Archive for the ‘ Vine Line ’ Category

Cubs Ninth Homestand Events and Promotions: 8/9/16-8/18/16

Odenkirk(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Chicago Cubs kick off a 10-game homestand vs. the Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers Aug. 9-18 at Wrigley Field. The schedule includes a doubleheader vs. Milwaukee Aug. 16 to make up for the April 27 postponement due to inclement weather.

Seven of the 10 games this homestand include a promotional giveaway, including the continuation of Bud Fridays in the Budweiser Bleachers and Kids Sundays.

Ticket availability is limited. Fans can purchase tickets at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). Highlights of the homestand follow.

Promotions
Up to the first 10,000 fans attending the game Wednesday, Aug. 10, will receive a Cubs Everything Pouch presented by Olivet Nazarene University.

Bud Fridays continue Aug. 12 with up to the first 5,000 Budweiser Bleacher guests age 21-and-older receiving a Bud Fridays Cubs Fedora.

On Saturday, Aug. 13, up to the first 5,000 kids 13-and-younger will receive a Youth Sun Safety Shirt presented by Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation (PSPF), Advocate Children’s Hospital and Mott 50.

Kids Sundays continue Aug. 14 with the first 5,000 kids 13-and-younger receiving a Clark Hat presented by Velveeta.

For the second game of the doubleheader Tuesday, Aug. 16, up to the first 10,000 fans will receive a Joe Maddon “Manager of the Year” Award Bobblehead presented by Benjamin Moore.

Up to the first 10,000 fans will receive a Cubs Beach Tote Bag presented by Las Vegas Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The homestand concludes Thursday, Aug. 18, with up to the first 10,000 fans age 21-and-older receiving a Cubs Floppy Hat presented by RumChata.

Food Specials
Hot Doug’s continues its rotating sausage selections at Platform 14 in the Budweiser Bleachers. The Go Tweedie Go is a ribeye steak sausage with horseradish cream and blue cheese. The Mike Bielecki is a pepper and onion pork sausage with marinara and fresh mozzarella cheese. The Carmen Fanzone is a Vienna Beef spicy polish sausage with spicy brown mustard and caramelized onions.

Wrigley Field’s Decade Diner continues its rotating homestand specials as well. The Turkey Reuben features sliced turkey breast, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and house-made Louie dressing on toasted marble rye bread served with french fries. Gilbert’s Beef and Cheddar Sausage includes a smoked beef sausage with cheddar cheese topped with mac and cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and barbecue sauce on a sausage roll served with french fries.

“Let’s Give” Cubs Charities Events
On Friday, Aug. 12, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue his “Respect Community” postgame press conference charity T-shirt initiative by representing Chicago Scholars. Cubs Charities has partnered with Chicago Scholars, an established mentoring program serving inner-city children, as part of the Cubs Scholars Signature Program. Students in the Chicago Scholars college preparation program have a 95 percent college graduation rate. The program includes seminars, workshops and mentoring designed to prepare each student for college success. Importantly, Chicago Scholars tracks students and offers established curriculum for measuring success and keeping students on track toward college graduation. Cubs Scholars will continue participating in Chicago Scholars’ program throughout their four years of college to maximize their chances for college graduation.

Homestand Recap, Aug. 9-18
Tuesday, Aug. 9, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Angels, 7:05 p.m.

  • First pitch: PGA golfer and Chicagoland resident Luke Donald
  • National anthem: Classical Blast
  • Broadcast: WGN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Aug. 10, Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Angels, 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Everything Pouch presented by Olivet Nazarene University, up to the first 10,000 fans
  • First pitch: Chicago-native TV host Chris Jacobs from Overhaulin’ and Barrett-Jackson Live on Velocity
  • National anthem: Wayne Messmer
  • Broadcast: CSN+, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Thursday, Aug. 11, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:05 p.m.

  • First pitch: Chicago-native actress Ta’Rhonda Jones from Empire on FOX
  • National anthem: Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee Melba Moore
  • Broadcast: CSN, MLB Network, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Friday, Aug. 12, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Bud Fridays Cubs Fedora, up to the first 5,000 Budweiser Bleacher guests age 21-and-older
  • First pitch: Chicagoland-native actor Bob Odenkirk from Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad
  • National anthem: Wayne Messmer
  • Broadcast: ABC 7, MLB Network, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Saturday, Aug. 13, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Youth Sun Safety Shirt presented by Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation (PSPF), Advocate Children’s Hospital and Mott 50, up to the first 5,000 kids 13-and-younger
  • National anthem: John Vincent
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Former Notre Dame men’s basketball coach and college basketball analyst Digger Phelps
  • Broadcast: ABC 7, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Sunday, Aug. 14, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 7:08 p.m.

  • Promotion: Clark Hat presented by Velveeta, up to the first 5,000 kids 13-and-younger
  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: Northwestern men’s basketball coach Chris Collins
  • National anthem: Wayne and Kathleen Messmer
  • Broadcast: ESPN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Aug. 16, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers (first game of doubleheader), 12:20 p.m.

  • National anthem: Andrew Jackson Language Academy
  • Broadcast: WGN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Aug. 16, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers (second game of doubleheader) 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Joe Maddon “Manager of the Year” Award Bobblehead presented by Benjamin Moore, up to the first 10,000 fans
  • First pitch: Rock band Chevelle
  • National anthem: Scott Kemper
  • Broadcast: WPWR, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Aug. 17, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Beach Tote Bag presented by Las Vegas, up to the first 10,000 fans
  • First pitch: NASA astronaut Steve Bowen
  • National anthem: Hannah Huston, competitor on The Voice
  • Broadcast: CSN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Thursday, Aug. 18, Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Floppy Hat presented by RumChata, up to the first 10,000 fans age 21-and-older
  • National anthem: Wayne Messmer, with Navy Seals jump landing at Wrigley Field
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Navy Seals Jump Team
  • Broadcast: CSN, 670 The Score, Cubs.com

Cubs place RHP Hammel on Bereavement List, recall RHP Grimm

Grimm(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Chicago Cubs today placed right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel on the bereavement list and recalled right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm from Triple-A Iowa.

Grimm will be available for the Cubs this afternoon as they conclude their three-game series against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field.

The 27-year-old Grimm has no record and a 4.72 ERA (18 ER/34.1 IP) in 45 relief appearances with the Cubs this season. He has 38 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched, an average of 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings, while limiting opponents to a .235 batting average, including a .200 mark by right-handed hitters. Grimm had spent the entire season with the Cubs prior to being optioned to Triple-A following the game Saturday. He made one relief appearance for Iowa on Monday in Omaha, striking out three batters in a scoreless ninth inning.

Hammel, 33, is 11-5 with a 3.07 ERA (41 ER/120.1 IP) in 21 starts with the Cubs this season.

Cubs Lineup: 8/3/16 vs. Marlins

Cubs vs. Marlins — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 1:20 CST
Cubs Starter: John Lackey, rhp (8-7, 3.69 ERA)
Marlins Starter: Tom Koehler, rhp (8-8, 4.18 ERA)
TV: CSN, MLB Network (out-of-network only); Radio: 670 The Score

1. Dexter Fowler, cf
2. Kris Bryant, 3b
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
4. Ben Zobrist, 2b
5. Willson Contreras, lf
6. Jason Heyward, rf
7. Miguel Montero, c
8. Javy Baez, ss
9. John Lackey, p

The Cubs add righty Joe Smith to the active roster

Joe-Smith(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty)

The Chicago Cubs today added right-handed pitcher Joe Smith to the 25-man roster. Right-hander Spencer Patton has been optioned to Triple-A. Smith, who will wear uniform No. 30, will be available for the Cubs tonight as they continue their three-game series against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field.

The 32-year-old Smith was acquired yesterday from the Los Angeles Angels for minor-league right-hander Jesus Castillo. He is 40-27 with a 2.94 ERA (182 ER/556.1 IP) in 623 major-league relief appearances covering the last 10 seasons with the New York Mets (2007-08), Cleveland Indians (2009-13) and Los Angeles Angels (2014-16).  Smith has reached 70 relief outings in each of the last five seasons and has pitched in both closing and set-up situations in the last three years, totaling 26 saves and 56 holds since the start of the 2014 campaign.

In his career, Smith has limited foes to a .226 batting average and .306 on-base percentage while allowing only 0.60 home runs per nine innings, contributing to a .326 career slugging percentage against. He has limited right-handed hitters to a career .214 batting average against.

Smith is 1-4 with six holds, six saves and a 3.82 ERA (16 ER/37.2 IP) in 38 relief appearances with the Angels this season. In his last 17 outings starting May 23, he has pitched to a 2.87 ERA (5 ER/15.2 IP).

Patton, 28, is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA (7 ER/12.1 IP) in nine big-league outings this season and has gone 1-0 with eight saves and a 0.90 ERA (3 ER/30.0 IP) in 29 relief appearances.

Cubs Minor League Report: 8/1/16

All four affiliates in action picked up victories on Monday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor-league Cubs action.

Iowa Cubs (47-63)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Fourth Place (-16.0)

Iowa batters collected seven extra-base hits and went 7 for 13 with runners in scoring position en route to a 13-0 rout over Omaha.

  • LHP Rob Zastryzny (4.37 ERA) threw five perfect innings while striking out eight. He has allowed only two hits and two earned runs over his last three appearances (11 IP).
  • RF Juan Perez (.281) was 3 for 5 with a double (23), a grand slam (8), five RBI (46) and a run scored.
  • SS-LF Kristopher Negron (.238) went 1 for 4 with a three-run homer. Overall, he had four RBI (34), two runs scored and a walk.
  • CF John Andreoli (.253) and DH Taylor Davis (.259) both collected three hits.
  • 1B Cael Brockmeyer (.210) and 3B Jeimer Candelario (.303) each had two-hit games. Brockmeyer had two doubles (4) and two runs, while Candelario added a double (12), a homer, two RBI (26) and a run.
  • RHP Justin Grimm (1 IP, 1 H, 3 SO) made his first appearance since being optioned.

Tennessee Smokies (15-22)
Southern League (Double-A)
Fourth Place (-6.0)

The Smokies scored all three of their runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Birmingham, 3-2.

  • LF Jorge Soler (.087) was 0 for 4 with a walk in his ninth rehab game.
  • SS Carlos Penalver (.201) went 2 for 4 with a double (15), an RBI (27) and a run.
  • 2B Chesny Young (.288) was 1 for 5 with a double (15) and an RBI (23). He has a hit in 24 of his last 29 games.
  • C Victor Caratini (.292), DH David Freitas (.304) and 3B Gioskar Amaya (.167) each had multi-hit games.
  • RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (3.06 ERA) has allowed two or fewer runs in four-consecutive starts. He is 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA (6 ER/23 IP) over the stretch.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (21-17)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach used a seventh-inning rally to defeat host Frederick, 5-4.

  • CF Donnie Dewees (.407) was 2 for 4 with a double (3), two RBI (5), two runs scored and two stolen bases (6). He has a hit in six of his seven games with Myrtle Beach.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.245) tripled (4), scored a run, walked and recorded a stolen base (22).
  • 3B Jesse Hodges (.314) added a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4. It extended his hitting streak to seven straight games (.407/11 for 27).
  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.225) finished 1 for 4 with a double (9) and an RBI (27).

South Bend Cubs (24-13)
Midwest League (Single-A)
First Place (+0.5)

South Bend and Great Lakes both had seven hits but the SB-Cubs prevailed, 5-1.

  • LF Eloy Jimenez (.342) finished 2 for 5 with two doubles (35) and two RBI (72). His 72 RBI are nine more than the next-closest Midwest League batter. He also extended his hitting streak to eight games (.567/17 for 30).
  • RF Eddy Martinez (.272) was 2 for 4 with an RBI (59) and a walk.
  • 1B Alberto Mineo (.354) reached base three times, going 1 for 3 with two walks. He also scored twice.
  • LHP Justin Steele is 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA (7 ER/17.2 IP) over five starts since rejoining South Bend from Eugene after pitching five scoreless innings Monday. He struck out seven in the win.

Hot off the Presses: The August issue with Hector Rondon and the John Baker Game

1608Cover

I have to admit: The first time I encountered John Baker, I didn’t know what to make of him. Or exactly who he was, for that matter.

The journeyman backup catcher, who spent parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, was in camp with the Cubs during Spring Training in 2014. I was only in Arizona for a few days, and the organization had just unveiled its new Sloan Park facility, so I spent the majority of my time exploring the flashy new digs and tracking down established players like Jake Arrieta, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija.

Still, it was hard to miss Baker. The floppy-haired, good-natured veteran seemed to be in the middle of any clubhouse antics and deftly bridged the gaps between player cliques—whether he was strumming his guitar or passing out Chicago skyline socks to the team (which, frankly, I’ve always regretted not purchasing at the time). Once I finally figured out who he was, and despite the fact that he seemed like an interesting fellow, I figured, “Well, everyone carries extra catchers in the spring to handle the workload. He’ll never break camp with the club.”

Of course, the then-33-year-old went on to spend the entire season with the Cubs, becoming a leader in the clubhouse and a folk hero in these parts for his one-man rain delay concerts and that remarkable late-July game, which he recounts for us in this issue. He’s now moved into the Cubs front office, but he’ll never forget what the marathon contest, in which he pitched one inning and scored the winning run in the longest game in Wrigley Field history, meant to his career.

The 2014 season, in hindsight, was also the turning point for a rapidly improving franchise. After dropping 96 games in 2013, the club improved in 2014, going 33-35 in the second half. These weren’t optimal results, but you could feel the tide shifting. This was before the organization made splashy free-agent moves to pick up players like Jon Lester, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist; before mastermind Joe Maddon graced the dugout steps; and before top draft picks like Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber progressed to Wrigley Field.

But there was something different about that team. They were tired of losing, they were oddly confident, and they were—for the first time in years—having fun. Much of this was due to a series of shrewd acquisitions most people don’t talk about anymore. Baker was certainly one of them. It helps backup catchers find and retain employment if they can both motivate young players and keep things light off the field. Baker had those qualities in spades, and he became part of a changing clubhouse culture in Chicago.

In addition, some of the Cubs’ foundational players were coming into focus. Rizzo was developing into a bona fide star, Arrieta was starting to prove he was something special, Kyle Hendricks was turning heads with his stellar second-half work, and a little-known Rule 5 pick out of Cleveland named Hector Rondon was morphing into a workhorse power reliever.

This month, we examine the development of Rondon, the former top starting prospect, turned Indians castoff, turned Cubs diamond-in-the-rough, turned dominant back-end reliever. It’s unusual for a Rule 5 pick to pan out at all—he has to stick on the major-league roster of the team that selected him for a full season or be returned to his previous club—much less turn into an impact player on a playoff-caliber team.

We also look at the other factor that has turned the once-moribund Cubs into a powerhouse—the MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 2016 event, however, was much different from the previous years’, with the Cubs not making their first selection until the third round. We talk to Senior Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod about this year’s draft and the development of the organization since he came aboard.

All the fruits of the Cubs’ labors have been on display this season. We’re there for every draft pick, trade, win and loss. Find us in print, here and on Twitter at @cubsvineline.

Let’s go!

—Gary Cohen

Cubs Lineup: 8/2/16 vs. Marlins

Cubs vs. Marlins — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jason Hammel, rhp (10-5, 3.23 ERA)
Marlins Starter: Jose Fernandez, rhp (12-5, 2.79 ERA)
TV: CSN+; Radio: 670 The Score

1. Dexter Fowler, cf
2. Willson Contreras, c
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
4. Ben Zobrist, 2b
5. Jason Heyward, rf
6. Addison Russell, ss
7. Chris Coghlan, lf
8. Javy Baez, 3b
9. Jason Hammel, p

Cubs Lineup: 8/1/16 vs. Marlins

Cubs vs. Marlins — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Kyle Hendricks, rhp (9-7, 2.39 ERA)
Marlins Starter: Adam Conley, lhp (7-5, 3.38 ERA)
TV: WGN; Radio: 670 The Score

1. Dexter Fowler, cf
2. Kris Bryant, 3b
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
4. Javy Baez, 2b
5. Addison Russell, ss
6. Jason Heyward, rf
7. Willson Contreras, c
8. Matt Szczur, lf
9. Kyle Hendricks, p

Cubs Minor League Report: 7/31/16

Iowa, Myrtle Beach, South Bend and Eugene all racked up victories Sunday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor-league Cubs action.

Iowa Cubs (46-63)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Fourth Place (-17.0)

Iowa scored four runs in the first and added three more in the eighth, topping Omaha, 8-3.

  • CF Albert Almora Jr. (.320) went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI (35). He is 11 for 33 (.333) with five runs scored in seven games since returning to Iowa.
  • RF Juan Perez (.276) finished 2 for 4 with a walk, a run scored, an RBI (41) and two stolen bases (14). He extended his hitting streak to 10 games (.412/14 for 34).
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.299) and SS Munenori Kawasaki (.276) each walked twice, collected a hit and scored two runs.
  • RHP Armando Rivero (2 IP, 1 H, 5 SO) struck out five batters in two scoreless innings of relief.

Tennessee Smokies (14-21)
Southern League (Double-A)
Fifth Place (-6.5)

The Smokies outhit Birmingham, but dropped the game, 6-2.

  • 2B Ian Happ (.285) was 2 for 5 with a double (10) and a run scored.
  • 1B David Freitas (.298) went 2 for 4 with an RBI (22). He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
  • LF Kelly Dugan (.209) finished 2 for 4 with a stolen base (1), his first multi-hit game since July 12.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (20-17)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach collected 12 hits in a 3-1 victory over host Salem.

  • RHP Jeremy Null (4.89 ERA) gave up one earned run in six innings of work to pick up the win. He struck out three batters.
  • 2B Bryant Flete (.522) continued his hot start with Myrtle Beach, going 3 for 4 with a two-run homer (1) and a walk. He has gone 12 for 23 in his first six games with the club and is riding an 18-game hitting streak (.431/28 for 65) spanning his last 12 games with South Bend.
  • 1B David Bote (.320) went 2 for 5 with two doubles (13). He is 5 for 9 in his last two games.
  • DH Yasiel Balaguert (.252) finished 2 for 5 with a run scored, his third straight multi-hit game.
  • SS Andrew Ely (.217) was 2 for 3 with a walk.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.245) finished 1 for 5 with a leadoff homer (9) in the first inning.

South Bend Cubs (23-13)
Midwest League (Single-A)
First Place (+0.5)

South Bend improved to 23-13 in the second half, winning a pitcher’s duel over Great Lakes, 2-1.

  • RHP Adbert Alzolay (4.58 ERA) recorded his longest scoreless outing of the season, allowing just five hits and one walk in six innings to secure the win. He also fanned seven batters.
  • RF Eddy Martinez (.269) went 2 for 4, extending his hitting streak to five games (.368/7 for 19).
  • C P.J. Higgins (.274) was 1 for 3 with a double (23), a walk and a run scored.
  • DH Alberto Mineo (.356) went 1 for 2 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI (13). He has scored a run in six straight games.
  • LF Eloy Jimenez (.342) drove in his team-leading 70th RBI on the year.

Eugene Emeralds (2-4)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
Fourth Place (-4.0)

Eugene held on for a 7-6 win over host Boise, snapping a three-game losing streak.

  • CF D.J. Wilson (.243) was 4 for 4 with a double (6), an inside-the-park home run (2) and two runs scored. He has three straight games with at least three hits, going 10 for 13 (.769).
  • 3B Wladimir Galindo (.226) went 2 for 4 with a double (8), a solo homer (6), two runs scored and two RBI (19). He has scored six runs in his last four games.
  • SS Zack Short (.273) finished 2 for 4 with a triple (1), a run scored and an RBI (4).
  • LHP Wyatt Short (1 IP, 1 SO) has allowed just two hits and no earned runs in seven innings this season.

Mesa Cubs (1-3)
Arizona Rookie League
Fifth Place (-2.5)

Mesa surrendered a seven-run fourth inning in its 11-5 setback at the AZL Angels.

  • DH Yohan Matos (.242) reached twice, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • 1B Jhonny Pereda (.235) went 0 for 2 but walked twice and scored a run.
  • 3B Rafael Mejia (.207) had the team’s only extra-base hit, going 1 for 4 with a double (4) and a run scored.

Cubs Lineup: 7/31/16 vs. Mariners

Cubs vs. Mariners — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:08 CST
Cubs Starter: Brian Matusz, lhp (0-0, o.00 ERA)
Mariners Starter: Felix Hernandez, rhp (5-4, 3.45 ERA)
TV: ESPN; Radio: 670 The Score

1. Dexter Fowler, cf
2. Kris Bryant, 3b
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
4. Ben Zobrist, 2b
5. Addison Russell, ss
6. Jason Heyward, rf
7. Willson Contreras, c
8. Chris Coghlan, lf
9. Brian Matusz, p

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