Schwarber, Edwards will represent Cubs in Futures Game


Schwarber, Edwards will represent Cubs in Futures Game

Kyle Schwarber and Carl Edwards Jr. will get to showcase their stuff on minor league baseball's biggest stage during the All-Star break.

Schwarber and Edwards will represent the Cubs in the 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Sunday, July 12th in Cincinnati, two nights before the MLB All-Star Game. The event is a collection of the top young talent in the game squaring off against each other, with 13 former first-round picks and four more players selected in the Compensation Round.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Both Schwarber and Edwards will be on the U.S. roster. Desi Wilson, the hitting coach for the Cubs' Double-A affiliate in Tennessee, will be a part of the U.S. coaching staff.

Kris Bryant and Javier Baez represented the Cubs in the Futures Game last season, with Baez hitting a home run for the World Team.

Schwarber just got his first taste of The Show last week, hitting .364 with a .982 OPS and six RBI in six games as a designated hitter/catcher.

Schwarber is listed as a catcher on the Futures Game roster, only one of two backstops (the other is Dodgers Double-A catcher Kyle Farmer).

[MORE - The education of Kyle Schwarber behind the plate]

Edwards had been a starting pitcher his entire career, but the Cubs moved him to the bullpen this season in an effort to save his arm after he was hampered by shoulder issues in 2014.

The 23-year-old righty is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.183 WHIP and 12.5 K/9 over 20 appearances - 13 with Double-A Tennessee and seven with Triple-A Iowa.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Jon Lester saw a start like this coming

Jon Lester saw a start like this coming

Jon Lester had easily his worst outing of the year, allowing the Cardinals to score eight runs on seven hits, the veteran All-Star only managed three innings before Joe Maddon turned to his bullpen. 

The Cardinals would take game two of the series by the score of 18 to 5, and while none of the Cubs pitchers could silence the Cardinal bats, Lester didn't shy away from his poor outing. 

"You know, I don't want to chalk this up as bad days happen," said Lester. "I think mechanically this has kinda been coming." 

Lester knew he was struggling to hit his spots, and while his ERA was a sparkling 2.58 coming into this start, his peripheral stats had him pegged as a potential regression candidate in the second half of the season.

His 4.35 FIP and 3.30 walks per nine innings show a pitcher who is relying heavily on his defense to get outs, which isn't surprising for a 33-year-old veteran but the walks are a concern. 

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was aware Lester had been working on his mechanics, but even he was surprised that Lester's start went downhill so quickly. 

"I thought he had good stuff to start the game, hitting [92-93 mph] and I'm thinking this might be a good day," said Maddon. "But you could just see from the beginning he was off just a little bit." 

Over Lester's last four starts his ERA has been an uncharacteristic 4.57, issuing 10 walks over those four starts, and only making it past the 6th inning once. At this point of Lester's career, he knows the best way for him to get outs isn't through strikeouts but by inducing soft contact and avoiding walks. 

And while both his hard contact rate and walks have increased this season, Lester's experience and high baseball I.Q. has allowed him to navigate his way through sticky situations. 

"I've been getting outs," Lester said candidly. "I just feel like when I've had that strikeout or I have a guy set up for that pitch I haven't been able to execute it." 

And while this outing was one to forget, it's at least a positive sign that Lester is aware of his issues on the mound. The veteran knows how to get outs and he knows what he needs to do to be successful in the latter part of his career. He just needs to get back to executing those pitches. 

Just don't expect Lester to dive head first into the analytics on how to fix his issues, he'll stick to hard work and baseball common sense. 

"I'm not too concerned with the analytic B.S., I'm worried about my mechanical fix for my next start."