Cubs

Jake Arrieta dominates, leads Cubs to sixth straight win

Jake Arrieta dominates, leads Cubs to sixth straight win

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta isn't quite satisfied he's recovered his dominant stuff after a pedestrian July.

He didn't look far off Saturday. Arrieta pitched eight innings of three-hit ball to get his first victory in over a month and the Chicago Cubs beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0.

"Really close," Arrieta said when asked if he's back to full strength.

Arrieta (13-5) was 0-3 in his previous five starts and 1-4 since ending a 20-decision winning streak on June 22. He struck out four and walked one on 108 pitches.

"Emphasis (is) on sinking the ball down, middle down in the strike zone and forcing action early on," Arrieta said. "Not worrying about strikeouts. Those will come in big situations. Maybe guy on third, a guy on second base, no outs, less than two, punchouts are more important. I'm trying to get through the middle innings."

The NL Central-leading Cubs have won six straight and 16 of 22, and they moved a season-best 27 games over .500 for a second time this season. They gave the A's their seventh loss in eight games.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Ben Zobrist's two-out two-run single off former A's teammate Sonny Gray broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third.

"I'm watching them out there from the very first pitch ... they're engaged, they're present-tense, ready to go," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The guys are very confident right now, and the pitching permits this all to happen. You can't get hot without good pitching and our starters have been fantastic."

"We're firing on all cylinders right now," Arrieta said. "Does that mean we won't lose three in a row? Who knows? It doesn't matter to us. We want to come out tomorrow and keep the momentum on our side."

Gray (5-11) left after five innings with soreness in the extensor muscle in his right forearm. He allowed two runs on five hits.

He first felt the injury after striking out Dexter Fowler with a curveball in the top of the fourth.

"I was trying to go back out there for the sixth," Gray said. "I told them after the fourth I had a little bit of an issue come up and when I went back out for the fifth it kind of felt the same.

"They kind of decided to shut it down there. I lobbied to go back out there. It obviously wasn't going to happen."

The injury is the latest setback in a disastrous season for the 26-year-old right-hander, who's already been on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury. Gray, a 2015 All-Star who last season finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, had the highest ERA in the majors (5.84) going into Saturday.

Zobrist and Addison Russell had two hits each for the Cubs.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

 

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Mailbag edition

3:00 - Listener question: Espada or Ross? Kelly Crull shares some inside info on Joe Espada

7:30 - Kelly talks about David Ross' second interview for the Cubs managerial job.

11:30 - Listener question: Say it is Espada, do you see any way David Ross comes on as a coach behind Espada?

13:30 - Listener question: Could the team regress further due to a lack of familiarity with a new manager?

20:10 - Listener question: How hard will Theo and Jed go after Gerrit Cole? And if he's not available who else is?

23:30 - Listener question: Are you trying to extend Castellanos?

26:00 - Listener question: If you sign Castellanos are you also trading Kyle Schwarber?

28:45 - Listener question: Should the Cubs trade Kris Bryant? What would they get back in return?

33:00 - Lighting round: Will Nico Hoerner be the opening day second baseman and keep the job in 2020?

33:10 - Lightning round: Will the Cubs bring back Cole Hamels?

33:45 - Can we and should we clone Javy Baez so we have a fresh Javy when he retires, or is that unethical?

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

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Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs' managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada's name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race. 

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week. 

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

As Kelly Crull hinted at in her tweet, Ross's position with the franchise definitely makes his negotiations about the managerial opening a bit more fluid, which may lead to fewer updates on his specific discussions with the team.  

Ross and Espada certainly sound like the favorites to land the Cubs' managerial opening, as our own David Kaplan stated that manager Joe Girardi, who has been connected to the Cubs throughout this search, looks like the front-runner for the Philadephia Phillies managerial spot. 

The 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros kicks off on Tuesday night. Traditionally you do not see MLB franchises make their managerial hiring announcements during the World Series,  so the Cubs' announcement could come on one of the World Series off-days, as early as Thursday. 

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