The Cubs will try to complete a sweep of the Brewers on Wednesday, sending Kyle Hendricks to the mound at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:
The Cubs have gone 38-16 since July 27, and the 38 wins are the most in the Major Leagues in that span, two ahead of the Blue Jays. The Cubs also have scored 125 runs in the last 22 games, the most in MLB in that stretch.
Starlin Castro is batting .416 with seven doubles, five homers and 17 RBI in his last 26 games.
Kris Bryant is batting .359 in his last 33 games with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 32 RBI.
Jake Arrieta takes the mound Tuesday night in his bid to become the Major League’s first 20-game winner. The right-hander has posted 17 straight quality starts, and is 13-1 with a 1.01 ERA in that stretch. He has a 0.95 ERA since the All-Star break, which is the second lowest ERA after the break in ML history.
The Cubs and Arrieta face the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:
Jason Hammel starts Monday night for the Cubs in the series opener against the Brewers. Hammel has never lost a decision to the Brewers in his MLB career, going 7-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 career starts. This year, he’s 2-0 with a 2.59 ERA in four starts.
Here’s the lineup:
The Cubs open their instructional league on Monday in Mesa, Ariz. Among the Minor League players who will take part
are first-round pick Ian Happ and top prospect Eloy Jimenez. This year, the Cubs will have an “advanced” group that will play in games against other organizations, and that list includes shortstop Gleyber Torres, catchers Victor Caratini
and Cael Brockmeyer, outfielders Charcer Burks, Rashad Crawford and Shawon Dunston Jr., and pitchers Paul Blackburn, Tyler Skulina and Duane Underwood.
The Cubs named catcher Willson Contreras and right-handed pitcher Ryan Williams as the Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
Contreras, 23, led the Southern League with a .333 batting average and finished with 71 runs, 34 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 75 RBI for Double-A Tennessee. He ranked second in the league in doubles, RBI and on-base percentage (.413) while his .478 slugging percentage ranked third and his 217 total bases were fifth.
He’s the first Tennessee player to win the league batting title since Joe Gate in 1978. Behind the plate, Contreras recorded a .987 fielding percentage and threw out 27-of-97 (27.8 percent) baserunners attempting to steal.
Williams, 23, combined to go 14-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 26 games (24 starts) between Class A South Bend and Tennessee. He walked 18, struck out 98, and gave up two home runs in 537 batters faced. His 14 victories and 2.16 ERA both led the Cubs Minor League system while his 98 strikeouts ranked fifth.
He started the year with South Bend and was 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA in nine games (eight starts) before he was promoted to Double-A on June 3. He proceeded to go 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) with the Smokies, leading the team in victories.
Williams was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2014 Draft out of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. He is 16-4 with a save and a 2.03 ERA (38 ER/168.1 IP) in 37 career Minor League outings, including 24 starts. He has struck out 127 batters, walked 21 and allowed four home runs.
The two will be honored next Monday prior to the Cubs’ game against the Royals at Wrigley Field.
After Saturday’s game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said reliever Pedro Strop could take Sunday off and enjoy a day at the beach. When Strop walked into the clubhouse Sunday, he saw that Maddon wasn’t kidding.
In front of Strop’s locker was a plastic chaise set in a small blue swimming pool filled with sand. There was suntan lotion and a margarita-type drink with an umbrella waiting for Strop, although teammate Hector Rondon added a bucket of Presidente beers. Someone else draped some flower leis across the chair.
“I wanted to make it emphatic that he was not playing today,” Maddon said. “So, Strop is not available, he’ll be at the beach.”
There was reggae music playing in the clubhouse as well. Maddon got in the mood as well.
“I did listen to Jimmy Buffett on the way in,” he said.
Strop has struggled against the Cardinals, especially at Busch Stadium, where he has given up seven runs in two innings over five outings. He has an 11.05 ERA in 11 games this season against St. Louis. The right-hander entered in the ninth after the Cardinals had scored two runs and had the tying run on base. He struck out Jhonny Peralta, got Yadier Molina to hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4, and then got Stephen Piscotty to ground out.
The problem in St. Louis, Maddon said, was pitch selection.
“What he did yesterday was spectacular — that was not easy to do,” Maddon said. “I think what he did [Saturday], that’s the thing you’re looking for moving forward to have him feel better pitching against this team.”
Jon Lester closes the Cubs series against the Cardinals on Sunday at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:
La Stella 2B
Hitting notes: Starlin Castro is hitting .394 (28-for-71) with five homers and 15 RBI in his last 23 games since Aug. 23. … Tommy La Stella is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with four doubles and six RBI in his last eight games. …In his last 30 games since Aug. 19, Kris Bryant has hit .353 (41-for-116) with 10 doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 29 RBI.
*Looking ahead to Cubs vs Brewers:
Monday: RHP Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.73) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (5-9, 4.41)
Tuesday: RHP Jake Arrieta (19-6, 1.96) vs. TBD
Wednesday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-6, 4.22) vs. RHP Zach Davies (1-2, 6.00)
On Saturday, the Cubs held on to beat the Cardinals, 5-4. Here’s key quote from manager Joe Maddon:
“We didn’t hold onto it early in the year — that’s the difference between then and now,” Maddon said. “Early in the year we were not able to hold on against these guys late and right now we’re able to hold on. I said at the beginning of the year [the Cardinals] were out-experiencing us, and now we’re catching up in that regard. Give them a lot of credit always because they always fight to the last drop. Our guys came out ready to play today. It was pretty impressive the way we started that game against an impressive pitcher.”