Cubs

Dodgers rock John Lackey and now Cubs have to face Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers rock John Lackey and now Cubs have to face Clayton Kershaw

LOS ANGELES – The Cubs have scored zero runs in 18 innings at Dodger Stadium this weekend and still haven’t faced Clayton Kershaw yet. Neither game got close enough for Kenley Jansen and the sound system blasting “California Love” in the ninth inning.

Of course, the Cubs survived a 21-inning scoreless streak last October and came roaring back to eliminate the Dodgers and win their first National League pennant in 71 years. But muscle memory and been-there, done-that confidence will only take the Cubs so far.

The Cubs keep saying this is a new year, talking around the issues with their rotation, the learning curves for young hitters and what was supposed to be an airtight defense. But you could see the frustration bubbling up during Saturday’s 5-0 loss for a 25-23 team that’s probably best described as hanging around at the Memorial Day mile marker.

“Obviously, we haven’t played great,” losing pitcher John Lackey said after his ERA skyrocketed to 5.18. “We’ve kind of been up and down, but we’re right in the mix. We got a long way to go.”

Lackey walked off the field and down the dugout steps after the fifth inning and slammed his glove to the ground as a one-run game had escalated into a 5-0 blowout. Lackey walked Los Angeles pitcher Brandon McCarthy and watched Chris Taylor drill the first pitch he saw into the left-field seats. Lackey screamed into his glove after Chase Utley knocked a two-out, two-run single into right field and the crowd of 48,322 got louder and louder. 

Another Lackey Being Lackey moment: Jawing with home plate umpire Tripp Gibson after striking out looking at a 92-mph Brandon McCarthy fastball leading off the third inning.

“He said something to me,” Lackey said. “I was walking off minding my own business. He called strike three and I was kind of laughing and he’s like: You can laugh all you want. He started something with me, so I had a problem with that. I was just walking off minding my own business.”

The Dodgers meanwhile are young, rich, talented, deep, versatile and already 10 games over .500. Without Kershaw or Jansen throwing a single pitch, the Cubs have managed only five hits in 57 at-bats and struck out 18 times while drawing just four walks in back-to-back shutouts. 

“What it means to me is that we had no chance to win the last two games,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They pitched well. It’s not always your fault sometimes. Sometimes it’s what they’ve done well.

“They’re like an elevated-fastball group. We just have to make an adjustment to that. They do a really good job with that – their bullpen and their starters – and they’ve carried out their game plan perfectly.

“They pitched well. They beat us. That’s it.”

Once again, the Cubs will rely on NLCS co-MVP Jon Lester to neutralize a Dodger lineup that has struggled against left-handed pitching and avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon against the great Kershaw.

“He’s as advertised,” outfielder Jason Heyward said. “It’s like any ace, if they got their stuff going, they got their stuff going. He has multiple pitches and he can throw all of them for strikes at times. And he can throw them all around the plate at times. You just got to go up there and have your best (at-bat) and take what he gives you. Just try to chip a few across and see what happens.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: David Ross set to be named manager; Bryant service time dispute

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AP

Cubs Talk Podcast: David Ross set to be named manager; Bryant service time dispute

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki react to the news of David Ross becoming the new manager of the Cubs and the upcoming hearing with Kris Bryant regarding his delayed callup back in 2015.

01:30 - Was it always David Ross' job?

04:00 - Ross having to do a mock press conference as part of his interview process

10:00 - Theo and Jed's interview process

13:00 - How will Ross hold his former teammates accountable

17:00 - How active will the team be in free agency this offseason

21:00 - Kris Bryant's grievance over his service time

28:00 - Chances Kris Bryant (or a core player) gets traded this offseason

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

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David Ross' mock speech and press conference helped him land Cubs' manager job

David Ross' mock speech and press conference helped him land Cubs' manager job

After much speculation, former Cubs catcher David Ross is set to become the team's next manager, replacing Joe Maddon.

While we'll know more soon about what went into the Cubs' decision to hire Ross, minor details are coming out regarding the interview process. According to two reports, the team was impressed with Ross' delivery of a mock speech and how he handled a mock press conference.

This isn't the first time the Cubs have asked managerial candidates to partake in such activities. After interviewing for the Cubs' vacancy In November 2011, former manager Dale Sveum partook in an actual press conference featuring questions from the media. He wasn't hired at that point, but the presser was part of the Cubs' interview process. 

No, Ross wasn't named the Cubs' next manager solely on the mock speech and press conference. His clubhouse leadership and familiarity with the organization are two big factors. But the speech points to Ross' strength in the latter category; his ability to represent the organization positively through media relations — one of Maddon's strengths — is important, too.

Whether these strengths lead to wins is to be determined, but Ross clearly impresed the Cubs for a multitude of reasons.

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