Cubs

Maddon on Cubs' tough loss: 'We showed why we're not ready yet'

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Maddon on Cubs' tough loss: 'We showed why we're not ready yet'

The Royals have become one of the best teams in Major League Baseball thanks to a ridiculous bullpen and stellar defense.

Friday, that was the difference as the Cubs bullpen and defense imploded in the eighth inning, handing Kansas City an 8-4 victory in front of 34,273 fans in the Royals' first visit to Wrigley Field in more than 13 years.

"We played well today and then we broke down at the end," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We had them on the ropes.

"They showed why they went to the World Series. We showed why we're not ready yet."

[MORE: Dale Sveum returns to Wrigley Field: 'This is a special place']

Addison Russell tied the game for the Cubs with a long home run off Kansas City's elite setup man Kelvin Herrera — who had allowed just one homer in 80 innings since the start of the 2014 season — in the seventh inning, but the Royals wasted no time regaining the lead.

Pedro Strop walked Mike Moustakas to begin the eighth and the next hitter, Lorenzo Cain, doubled him home. Eric Hosmer then walked and after two straight strikeouts, the wheels came off for the Cubs.

Royals second baseman Omar Infante sent a liner to center field, where Dexter Fowler dropped the ball and then slipped and fell while trying to pick it back up, allowing two unearned runs to score.

"We have to be more efficient in the latter part of the game," Maddon said. "We cannot make the physical or mental mistakes. You have to make pitches in order to beat good teams late.

"You have to have that will to beat them. You do that by repeating your fundamentals and your techniques and making your pitches or making players or having good at-bats and that's what we need to do, all throughout the game."

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The rough eighth inning overshadowed a comeback from the Cubs after Jake Arrieta allowed four runs — three coming on solo homers — in seven innings of work.

Kris Bryant doubled home Addison Russell in the third inning and Jorge Soler smashed a two-run homer to left in the sixth before Russell's game-tying blast an inning later.

"We didn't make the one play," Maddon said. "But it's before that. We didn't make pitches. The bullpen - we have to make pitches when it's necessary. We didn't do that and that put us in that particular bind.

"It was such a great game for 7 2/3 innings. I thought we really were gonna pull it out. Came from behind - Soler hitting that home run, Addy hitting the home run, working good at-bats in the game.

"And then you get to that moment and we just didn't execute. We talk about fundamentals and technique - we didn't execute and they win. It comes down to that."

The Royals tacked on another unearned run in the ninth off Edwin Jackson before Wade Davis and Greg Holland shut down the Cubs to preserve the win for Kansas City.

[MORE - Maddon, Cubs getting a 'fresh look' at Junior Lake]

"In moments like this, my thoughts always turn to - I want to see how high we bounce after the fall," Maddon said. "We've done pretty well this year, so let's see how high we bounce tomorrow."

On this homestand, the Cubs have welcomed the Washington Nationals and the Royals - two of the best teams in the league - into Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have hung with both teams, but are just 1-3 to show for it through the first four games.

"Those are both high-level clubs," Arrieta said. "The Royals played in the World Series last year and had some tremendous years from a lot of their young guys.

"It's good to match up with them. It kinda lets you know where you stand a little bit. Exposes your mistakes and where you need to get better at some things. We will.

"We were in that game right up until the end and we'll be better for it."

Bold predictions for the Cubs' 2019-20 offseason

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USA TODAY

Bold predictions for the Cubs' 2019-20 offseason

The Cubs are just a couple of weeks away from a pivotal offseason that could see a lot of change coming to Chicago's North Side.

Then again, we thought the same thing a year ago and it turned out Theo Epstein's biggest move last winter was signing Daniel Descalso to a two-year deal.

But after missing the playoffs in 2019, the Cubs are now at a crossroads as an organization. 

The NBC Sports Chicago crew previewed the offseason on the latest CubsTalk Podcast with some bold predictions for the winter.

Listen here and check out the fearless calls below:

(Note: Rationale and more context on each bold prediction in the podcast.)

David Kaplan

1. Cubs are going to take a page out of the Yankees' book and retool on the fly rather than go all-in to contend in 2020.
2. Jose Quintana has thrown his last pitch as a Cub.
3. This will be the second-to-last offseason for Theo Epstein as the Cubs president of baseball operations.

Kelly Crull 

1. Cubs re-sign Nick Castellanos and trade away Kyle Schwarber.
2. Tyler Chatwood will be in the 2020 rotation.
3. John Lackey will be named quality assurance coach on David Ross's coaching staff. (Kidding, but only kind of...)

Tony Andracki

1. Before the Cubs play a Spring Training game, Javy Baez will sign an extension that will keep him in Chicago through at least 2023.
2. Willson Contreras will be traded this winter and the Cubs will get some much-needed pitching help in return.
3. Cubs sign Howie Kendrick this winter as the professional bat and lefty-masher they craved in 2019.
4. Ben Zobrist will return on a one-year deal and finish his playing career in a Cubs uniform.
5. David Bote, Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell will all be traded or non-tendered this winter as the Cubs remake their bench/depth.

Jeff Nelson

1. Willson Contreras will sign a contract extension.
2. Ben Zobrist will return as a player/coach.
3. Jose Quintana will be traded for minor league depth.
4. Terrance Gore will be signed to be the 26th man on the roster under the new rules.

Theo Epstein’s dog damages Arizona rental property with excessive urine

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USA Today

Theo Epstein’s dog damages Arizona rental property with excessive urine

In the midst of an intensive hiring process for the new Cubs manager, Theo Epstein is being sued by an Arizona couple claiming Epstein’s dog, Winston, damaged their house. The cause of damage? Peeing excessively inside the property Epstein rented for spring training in 2015.

Yes, you read that right, Epstein’s dog peed so much he’s being sued.

The lawsuit was filed this Tuesday in Maricopa County, according to the Phoenix New Times, citing Epstein’s dog left “a terrible odor and urine-stained carpeting” in the Paradise Valley, Ariz., home where he and his family stayed.

Winston is a rescue mutt, weighing in at around ten pounds. He can’t pee that much, right?

The lawsuit states the dog "peed prolifically in the $1 million house, staining tile and stone flooring, wood door jams, cabinets, and furniture."

John and Mary Valentino referenced a 2017 quote by Epstein as proof that Winston had a peeing problem. When asked about being named the world’s greatest leader by Fortune magazine after the Cubs 2016 World Series win, Epstein said: “I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house.”

Epstein left the rental property two weeks early due to a scorpion infestation later was shown a repair estimate of $51,405, according to the report.

Julian Green, the Cubs vice president of communications, told the New Times the lawsuit was “baseless.” He also said that an exterminator discovered 45 scorpions on the property that “put (Epstein’s) family at risk every time they put their children to sleep.” The Epsteins moved into a different house for the last two weeks of spring training.

The owners kept the $5,000 security deposit, and according to a source the Epsteins did not hear from them again for more than four years until the suit was filed Tuesday.

When asked about the lawsuit, Epstein replied, “As I said, we have no untouchables. Winston is definitely available in the right trade.”

We’ll be keeping tabs on this story as it unfolds. In the meantime, it’s good to see Epstein still has a sense of humor, even with a dog urine lawsuit and a Cubs managerial search on the line.

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