#Cubs La Stella joins Smokies

Tommy La Stella has ended his hold out, and joined the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee team on Wednesday. La Stella, who refused to report to the Minor Leagues after he was optioned on July 28, was playing second base and batting second for the Smokies.

La Stella had gone home to New Jersey rather than report to the Minor Leagues. The infielder was batting .295 when he was optioned to make room for outfielder Chris Coghlan on the 25-man roster. The Cubs placed La Stella on the temporarily inactive list.

Let’s play 2: #Cubs Hammel to start

Jason Hammel will start the second game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:

Szczur CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Zobrist 2B

Contreras LF

Baez SS

Ross C

Hammel P

The Cubs won the first game, 4-0, as Trevor Cahill, Mike Montgomery, Hector Rondon, Joe Smith and Aroldis Chapman combined on a three-hit shutout. Cubs starting pitchers are 9-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 13 games this month.

#Cubs and Cahill vs Brewers in Game 1

Trevor Cahill will start the first game of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Brewers. Cahill is the eighth starting pitcher to be used by the Cubs this season. Three NL teams have used a fewer number of starting pitchers: the Cardinals (7), Giants (7) and Mets (6).

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Coghlan LF

Heyward RF

Montero C

Cahill P

Anthony Rizzo hit his 25th homer on Sunday, and is the third left-handed hitter in Cubs history to record three 25-homer seasons, joining Hall of Famer Billy Williams (done 10 times) and Bill Nicholson (five times).

In case you missed it, here are the pitching matchups for this series:

Tue 1st game: RHP Trevor Cahill (1-3, 3.07) vs. RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 4.83)
Tue 2nd game: RHP Jason Hammel (12-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (7-10, 4.93)
Wed: LHP Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.07)
Thu: RHP Jake Arrieta (14-5, 2.55) vs. RHP Zach Davies (9-5, 3.80)

#Cubs Minor League report

Monday’s games

Iowa won, 6-4, over Fresno. Jordan Pries gave up four runs over five innings, walking seven. Kristopher Negron and Tim Federowicz both homered. Spencer Patton picked up his 11th save.

Tennessee beat Pensacola, 9-4. Zach Hedges threw five scoreless innings. Lane Adams hit a two-run homer and finished with three hits and three RBI. Kelly Dugan also had a three-hit game.

Jake Stinnett gave up one run over seven innings in Myrtle Beach’s 5-1 win over Winston-Salem. David Bote had two hits and two RBI.

Casey Bloomquist gave up one run over seven innings in South Bend’s 3-2 win over Bowling Green. Eddy Martinez hit a double, scored a run and drew a walk. Connor Myers had two RBI.

Erling Morena gave up two unearned runs over five innings in Eugene’s 6-3 win over Spokane. Stephen Bruno had four hits and three RBI. Moreno has not given up an earned run in three starts (15 innings).

Mesa lost a doubleheader to the Giants. Gustavo Polanco hit a solo homer in the second game. Javier Assad gave up three hits over five innings in the second game. Duane Underwood, on a Minor League rehab assignment, gave up one hit over one inning and struck out two.

#Cubs Minor League report

Sunday’s games

Jeimer Candelario had two hits, including a triple, and four RBI in Iowa’s 9-5 win over Fresno. The I-Cubs pitchers combined to strike out 16. Drew Rucinski fanned seven over 4 2/3 innings. John Andreoli hit a double and drew three walks and Cael Brockmeyer had two hits, including a double and a triple.

Tennessee lost, 10-7, to Pensacola. Victor Caratini had three hits, including a double and a triple, and three RBI.

Myrtle Beach lost, 8-6, to Carolina. Tyler Pearson hit a solo home run and David Bote and Bryant Flete each had two hits.

South Bend lost, 6-5, in 10 innings to Dayton. Jose Paulino gave up two earned runs over six innings. Matt Rose and Connor Myers both homered. Rose hit a three-run blast, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Myers added a solo shot and finished with two RBI.

Bryan Hudson gave up two hits over five innings in Eugene’s 4-2 win over Spokane. Wladimir Galindo had two hits, including a solo homer. Kevonte Mitchell had three hits, including a double.

Michael Cruz hit a solo homer in Mesa’s 6-4 loss to the Reds. Ruben Reyes had two hits, including a double, and one RBI.

#Cubs and Lackey vs. Cards in finale

John Lackey will close the Cubs’ series against the Cardinals on Sunday night at Wrigley Field vs. Mike Leake. Lackey is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA (5 ER/21 innings) in his last three starts. He was 0-5 with a 6.12 ERA in seven prior to that. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist 2B

Russell SS

Coghlan LF

Heyward RF

Contreras C

Lackey P

The Cubs have not lost back to back games since July 25-26 vs White Sox.

Addison Russell has 71 RBI, tied for sixth most by a Cubs player age 22 or younger with Howard Freigau (1925). Vic Saier leads that category with 92 RBI at age 22 in 1913.

*Looking ahead to Cubs vs. Brewers, here are the pitching matchups:

Tue: Game 1, TBD vs. RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 4.83)
Tue: Game 2, RHP Jason Hammel (12-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (7-10, 4.93)
Wed: LHP Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.07)
Thu: RHP Jake Arrieta (14-5, 2.55) vs. RHP Zach Davies (9-5, 3.80)

*Just for fun: The Sun-Times’ Dan McGrath referenced the Cubs’ lineup from 2013. I wanted to see how many changes there have been since 2011 (before Rizzo). Here you go:

Aug. 14, 2015 at White Sox: Fowler CF, Schwarber DH, Coghlan LF, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Montero C, Denorfia RF, Castro 2B, Russell SS

Aug. 14, 2014 vs Brewers: Coghlan LF, Baez 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Alcantara CF, Ruggiano RF, Castillo C, E. Jackson P

Aug. 14, 2013 vs Reds: DeJesus CF, McDonald LF, Rizzo 1B, Castillo C, Schierholtz RF, Murphy SS, Watkins 2B, Ransom 3B, Rusin P

Aug. 14, 2012 vs Astros: DeJesus RF, Vitters 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, B. Jackson CF, Barney 2B, Volstad P

Aug. 14, 2011 at Atlanta: Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Soto C, Garza P

#Cubs Minor League report

Saturday’s games

Rob Zastryzny gave up five runs over five innings and struck out nine in Iowa’s 9-5 win over Fresno. Iowa pitchers combined to strike out 18 in the game. Tim Federowicz had two hits, including a two-run homer. Jeimer Candelario had three hits and three RBI.

Tennessee lost, 4-2, to Pensacola. Michael Wagner gave up four runs over six innings. Ian Happ had two hits and one RBI.

Myrtle Beach scored runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings in a 7-6 win over Carolina. Jeremy Null started, and gave up one run over six innings. Donnie Dewees had four hits and two RBI.

South Bend gave up eight runs in the first inning in a 13-0 loss to Dayton. Justin Steele served up the runs on eight hits and one walk over two-thirds of an inning. Matt Rose singled, and now has hit in 11 straight games.

Eugene beat Spokane, 9-3. Wladimir Galindo had three hits and four RBI. Kevonte Mitchell had three hits and one RBI. Pedro Silverio gave up one run over 3 2/3 innings.

Mesa scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Giants, 3-2. Jhonny Pereda had three hits, including a game-tying two-run homer. Yohan Matos had two hits, including a walk-off RBI single.

#Cubs and Hendricks face Cards

Kyle Hendricks will start Saturday in Game 3 of the Cubs’ four-game set against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Contreras C

Baez 2B

Hendricks P

The Cubs enter Saturday’s game with a 14-game lead in the NL Central Division. The last time the Cubs held this large of a lead in their division or (pre-1969) in their league was in 1929. Their last lead this large over 114 decisions or fewer was through the games of Aug. 25, 1907, when they held a 15 1/2-game lead in the NL

The Cubs have a plus 200 run differential for the first time since the completion of the 1945 regular season when the Cubs finished with a plus 203 differential (735 runs scored, 532 runs allowed).

#Cubs Minor League report

Friday’s games

Brian Matusz gave up three runs over two innings in Iowa’s 8-4 loss to Fresno. Tim Federowicz had two hits, including a home run, and three RBI. Juan Perez had three hits.

Tennessee lost a doubleheader to Pensacola. In the first game, Kelly Dugan and Victor Caratini both homered. Jen-Ho Tseng gave up five runs over 4 1/3 innings in the second game.

Myrtle Beach beat Carolina, 7-5. Jonathan Martinez gave up four runs over five innings and struck out six. Donnie Dewees had three hits, including a solo home run. Ian Rice had two hits.

South Bend won its sixth straight, beating Dayton, 10-1. Adbert Alzolay threw five shutout innings, striking out six. Alberto Mineo hit a three-run homer. Eloy Jimenez had two hits and four RBI.

Manuel Rondon gave up three hits over five scoreless innings in Eugene’s 1-0 win over Spokane. Wladimir Galindo drove in the only run with a single.

Mesas lost, 5-0, to the Rangers. Pablo Ochoa gave up five runs over three innings. The Cubs totaled two hits — singles by Luis Ayala and Isaac Paredes.

#Cubs and Arrieta face Cards

Jake Arrieta gets the start Friday when the Cubs play Game 2 of their four-game series against the Cardinals. First pitch is 1:20 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:

Szczur CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Russell SS

Contreras LF

Montero C

Baez 2B

Arrieta P

The Cubs have opened August with a 9-0 record, the best start to a calendar month since they were 9-0 in August 1909. The only month with a better start was June 1885 (18-0).

Anthony Rizzo, who drew the walk-off walk on Thursday in the win, has recorded the game-winning RBI in each of the team’s last two contests, and he now leads the Majors with 16 game-winning RBI this season (the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy is second with 15).

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