Cubs

Cubs look more like themselves in snapping four-game losing streak with comeback win over Brewers

Cubs look more like themselves in snapping four-game losing streak with comeback win over Brewers

The Cubs are back…to being a .500 team. Not that anyone in this clubhouse would ever show the signs of frustration this early into a World Series title defense, but this comeback win felt more like something out of that unforgettable 2016 season.
 
"Some days you win, some days you lose, and some days the offense picks your sorry ass up!" Brett Anderson posted on his Twitter account after Tuesday's 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers snapped a four-game losing streak and reenergized Wrigley Field.

Except for a bad Anderson start – and the scattered boos heard from the crowd of 39,026 – this looked more like the Cubs team you expected to see. 

"Tonight was a perfect example," new Cub Jon Jay said. "Guys didn't get down and kept on fighting, kept on fighting. The guys out here, they play all nine. They play hard."

A relentless lineup erased a 5-0 deficit, scored in bunches with two two-run homers from Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero and ultimately wore out the Brewers (8-7) with role players like Jay and Albert Almora Jr. 

A bullpen still trying to define roles got its act together, with five relievers combining to limit the Brewers to one run across the final five-plus innings and slow down Korea Baseball Organization sensation Eric Thames (3-for-5, two doubles off Anderson).

It didn't feel exactly like the playoffs, but the press box did shake a little bit in the sixth inning, when Almora smashed a pinch-hit, two-run single off third baseman Travis Shaw's glove to make it a 7-6 game. The crowd roared again when Jay hammered a Jared Hughes fastball off the right-center field wall for a game-tying triple – and then scored the go-ahead run on a Hughes wild pitch.

"It's early in the season," Jay said. "We got guys with track records and guys who've had big years, so it's all about staying in that routine and continuing to play."

The contributions from all over the roster bailed out Anderson, who had the reporters in the interview room cracking up after the Brewers hit him hard and knocked the injury-prone pitcher out in the fourth inning, though not because of the ball that drilled him "right in the fat part of my fat hamstring." 

"Yeah, it didn't feel great, but it didn't really effect me," Anderson said. "I tweaked a groin last start and got hit in the hamstring this start, so it wouldn't be a Brett Anderson start without some sort of athletic play.

"I'd like to have a start where I don't have to deal with something, but it comes with the territory of being super-athletic."

[BUY TICKETS: Get your Cubs seats right here]

Can't relate, a beat writer said.

"Not many people can," Anderson said in his deadpan voice.

The 2016 Cubs didn't lose their seventh game until May 11, but this is still a new group trying to create a different identity, even if most of the names and faces are the same.

"We set the bar really high last year," Montero said. "We had a really good start last year. Whatever we're at right now, that doesn't mean that it's a really slow start. We're playing .500 now. We just got to worry about one series at a time, one game at a time."

Are the Cubs still in on Bryce Harper sweepstakes?

Are the Cubs still in on Bryce Harper sweepstakes?

On Thursday’s edition of the  “At The Yard Podcast”, Philadelphia Insider Jim Salisbury stated that he still feels the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers are the three teams that are all still in the Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado sweepstakes.

He called all three franchises “very interested bystanders in one or both of these guys.”

Salisbury also mentioned that the St. Louis Cardinals could get in on the Manny Machado free agency if the figures for his alleged contract offer from the White Sox was correct, as reported this week.

This comes just days after Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said “not going to happen” in regards to the North Siders going after Harper. And at the Cubs Convention, Tom Ricketts said “we didn't have the flexibility this year to go sign a huge free agent and I'm not sure we would have anyway, to be honest.”

All signs—coming from the Cubs at least—point to them not being in on Harper with all of their current financial commitments, yet reports continue to pour out stating that the Cubs are still monitoring his situation closely. On time will tell, but it certainly seems foolish to count Chicago out at this point.

According to Salisbury, the Cubs have made it very clear to Harper’s representatives that after he receives all of his final offers from teams, he should make sure to “check back with us [the Cubs].”

Report: Theo Epstein faced pressure from Bryzzo to fire Chili Davis

Report: Theo Epstein faced pressure from Bryzzo to fire Chili Davis

It's been 99 days since the Cubs fired Chili Davis, but we're still hearing new reports on the reasoning behind the decision. 

The latest comes from SNY's John Harper, who explained why the New York Mets were so quick to hire Davis after he was fired from the Red Sox and Cubs in successive winters. 

The reasoning? According to Harper, Cubs president Theo Epstein was pressured to fire Davis by two of the team's most notable hitters — Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant:

Secondly, Cubs president Theo Epstein didn't really want to fire Davis, according to multiple sources, yet felt he had no choice but to give in to the wishes of at least a few of his star hitters, most notably Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

"He caved," was the way one person close to the situation put it. "He's not happy about it. He thinks it's BS that the players complained about Chili, but he wasn't going to stick with his hitting coach just to make a point."

That is one strong quote on the matter by the "person close to the situation." 

While Davis himself admitted he didn't connect with a lot of the "millennial" players, it's tough to blame his departure solely on that drama.

The simple fact of the matter is Davis was brought in to limit the roller coaster nature of the Cubs lineup (by improving situational hitting, using the whole field, cutting down on strikeouts, etc.) yet the team still wound up leading baseball with 40 games of scoring 1 or fewer runs. It was the quiet offense that led to the Cubs' demise down the stretch in 2018 more than anything else.

Davis deserves credit for helping Javy Baez realize his potential and become an MVP candidate and the hitting coach also helped unlock a bit more offense out of Jason Heyward while overseeing a strong bounceback season from Ben Zobrist.

Rizzo got off to a very slow start to 2018, but he rebounded from May on and wound up having a season that looks very similar to the rest of his career. At this point, Rizzo is his own hitting coach in a lot of ways and he continues to fine-tune his approach at the plate regardless of who is in the position on the Cubs staff.

The Bryant inclusion here is interesting in that the main reason the former MVP had a down season was the shoulder injury that limited him to only 102 games and diminished his power. However, Bryant has always had a "launch angle" type approach instilled in him at a young age from his dad, and Davis wasn't exactly "anti-launch angle," but he prioritized contact over power at times.

In Davis' stead, the Cubs opted for Anthony Iapoce as the new hitting coach. He has a rapport with guys like Bryant, Baez and Willson Contreras dating back years to their time in the minor leagues, so it's a familiar face who already knows how to communicate effectively with the current roster.

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