Jake Arrieta will open the Cubs’ four-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers on Thursday night. Kris Bryant gets the day off. Here’s the lineup:
* The Cubs’ pen has posted a 6.38 ERA (17 ER/24 IP) over the last six games.
* Jake Arrieta is 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (8 ER/52 2/3 IP) in his last seven starts. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 3.22 ERA (13 ER/36 1/3 IP) in six career starts against the Brewers. In his only start against Milwaukee this season, Arrieta took a loss after giving up four runs over five innings.
* Jorge Soler is batting .417 (5-for-12) with three doubles and a home run in his career against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson.
Rubi Silva hit his 11th home run in Iowa’s 6-4 loss to Nashville. Felipe Paulino struck out 12 and posted a quality start, giving up two runs over six innings.
Pierce Johnson gave up one run over seven innings in Tennessee’s 5-2 win over Montgomery. Elliot Soto and Billy McKinney each had two hits. Tommy La Stella went 1-for-2 in a rehab outing.
Daury Torrez gave up two runs over six innings in Myrtle Beach’s 8-5 win over Potomac. Trey Martin had two hits, including a three-run homer.
South Bend totaled four hits in a 5-0 loss to Great Lakes. Trevor Clifton gave up three runs over five innings.
Richardo Marcano had three hits and two RBI in Eugene’s 4-3 win over Spokane.
Javier Baez hit two home runs and Junior Lake added another to back Clayton Richard in Iowa’s 9-0 win over Nashville. Richard scattered three hits over seven shutout innings, striking out four. The lefty most likely will fill the Cubs’ fifth starter spot. Baez, playing his first game with Iowa since June 7, went 2-for-5 with two solo home runs. It was his third two-homer game of the season. Lake had two hits, including a two-run homer.
Ivan Pineyro gave up five hits over seven innings in Tennessee’s 8-0 win over Montgomery. Wilson Contreras had three hits, including a grand slam, and Albert Almora had two hits, including a two-run homer.
Jonathan Martinez gave up three hits over eight scoreless innings to help Myrtle Beach beat Potomac, 4-3. Jason Vosler hit two home runs and drove in three runs to back Martinez, who struck out four and did not walk a batter. Trey Martin had two hits and one RBI.
Jeffrey Baez hit his sixth home run in South Bend’s 4-1 loss to Great Lakes. Erick Leal gave up three runs over six innings.
Eugene lost, 5-1, to Boise. Alex Bautista hit a solo home run and Jose Paulino took the loss, giving up two runs over six innings while striking out seven.
Mesa swept a doublehaeder against the D-Backs, winning 12-1 and 8-4. P.J. Higgins had three hits, including a home run, in the first game, and Jose Paniagua had three hits, including two doubles and a triple. Paniagua then completed his cycle with a three-run homer in the second game.
Starlin Castro met with Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who assured the shortstop that he wasn’t being traded. Castro was lifted in the seventh inning on Tuesday night, and then told he wasn’t starting on Wednesday. The shortstop wanted — and got — an explanation.
“I just asked him, ‘Why did you take me out of the game?'” Castro said prior to the Cubs game against the Rockies. “He said, ‘It’s nothing serious. We wanted to put [Chris] Coghlan in the game.’ I didn’t want the day off [Wednesday], and he told me, ‘Take it, relax, we want you here, you’re not going nowhere.'”
Castro’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors, and the shortstop says he’s tried to ignore the talk. He didn’t ask Maddon if he was going to be moved by Friday’s deadline.
“No, he did not [ask],” Maddon said. “I said, ‘Listen, you’re not getting traded. Just relax and play and don’t worry about this stuff.'”
“It’s difficult sometimes,” Castro said. “We’re not supposed to think about this. Sometimes, when we’re not doing good, those kind of rumors run in your mind. It’s not supposed to. I felt free to go talk to him. I said, ‘The season’s not over yet, I’m not putting my head down. I’m going to keep working hard to help my team win. I want to be here, I want to stay here.'”
It’s been a difficult season for Castro, a three-time All-Star, who was batting .163 in July and .237 overall.
“It’s really tough,” Castro said. “Like I say all the time, my swing doesn’t go away. I feel healthy. I know things are going to change. I’ve been through this before and I know how it feels. There’s still two months of the season and I think I can finish strong.”
— Carrie Muskat
* Neil Ramirez sneeze on Sunday, and felt a sharp pain on his left side. The right-hander now is on the disabled list because of what’s being described as abdominal soreness, which he felt warming up Tuesday night.
“Abdominal soreness via the sneeze — I don’t know where it’s all at,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday.
Ramirez felt good warming up Tuesday night, but threw a slider, felt some pain and had to stop.
“I couldn’t fight through it,” Ramirez said. “With everything I do to stay healthy and strong, it’s baffling that it’s an oblique.”
The right-hander was sidelined from April 17-June 28 with inflammation in his right shoulder, and has only pitched in 13 games this year.
“It’s been a tough year — I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t,” Ramirez said. “I’m not going to say it’s the end of the world. Hopefuly, it’s something quick.”
* The Cubs added two fresh arms to the bullpen on Wednesday, recalling right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina and selecting the contract of right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen from Triple-A Iowa. To make room for Rowen on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder Mike Baxter was designated for assignment. Right-hander Dallas Beeler, who started on Tuesday night, was optioned to Iowa.
Rowen, 26, joins the Cubs after combining to go 4-0 with one save and a 1.93 ERA in 34 relief outings for three affiliates between the Orioles and Cubs organizations. He was a non-roster invitee this spring with the Dodgers before being acquired by the Orioles as part of a four-player deal on April 9.
A sinkerball pitcher, Rowen was surprised to get the call Tuesday night.
“It’s been interesting,” the right-hander said of his season. “I think this is my fourth or fifth team now. It’s been a fun year.”
“It’s nice to have the guy who can come in middle innings, get the ball on the ground, get two outs with one pitch,” Maddon said.
Plus, the Cubs manager likes the idea of having a side-arm pitcher in the mix.
“I love funk,” Maddon said. “I’ve always been a funk guy. The funk’s good.”
* Rookie Kyle Schwarber made his first start in the outfield on Wednesday. He felt the switch from catcher to outfield wouldn’t be a problem, especially after doing some early work with coach Dave Martinez.
“You have to get to know your steps and your breaks and make sure there’s no back pedals and things like that,” Schwarber said. “I’m trying to get the new things out of the way.”
Maddon wants to get the rookie’s bat in the lineup somehow, and said Schwarber, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2014, isn’t quite ready to handle all of the Cubs pitchers.
Is he ready for the brick outfield wall?
“There’s going to be some bounces,” Schwarber said.
* Left-hander Clayton Richard gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, and was expected to be added to the Cubs roster and fill the fifth starter spot in the rotation. The Cubs have been rumored to be looking for a fifth starter by Friday’s Trade Deadline.
“I know our guys are hunkered down in the war room going over the different options,” Maddon said of the front office. “We have options regarding the fifth starter in-house. We’ll see how it plays out.”
* Infielder Tommy La Stella was headed to Double-A Tennessee to begin a rehab assignment. He’s been sidelined since April 9 with right rib cage inflammation.
— Carrie Muskat
The Rockies roughed up the Cubs, 7-2, on Tuesday as DJ LeMahieu had three hits and Nolan Arenado drove in two runs. Dallas Beeler took the loss.
* Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled Starlin Castro in a double switch for the second straight game, partly because of the shortstop’s struggles. Castro, who has been mentioned in trade rumors, is batting .237.
“I think it’s great the conjecture occurs now, I think it’s good for the game,” Maddon said. “It’s tough for Starlin if his name is mentioned that often. That’s where it becomes difficult for the guy who’s name is being bandied about.”
* The Cubs are looking for a fifth starter, and Beeler was considered an option, but he served up four runs in the first inning on Tuesday and was pulled with one out in the second after he walked LeMahieu. The Cubs are reportedly in the market for a starter prior to Friday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Beeler’s ineffectiveness in his three starts may prompt the front office to make a few more phone calls.
One option could be Travis Wood, who struck out six over 3 ⅔ innings in relief of Beeler, but Maddon likes the lefty in the ‘pen.
“There’s no denying he could be a consideration,” Maddon said of Wood. “I’d prefer that he would not be. You have to consider that it may happen, yes.”
* Neil Ramirez was not available Tuesday. The right-hander, who has not pitched since Saturday, was to be examined by the team doctors. He was sidelined from mid April until late June because of inflammation in his shoulder. Maddon expected more news on Wednesday.
* Dexter Fowler had three hits, and has reached base safely in 12 straight games.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs began Tuesday third in the NL Wild Card race. What if they don’t make a deal by Friday’s Trade Deadline? Manager Joe Maddon is OK with that.
“If you look at the group we have, the big thing there is to get more out of what we have,” Maddon said Tuesday. “There is more. … There’s a lot left in the tank offensively for us in the next two months. If we can get everybody to play offense to the level we’re capable of, there’s a lot of offense.”
The Cubs look at players like Miguel Montero, Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella, who are currently on the disabled list, but close to returning. The in-house acquisitions could be like making a trade, and the Cubs won’t have to give anyone up.
“We didn’t know how much we missed [Chris] Denorfia until he came back [from the DL],” Maddon said. “A lot of times the answers do lie within. The other part I like is that we all fought together to this particular juncture. To remain together and rely on the same group sometimes works to your benefit, too.”
Maddon recalled how shook up the Rays were last year when David Price was traded to the Tigers.
“Offensively, of course, we’d like to have done more to this point, but I know there is more,” he said of the Cubs. “I have a lot of faith in our guys and the biggest thing is when you’re going through a rough moment, like getting swept at home, it really stinks, but it happens. How do you react to that moment is what really matters. How do you stick together? How do you get to the next day?”
— Carrie Muskat
On Tuesday, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took part in ribbon cutting ceremonies of the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation Hospitality Room on the oncology floor at Lurie Children’s Hospital. After the ceremony, Rizzo visited the patients on the floor, signed autographs, took photos, and talked to families. He brought teddy bears, Cubs hats, and growth charts to give to the patients as well.
Dallas Beeler makes his third start this season when the Cubs play host to the Rockies at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. Here’s the lineup:
* Beeler’s two previous starts have been as the 26th man in a doubleheader. He did not factor in the decision in his last start in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Reds. The right-hander gave up five runs (three earned) in two innings.
* There are reports the Cubs are looking for starting pitching help prior to Friday’s Trade Deadline, and that they have had talks with the Padres. One target is pitcher Tyson Ross.
* Despite Monday’s win, the Cubs showed that the back end of their bullpen may need some help. Cubs relievers have given up 14 runs over 15 1/3 innings in the last four games.
* Anthony Rizzo is hitting .129 (4-for-31) with one extra-base hit and one RBI in his last eight games. Overall in July, he’s hitting .218 with one homer in 22 games.