Cubs

A total roundup of yesterday's NBA trades

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A total roundup of yesterday's NBA trades

From Comcast SportsNet
Dwight Howard agreed to stay in Orlando, but plenty of other big men were on the move Thursday before the NBA's trade deadline. Nene, JaVale McGee and Marcus Camby were among the centers who found new homes. Denver dealt Nene to Washington, just three months after re-signing the Brazilian to a five-year, 67 million contract. The Wizards sent JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers, trading away two of their talented young but sometimes immature players. Washington also picked up forward Brian Cook in the deal. The New Jersey Nets had long been a favorite to land Howard, who told the Magic before the season he wanted to be traded and listed the Nets as one of his choices. He was eligible for free agency this summer, and Orlando risked losing him for nothing. Instead, he agreed to waive the early termination option in his contract, committing to stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season. "Now we can get back to playing basketball and having some peace and trying to win a championship," Howard said. "I feel like we have a chance to win and I didn't feel like either one of us should give that up." It was a relatively quiet trade deadline, with teams wary of taking on long-term contracts with the more punishing luxury tax rules in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement. And with the lockout pushing the deadline back from its usual February spot to mid-March, teams had a little more time to decide whether they were really contenders and a move was worth it. Big names such as the Lakers' Pau Gasol and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo -- along with the rest of Boston's top players -- stayed put after all been linked to rumors. Gasol got a new teammate to feed him the ball, however. The Lakers got younger at point guard, acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland and sending veteran Derek Fisher to Houston. Los Angeles, sitting at third place in the Western Conference, needed an upgrade at the point before potentially facing All-Stars Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul in the postseason. Sessions had been backing up No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but the Lakers had their eye on him for months. They got him and forward Christian Eyenga for reserves Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. Fisher, the Lakers' starting point guard the last five years, was sent to Houston along with a first-round pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets also landed Camby from the busy Trail Blazers for point guard Jonny Flynn, center Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round draft pick. Swingmen Stephen Jackson and Richard Jefferson were also swapped in a Spurs-Warriors deal, and the Nets picked up Gerald Wallace from Portland. Jackson was on the move again, just days after Milwaukee had shipped him to the Warriors along with Australian center Andrew Bogut for a package highlighted by Monta Ellis. Jackson was sent to the Spurs, yet another of his former homes. Also: --The Indiana Pacers acquired Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a second-round draft pick and cash considerations. --The Philadelphia 76ers got Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to Ricky Sanchez of Puerto Rico.

Kris Bryant jumping at thunder during a rain delay is pure comedy

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WGN

Kris Bryant jumping at thunder during a rain delay is pure comedy

The Cubs-Braves game on Wednesday got delayed due to a thunderstorm that blew through Chicago.

It made for a pretty scene with a pink and orange sky during sunset that made way to rain clouds, thunder and lightning. Fox Sports South captured the footage of the Wrigley sky and then caught Kris Bryant jumping and then running in the dugout at the sound of thunder.

Even former MVPs can be scared of thunder.

 

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Cubs will need more than Craig Kimbrel to completely change fortunes

Cubs will need more than Craig Kimbrel to completely change fortunes

Cubs fans are understandably excited Craig Kimbrel is ready to make his debut with the team later this week.

He's a future Hall of Fame closer who is still in the midst of his prime and could very well be a shutdown reliever for the entire second half of the season.

But while the bullpen was a clear weakness of this team during tough times earlier in the season, the Cubs haven't slogged out to a 12-12 record in June because their back-end relievers have been blowing late leads.

So how much of a direct impact will Kimbrel have on the team's success? We don't know for sure, but let's look back at every loss this month and see if he would've been able to change the outcome in any ballgame:

June 1 — Cardinals 7, Cubs 4

Kimbrel probably wouldn't have pitched in a game that featured a three-hour rain delay, as Tyler Chatwood gave up 3 runs in the sixth inning in relief of Jose Quintana and the Cubs never even tied the game again.

June 2 — Cardinals 2, Cubs 1 

This was at least a close game, but the Cubs actually trailed 2-0 heading to the top of the ninth inning, when they mounted a comeback against the St. Louis bullpen that fell just short. Either way, it's almost assuredly not a game Kimbrel would have even made it into.

June 6 — Rockies 3, Cubs 1

Quintana gave up all 3 runs before the seventh inning ended and the Cubs offense could do nothing against a rookie making his first MLB start (Peter Lambert).

June 10 — Rockies 6, Cubs 5

Here's one where having Kimbrel could've had an indirect impact. The Cubs never had a save situation, but they did lose the game because the bullpen gave up solo runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings. If Kimbrel is in the 'pen, the trickle down effect comes into play, which means Joe Maddon has more options at his disposal — including Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop earlier in the game. However, it was Cishek that was saddled with the loss by allowing a run in the eighth inning. The only way it would've set up any differently with Kimbrel is if the Cubs used Cishek in the seventh inning and slotted Strop in for the eighth, and the result may have been different. So we'll say Kimbrel could've had an impact on this one, albeit indirectly.

June 11 — Rockies 10, Cubs 3

When you're losing 9-1 going into the seventh inning, what does it matter who your closer is?

June 13 — Dodgers 7, Cubs 3

This one was all about the Dodgers being good and Jon Lester struggling and had nothing to do with the bullpen. The Cubs mounted a 3-0 lead, but their ace gave it all back and then some — allowing 3 homers and 6 runs over 5 innings. The bullpen would not have done much in this game.

June 14 — Dodgers 5, Cubs 3

Rinse and repeat. The Cubs once again jumped out to an early lead, but starting pitching couldn't hold it as Kyle Hendricks was touched up for 5 runs in 4.1 innings in his final appearance before hitting the injured list. The Cubs bullpen actually pitched admirably in the contest, throwing 3.2 shutout innings against a very good lineup.

June 16 — Dodgers 3, Cubs 2

It's certainly possible this one would've been different if Kimbrel were around. With something of a limited bullpen and Brandon Kintzler already pitching earlier in the contest, Cishek was forced to throw multiple innings and gave up the winning run in the eighth — his second inning of work — to break a 2-2 tie. Again, Kimbrel likely would not have been pitching in that spot, but if he was around and available, maybe Maddon could've gone with Strop or somebody else instead of utilizing Cishek for a second inning.

June 18 — White Sox 3, Cubs 1

Ahh, the Eloy Game. Also a game that it's very possible we would've seen Kimbrel, but you can't really fault Maddon with how this one played out. Cubs had a fresh bullpen coming off a rare off-day and watched Cole Hamels throw a gem, allowing just 1 run in 7 innings. Kintzler pitched a scoreless eighth inning in a tie ballgame and then Maddon called on Strop to throw the ninth inning — when Eloy Jimenez had his signature moment. Maybe Maddon would've gone to Kimbrel to pitch the top of the ninth inning, but you can't really lament losing when one of your best relievers is pitching late in a tie game and it doesn't work out.

June 21 — Mets 5, Cubs 4

Cubs jumped out to a 4-3 lead on Addison Russell's 2-run homer, but Yu Darvish couldn't hold it, giving the lead right back the following inning. The Cubs then lost the game when embattled reliever Brad Brach came into a 4-4 tie and gave up a single that eventually came around to score the winning run. Maybe Kimbrel's presence would've changed that outcome, as it could've been another reliever in the game besides Brach, but the Cubs still didn't hit much (Darvish accounted for half their runs) and it was a couple of groundball basehits that led to the winning run scoring, so it's not like Brach and Mike Montgomery got lit up.

June 22 — Mets 10, Cubs 2

This was a clunker of a game that was over well before either team's bullpen figured into things.

June 25 — Braves 3, Cubs 2

Hard to win many games scoring only 2 runs. Maybe Montgomery would not have been pitching in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead if Kimbrel were around, but the Cubs also needed/wanted some length after Adbert Alzolay's 4.2-inning start and Montgomery had retired five of the six batters he faced before allowing the game-winning homer. 

So in total, we're looking at maybe three games this month in which Kimbrel could've played a role and potentially changed the outcome for the Cubs. But even those three games are a stretch — who knows if they would've still lost each one of those contests anyways.

This serves as just another reminder that Kimbrel isn't the Cubs' savior. While he will be a very nice piece in the bullpen and help create a positive trickle down effect on the pitching staff, he can't do anything to impact the Cubs' offense or starting pitching and those are the biggest issues plaguing the team at the moment.