Javier Baez is Better Than You (VIDEO)

Big spot?  Check.

Big play?  Check.

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Abbreviated Hammel Strong in Victory

Cubs 8-2

Full Box Score

Once again Jason Hammel was brilliant in six innings of work for the Cubs as they held on to beat the Marlins 3-2.  Hammel thought he could have went longer, which is usually the case as he only threw 80 pitches before being lifted for Miguel Montero in the bottom of the 6th (Montero failed).  The strike zone was getting worn out by Hammel who finished the night throwing 52 strikes, and just 28 balls.  Joe Maddon felt it necessary to pull Hammel in favor of Montero to try and capitalize on a scoring chance against Jose Fernandez, it didn’t work out.

Pedro Strop was ineffective but his stuff was pretty darn good to this uneducated baseball watcher.  Strop gave up two runs, only one of them was earned as he was charged with an error on a botched double play ball.  It looked like there was a lack of communication between Zobrist and Russell on the play, shortly after that a ball ricocheted off of Strop and into right field for single to score the second run, just odd.  Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman shut the door in the eighth and the ninth to secure the victory.  Dexter Fowler was in the middle of it all as usual at the plate, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Willson Contreras also had a stellar night against one of the best in Fernandez, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI.  The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow behind John Lackey, and the Cardinals lost so the NL Central lead swells to nine games.

Cubs 8-2 box

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Cubs Roll Behind Stellar Hendricks

Cubs 8-2

Full Box Score

  Early on in this one it looked like the Cubs were going to fall back into their familiar, troubling ways as they put two guys in scoring position with one out in the first only to see Javier Baez foul out.  Then Addison Russell, as he has done for the better part of the last two months, came up with a huge two run single to give Kyle Hendricks more than enough in this one.  Hendricks was dominate as he went the distance against the Marlins for his tenth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.22, that’s an elite level right there.  Joe Maddon needed a big effort from his starter, and allowed him to get there as Hendricks tossed 123 pitches which is a career high by quite a bit.

   The Cubs had hits up and down the lineup but once again struggled to cash in as they left nine guys on base in the first four innings which is almost impossible.  Hendricks came up big this time with the bat as he laced a one out RBI single in the fifth to push the Cubs lead to three, and they never looked back.  Anthony Rizzo also had a huge night at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double, a triple, a walk, and a run scored.  The win is the Cubs’ second straight and fifth in their last six on this home-stand which continues tonight against the Marlins.

Cubs 8-2 box

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Weird Things Happened Last Night and the Cubs Won (VIDEO)

It might come as a surprise to you, especially if you checked out of the Cubs game early last night because like me, you had to get up for work in the morning.  Well, I stuck it out to the end, and I’m tired, but I’m also glad that I got to see whatever that was last night.  The Cubs trailed 6-0 early to the Mariners and for the first time in what seems like forever they came all the way back to notch their biggest win of 2016, so far.  The game featured five different players playing left field, one of said players was a pitcher who also made a tremendous catch at the wall.  The Cubs tied the game in the ninth, scoring their third run of the inning on a wild pitch and walked off in the twelfth on a safety squeeze from Jon Lester, of course.

Here is some of the video from last night, a huge win for the Cubs.

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Trade Deadline Day, 2016 (Live Updates)

Gleyber-Torres
Welcome to deadline day, the MLB non waiver deadline is 3:00 PM CST, so we are pretty much right up against it now.  The Cubs have already made their big splash in acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees for Gleyber Torres among others.  Indications are that the Cubs are done, but you never know with how things shake out towards the end of the day.  Keep it here for updates from around the league all day!

7:03 AM —  Jay Bruce is a popular guy right about now.  Multiple reports from sources around baseball have mentioned a handful of teams as a possible destination for Bruce today.  Bob Nightengale mentions that the Reds have found a match for Bruce, he goes on to identify that the Dodgers are not that team, and the Giants and Mets seem to be the likely destination.

Jon Heyman also mentions those two teams as possible spots for Bruce, as well as the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal also brings up the Giants, Dodgers, and Mets but throws the Rangers and Blue Jays into the mix as well.  If I had to guess, I would think that the Giants are going to go all in for Bruce especially after missing out on Mark Melancon.  They need to make an impact, and have been struggling since the all-star break, seeing their lead in the NL West shrink to just two games.

7:13 AM —  The Cubs still could be in the market for another arm, and there have been links to the Tampa Bay Rays as of late.  I know everyone wants Chris Archer, but it seems the most likely guy would be Matt Moore.  Bruce Miles chimed in earlier on twitter about just this thing.  Another team that will be hard after Matt Moore is the San Francisco Giants, see the note above about needing to make a move to bolster their lineup.

7:25 AM —  The Chris Sale saga continues to unfold, or doesn’t I guess.  I still don’t think the White Sox have the mentality needed to pull a deal like this off.  Two teams in particular have a a bounty of prospects lined up ready to be shipped to Chicago, the Rangers, and the Red Sox.  There are plenty of reasons for the White Sox to hang on to Sale, he’s an ace, he’s controllable (in terms of contract), he’s relatively cheap, etc.  The reason the Sox would think about moving him is as their GM has said, they are mired in mediocrity, and this would be a tremendous jump start to their rebuilding process that they have not committed to for the last decade or so.

7:48 AM —  Ken Rosenthal reports this morning that the Cubs are still looking for that controllable arm, and do not want to overpay for a left-handed hitting outfielder.  Still expecting Soler back soon, and that would provide a lift, the obvious name that Ken is hinting at is Josh Reddick.

8:18 AM —  Jon Morosi reports this morning that the Mets are still engaged with the Reds about Bruce.

9:01 AM —  Jeff Passan jumps into the fray with some big news regarding Jay Bruce, he sees the Mets as the favorites to land Bruce.  The usual suspects are still there in the Rangers and the Giants, I could definitely seeing a team get desperate and overpay for the left handed slugger.

9:06 AM — Bob Dutton is reporting on twitter that the Mariners are “closing in” on a deal to get Zack Cozart from the Reds.  He also cautions that a deal is not done yet, but there appears to be smoke building on this one.

9:14 AM —  Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Brewers might have to “lower their expectations” to get a deal done today.  I’ll say, after dealing Lucroy to the Indians yesterday, and having Lucroy veto the trade is a blow to the Brewers and their leverage to get a deal done.  If anything it could hurt the return and now Crasnick is hinting at just that, Brewers can’t be happy.

9:31 AM —  Chris Cotillo now reporting that the Giants are long shots to land Jay Bruce.  Bob Nightengale mentions that the Red Sox had discussions with the White Sox last night about Chris Sale.  If Sale is moved (see my note above), the Red Sox or Dodgers are the likely landing spot.  Those teams are so stacked when it comes to the minor league system, super interested to see what kind of deals they are putting together.

10:01 AM —  Evan Grant is reporting that the Rangers have offered up Joey Gallo in a deal for Lucroy.  Not enough for Milwaukee as they would still prefer an arm in the deal, as well as Gallo.

10:47 AM — The Red Sox are leading the charge for Chris Sale per Rosenthal, not really sure how serious that charge is, but it seems likely that if Sale is traded that it will be to the Red Sox.

10:52 AM —  Mark Gonzales is reporting that Brian Matusz will indeed be released by the Cubs today, opens a spot if the Cubs want to make a deal today.  Not sure the two are related, but there is that option now.

11:35 AM —  Buster Olney finally has some news for us today, the Mets are “on the verge” of acquiring Jay Bruce from the Reds.  Tim Brown adds to the report saying that Brandon Nimmo will be part of the package going back to the Reds.

11:41 AM — Jon Morosi reporting on Twitter that if the Jay Bruce to the Mets trade is official, then Josh Reddick has a good chance to move to the Dodgers or Cubs, stay tuned.

11:42 AM — Rosenthal reports that Rich Hill and the A’s could not come to terms on an extension, the thought is that Hill will be traded.  The Cubs have had their on Hill a little bit.

11:46 AM —  The White Sox want Yasiel Puig in any deal with the Dodgers, presumably these talks center around a pitcher going to LA per Olney.

TRADE — 12:29 PM —  Mets acquire Jay Bruce from the Reds in exchange for Brandon Nimmo, and two minor league prospects. – Heyman

TRADE —  12:30 PM —  The Dodgers have landed BOTH Josh Reddick, and Rich Hill from the A’s in exchange for Frankie Montez, Grant Holmes, and Jharel Cotton. – Rosenthal

12:32 PM — Cubs are talking to the Angels about Joe Smith per Rosenthal.

TRADE — 12:38 PM — Red Sox acquire Fernando Abad from the Twins for Pat Light per Heyman.

1:01 PMCrasnick and Nightengale are both reporting that there is a medical issue holding up the Bruce to the Mets deal.  The issue is with one of the minor leaguers in the deal, not Bruce.

TRADE — 1:45 PM — The Giants have acquired Will Smith from the Brewers for Phil Bickford, and Andrew Susac.  Per Jon Heyman.

TRADE — 1:51 PM —  The Indians have acquired Brandon Guyer from the Rays in exchange for Nathan Lukes.  Mark Topkin reports on Twitter.

TRADE — 1:55 PM —  The Rangers have acquired Carlos Beltran from the Yankees for Dillion Tate per Ken Rosenthal.  Evan Grant is reporting that there is an additional player involved.

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First Half Fun: Arrieta Dominates on Opening Day (VIDEO)

We have no Major League baseball until Friday, so why not take a look back at an eventful first half while we wait.  First up, Jake Arrieta dominates the Angels on Opening Night to start 2016 the right way.

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Eloy Jimenez Will Haunt Your Dreams (VIDEOs)

He’s 19.

Eloy Jimenez owned the MLB Futures Game tonight, first he did it with the glove, then he eviscerated a baseball, and it was fun.

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Almora Jr. Wins it for the Cubs! (VIDEO)

Albert Almora Jr. has been in the big leagues for just about a week and a half, tonight he came up with the biggest hit of his career, a game winning double in the ninth.

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Eloy Jimenez Smacks Two Homers (VIDEO)

Eloy Jimenez is doing some pretty remarkable things as a 19 year old for the South Bend Cubs. He cracked two homers yesterday, here is video of the second one.

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Massive 2015 Cubs Draft Update (Stats, VIDEO)

Ian Happ Cubs

We are now about a month into the season, seems like a great time to take an early look back at the 2015 draft and how those players are performing in their first full professional season.

Ian Happ – OF/2B (1st Round Draft Pick, 9th Overall, 21 Years Old)
Ian Happ

Donnie Dewees – OF (2nd Round Draft Pick, 47th Overall, 22 Years Old)
Donnie Dewees

Bryan Hudson – LHP (3rd Round Draft Pick, 82nd Overall, 18 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

D.J. Wilson – OF (4th Round Draft Pick, 113th Overall, 19 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Ryan Kellogg – LHP (5th Round Draft Pick, 143rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Ryan Kellogg

David Berg – RHP (6th Round Draft Pick, 173rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
David Berg

Craig Brooks – RHP (7th Round Draft Pick, 203rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
Craig Brooks

Preston Morrison – RHP (8th Round Draft Pick, 233rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Preston Morrison

Tyler Peitzmeier – LHP (9th Round Draft Pick, 263rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Vimael Machin – SS (10th Round Draft Pick, 293rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Matt Rose – 3B (11th Round Draft Pick, 323rd Overall, 21 Years Old)
Matt Rose

P.J. Higgins – 2B (12th Round Draft Pick, 353rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
PJ Higgins

Kyle Twomey – LHP (13th Round Draft Pick, 383rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Kyle Twomey

Scott Effross – RHP (15th Round Draft Pick, 443rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Scott Effross

Michael Foster – CF (16th Round Draft Pick, 473rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Casey Bloomquist – RHP (17th Round Draft Pick, 503rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Casey Bloomquist

Kyle Miller – RHP (19th Round Draft Pick, 563rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Kyle Miller

Blake Headley – 3B (20th Round Draft Pick, 593rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Jared Cheek – RHP (21st Round Draft Pick, 623rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Alex Bautista – OF (22nd Round Draft Pick, 653rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

 John Williamson – LHP (23rd Round Draft Pick, 683rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
John Williamson

Sutton Whiting – SS (24th Round Draft Pick, 713th Overall, 23 Years Old)
Sutton Whiting

Marcus Mastrobuoni – C (25th Round Draft Pick, 743rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Angelo Amendolare – 2B (27th Round Draft Pick, 803rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
No longer with Organization

Ian Rice – C (29th Round Draft Pick, 863rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Ian Rice

Tyler Payne – C (30th Round Draft Pick, 893rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Daniel Spingola – OF (31st Round Draft Pick, 923rd Overall, 23 Years Old)
Daniel Spingola

M.T. Minacci – RHP (33rd Round Draft Pick, 983rd Overall, 20 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Donnie Cimino – OF (37th Round Draft Pick, 1103rd Overall, 22 Years Old)
Has not played in 2016 yet

Most of the players that have the “has not played in 2016 yet” note will start up in June with the Eugene Emeralds, or play in the Arizona Rookie League.  Ian Happ, and Donnie Dewees appear to be living up to their draft status as they have both started 2016 very well, the production from Happ has been impressive, and Dewees is racking up the total bases without hitting a dinger.  The trio of pitchers taken in the top 10 rounds are finding success in the early going, all three (Kellogg, Berg, and Brooks) have been awfully impressive.  It will be fun to check back in on this list down the road once all the teams get their season going, and also see the progress these guy make throughout the year.

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