Jake Arrieta takes the mound Saturday as the Cubs try to make it two in a row against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:
* Luis Valbuena, who hit a game-winning two-run homer Friday against the Cardinals, is batting .345 (10-for-29) with seven extra-base hits against the Cardinals this season. According to Elias, Valbuena’s seven extra-base hits (4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) are the most by any player against St. Louis this season.
* Wesley Wright has a 0.63 ERA (1 ER/14 1/3 IP) in 17 games against NL Central division foes this season. Neil Ramirez has posted a 0.68 ERA (1 ER/13 1/3 IP) in 13 relief outings.
The 100 Cubs Charities’ Centennial Seats will be on display until Sunday evening on Michigan Avenue. The seats will still be up for auction online at http://www.cubs.com/chairs through Aug. 10. The Cubs partnered with 47 Chicago-based non-profits, celebrities and artists to paint the Centennial Seats. All proceeds from the nonprofit-designed chairs will be split between Cubs Charities and the respective partnering organization. These unique chairs have lined the Mag Mile since May 30, where thousands of Chicagoans and tourist have enjoyed scenes from specific moments in Wrigley Field history. You can find a map, images and description of each chair on WrigleyField100.com Centennial Seats page.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Friday the Cubs may hang onto Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena at the Trade Deadline even though both have drawn interest and could help a contending club. On Wednesday, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told Chicago media that they are evaluating the current roster and trying to decide who to keep. What they want to determine is which players now will help the next generation make the transition.
“There’s value to keeping players who have roles here for the sake of continuity and leadership and performance on the field,” Epstein said at Wrigley Field. “We’re not in any rush to make trades for the sake of making trades.”
– Carrie Muskat
Rick Sutcliffe remembers when Greg Maddux first joined the Cubs in 1986 and watching the skinny right-hander pitch. There was one game in Maddux’s first year when someone hit a ball that should’ve resulted in a triple but the hitter stopped at second. That seemed puzzling to Sutcliffe. Maddux had been struggling, and Sutcliffe had experienced something similar his second year with the Dodgers. Apparently, Maddux was tipping his pitches, and the runner at second could send a message to his teammates.
Sutcliffe, Maddux and pitching coach Dick Pole figured out what was happening, and obviously, the young pitcher developed a plan.
“When the next season started, Greg would show the runner at second his change-up, and then he’d change it to a fastball,” Sutcliffe said Friday. “You’d see people in the opposing dugout, saying, ‘What’s going on?’ It turned everything around for him.”
Maddux went on to win 355 games, strike out 3,371 batters, win four Cy Young awards, and on Sunday, he’ll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT live on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At-Bat app.
The Cubs have a contingent in Cooperstown to help celebrate Maddux’s induction, including chairman Tom Ricketts.
Maddux wasn’t just a good pitcher, he was a great teammate. Sutcliffe recalled the July 1987 game when Padres pitcher Eric Show hit Andre Dawson in the head with a pitch as pay back. Maddux was pitching that game, and had every intention of hitting the first batter he faced the next inning. But Maddux knew before the game that he was headed to the Minors if he didn’t win that day.
“He says, ‘I don’t care if I ever get another win, I’m hitting the first guy,’” Sutcliffe said. “He hit Benito Santiago at 95 miles an hour. I don’t know if he ever threw a pitch any harder than that. he gained the respect of everyone he played with by doing that.”
Maddux lockered next to Sutcliffe, who said it eventually got to the point where the young pitcher was teaching Sutcliffe things about the game.
There is one thing, though, that always irked Sutcliffe.
“It used to make [Ryne] Sandberg and I so mad — we’d go out to the parking lot and people would go crazy [for autographs],” Sutcliffe said. “Greg would put on that Mickey Mouse hat of his and walk right through the fans to his apartment. They’d say, ‘It’s the bat boy — I’m not going to bother the bat boy.’ Shoot, you’re talking about a Cy Young winner there.”
– Carrie Muskat
Javier Baez and Josh Vitters each homered to back Eric Jokisch and lead Iowa to an 11-2 win over New Orleans. Jokisch gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings and struck out five. Baez finished with three RBI. Mike Olt had two hits, including a bases-clearing double. It was the first game that Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler played in together, batting 3-4-5.
Pierce Johnson gave up two hits over six shutout innings in Tennessee’s 4-2 win over Mississippi. In his first game with the Smokies, Lars Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
Daytona and St. Lucie were postponed because of rain, and will try to play a doubleheader Friday.
Jacob Rogers hit his 11th home run to help Kane county beat South Bend, 5-3. Jen-Ho Tseng gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings for the win. Shawon Dunston had two hits, a stolen base, and one RBI.
Danny Canela and Justin Marra each homered to help Boise beat Everett, 7-3. David Bote had two hits.
Mesa blew a 5-1 lead and lost 7-6 to the Athletics. Kevonte Mitchell had two hits, including a triple, and one RBI.
Travis Wood takes the mound Friday as the Cubs open a three-game homestand against the Cardinals, who are battling for the top spot in the NL Central. Emilio Bonifacio gets the day off and still no Justin Ruggiano, who has been slowed by tightness in his groin. Here’s the lineup:
It’s Jack Brickhouse day at Wrigley Field on Friday. The first 10,000 fans at Friday’s Cubs vs. Cardinals game will receive a Jack Brickhouse Bobblehead with an audio chip of Brickhouse calling Ernie Banks 500th home run, presented by Advocate Health Care. Pat Brickhouse, Jack’s widow, will toss a ceremonial first pitch and sing the seventh inning stretch. Jack Brickhouse broadcast Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948-81, and received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. He died in August 1998.
Looking ahead to the Cubs series this weekend against the Cardinals, here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: LHP Travis Wood (7-9, 5.12) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (2-1, 2.84)
Saturday: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-2, 2.12) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (7-8, 4.25)
Sunday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 2.77) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (12-5, 2.02)
Arismendy Alcantara and Emilio Bonifacio are switching places on the field, with Alcantara starting at second base Thursday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Padres. Edwin Jackson gets the start. Here’s the lineup: