Cubs

The Cubs got a win on Saturday night the same way they've gotten most of their wins this season

The Cubs got a win on Saturday night the same way they've gotten most of their wins this season

It’d be hard to think of a victory more emblematic of the Cubs’ 2019 season than Saturday night’s affair at Guaranteed Rate Field. A 6-3 win over the White Sox had it all: a much-needed laborious 6 innings from Jon Lester, an uneven offensive performance, three errors in the field, and a 9th inning that ended with runners on 2nd and 3rd with the tying run at the plate. It wasn’t the model of winning baseball, but for the first time since early May, the Cubs have won consecutive games away from Wrigley Field. 

“Team victory,” Joe Maddon said after the game. “We could have been a little bit cleaner - that’s one thing we really have to work on in the second half. I like formulaic wins, when you play catch properly and you don’t chase pitches out of the strike zone. That’s the next level for us, and it’s within us.”

During lengthy sessions with the media pregame, both Maddon and Theo Epstein talked about the need to play cleaner baseball in the field. The Cubs’ three errors on Saturday - two on poor throws from Javy Baez and Addison Russell and one on a misplayed ball by David Bote - accounted for two of the White Sox three runs. 

Fortunately for the Cubs, Lester worked around all three with minimum damage. The lefty also walked three batters for the first time since their May series against the Astros. Despite below average control, Lester managed to get into the 6th inning for only the 2nd time in a calendar month. 

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “There’s some stuff I’m working on right now, the last couple starts. I feel like it’s close. I was able to work around a few things tonight as far as how I threw the ball in certain innings, with kind of getting flat and whatnot. Overall, for the most part, I like where I’m at. I’ll just continue to build off it tonight and come back in another week and try to do it again.

“Lester really should have given up less than [3 runs],” Maddon added. “He continued to get better as the game was in progress. Everything was in order - fastball was up to 92, located the cutter, curveball was pertinent. I really enjoy watching Jon pitch when he’s in that kind of a groove.” 

At the plate, the game turned on a 5-run 5th that saw 8 consecutive batters reach base. A comically soft bloop double from Kyle Schwarber -- who admitted that when he first hit it he thought he’d just grounded into a triple play -- broke open the 1-1 tie. 

“Schwarber hit that ball and he did not even know where it was,” Maddon said. “He really did not know. And then he took off and ran - that’s kind of the big hit of the night. When you’re facing a pitcher like [White Sox starter Lucas Giolito] you’ve got to take advantage of everything because his stuff is that outstanding. And we did.” 

Now the Cubs have one last game before they go their separate ways for the All-Star break. For all the talk about how rough the last couple weeks have been, they’re still in a position to head into the break on a three-game win streak, and hit the halfway point in first place. 

“We come out of the break with three tough opponents,” Lester said. “We’ve just got to be ready to play. We’ll take this break, use it, and come out ready to go on Friday. We’ll be back home, which is nice, and hopefully we start out on a good note.”

Cubs option David Bote to Triple-A Iowa

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USA TODAY

Cubs option David Bote to Triple-A Iowa

David Bote signed a 5-year contract with the Cubs at the beginning of the year, but he is headed to Triple-A Iowa.

Bote joins Ian Happ, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. as notable Cubs position players to be sent to Iowa.

Bote's production isn't as bad as the other three. In fact, Bote has respectable numbers at the plate.

In 310 plate appearances this season the 26-year-old is hitting .257/.352/.429. His OPS+ is 100, meaning he has been exactly league average.

The corresponding roster move was not yet announced, but it is expected that reliever Steve Cishek will be activated ahead of Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants.

Mark Zagunis was also sent back to Iowa after serving as the 26th man for Sunday's Little League Classic.

 

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Appreciating Jose Quintana

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Appreciating Jose Quintana

Luke Stuckmeyer sits down with David Kaplan, Chris Kamka and Nate Poppen to discuss Jose Quintana's dominant stretch, the importance of this upcoming homestand, and the best moments of the LLWS Classic.

00:00:25

Examining the roller coaster week that ended with the Cubs winning their first road series since

00:02:21

Jose Quintana appreciation: Chris Kamka delivers some spectacular stats to back up Q's tremendous run since June 29th.

00:07:28

If the Cubs make the playoffs... would you pitch Quintana in Game 1?

00:08:28

The guys pick their favorite moments from the Little League World Series Classic.

00:10:03

Since we are talking about Little League... will we ever see a return to "situational hitting" and "small ball" in Major League Baseball?

00:12:53

Since the ball is "juiced" in 2019 - why are Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo not hitting more home runs? Chris Kamka thinks he has the answer to that question.

00:14:57

Chris Kamka examines the Cubs awful road record - which could have more to do with bad luck than people think.

00:18:16

Preview of this week's homestand, keeping in mind that the Brewers and Cardinals will face each other 6 times over 10 days.

00:20:53

Kap gets in his time machine and plays "what if" the Cubs didn't make a few trades/signings before and after the 2016 World Series.

00:24:45

Kap discusses the "level of expectations" that Cubs fans have now.

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

Cubs Talk Podcast

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