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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Jake Arrieta makes history again while Cubs try to expose Cardinals - Chicago Tribune

I would think the Cubs records would be a little bare on the topic. 

Though Cubs’ records are sketchy, Arrieta is in all likelihood the first on-field employee to appear partially exposed in a national magazine since former ballgirl Marla Collins, who posed in the nude for the September 1986 edition of Playboy.

Cubs players pored over that issue. There was not much else to look forward to during the summer of ‘86.

“That’s the best thing I’ve seen out of uniform all year,” broadcaster Harry Caray told the Tribune.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jake arrieta

Monday, June 20, 2016

Contreras joins in Chicago Cubs’ homer barrage

While some of you were watching a silly basketball game I was enjoying a very special moment.

Catching prospect Willson Contreras came up as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and hit the first major-league pitch he saw over the wall in center field for a 2-run home run.

The delirious crowd of 41,024 screamed for a curtain call, and Contreras obliged, eating up the attention. Contreras, 24, will get his first big-league start Monday night, but it would be hard to top Sunday.

“It was amazing,” he said. “My teammates, everybody was like, ‘Amazing.’ That’s what they said. I was just trying to enjoy the time. I was like, ‘Relax, enjoy your time, and have a nice at-bat.’”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, willson contreras

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Grantland: Hitting Wins Championships: Why the Chicago Cubs’ Inverted Rebuilding Strategy Is Starting to Look Brilliant

I’m referring instead to the core principle with which the Cubs have been trying to build a championship roster since team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were hired after the 2011 season, a principle that distinguishes this rebuilding project from almost every other one in baseball history: They’re building an offense from within and a pitching staff from spare parts.

This flies in the face of more than a century of conventional baseball wisdom, which states that (1) pitching wins championships, and (2) a team can never have too much pitching. The Cubs’ approach is completely counterintuitive. It’s also completely right.

 

McCoy Posted: June 14, 2016 at 06:56 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cubs on the prowl for a quick strike in summer pitching market | Chicago Sun-Times

Why would Baez be a non-starter?

Kyle Schwarber, Javy Baez and top catching prospect Willson Contreras are expected to be non-starters in talks. But the Cubs have a handful of other intriguing young prospects (and possibly Jorge Soler) who could be made available.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 13, 2016 at 10:04 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, trade rumors, yankees

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cubs reject Rahm’s Wrigley plaza deal, ‘Negotiations are over’ | Chicago Sun-Times

Is this protection for local bars or a real issue?

Jim Furtado Posted: June 12, 2016 at 08:55 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are Cubs’ flaws hiding behind the team’s great record?

If the Cubs weren’t 41-18, Maddon might finally decide a change in the batting order could be warranted after No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward struck out three more times and went 0-for-4.

If the division lead was smaller, there might be more concern with some bullpen members who either continue to struggle or have been trending that way. Justin Grimm saw his ERA (5.57) rise again after giving up two hits and a walk without recording an out. That’s not far from what happened in Philadelphia a few days earlier, though this time he was pulled before giving up a long ball.

Clayton Richard picked up where Grimm left off, giving up a run-scoring single and a long sacrifice fly in the eighth inning before getting out of the jam. But the damage was done as a 3-1 Braves lead ballooned to 5-1.

 

 

McCoy Posted: June 11, 2016 at 01:50 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

When a slump isn’t really a slump — and why the Cubs might come back to Earth - The Washington Post

Tom Boswell believes the Cubs are lucky.

The Nationals combined have a subpar .282 BABIP after posting normal marks of .300 and .303 the past two seasons. Nats pitchers have a lucky BABIP against of .283. Both those marks would usually trend back toward the high .290s.

In all of baseball, there is only one stunning “outlier” in BABIP for an entire batting attack or pitching staff: Cubs pitchers. Their BABIP is a ridiculously lucky .248. I don’t care how smart their defensive shifts are or how swift their defenders. Nobody is anywhere close to that good at turning batted balls into outs. In this decade, only one team has had a season under .272. The Cubs likely will watch dozens of “reversion” singles, doubles and triples elude them all summer.

The Cubs are MLB’s best team. But not by as much as it seems. Contrary to what their 41-17 record would seem to imply, it may be a good idea to go ahead and play out the rest of the season.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 11, 2016 at 01:11 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, nationals

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cespedes vs. Heyward and the debate over advanced analytics - NY Daily News

Hey, why not bash when you can. If there is any time to make definitive judgments over long-term free agent signs, it’s 1/3 through the first season of the deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 10, 2016 at 09:43 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Willson Contreras under Cubs’ minor league microscope - Chicago Tribune

And there’s a reasonable chance they’ll get a look at Triple-A Iowa catcher Willson Contreras, who is batting .343 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 48 games.

“I’ve heard nothing but good stuff,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You’ll see him here at some point. I’m certain of that. I don’t know when. He’s doing everything properly. I’m hearing a lot about his defense.  You think he’s going to hit.”

However, there are a few roadblocks for Contreras, 24. The Cubs currently are carrying three catchers – Miguel Montero, David Ross and Tim Federowicz. In addition, Kyle Schwarber is recovering from season-ending left knee surgery that cut into his catching progress.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2016 at 06:58 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, willson contreras

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Jazayerli: An Irresistible Force Rises in Chicago

It’s hard to talk about the 2016 Cubs without descending into what can only be called baseball stat porn. The numbers that surround this team range from the astonishing to the unbelievable. Here is the simplest way to sum up how good this team is with facts that should be mutually exclusive:

1. The 2016 Chicago Cubs are on pace to challenge the all-time record for victories in a season.

2. They are underachieving….

What is unprecedented is just how they’re managing it. The Cubs aren’t winning five out of every seven games by claiming all the close ones. They are, in fact, quite pedestrian in those affairs: After Sunday’s 3–2 loss to the Diamondbacks, they are just 7–7 in one-run games.

Rather, the Cubs are winning by utterly obliterating their opponents. Consider this: The Cubs have lost four games all season by three runs or more. On April 15 they lost to the Rockies 6–1; on April 23 they lost to Cincinnati 13–5 (their only loss all season by more than five runs!); on May 11 they lost the first game of a doubleheader to the Padres 7–4; and last Tuesday they lost to the Dodgers 5–0. That’s the entire list.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 08, 2016 at 02:17 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

ESPN: Oral History: David Ross Hits His First HR, Off Mark Grace

Grace: I got a bad scouting report. I was told he was a good fastball hitter, so I threw a bad fastball and he still hit it a mile.

 


Chicago Cubs’ lefty Jon Lester knows not to question Joe Madden - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

“I told Joe I was fine (to go back out there). But I also told him that he’s the manager,” Lester said Monday night. “I’ve tried before with him, but I think I’ve won maybe once in two years. When he shakes my hand, I know it’s pretty much done, so there’s no point in arguing. Like I’ve always said, the manager makes those decisions. The players don’t.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 08, 2016 at 09:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon lester

Monday, June 06, 2016

Jason McLeod, Cubs VP of Player Development and Amateur Scouting

TB: Clearly drafting is difficult, and you mentioned things coming back to burn you. It seems that no matter how good a draft is, there’s always that one pick you could have made. How difficult is it to deal with that regret looking back? Do you get over it quickly or are there things that stick with you?

JM: I think a little of both. It depends on the process that you have which led to the other pick and how good you felt about that pick at the time. Certainly, gosh, every scouting director’s closet is littered with, ‘Man, I should have taken that guy. I should have listened to my cross-checker. We had this guy teed up and I went with my gut instead.’ I know a lot of us have that. There might be one or two that bug me to this day, and it’s probably more process-related and the reason why I made the other decision than the one that could have been made.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 06, 2016 at 08:19 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, cubs

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Fox Sports: Anthony Rizzo almost tricked an umpire into thinking he was starting a fight

Give the catcher his throwing lane, damnit!

Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs are hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend, and the first inning got off to a rough start for the star first baseman. In the first inning, Rizzo was beaned in the head by Diamondbacks catcher Wellington Castillo, who was simply trying to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

After taking the throw off the noggin, Rizzo turned to Castillo, his former teammate, and stared him down. He then playfully shoved the catcher before laughing about it. The push nearly fooled the umpire into thinking he was starting a fight with Castillo.

Interestingly, the footage supplied doesn’t show why the runner on second base was unable to advance to third.

Renegade JE (((Jason))) Posted: June 04, 2016 at 09:41 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, cubs, diamondbacks, goofy

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ballhawks still congregate outside Wrigley Field despite lack of action - Chicago Tribune

“People don’t realize when they do stuff like that, it’s the memory,” Ross told cubs.com the next day. “I’ll always remember that guy gave me that ball and was kind enough to do that. Now that guy is connected with me for life in my memory.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 31, 2016 at 08:26 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, wrigley field

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Questions for the Cubs before they open a giant outdoor bar | Chicago Sun-Times

Quality of life is on the line, people, on the line!

Measured in baseball time, the Cubs’ venture into the outdoor bar business looks to be in about the fourth inning.

The Cubs can’t possibly believe this game is close to over, right?

Not when the Cubs’ proposal for an open-air drinking establishment next to Wrigley Field remains vague. Not when the quality of life in a whole neighborhood is on the line.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 28, 2016 at 10:19 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, wrigley field

Thursday, May 26, 2016

From internment camp to Dodgers and Cubs clubhouses, these brothers became part of baseball history

The Kawano brothers seem to be listening. They occasionally smile or nod their heads but do not speak, so it is hard to guess what they are thinking.

On a bright Saturday morning, Yosh and Nobe sit near the window in a day room at their nursing home, the sunlight etching fine shadows across their wrinkled faces. Family has gathered around to tell stories from the old days.

Like the one about Sandy Koufax and the trash can. Or the boat out to Catalina Island, where the Chicago Cubs used to hold spring training before the war.

“Baseball was everything to them,” says Frank Kawano, who is Nobe’s son. “They loved the game.”

The brothers were never professional ballplayers. Yosh spent five decades in the major leagues as clubhouse manager for the Cubs, and Nobe held the same job for almost as long with the Dodgers.


Monday, May 16, 2016

PIRATES’ GERRIT COLE: CUBS AREN’T THE BEST TEAM IN BASEBALL

When a reporter posed the question that Cole just shut down the best team in baseball, the Pirates pitcher politely corrected the statement:

“It’s just an opportunity to salvage the series,” Cole said. “I don’t really think they’re the best team in baseball.”

Of course, the Cubs are currently the best team in baseball - the only team still in the single digits in the loss column halfway through May.

The Cubs sit at 27-9 overall with a +109 run differential. In fact, their run differential was higher than the next two teams (Red Sox +58) and Cardinals (+46) combined entering play Sunday.

McCoy Posted: May 16, 2016 at 09:54 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, lalaland, pirates

Jed Hoyer, The Other Guy in Cubs front office, fits role perfectly - Chicago Tribune

Talk about the Cubs around town and Jed only comes before Theo alphabetically, a reality Hoyer accepts without a hint of resentment.

“No, it doesn’t bother me,’’ Hoyer said. “One of the first things we talked about when we did this was that this only is going to work is if it’s a total collaboration. No one knows who works on what deals or what contracts. Once you start getting into who deserves credit in a front office, it’s a huge negative and we’ve done what we can to avoid that.’‘

It helps that Hoyer holds his buddy in as high esteem as others.

“Listen, Theo is one of a kind,’’ Hoyer said. “He has created an amazing culture and is as good of a baseball executive as this game has seen in long time. I’m fortunate I’ve been able to learn from him. We form a great partnership and know the way the other thinks. How I see it is, your ultimate goal in every sport is to be a good teammate and help your team win. … I want to be that good teammate.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: May 16, 2016 at 06:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general managers, jed hoyer

Friday, May 13, 2016


Thursday, May 12, 2016

First Strasburg, Then Arrieta

“The misconception is that Scott wants everyone to go to free agency,” Arrieta said of Boras. “I made it clear I like Chicago. I think everyone knows that. If I had it my way, I’d stay here. That’s just one side of the story. We’ll see.”

When asked whether he’d give a hometown discount to the Cubs, Arrieta flatly said “no” while shaking his head.

Arrieta said “aces get 7 years”—just as Strasburg got—so think of that as a starting point. And think $200 million as one, as well.

Boras is 63 and might be planning his retirement.

bbmck Posted: May 12, 2016 at 09:47 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: boras, cubs, jake arrieta, strasburg

Monday, May 09, 2016

Javier Baez homer wins it in 13th as Cubs rally past Nationals - Chicago Tribune

The Cubs just aren’t natural. Which type of black magic are they using?

At what point does winning 24 of their first 30 games — including the last seven in a row —become surreal?

“Hasn’t it?” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said with a chuckle. “I mean, I think you’d have to look inside a season to see that kind of a stretch, but when it occurs at the beginning of the season it really stands out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 09, 2016 at 06:51 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez

USA TODAY: Bryce Harper saw 27 pitches against the Cubs and didn’t swing at a single one

The Nationals outfielder had seven plate appearances in Washington’s 13-inning loss. He was walked six times and also hit by the pitch once. The six walks ties an MLB record for most walks in a game. [...]

Jayson Stark ✔ ‎@jaysonst
That’s 6 BB & one HBP for Bryce Harper today. @ESPNStatsInfo reports no player in the last 100 years has reached base 7 times without an AB!
6:47 PM - 8 May 2016

From 1913 to 2016, (requiring ROE=0, TOB>=6 and AB=0), sorted by greatest TOB

                                                               
Rk     Player     Date Tm Opp   Rslt PA AB R RBI BB TOB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE BOP PosSummary
1   Jimmie Foxx 1938-06-16 BOS SLB W 12-8 6 0 2   0 6   6   0 0   0   0   0   4       1B

(Note: B-R has no PBP data, only boxes, prior to 1930.)

bobm Posted: May 09, 2016 at 02:19 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, cubs, nationals, records

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Rogers: ‘Run differential’ is becoming Cubs’ favorite phrase

At this point, observers might think the opposite is true—teams have to go through the Cubs—as the numbers point to a run-scoring and run-prevention pace that is unprecedented in the history of the game. The Cubs have scored 93 more runs than their opponents through the first 26 games. It is the greatest differential through 26 games since 1905 and puts them on pace to shatter the all-time record of plus-411 set by the 1939 New York Yankees. Of course, they’ll slow down, won’t they? If not, they’ll outscore the opposition by a whopping 579 runs over the course of 162 games.

Next up is the second best team in the majors.

McCoy Posted: May 05, 2016 at 09:28 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, greatest team

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


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