The Cubs’ Addison Russell is on a roll. On Friday, he went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Cubs player this season. It’s the longest hitting streak by a Cubs rookie since Mike Fontenot’s 12-gamer in 2007. Overall, Russell has a hit in 13 of his 15 big league games.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Russell is the first National League player since at least 1920 to record an 11-game hitting streak exclusively out of the nine-hole in the batting order. The Twins’ Jordan Schafer is the last player overall to have an 11-game hitting streak exclusively out of the nine spot, done Aug. 21-31, 2014.
Russell is tied with the Padres’ Nick Hundley for the third-longest active streak in the NL (the Marlins’ Dee Gordon and Nationals’ Wilson Ramos are both at 12 games).
The Cubs return home Monday for a week-long homestand beginning with four games vs. the Mets, and part of the bleachers will be open for fans.
* On Monday, Cubs Charities will hold its “Pink Out” presented by Advocate Health Care. Each guest in the bleachers will receive a “Pink Out” T-shirt to promote breast cancer prevention awareness while celebrating moms and women everywhere who are survivors. Fans who aren’t sitting in the bleachers but would still like to participate may visit Gate F, where wives of Cubs players and coaches will accept donations in exchange for a “Pink Out” shirt. These donations will help provide mammograms for under/uninsured women through Cubs Charities and Advocate Charitable Foundation.
In support of the event, Cubs players will wear pink batting practice jerseys that will later be available by auction through Cubs Authentics, with proceeds also funding mammograms for under/uninsured women. The bases used on the field—also available through Cubs Authentics—will feature commemorative #PinkOut base jewels, and guests are encouraged to share pictures from the evening using the hashtag to promote breast cancer prevention awareness.
Ginny Cooper, a 10-year survivor, will serve as MLB’s Honorary Bat Girl and deliver the game’s lineup card after being selected based on her story about “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer.” She will be joined by other breast cancer survivors and volunteers who will throw the game’s ceremonial first pitch, sing the National Anthem and lead the seventh inning stretch. Overall, Advocate will bring more than 50 survivors to enjoy the game in the stands.
Fans throughout the ballpark are encouraged to participate by wearing their favorite pink items.
* Cubs Charities will continue this year’s “Let’s Give” campaign by supporting the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s Third Annual Cook-Off for Cancer on Thursday. The Cook-Off will feature upscale versions of ballpark food prepared by notable Chicago chefs and served by Cubs players at Revel Downtown. Guests will vote for their favorite chefs and dishes by tipping their Cubs server. Tips and event net proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research as well as provide support to children and their families battling the disease. For more information, visit http://www.cubs.com/cook.
* On Friday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue his “Respect Community” charity T-shirt initiative by representing Cubs Rookie League Baseball during his post-game press conference.
Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings in Iowa’s 4-1 win over Nashville. Arismendy Alcantara hit a two-run homer in the seventh and also stole a base. Wada struck out six.
Corey Black gave up three runs over five innings and struck out seven in Tennessee’s 5-4 loss to Pensacola. Bijan Rademacher hit a three-run double. Black now has struck out 22 over his last three starts (15 2/3 innings).
Billy McKinney hit a walk-off home run in the 10th to lift Myrtle Beach to a 2-1 win over Salem. Duane Underwood did not get a decision, giving up one run on three hits over seven innings. McKinney has at least one RBIs in his last six games.
Zach Hedges threw five shutout innings in South Bend’s 3-2 win over Bowling Green. Charcer Burks drove in two runs.
Maybe Friday is the day Kris Bryant hits first Major League home run. Brewers pitchers have allowed an MLB-high 42 home runs this season and have a 4.75 ERA, fourth worst in MLB. The Cubs open a three-game series at Miller Park against the Brewers on Friday. Here’s the lineup:
* The Cubs have lost five of their last six games, with their starting rotation posting a 5.94 ERA (22 ER / 33 1/3 IP) in that span.
* Friday’s pitching matchup is a rematch of Sunday, when the Brewers beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Neither pitcher factored into the decision, with Jimmy Nelson allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings and Jason Hammel allowing three runs over six innings. Nelson is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA (11 ER / 17 IP) in three career starts against the Cubs.
* Chris Coghlan bats .444 (4-9 AB) with a homer and two doubles lifetime vs. Nelson.
* Hammel is 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA (11 ER / 45 IP) in seven career starts vs. the Brewers…He’s one of two active pitchers (Shelby Miller) with a 5-0 record or better vs. Milwaukee. Hammel has 27 strikeouts and just two walks this season. His 13.5 K/BB ratio is second among qualified starters to Bartolo Colon, who has walked just one against 34 strikeouts.
* Addison Russell is hitting .343 (12-35 AB) with seven extra-base hits a 10-game hit streak. It’s the longest hitting streak by a Cubs rookie since Mike Fontenot (12 G) in 2007.
* The Future is Now: Anthony Rizzo (.458 OBP) and Kris Bryant (.435 OBP) rank third and fourth in the National League, respectively, in on-base percentage. Rizzo has hit .323 (92-285 AB) with 24 HR and 55 RBI in 80 games against NL Central opponents since the start of last season. His 1.077 OPS against the NL Central in that span is tops by any player against his own division (min. 100 PA).
John Lackey gave up one run over 7 2/3 innings and hit a two-run double to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 victory Thursday over the Cubs. St. Louis won three of four games, but manager Joe Maddon felt good after seeing his team compete.
“I’m not discouraged by this series,” Maddon said. “It’s a long season, folks. We played really well for four games here. I like what I’m seeing out of our guys a lot, not a little bit. The pitching will come together. The young hitters will start figuring this stuff out. I could not be happier with the group.”
Three of the Cubs four starters failed to finish the sixth inning, including Jake Arrieta on Thursday, and the bullpen was tested. Chicago had a lead in every game except Thursday, and blew a 5-0 first inning lead on Monday in the series opener. What’s the difference between the two teams?
“The gap is repetition or reps, experience,” Maddon said. “I’m very satisfied with the athletic ability. I’m very satisfied that we compete very well. They out-compete us, in a sense, experience-wise and that’s it. We will make that up.”
Maddon said Tuesday, May 5, was a good mark as to how his young team is doing.
“When we passed Cinco de Mayo, I was pretty happy,” Maddon said. “That’s not because I was drinking, either, I was pretty happy. It had nothing to do with Coronas with lime.”
How happy? Maddon was playing polka music in his office after Thursday’s game. Next stop, Milwaukee.
* Starlin Castro has an RBI in each of his last five games vs. the Cardinals. … Justin Grimm made his season debut, striking out the two batters he faced. … Addison Russell extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and was 12-for-35 in that stretch.
* Up next: Jason Hammel starts Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee. First pitch at Miller Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs and Cardinals will play a split doubleheader on July 7 at Wrigley Field to make up for the April 7 game that was postponed because of weather. The makeup game will begin at 12:20 p.m. CT, and be followed by the regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m. CT.
Tickets to the April 7 game will be honored for the first July 7 game. No ticket exchange is necessary. Separate tickets are required for each game, and gates will re-open approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Tickets for both July 7 games are available for sale at http://www.cubs.com, by phone at 1-800-THE-CUBS, or at the Wrigley Field ticket windows.
Thursday marked the five-year anniversary of when Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro made his Major League debut. It was quite a coming out party as Castro belted a three-run homer in his first at-bat on May 7, 2010, and finished that game, 2-for-5.
The Cubs shortstop has been named to three All-Star teams since, and has 878 hits, the most by any player in the National League in that span.
“Obviously, with good health, he’ll put up crazy good numbers,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday. “He’s maturing as a player. To get to the playoffs and world series will really enhance his reputation. I think it’s a maturation process. He’s put up all these good numbers already and as he understands himself, he’ll get better. Good for him — that’s pretty impressive, actually.”
Castro had some fun Wednesday night when he mirrored third baseman Kris Bryant, who had scooped up Mark Reynolds’ grounder in the sixth and threw to first. Castro copied Bryant step for stutter step on the play.
“It was very entertaining,” Maddon said. “It does indicate that we’re playing a game in a manner where we’re not uptight, which I really prefer. We’re just nice and loose and play the game.”
Maddon is impressed by how far Castro has developed as a shortstop.
“A lot of the stuff he’s doing on the infield defensively is getting better,” Maddon said. “His movements, how he’s coming to get the ball, the efficiency, where he’s not patting the ball in his glove, just getting it out and throwing it, the accuracy with his throws — all his stuff has been really good. He’s hitting at a decent rate, but this guy is going to get hot. Right now, he’s playing a nice, loose free game of baseball and that’s what I want.”
— Carrie Muskat
Jake Arrieta gets the start Thursday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:
* The Cubs snapped their season-worst four-game losing skid on Wednesday. Their bullpen is 0-3 with a 7.29 ERA (17 ER / 21 IP) in the last seven games.
* Arrieta is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA (3 ER / 36.1 IP) in six career starts against the Cardinals, including a win with seven
scoreless innings on April 8 this season. In fact, Arrieta enters this start having not allowed a single earned run in 19 consecutive innings pitched against St. Louis dating back to July of last season.
* Matt Carpenter is hitless in 13 at-bats lifetime vs. Arrieta with four strikeouts, five walks. Matt Holliday is just 1-15 AB (.067) lifetime vs. Arrieta with five strikeouts.
* Anthony Rizzo has a .507 OBP during his 15-game on-base streak. His .474 OBP is tied with Holliday for the best among all qualified hitters. Rizzo also has a streak of five straight games with an extra-base hit (3 HR, 2 2B, 3B).
Dallas Beeler gave up five runs over four innings in Iowa’s 6-0 loss to Nashville. Chris Valaika had two hits. This was Beeler’s third start as part of a Major League rehab assignment.
Tennessee beat Pensacola 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader. Albert Almora went 2-for-3 to back Frank Batista, who gave up one unearned run over six innings. It was Batista’s third straight quality start. The Smokies scored four runs in the seventh in the night cap for a 4-1 win. Dan Vogelbach had three hits, including a three-run double.
Myrtle Beach lost 5-4 to Salem in the first game of a doubleheader. Daury Torrez gave up four earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. Jeimer Candelario and Victor Caratini each had two hits. In the second game, Wes Darvill hit a solo home run in a 4-2 win. Mark Zagunis had two hits and one RBI.
South Bend lost 4-3 to Great Lakes. Charcer Burks had three hits and two stolen bases. Jesse Hodges had two hits, including a double.
Anthony Rizzo hit a solo home run and a two-run double to back Jon Lester and lead the Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. With the win, the Cubs ended a four-game losing streak. Lester posted his second straight seven-inning outing, and second straight win. Plus, the lefty avenged a loss to the Cardinals on Opening Night at Wrigley Field. Rizzo now has hit safely in six straight games, and has three homers in his last five games.
“He’s just really good right now,” manager Joe Maddon said of Rizzo. “I think he’s one of the top five best at-bats in all of baseball if you want to look at it that way. At-bat per at-bat, this guy is engaged in every pitch, every pitch. He doesn’t give anything away at any time.
“He’s one of the few Major League players who has a legitimate two-strike approach,” Maddon said. “It’s soemthing I’ve preached in the past; it’s hard to get guys to do it. He has a legitimate two-strike plan which is beautiful to watch.”
* Maddon did not get to watch the end of the game from the dugout. He was ejected in the sixth for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn during Starlin Castro’s at-bat, although it wasn’t just that at-bat that set the manager off.
“I had enough,” Maddon said. “I had enough, had enough. It was the whole game. It was egregiously bad. You cannot permit that to happen. We’re trying to ascend and we’re not going to take that from anybody, anywhere at any time.
“We played a veteran club with a veteran battery and we’ve got guys who’ve barely had a month in the big leagues and I’m not going to take it,” Maddon said. “Our guys deserve equal treatment and I’m not going to take it.”
* Castro and Kris Bryant had a play that can only be appreciated on video. Castro mimicked Bryant who retrieved a grounder and threw to Rizzo at first. Bryant didn’t even know Castro was doing that. Check out the video on Cubs.com.
Up next: Jake Arrieta starts Thursday in the series finale at Busch Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. CT.