#Cubs and Lackey face Marlins

Cubs right-hander John Lackey faces the Marlins in the series finale on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Contreras LF

Heyward RF

Montero C

Baez SS

Lackey P

The Cubs have won 13 of their last 19 games, including a 12-6 mark since the All-Star break. They’ve also won five straight home series for the second time this season.


I approve of what Reds` outfielder Scott Schebler did in the ninth last night versus the Cardinals.

Well put jhosk. Walk off 3 run HR, from a .216 hitter.
I wish I would have been in MO watching that with my son and brother. They are both die hard bird brains.

That game was in Cincinnati, jasper. I do recall you mentioning in the past that your family has divided loyalties regarding the Cubs and Redbirds. It must make for compelling arguments.

Yes jhosk, I knew they were in Cincinnati. I should have stated watching the game with my son & brother on TV.
We don’t really argue, they know I will clock them both. lol

We all make predictions even if we don’t put them in writing. Trading Castro for Warrren, I thought that would put the Cubs over the top. Looking at Warren’s 2015 STATS, was hoping he would be our secret weapon this time of year. Well, we can all see how that turned out.
Hendricks, as a fan I was more patient with. I could just see the talent and waited and waited. He is now delivering.
I think Cahill has done a nice job since joining the Cubs. I was all for giving him a shot at the Rotation in ST. Now I see he is being groomed for that 6th spot in the Rotation, I am excited for him and hope he gets his wildness under control.
Hammel, I was dead wrong thus far. I have been expecting that second half fall off, but it has yet to happen. That was one very good game pitched last night.
The last two games from the starters, 15 Innings of shutout pitching with Contreras behind the plate. I hope the other Starters take note, because the Cubs are much better with Contreras behind the plate.

Aloha jhosk & jasper, amen. I think Warren never embraced the trade, now he is back in NY and having “success,” Yankees won on that too. Hammel & Hendricks both have been so pleasant to watch and Hammel did it last night before going on bereavement leave; that’s called composure. I would for Cahill to succeed and want to see La Stella back, would you send Pedro? Just a thought. I have enjoyed Montero but this is not his year and he may be on the way out. jasper, good call that Arrieta did not get an extension. I would consider next year if team is not doing well but Jake is, I would consider trading him for great pitching prospects. Well, I hope for the best! Go Cubs.

So basically, the Cubs gave up Castro, Torres, McKinney and Crawford for two months of Chapman. LOL I think the Yankees done very well on that trade.
K.g., My thoughts on Arietta, as much as I do like him: If he cannot accept a contract that he cannot spend in his lifetime, then insists on more. He really don’t want to stay with the Cubs.
You know they will make him a more than reasonable offer, which will be well over 100 million.
If he does not like whatever the offer is, if I were the Cubs, I would use him until July 30th 2017 and do exactly as you suggest. Trade him for a couple young, very good starters with team control.
He will then spend AUG, SEP & OCT with another team, then become a FA. See how he feels about coming home with the Cubs, after that experience.

Aloha jasper- it is staggering when you can show a person like your illustration how many players given up for a rental. That is not to say that Chapman is not good. I know the nay-sayers will high-light “if” the team wins the WS then it was all worth it. I am sure the average fan, that is true. I like what the Giants did in preparing for their “run.” Forgive me but I would love to see this team have that kind of run too. So in paying closer attention to the farm system I am concerned about the lack of pitching. Doug had focused my attention on Blackburn earlier in the season; so I have to say I was not all on board for the Montgomery trade but that could still be good, I just wish Blackburn were still in the system and the same for all that was given up for Chapman. Because now it will cost a lot to get starting pitching and with the folks given up, there was at least a better chance to get a controllable young arm. Thus my suggestion of Arrieta getting a lot of high pitching prospects for this organization. I bet they could flip Lackey for something too if need be next year as well. I hope Hammel can keep his endurance up because his option for next year will be more affordable and I bet he would work with Theo if things went well in 2017 to do another 2yr contract. Build around Hendricks-Lester-Hammel maybe Edwards or Cahill for 2017 and beyond. Well, an exciting finish to today’s game. Now they come out West! Take care now. Mahalo!

On the Pitching there is some positive, along with negative of course.
Positive, after all the trades, if you look at the Cubs top 30 prospects, you will see that Pitching is on the way. Of course the trades don’t make that Pitching any closer to the Majors, but it is on the way.
The Cubs have an option on a third year for Hammel. That may not seem like a positive, but: Maddon knows how to get the best out of him.
Cubs have more than enough talent to trade for a starter.
Negatives: There is nothing noteworthy on the FA market this coming year.
Every team that talks trade with the Cubs wants the top prospects. Schwarber, Contreras, Candelario, Jimenez, Young and Happ, so it hard to make that big trade.
The Cubs have so much more talent, Szczur, LaStella, Zagunis, Dewees, Wilson, Martinez, Caratini and so much more. When talking trade with the Cubs, other clubs don’t see these names or their accomplishments, they just see the names above,

Aloha jasper- good points about the pitching for the future. Currently, I was thinking after you listed the amount of talent that was in effect traded away for Chapman a rental; if by any chance the FO tries to sign him to a contract in the off-season it will be in excess of $65mil is what I have read. Think about that, you give up a lot of talent which you do not have now to trade with other teams for and you are paying huge money for someone who has said he does not want to “pitch” a 4-out save. Wow. So, in Hammel I hope that he closes the season off well because in today’s market, which I agree is crazy, Hammel’s option is more affordable. It is also why I threw out there about trading Arrieta by the deadline next year to a contender for a slew of prospects and the same for Lackey. Both Jake and John become FA’s after next season so get what you can for them as well as Montero. My other concern is Schwarber. I really like him but unfortunately for him, instead of staying down last year and getting more work behind the plate, he was brought up for his bat. After watching Contreras recently, I have to admit he is a better backstop. So, what happens to Kyle, does the organization hope that it can have 3 catchers on the roster next year with Montero/Contreras/Schwarber with the intent to trade Miggy during the season or he finishes out the season and in 2018 you start the year with 2 very young catchers, Willson getting in the most time? Thinking now what if the FO had not given away all the folks in the Montgomery & Chapman moves but had just traded straight-up Schwarber for Miller, would that have been more beneficial for the organization as a whole? I have read a lot of analysis in regard to Schwarber that he will most likely become a DH because his defense is so-so in the outfield and they do not want him to get hurt again. In high school and college he could play backstop but up in the majors its a whole different story. I do not want to second-guess the moves and hope that Kyle can get better playing both catcher/outfield so that he becomes necessary to keep on the team. I know a lot of fans do not look at the future but I do and I want this organization to have years of success not just 1-2yrs. Well, Saturday should be a good game with Arrieta vs Gray! I am trying to get to a game, we will see. Take care now. Mahalo!

You bring up so much K.g., lol
As I have stated on Arietta before, I would keep him and use him until July 30th 2017. If he don’t want to sign, trade him. Then see how he feels about coming back the following NOV.
That also depends on this year, if the Cubs win it all, Management get the monkey off their back, They will have many more options moving forward.
I expect Montero to be on the Roster next year, but not be playing near as much with Contreras and Schwarber getting the playing time.

Aloha jasper- yes, I just kind of “threw-up” all that stuff, as you would say it was an off-day or should I say travel day! I think the FO did a very good job in the past drafting position players and trading for pitching. The years that they drafted Bryant/Schwarber/Happ were not so loaded pitching-wise but this past year had much more so I would definitely be “scouting” the teams that drafted in that first round and hope some maybe contenders next year. Notice what the Dodgers gave up for Hill, who has not pitched a game in a month. Sure they also got Reddick but both were rentals. I would think if Arrieta is more back to his self next year he would pull in more like Chapman did this year. Also, I looked at Heyward’s contract, next year he is due to make $28mil! Wow. Now the way his contract is structured he can opt out after the 2018 season in which he makes another $28mil! But then the following year drops to a paltry $20mil! I know this sounds bad but I hope he has one heck of a 2018 season, so much so that his agent advises him to opt-out because the organization should have enough in the way of outfielders. You can see what I am looking at, trying to get large contracts off the books and more affordable or younger players that are controllable in the system. Boy if Edwards or Montgomery could become an Andrew Miller that would be awesome! Well, this weekend we have another event in SF’s Japantown so I hope if I can get away, I might catch a little of the A’s/Cubs games. Hate to say it but it is pretty easy getting in to one of them, much easier than a Giants game. Take care now. Mahalo!

PS: Jasper, in the MLB.com 2016 100 Top prospects, there are 8 pitchers within the top 40 slots. I do not think the Nats would trade Giolito #4, then the Cards #9 Reyes and Pirates #10 Glasnow, probably no because it is within the division. The first LHP pitcher after #6 Urias of the Dodgers is #40 Jason Groome then #43 Josh Hader but he is with the Brewers. Of course a lot will change by next year and some of this years draft picks may enter the 2017 100 Top prospects but I think (I am sure they already have) the FO should begin targeting some of these arms as well as young controllable current starters that would fit in nicely with Lester and Hendricks. Well, should let the brain rest, looking forward to tomorrow’s series here in the Bay Area(no MLBTV but radio)! Mahalo!

Lackey is on fire. A misplay and a lost opportunity after a lead off double. Hanging in there today. They should be able to get to this pitcher. Cubs need to bunt more often to move the runner over.

Aloha Tom, good points. Hard sometimes with young players that want to hit everything out, that a bunt can be good sometimes better as it teaches them about situational hitting and manufacturing runs. Hang in there! Mahalo!

Can you say wow, holy cow! Thinking that destiny is on the Cubs side. A day off and then to Oakland.

Aloha Tom, yes it was a game reminiscent of the 2010 Giants! That is great to see even as you said, they had chances early to get to the starting pitcher. It think Lackey pitched well enough for a win but at least he kept it close. I also have to give Mat B’s guy, Szczur credit in the 9th: patient as a ph, gets on base. If he scores he is the winning run. On Fowler’s flyball to right where Montero tags and scores, Szczur paying attention sees that Stanton bobbled the ball and gets to the second safely. That is heads-up ball. Then at the end, who comes in to score on that wild pitch, Matt S. And I know we have been tough on “Miggy,” kudos to him with his mindset/approach in the 9th to get it started with that double! Well, I am trying to open up my schedule for this weekend because the team will be in my back yard! I hope I can get to one of them if possible. Take care now. Mahalo!

I have to say that, as much as I would like to see him play more, I am tickled pink with the valuable niche that Szczur has carved out for himself as a pinch hitter. At this time he may be the best pinch hitter in the majors. If you add to that the fact that he is a good defensive outfielder and a good base runner, he had made himself more valuable to the Cubs this year than he would have been as a trade piece. The off-season may be another story, but he could have a lot to do with a stretch and post season run.

Aloha k.g. I want to address your above reference to Schwarber. I think Theo has made it clear he covets Kyle Schwarber. Mr. Epstein`s absolute refusal to entertain any thoughts of trading the young man to the Yankees or anyone else confirms that Cubs` fans should plan on seeing Kyle Schwarber`s name in the lineup on a regular basis for many years to come. Montero`s best days are behind him, and that should be apparent. Whether he is with the Cubs next season is questionable, and immaterial. Schwarber will be principally a left fielder, but he will also fill the role as backup catcher. He`s hellbent on proving he can be an adequate catcher defensively, and that fact was very important to the FO people who interviewed him in the very beginning. It`s the clinching factor in convincing them they had someone special in this No.1 draft selection out of Indiana University.

Aloha jhosk! Thank you for that encouragement! I was not feeling well when I saw all the folks traded away for Chapman, then jasper made a good point when you look at the Castro/Warren trade before it and you throw in the Montgomery move too. I want Schwarber to become a better position player. He has a large frame but I remember folks like Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett, also stocky players that were great in the outfield and at the plate. Puckett retired at age 35 with a .318 average and Gwynn a .338. What Gwynn did between the ages of 34 to 39 was just incredible and that string of averages .394/.368/.353/.372! But I digressed. So I wonder with Schwarber’s build (medium to large bone), can he lose some weight/tone-up, become more agile but not hurt his swing? This would help in the outfield as well as the backstop. Maybe he can get some fitness pointers from Arrieta? Tomorrow is going to be cool here when the game starts, about 55*F, so I hope the team stays loose and warm. Need a large game from Lester! Take care now. Mahalo!

Howdy! All great points last night, and a great win! Last night showed the Cubs how important it is to just get on base, because it provides more ways to score. HRs are great, but aren’t needed every at bat. I can use the off day myself, and hope the Cubs have a nice series in Oakland. Take care!

Mark Gauthier, if you have something to put up, just add it here.

Oh thank you very much!

Mark, I realize you’re trying to reach out to Cubs fans but please don’t link your blog here

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