Cubs

Postponed: Garza gets the ball for doubleheader

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Postponed: Garza gets the ball for doubleheader

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 3:38 p.m. Updated: 7:28 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

The Cubs are already trying to patch things together with their pitching staff. On Wednesday they will have to account for at least 18 innings in an eight-hour window.

Thats the fallout from the decision to postpone Tuesdays game against the San Diego Padres due to steady rains and the chance of thunderstorms. They will play a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Matt Garza will start it at 1:20 p.m. and be expected to work deep into the game. James Russell, the left-handed reliever, will start the second game at 6:05 and max out around 70 pitches before turning it over to the bullpen.

It will be, as manager Mike Quade likes to say, all hands on deck.

They were forced into a doubleheader because the Padres are not scheduled to return to Chicago again this season and will open a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday in San Diego.

Carlos Zambrano gave the Cubs eight shutout innings in Mondays 1-0 victory over the Padres. The Cubs are also off on Thursday, which should reduce the stress on their bullpen.

I really think were in the best shape we could be in to deal with this, Quade said. Well find out.

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is expected to be available for the doubleheader after his wife gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday.

The story will be Garza (0-2, 6.27), who for all his struggles has received zero run support in his last two starts.

Im just going to control what I can control thats what I do with the ball, Garza said. Im just going to keep pitching (and) keep fighting.

The Cubs were drawn to Garza because he pitches aggressively and demands the ball. They would love to see him take control in Game 1.

Garza has struggled with pitch selection and location, giving up 13 runs on 27 hits in 18.2 innings. Hes also struck out 25 and thrown at least 106 pitches in each start. Hes shown signs of the player who went 34-31 with a 3.86 ERA across three seasons in the brutal American League East.

The Cubs are taking the long view with Garza. First baseman Carlos Pena who played with him in Tampa Bay knows that the pitcher wont back down.

In baseball, its sometimes so volatile, Pena said. I know the tide should turn for him and at the end of the year were going to be very happy with what Garza brought to the table.

Even though he would love to see some nice numbers, hes still just going to keep on working. And know that at the end hes one of those short bets. I would still invest in his stock.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

The Chicago Cubs tied the Washington Redskins for 14th on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list with a $3.1 billion valuation. The Cubs' valuation grew by 7% year over year.

The Cubs are the fourth-most valuable franchise in MLB behind the Yankees ($4.1B), the Dodgers ($3.3B) and the Red Sox ($3.2B). Only seven MLB teams made the Top 50.

Two other Chicago teams, the Bears and the Bulls, are tied for 19th on the list with a value of $2.9 billion. The Bears' value grew just 2% while the Bulls' valuation grew by 12% year over year.

The rise of the pro sports teams valued over $2 billion has been pretty meteoric over the past decade. In 2012, only Manchester United was valued over $2 billion and in 2019 that number has risen to 52.

In 2012, only the Knicks and Lakers made the Top 50 list but in 2019 the Bulls are one of nine teams to earn a spot. The Bulls were the fourth-most valuable NBA franchise in 2019 behind the Knicks ($4B), Lakers ($3.7B) and Warriors ($3.5B).

Forbes credits the NBA's international prospects and worldwide revenue growth for the league's rise in the list.

No NHL teams made the list, the New York Rangers were the most-valued hockey team at $1.55 billion, 72nd highest.

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

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