Cubs

On The Farm: Iowa Loses Marathon, Will Need To Win Finale To Reach Playoffs

On The Farm: Iowa Loses Marathon, Will Need To Win Finale To Reach Playoffs

Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010
8:50 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

CUBSIowa AAA
The I-Cubs made a mighty comeback and almost pulled off a stunning victory Sunday at Principal Park but in the end, dropped an 8-7 decision in 15 innings to Memphis. The loss leaves the Redbirds a game back of Iowa with one game remaining in the regular season. That game will be played Monday with the winner clinching a berth in the Pacific Coast league playoffs.

Allen Craigs RBI single in the 15th off Jeff Gray gave Mondays game meaning. The Redbird had battered I-Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, scoring four times in the first and three more in the third. Iowa rallied in the middle innings, though, tying the score at 7-7 on a Brad Snyder RBI single.

Iowa had a chance to win it in the ninth when Jason Dubois lined a one-out double to right. Bryan LaHair struck out, though, and after an intentional walk to Bobby Scales, Chris Robinson struck out to end the inning. The I-Cubs also had men on in the 10th, 12th and 15th innings but each time the rally fizzled.

Dubois was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. The Cubs used seven pitchers even after Samardzija gutted his way through six innings. Jay Jackson 11-8, 4.58 will face Evan MacLane 8-7, 4.35 in Mondays finale.
Daytona A
The Cubs finished out the regular season Sunday afternoon with a 6-0 victory over Lakeland at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Daytona, which was in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week of the season, received a stellar effort on the mound from Robert Whitenack, who pitched his finest game in seven Florida State League outings. Whitenack went seven innings and allowed only two hits while striking out three.

Whiteknack finished the season on a 17-inning scoreless streak, ending with a 3-1 record and a 2.04 ERA with Daytona. Overall, he was 11-8 with a save and a 4.15 ERA while splitting time between Daytona and Peoria.

Ryan Flaherty was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. DJ Lemahieu added a pair of hits and finished with a .314 average and a six-game hitting streak. ... The Cubs finished with an overall record of 75-64 but were 41-28 in the second half.

In other action, playoff-bound Tennessee eked out a 3-2 victory over Carolina, scoring the tie-breaking run in the eighth inning on a fielders choice. Brett Jackson and Brandon Guyer each had a pair of hits. Guyer is batting .342, second in the Southern League. Chris Archer started and pitched two scoreless innings in his final playoff tuneup. James Leverton picked up the win.

WHITE SOXCharlotte AAA
Charlotte, looking to finish the regular season on a positive note, earned a victory in its penultimate game by defeating visiting Gwinnett, 5-1, at Knights Stadium.

Stefan Gartrell and Luis Rodrigues each had a homer and two RBIs. Gartrells homer was his 27th while Rodriguez went yard for the 15th time. Buck Coats drove in the other Charlotte run.

Freddy Dolsi 3-7 picked up his first victory since July 10 after allowing a run on five hits through six innings.

In other action, Winston-Salem saw its winning streak come to an end at nine games after it was swept in a twinbill by Sale, 3-0 and 8-1. The Dash magic number for winning the second half Southern Division title remains one with Mondays finale looming. The opener was played in 1:28, the shortest game for either team this season. Josh Phegley had a homer and three RBIs to lead Birmingham by Mississippi, 9-2. Justin Greene and Sal Sanchez also had homers while Henry Mabee pitched two scoreless innings for the win. ... Jose Vargas' two-run single in the 10th inning gave Kannapolis a 4-2 victory over playoff-bound Lakewood. Jordan Cheatham had three hits, including a pair of doubles. Orlando Santos earned the victory. ... Stephen McCray allowed a run over 5 23 innings to pick up the victory as Great Falls defeated Billings, 3-1.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Dusty Baker takes the fall for Nationals meltdown against Cubs

dustybakerfired.jpg
USA TODAY

Dusty Baker takes the fall for Nationals meltdown against Cubs

The Washington Nationals must have been sitting at home, watching the National League Championship Series and wondering: How did we lose to this team?

The Cubs poured so much physical effort, mental focus and emotional energy into those five playoff games against the Nationals that they didn’t have much left in the tank for the bigger, better Los Angeles Dodgers team that dominated the defending World Series champs in every phase and captured the NL pennant on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

By midday Friday, the Nationals announced that manager Dusty Baker will not return for the 2018 season, while the contracts for the big-league coaching staff have also expired, leaving a franchise with chain-of-command issues in damage-control mode.

This is a bitter disappointment for Baker, who needs a World Series ring as a manager to put the final bullet point on a Hall of Fame resume and still grumbles about how things ended in 2006 after four up-and-down years managing the Cubs.

Baker, 68, a former Marine, All-Star player and all-around Renaissance man with a great feel for dealing with people and managing the clubhouse, apparently couldn’t overcome last week’s elimination-game meltdown at Nationals Park, where the Cubs hung on for a 9-8 victory and forced Washington into its fourth first-round playoff exit since 2012.

Baker’s in-game decision-making was already under the microscope and his teams have now lost 10 straight postseason close-out games, a major-league record, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The Nationals also needlessly subjected Stephen Strasburg to withering criticism when Baker said the $175 million pitcher was feeling under the weather — maybe because of Chicago mold and hotel air-conditioning units — and being saved for Game 5. Only to flip-flop and watch Strasburg throw seven scoreless innings in a dominant Game 4 performance at Wrigley Field.

That unforced error and yet another manager search is not a good look for the Nationals, who made the announcement through the Lerner family ownership group after general manager Mike Rizzo repeatedly signaled that he expected to reach a new agreement with Baker after winning 192 games combined in two years and back-to-back division titles.

Since the franchise relocated from Montreal and abandoned the Expos logo in 2005, the Nationals have employed seven different managers and will be starting all over again in 2018, when Bryce Harper will be in his last season before becoming a free agent and probably wondering if Washington can finally get its act together.

What now for the Cubs?

What now for the Cubs?

OK, time to turn the page.

Nah, it doesn't have to be that sudden.

The 2017 Cubs season may not have resulted in a World Series, but it was absolutely a smashing success. There was a time not long ago that playing — and even losing — in the fifth game of the NLCS was a huge step.

But the Cubs now have a World-Series-or-bust mentality now and the 2017 season did not live up to those expectations.

"We're capable of more than we showed in the postseason," Ben Zobrist said.

So what now? What's next for these Cubs?

Well, quite literally: Rest. Rest is next.

"For those guys that are playing every day, they need to take the time that they need to take," Zobrist said. "Take the three weeks, month to let your body relax and heal up.

"I think from there, it's listening to your body for them. For me, I'm in a different place. I didn't play as many games as I normally play. I feel like my stamina, I have to work on my endurance and stamina to get back up to where it needs to get to where I'm capable of playing more games and not getting injuries and things like that like I had this year.

"...[Kris Bryant] and [Anthony] Rizzo, they were our horses and so they need to take more time than somebody like me does going into the offseason. They deserve to get some rest and relaxation. I think we're all very motivated going into the offseason to get back to where we're capable of playing as a team."

Other players have a different attitude as they approach the winter.

Albert Almora Jr., after his first full season in the big leagues, is anxious to get better. Immediately.

The young outfielder is planning on spending a lot of time hanging out with his wife and one-year-old son, but he isn't interested in all that much rest right now.

"[I plan] to get back to work," Almora said. "I think we have a big chip on our shoulder coming into next year."

Rizzo and Bryant, meanwhile, played 167 and 161 games, respectively, including the postseason. They combined for over 1,500 plate appearances from April 2 through Oct. 19.

Neither player has much interest in watching the Los Angeles Dodgers play either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees in the World Series.

So what will they do?

"It's always tough," Rizzo said after the Cubs were officially eliminated. "You start a journey with all these guys and at the end of the day, these last couple days, you don't take anything for granted at all.

"The stretch, the cage work. Yesterday could've been our last day. Today's obviously our last day. We gotta enjoy these moments because you don't know how long they last.

"But you make a lot of friendships along the way. This next week will be tough and kinda scratching your head on what to do."