Cubs

Kris Bryant tracker: The wait is over

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Kris Bryant tracker: The wait is over

Kris Bryant Watch is officially over.

The top prospect in baseball is expected to be called up to The Show on Friday, according to CSN Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney.

Here's a rundown of Bryant's minor league action this season:

Thursday, April 16 - Iowa Cubs @ New Orleans Zephyrs

Bryant's only hit of the day was a three-run homer that could be the last of his minor league career with the I-Cubs. It was his third home run of the season, which occurred in the 6th inning. Bryant played third base and went 1-for-4, scoring a run and fanning once.

The I-Cubs won the game, 10-7, earning their fourth win of the season.

Wednesday, April 15 - Iowa Cubs @ New Orleans Zephyrs

After a rainout Tuesday, Bryant and the I-Cubs picked up play again with an early game Wednesday, in which Bryant went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He was also hit by a pitch and struck out twice as Iowa lost 3-2 in extra innings.

Bryant is now hitting .333 on the season with a 1.004 OPS, two homers, seven RBI and two stolen bases in six games.

Monday, April 13 - Iowa Cubs @ New Orleans Zephyrs

Bryant didn't homer Monday, but he did collect three hits - all singles - in helping the I-Cubs to a 4-1 victory. Bryant didn't score or drive in a run (the bottom of the order did all the damage) and stole his second base of the season. He also made two throwing errors at third base.

Sunday, April 12 - Iowa Cubs @ Memphis Redbirds

Bryant went deep again Sunday, crushing a two-run homer in the seventh to spark Iowa to a 7-2 victory. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the game and finished 1-for-4 with three RBI. Bryant hit third in the lineup, with Addison Russell collecting three hits - including a homer - and two RBI hitting ahead of Bryant.

Saturday, April 11 - Iowa Cubs @ Memphis Redbirds

Bryant broke out of his mini-slump to start the year, going 3-for-4 with a double, his first home run of the year and 3 RBIs.

He added a single and played error-free baseball at third base as the Cubs won 13-0, picking up their first win of the year.

Friday, April 10 - Iowa Cubs @ Memphis Redbirds

Bryant was the cleanup hitter, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He was error-free in nine innings of work at third base.

Iowa finished the game with five hits, losing 8-1.

Thursday, April 9 - Iowa Cubs @ Memphis Redbirds

Bryant hit fourth and went 1-for-4 with a single, an RBI, a run and a stolen base while playing third. He hit behind fellow uber-prospect Russell, who had two hits, a run and an RBI.

Bryant drove in John Andreoli with a two-out single to right and then promptly stole second before Junior Lake's single brought home both Russell and Bryant.

Still, the I-Cubs wound up on the losing end in a 7-4 ballgame.

With Cubs reeling, Jon Lester comes up big and plays stopper

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USA TODAY

With Cubs reeling, Jon Lester comes up big and plays stopper

The last three games have been more than forgettable for the Cubs.

From Wednesday’s 11-1 drubbing at the hands of the Phillies to back-to-back walk-off losses on Thursday and Friday, the Cubs’ current road trip has looked much like those that preceded it. At various times, the offense has scuffled, the rotation has pitched a clunker and the bullpen has cracked.

The solution to the latest road trip woes? Give the ball to Jon Lester and get the hell out of the way.

Lester —  who pitched a clunker himself Aug. 6 against the A’s — did what the Cubs have become so accustomed to see him do over the past four seasons. The 35-year-old tossed 6+ shutout innings, allowing just four hits, leading the Cubs to a 2-0 win.

Lester had no room for error on Saturday, as the Cubs offense went hitless for the first 4 1/3 innings. While the Cubs bats were asleep, the Pirates threatened to break the game on open multiple times, loading the bases with one out (first inning), no outs (fifth) and getting runners on first and second with no outs in the sixth.

The latter two of those instances were assisted by errors by third baseman Kris Bryant, but that’s neither here nor there. Point being, with how the Cubs looked offensively, any Pirates runs could have proved critical on Saturday. Instead, Lester worked out of every jam, stymying the Pirates bats to an 0-for-12 line with RISP.

Winning Saturday’s game was obviously important for the Cubs, as it puts them a game ahead of the Cardinals in the win column (pending the outcome of St. Louis's game against the Reds later Saturday). But it was equally important for Lester, who called himself the “weakest link” in the Cubs starting rotation after that tough outing against the A’s.

The beautiful thing about baseball is that the regular season is 162 games long. Each day presents teams with a new slate, a chance to forget about what happened in the previous game and move forward.  If Saturday’s start shows anything, it’s that Lester and the Cubs are more than capable of putting a tough game in the rearview mirror and keep moving forward.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Get to know Kelly Crull podcast

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NBC Sports Chicago

Cubs Talk Podcast: Get to know Kelly Crull podcast

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, we get to know Kelly Crull. Kelly tells Luke Stuckmeyer about her love of bowling growing up, why she became a reporter and some of her favorite moments covering the Cubs.

01:00 Kelly's love of tennis at an early age

04:00 Following basketball while growing up in Indiana

06:00 Possible tennis showdown between Kelly and Megan Mawicke

09:30 Kelly talks about working in London & interviewing J.K. Rowling

14:00 When did she decide to become a reporter?

15:00 What is her favorite food?

16:00 Kelly's go-to karaoke song

18:00 Kelly's favorite NBA story (it involves Kevin Durant)

21:00 Favorite moments covering the Cubs

24:00 Dealing with the weather at Wrigley Field

28:00 Something we don't know about Kelly

31:00 What does Kelly enjoy watching at home the most?

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

Cubs Talk Podcast

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