Iowa’s game at New Orleans was postponed because of rain. The teams played a day game Wednesday (Kris Bryant is in the lineup) and a doubleheader on Thursday.
Tennessee had Tuesday off. The Smokies were to play host to Pensacola in their home opener Wednesday but nature intervened and that game was postponed because of rain. Tennessee will begin its home schedule now on Thursday night with Corey Black slated to start.
Jen-Ho Tseng gave up two runs over five innings to pick up the win in Myrtle Beach’s 5-3 win over Salem in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Myrtle Beach totaled four hits and lost, 3-1. Billy McKinney drove in the only run.
Ryan Williams gave up one run on one hit and struck out seven over six innings in South Bend’s 3-2 loss to Dayton. Cael Brockmeyer hit his fifth double and scored a run. Gleyber Torres had his third multi-hit game.
The Cubs will celebrate Jackie Robinson day tonight at Wrigley Field. All players, coaches and both managers will wear No. 42 in his honor. Robinson’s legacy is memorialized each year on April 15 to recognize the anniversary of the Hall of Famer breaking baseball’s color barrier. Each base used at Wrigley Field will feature a commemorative Jackie Robinson Day base jewel. These game-used bases and No. 42 jerseys will be available through Cubs Authentics to benefit Cubs Charities.
Anthony DeSclafani outdueled Jake Arrieta Tuesday night as the Reds held on for a 3-2 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Welington Castillo made it interesting when he hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth. But Aroldis Chapman shut down the Cubs in the ninth. DeSclafani gave up two hits over seven shutout innings. Arrieta retired the first nine batters he faced, then served up five hits in the fourth, including RBI singles by Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd.
The Cubs had won their last two games in their last at-bats, and nearly pulled off some magic again.
“If we keep giving that kind of effort all year long, I’ll be very happy,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Good things are going to happen.”
* Next up: Travis Wood closes the Cubs series vs. the Reds on Wednesday night. The lefty is 2-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 career starts against Cincinnati.
— Carrie Muskat
* Chris Coghlan admits he was a little surprised when Cubs manager Joe Maddon approached him in batting practice Monday to ask if he could play third base. Coghlan played the position in college but had not been there in a Major League game since 2013 when he played eight games there with the Marlins.
“I guess maybe a little bit [surprised], just because we have so many infielders,” Coghlan said Tuesday.
However, the Cubs were short-handed, and on Tuesday, infielder Tommy La Stella was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 9 with a right rib cage strain. Mike Olt has been dealing with a bruised right wrist since Saturday.
“I guess I was the last guy able to do it,” said Coghlan, who subbed at third in the eighth inning Monday. “I was like, ‘Yeah, man, I don’t have a problem doing it.'”
Coghlan was prepared. He has his own infielder’s glove.
“If you have good instincts, you can do a good job over there,” he said.
* Maddon does not believe Jon Lester’s ability to throw to first base will become an issue.
“Only if you permit it,” Maddon said. “There are things we can control, there’s things we can do, and that’s what I want us to focus on.”
Lester did throw to first Monday for the first time since April 2013, and was successful on his first throw, then overthrew first baseman Anthony Rizzo for an error on the next attempt. Maddon says he has some ideas on how to make it work.
“Would throwing to first base help control the running game? Of course,” Theo Epstein said Tuesday. “[Lester will] face things head on and find a way to control the running game.”
* On Wednesday, the Cubs will join MLB by hosting Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley Field. Uniformed players and personnel will wear Robinson’s retired No. 42 that day. Each base used at Wrigley will feature a commemorative Jackie Robinson Day base jewel. The game-used bases and No. 42 jerseys will be available through Cubs Authentics to benefit Cubs Charities.
The Cubs will present the ninth annual Jackie Robinson Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner Award, which recognizes diverse business partners who exhibit and continue Robinson’s legacy. Finally, several Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars will be recognized on the field, and these students will have the honor of leading the seventh inning stretch.
* Maddon is happy with the information and scouting reports he’s getting from the Cubs baseball operations department. Said Maddon: “Our geeks are good.” … So far, having Miguel Montero, David Ross and Welington Castillo on the roster has worked. Maddon called them the “three-headed catcher.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs felt the bullpen needed more help than third base, and recalled lefty Zac Rosscup from Triple-A Iowa Tuesday and placed infielder Tommy La Stella on the disabled list. La Stella is sidelined with right rib cage inflammation. Third baseman Mike Olt is limited because of a sore right wrist, injured when he was hit by a pitch on Saturday in Colorado, but was available to pinch-hit and play third if needed.
“You get to the point where toughness doesn’t matter and you have to start thinking about the team,” Olt said Tuesday. “It wasn’t ready to go [Monday] and wasn’t in a good spot where I felt I could get out there and really help the team. I had to put my toughness and competitiveness aside.”
Cubs fans would like to see third baseman Kris Bryant promoted to fill the void at third, but Theo Epstein said he didn’t want to speculate as to whether they’d add the team’s top prospect.
“It depends on what’s happening with the roster, what’s happening with his development,” Epstein said Tuesday. “We don’t know yet. Every day, check in with the trainers, the manager, development guys and see where we’re at.
“Right now we’re thinking about today’s game and that an extra reliever would really come in handy,” Epstein said.
Cubs relievers have totaled 21 2/3 innings in six games, and manager Joe Maddon wanted to be able to give some guys a breather.
“We do need some help in the bullpen,” Maddon said. “They’ve been very active the last few days.”
— Carrie Muskat
Jake Arrieta starts Tuesday night in the second game of the Cubs’ three-game series against the Reds. Mike Olt apparently is not ready to return to third base and Jonathan Herrera is starting. Chris Coghlan took grounders at third base prior to batting practice just in case he’s needed there again. Here’s the lineup:
Jorge Soler, who hit two homers and drove in four runs Monday, now has 26 RBIs in his first 30 career games. According to STATS Inc. and historian Ed Hartig, that’s the most for any Cub in his first 30 career games in 60 years since Bob Speake collected 26 RBIs in his first 30 career games in 1955. Since RBI became an official statistic in 1920, just one other Cub has reached at least 26 RBIs in his first 30 career games, and that’s Mandy Brooks, who drove in 34 runs in 1925.
According to the Cubs pre-game notes, the previous NL player to collect at least 26 RBIs in his first 30 career games was J.D. Martinez, who had 29 RBIs in his first 30 games for the 2011 Astros.
Soler joins Brooks in 1925 as the only two Cubs since at least 1914 to record two multi-homer efforts in their first 30 career games as well.
— Carrie Muskat
*Kris Bryant had three hits and stole a base in Iowa’s 4-1 victory over New Orleans. James Russell pitched as well, and combined with Gonzalez Germen and Joseph Ortiz for 4 1/3 shutout innings.
* Christian Villanueva hit two home runs to help Tennessee beat Mississippi 10-4. Villanueva finished with three RBIs. Frank Batista got the win, giving up one run on three hits over six innings. Dan Vogelbach and Albert Almora each had two hits.
* Myrtle Beach’s game against Salem was postponed because of rain, and the two teams were to play a doubleheader on Tuesday.
* Cael Brockmeyer had two hits, including his fourth double, and drove in one run in South Bend’s 6-1 loss to Dayton. Chesny Young had two hits.
Jorge Soler hit a pair of two-run homers, including a game-tying shot in the eighth, and Arismendy Alcantara smacked a walk-off RBI single with one out in the 10th to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory Monday night over the Reds at Wrigley Field. Soler hit a two-run homer in the first and the game-tying shot in the eighth. Chris Coghlan had three hits, including a solo homer. He also played third base for the first time since 2013 because the Cubs were short-handed.
Soler set a career high with four RBIs. It was his second career multi-homer game and first at Wrigley Field.
Jon Lester did not get a decision, giving up six runs on 10 hits over six innings. The Cubs bullpen has been solid, combining for a 1.59 ERA over the first six games. For Alcantara, it was his first hit of the season.
“The big thing for me is the way we played,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Of course, you want to get off to a good start, of course. If you’re playing the game properly and well, and the unity and camaraderie is starting to exist, and of course the bullpen — those guys have been really wildly good.”
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella, sidelined with a strained right side, was to try and swing on Monday to see if he can pinch-hit. If not, the Cubs might need to make a roster move, and any time someone says that around the team, Kris Bryant’s name comes up.
Bryant, who smacked nine home runs and batted .425 in 14 Cactus League games in Spring Training, was 5-for-16 with two home runs and one double in four games at Triple-A Iowa, which opened a four-game series in New Orleans Monday. Could Bryant be up sooner rather than later?
“Maybe. We’ll see,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday. “We’ll weigh all the factors. I said during Spring Training that his performance last year and even during Spring Training showed that he’s really close and that we’re probably more likely to get him sooner rather than later.
“[Iowa] just started,” Epstein said. “We’re trying to get [Bryant] into a good rhythm down there. We’ll see. His development is an important factor and the needs of the big league team as well.”
La Stella has not played since April 8, and was not available all weekend against the Rockies. Manager Joe Maddon said they would see how La Stella responded to treatment Monday, and then make a decision.
“We’ll talk about that post game today,” Maddon said. “That’s going to be about him and the [athletic] trainers and relying on their judgement and making their best call.”
— Carrie Muskat