Cubs

LIVE: Cubs, Padres tied 1-1 in Game 1

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LIVE: Cubs, Padres tied 1-1 in Game 1

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 10:40 a.m.
Associated Press

The San Diego Padres failed to score a run in their series opener at Wrigley Field.

Maybe they forgot that Dustin Moseley wasn't starting until Wednesday afternoon.

The Padres seek to finally give Moseley some support and end their run of futility against Chicago Cubs pitching when the teams play a doubleheader after Tuesday night's game was postponed because of inclement weather.

Carlos Zambrano and a pair of relievers dominated San Diego (7-9) on Monday. The Padres managed five hits - all singles - while striking out 13 times over 10 scoreless innings.

The Cubs finally broke through in the bottom of the 10th, when Tyler Colvin's pinch-hit double off Chad Qualls scored Geovany Soto and gave Chicago a 1-0 victory in windy, 34-degree conditions.

"The whole game you go out there and you're kind of miserable and it's so cold," Soto said. "We wanted to get out of there so badly. We were like, 'Man, all we need is one.' But it was tough to get that one."

Tuesday night's game was postponed because the forecast called for heavy rain and wind chills in the 20s.

"You don't want to play in weather like this," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Wind and cold are fine. If we didn't have the rain, it would have just been another cool night."

San Diego has been shut out four times this season and also lost 1-0 to the Cubs (8-8) in the teams' final meeting of 2010. The Padres have failed to score in their last 22 innings versus Chicago.

San Diego's other three scoreless performances have all come with Moseley (0-3, 1.83 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander allowed the game's only run in 6 2-3 strong innings Thursday at Houston.

"It's frustrating, but you go out there and do your job and you leave the rest up to the team, and hopefully guys pull through," Moseley said. "Through the first three it hasn't happened, but it's a long year.

"I mean, these guys can start scoring 10 a game for me. We have a great bunch of guys and a lot of good players, and I look forward to those days when they get their swings and confidence and everything is back to where it can be and it will be."

Moseley will be opposed in the opener by another pitcher that hasn't received much support.

Chicago has been shut out the last two times Matt Garza (0-2, 6.27) has taken the mound, and he's allowed five runs in each of those outings.

"It hasn't been a great start for him and he knows that. But he's still working and I still believe he's going to be a (great) pitcher on this club and in this rotation," Quade said.

The right-hander made his only start against San Diego last season, allowing three runs and six hits over eight innings of a 5-3 win for Tampa Bay.

In the nightcap, Aaron Harang will look to win for the fourth time in as many starts for the Padres. Harang (3-0, 1.50) has allowed one earned run over six innings in each of his first three outings, beating Houston 4-2 on Friday night.

"He's pitching with aggressiveness and he's pitching with some confidence," manager Bud Black said. "It's great to see."

Harang is quite familiar with pitching at Wrigley Field after playing for Cincinnati from 2003-10. The right-hander is 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts there, and he's 10-8 with a 4.51 ERA in 24 appearances against the Cubs.

He will be opposed by James Russell (1-1, 7.20), who makes his second start for the Cubs due to injuries suffered by Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.

The left-hander, who made 57 relief appearances as a rookie in 2010, surrendered five runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings in his first start, an 11-2 defeat at Houston on April 12.

"You can only hope it'll go better," Russell told the Cubs' official website. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm not real sure how we'll go about it, but probably go about it the same way as last time."

Russell faced the Padres twice last August, giving up two runs, two hits and a walk over 1 1-3 innings while striking out three.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

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USA TODAY

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

Kris Bryant was the 2016 National League MVP. And despite having what could be considered an even better campaign this past season, he finished seventh in voting for the 2017 edition of the award.

The NL MVP was awarded to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday night, a fine choice, though it was nearly impossible to make a poor choice, that's how many fantastic players there were hitting the baseball in the NL this season.

After Stanton, Cinicinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished second, earning the same amount of first-place votes and losing out to Stanton by just one point. Then came Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryant.

But there was someone who thought Bryant deserved to repeat as the NL MVP. Yes, Bryant earned a first-place vote — as did everyone else mentioned besides Rendon, for that matter — causing a bit of a social-media stir considering the Cubs third baseman, despite his great season, perhaps wasn't as standout a candidate as some of the other guys who finished higher in the voting.

So the person who cast that first-place vote for Bryant, MLB.com's Mark Bowman, wrote up why he felt Bryant deserved to hoist the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second straight year.

"In the end, I chose Bryant because I believe he made the greatest impact, as his second-half production fueled the successful turnaround the Cubs experienced after the All-Star break," Bowman wrote.

"Though I don't believe the MVP must come from a playoff contender, in an attempt to differentiate the value provided by each of these three players (Bryant, Votto and Stanton), I chose to reward the impact made by Bryant, who produced the NL's fourth-best OPS (.968) after the All-Star break, when the Cubs distanced themselves from a sub-.500 record and produced an NL-best 49 wins."

It's easy for Cubs fans and observers to follow that logic, as the Cubs took off after the All-Star break following a disappointing first half. As good as Bryant was all season long, his second-half numbers, as Bowman pointed out, were especially great. He hit .325 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage over his final 69 games of the regular season, hitting 11 home runs, knocking out 21 doubles and driving in 35 runs during that span.

Perhaps the craziest thing about this year's MVP race and Bryant's place in it is that Bryant was just as good if not better than he was in 2016, when he was almost unanimously named the NL MVP. After slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, 35 doubles, 75 walks and 154 strikeouts in 2016, Bryant slashed .295/.409/.537 with 29 homers, 73 RBIs, 38 doubles, 95 walks and 128 strikeouts in 2017.

Of course, the competition was much steeper this time around. But Bryant was given the MVP award in 2016 playing for a 103-win Cubs team that was bursting with offensive firepower, getting great seasons from Anthony Rizzo (who finished third in 2016 NL MVP voting), as well as Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. While the Cubs actually scored more runs this season and undoubtedly turned it on after the All-Star break on a team-wide basis, Bryant was far and away the best hitter on the team in 2017, with many other guys throughout the lineup having notably down years and/or experiencing down stretches throughout the season. Hence, making Bryant more, say it with me, valuable.

So Bowman's argument about Bryant's impact on the Cubs — a team that still scored 822 runs, won 92 games and advanced to the National League Championship Series — is a decently convincing one.

Check out Bowman's full explanation, which dives into some of Bryant's advanced stats.

Game on as Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis and Alex Cobb turn down qualifying offers

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AP

Game on as Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis and Alex Cobb turn down qualifying offers

During the middle of Jake Arrieta’s 2015 Cy Young Award campaign, super-agent Scott Boras compared the emerging Cubs pitcher to another client – Max Scherzer – in the first season of a seven-year, $210 million megadeal with the Washington Nationals.

Now don’t focus as much on the money – though that obviously matters – as when Scherzer arrived for that Washington press conference to put on his new Nationals jersey: Jan. 21, 2015.

It might take Boras a while to find a new home for his “big squirrel with a lot of nuts in his trees.” Teams have been gearing up for next winter’s monster Bryce Harper/Manny Machado free-agent class for years. Mystery surrounds Shohei Ohtani, Japan’s Babe Ruth, and the posting system with Nippon Professional Baseball. Major League Baseball’s competitive balance tax may also have a chilling effect this offseason.

As expected, Arrieta, All-Star closer Wade Davis and pitcher Alex Cobb were among the group of free agents who went 9-for-9 in declining the one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer before Thursday’s deadline.

With that formality out of the way, if Arrieta and Davis sign elsewhere, the Cubs will receive two third-round picks in the 2018 draft.

By staying under the $195 million luxury-tax threshold this year, the Cubs would have to give up a second-round draft pick and $500,000 from their international bonus pool to sign Cobb, an obvious target given their connections to the Tampa Bay Rays, or Lance Lynn, another starter on their radar who turned down a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals.

That collectively bargained luxury-tax system became a central part of the Boras media show on Wednesday outside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where he introduced “Playoffville” as his new go-to analogy at the end of the general manager meetings.

“The team cutting payroll is treating their family where they’re staying in a neighborhood that has less protection for winning,” Boras said. “They’re not living in the gated community of Playoffville. Certainly, they’re saving a de minimis property tax, but the reality of it is there’s less firemen in the bullpen. There’s less financial analysts sitting in the press boxes.

“The rooms in the house are less, so obviously you’re going to have less franchise players. When you move to that 12-room home in Playoffville, they generally are filled with the people that allow you to really achieve what your family – your regional family – wants to achieve. And that is winning.”

Boras also represents four other players who rejected qualifying offers – J.D Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Greg Holland – another reason why this could be a long winter of Arrieta rumors, slow-playing negotiations and LOL metaphors.