Cubs

On The Farm: Samardzija, Archer win again

On The Farm: Samardzija, Archer win again

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010
10:30 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS
Iowa (AAA)
Good, bad or ugly, Jeff Samardzija continues to find ways to win at Iowa whether hes starting or coming out of the bullpen.

Thursday nights effort at Principal Park falls under the good and the starting categories as Samardzija paced the I-Cubs to a an 8-3 victory over Tacoma. The Notre Dame product allowed a run on three hits over six innings to win his second in a row, fourth in five starts and ninth overall.

The only blemish on his season has been a horrendous one-inning outing at New Orleans in June 29 as he allowed seven runs and suffered his only loss.

Samardzija got a big assist from Micah Hoffpauir, who was 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Hes hitting .415 (22-for-53) during that stretch with six homers and 18 RBIs. Bryan LaHair and Marquez Smith also had homers for the I-Cubs.

Daytona (A)
The Cubs long winning streak is but a memory. Evidence of that can be found in Thursdays 7-2 loss to Jupiter at Roger Dean Stadium. It was Daytonas fourth-loss in a row and second straight to the Hammerheads, statistically one of the worst teams in minor league baseball.

Alberto Cabrera allowed four runs on 10 hits in six innings to suffer the loss. Dave Patton fared no better, allowing three runs in his inning of work. Ryan Flaherty had a homer and two RBIs for the Cubs.

Peoria (A)
Justin Bours eighth-inning grand slam punctuated a monstrous offensive evening for Peoria as it topped Wisconsin, 13-1, Thursday night.

Bours slam was part of a six-run inning and was one of 16 Cheifs hits. He finished with six RBIs and now has 69, third in the Midwest League. Hak-Ju Lee added a pair of hits as did Matt Cerda (two RBIs).

Peoria pitchers allowed only four hits and two of them were surrendered by Su-Min Jung (7-3) over his five shutout innings.

Tennessee (AA)
It was a case of another game, another strong effort for Chris Archer on Thursday night as Tennessee earned a 11-3 victory at Montgomery.

Archer (6-1) improved to 13-2 overall and now has an outside shot, depending on how he is used over the final month of the season, at becoming the minor leagues first 20-game winner since John Fritz went 20-4 for Quad Cities in 1992. Archer cant lose again and may have to pick up a victory or two out of the bullpen but a 20-win season remains a possibly though a long shot.

He allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings keeping his Southern League ERA at a minuscule 0.46. Archer can also thank Matt Spencer, who had a titanic night at the plate, hitting a pair of homers, including a grand slam, and driving in seven as the Smokies scored nine runs over the final three innings.

WHITE SOX

Birmingham (AA)
Jacksonville scored all of its runs in the sixth inning, rallying by Birmingham, 3-2, Thursday night.

Lee Mitchells two-run single off Charlie Leesman was the deciding blow. Leesman allowed five hits in 5 13 innings though only two of the three runs were earned. Justin Greene hit a solo homer for the Barons. Tyler Kuhn went hitless in four at-bats, ending his hitting streak at eight games. Birmingham RHP Charles Shirek was assigned from Charlotte
In other action, Bristol and Johnson City were rained out. The game will be made up Friday as part of a doubleheader. Winston-Salem and Frederick were also washed away and will play a pair on Friday. Kannapolis game with Greensboro was canceled because of the weather and no immediate date was set for when it will be played. Charlotte and Toledo were suspended with one out in the bottom of the second inning with the Mud Hens leading 4-0. The game will be finished Friday beginning at 5 PM with a seven-inning game to follow thereafter.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinsi@gmail.com.

It might have been just another dinger in homer-happy All-Star Game, but Willson Contreras will remember it forever

It might have been just another dinger in homer-happy All-Star Game, but Willson Contreras will remember it forever

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Willson Contreras’ third-inning home run might not have ended up standing out too much in an All-Star Game featuring a jaw-dropping and record-shattering 10 dingers.

But, obviously, it will always stand out to the guy who hit it.

“I enjoyed every single second that I spent out there.”

Remarkably, Contreras repeated his feat from two seasons ago, when he hit his first big league homer on the first big league pitch he ever saw. Ditto on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, when he launched the first pitch he saw as an All Star out over the wall in left field.

“When I hit the ball and thought it was gone, I went back to 2016, playing in Chicago. It was the same thing, first pitch for a homer,” Contreras, all smiles, said following the American League’s 8-6 victory. “I’m really blessed with these kinds of situations. Those moments, they’re going to be history and they’re going to be in my mind and my heart.”

Contreras’ long ball was the highlight of the evening for fans watching back home in Chicago. Javy Baez got a hit in his first All-Star at-bat but was outdone by his teammate. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was hitless in his two trips to the plate.

And while it will be a highlight on this night for Cubs fans, it will be a highlight forever for Contreras, who enjoyed the heck out of his first All-Star experience.

“‘I did it, I did it,’” he said when asked what was going through his head. “I knew it was something special. And I wasn’t trying to do too much because these guys are nasty, throwing 98 in the first inning. I just tried to get the hit out.”

The nasty guy he went deep against was Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, whose 2.27 ERA on the season made him a very worthy inclusion on the AL roster. But Contreras was more impressed with the guy who started the game for the National League, raving about Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer after the game.

“He was great, man. Great stuff, he gets so into the game,” Contreras said. “I would like to have him one day on my team or play with him for a few years. That guy is amazing.”

That’s not the current Nationals star Cubs fans are dreaming about, Willy, but point taken.

But it wasn’t Snell or Scherzer or even Baez or Jon Lester, also in the NL dugout, who Contreras was thinking about the most during his home run trot. Instead, Contreras was thinking about his grandfather, Ernesto, who passed away a few years ago.

“My grandpa, he died in 2015,” Contreras said. “I grew up with him.

“He didn’t play ball. But I feel like every time I go out there and step into the box, he’s at my back. It just feels amazing when you hit a homer or do something special, look at the sky and you know that he’s there smiling somewhere.”

It all made for a pretty incredible night for Contreras, who has officially and loudly taken his place among baseball’s best on the game’s biggest stage.

The only thing that was missing? The ball.

Yeah, Contreras didn’t get the ball, not that he really expected to. But if you’ve got it, he wants it.

“I don’t think they’re giving it back,” he said with a grin.

We’ll see. Social media’s a powerful tool. So reach out.

Manny Machado as a Dodger creates a formidable foe out west for the Cubs

Manny Machado as a Dodger creates a formidable foe out west for the Cubs

Well, it's finally happening, or at least it's going to happen. The Athletics' Ken Rosenthal reported during the MLB All-Star game that the Baltimore Orioles had agreed to officially move their franchise player Manny Machado. Neither team has confirmed anything at this time, but the deal has reportedly been as close to a done deal for the last day or so, and it would seem Machado is destined for finish his 2018 campaign in Hollywood. 

Of course, with this addition, the reigning National League champions look primed for another deep postseason run. Though, the club is clinging to a half-game lead in the NL West, with Machado in tow the Dodgers are right with the Cubs and Brewers as the elite squads in the National League. It could be argued the Dodgers didn't necessarily 'need' Machado, with an offense that was already in the top 10 in runs scored, but Machado might be the perfect addition for the Dodgers. 

After losing their young star shortstop Corey Seager for the season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers were in need of a more permanent solution at shortstop. And despite Machado's defensive metrics showing a steep decline in his glove at shortstop, the Dodgers will welcome his robust slash line of .315/.387/.575 while ignoring any shortcomings on defense. 

But what this means for the Cubs, who are only two games off the 2016 World Series club pace, is the path to another championship will likely require another run-in with the Dodgers. The club's biggest threat has been at this point the Brewers, but it's not hard to envision the Dodgers distancing themselves as the clear favorites in the National League with Machado in the heart of the order.

The good news for the Chicago is at least Machado didn't end up in Milwaukee, but that also could mean the Brewers make a more concerted effort to acquire pitching before the July 30th deadline. The Cubs will also see the return of Yu Darvish, who despite only managing to win one game this season in a Cubs uniform, will be a massive upgrade over the scuffling Tyler Chatwood. If the Cubs pitching can start producing like many expected them to before the start of 2018, and guys like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant start to hit alongside All-Stars Javier Baez and Willson Contreras, it's not hard to imagine the Cubs separating themselves from the pack in the 2nd half of season. 

The Dodgers are no strangers to blockbuster deadline deals, acquiring Yu Darvish in a similar three-month rental situation, but the Cubs getting a bat like Rizzo right and an arm like Darvish healthy would be better than any deal Theo Epstein could make to improve this team. And if it's not enough, the Cubs have a solid track record of grabbing former Dodger rentals in the off-season. The push for the playoffs starts Thursday for the north-siders.