Cubs

Gerrit Cole shuts down Cubs again after last year's trash talk

Gerrit Cole shuts down Cubs again after last year's trash talk

The last time Gerrit Cole faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field, he shut them out for eight innings then promptly backed up his play by stating the Cubs are not the best team in baseball.

That was 11 months ago - May 15, 2016 to be exact - and it's not like the Cubs (6-4) had that statement printed out and tacked up on bulletin boards throughout the clubhouse before facing Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-6) Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Cole wasn't exactly dominant but allowed only two runs in six innings to beat the Cubs once again 4-2 in front of 40,430 fans to kick off the first weekend series of the season at "The Friendly Confines."

Even if the Cubs didn't use Cole's 11-month-old comments as fuel for Friday's game, it's not as if they forgot his bold statement, even after a World Series championship.

"That's fine," Joe Maddon said before the game when asked about Cole's comments. "I'm sure there's certain things I'm not sure of, either. I try to refrain from actually saying them out loud, though."

The Cubs' resume obviously speaks for itself as they proved Cole wrong by finishing 2016 with 103 victories en route to a wild World Series run that ended in the greatest baseball game ever played.

But Cole - the pitcher the Cubs beat in the one-game wild-card playoff in October 2015 - acted as a true ace for his team Friday, halting a four-game losing streak and keeping a powerful Cubs lineup at bay just enough to let the rest of his team come through against Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs bullpen.

After Kyle Schwarber broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the fifth, the Pirates strung together three straight hits to re-tie the score in the sixth and chase Hendricks from the game. Two batters later, the pesky Francisco Cervelli lined a double to right-center to make it 4-2.

The Cubs threatened in the eighth when Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo was plunked to lead off the inning. But Ben Zobrist struck out on the 10th pitch of his at-bat against Felipe Rivero and Addison Russell lined out to center. Jason Heyward reached on an infield single before Willson Contreras grounded out to end the inning.

The Cubs put together another rally in the ninth with two outs when Schwarber walked, Bryant reached on an error and Rizzo was hit again. But Zobrist grounded to short to end the afternoon. 

2020 MLB season: All-Star game canceled, Dodgers awarded 2022 game

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USA TODAY

2020 MLB season: All-Star game canceled, Dodgers awarded 2022 game

Major League Baseball announced Friday they've canceled the 2020 All Star Game, which was scheduled for July 14 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Braves are scheduled to host the 2021 Midsummer Classic, so MLB awarded the Dodgers the 2022 game.

"Based on the health circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic that are beyond MLB’s control along with governmental directives prohibiting large gatherings, the league determined it is unable to conduct the All-Star Game and its week of surrounding fan activities this year," MLB said in a statement.

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“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.  “I want to thank the Dodgers organization and the City of Los Angeles for being collaborative partners in the early stages of All-Star preparation and for being patient and understanding in navigating the uncertainty created by the pandemic.  

"The 2022 All-Star celebration promises to be a memorable one with events throughout the city and at picturesque Dodger Stadium.”

California has seen a 92 percent increase in COVID-19 cases this week compared to two weeks ago.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Is there change coming to baseball's diversity problem?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Is there change coming to baseball's diversity problem?

While trying to get the season going, the MLB and baseball as a whole are starting to address another problem: the lack of diversity. NBCS Cubs reporter Maddie Lee is joined by former Cub and professor Doug Glanville, Laurence Holmes and Eugene McIntosh of "The Bigs" to discuss ways MLB and baseball need to address the issues and how they can benefit from it.

(2:00) - Ian Desmond's comments really struck a chord in baseball

(12:06) - Youth baseball for young Black athletes

(26:09) - Glanville remembers being the only Black athlete on teams in MLB

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(30:14) - Current Black players in majors are still dealing with racism

(32:26) - Ways Theo Epstein is trying to help find solutions to the lack of diversity in baseball

Listen here or below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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