Jason Hammel held the Pirates to four hits over eight scoreless innings in the Cubs’ 4-0 victory Monday night at Wrigley Field. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo each drove in two runs. For Bryant, it was his first multi-RBI game at Wrigley. Rizzo hit a RBI double in the third and a RBI single in the fifth.
Hammel struck out a season-high seven batters.
“It all comes off the fastball,” Hammel said. “If you can’t locate the fastball, you’re going to be in big trouble. For me, it’s especially important. I have to use my tall frame and use the downhill plane — sinkerballers, we have to establish a strike zone first and then you get swings early after that. I just worked on getting glove side and making sure I’m in counts that will make me succeed.”
The Cubs are 11-7; they’ve won 10 of their last 15 games.
“We know what we have in this clubhouse,” Hammel said. “It starts with Joe [Maddon]. He came in and made us know we’re going to have a good time while we’re winning. It wasn’t a drill sergeant type, it wasn’t a looking over the shoulder being a mother, dad, whatever. It’s letting us go out and be ourselves and just go play baseball. That’s all we’re doing. We’re picking each other up, and that’s what we’ll continue to do all year.”
Up next: Travis Wood starts Tuesday night in the second game of the three-game series vs. the Pirates at Wrigley Field.
* Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed by the Cubs after seeing them for four games last week in Pittsburgh. The two teams play a three-game series, starting Monday at Wrigley Field.
“The people nobody talks about are [Dexter] Fowler and [Miguel] Montero,” Hurdle told reporters in Phoenix on Sunday. “You just put two solid players in the middle of the diamond, it’s always talked about as where you’ve got to have a backbone. And then you add the experience of [David] Ross to complement the left-handed catcher. You got a center fielder who can go get the ball, and a switch-hitter at the top of the order.
“You’ve added young players to your lineup who have shown the ability to produce offensively in the Minor Leagues,” Hurdle said. “You’ve got an anchor at first base [in Anthony Rizzo]. There’s not a team in baseball that probably wouldn’t like to have that guy, except for maybe [the D-Backs]. [Starlin] Castro seems to be re-energized and rekindled. The depth they’ve added to the starting rotation. … They have a better team, and they’re like everybody else now — they’ve got to go play games.”
* The Cardinals placed ace Adam Wainwright on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday because of a left Achilles and ankle injury, and will likely be sidelined for the rest of the season. Cubs reliever Jason Motte, who was Wainwright’s teammate in St. Louis, sent a text message as soon as he heard the news.
“That’s a tough break for St. Louis and I don’t wish poorly on anybody — I always want to beat everybody at their best,”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. “I’m certain they will figure it out. They have great resources and some nice spare parts that I’m not aware of. Sometimes that’s a rallying cry for a group. You have to be careful with that.
“It definitely hurts them but it has nothing to do with us,” Maddon said. “It’s just about us playing our game, winning our
game, and respecting 90 feet on a daily basis and coming out ready to play and good things will happen.”
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta didn’t want to see another pitcher injured.
“That’s an unfortunate event to take place for those guys, especially the way it happened,” Arrieta said. “An arm injury or
something like that when he’s on the mound is one thing. The Achilles is such a freak kind of accident. [Cubs infielder
Logan] Watkins had the same thing happen to him, and it’s devastating. But they’re deep. I know they’ve got some guys in
Triple-A who can come in and fill that void. Not many guys can do what Wainwright does every five days but I think they’ll
be all right.”
He watched the Wainwright video over and over to try and see what happened.
“Everyone makes that same movement and it’s one of those things that can happen at any moment, which is scary,” he said. “It makes me cringe to think about that.”
Arrieta isn’t a great hitter but he’s not sure the National League should adopt a designated hitter just so pitchers avoid
“I think a lot of teams want to see the DH implemented around the league,” Arrieta said. “I wouldn’t care one way or the
other. If they do add that, it’ll strengthen each and every National League lineup a little bit.”
* The Cubs finished the road trip 4-2, and three of the wins were come from behind victories.
“In the division, on the road, two tough venues, two tough teams, and to come back with a 4-2 record, is not a bad thing,”
“It’s a testament to the guys we have here,” Arrieta said. “The young players are a little more advanced than most and
that helps bridge the gap in experience. They’ll take their lumps, just like we all will, but they’re ahead of the curve.
Soler, Bryant, Russell, these guys are polished to the extent that they can come here and contribute right away. That’s
what each one of them has been able to do in their short time here. We all know it will continue.”
* Maddon was excited to see Starlin Castro’s great defensive play in the sixth but liked even more how the shortstop ran
out a ground out at the start of the ninth.
“If there’s a good baseball karma, he’s created that for himself by the way he’s gone about his business,” Maddon said.
Castro has hit safely in 14 of 17 games to start the season.
* Arrieta has posted four straight quality starts this year. On Sunday, he gave up two runs over six innings.
* Miguel Montero hit his 100th career home run on Sunday. He wasn’t aware it was a milestone homer until clubhouse manager Tom Hellmann told the catcher that they got the ball as a souvenir.
“It’s a nice number,” Montero said, joking that he had about 600 more to go.
— Carrie Muskat
Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler played dominoes. Anthony Rizzo posted a photo of himself with other 25-year-old-and-under teammates, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Starlin Castro and Soler. Joe Maddon had a little applesauce, some peanuts and a couple pieces of sushi.
The Cubs had plenty of down time Saturday at Great American Ball Park as they waited 4 hours 13 minutes before their game vs. the Reds was postponed because of rain. No make up date was announced. The Cubs return to Cincinnati July 20-22 and Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
The Reds wanted to play because the team was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1990 World Series championship squad, and had a sellout crowd at the ballpark.
“I know [the Reds] wanted to get it done for the full house and I totally get it, and I’m not going to denigrate the Reds for doing what they thought was the right thing to do,” Maddon said.
Saturday was the fourth rain delay of the season for the Reds, and all have been at Great American Ball Park. However, Saturday’s delay time nearly equaled the first three, which totaled 4 hours 23 minutes.
“The forecast has been so inconsistent all day,” Maddon said. “There was no way to believe it was not going to rain any more. I was originally told we were going to play at 2 [p.m. ET], and then 3:15 and then 4. I had three start times.”
The Cubs needed a specific start time for Jake Arrieta, who requires 40 minutes to prep. Maddon asked the umpires to at least give them a heads up regarding that, and they did.
“When you don’t have a specific game time, it’s hard to get into that groove,” Maddon said. “I thought the umpires did a great job in the end of trying to put this whole thing together.”
Arrieta did not throw a pitch, although he did share on Twitter that he wasn’t happy about the delay. Maddon said they saw Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani go to the bullpen twice in anticipation of the game starting. Arrieta (2-1, 1.74 ERA) and DeSclafani (2-0, 0.86 ERA) will square off Sunday in the series finale. The forecast calls for sunshine and temps in the low 60s.
This is the Cubs’ second game to be postponed because of rain. They still have to make up an April 7 game against the Cardinals.
At least two hours before the game was called, Maddon walked around left field to check the conditions.
“I’d heard the field drains well and I wanted to see it for myself,” he said. “It’s true. I want to compliment them on their drainage.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs return home Monday for a six-game homestand, starting with three against the Pirates. Wrigley Field will celebrate its football history this homestand in conjunction with the city of Chicago hosting the 2015 NFL Draft.
he first 10,000 fans at the May 1 game will receive a Wrigley Field Football presented by Wintrust Community Banks that commemorates 50 seasons of Chicago Bears football at the historic ballpark. NFL legends Michael Irvin and Kurt Warner will throw ceremonial first pitches Tuesday while NFL Network personalities Rich Eisen, Steve Mariucci and Melissa Stark will lead the seventh inning stretch. Former NFL great Ickey Woods will throw a first pitch the following day. Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould wraps up the homestand with a first pitch and seventh inning stretch on May 3.
The Cubs and Cubs Charities will continue this year’s “Let’s Give” campaign through several events and recognitions during the homestand. On Tuesday, the team will present a check to the Illinois Tornado Relief Fund from last week’s fundraising efforts at Wrigley Field. Firefighters from Kirkland, Ill., who have aided in tornado recovery efforts will be recognized on the field pregame.
On Wednesday, the Cubs and Robert R. McCormick Foundation will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cubs Care during the annual Cubs Care Grant Luncheon in the Audi Club at Wrigley Field. Cubs Charities and Cubs Care will grant more than $1 million to nonprofit organizations serving those in need in the Chicago area. That evening, Cubs Charities will recognize personal fundraising efforts from individuals running Saturday’s Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy. Proceeds from personal fundraising will support critical care needs for pediatric patients in Chicago. The top fundraising team and individual will be recognized during a pregame ceremony on the field.
On Friday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue his “Respect Community” charity T-shirt initiative by representing Misericordia Heart of Mercy, a Cubs Charities grantee, during his post-game press conference.
* The first 10,000 fans attending the May 1 game at 1:20 p.m. CT vs. the Brewers will receive a Wrigley Field Football presented by Wintrust Community Banks. Beginning in the 7th inning, fans can visit the Cubs Store across from Wrigley Field to inflate the football after they depart the ballpark.
Wintrust is rallying Cubs fans to support Cubs Charities and beat the rival White Sox in the process through its “You Decide” crosstown campaign. For each fan who opens a Wintrust Cubs checking account, Wintrust will donate $25 to Cubs Charities. Fans also can participate in the competition by tweeting with the #DecideCubs hashtag. With each use, Wintrust will donate 25 cents to Cubs Charities. Wintrust will donate an additional $25,000 to the charity of the team whose fans open the most accounts. Fans may visit http://www.wintrust.com/youdecide to participate.
On May 3, the first 1,000 kids 13-and-under can run the bases post-game, weather permitting, as part of the team’s ongoing Kids Sundays at Wrigley Field.
The Reds saluted the 1990 World Champion team on Saturday in a pre-game ceremony, but manager Lou Piniella was unable to attend. Piniella, 71, did send a hand-written letter to the team and its fans, which was read:
“Dear Players and Fans,
“My sincere apologies for not being there on this very special occasion. Needless to say Nineteen Ninety was a great year in Reds baseball history. Unfortunately, our nephew whom we are very close to is getting married this weekend in Key West. This trip has been planned by our family for a very long time. Naturally I am disappointed that I can’t be there to share in your joy reliving all those wonderful moments that made that season so amazing.
“To the players, you are very special to me, and I want to thank you again for your dedication, your professionalism and your commitment to winning.
“To the coaches and the entire organization, thank you so much for a job well done. We could not have done it without you.
“And to the fans .. what would a team be without support, your encouragement, your love. Thank you for all of that and a lot more. Please enjoy this wonderful tribute … and even though I’m not present my heart will be with you.
* The Reds went 91-71 in 1990 to win the National League West, and swept the Athletics in the World Series that year.
— Carrie Muskat
Last year, the Cubs were 0-79 when trailing in the ninth inning. In the first eight games this season, they’ve already won four games in their last at-bat, including Tuesday’s 9-8 come from behind win over the Pirates.
“Talking with [Chris] Coghlan, [we said] we wouldn’t win that game last year or the year before,” Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. “We quit [last year]. If we were losing after seven innings, we quit. Now, we never quit. If we get extra innings, we play hard, we never quit.”
The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth off Pirates closer Mark Melancon, with Castro delivering a two-run single. The Cubs shortstop finished with four RBIs.
“Right now, he is engaged,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Castro. “He is engaged on every pitch offensively and defensively. When he did not get it done early in the game, he was upset with himself. He’s totally invested right now. It’s really fun to watch.”
Castro is batting .352 in the first 13 games, and finally playing for a team with a winning record. The Cubs have finished fifth in his first five seasons in the big leagues.
“This is the time I’ve waited for,” Castro said. “I put in my mind, every day you can’t be good, but you try 100 percent. This is the moment I’ve waited for in my life.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs considered how Addison Russell was hitting, how he performed this spring, how the big league team needed help at second base. But manager Joe Maddon looked at another element of Russell’s game.
“When you’re going to possibly promote somebody like him with limited experience, you have to look at the person,” Maddon said Tuesday prior to Russell’s Major League debut with the Cubs. “Do you think the guy can handle it? I’m not worried about him handling success — how can he handle failure?
“I think he can and we think he can,” Maddon said. “It may appear premature to some, but it’s only done because you think he can deal with it. Part of it is need right now and we do think he can handle it right now. The fact that he’s been a quick study at second base helps.”
Russell arrived at PNC Park a little surprised at getting the news from Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey.
“I went to Triple-A with the mindset that I’m going to finish out at Triple-A,” said Russell, who has played 14 games at the Triple-A level. “I’m excited. I think this is a good thing for me and it’s going to push me and I’m looking forward to it.”
Russell is now the youngest active player in the National League at 21 years 88 days, beating the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (22 years 187 days). The youngest active players in the Majors are Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Both are 20 years old.
“I just like playing this game,” Russell said. “I’m here for a reason.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs made it official, selecting the contract of infielder Addison Russell from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday and optioning infielder Arismendy Alcantara to the Minor League team.
Russell was batting .318 in 11 games at Triple-A Iowa with four doubles and one home run. He played five games at second and six games at shortstop.
To make room on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, third baseman Mike Olt was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Olt has a hairline fracture in his right wrist.
Russell, who was starting at second base and batting ninth Tuesday, is now the youngest active player in the National League at 21 years 88 days. The Nationals’ Bryce Harper was the youngest active player (22 years 187 days) in the NL. The youngest active players in the Majors are Blue Jays pitchers Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro. Both are 20 years old.
In the first game of a doubleheader on Monday, Russell broke up Scott Baker’s perfect game with a single in the seventh for Iowa, and then went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the second game.
Alcantara, 23, who made the Opening Day roster this year for the first time in his young career, was 2-for-26 in 11 games with the Cubs.
— Carrie Muskat
Addison Russell will make his Major League debut Tuesday night when the Cubs face the PIrates at PNC Park. Russell will play second and bat ninth. He had played five games at second base at Triple-A Iowa this year, including both games of a doubleheader on Monday. Here’s the lineup:
T. Wood P