Cubs

Cubs Road Ahead: Good tests on the horizon

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Cubs Road Ahead: Good tests on the horizon

CSN's Patrick Mooney and JJ Stankevitz look ahead to the North Siders' dates with Cleveland and Minnesota and talk about how the team may be buyers at the trade deadlinein the latest Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Honda Dealers.

With the Cubs a season-best seven games over .500, this upcoming week will provide the North Siders good tests to see where they stand among some of the league's best.

Following a long road trip the Cubs returned to Wrigley Field, where they took three of four from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. That home stand continues with a quick one-game series against the Indians (Monday's game was rained out) followed by two more in Cleveland and three more in Minnesota against the Twins. Facing a pair of uncommon foes that have been playing solid baseball this season will be another good test for a Cubs team believing it can contend sooner than later.

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"I think this will be a good test for the Cubs," Mooney said. "Not just the Indians, but looking ahead to the Minnesota Twins. Getting out of the division again, and the Indians are a team, they've made the playoffs recently, they've got some exciting young talent. And for the Cubs, there's been that buy-in here that they're seven games over .500, they understand that they could do some damage this year.

"And for guys like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, after years of being told that the future is coming, it's finally here now. They're going to play meaningful games at Wrigley Field, and they're doing enough to show Jed Hoyer, Theo Esptein and the rest of this front office that they should be buyers, that they should be going out and getting more pieces because this team's going to be relevant all the way through September and they hope deep into October."

See what else Mooney and Stankevitz had to say in the video above.

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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