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#Cubs and Arrieta face Cards

Jake Arrieta gets the start at Wrigley Field on Friday as the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals. It’s the final three home games of the regular season for the Cubs, who open the NL Division Series on Oct. 7. The Cardinals are fighting for a Wild Card berth. They’re a half game behind the Mets and Giants.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Coghlan LF

Montero C

Arrieta P

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has compiled a 194-120 record in his first two seasons with the team. Only two managers have reached that many victories with fewer than 120 losses: Cap Anson in 1879-82 and Frank Chance in 1905-07.

The Cubs have won 97 games, matching their win total last season. That’s tied for the most single-season wins since winning 98 games in 1945.

#Cubs and Lester face Reds

Jon Lester gets the start Tuesday night for the Cubs as they play the second game of their three-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Lester is 8-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last 11 starts, holding opposing hitters to a .185 average. He has pitched six plus innings and given up one run or less in six consecutive starts. First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant LF

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Baez 3B

Ross C

Lester P

Anthony Rizzo is batting .304 with a .400 OBP and five home runs during his 15-game on-base streak. Meanwhile, the Reds’ Joey Votto is red hot. He’s reached base safely in eight of his last nine plate appearances, is now slashing .416/.502/.650 in 60 games since the All-Star break.

#Cubs instructs begin in Mesa

The Cubs instructional league begins today in Mesa, Ariz. Besides the daily drills, a select group will combine with Angels players to play games versus other teams in the Valley. The Cubs prospects on that team include pitchers Dylan Cease, Jared Cheek, Oscar De La Cruz, Jordan Minch, Kyle Miller, Tommy Nance, James Norwood, Carson Sands, Justin Steele and Jen-Ho Tseng; catchers PJ Higgins, Alberto Mineo and Ian Rice; infielders Carlos Sepulveda and Jason Vosler; and outfielders Donnie Dewees and Eddy Martinez.

The Cubs’ top 2016 Draft pick, right-hander Thomas Hatch, who was selected in the third round, will take part in the workouts at the team complex in Mesa.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs and Hendricks face Brewers

Kyle Hendricks starts on Sunday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Hendricks leads the Majors with a 2.03 ERA while teammate Jon Lester is second with a 2.40 ERA. The last time pitchers from the same team finished with the top two ERAs in the Majors was in 2005, when the Astros’ Roger Clemens (1.87) and Andy Pettitte (2.39) did so. Hendricks has given up three or fewer earned runs in each of his last 20 starts dating to May 22 (1.59 ERA), the longest streak by any big league pitcher this season.

The regulars are back. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Montero C

Baez 2B

Hendricks P

*Looking ahead to the Cubs series against the Reds:

Monday: RHP Jason Hammel (14-9, 3.60) vs. RHP Tim Adleman (2-4, 4.21)
Tuesday: LHP Jon Lester (17-4, 2.40) vs. TBD
Wednesday: RHP John Lackey (9-8. 3.42) vs. RHP Robert Stephenson (2-1, 4.97)

#Cubs and Lackey face Brewers

John Lackey will start Friday for the Cubs in the second game of their four-game series against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Manager Joe Maddon promised an interesting lineup, and here it is:

Szczur RF

Baez SS

Soler LF

Contreras C

Coghlan 1B

Almora CF

La Stella 3B

Kawasaki 2B

Lackey P

#Cubs and Montgomery face Brewers

Lefty Mike Montgomery gets the start on Thursday when the Cubs open a four-game series against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. With a win, the Cubs can clinch the NL Central Division for the first time since 2008. If they do clinch, the Cubs would become the first team to do so on Sept. 15 or earlier since the 2008 Angels (Sept. 10). The last NL team to clinch a division title by this date was the 2005 Cardinals (Sept. 15).

First pitch from Wrigley Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sportsnet and also MLB Network. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Soler LF

Heyward RF

Montero C

Montgomery P

#Cubs honor prospects Jimenez, Clifton

The Cubs named outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed pitcher Trevor Clifton the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The two prospects will be honored at Wrigley Field prior to the Sept. 23 game against the Cardinals.

Jimenez, 19, was named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year after batting .329 with 40 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 65 runs scored and 81 RBIs in 112 games with Class A South Bend. He led the league in doubles, slugging percentage (.532) and OPS (.901), ranked second in RBIs and total bases (230) and ranked third in batting average. He also led all Cubs’ Minor Leaguers in average and was second in RBIs.

Clifton, 21, went 7-7 with a 2.72 ERA in 23 starts with Class A Myrtle Beach, earning Carolina League Pitcher of the Year honors. He led all Cubs’ Minor Leaguers, and ranked third in the Carolina League, with 129 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. He was named as both a Carolina League mid-season and post-season All-Star, leading the league in ERA and WHIP (1.16).

Clifton made two post-season starts with Myrtle Beach, allowing one run over 12 innings, including six scoreless innings in Game Three of the Mills Cup Championship Series on Tuesday.

A 12th round Draft pick in 2013, he is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Cubs organization by MLB Pipeline.

#Cubs Minor League playoff report

Myrtle Beach claimed its second straight Carolina League title on Wednesday night, beating Lynchburg, 5-3, to take the series 3-1. David Bote had two hits and scored two runs, and was named MVP of the playoffs after going 15-for-26 with five doubles, five walks, five runs scored and nine RBI. Donnie Dewees had three hits, and Eloy Jimenez had two hits and one RBI. James Pugliese picked up the win in relief, striking out seven over 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

#Cubs announce 2017 schedule

The Cubs announced the tentative 2017 regular season schedule. They will open in St. Louis on April 3, and the home opener will be April 10 against the Dodgers.

The Cubs will begin the 2017 campaign on the road for the 12th time in the last 16 seasons, and for the first time in St. Louis since 1986. The Cubs open their Wrigley Field campaign against the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time since 1963.

After three games against the Cardinals (April 3, 5-6), the Cubs conclude their season-opening six-game, two-city road trip with three games at Milwaukee April 7-9. The Cubs begin their home schedule on April 10, the start of a 10-day, nine-game homestand that includes games vs. the Dodgers (April 10, 12-13), Pirates (April 14-16) and Brewers (April 17-19).

The 2017 schedule features Interleague play against the AL East and the annual home-and-home with the White Sox, which features a pair of two-game series over four days, July 24-25 (at Wrigley Field) and July 26-27 (at Guaranteed Rate Field).

The Cubs’ Interleague schedule includes games at Wrigley vs. the Yankees (May 5-7), the Rays (July 4-5) and the Blue Jays (Aug. 18-20). The Cubs travel to Boston (April 28-30), play at Baltimore (July 14-16) and play at Tampa Bay (Sept. 19-20).

The Cubs are scheduled to host one holiday game in 2017: the Fourth of July vs. Tampa Bay. The Cubs will be on the road for Mother’s Day in St. Louis on May 14, Memorial Day at San Diego on May 29; Father’s Day in Pittsburgh on June 18; and Labor Day in Pittsburgh on Sept. 4.

 

#Cubs Minor League playoff report

Tuesday’s games

Eugene defeated Everett 2-1 to win the Northwest League Championship. It’s Eugene’s first outright league championship since 1975. Manuel Rondon gave up one run over five innings and Kevonte Mitchell had two hits and one RBI. Yeiler Peguero delivered the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning.

Myrtle Beach took a 2-1 lead in the Mills Cup Championship series with a 7-0 win over Lynchburg. The Pelicans can clinch their second straight league championship with a win on Wednesday. Trevor Clifton gave up three hits over six scoreless innings, striking out five. Charcer Burks had two hits and one RBI. David Bote had two hits and two RBI. Clifton has given up one run over 12 innings in the postseason.