Archive | Wrigley Field

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.”

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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 TicketChest.com

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Lou

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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 – TicketChest.com — 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 http://www.facebook.com/TicketchestChicago 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 TicketChest.com’s Wrigleyville office anytime that week leading up to the big game.

And don’t worry if you don’t win this time around.  MyCubsToday.com (through our exclusive ticket partner — TicketChest.com) will be conducting great ticket giveaways throughout the Cubs much-anticipated 2015 season, so keep reading our posts and following TicketChest.com 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!

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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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So Cool — Massive Video Scoreboard Installation & Bleachers Renovation Underway

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Lou

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Finally – construction has begun in earnest to install a new massive Video Scoreboard in left field for the first time ever at Wrigley Field.  We’ll finally get to see those controversial video replays while STILL AT the Friendly Confines — instead of having to wait to get home to watch Sportscenter later that night.

The Cubs have also demolished the left and right field bleachers.  They will be rebuilt with wider concourses and more amenities for fans.  Check out these amazing photos of what the ballpark currently looks like…

The Ricketts Family has gotta be salivating right now.  Let’s just hope we have a warm winter so this can all get finished before opening day in April 2015 against the hated St. Louis Cardinals…

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We’re Back! Cubs Ready To Contend In 2015…

Posted on 03 November 2014 by Lou

Theo_Epstein

Well, here we go again.  It’s been just shy of 2 years — but I’m finally ready to jump back on that “Cubs-writing horse” again.

At least my last post back on December 20th, 2012 –YES 2012! — was pretty much right on.  The Cubs were on the verge of signing Edwin Jackson to a 4-year, $52 million deal.  I was besides myself.  The Cubs had lost 91 games in 2011 and then 101 games in 2012.  Theo & Co. were preaching a good old-fashioned rebuild.  They lost out on the Anibel Sanchez sweepstakes to the more competitive Detroit Tigers.  Fine I get it – you swing and missed on a solid starter.  But did that mean you had to go sign Edwin Jackson to a bad contract?! Hell No!  But they did anyway. And as I predicted, it was a bad move (in 2013, Jackson went 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.46 WHIP and in 2014, Jackson went 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA and 1.64 WHIP). And that was it – I could not bear to continue to vent about this team any longer.

But 683 days later, I have finally put that all behind me.  Cubby Blue forever, right?  It hasn’t been easy, but I feel like Theo & Co. are back on course.  Theo acknowledged his Jackson-signing-mistake and vowed never to make a rash decision like that, just to make a move that might placate the fan base.

Sure the Cubs lost 96 games in 2013.  But they continued the re-build the right way with key trades to acquire young talent (Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Neil Ramirez, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, etc,).  After the 2013 season, , the Cubs swung and missed on the Tanaka sweepstakes, but they learned from their Edwin Jackson mess and stayed true to the re-build.  They didn’t go take their Tanaka money and spent it on one or 2 lower tier players.  They kept it for a rainy day (see “rainy day” signing of Joe Maddon below).

Sure the Cubs lost 89 games in 2014.  But they continued the re-build the right way with key trades to acquire young talent (Addison Russell, Bill McKinney, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, etc.).  There was a different vibe in the clubhouse and in Wrigley Field, as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo returned to All-Star form.  They were as excited as heck when they won, and never sank too low when they lost.  Manager Rick Renteria wasn’t perfect, but he had a great attitude for the task at hand.  And that positive attitude resonated with his players.  And when Tampa Rays manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract just a little over a week ago, the Cubs had the perfect chance to land a manager who could lead them all the way back to contention.  Sure it may not have been the most popular move in some circles, but Theo had a decision to make for the “organization” not just for “one player” or “one coach” or “one executive” or “one fan” like me.  And if landing one of the best managers in baseball meant you had to fire a respected manager like Renteria, then it had to be done for the good of the organization.

So it all comes full circle from the whole Edwin Jackson signing debacle.

It reminded Theo & Co. that one move was not going to turn the Cubs into perennial World Series front-runners.

It reminded Theo & Co. that they needed to stay true to a well-formulated plan.

It reminded Theo & Co. that not all of their moves were going to be popular with the team or with the fans.  Fans were mad when the Cubs traded away Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel (and the list could go on and on).  But look where they are now because Theo & Co. made those unpopular trades.

Some fans are mad that they sought another manager even when Rick Renteria was still under contract.  Some fans are mad that they are paying $25 million over 5 years to Joe Maddon when they think the Cubs should be paying more money to players that actually perform on the field.  But let’s look at that $25 million as 1 year of the Tanaka deal that never happened thereby giving Theo & Co. the financial means necessary to land a manager with the caliber of Maddon without comprising the pool of funds that can still be used to land productive players on the field.

We will have to see how the 2014 off-season moves all shake out, but I have a pretty good feeling that the number of losses in 2015 will be considerably less than the 89 losses in 2014.  And given my perfect prediction on how the whole Edwin Jackson signing would turn out, you can take that to the bank…

Joe_Maddon

 

 

 

 

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Cubs Close to Signing Deal with Edwin Jackson?!?!? – Wrigley Field 12-20-12

Posted on 20 December 2012 by Lou

What — the Cubs are close to signing Edwin Jackson to a 4-year, $52 million deal?  This does not make any sense at all.  What happened to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer building from within and building for the future.  Jackson is 29 years old.  He went 10-11 with a 4.03 in a pitcher-friendly Nationals Park pitching against weak NL East opponents like the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.  He has a career 4.40 ERA with a 70-71 record.  His best season came 5 years ago when he went 14-11 with the Tampa Rays and a “sparkling” 4.42 ERA?  All these stats warrant a $13 million dollar deal from the Cubs.  It’s not like the Cubs are going to be doing anything in 2013 and maybe not even 2014.  So way waste $26 million a guy for 2 lost seasons.  Especially given all the other cost-cutting moves that the Cubs have made since Theo & Co. took over back in November 2011, this move really doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

I guess he has started at least 31 games in every season since 2007, so he is durable.  And I guess this gives them some flexibility to move a Matt Garza at the trading deadline next season to bring back some more pitching prospects, but Cubs brass is really going to have to work to convince me that this was the right move for the Cubs to make at this juncture…

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Cubs Re-Sign 3B Ian Stewart to 1-Year, $2 Million Deal – Wrigley Field 12-10-12

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Lou

The Cubs opted to re-sign 3B Ian Stewart to a 1-year deal this weekend.  Stewart will have a base salary of $2 million and there are incentives in the deal that could net Stewart an additional $500,000.  With the free agent market thin at the third base position, and with the lackluster performance from young prospect Josh Vitters in 2012 (.121 batting average in 99 at-bats in 36 games), the Cubs were kind of “forced” to re-sign Stewart despite his paltry 2012 numbers.  Stewart racked up only 202 at-bats in 55 games in 2012 due to a wrist injury.  He had a surgery on the wrist to fix the nagging problem and is on track to be ready for Spring Training 2013.  Let’s hope so.  He hit just .201 with 5 HR’s, 17 RBI’s and a pathetic .292 on-base percentage.  Looks like GM Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein are still looking for their 3rd baseman of the future in the coming seasons…

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