Cubs

Cubs starter Brett Anderson likely headed to DL after 'embarrassing' loss to Yankees

Cubs starter Brett Anderson likely headed to DL after 'embarrassing' loss to Yankees

The sound of boos filled Wrigley Field in the first inning as Brett Anderson walked off the mound Saturday night with assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur, Cubs fans already on edge with the New York Yankees leading by five runs in another national TV game.

Pitching coach Chris Bosio pointed to his side as he looked at home plate umpire Alan Porter while manager Joe Maddon motioned toward what had become a nine-man bullpen, a clear sign the Cubs didn't trust Anderson against The Bronx Bombers.

"It's embarrassing," Anderson said at least four times in the interview room after an 11-6 loss to the Yankees in front of a disappearing crowd of 40,735.

Less than 30 minutes before first pitch, a voice on the press box loudspeaker announced that the Cubs designated outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment and promoted lefty Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa, the day after sending reliever Justin Grimm to Des Moines and calling up right-hander Felix Pena.

The chain reaction started five days earlier, when Anderson couldn't finish the second inning during a 10-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, taxing the bullpen at a time when the rest of the rotation still appears to be trying to ramp up after back-to-back playoff runs into October.

Anderson called that "kind of a colossal failure." This led to Miguel Montero tipping his cap as he ran off the field after throwing a scoreless ninth inning, a distraction from an ugly loss.

"Whenever the backup catcher gets more outs than you, that's obviously not a positive," Anderson said. "You need to figure some things out and get healthy."

The Cubs described Anderson as being evaluated for "low back tightness" and expect him to go on the disabled list after a thumping Yankee lineup made this look like batting practice, hitting the ball all over Wrigley Field.

Anderson said he felt his back stiffen up when he fielded an Aaron Hicks bunt and bounced the ball away from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, allowing the first run to score. At that point, a Fox Sports camera got a classic reaction shot of a visibly annoyed Maddon, the normally cool manager shaking his head in the dugout.

Combine Anderson's last two starts and the lefty has gotten five outs and given up 12 runs, allowing 13 hits and a walk to the 19 batters he faced.

"We just can't continue on that path right now," Maddon said.

So much for the best defense in the majors last year backing up the guy who put up a 66.7 groundball percentage and made 31 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015.

The extensive medical file - Anderson has already undergone two surgical procedures on his lower back and landed on the disabled list nine times since 2010 - led to a one-year, incentive-laden $3.5 million deal this winter as the Cubs tried to reshape the rotation that would defend their World Series title.

"With my history, you never want to take it too lightly," Anderson said. "It's a combination of getting healthy and figuring out how to get people out again, because right now every ball that's put in play seems like it's a hit, and every ball that's put in play seems like it's a run.

"I haven't given us a chance."

Anderson said this issue was on a different side than his previous back injuries, that this time he didn't feel pain shooting down his leg. Anderson doesn't believe it's a disc problem and hopes it can be written off as spasms. But it's time for the Cubs to find the next man up.

"Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong here lately," Anderson said. "I still think when I'm healthy and everything's going right, for the most part, I'm a good pitcher.

"I still have confidence in myself. I could sulk and be mad at myself, but I got to deal with it. I wouldn't be in the league this long if I hadn't been able to put some things behind me and deal with the cards I've been dealt."

Cubs infielder Ryan Court had a special night in Iowa

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USA TODAY

Cubs infielder Ryan Court had a special night in Iowa

The farm system doesn't have the big names it once did, as the majority of the top prospects have graduated to the Major League roster, but that doesn't mean the minor league clubs aren't having fun. 

Take 29-year-old Ryan Court, a minor league infielder who has bounced around from Arizona and Boston's systems and found a home this year with the Cubs triple-A affiliate in Des Moines, IA. Court has had a solid season in Iowa, slashing .272/.347/.410 in 74 games, but might have had his finest game as I-Cub Friday night against the New Orleans Baby Cakes. 

Court came up in the 8th inning last night needing just a triple to hit for the cycle, but his club was on the verge of taking the lead in the after scoring three runs prior to his at-bat.

With Bote on 1st, the game tied at 8 runs apiece, Court placed a ball in front of the right fielder who overplayed the ball and allowed Bote to score from first and Court to scamper to third to complete the cycle. 

The I-Cubs would tack on another run to polish off a 5-run 8th inning and take home the win in a 10-8 victory over the Baby Cakes, and according to Des Moines Register's Tommy Birch, it was the first time in two decades an Iowa player has hit for the cycle. 

It's unlikely Ryan Court will make his way to the big leagues with the Cubs already carrying plenty of infielders, but for one night he played the hero and got his team the win, finishing the night 4-5 with 2 RBI, 4 runs scored and one massive smile on his face. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: