Cubs

Cubs, Brett Anderson start May on wrong foot with blowout loss to Phillies: 'A colossal failure'

Cubs, Brett Anderson start May on wrong foot with blowout loss to Phillies: 'A colossal failure'

Joe Maddon thought Brett Anderson spent the first month of the 2017 season a little uneasy about his position with the defending world champion Cubs.

Most of that, Maddon thought, was due to Anderson pressing in an effort to make sure he didn't let down his new team.

As the calendar rolled over to May Monday night (though it didn't feel like it with the temperature at a soggy 49 degrees at first pitch), Anderson is still in search of peace of mind.

The veteran left-hander survived for just four outs, getting lit up for seven runs on seven hits and a walk as the Philadelphia Phillies (12-12) cruised to a 10-2 victory over the Cubs (13-12).

The Cubs were already behind two hitters into the game as Cesar Hernandez singled and Aaron Altherr doubled him home. Anderson was one pitch away from getting out of the inning, but Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph lifted a ball into the 14mph winds blowing straight out for a two-out, three-run homer.

"It was kinda a colossal failure from the get-go," Anderson said. "Make a decent pitch to the first batter, bloop single and it's all downhill from there. You see Jon [Lester] or Jake [Arrieta] or whoever at least give your team a chance to win without their A+ stuff. You try to do your part, but today was just a battle from the first pitch and obviously wasn't very successful."

Anderson also had to endure a rain delay that pushed opening pitch back an hour and 25 minutes.

"The delay wasn't so much a factor," Anderson said. "But the first inning when the pseudo-Forrest Gump torrential downpour and then it kinda clears off and the bottom of the first is weird. Ideally, we could've waited 10, 15 more minutes. I still have to go out there and get people out and I wasn't able to do that tonight.

The Cubs have now allowed 32 runs in the first inning this season, by far their worst total by frame:

Beyond the albatross weather, the Cubs didn't get into Chicago until almost 5 a.m. Monday morning after playing the primetime game in Boston Sunday night.

"Andy had a tough night," Maddon said. "There's no other way to slice it. We've been having to come from behind often over the last week to two weeks. It's not easy to continually do, especially when you're getting to bed at five in the morning. No excuses, 'cause Andy came in a night in advance. When you have a tough pitching night like that, it makes it difficult for the team."

On the season, Anderson has given up 15 earned runs on 28 hits and 12 walks in 21.2 innings, good for a 6.23 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. But 13 of those 15 runs have come in two bad starts (Monday and April 18 when he gave up six earned to the Milwaukee Brewers). In the other three outings, Anderson has worked around jams to surrender two earned runs in 16.2 innings despite 11 walks and 13 hits in that span.

"There are no positives to gain from this outing," Anderson said. "With the game starting late yesterday and then the team getting in late, you wanna go out there and give your team a chance to win. I have five starts [this season] now and I'm averaging [a little more than four innings] a start, which is embarrassing from my perspective. Hopefully going forward, I can pitch better and give us a chance."

Mike Montgomery did his part as the long man out of the bullpen, spinning 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Justin Grimm followed and retired the first five batters he faced before giving up a pair of homers — and three runs total — as the Phillies poured it on.

"Our bullpen did a great job," Anderson said. "I have to pitch better. I haven't gotten in a groove for the most part. It's kinda been hit-or-miss. Hopefully going forward, you can pitch in five-to-six-day rotation, hit that stride and hopefully get some consistent weather, consistent circumstances and pitch better, do better going forward."

Javy Baez scored the only two runs for the Cubs — first on a solo homer on an 0-2 count in the fifth and then on Matt Szczur's sacrifice fly in the seventh — and also had two of the team's four hits.

Ben Zobrist and Willson Contreras collected the only two other Cubs hits — both singles.

As the game turned into a blowout, the Cubs got Kyle Schwarber some time behind the plate, letting the slugger catch the last two innings. It was his first action as a backstop in a regular-season game since September 2015.

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross' former teammate — as quality assurance coach

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross' former teammate — as quality assurance coach

David Ross will not only be managing former teammates with the Cubs in 2020, but he'll be coaching alongside one, too.

The Cubs are expected to add former MLB catcher Mike Napoli to Ross' coaching staff, per multiple reports. Napoli will assume the title of quality assurance coach, vacated by Chris Denorfia, who held the position for one season.

Napoli played in parts of 12 big-league seasons from 2006-17 with the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Indians. He won the 2013 World Series with Boston — alongside Ross and Cubs starter Jon Lester — and was also a key figure with the 2016 Indians, whom the Cubs defeated in the World Series. He finished his career with a .246/.346/.475 slash line with 267 home runs. 

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Cubs pursued Napoli last winter, though the 38-year-old wanted to take a short break from baseball before jumping into coaching. He'll join a Cubs coaching staff that is almost finalized, with the exception of one vacant base coach spot. Here's what the group looks like right now:

Manager — David Ross
Bench coach — Andy Green
Pitching coach — Tommy Hottovy
Associate pitching coach, catching and strategy coach — Mike Borzello
Hitting coach — Anthony Iapoce
Assistant hitting coach — Terrmel Sledge
Bullpen coach — Chris Young
Base coach — Will Venable
Base coach — open
Quality assurance coach — Mike Napoli

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the organization hopes to have the coaching staff finalized by the end of the week. With Napoli on board, the Cubs are one step closer to making that goal a reality.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.

Fans apologize to Yu Darvish following Astros cheating allegations

Fans apologize to Yu Darvish following Astros cheating allegations

When the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish at the 2017 trade deadline, he was expected to be one of the final pieces to their championship puzzle.

After a solid nine-start regular season with Los Angeles, Darvish was stellar early in the postseason. In two starts (one in the NLDS, one in the NLCS), he allowed two runs across 11.1 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts compared to a single walk.

Things went downhill for Darvish in the World Series, where he surrendered nine runs in 3.1 innings across two starts. This includes Game 7, when he threw 47 pitches in 1.2 innings, allowing five runs in a 5-1 series-clinching win for the Astros.

Darvish became a scapegoat for the Dodgers' World Series loss and faced heavy backlash from fans. Consequentially, he had concerns about re-signing with the Dodgers when he became a free agent that offseason, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, due to fears of how the city's anger towards him would affect his family.

Two years later, fans are now apologizing for directing their anger at Darvish for his World Series performance. Why?

Tuesday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported the Astros stole opposing teams' signs electronically during the 2017 season. This conflicts with the notion of Darvish tipping his pitches in the World Series, which an anonymous Astros player told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci was the case.

The notion of Darvish tipping his pitches is now in question altogether:

As has often been the case this offseason, Darvish had a brilliant reaction to the whole situation on Twitter:

Darvish joined the Cubs in 2018 on a six-year deal. After an injury-riddled debut season with the Cubs, he took off post-All-Star break in 2019 and is expected to be the team's Opening Day starter in 2020. Although what happened in 2017 can't be changed, it's nice to see he's moved forward.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.