Cubs

Cubs: Joe Maddon hears from MLB after ripping umpire

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Cubs: Joe Maddon hears from MLB after ripping umpire

MILWAUKEE – As expected, Cubs manager Joe Maddon heard from Major League Baseball about his we’re-not-gonna-take-it message for umpires everywhere.

“As of right now, nothing punitive,” Maddon said before Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Maddon got fined. Maddon spoke with Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, about getting ejected from Wednesday’s win over the St. Louis Cardinals for arguing balls and strikes.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

“Joe and I talk at least once a year,” said Maddon, who managed the Tampa Bay Rays for nine seasons before moving to Chicago. “It happens at least once a year.”

Maddon didn’t mention home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn by name, but he used his postgame media session to complain about unequal treatment for his young hitters, calling it “egregiously bad.”

“We just talked about that particular game and what went on,” Maddon said. “Of course, my comments postgame were discussed. But Joe’s not one to tell you to do this or not do that. That’s why he’s so good as a manager, too. We just talked about things and came to an agreement.” 

During that postgame purpose pitch, Maddon said “I had enough” at least three times, sticking up for rookies Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell, feeling like the Cardinals were getting calls because of their veteran stature.  

“Not going to put up with anything,” Maddon said that night. “We’re trying to get something done here. And I’m not going to permit our guys to get shortchanged based on the fact that they haven’t been here a long time.”     

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

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USA TODAY

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

The Cubs continued their recent struggles, suffering their third straight loss to the Cincinnati Reds. 

But the game was not without it's fair share of drama. The matchup was a back-and-forth affair, up until the Reds blew the game wide-open in the bottom of the third inning. This included a grand slam by Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, the first home run of his career.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to the bullpen following Cincinnati's third inning explosion, and things did not get much better from there.

With the Cubs down six runs in the bottom of the eight inning, Maddon brought in catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. 

This was not new territory for Gimenez, who despite being a catcher, now has 10 MLB pitching appearances to his name. 

Down six runs, Gimenez didn't have a lot to lose. But he got careless with a four-seam fastball in the zone that Reds first basemen Joey Votto homered for his eighth of the year.

Gimenez had a career ERA of 8.00 before Saturday's appearance, and he certainly didn't do much to help lower that figure.

According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers: "Including one today, Cubs relievers have allowed 41.1 percent of inherited runners to score in June, sixth most in the NL." 

A tired bullpen is certainly cause for concern for the Cubs, who are locked into a battle in the NL Central with the Brewers and Cardinals. Maddon was surely hoping to keep his bullpen arms fresh with the move, seeing as the game was already out of reach. 

So yes, the game did end in a 11-2 win for the Reds. But with a grand-slam by a pitcher—on his first career HR no less—and four-seam fastballs from a catcher, Cubs baseball always keep things interesting. 

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.