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Cubs Magic Number Down to 2; Head into Showdown with Bucs

Posted on 24 September 2015 by Bob

After 152 games over the course of five and a half months, the big picture is starting to come into focus as the Cubs magic number to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 2008 is down to two. Any combination of Cubs wins and Giants losses that adds up to two will do the trick meaning the Cubs could clinch a spot by Friday at the earliest. It’s pretty incredible to see how far this team has come in just a years time and now that the payoff is on our doorstep, well it feels pretty damn good.


This team is playing very good baseball of late and despite being in third place in our division behind two teams that have already clinched postseason berths, there seems to be a consensus forming that this Cubs ball club is the one opposing teams would least like to face. Just this month alone, Chicago has taken 4 of 6 from the Cardinals and their best record in baseball, while also collecting 3 of 4 from Pittsburgh with a pivotal series looming this weekend at Wrigley.

The Cubs currently sit three games back of Pittsburgh for the top Wild Card spot and seven back of the Cardinals for the division lead. With ten to play, the division dream is slowing fading as the Cardinals would basically have to suffer a complete meltdown and the Cubs would probably need to win almost every game from here on out. Stranger things have happened but this is still far-fetched. What is not out of the question though is Pittsburgh catching the Cardinals to overtake the division lead. They remain just four games back and do face St. Louis head-to-head in the three game series early next week. So while it’s almost 99.9% certain that the Cubs will lock down the final, at-large playoff spot, the seeding is still very much wide open. The only thing that’s certain is that the NL Central currently has the three best teams in all of baseball record-wise and that it’s a damn shame they will have to beat up on each other in the first two rounds of the playoffs when anyone of them could go the distance this year.

But let’s not worry about that just yet, as the Cubs are still very much in control of their destiny. After their last off-day of the season today, the Cubs open up a three game series with the Bucs at the Confines that could go a long ways towards determining who will host the National League Wild Card game. A Cubs sweep would draw the clubs even with seven to play, while even a series win would narrow the gap enough to make this a race to the finish. Yes, it’s an exciting time to be a Cubs fan and I hope that most fans take the time to appreciate just how special a year this has been to date and we haven’t even reached the postseason yet.

Cubs Galore

Look at the multitude of successes this Cubs club has achieved so far:

*They have the de facto Rookie of the Year in Kris Bryant, who has hit 26 homers (A Cubs rookie record), 98 RBI’s (and counting), and a .276 BA.

*They have an MVP candidate in Anthony Rizzo, who in just his fifth season is the leader of the Cubs resurgence. He boasts 30 home-runs  to go with 95 RBI’s of his own. He’s batting .282 and he has been the consistent and guiding presence on a team full of youth and inexperience.

*They have a Manager of the year candidate in Joe Maddon, who has taken a club that lost almost 90 games a year ago and brought them to the brink of the postseason. He has done this with patience; he has done it with fun. He has put players in a position to succeed and used mistakes as “teachable moments” rather than public beratements. He’s used psychological tricks and magicians, philosophical quotes and zoo animals. As Cubs GM Jed Hoyer put it:

“Joe was the perfect manager for this team. He’s just got a great blend of the player-development side of managing and the ability to really use the analytics. He knows the right time to step on the gas and the right time to give guys a hug. Players love playing for him. That’s the bottom line.”

There’s no way to know how anyone else would have manged this team, or how far they could have gone under different leadership which is why we should be thankful for what we do know and what we have; a manager who is about take his team to the playoffs.

*They have done this with an influx of youth, at one point starting four rookies and at critical positions. From Kris Bryant at 3B, Jorge Soler in RF, Addison Russell at SS, and Kyle Schwarber as jack of all trades, platoon man. Each had big moments to propel this team to the heights they’ve crested today and each figures to play a large role in the future of this Cubs team. They have exceeded expectations and then some, and there are more on the way as players like Javier Baez have shown signs of improvement in their brief time since being called up.

*They have had veterans and castoffs step up and shine throughout the season. Guys like Chris Coghlan, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross,  and Starlin Castro all helped contribute, sometimes out of position and in nontraditional ways.

*Most of all, they have had Jake Arrieta, arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He is currently Major League Baseball’s only 20 game winner and owner of a sparkling 1.88 ERA. His second half has been historic and he finds himself in the thick of a Cy Young Race. This team would be nowhere near where they are now without him.  He has helped anchor a staff that has shown signs of promise throughout the year, getting better production from Jon Lester in the second half and provided rest to a bullpen that has at times been shaky except for closer Hector Rondon. He is the unquestioned Ace of this team and the Cubs will no doubt pin their Wild Card hopes to his arm.

Take a good look at that list of accomplishments and tell me how no matter what happens the next two to six weeks that this season cannot be considered a success. It has been special, it’s been fun, and it’s not over yet. Ask any Cubs fun what kind of season they want and I believe the answer would be a season just like this. So take the time to stop and smell the roses as we all know moments like these are never guaranteed. Enjoy it and appreciate that it is a year ahead of schedule. The next few weeks are just icing on the cake.

Tomorrow the quest enters it’s final stretch as Jon Lester takes the mound against the Pirates ace Gerit Cole with first pitch coming at 1:20PM CST. A win could put them in and a step closer to hosting playoff baseball on the Northside for the first time in seven years.

Let’s Go Cubs!

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Cubs Have Quiet Night at All-Star Game; Shift Focus to Upcoming Schedule

Posted on 15 July 2015 by Bob

Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant enjoyed their time in Cincinnati for the All-Star game judging from their twitter feeds. They are both loaded with tweets about how much fun they had, horsing around with other players, or getting to meet their idols. Kris Bryant shared a special moment with his father who got to pitch to him in the Home Run Derby. The game itself was rather quiet for the Cubs with Rizzo going 0 for 2 at DH and Bryant drawing a walk in his only plate appearance. The National League would end up losing the game, 6 – 3 as the American League simply did more with their opportunities. So that potential World Series Game 7 will be held in some American League Ball park this fall and with that the Cubs will turn their attention to the second half.

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 10: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs and Anthony Rizzo #44 pose for a photo with their All Star jersey's before the game against the Chicago White Sox on July 10, 2015 at  Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

The Cubs have a huge opportunity to open the second half of the season which Anthony Rizzo hinted at just before the break:

“We have a pretty good record,” Rizzo said. “The grind of our schedule is over, for the most part. We’ve just battled every series. [I’m] not saying the second half is going to be any easier, but it should be in our favor.”

Yes, the Cubs should be the favorites in a number of series after the break in facing the Braves, Reds, Phillies, Rockies, and Brewers to start. Every one of those teams has a losing record, and Milwaukee and Philadelphia are the two worst teams in all of Major League Baseball at the moment. But should be doesn’t mean the Cubs just have to show up to win as the first half has already proved. The Cubs struggled against the Brewers earlier this year so nothing is guaranteed. They will need to give it their all as the focus on what is now a very attainable goal: a playoff spot.

For a young team, that will be a big challenge, but hopefully with more games under their belts, these guys will become a more experienced and polished unit.


Next Up:

The Cubs take on the Braves in ATL on Friday July 17th. First Pitch is 6:35 PM CST.  It will be Kyle Hendricks on the mound vs. Julio Teheran for the Braves.

Let’s Go Cubs!


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Cubs Slam Tigers 12-3 as Bats Come Alive; Rebound from Shutout

Posted on 11 June 2015 by Bob

A night after being shutout 6-0 in a rare visit to Comerica Field in Detroit, the Chicago Cubs rebounded and then some jumping on the Tigers early as they raced out to 5-0 lead behind Chris Coghlan’s three-run homer in the top of the third and a pair of RBI-singles.

Yoenis Cespedes responded in kind for the Tigers, jacking a three-run shot in the sixth inning to cut the Cub’s lead in half, but the Cubs piled on in the next half-inning plating six more runs behind a combination of walks and singles, along with another three-run blast from Miguel Montero to push the lead to 12-3, which would wind up being the final.

Coghlan dinger in Detroit

It was a sweet victory given the previous night’s outcome, and a fitting end to a 5-4 road trip that saw the Cubs see-saw between bad losses and complete wins to stay five games above .500 and keep in the hunt in the Central.

“I just like the idea that we’re able to come back,” Manager Joe Maddon said after getting shut out. “The bounce after the fall. We’ve done that pretty well this year.”

Jake Arrieta pitched six innings of eight-hit ball with his only real mistake being the three-run shot he served up to Cespedes. That was good enough to pick up his sixth win of the year. On the other side, the Tigers had to throw six pitchers out there as starter Shane Green lasted only three innings after allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.

Arrieta in detroit

Despite the Tigers struggles early this season, the team has talent and for the Cubs to respond to the pounding they took on Tuesday by dishing out one of their own the following night is something to be lauded.  This season has been ebb and flow from the onset but the Cubs have managed to keep their heads above water as we inch closer to the All-Star break.  There have been bumps but it appears that you can’t keep these Cubs down for too long given that their longest losing streak is four games, something that the Detroit Tigers can’t say.

The Cubs return to the Friendly Confines tonight to face Cincinnati as the right field bleachers section will finally be opened up. Tsuyoshi Wada faces the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen in a 7:05PM CST start time.

Lets Go Cubs!




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Cubs Win

Posted on 02 June 2015 by Bob

Cubs W Flag

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Cubs Post 15-15 Record So Far: Need Pitching Help

Posted on 11 May 2015 by Bob

The Cubs dropped their third series in a row and second to Milwaukee in a week’s time, falling 3-2 on Sunday in 11 innings at Miller Park. The cause yet again was pitching, this time it was the bullpen that gave in. Starter Kyle Hendricks delivered five and 1/3 innings of five hit- shutout ball but Zac Rosscup came on in the seventh and gave up two separate solo shots to turn a 1-0 lead to a 2-1 deficit.

Sure, the Cubs battled back to tie it on Anthony Rizzo’s eighth inning double but the Cubs’ bats were effectively silenced the rest of the way and the Brewers were able to scratch out the win on Martin Maldonado’s run scoring single in the 11th inning.  This record is broken and it’s repetitive result is getting old fast. The Cubs should not be .500 right now, they should be well over and perhaps just a few games behind the Cardinals. They have simply given away too many games they had no business giving away. I’m not just talking the occasional back and forth slug fests we’ve seen that sometimes just don’t tip your way; I am talking about building a big lead only to see it unravel in the middle innings.  The Cubs need help and it’s not very clear where they are going to get it from. Of course, this issue wouldn’t be as glaring if starters were going deeper into games but that hasn’t been happening with any consistency either.

Jon Lester on the mound at wrigley

Although they finally get to play an out of division opponent for the first time in weeks tonight, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing given that they have to play the NL East-leading New York Mets, a team that is 20-11 and getting back into form after winning their last two series.  At least the Cubs get to trot out Jon Lester who appears to have righted the ship. He will face the Mets Jacob deGrom who struck out nine in his last outing vs. Baltimore.

It will be important for Lester to set the tone tonight and not take a step back. He needs to own this game and show the rest of the staff what it looks like to be an Ace. The further into this game he pitches, the better off the Cubs will be giving their bullpen some rest and taking away their ability to extend the current slide they are on. Add in the recent power displays by Kris Bryant and Addison Russell to go with the opening of the Budweiser Bleachers and the Cubs could be primed for a special night.

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 09: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs runs the bases after hitting his MLB home run during the third inning scoring three runs against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on May 09, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)


First pitch is 7:05PM CST.



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Young Cubs Hit Speed Bump; Drop Series Vs. Brewers

Posted on 04 May 2015 by Bob

The Chicago Cubs nice start to the season hit a speed bump as the calendar flipped to May 1st, dropping two out of three to the league’s worst club, the 7 – 18 Milwaukee Brewers. While some growing pains were expected, the fact that they came against the lowly Brewers who carried a 5.11 ERA on the road and hadn’t won a series all season has to be disappointing for a team overachieving to this point.  When you aren’t scoring runs, it’s awfully hard to win ball games which the Cubs found out firsthand in notching only five runs all weekend and upped their strikeout total to 222 in just 23 games, good enough to lead the NL in a stat no one wants to be first in.

The Cubs have no time to sulk as they hit the road down I-55 for a three game series against the MLB’s top team, the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that is just plain on fire right now. They have won six straight games, several in extras, and hold a 4.5 game lead over the still second-place Cubs in the division.

Hopefully these rising temperatures and the chance to take the top-dog Cardinals down a few pegs gives the Cubs a spark they desperately need right now as a few wins in St. Louis puts them right in the thick of this race, while a few loses will make their climb to the top quite a bit more arduous. “This is a good test,” right-hander Jason Hammel told MLB’s official website. “We’ve got to win these games. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. (The Cardinals) are hot and we’re going into their territory. We’ll find out what we’re made of in the series.”


Next Up:

Game time is 7:00PM CST for the Monday Night Baseball matching pitting Travis Wood against Carlos Martinez.


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Hammel, Cubs Spin Another Gem; Take Three Straight

Posted on 28 April 2015 by Bob


Hammel at Wrigley

The Chicago Cubs rode Jason Hammel into the eighth inning Monday night as he spun a four-hit, seven-strikeout performance for the Cubs third straight victory. Stretching Hammel deep into the game was just what the doctor ordered for the Cubs bullpen as they got some much needed rest. They only needed Pedro Strop for one inning as he came on to retire the side 1-2-3 and cap a masterful performance.

Bryant and Rizzo each delivered two hits and two RBI’s to propel the Cubs to a 4-0 victory as the team returns for a six game homestand at Wrigley. This one-two punch is becoming as formidable as any in the league and  a primary reason behind the team’s winning record to start the first month of the season. “We preached it in spring training — we’ve got to survive April,” Rizzo said. “We can’t put ourselves in a hole like we’ve done in years past and we’re doing a good job of coming to the park every day, playing with a lot of energy, having fun and really playing with a purpose.”

This team is on a roll and doing it against their division rivals which is always a plus. The Cubs look to keep it up tonight as Travis Wood takes the mound vs. Jeff Locke.

Tune in at 7:05PM CST.

Go Cubs Go!

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Cubs-Cards Opening Day Free Tickets Giveaway – Courtesy of

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Lou

chicago cubs win scoreboard

We are pleased to announce our first big ticket giveaway for the 2015 Chicago Cubs season at Wrigley Field.  And this is a good one.

Tickets to the Cubs home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday April 5th at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field are already sold out.  That’s not surprising, given it will be Jon Lester’s first start in a Cubs uniform at Wrigley Field in front of the excited and anxious home crowd.  Make it an ESPN Sunday Night baseball game against your hated-rival Cardinals, and it is a match-up you don’t want to miss.

Luckily, our exclusive ticket partner – — has graciously provided us with 2 tickets to the game for one lucky winner.

It is super easy to qualify for a chance to win the lucky pair of tickets.

Simply follow us on twitter @ticketchest and tweet us #FreeCubsOpeningDayTickets and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win the pair of tickets.  For those of you who are not “twitter savvy”, please feel free to enter by liking our facebook page at and look for the pinned post about the contest and leave a comment to enter.

We will randomly choose a winner from all eligible entries and notify the winner via social network used for entry on Wednesday, April 1st.  The lucky winner will be able to pick up his or her tickets at’s Wrigleyville office anytime that week leading up to the big game.

And don’t worry if you don’t win this time around. (through our exclusive ticket partner — will be conducting great ticket giveaways throughout the Cubs much-anticipated 2015 season, so keep reading our posts and following on twitter and facebook for great ways to win free cubs tickets and for other great deals on Cubs tickets this year.

Go Cubs Go!


Cubs Win!

Cubs Win!




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One Month til Opening Day as Questions and Construction Loom

Posted on 04 March 2015 by Bob

Wrigley Construction Update

One month from tomorrow the Chicago Cubs will open the Major League Baseball season at home on Sunday Night Baseball versus their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. There will be beer. There will be cheers. There will be a full house of Cubs fans overflowing with optimism. Well, not quite full as a major chunk of seats and the fans (known as Bleacher Bums) who crowd the outfield section will be noticeably absent.

While we have known this for a few months now, the Cubs announced this week that delays in construction could force the opening of the bleachers in their entirety until mid June. Walking by the stadium today, things don’t look much different to the casual observer than they did 4 months ago. A markedly cold winter bears much of the blame, leaving Bleacher Bums to shrug as alternative seats are thrust upon them with little choice.

Cubs brass understand the inconvenience but have admirably stuck to the plan which upon completion should be quite the sight to behold. It beats the alternative, such as a report today from Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney that the Cubs considered playing a full season in Milwaukee at Miller Park in order to expedite the construction, giving new meaning to the Cub’s fans taunts of “Wrigley North” at Brewer’s fans (in reference to the large attendance of Cubs fans at Miller Park when the Cubs are visiting). This plan was ultimately nixed and rightfully so as the Cubs realized that a 90 mile drive would leave many fans at home.

Instead, we focus on the imminent season and the questions that lie ahead: When will Bryant get called up? Who will catch John Lester on Opening night? How will the batting lineup shake out? Who is the Fifth starter in our rotation?

These are the questions Cubs fans have been waiting to ask in earnest since 2008 and the new season is almost upon us.

Now we get to find out some answers.

Lester & Ross

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Bleacher Construction Behind Initial Schedule; Set to Open in Early May

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Bob

Wrigley Bleachers

As most have already heard the Budweiser Bleachers will not be ready for opening day (or the first month and half of the season) due to delays in construction caused by unforeseen expansion issues and a bitterly cold December. While it was a bit optimistic to think that a project of this magnitude could be completed within a handful of months, fans have to be a bit surprised that it’s not just the opening series that will be affected with the target date for re-opening the famed section being May 11 for now. That’s 15 games and five home series for those counting at home with the possibility of more trending closer to the probable than possible as it stands now, at least in terms of having the entire Bleachers section completed.

The Cubs have offered full refunds for the affected games for Season Ticket Holders with the option of account credits or seat relocation a possibility. While this does dampen the enthusiasm generated from off season signings a bit, a big picture focus is needed to see just how beneficial this renovation will be for both the fan experience and generating revenue. A revamped bleacher section with state of the art amenities, not to mention a sound and stable infrastructure will transform one of the oldest ballparks in America into a much more accessible and fun environment. The giant jumbo-tron planned for left field along with various signage will allow more advertising opportunities as well as allowing fans better access to information, statistics, game day promotions, etc. All good things.

No one likes to be kept waiting but in the grand scheme of things this is better done right then quick. A month and half more may be a mild annoyance but a necessary one to ensure that the team and fans both win down the road.

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