston in a cost-cutting move.

The 33-year-old Wilson was 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 74 appearances for the Yankees in 2015, then moved on to Detroit and the Chicago Cubs before spending 2019 and 2020 with the Mets.

He was 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 innings over 23 appearances last season. He struck out 23 and walked nine

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Wilson averaged 95 mph with his fastball, throwing it slightly more often than on half his pitches. He also throws cutters, mixing in an occasional slider and curveball.

Wilson is a nine-year major league veteran who spent his first three campaigns with Pittsburgh.

His deal with the Yankees was first reported by WFAN in New York.

New York also is also finalizing a minor league contract with catcher Robinson Chirinos, who would report to big league spring training, according to multiple reports.

The 36-year-old split last season with Texas and the Mets, who attained him on Aug. 31. He hit .162 with one homer and seven RBIs in 74 at-bats over 26 matches.

Chirinos also is a nine-year big league veteran who had two homers and three RBIs for Houston in its 2019 World Series loss to Washington. His best campaigns were with Texas in 2018, when he batted .222 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs, and with Houston in 2019, when he hit .238 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs.

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Emotional Yu Darvish caught off guard by Chicago Cubs trade, excited about San Diego Padres

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As he was announced by his new team Thursday, Yu Darvish said he was shocked by his trade to the San Diego Padres and grew emotional talking about his time with the Cubs and the bonds he created in Chicago.

“With what’s happening with the coronavirus, and the money the Cubs have, I wasn’t thinking about being traded,” Darvish said Thursday through an interpreter. “And also, they are a winning team and I thought we would be able to compete.”

Darvish, however, is excited about joining a “strong” Padres team that should challenge for the National League pennant.

“I’ve been having my kids watch highlights of the Padres’ lineup on YouTube,” the right-hander said. “They’re a strong team, and I’m really excited to watch batting practice.”

Darvish stated he has pitched better over the past 18 months than at any time in his career. He ended second in Cy Young voting this past season after going 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA, and he credited his improvement to a decision to work slow and “be himself.”

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“The Cubs were telling me to prepare however I wanted to prepare,” Darvish said. “The Cubs let me be myself. That helped me back to form.”

He was traded along with Victor Caratini, his personal catcher, to San Diego for starter Zach Davies and four prospects earlier this week. The move came one day after the Padres acquired lefty Blake Snell from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Darvish’s mom once told him that she thought he would play for the Padres, but he said he didn’t think that would materialize after signing a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs.

With Chicago in cost-cutting mode, however, that premonition came true.

Darvish hopes to find the same chemistry with his teammates in San Diego as he did in Chicago.

“A lot of [Cubs] people reached out to me and everyone was pretty shocked and felt bad,” Darvish said. “So this reality is great. I’m excited to play for the Padres.”

The 34-year-old Darvish said he found out about the trade on Twitter, though his representatives knew there was a possibility he could be moved that day.

“My first year with the Padres, going into spring training, I really want to be open and meet everybody,” said Darvish, who already has a relationship with Padres general manager A.J. Preller from their days with the Texas Rangers.

Darvish was asked what his trade might mean for Japanese baseball fans who live in San Diego. “With coronavirus and everyone being a little down with what’s going on in the world, I just hope to build excitement and help build happiness to the Japanese people around me,” Darvish said.

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San Diego Padres set to acquire Yu Darvish from Chicago Cubs

The San Diego Padres are on the verge of making their second trade for a star pitcher in as many days, with the team expected to get righty Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini, who emerged as the right-hander’s personal catcher in Chicago, will go to San Diego once the deal is completed, sources said.

In return, the Cubs are poised to get right-hander Zach Davies and four young prospects: outfielders Owen Caissie (18) and Ismael Mena (18), and shortstops Reggie Preciado (17) and Yeison Santana (20). Darvish, 34, is in the middle of six-year, $126 million contract he signed with the Cubs before the 2018 season.

After an elbow injury sidelined him that year, he started to come into his own in 2019, leading to a stellar 2020 campaign. He compiled a 2.01 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 76 innings, finishing second in NL Cy Young Award voting to Trevor Bauer.

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Sources told ESPN on Sunday that the Padres also are concluding a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for former Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Like Darvish, that trade has not been officially announced.

But once they are, the two star pitchers will join Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack to form a formidable rotation in San Diego. Righty Mike Clevinger also is on the team but will miss the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

For the Cubs, the Darvish trade starts a reset under new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. That reset will include salary relief as Darvish is owed $59 million over the next three seasons.

The team already non-tendered left fielder Kyle Schwarber, which also saved it money.

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MLB cancels Cubs-Cardinals London series in June

Major League Baseball has canceled its London Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The teams were set to play two matches at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium, on June 13 and 14.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred made the statement in a memorandum sent to MLB employees last Wednesday.

“We made the decision because it was unlikely the events would go forward, and timely cancellation allowed us to preserve important financial resources,” Manfred wrote. “We also have canceled agreements with service providers and delayed projects that involve large capital expenditures.”

MLB played in Europe for the first time last June 29-30, when the New York Yankees swept a pair of matches from the Boston Red Sox in London.

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The Cardinals won the National League Central last season. The Cubs made a push late but then faded to conclude third.

Opening Day was to have been March 26, but MLB has delayed the start of its campaign until mid-May at the earliest. The NBA, NHL and all other major sports leagues are presently on hold. Like the United States, Great Britain has been hard hit by the virus.

MLB had already canceled two series programmed for this season, in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The San Diego Padres had been scheduled to play the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 18-19 in Mexico City, and the New York Mets were supposed to play the Miami Marlins on April 28-30 in San Juan. The games will be reprogrammed for the home teams’ sites in Arizona and Miami, MLB said.

Manfred also referenced last week’s agreement with the players’ association in which teams agreed to provide $170 million in advance pay and the union agreed not to make claims for additional pay. As part of the deal, if the season is scrapped, players would receive service time for 2020 matching what they received in 2019.

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Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets

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The National League Championship Series is set: the Chicago Cubs v the Chicago Cubs of New York.

The Cubs were the only team to win their division series, and even better, they beat their hated rivals, the Cardinals, who were the only 100-win team in baseball this year. They bashed their way to their first NLCS berth since 2003, hitting 10 home runs in the final three games of their series, including a postseason-record six in their 8-6 game three win, after being shut out in game one.

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After finishing third in the National League Central, the Cubs had the privilege of eliminating both of the two teams that finished ahead of them, the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. With their game-four win at Wrigley Field, the Cubs clinched a postseason series on their home turf for the first time in the franchise’s history, which is incredible considering they’ve been playing since 1876.

 

Both the Cubs and the Mets enter the NLCS on a wave of momentum, overcoming opponents previous editions of themselves would have been easily bested by. The Cubs put away the St Louis Cardinals, their longtime nemesis, in four games and did it in style. They won a game in St Louis to put the fear of God into (the already wholesome and God-fearing!) Cardinals fans, and then didn’t even let the series return to St Louis.

 

The Mets’ NLDS victory was no less perception-busting. New York’s lesser-loved baseball franchise was a nice story this season, but a team whose success felt as much a function of the NL East’s malfunction as it was their own talent at hitting, catching and throwing orbs.

 

So now we have Cubs-Mets for the National League championship. It’s a dream series for MLB.

Here is the complete schedule for the NLCS:

  • Game 1: Saturday, October 17th, at Citi Field
  • Game 2: Sunday, October 18th, at Citi Field
  • Game 3: Tuesday, October 20th, at Wrigley Field
  • Game 4: Wednesday, October 21st, at Wrigley Field
  • Game 5: Thursday, October 22nd, at Wrigley Field (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Saturday, October 24th, at Citi Field (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, October 25th, at Citi Field (if necessary)

 

 

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Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

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The Chicago Cubs visit the Pittsburgh Pirates at 8 p.m., Eastern time, the loser will take its 97 or 98 wins and go home, while the winner will earn the right to face baseball’s best team, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the next round.

The Pirates can change the subject quickly Wednesday night in the NL wild-card game. The winner gets the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series starting Friday.

The clubs that combined for 195 wins both believe they can make a run provided they can survive baseball’s version of a high-wire coin flip.

Heady territory for two franchises that have spent most of this millennium taking turns at the bottom of the NL Central.

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If you follow the Cubs or are just a fan of the game you are aware they haven’t had much success for many years. The Cubbies struggles have actually contributed to their success this season as the generally could be found at or near the bottom of the National League Central which means the team was attractive to contenders willing to trade away prospects for proven talent. Throw in some wise trades and a few free agent acquisitions and the Cubs have turned in to a quality threat in the National League. The Cubs go with likely Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta on the mound in the Wild Card bout with the Pirates. Arrieta has had an outstanding year with a 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the top teams in the National League for a few years but before that the were a non factor for a few decades. The Pirates were similar to the Cubs in that they were consistently at or near the bottom of the National League East and often traded away their talent for prospects. Having said that I saw too many poor trades being made and things haven’t begun to work out until the last few years. The Pirates in 2015 have enough quality arms and bats to win most divisions but have the misfortune of sharing the Central with St Louis. The Pirates look to ace Gerrit Cole to pitch the team past the Cubs in the Wild Card. Cole has been dominant in nine career starts versus Chicago with nine quality starts where the team has gone 8-1.

Chicago are 9-0 in their last 9 road games and  are 0-9 in their last 9 playoff games while the under is 9-2-1 in their last 12 on grass. Pittsburgh are 11-4 in their last 15 overall and  are 11-4 in their last 15 games on grass while the under is 7-3 in their last 10 on grass. Pittsburgh are 8-1 in Cole’s last 9 starts vs. Chicago and the over is 6-2 in Cole’s last 8 starts vs. Chicago.

Records

Cubs: 97-65, third best in the majors; 48-33 on the road.

Pirates: 98-64, second best; 53-28 at home.

Starters

Cubs: Jake Arrieta, 22-6, most wins in the majors; 1.77 E.R.A., second; 11-0 in August and September.

Pirates: Gerrit Cole, 19-8, tied for third in wins; 2.60 E.R.A., tied for seventh.

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Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

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(foxsports.com)- As the Chicago Cubs move closer to securing their first postseason berth since 2008, they continue to enjoy everything about the experience.

They’ll look to keep the good times coming by completing a series sweep with their 10th straight victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

Hours after manager Joe Maddon set up a small petting zoo in the Wrigley Field outfield for his players and their families to enjoy, Jake Arrieta struck out 11 while tossing a three-hitter to become the majors’ first 20-game winner in Tuesday’s 4-0 victory.

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Winners in seven of the last eight, the Cubs (89-62) trimmed their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to three. While it seems likely Chicago will open the postseason with a one-game wild-card contest, it’s poised to build more momentum, enjoy itself and see what happens.

“I think it’s just preparing us for the postseason,” said Arrieta, the first Cub to win 20 since 2001. “It’s getting better as the season goes on. … It’s been a lot of fun. We need to keep moving forward.”

Kris Bryant set a Cubs rookie record with his 26th home run and raised his RBI total to 98 with three more. He’s batting .481 in the last seven games, and .391 in the last six against Milwaukee (63-88).

“He’s going to hit a lot of home runs,” said Hall of Famer Billy Williams, who previously held that club record since 1961. “He’s got a home run swing that’s perfect for Wrigley Field.”

While Arrieta is likely to start that expected wild-card game, and Jon Lester would then take the ball should the Cubs advance, the rest of a potential division series rotation gets a bit murky with Jason HammelDan Harenand Kyle Hendricks (7-6, 4.22 ERA) all struggling of late.

Hendricks will have at least two more chances to prove his worth for any playoff role after going 3-2 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 second-half starts. He gave up four runs on three homers in a season-low three innings of Thursday’s 9-6 win at Pittsburgh.

The right-hander’s best outing since the All-Star break came Aug. 1 when he allowed his only run in two starts this season against the Brewers, lasting seven innings of a 4-2 victory.

Khris Davis is 4 for 9 against Hendricks and batting .355 in the last nine games. Teammate Ryan Braun took batting practice Tuesday but could miss a fifth straight game with a back problem.

Losers in 12 of the last 14, Milwaukee has totaled 20 runs, hit .195 and struck out 87 times during its nine-game skid to the Cubs, who get their first look at Zach Davies (1-2, 6.00).

The right-hander didn’t walk a batter while lasting seven innings to earn his first win in his second career start at Miami on Sept. 7. Since, he’s walked nine while giving up nine runs and 11 hits in 9 2-3 innings to lose two in a row.

“Just losing a bit of the command,” Davies said after allowing four of those walks in six innings of Friday’s 5-3 loss to Cincinnati.

 

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