#Cubs and Hammel face LA

Jason Hammel starts Saturday for the Cubs against the Dodgers. Hammel is 6-1 with a 2.18 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star Break, the third-lowest ERA of any pitcher in the NL behind teammate Kyle Hendricks (1.52) and Cincinnati’s Dan Straily (1.98).

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist RF

Russell SS

Soler LF

Contreras C

Baez 2B

Hammel P

*In case you missed it, Jon Lester faces Brock Stewart (0-2, 11.25) on Sunday in the series finale.


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Before the two strikeouts I scratched my head, Zobrist bunting, 1st inning, WHY!!! Go Cubs!

Post game, Maddon said he liked the bunt. Felt they had Urias on the ropes, Russell and Soler are RBI guys and would drive the runs in.

Again Why! Go Cubs!

Aloha Kenly- Sometimes it is hard when you have a Zobrist at bat but he did his job by advancing the runners to 2nd/3rd with only 1 out. I thought they had Urias on the ropes but then Addison and Soler both struck out, that was hard. This is where I know they can get better with runners in scoring position. I just hope they can get Urias out of the game and score some runs on LA’s bp! Hang in there. Mahalo!

I thought it was a good decision, Kenly. It advanced the two runners to third and second, if memory serves, where a hit could score two, or a sac fly one. You must be aware the U.S. championship game is being played in Williamsport simultaneously with the Cubs`s game from Chavez Ravine. It`s Tennessee versus New York, and it`s a competitive contest. At least it was until N.Y. scored four in the fourth.

Sorry jhosk, have to disagree here, 1st and 2nd, no outs, 1st inning, Zobrist, Russell and Soler coming up, playing for one run, maybe 6th inning on with a one run lead, not playing manager but to me a brain ****, oh well great season so far and looking forward to October, have been watching the most exciting baseball on T.V. right now also jhosk, looking forward to Notre Dame football too! What a great time of year. Go Cubs!

Big problem today has been wasted RISP, which I fussed about for weeks. The Cubs should’ve scored at least 2, if not 3 runs, in the first. I was surprised on Hammel’s quick hook, but the young lefty did a great job in relief to keep the game close. We just need the bats to wake up. For what its worth, I agreed with the Zobrist bunt in the first, Russell and Soler should have focused on just making contact (those guys never shorten their stroke). But there’s still plenty of game left.

As I said, squandered RISP… Another one left in the seventh. I also question Heyward’s steal attempt with the top of the order coming to the plate. Oh well, six more outs left. Hopefully, the pen can keep it a one run game.

Disappointing loss, considering good relief pitching today. The offense didn’t show up, wasted scoring opportunities. But it’s still a good road trip, and the Cubs can still take the series tomorrow, and head back to the friendly confines. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. As K.G. would say, Mahalo! (though I still don’t know what that means)

“Mahalo” is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, gratitude, respect, praise, esteem etc. I`m curious as to why Maddon lifted Hammel so suddenly in the third after having thrown just 39 pitches. Hammel was obviously not inducing the Dodgers to hit ground balls, his specialty, but still, that seems like an awfully quick hook. And it was apparent Hammel did not appreciate being sent to the showers that early. One can`t help get the impression Maddon does not have the confidence in Hammel that he may have in our other starters. I hope we do not have to rely on Hammel in the postseason, and doubt we will need to. I saw the Fox Sports broadcast with Matt Vergersian and John Smoltz broadcasting. Vergersian, at one point during Heyward`s ab, observed that Jason Heyward bats just .206 with RISP. He said that`s the third lowest batting average in that category in all of baseball. That`s positively stunning for an athlete with a $184M contract. Also, recall several weeks ago when jasper observed that Soler had much difficulty running, and suggested there must be something amiss with his legs. We saw today in the sixth inning that it is still true that Jorge has a mobility issue, when he hit into a double play and the commentators observed it seemed to take an “eternity” for Soler to get down the line.

Aloha jhosk, thanks for answering Jason’s question about “Mahalo.” I thought I replied on the previous day’s topic but may have forgotten. RISP has been a stat brought up many times especially the past 2-3 seasons. It takes a while for a young team to get there, to understand what it means to manufacture runs or what we like to call small-ball. So, I believe Maddon is trying out different scenarios given certain players so he knows going into the post season what he can rely on. Obviously something has been going on all season because we rarely see Rizzo hitting clean-up, in fact your two big hitters are slotted at #2 & 3. It will be interesting to see how the lineup changes with September call-ups as well as the post-season. Let’s hope the team can pick up the rubber game tomorrow. Take care now. Mahalo!

Aloha k.g. I have always talked about small ball, absolutely love it, especially come playoff time. I totally agree with you on Maddon about trying different scenarios with some of his players, I thought they had a very good chance at a big inning in the first with the players coming up to bat. I believe this team will go far in the playoffs, but there are a couple of questions still. Todays game does come on WTBS so will be watching both games including the LLWS game. Also had an email this morning from MLB.com announcing $9.99 for the rest of the year, not bad. Go Cubs. Mahalo!

Aloha Kenly- Well where do I begin, maybe the rough stuff first: This was a poorly executed game except for Lester. I know the naysayers will say nothing to worry about but as one who played this game I am concerned. It does not matter that they are in first place by 14 games, the Cardinals had the best record in all of baseball last year and were out in the first round. I said before this road trip started that the team has not done well away from Wrigley since beginning of June. I felt to show that they are ready to play in the post-season they need to win “series” especially on the road so out of 9 games, they need to go at least 6-3. Well, to end with two loses and the trip at 5-4 is not good. Especially when execution on this trip was poor both in the field and at the plate. The errors and mental mistakes made in today’s game and in the past games on the trip really hurt (Colorado) and if this happens in the post-season the team is not going far. My wife created a new phrase today instead of softball today’s play was “slop-ball.” Lester pitched a great game, on the opposite side the lineup could do nothing against a pitcher with an era starting the game of over 8, we have seen this happen before. To Heyward’s credit he had 2 hits and I know it was a tough later in the game with 2 men on base and he hits a line-drive for the final out. Cahill’s error was not good but Baez mental mistake which should have been an error (I agree with Pat Hughes on this) in the 8th was costly. This is why in the past I have said for someone so gift (maybe he takes things for granted) he makes some “bone-headed” plays that remind me of Castro at times. Him not fielding the ball and going to 1st with 2 outs cost the game. The Dodgers scored a run on no hits. There is still a lot of work to be done with the last 33 games. I think Maddon needs to play who he thinks will be his starting lineup (and platoon folks) in the post-season for the majority of those 33 games; sure give them a rest from time to time. But they need to be playing together/next to each other, getting used to one another because this team is vulnerable to good pitching and poor execution. I would be worried about meeting the Dodgers again because if Kershaw comes back and is say 80%+ of himself, then you have Hill who they just acquired and shut the Giants down easily, Urias who showed he can pitch out of jam and shut our Cubs down and if their bp is rested, it will be trouble. Now the silver lining from this past road trip: the two young pitcher call-ups. Do not know if they will contribute in the post season or not but for the future it is encouraging, the first game against the Dodgers where for the majority of the game the Cubs were losing but able to fight back and win. So, we know they can do it. Maddon needs to ingrain in his hitters the concept of “small-ball,” because they cannot always rely on the long ball and it hurts their approach (ie Baez) when they go up to bat thinking I am swinging for the fences. They have to learn how to lay down bunts, adjust their swings with 2 strikes on them, spray the ball not always hit to one side of the field, with one out and runner on 3rd be willing to do and make contact (not soft-contact) for at least a sac fly to score the run as it is about the team. I also think since this team is in contention mode and not last-place mode, they need to bring up (call-ups) that can potentially help in the post-season. This is not a time to “try-out” for a position as the team really has most of that in place but to see what pitchers might be able to fill spots in the bp if both Strop & Rondon do not come back, what position players can come off the bench (La Stella, Kawasaki, Murton). Remember for the post-season it is also a 25man roster so it is conceivable that Maddon goes heavy on pitching at the beginning and leaves a Montero off the first series or someone else. The team needs to play well against potential play-off match-ups on the road or at home, that is the bottom line. I hope this upcoming series at home is successful, Go Cubs! Mahalo!

Throwing this out there, does Maddon make the same call next time Carrie in the same situation in your opinion? I did not say it was a bad decision, I am not questioning it, just asking why, having a team on the ropes, the next three guys in the lineup are capable of home runs on any given swing. What would you have done Carrie? I would have let the batters take there rips, just wondering what others would have done,that is all. For a team that is as free swinging as the Cubs are just scratched my head. Go Cubs!

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