Cubs

Series notes: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Series notes: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Friday, April 22, 2011Posted: 10:00 a.m.
Cubs (9-9) vs. Dodgers (10-10)
Series schedule
Friday: 1:20 p.m. on WGN
Saturday: 12:05 p.m. on CSN
Sunday: 1:20 p.m. on CSN

Starting Pitchers
Friday: Casey Coleman (1-0, 4.22) vs. Chad Billingsley (1-1, 4.91)
Saturday: Ryan Dempster (1-2, 6.84) vs. Ted Lilly (1-2, 4.09)
Sunday: Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.21) vs. TBA

Previous games
The Cubs won two of three against the Padres this week, including a doubleheader split on Wednesday. They won the opener, 2-1, on Reed Johnsons walk-off homer in the 11th. They lost the nightcap, 5-4, despite another big game from Johnson (three hits, including an RBI double).

The Dodgers franchise may be in trouble, with MLB recently taking control of the day-to-day operations of the team. But on the field, they took three of four from Atlanta this week, including a walk-off win on Wednesday, when Matt Kemps two-run homer in the 12th sent the Dodgers faithful home happy.
Head-to-head
This is the Cubs first meeting with the Dodgers this season. Last year, the Cubs went 3-4 against the Dodgers, including a 2-1 record at Wrigley Field.

Whos hot?
Kosuke Fukudome has a six-game hitting streak, during which he is 9-for-21 all singles. Darwin Barney went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in Game 2 on Wednesday and now has multi-hit efforts in six of his last 10 games. For Los Angeles, Andre Ethier is riding a 17-game hitting streak to raise his average to .385, while Casey Blake has five hits in the last two games.

StorylinesMarlon Byrd, who is 2-for-24 over his last six games, is expected to return to the lineup Friday night. Chicago, as a team, scored just seven runs in the three-game series with San Diego. Nevertheless, the Cubs entered Thursday with a .277 team average - the second-highest mark in the majors. Still, the Cubs rank just 14th in the majors in runs scored.
Sound off
Given the inconsistencies out of the Cubs' offense this season, how confident are you in the team's offense?

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

chrisbosiochanges.jpg
USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship Series — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, a source confirming the team declined a club contract option for next year and made a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

chrisbosiofired.jpg
USA TODAY

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

In Theo Epstein's end of season press conference on Friday he said that any coach Joe Maddon wants back will return in 2018.

Evidently, there's one coach Maddon didn't want back.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Cubs have fired longtime pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Bosio served as the Cubs pitching coach from 2012-17. He was the team's pitching coach under former managers' Dale Sveum (2012-13) and Rick Renteria (2014), and was retained when Maddon was hired as manager of the Cubs in 2015.

Bosio, who is one of the most respected pitching coaches in baseball, was instrumental in the career resurgence of Jake Arrieta who captured the Cy Young award in 2015, and the development of 27-year-old starter Kyle Hendricks (MLB's ERA leader in 2016).

One reason that could've led to Bosio's firing was the pitching staff's control issues during both the regular season and postseason, which Epstein mentioned during Friday's press conference. The Cubs issued the fifth-most walks (554) in the National League during the regular season and the highest total (53) during the postseason.

As the Cubs hit the market for a new pitching coach, Nightengale mentioned that one name that could be on the radar is former Tampa Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who parted ways with the organization following the 2017 season.

Hickey served as Maddon's pitching coach in Tampa Bay from 2006-2014.