Jason Hammel gets the start Wednesday night at chilly PNC Park in the third game of the four-game series against the Pirates. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA at PNC Park. Here’s the Cubs lineup:
* The Cubs have won seven of their last 10 games, and the 8-5 record is their best through 13 games since an 8-5 start in 2009.
* The Cubs are one of two MLB teams to not drop back-to-back games this season, joining the Tigers. According to Cubs historian Ed Hartig, this is only the third time since divisional play began that the Cubs have not lost back to back games in their first 13, joining the 2006 Cubs (who made it to games 15 and 16) and the 1969 Cubs (who made it to games 13 and 14). The 1907 Cubs hold the franchise record. They made it all the way to games 33 and 34.
* With two more hits and two more RBI last night, Kris Bryant has eight hits and six RBI through his first five games. According to Elias, Bryant is only the third player in Cubs history with at least that many hits and RBIs in the first five games of their Major League career, joining Andy Pafko in 1943 (11 hits, eight RBI) and Jorge Soler in 2014 (10 hits, seven RBI).
* According to ESPN Stats and Info, Anthony Rizzo is only the second player in the last 100 seasons to be hit at least six times within a team’s first 13 games. The Reds’ Shin-Soo Choo was hit seven times through 13 games in 2013.
* Also, ESPN Stats and Info says the Cubs were the first team in the last 20 years to start an infield entirely of players 25 years old or younger and be at least two games above .500 at the time.
* According to Elias, Tuesday’s game marked only the third time since 1976 that the Cubs had a starting infield in which each member was 25 years old or younger. It also happened in one game in 2014 (Anthony Rizzo, Arismendy Alcantara, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt) and in several games in 1976 (Pete LaCock, Manny Trillo, Dave Rosello and Bill Madlock).
* According to Baseball Reference, Addison Russell became the second non-pitcher since 1914 to make his Major League debut batting ninth in a non-designated hitter game, joining Mark Little from the 1998 St. Louis Cardinals.
Did you know the Cubs lead the NL in batting average in close and late situations this season, batting .305. It helps to have a healthy middle of the lineup. In Monday’s 5-2 win over the Pirates, the Cubs’ Nos. 2-4 hitters, Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, were a combined 9-for-12 with three RBIs. On Tuesday, Rizzo, Soler, Bryant and Starlin Castro were 9-for-18 with six RBIs.
“The strength of our lineup is that we believe anyone can do it at any time,” Rizzo said. “We’re really happy with the way we’re grinding out at-bats early. We’re making pitchers work — that’s what we want to do every time, every at-bat be stressful for the pitcher.”
The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth off the Pirates’ Mark Melancon Tuesday night for a 9-8 victory.
“That’s the best one I’ve been a part of,” Rizzo said of the rally. “Coming back like that, seesawing back and forth all game — this is what we do, we don’t quit.”
It was fun for Addison Russell, too, who was making his Major League debut at second base for the Cubs.
“They played this game just like little kids — they had fun,” Russell said. “I’m happy to be part of it.”
— Carrie Muskat
Last year, the Cubs were 0-79 when trailing in the ninth inning. In the first eight games this season, they’ve already won four games in their last at-bat, including Tuesday’s 9-8 come from behind win over the Pirates.
“Talking with [Chris] Coghlan, [we said] we wouldn’t win that game last year or the year before,” Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. “We quit [last year]. If we were losing after seven innings, we quit. Now, we never quit. If we get extra innings, we play hard, we never quit.”
The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth off Pirates closer Mark Melancon, with Castro delivering a two-run single. The Cubs shortstop finished with four RBIs.
“Right now, he is engaged,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Castro. “He is engaged on every pitch offensively and defensively. When he did not get it done early in the game, he was upset with himself. He’s totally invested right now. It’s really fun to watch.”
Castro is batting .352 in the first 13 games, and finally playing for a team with a winning record. The Cubs have finished fifth in his first five seasons in the big leagues.
“This is the time I’ve waited for,” Castro said. “I put in my mind, every day you can’t be good, but you try 100 percent. This is the moment I’ve waited for in my life.”
— Carrie Muskat
Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run homer and a two-run double to lift Iowa to a 6-4 win over New Orleans. Donn Roach gave up one run on five hits over six innings for the win. On Wednesday, Tsuyoshi Wada was scheduled to make his second rehab start.
Albert Almora drove in two runs in Tennessee’s 5-3 loss to Jackson. Pin-Chieh Chen and Kyle Schwarber had two hits apiece. Corey Black gave up one run, unearned, on two hits over six innings but did not get a decision. He now has a 1.80 ERA.
Ben Carhart hit a two-run homer in the second to help Myrtle Beach beat Salem, 7-4. The Pelicans scored four runs in the seventh on a RBI double by Jeimer Candelario, an error, an RBI single by Daniel Lockhart and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Penalver.
South Bend lost, 5-2, to Lake County. Justin Marra hit a solo home run in the third. Jake Stinnett started, and gave up one unearned run on two hits and five walks over five innings.
The Cubs considered how Addison Russell was hitting, how he performed this spring, how the big league team needed help at second base. But manager Joe Maddon looked at another element of Russell’s game.
“When you’re going to possibly promote somebody like him with limited experience, you have to look at the person,” Maddon said Tuesday prior to Russell’s Major League debut with the Cubs. “Do you think the guy can handle it? I’m not worried about him handling success — how can he handle failure?
“I think he can and we think he can,” Maddon said. “It may appear premature to some, but it’s only done because you think he can deal with it. Part of it is need right now and we do think he can handle it right now. The fact that he’s been a quick study at second base helps.”
Russell arrived at PNC Park a little surprised at getting the news from Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey.
“I went to Triple-A with the mindset that I’m going to finish out at Triple-A,” said Russell, who has played 14 games at the Triple-A level. “I’m excited. I think this is a good thing for me and it’s going to push me and I’m looking forward to it.”
Russell is now the youngest active player in the National League at 21 years 88 days, beating the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (22 years 187 days). The youngest active players in the Majors are Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Both are 20 years old.
“I just like playing this game,” Russell said. “I’m here for a reason.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs made it official, selecting the contract of infielder Addison Russell from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday and optioning infielder Arismendy Alcantara to the Minor League team.
Russell was batting .318 in 11 games at Triple-A Iowa with four doubles and one home run. He played five games at second and six games at shortstop.
To make room on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, third baseman Mike Olt was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Olt has a hairline fracture in his right wrist.
Russell, who was starting at second base and batting ninth Tuesday, is now the youngest active player in the National League at 21 years 88 days. The Nationals’ Bryce Harper was the youngest active player (22 years 187 days) in the NL. The youngest active players in the Majors are Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Both are 20 years old.
In the first game of a doubleheader on Monday, Russell broke up Scott Baker’s perfect game with a single in the seventh for Iowa, and then went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the second game.
Alcantara, 23, who made the Opening Day roster this year for the first time in his young career, was 2-for-26 in 11 games with the Cubs.
— Carrie Muskat
Addison Russell will make his Major League debut Tuesday night when the Cubs face the PIrates at PNC Park. Russell will play second and bat ninth. He had played five games at second base at Triple-A Iowa this year, including both games of a doubleheader on Monday. Here’s the lineup:
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The woman who was struck by a foul ball behind home plate on Monday at PNC Park was released from a Pittsburgh hospital on Tuesday. The Pirates issued the following statement:
“The female fan who was struck by a foul ball during last night’s game was sent via ambulance to the hospital for the appropriate examinations. Thankfully, the fan was released from the hospital following those examinations.
“We are extremely grateful for this positive outcome. The organization is in the process of reaching out to her to show our support. Due to privacy laws, we will not reveal the name of the fan, nor additional details at this time.
“We wish to thank the PNC Park personnel and fellow fans who were on the scene at the time, as well as the Pittsburgh EMS for their quick response.”
The incident happened in the second inning during Starlin Castro’s at-bat.
— Carrie Muskat
Addison Russell went 1-for-3 with a two-out single in the seventh that broke up Scott Baker’s perfect game but it wasn’t enough as Iowa lost, 8-0, in seven innings to Oklahoma City in the first game of a doubleheader Monday. In the second game, Taylor Davis hit a solo home run and Junior Lake smacked a walk off sac fly in the ninth for a 4-3 win. Russell was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. James Russell struck out three over two innings for the win.
Dan Vogelbach, named Southern League Player of the Week earlier in the day, smacked his first home run but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost, 7-1, to Jackson. Vogelbach connected on the second pitch of the first inning. C.J. Edwards pitched in relief, and struck out the side in his first inning. But he was charged with four runs, none earned, on one hit and two walks over 1 2/3 innings. Frank Batista started and threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Billy McKinney and Jacob Rogers each homered in Myrtle Beach’s 7-4, 11-inning win over Salem. Tayler Scott picked up the win in relief. Jacob Hannemann, Mark Zagunis and McKinney each drove in a run in the 11th.
Ryan Williams threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings in South Bend’s 3-0 win over Great Lakes. Jesse Hodges had two hits and three RBIs.
— Carrie Muskat