#Cubs and Arrieta face Pirates

All-Star Jake Arrieta will make his final start before the break on Friday night when the Cubs face the Pirates at PNC Park. The Pirates are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and 8 1/5 games behind the Cubs in the Central Division standings. Here’s the lineup:

Zobrist 2B

Bryant RF

Rizzo 1B

Contreras LF

Russell SS

Heyward CF

Baez 3B

Montero C

Arrieta P


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Aloha Folks, this is tough, I am sure the team just is disheartened. Arrieta bad command again, does not even throw 100 pitches(88), gives up 10 bases and 2 hrs. The Pirates starting pitcher’s era was close to 6. Upside-down as they say. All I want for anyone is just to be honest and real about this situation, meaning calling it out for what it is….a “valley.” Using Doug’s date of 6/20/16 the team is now 5-14. Too be honest even if Fowler were back, things would not be good as I go back to the away series with the Nationals. I do not expect them to win 20 games in a row but consistency would be nice, win series as they 2 out of 3, 3 out of 4. I believe they are good enough to win this series I hope they believe they are as well. Gunbatene Cubbies! Mahalo!

Yes, k.g., unless Fowler somehow miraculously found a way to master the art of pitching while he was recovering from his injury, I agree we don`t see his return to the lineup as all that significant. The Pirates and Cubs are two clubs headed in opposite directions these days. It`s not going to get any easier after the break, as the Rangers are at or near to having the best record in the big leagues. We now know why Scott Boras could not persuade the FO to entertain a six or seven year extension for his client, Jake Arrieta. over the winter.

Aloha jhosk & Bruce- even before this past month+, one of my concerns were close games whereby the Cubs are up by a run late in the game. I need to go back and see what their record is in these kind of situations. Have to give the offense credit for fighting back because the Pirates were up early against Arrieta and Cubs 3-0 til the 4th. My father made a good observation and he really likes Maddon, wishes his Yankees could have a manager like him or Bochy. Maddon likes versatility which my father agrees with but he will also explain to you that baseball is a game about relationships and the stronger those are, usually the better the team does. What does he mean by this, well it is one thing to have a set eight who go out there on a regular basis and mainly play a specific position. But it is totally another thing to keep moving folks around constantly to where you do not get “comfortable” with your buddy next to you. So even though Addison has been SS, he has had to play regularly with 3 folks at 2nd Zobrist-LaStella-Baez. The same goes for his right side at 3rd Bryant-LaStella-Baez. It is great to have utility people like LaStella and Baez but remember the best play in the infield occurred with a quartet of Bryant-Russell-Zobrist-Rizzo. That quartet’s chemistry was coming together which for me was a breathe of fresh air because Zobrist was the new kid on the block as the prior year had Castro starting SS and Addison at 2nd. A lot of folks talk about Bryant’s height, is he too tall for 3rd but I have to say that when at 3rd with the above three I was really impressed how his level of defensive play went up. My father believes that Maddon needs to set his infield so it is tight and can tinker-work on the outfield. We all know when Fowler comes back as well as other possible call-ups or trades that many of the younger folks will go back down. Fowler and Heyward are your main two in the outfield and if you still have Baez/Szczur/Coghlan after the trade deadline then they can fill in when needed. I think Almora should go back down for more work along with Candelario and maybe they get a September call-up. Remember too, the organization has veterans like Murton who is having a nice season in AAA (good defense and patient at the plate) BA.347/61hits in 55games/KOratio is 12.5%, as well as Kawasaki-san who is doing well, gets on base can steal has 55hits in 61games KOratio is 19.2%. Baez KOratio is 24.3%, Russell is 28.9%, Heyward is 21% and Montero is 26.3%. Baez currently has the highest ba avg among those four but he does not walk a whole lot, has only drawn 8bb’s. The other three range from 23-37bb’s. I believe Russell will get better at the plate and his KO ratio will come down leading to more walks and hits. Remember he is only 22yrs old but has been in the minors since he was 18. I am hoping that Heyward’s season will turn around since being dropped in the lineup. Unfortunately, the backstop is what it is as Ross cannot play every day, Montero may still be favoring his back and Contreras is “green.” Unless they make a miracle trade for someone like Lucroy, this will continue to be a weak area for the rest of the season and the team has to make adjustments for it. This is leads me to my last point in speaking with my father, the one area that can withstand more changes and not disrupt as much on a team is with pitching. Sure you hope the pitchers can hold runners on and play decent defense. If the FO is blessed to pick up a Hill/Gray/Miller and some go away (Hammel/Richard/Warren/Grimm/Strop), my father and I believe that the team can absorb that amount of change-over and succeed. I know there are still two more games to go before the ASG and winning those could really give the team a lift. Bruce I hope your healing goes well and that you, jhosk, I and others will be treated to some great games here in the next couple of days! Mahalo!

Yeah, yeah, mid-season stumble, we’re still in first place, and all that… But this one really was awful. We take the lead late in the game, and our best guy comes back out and serves up batting practice. Come on, Cubs, this is no way to treat an aging fan who’s stuck at home recovering from surgery. Glad the all-star break is coming.

Aloha Bruce, hope you a feeling better. How are the hospitals in your area? Was thinking of you last night as my wife and I were watching the US gymnastics trials in San Jose, CA! They wrap up tomorrow. Hope the team can present you with a gift tonight; Lester shutt out the Pirates and the offense goes crazy manufacturing runs! Mahalo!

You are right to cite the All-Star break, Bruce. I can`t think of any team which stands to benefit more from such a breather than the Cubs. This 24 game stretch sans a day off we are still in the midst of has taken a toll on the players and the faithful both, no doubt. We need Lester to stop the bleeding today. He should be well rested after pitching less than two innings in his last start, if memory serves. His mound opponent, Kuhl, is a pitcher whom I`ve never heard of, and therefore would think the pitching matchup heavily favors our side. I agree it`s unfair for one who`s recuperating at home from surgery to need to endure stress, anxiety, trepidation, and agitation over his baseball team`s struggles. It`s an uncomfortable experience for the healthy fans, as well. We wish you a speedy recovery, Bruce.

Aloha again jhosk- I know I should not assume but just a hint, I know there is a good lefty on the Friars as you like to say that they might be a nice fit as a starter in the Cubs rotation. I just like the idea of packaging Hill/Gray together (because I think it would take less in terms of player(s) to get them) instead of having to go “ala carte” as they say. Take care now! Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk, wow I was pleasantly surprised as I had mentioned Kawasaki-san as an option to bring up that he was as reported by Carrie today and Candelario back down (not a bad thing). The other person I think could be valuable is Murton, he is doing great in AAA; he would add another veteran presence, show the young guys how to approach their ab’s and plays solid defense. Hope to see him soon. So are there any other players you’d like to see the FO try to pick up? Take care now. Mahalo!

Don`t know to whom you`re referring amongst the Padres` starting southpaws, k.g. Would like to see our best starters return to being the best versions of themselves. Last night Bob Costas asked who that imposter in Arrieta`s uniform was? The same thing can be asked of the southpaw in Lester`s uniform tonight and last weekend versus the Mets. This is the principal reason our team has faltered of late, after excelling for much of the first half. I`m referencing the pitching component, of course, and it`s not just Jake and Jon who have underachieved recently. On the offensive side, I`ve been disappointed with La Stella. He`s been one of my favorites, but I can`t and won`t defend his lack of production. I do credit you for anticipating the Kawasaki call-up, and defer to you regarding Murton, whose progress at Iowa I have not followed closely. Anyone who can help the big club, I`m all for.

Aloha jhosk, wish we could all go out and share a drink. The pitcher to whom I am referring to is Pomeranz (sp?); he is having a nice year with the Padres and they say they would be interested in moving him. I absolutely agree with you about the starting pitching. The offense is putting up runs, enough to win games but the pitching just seems to want to give away runs! Lester’s untimely walks ans hitting a batter really really hurt today. Well, wife and I are going to catch a movie on the ole big screen! Mahalo!

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