October 2015

MLB awards schedule: Will #Cubs Bryant, Arrieta win?

The 2015 Hank Aaron Award will be announced Saturday prior to Game 4 of the World Series. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo was one of 30 finalists for the award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League. The award was established in 1999.

Here’s the rest of the MLB awards schedule:

Nov. 9: Players Choice Awards, MLB Network, 7 p.m. CT

Nov. 10: BBWAA finalists will be announced, MLB Network, 5 pm CT
Rawlings Gold Glove award winners, ESPN, 6 pm CT

Nov. 11: Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, MLB Network, 5 pm CT

Nov. 12: Louisville Silver Slugger Awards, MLB Network, 5 pm CT

Nov. 16: BBWAA NL and AL Rookies of the Year, MLB Network 5 pm CT

Nov. 17: BBWAA NL and AL Managers of the Year, MLB Network 5 pm CT

Nov. 18: BBWAA NL and AL Cy Young Award winners, MLB Network, 6 pm CT

Nov. 19: BBWAA NL and AL MVPs, MLB Network, 6 pm CT

#Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts says thanks

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts sent a letter to fans via email. Here’s the transcript:

Dear Cubs Fans,

Wow. What a season! A week later, it’s still hard to put into words just how special this past year was for all of us.

On behalf of my family and the entire Cubs organization, we want to thank you. Without your patience and support, we never would have been able to begin building a championship-caliber team the right way.

From the many great team victories to some incredible individual performances, this team got us to believe in magic and
showed us anything is possible when you set your mark high. Led by a dynamic, one-of-a-kind manager and fueled by youthful enthusiasm and remarkable talent, our team not only competed, but proved to be a real contender. With the third-best record in baseball, we experienced a 24-win turnaround from 2014 and our first postseason berth since 2008.

None of us will ever forget our October games. The vibe in the ballpark was electric thanks to your constant energy. With every “Go Cubs Go” chorus and every W flag flown, the team felt your support. Defeating the Cardinals in our first-ever postseason matchup and clinching a series at Wrigley Field for the first time in franchise history was truly incredible.
While we fell short against the Mets in the National League Championship Series, our ultimate goal remains – to win a World Series. Now more than ever, I believe we are in position to pursue and accomplish that goal.

During this past year, we also made solid progress toward our second goal of preserving Wrigley Field. Again, thank you for your patience. The new video boards debuted to rave reviews, and the Budweiser Bleachers are back and better than ever with upgraded amenities and new group spaces. This offseason will be just as productive as we work to complete our new state-of-the-art clubhouse and Wrigley Field ticket office. Most importantly, the work you won’t necessarily see is the continued replacement of the steel and concrete that will allow Wrigley Field to stand for the next generation of Cubs fans.

In addition to the tremendous progress we made on the field this season, we also made great strides in the community. The generosity of our players, fans, partners and neighbors was felt far beyond the Friendly Confines and helped us further our third goal of being a good neighbor. Our team and Cubs Charities are on track to donate more than $1.5 million this year. Cubs Charities signature programs – Cubs Scholars, Cubs on the Move Fitness Program and the Diamond Project – continued to thrive as we welcomed our third class of scholars, launched an online fitness curriculum available to more than 1 million Chicago kids and awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to improve the quality and safety of local baseball fields.

In 2015, we also saw past contributions come to life as we helped open Margaret Donahue Park and Kerry Wood Cubs Field. These wonderful community assets are enhancing the quality of life in our community and providing local athletes with a place to improve their skills while fostering their love of the game.

It is certainly encouraging to take a minute to look back and celebrate what we were able to accomplish together on and off the field. Now that our 2015 season is in the record books, there is no need to worry about predictions and going “Back to the Future.” The future is now. We are ready to carry the momentum into 2016 and continue this special journey with you.

Let’s Go Cubs,

Tom Ricketts

#Cubs Rizzo joins MLB stars in SU2C ad

Anthony Rizzo is part of a new campaign by “Stand Up To Cancer” (SU2C) titled “Potential” which features a brief home video of the Cubs first baseman playing baseball as a kid. Rizzo joins the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Blue Jays’ David Price and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen in the ad, which will debut Friday during Game 3 of the World Series. Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have committed nearly $40 million to SU2C. Besides the Major League players, the video includes children who have survived or who are in the battle against cancer.

Rizzo is a cancer survivor himself; he was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma when he was a Minor Leaguer.

“It is so special to be involved in such an inspiring campaign with Stand Up To Cancer and MLB,” Rizzo said. “As a cancer survivor, I know first-hand what it takes to fight the disease — courage, strength and the support of people all around you cheering you on. I’m proud to play for an organization that understands how powerful our voices are in the fight against cancer.”

Rizzo and his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation have taken up the fight against cancer as well, and on Nov. 15 will host their fourth Walk Off for Cancer in Parkland, Fla.

#Cubs Arrieta a Gold Glove nominee

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta is a nominee for a Rawlings Gold Glove award. Major League managers and coaches, voting only within their league and unable to vote for players on their own team, account for 75 percent of the selection process. The other 25 percent goes to the sabermetrics community. The winners will be revealed Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Arrieta led all NL pitchers in assists (49) and putouts (33), and was second in double plays (five). He posted a .953 fielding percentage in 33 starts.

The NL Gold Glove nominees include:

Pitcher: Arrieta, Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Zack Greinke (Dodgers)

Catcher: Yadier Molina (Cardinals), Buster Posey (Giants), Wilson Ramos (Nationals)

First base: Brandon Belt (Giants), Paul Goldschmidt (D-Backs), Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers)

Second base: Dee Gordon (Marlins), DJ Le Mahieu (Rockies), Brandon Phillips (Reds)

Third base: Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Matt Duffy (Giants), Todd Frazier (Reds)

Shortstop: Brandon Crawford (Giants), Adeiny Hechavarria (Marlins), Andrelton Simmons (Braves)

Left field: Starling Marte (Pirates), Justin Upton (Padres), Christian Yelich (Marlins)

Center field: Billy Hamilton (Reds), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), A.J. Pollock (D-backs)

Right field: Curtis Granderson (Mets), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Jason Heyward (Cardinals)

*In case you’re wondering, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo ranked seventh in fielding percentage (.994) among NL first baseman with Belt No. 1, the Mets’ Lucas Duda second, followed by Goldschmidt, the Brewers’ Adam Lind, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman and Gonzalez.

#Cubs Rizzo to host Walk-Off for Cancer Nov. 15

Anthony Rizzo will host his fourth Walk-Off for Cancer on Nov. 15 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. The family friendly event consists of a 5K walk, entertainment and refreshments, plus there will be a raffle and special guest appearances. Net proceeds will benefit the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, family research, and families battling cancer. If you can’t join in the walk, you can be a sponsor or make a donation. Go to http://www.rizzo44.com for more information on the walk and the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.

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Thanks, #Cubs fans

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#Cubs Ross to start vs lefty in NLCS Game 4

The Cubs face elimination with a loss to the Mets on Wednesday in the National League Championship Series, and manager Joe Maddon made some minor tweaks to the lineup, starting right-handed hitting David Ross at catcher and moving Javier Baez up to seventh.

The Mets lead the best of seven NLCS, 3-0, and can earn a trip to the World Series with a win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will face lefty Steven Matz, which could be good. In the postseason so far, Chicago batters were hitting .276 against left-handed pitching. Ross batted .176 this season, and .156 against left-handed pitchers. Miguel Montero, who batted .248 in the regular season, hit .234 against lefties and .250 against right-handers. Montero was 2-for-20 in the postseason so far, and 1-for-7 in the LCS.

The Cubs need to generate some offense. They are hitless in 25 at-bats leading off an inning. Anthony Rizzo was 2-for-10 and Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber were both 2-for-11 in the three LCS games so far. Soler was 2-for-8 with one home run. Schwarber has five playoff homers so far, and is one shy of tying the Rays’ Evan Longoria for the most postseason blasts by a rookie. Longoria hit six in 2008.

The Cubs have scored 16 runs at Wrigley Field in the postseason, 15 of which have come via the home run. The only run the Cubs have scored at home in the playoffs came on Hammel’s RBI single in the Division Series.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Soler RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Schwarber LF

Baez SS

Hammel P

Ross C

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Theo: “If we show up and win, we’re dangerous”

If the Cubs need inspiration to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the National League Championship Series against the Mets, they can look to Theo Epstein, who knows it can be done.

In 2004 when Epstein was the Red Sox GM, his team trailed the Yankees, 3-0, in the American League Championship Series. Boston was outscored, 32-16, in the first three games, yet won Game 4 in 12 innings, and ended up winning the series, then sweeping St. Louis in the World Series.

“It’s been done before and we can do it,” said Epstein, now president of baseball operations for the Cubs. “Nine different times this year we’ve won four or more games in a row. We’ll just do it a 10th time, one at a time.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has emphasized one-game winning streaks all season. Wednesday’s Game 4 is no exception.

“Show up and win a ballgame tomorrow,” Epstein said. “If we show up and win tomorrow, we’re dangerous. Trust me. It’s been done before, rumor has it. We can do it. We’ve had nine winning streaks of four or more games this year, so we get hot, we get really hot, we can do it. We just have to show up and win tomorrow.”

The Mets opened the 3-0 lead over the Cubs in the NLCS with a 5-2 win on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. After the game, Maddon said he would approach Wednesday’s Game 4 as he has every other Wednesday game. His message is: Win.

Since Spring Training, Maddon has preached that he wants the same effort on March 21 in a Cactus League game as the players would give July 21 or Oct. 21. There will be no pre-game pep talk. Maddon doesn’t believe in team meetings. He holds three over the course of a season: one prior to the start of spring drills, another at the All-Star break, and one more before the postseason begins.

“From my perspective, it’s business as usual tomorrow,” Maddon said. “Come out, get ready to play, and just take it from there.”

The Mets’ young pitching has quieted the Cubs’ young hitters, but New York also has been aggressive on the base paths and taken advantage of every opening possible. The Mets scored the tie-breaking run Tuesday on a wild pitch, for example.

“Things bounce your way when you play good, and we’ve definitely gotten outplayed these first three games,” Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. “That doesn’t mean we can’t outplay them the next four.”

The Cubs did overcome the odds to get to the postseason. They beat the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game. They did topple the powerful Cardinals in the NL Division Series. They know about the Red Sox’s history.

“Keep battling,” rookie Kyle Schwarber said of the Cubs mantra now. “We’re going to keep battling until the end. It’s happened before, so it can – we’re really looking forward to getting back out to the ballpark [Wednesday]. … It’s a little frustrating, but we need to move past it and keep going. It’s been done before, and this team has done some special things throughout this whole season. We don’t count ourselves out by any means.”

Tuesday’s loss is behind them.

“There’s confidence in this clubhouse in everybody,” Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo said. “We just gotta keep playing baseball. One New York team has blown a 3-0 lead, let’s make it the other New York team. That’s the way we’re going to look at it. That’s the only thing we can do is be optimistic, and come out and play baseball.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Rizzo visits kids at Lurie’s hospital

It’s the postseason and the Cubs face the Mets in Game 3 on Tuesday, but Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took time to visit patients at Lurie’s Childrens Hospital earlier in the day. Rizzo signed autographs, took photos, and brought hats, teddy bears, and “W” rally towels (and hugs) to the patients and their families.

Last Friday, when the Cubs were in New York, Lurie Children’s Hospital honored Rizzo as the 2015 winner of the Champion’s For Children Award in recognition of his commitment to the health and well-being of the patients. He received the actual award on Tuesday.

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#Cubs Hendricks vs Mets, Game 3 NLCS

Kyle Hendricks gets the start Tuesday night at Wrigley Field as the Cubs face the Mets in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series. The forecast will be delightful for October with temps projected in the mid 60s. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber LF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Soler RF

Montero C

Hendricks P

Baez SS

Hendricks won both of his career starts against the Mets, posting a 0.69 ERA in those outings. He started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals, and did not get a decision. He gave up three runs over 4 2/3 innings in taht game, and each of the runs came on solo home runs.

*Jorge Soler is back in the lineup after not playing in Game 2. Soler was starting in right. He’s batting .455 in the postseason.

*Daniel Murphy has homered in each of his last four games, and was batting .357 (10-for-28) with five home runs and eight RBI this postseason. Murphy will look to join Carlos Beltran (2004 Astros) as the only players to homer in five consecutive postseason games. Murphy’s five home runs is a record for a Mets player in a single postseason. He is also tied with Mike Piazza for most career postseason home runs as a Met (five).

Here’s the Mets lineup:

Granderson RF
Wright 3B
Murphy 2B
Cespedes CF
Duda 1B
d’Arnaud C
Conforto LF
Flores SS
deGrom P