#Cubs and Hammel face Angels

Jason Hammel starts Wednesday night at Wrigley Field when the Cubs close their brief two-game Interleague series against the Angels. Hammel is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last four starts. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Contreras C

Baez 3B

Hammel P
The Cubs are 7-0 to begin August, marking the first time they’ve begun a calendar month with seven straight wins since June 1998. The last time the Cubs started a month better than 7-0 was in August of 1927 (8-0).

The Cubs’ starting pitchers are 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA in their last eight games.

 

17 Comments

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If you`ll allow me, one more thing about the Tommy La Stella matter. The bottom line is that he was bumped from the roster for a player who was batting .155 at the time (Cogs). Tommy La Stella was hosed. He,Tommy, was hitting .295. I suggest Tommy has reason to be pissed over being demoted. Baseball is a game, but it`s also a business. It`s a cutthroat business, at times. I remind you of the Rick Renteria matter. After the 2014 season, the Cubs` FO praised Rick for the job he had done and promised him he`d be back to manage the Cubs in 2015. Until Joe Maddon became available. Then, all of a sudden, Rick was informed by that same FO that his services would no longer be needed. He was fired. All the Cubs` apologists, including Carrie Muskat, Doug, and Joe Maddon, himself, can spin this fifteen different ways, but the bottom line will remain the same. Rick Renteria was hosed. To return to my original point, baseball is a cutthroat business. It`s true of all 30 organizations. They can`t be trusted. I hope you do not believe I`m singling out the Cubs. I cite the Cubs, because it`s an organization I`m familiar with and have observed closely for 55 years. Peace!

I completely agree about the Renteria situation. He seemed to get the most out of a growing team and seemed to establish a rapport with his young players. I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do with the team as the highly talented kids really hit their strides. As much as recognize how well they are playing under Maddon, sometimes I scratch my head regarding some of his whakier moves. Some of them have backfired.

Aloha Folks, wow Hammel is not showing any let down for the second half! Edwards came in and did his thing; Contreras displaying his play behind the plate, saving some pitches in the dirt! Then there is Russell with that huge knock! Mahalo!

Thank you for including me with Carrie and Joe Maddon. You must really think highly of me to group me in with the two of them! See, this is what I was talking about when I last posted a couple of weeks ago. You people seem to get so wrapped up in the minutiae of it all that you are completely blind to the bigger picture, which is really the only thing that should matter to a fan of a team. Do you really care that much about Rick Renteria or Tommy La Stella being “hosed”? The Cubs have won 168 games since they “hosed” Renteria and won their first playoff series since 2003, so if you’re a Cubs fan you really shouldn’t give Rick Renteria that much thought anymore. And that shouldn’t be difficult either, as he has yet to officially manage a single Major League game since he was “hosed” by the Cubs.
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And the Cubs have managed to win 9 in a row without the great Tommy La Stella around, so I’m guessing they’ll probably be okay moving forward without him. Heck, no La Stella means Munenori Kawasaki will probably see some playing time instead this September. Not only can he play all of the positions that La Stella can play, but he’s generally regarded as a great teammate and a fun guy to have around the clubhouse, which is exactly the sort of player you want to have around in the middle of a pennant race! Plus this isn’t the first time that La Stella has quit on his team, so maybe his head and his heart just isn’t in to it, and why would you want someone around the clubhouse who just isn’t feeling it? Plus, La Stella is hardly the only one who is making professional sacrifices to be on this team. Javier Baez would probably be the starting SS and have 400 at bats on any other team by now. Instead, he has under 300 at bats and has moved around the diamond all season. If he’s complained about that, it hasn’t made it into the media yet. And Justin Grimm has been sent down a few times already this season, but he hung in there and has always come back strong when needed, which is especially important now that Strop is probably going to be out for awhile. Miguel Montero has pretty much given up the starting job to Willson Contreras, but I haven’t heard him complain once about it. And everyone’s favorite 4th OF continue to be a 4th OF and yet he still plays hard and makes the most of his opportunities when he gets them. So don’t feel bad for La Stella being “hosed”. If he was a team player, he’d go to AAA and realize that he’d be back at the first possible opportunity. But he’s not a team player and the team is doing just fine without him, which again, as a fan of the team is all that should really matter!
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Okay, you summoned me, I said my piece, now back to exile for me. But don’t worry, I saw a few interesting posts on here in the past week. If those keep up, then maybe I’ll end my exile and come back on a full-time basis again!

You missed the entire point of my post, as is the norm for you. My main point is that baseball organizations can be cutthroat when it comes to the business side. I did not see anything in your post to refute that. I used the Rick Renteria example to support my argument. I was the biggest cheerleader for the Joe Maddon hire. You can look it up. I said at the time it was the right thing to do to hire Maddon, given he`s one of the very best managers in the game. But it does not, in any way, change the fact that Renteria was shafted, and it was a cutthroat decision by the Cubs` FO. Please expand on your remark that “this is not the first time La Stella has quit on the team.” I have no recollection of that prior example, and await your explanation with eager anticipation. And why do you denigrate Tommy La Stella with that obvious condescending description of him as “the great Tommy La Stella?” The last time I responded to you I opined that Donald Trump and yourself have something in common, namely that you both are utterly incapable of admitting you may have been wrong about something. There is another thing you both have in common. You both derive pleasure from insulting others. Both those are ugly personality traits, and if one had to choose one as being more egregious than the other, I suggest most would cite the latter.

Tommy La Stella quit his high school baseball team before his senior year. So yes, he has quit on his team before. And I call him “the great” Tommy La Stella because he refuses to be a team player and yet the team is doing just fine without him. He thinks he’s above playing in the minor leagues, but really he’s the 25th man on the roster and has options left, which means he’s the odd man out in the numbers game. So as great as he thinks he is, he’s not above the team and the team is doing just fine without him around.
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As for your other asinine comments, I welcome you or anyone else to call me out if I’m wrong. Of course, you aren’t exactly clear here on what you think I’m wrong about, so it’s hard for me to admit to being wrong or defend against accusations of being wrong when I don’t even know what you think I was wrong about. As for insulting others, I guess I’m the first person in the history of the world to insult a prima donna athlete. But I guess for someone who roots for certain players over the success of the team, it’s hard for you to wrap your head around the concept of criticizing a player for not putting the team over himself.
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And for the record, I was wrong about Jason Heyward. I thought he’d be hitting .250 by now, but he’s still suck in the .220s. I have no stats to cite to back up my thought that he would break out of his slump, so when I thought he would be okay at the plate, it turns out I was wrong. He’s still doing a great job in the field and on the basepaths, but at the plate he is doing poorly and I was wrong about that. There, now you can admit that you were wrong about me and are also a hypocrite for criticizing me for insulting Tommy La Stella and then comparing me to Donald Trump a few seconds later. That’s way more insulting than anything I ever said and I expect you to admit that you were wrong and apologize. I’ll go back in exile now, but await for you to prove that you are not a huge jerk after all.

Bottom line is the Cubs wanted Coghlan because they needed an extra OF to back up Fowler coming off his DL stint. And I’m not an apologist. I’m a reporter

Yes, another collaborative team win. Things are looking good! Bring on the Cardinals. Now…if Carrie and Cubs fans will permit, a note on an unrelated topic. I missed the Olympic torch when it came through my neighborhood last week, because it was cold and rainy. But I have been watching some of the Games on TV and have stumbled onto a most interesting sport: Rugby Sevens. Normal rugby has 15 hulks on each side tackling each other, while the ball bounces around seemingly forever without much else happening. In this streamlined Olympic version, seven fast, trim guys go at it against an opposing seven, with almost non-stop action during two 7-minute halves. That’s it: quick scoring, virtually no wasted time, game over! I like it. Can anyone else out there who actually knows something about rugby provide some further enlightenment? Thanks.

Aloha Bruce sounds like your recovery is going well. That is ironic to say cold and rainy in your neck of the woods! I am hoping that the team can take the series from those Redbirds, which means 3 out of 4! Wife and have been watching a lot of swimming/gymnastics/beach volleyball in the evenings. Take care now. Mahalo!

I agree, k.g. Those potato chips, or whatever that junk food Hammel is ingesting these days, is working. One can`t argue with nine straight. Can the team achieve 100 wins or more? Who knows? More importantly, can our starters step up and outperform any pitchers we are likely to face in the playoffs in October? I`m referencing the likes of Roark, Scherzer, Strasburg, MadBum, etc. That`s the real question. {Did I ever mention pitching is the key to winning baseball games?} Our regular season record will not mean squat once we qualify for the playoffs. Performing at a high level in the playoffs, something we failed miserably at in the NLCS in 2015, will determine if we are worthy of participating in the Fall Classic. Did I ever mention I`m a “Doubting Thomas?” That`s after 55 years of frustration, mind you. I`m a pessimist, but I`m an optimistic pessimist. (smiling)

Aloha jhosk, you brought up some very good points that I think are harder sometimes for fans that just want to rely on metrics/statistics. This is game played by humans. On paper in the past metric folks would say Price/Kershaw guarantees for the post-season. What have we seen over the years? MadBum rises to the occasion and has since his late call-up in the 2010 season. This is not to speak negatively about the Cubs pitchers; I want them to succeed. I think this year, assuming the team wins the division (no-wildcard playoff) surprises could be Hendricks and Hammel. Kyle has become more efficient with his pitches and looks more fluid in his motion as this season progresses and Jason’s endurance and location have really been good in this second half. I think those two could set the bar going in. Arrieta cannot run out of gas leading into the postseason and needs to have command over his fastball. I think if Lester can keep runners off the bases he is in pretty good shape then there is Lackey! Remember, the Mets “limped” into last year’s playoffs but made our Cubs look bad at the plate and in the field, I know Maddon remembers this so I am sure he is prepping for this now. You take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, sir. It looks as if Strop will be going on the DL. As one of the broadcasters pointed out, Chapman`s body language when he finished the game suggested he was not comfortable. Did he tweak something? Stay tuned.

Aloha Doug, I guess I have to understand the sarcasm that can be in use on blogs in general. Quick question and this is not to disparage you in any way; if you make a call and are wrong are you able to say, “I was wrong?” For my knowledge of the game, there are times I do not have the answer or make the “wrong,” call. I think about a back and forth you had with a poster here about Rondon and what type of pitcher he is. I think one stated he is contact pitcher the other a strikeout person. Turned out that Maddon said after the game that they did not want contact in that situation for what is part of Rondoy’s game. I was hoping that you would have just come right back and said, “sorry I made the wrong call,” that would gave been the end of that and we all move on to the next topic. Humility will get one farther in life and gain friends. Last question, you are good with the contractual information, by keeping La Stella down in AAA does that hurt his “status” in anyway: less pay, more control time for the Cubs? I have no problem with Kawasaki coming in, can emphasize with La Stella to a point but feel he needs to make a decision so the organization can move on. Mahalo.

If you think I’m wrong, feel free to call me out on it. But don’t get all in a huff if I can cite some stats to back me up. Such as, Rondon has struck out 51 batters in 42.1 innings this year while only walking 5. His WHIP currently stands at 0.709. I believe the original argument also had to do with him “nibbling at the corners” as opposed to going right after a hitter. Maddon can say whatever he wants to say and justify his moves however he wants to, but based on the stats, I’d say Rondon has done a pretty good job at striking people out this season and his control has been nothing short of excellent. So for anyone to criticize his pitching style, based on his stats for the 2016 season, is pretty ridiculous.
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Actually, that’s a good question on La Stella and service time. I know players still get service time counted towards them if they are on the Major League DL, but I don’t know how it works if they are on the Inactive List. It’s pretty rare for the Inactive List to be used, so I don’t know exactly how it works in this regard. According to baseball-reference, LaStella is arbitration eligible after the 2017 season and set to become a free agent after the 2020 season, but that’s based on his service time as of January. Of course, given his latest episode, we might not have to worry about it as it seems more likely than not that the Cubs will part ways with La Stella long before he gets to arbitration.
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And I agree, something needs to happen with this soon if either side has any interest in La Stella playing again this season. La Stella’s been inactive for almost two weeks now, which means he’d need to go to the minors to get his timing back, just as he would if he were set to come off the DL. The minor league season only lasts another 3 weeks or so, so the window for him to get back up to speed and ready for roster expansion on September 1st is sliding shut. If he decides he wants to come back and his teammates and the organization welcome him back, there has to be a drop dead date to get that all sorted out and I would imagine that date is probably approaching quickly.
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Okay, back up on my mountain now. I’ll come back down and join you all again when I feel the time is right, or when someone else calls upon me and I feel the need to clear the air again!

I know what you mean about being up on the Mountain, especially in the summer. When I come off the Mountain to Phoenix or Vegas, I always get heated up.
According to the report I read and its obvious it was not posted here, but LaStella gets no service time, while refusing to report to AAA.
I also see this as no big deal and a bunch of Drama, if he don’t want to be a part of the Organization, then is he a team player? Bye Tommy, good luck finding a 8 to 5 job.
I don’t see the Strop injury as a reason to go into panic mode. Look at Grimm’s last half STATS 2014 and 2015. Plus the last 10 or 11 times out as a ML Cub, he has been awesome.
If Rondon needs surgery, resign Nathan. Edwards and Chapman have looked real good.
As far as being right or wrong, we are all wrong at times. I was very wrong about Hammel. He is having a very good second half and a career season.
I was right about Contreras being with the team by June.
Love discussing baseball, just baseball.
I don’t care about Anna Gunn, Paul McCartney, lobster, bike riders, entertaining people, peoples health or anything else on this blog, just the Cubs.

Aloha jasper- LOL! Yes, I understand coming down the mountain too or going up one as well! By the way, I only brought up the part about “wrong or right, making the call or not,” because that too is part of this fun baseball discussion. I father and coach used to challenge us all the time because they wanted us to think out of the box but also like chess try to perceive the next move. And when you did not get something right/make the call you acknowledged it and went on. And in my short life the folks I have met that have played in the majors or worked in the MLB have exhibited those characteristics. Call it old school but I respect them. I was about Fowler and you were right and acknowledged that back in the Spring; over and done as they say. Some questioned me when I said last year during the season it would be best to move Wood from starter to bullpen, no problem everyone has their opinion, just be civil. Back to ball now, so as Doug brought up in regard to my question La Stella would have gotten credit if on the DL but as you are reporting from another source the fact that La Stella has not reported to Iowa, he is not adding to his Service time. That makes sense. Doug also brought up a good point about the AAA season ending soon so La Stella has to make up his mind quick. Tommy was one that I liked and felt along with Szczur/Baez helped to give the team a deep bench. Now, after what I have read recently and coming out of the FO, I am not sure we ever see him again. I know from an organizational point of view this is a distraction that takes time and energy away from the team. If he is allowed to come back that would show an amazing about of grace on the Cubs part (be it if you agree or do not agree with their original move in sending him down). I am not worried about Strop going down at all. In fact the way Wood has been all season, throw into that a revitalized Grimm and they have Smith they are covered pretty well on the front side. Could even bring back Nathan. Then on the back side you have Edwards and Chapman. The other reason I am feeling some relief is because all of the starting pitchers are putting in again quality starts so that helps out during this period. So, I just hope the team wins this series against them Redbirds so that you do not have to hear from your family! Take care now. Mahalo!

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