Cubs

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs take two of three from Brewers; Willson Contreras sits down with Kelly Crull

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Cubs take two of three from Brewers; Willson Contreras sits down with Kelly Crull

Cubs even the season series with the Brewers after Sunday night's win and are off to Cincinnati followed by a weekend series in Washington D.C. Kelly Crull and Jared Wyllys break down the Brewers series and preview the Cubs next opponents in the Reds and Nationals. Later in the podcast, Kelly sat down with Willson Contreras who has been on a tear as of late, already matching the 10 home runs he hit in all of 2018.

1:00 - Kelly and Jared recap the successful homestand.

3:15 - Tyler Chatwood has begun to turn his season around after great outing on Saturday.

7:18 - Defense has been on point as of late.

11:54 - Off-days are few and far between as the season continues to roll, how will Joe Maddon shuffle the lineups vs. the Reds and Nationals?

14:28 - Kelly goes one-on-one with catcher Willson Contreras to recap his impressive 2019 to this point and how this team compares to 2016.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Here comes Kimbrel: Closer expected to join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Kimbrel: Closer expected to join Cubs Thursday

Here comes Craig Kimbrel.

Cubs fans can get used to hearing those words, as the closer is on his way to Chicago, the team confirmed Wednesday evening.

Kimbrel wrapped up his minor-league rehab stint with a scoreless outing Tuesday and is expected to be activated ahead of Thursday's homestand finale against the Atlanta Braves, the team he began his career with.

There is no word yet on what the corresponding roster move will be, as the Cubs have a very tough decision on their hands. Unless a trade or injury pops up, the move very well might be sending rookie Adbert Alzolay back down to the minor leagues. 

The Cubs have been operating with a six-man rotation recently, with Alzolay making his first big-league start Tuesday night as a part of that. But that's also left the bullpen a bit short-handed, featuring six veterans who are either out of minor-league options or on big-league deals and cannot be sent down:

Pedro Strop
Steve Cishek
Brandon Kintzler
Brad Brach
Mike Montgomery
Tony Barnette

The same applies for the entire rotation outside of Alzolay.

The Cubs could send down Kyle Ryan, but he's their only true left-hander out of the bullpen (Montgomery mostly serves as a long man) and he's been pitching a lot better of late (2.08 ERA in June). 

Alzolay, of course, hasn't done anything worthy of a demotion, either. In his two outings in the big leagues over the last week, he's put up a 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out 9 batters and permitting only 2 hits in 8.2 innings.

The Cubs haven't made any set plans for Alzolay's next outing, but Joe Maddon admitted it could come in the minor leagues. 

The organization also wants to be careful with his workload, as he pitched only 39.2 innings a year ago due to injury. He's already thrown 44.2 innings this year.

"Of course you want to keep him on a schedule," Maddon said. "We're talking this all the way through — he can do it here, he might have to do it somewhere else. We're not sure yet. But you also have to be mindful of the innings that he's pitching this year based on what kind of a jump you want him to endure this year. 

"There's a lot of different components about these discussions specifically. Definitely showing you that he can pitch here. No question he can pitch here. But now we have to figure out how to put him in the mix in a way that's beneficial to him and us. We're not done discussing that, but it's possible both ways."

The Cubs could also send a position player down and roll with a 14-man pitching staff for a little while, but that would leave them with a very limited bench (only two players and the backup catcher).

The Cubs will have other roster crunch decisions to make in the near future as both Kyle Hendricks and Carl Edwards Jr. are recovering from their respective injuries.

Both right-handers threw a bullpen at Wrigley Field Wednesday and progressing toward a return.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ryne Sandberg: Part 2

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ryne Sandberg: Part 2

In the second part of our interview with Ryne Sandberg, the Hall of Famer talks the legendary Bleacher Bums (3:20), the increased media attention after his epic June 23rd game in 1984 (7:00), his 1st home run off Bruce Sutter (11:00), and his 2nd longball that improbably tied the game again in the 10th inning (16:30), as well as all the craziness that followed once the game ended.

Part 1 of the interview is available here.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

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