#Cubs and Hammel face Mets in Game 2

Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel spent Thursday at the Sirius XM studios in New York to host a couple hours on the Pearl Jam network. He got to play some of his favorite tunes, explain why he uses their song “Alive” as his warm-up and walk-up music, and chatted about the band. Pretty cool.

On Friday, Hammel will get the start for the Cubs in Game 2 of their four-game series against the Mets. Here’s the lineup:

Zobrist 2B

Heyward RF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Contreras C

Baez 3B

Russell SS

Hammel P

Almora Jr. CF



It’s clear that when we play elite teams that our bullpen does not match theirs. When we get to the playoffs we’ll be playing these teams, and unless we get some top-notch relievers, we can expect to have the same result as last year when we proved unequal to the Mets. Rather than spending big-money on offensive/defensive players (such as Heyward), we need to layout some dough for proven stoppers that can strengthen our average bullpen, making it capable of taking us all the way.

Turned off the game after the back to back homers. Had to find something else to do, I wasn’t going to suffer through that. Great decision on my part.

And with the trade deadline 30 days away, that’s exactly what they will be looking for between now and then. The playoffs don’t start tomorrow and the Cubs have a double digit lead, so just chill for now! And I don’t remember anyone freaking out over the Cubs versus other elite teams when they swept the Nationals in May, so again just chill for now and let things work themselves out!

Aloha Joel, yes I have been concerned with the play for a while, especially against the better team starting back with the series against the Nationals on the road. The only teams they are beating (winning series against are either right at or below .500). But remember too that during this stretch the defense has not been up to par as they have lost games due to poor play in the field, including errors-past balls-wild pitches-etc. And the RISP (runners in scoring position) stat has been low. The great thing is that because they have a lot of young talent both up at the moment (many due to injuries of regulars) and in the farm system, I am sure if a great opportunity comes around for an elite starter and bullpen arms, they will jump at it because one glaring stat that is not in this teams favor is in close games, be it if they are up by a run or two or below-close games. They are not winning those games (1-0, 2-1,3-2 and so forth) and these are the very types of games that they should and need to be winning. I think everyone can agree they are not playing up to par and one hopes that with Fowler-LaStella-Soler coming back plus trades on the horizon that Madden and the coaches can inspire and encourage this team while they are in this “valley.” You hang in there now. Go Cubs! Mahalo!

Aloha k,g. Sonny Gray had another poor outing yesterday. He has not won a game since April 22. Are you still advocating him for the Cubs? We need Jake to get back to the form we are accustomed to seeing beginning tonight. He needs to get back to his good command, and avoid giving batters free passes and not having a high pitch count by the middle of the game. {You`ll recall his biggest issue when with the Orioles was lack of control and issuing walks.} Joe Maddon met with Terry Collins yesterday, and it`s believed they discussed Arrieta possibly starting for the NL in the ASG. If Jake is not back on the beam, and if he continues to pitch the way he did in his last outing, why would anyone want that?

Aloha jhosk! Yes, I would still go after Gray but for a lot less in trade then before! He is young and I believe can come through this low-point in this season. I am sure with the Cubs he would be energized! I just checked in and saw that Arrieta is again having control issues, is it with his fast ball as Carrie said last time? He is going through a rough patch now, almost the last month, this is not good. But at the same time, he cannot be expected to throw a no-no or a 1 hit shut-out all the time, the offense has to pick him and the other pitchers up. That’s how it works with this team sport, sometimes a person is having an off-day so other have to pick them up, that is what I have been waiting to see in regularity, it is what I saw with the 2010 Giants. And right now this team does not have it. Bochy did a great job of instilling encouragement and hope into his team to the point where the players believed they could win any game, even when losing in the late innings. It was amazing to see how many come from behind wins the Giants had in 2010 and it did not surprise me that they won the WS. Maddon has to take the reigns and make the hard decisions, for example dropping Heyward down in the lineup as Matheny did the year before. He also has to be ready to send folks back down to AAA when and if Warren & Richard return, we know some folks go back when Fowler-LaStella-Soler come back. This is a very good test for this team for which I want and hope they come out on top. Take care now and as Pat Hughes always says, fasten them seat-belts! Mahalo!

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