#Cubs lineup and roster moves

The Cubs open a three-game series in Denver Friday night against the Rockies. Kyle Hendricks gets the start. The Cubs have won 18 of their last 21 games, and the starting pitchers are 15-1 with a 1.83 ERA in that stretch. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Russell SS

Szczur LF

Contreras C

Baez 2B

Hendricks P

*The Cubs placed John Lackey and Hector Rondon on the disabled list as a precautionary move. Lackey came out of his last start with tightness in his right shoulder, while Rondon has been battling tightness in his right tricep. Neither has had a setback, and this will give both time to heal.

Manager Joe Maddon told reporters in Denver that he most likely will give Jason Heyward the weekend series off. Heyward was batting .225 for the season.

Hendricks is 7-1, 1.26 ERA over his last 11 starts.

Six of the Cubs’ next eight series are on the road. The team has a 32-24 record away from Wrigley Field.



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I’m glad to see that the bullpen has blown a second straight start of Hendricks. I realize that Rondon is on the DL, but Maddon stretched Wood too deep (quite an annoying habit of Maddon). Edwards should have started the eighth against the rightee, instead of bringing him after Wood put himself behind the eight ball. The middle relief is still a concern of mine, and it’s a bigger concern with Strop out. To add insult to injury, by blowing the lead, the Cubs now get to play extra innings and tax the thin bullpen even more.

Aloha Jason- you got here before me! Let me give a disclaimer as folks know I love civility and try my best to spread the Aloha Spirit: this was an ugly loss. Poorly executed game except for Hendricks. I admit, I am a huge Hendricks fan, have been since he was traded to the Cubs from the Rangers and watching him from 2014 to present. He held an amazing-hitting-team (of course at home) to 1 run in Colorado! Jason, I too was very surprised that Maddon let Wood out in the 8th. I know there are injuries but so much more the reason to use Wood for 1 inning then go to Edwards or one of the rookies or even Cahill if you need to, why because it is Colorado. Back to the 7th inning, Bryant made a great play but should have held onto the ball, not thrown it. I also felt after Bryant made the error throw that Rizzo should have conceded the runner and gone after the ball, knock it down, then the run does not score. The offense is still inconsistent and will be with these young hitters. Rizzo looked bad on a ko I think in the 8th, Soler who I have been a fan of ko’d too many times tonight and did not look good with his approach; Baez looked really bad on his last at-bat, ko’d. But again, this is going to happen with a young team so the pitching has to be your strength and this bp is the “Achilles’ heel” at the moment. I am not sure how well Strop or Rondon would have reacted. The Rockies have the Cubs number this year and lead the series 3-1. We spoke about this earlier in the season and I need to go back and see how many leads going late into a game that the team ends up losing, it is quite a few games now. And for the record, it does not matter if the team is up by 12-13-14 games in the standing, it is about execution. If the Cubs lost tonight 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-2, 3-1with no errors in the game and the Rockies just outplayed them then we can say that is good hard baseball. Also, the team started off well on the road but has not been good since June. I believe since the beginning of June including today’s game the team is 15-17 and there are still 8 games to go and in order to win a championship you have to be able to win on the road. I admit at a minimum for this road trip I want to see this team win each series meaning they have to go 2-1 x 3. Great teams rise to the occasion, injuries or not, we have seen it with other organizations. I believe this team can do it, they have to believe it and go out there and execute. Gunbatene Cubbies! Mahalo.

I love watching Hendricks pitch. He’s like a highly skilled surgeon. As far as Wood is concerned, he has been fantastic this season, but I think he is showing major signs of being over used.

Howdy Mahalo. I concur with all of your points. I too cannot recount a specific number, but it seems like the majority of the Cubs losses have been blown games (as opposed to simply being outplayed). The Cubs are a winning team, which they were last season, but that’s different from being a Championship team, which is this season’s goal. Championship teams don’t lose a game like tonight’s, namely, a four run lead going into the seventh. The Cubs must be more consistent on the road. Now that’s the macro picture. Back to this game specifically, your points were right on, but I would add these as well: When the lefty was brought into face Rizzo in the eighth, why not drop a bunt against the shift (a sure base hit), getting Bryant to third, who could’ve have scored on the following single (which I think was Zobrist). Finally, it appeared that the game winning hit was on a breaking ball on the outer part of plate (with two strikes). I’d think a pitcher wants to get beaten with his best stuff. Here, Chapman’s best pitch is his heater, especially inside. The best chance hitters have against Chapman is an off speed pitch out over the plate, where a hitter can just stick out the barrel. I wonder if Contrares called that pitch, or if it was called from the dugout? Bottomline, little things add up to big things, and these “little” things must be cleaned up if the Cubs want to be a Championship team. Goodnight, and take care!

Aloha Jason- that is a salient point you bring up and great observation. Even if Maddon asked Rizzo to do it at the beginning or in the middle of his at-bat, if successful it works (advances the runner) if not it gets the other team thinking that Maddon and his team are a lot more creative than just trying to “smash” hits for runs. Again, this is a young team and I like you want to see small-ball (have talked about this aspect of the game since joining Carrie’s blog in 2014) and the art of manufacturing runs. The team is not there yet and with an inconsistent offense at times, why not try it out. I tell you what, this would drive teams crazy, more than someone taking a pitcher deep. If you can keep an inning going, be patient with your ab’s, you either run the opposing pitcher’s total up or you get the pitch you want to hit. Now, to play the other side, it has been said many times this year the best bunter on the team is Lester. But that should not stop Maddon from requesting his other players to put one down as either a sacrifice or for a hit. There still is a lot of work to be done for this team to be play-off ready and I believe enough games left in the season for Maddon to test certain situations out so he knows what the team can do. You never know, it could be that bunt that wins the game! Mahalo!

PS, I meant to type that Bryant would’ve advanced to second, but with his speed (and the softness of the following hit into center), he could’ve scored. I know you hate to have a home run hitter drop a bunt, but I don’t believe Rizzo had great numbers against this leftee. And there’s so many bunt singles down third base with the shift on, it’s a shame not to take advantage once in awhile in close games.

Did not see or hear the real time account of last night`s game due to the late start. From reading the detailed comments of both Jason and k.g., you made me aware of the critical aspects of the contest. Thanks for that. You both are very knowledgeable about the game of baseball. {Btw, I`m pleased to see that the FO chose to bring up pitchers Zastryzny and Pena from the minors, and resisted the temptation to sign the “Washington Strangler.”

Aloha jhosk- yes that rain delay was long and still I wanted to watch it, we are 3hrs behind you so not too bad. Mat B made a good point too about Wood. Travis has been great and gone beyond the call of duty this year but cannot be used all the time. The silver lining in this game was the two “youngsters” getting a chance due to the injuries to come up. I liked them both and was very impressed with Pena, so much so that if he continues to impress after the season, l’d take the chance and not resign Strop, save the money if it can be used elsewhere (ie starting pitcher). Let’s hope the team learned from last night and come out strong today! Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk, you said to be patient with Montgomery; well he delivered tonight! Amazing how he and Cahill held the Rockies to two runs, giving the bullpen a night off. The play in the field was much better tonight and the offense got hits! Nice to see Montero get 3 hits and rbi’s, Zobrist in there too. Helps to balance out the lineup. A very different game from last night; execution! Oh and I think Cahill laid down a bunt as well to advance a runner and Montgomery got a hit too! Take care now! Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. Montgomery excelled, and Cahill did his job. I thought it was curious the manager gave the starter the hook after surrendering the dinger in the fifth, the only hit he allowed, assuring Montgomery would not be eligible for the win.{Joe must have had a good reason.} As for the Cubs` defense, according to a comment made by one of the hosts on the MLB`s “Quick Pitch” a few days ago, the club has the metrics in that department to lead the league. (I`d be appreciative if someone could confirm that.) {Surprisingly, Japan lost its second game at the LLWS, and was eliminated.}

Aloha jhosk, yes that is surprising that Japan is out so soon but that is ball. I see Hammel is having a hard start today, he is allowed to have them too. But I hope this means the offense comes today and supports him. If the game were to end now it (1st inning) would sad because overall the starting pitching by the Cubs dominated the Rockies and the team has out-scored the Rockies too. Hope they come back, they need to take this series. Mahalo!

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