Train Keeps a Rollin'--Cubs 5 Tigers 3

The title is something I've used before. I know I have. It happens when you've written a couple hundred of these by this point, but there really isn't something better to describe what exactly the Cubs did today. The bats were cold to start, but once the game was tied it didn't feel like the team would fall to this young Tigers squad.

Kyle Hendricks struggled once again. The Tigers had a couple of soft singles to start the game against Hendricks. Mikie Mahtook and Nicholas Castellanos were on the corners for Jeimer Canderlario, and he hit a groundball to Ben Zobrist drove in Mahtook. Niko Goodrum hit the hardest ball in the inning, and the double extended the Tigers lead to 2-0. Jim Adduci grounded out for the second out, and Hendricks strike out of JaCoby Jones ended the inning.

Michael Fulmer was very good to start the game. He retired the first six batters he faced. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Jason Heyward popped out to third and Zobrist flew out to right to keep the Cubs off the board.

Kyle Hendricks settled in with a little help from his defense. James McCann hit a twisting line drive into the right field corner. Jason Heyward made an extra base saving grab before sliding into the wall. Hendricks kept the Tigers off the board until the fourth inning. Jim Adduci singled to start the inning. JaCoby Jones drew the only walk that Hendricks surrendered on the afternoon next, and James McCann singled to drive in a run make it 3-0. José Iglesias hit a pop fly for the first out which brought Michael Fulmer to the plate. Fulmer attempted to bunt over, but Rizzo crashing hard threw to third for one out. The play happened quick enough for Báez to have time to fire across the diamond for the inning ending double play.

The Cubs had a small two out rally in the fourth inning, but the score was still 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. Tommy La Stella pinch hit for Hendricks and smashed a ground rule double to start the inning. Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward continued the double parade to bring the Cubs within one run. Zobrist managed a productive out to move Heyward to third. Rizzo singled to tie the game before Fulmer recovered to stop the bleeding.

The Cubs bullpen was spectacular today. Anthony Bass, Jutin Wilson and Steve Cishek pitched clean innings. Wilson faced an extra batter due to an Addison Russell error, but there was little traffic after Hendricks left the game. Fulmer pitched through the sixth inning to keep the score level.

The first Tigers reliever was Daniel Stumpf. He struck out Almora to start the inning. Back to back singles put runners on the corners with just one out, and then Anthony Rizzo grounded up the middle slowly. It was slow enough that Rizzo managed to beat the relay throw to complete an inning ending double play. The Cubs now led 4-3. Kyle Schwarber hit a basket shot home to start the eighth inning.

Joe Maddon gave Brandon Morrow an extra day off. Pedro Strop pitched the ninth inning. He gave up a one out single to Iglesias, but Iglesias remained planted at first as Strop closed out the Cubs fifth win in a row.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Hendricks Improving
The professor struggled in the early going, but there were a lot of positives to take from this game. Kyle was back to forcing the opposition to put the ball in play to do damage. He also kept the ball in the ballpark. He got dinked and dunked a bit to start the game as he has developed a Jason Hammel like problem with the first inning. However, the Tigers did square up some balls and a couple of nice defensive plays did help limit the damage as well. The Tigers also featured some blasts from the past in Jeimer and long time Cubs farmhand Jim Adduci, but it is hardly a deadly lineup.

The Real J-Hey
This is the guy that played from 2010-2015. He showed everything that made him the most desirable free agent position player target in that offseason. Another multi-hit game has raised his season line to .288/.345/.436. The second inning catch really helped Hendricks settle in, and there was a few seconds of panic as he slide into the wall (it didn't help that Bruce Miles brought up Bill Mueller earlier in the afternoon on Twitter). He also ran the bases like he always does. This is a player that really helps solidify the lineup and huge reason this lineup is far more 2016 than 2017 after all.

Another Day of Rest
Pedro Strop getting the call in the ninth caused me a momentary bit of panic. Brandon Morrow has suffered numerous arm injuries, and he has been leaned on pretty heavily since coming back from the disabled list. However, it was merely Maddon giving Morrow a couple days off to rest up. Kris Bryant is also going to get another day off tomorrow. The Cubs play now allows them the luxury of not rushing guys and that is one of the advantages of playing well early in the year. The rest these guys get now could be huge for a team poised to make another deep run in the postseason.

Random Reference
The Cubs posted another come from behind victory.

Comments

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  • I don't mean to take all the credit, the this winning streak did start the day I went to the ballpark.

  • The Banghart train, like the Heyward sofa, is really becoming something right now.

    The second half of this season is going to explode into baseball history. I feel it. It’s going to happen.

    WE’RE BACK!

  • I’ve never been assaulted with so much advertising on any other website than this. I get it, it pays the bills but boy is it annoying especially on mobile devices.

    GO CUBS!

  • In reply to Skidoorunner:

    Unfortunately that is a decision made by the site host and not us.

  • The cubs were babying Morrow before he couldn’t take his pants off and ended up on the DL. Since he came off the DL on about June 16 he has 4 appearances (2 for 1/3 of an inning). I don’t believe that is overworked with 4 innings in 16 days. He’s being treated as a China doll and only has 24 innings in the first half. Hope he can handle the extra work in September and October. It felt as if Joe used CHapman that much in the playoffs.

  • In reply to stix:

    To me that's a great point stix I like morrow but this guys fragile like glass and we essentially can't afford to lose him during the postseason. With Edwards also not being the most durable pitcher and with concerns about his frame i do wonder if we need another high leverage reliever bc I'm not only worried about injury but I feel like this movement of going to our pen early may result in some tired and thus unreliable arms by October even though our pens been outstanding so far

  • In reply to stix:

    I think Morrow went on the DL on 6/20, retroactive to 6/17, and came off in LA on 6/27. He pitched on 6/28 (.1 inning), 6/29 (.1 inning) and 7/1 (1.1 innings).

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Use him now. These wins in July are far more important than later. Who cares about October? As we clearly saw today, we have no one else in the pen who can perform. Fire Joe.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I think you’re correct. One of those appearances (6/29) was 1 pitch. He’s not overworked to pitch 2 innings in 5 days. I stand by the rest of my comment on his China doll handling.

  • "She must have thought I was a real cool jerk."

    I don't know about ya'll, but these games that we fall fall behind in early and have to come back to win are far less stressful than the ones where we have to nurse a lead, watching it slowly diminish, until the final inning. As long as it results in a W, I guess I can't complain.

    Thank you. May I have another?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes you may (for yesterday.)
    Yes you may!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    With a heave & a ho, I just couldn’t tell her so...

  • Tommy Birch is reporting that Caratini has been scratched from tonight's Iowa lineup and isn't present. Speculation abounds, including trade rumors, but Birch says that is unlikely. Stay tuned.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It's that time of the year. Didn't Theo et al close the Addison Russell - Shark/Hammel deal on July 4?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JohnCC:

    It could be that Gimenez is being sent down or released and Caratini brought up. I hope that's the case.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think this is most likely. Birch is saying he hasn't heard anything about a trade. I would think Caratini is being brought back up.

    I also wonder about the timing. Gimenez has no options, and we probably will lose him with this move. Even if does clear waivers and remain with the team, we need an upgrade. I am as sure as I have ever been about any move that we will acquire a more competent, quality reserve catcher. I wonder what is in the works.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    When looking at what teams could trade players, almost every team in the AL except Houston, Boston, Cleveland, NYY and Seattle could/should be sellers. Oakland is in 3rd place in the Wild Card standings and they are 8 games behind Seattle for the last spot.

    In the NL, Pittsburgh, Cinci, SD, Mets and Marlins are all but cooked.

    That's 15 teams to look at as possible trade partners.

  • Congrats to Jon Lester for only being the NL. Pitcher. Of. The. Month. Sorry...feeling melodramatic today.

    And Javy won NL player of the week. Cubs be rolling right now.
    Rollin
    Rollin
    Rollin in the NL.

    The best part about Javy's "award" are his stats for the week. Please, everybody, check them out. His OBP is less than his BA! LOL! When Javy is on fire in the batters box, Javy is in a world that is very rare indeed.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    And Javy's value is one that can't be measured by current metrics. I'm just thoroughly enjoying watching the show, and can't even comprehend what we are about to witness for an encore. "This is who he is". OK. He's a unicorn, and we're going to see another level that is truly mythical.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    earlier this week, on MLB tonight, the panel said hands down that Javy is the best defensive infielder in the NL. I know some folks don't like Harold Reynolds, but I kinda like the way he talks in a positive manner about players.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I'm sure most people get tired of me extolling the awesomeness of Javier Baez, but I never tire of extolling the awesomeness of Javier Baez.

    As much as I love him, I have also been harshly critical. No one slings a beer at the TV screen harder than I do when he swings at a 58-foot slider. Such has been the Javier Baez experience.

    I have commented, ad nauseum, on why I think he will be a superstar and MVP. There is no reason to re-hash those arguments with those who thought he was a possibly decent bench infielder.

    I want to express another reason I have always thought that Javy would be a superstar and MVP. I haven't mentioned this before, because I know how some fans pit one Cubs player against another. I have been guilty of this myself.

    Javy is, quite simply, the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen. Maybe Thome or Dunn had more more pure power. Dunston probably had a better cannon. Hamilton surely has more speed. I don't know of anyone who has better instincts or the ability to lead and inspire and make those around him better. I've never seen this package of talent in one ballplayer.

    Javier Baez is a great person off the field, which has always fueled my love, yet has tempered my tongue. I didn't ever want to prop him up by putting others down. But this is a huge reason why I think there are even better days ahead.

    Javy is intensely loyal to his family. He has his family tree tattooed all over his body. His family means everything in his life, and he wants to make them proud.

    The death of his sister dealt a crushing blow to him, personally. It cost him, IMO, almost a full year of baseball development. And I don't blame him a bit. His sister was the love of his life.

    He has been dating the other love of his life since they were both 13 years old. They are about to be married, and have just welcomed the birth of a baby boy.

    Baseball players are not robots. We can always look at the reasons for failure and come to conclusions. That is easy. I try to see indicators of future success, which is a much more difficult endeavor.

    I think, besides the aforementioned natural ability, that Ednel Javier Baez is entering a place where he is happy, and wants to leave a legacy. You may disagree, but I think this is important to him. And I also believe this is the one thing that has been lacking in his rise to superstardom.

    He probably won't be Mike Trout this year, but he will be next year, and the years after that. I really believe he has a couple more levels of baseball dominance, and I think his newborn child is going to focus him in a way that we have all been wishing for.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I am all there with you. Baez recognizes the play instantly, anticipates it, reads it but for some reason has not learned how to pick up that dot on those diving sliders yet. When he does he will be the offensive powerhouse like Maddon says was Manny

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Wow great post I agree 100% *applause*

    Baez is very special player flaws included,very fun to watch.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Thank you, bolla.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Let me add something to this. I know where he came from and it is not a neighborhood condusive to promoting baseball. His HS was an attempt by the community in magnet form to try to help the kids of the area and just recently closed due to lack of funding. Crime and drug activity is rampant. This isn’t some kid who had all the advantages like Chipper Jones. The odds of Baez making it out of there as a productive adult were slim and his family unit has to be credited in helping with that. He doesn’t appear to ever be one who will become jaded and forget where he came from.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You have no idea what Baez is like off the field. You can't assume anything regarding what players are like away from the ballpark.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    And you felt it necessary to make this comment, WHY?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I don't know him personally. Fair point. But I've seen and read enough to be fairly sure of my assumption. I remember seeing him play ball in high school, and as Wickdipper pointed out, he has overcome a lot.

    Some players cherish family and give back generously to the community. Some players don't and lead hedonistic lifestyles off the field. I think I can tell the difference, though I could be wrong. I'd bet I'm not.

  • In April this team needed somebody to step up in order to look like another championship was possible. Several have done that. Bryzzo have been a little injured so the Cubs needed that to happen even more, and it has. We have a lot of contributors. Gimenez has not been one of them. Caratini has been and will be again if given the opportunity.

  • I just want to bring some perspective to these wins. The A.L. Central is the worst league in baseball. We SHOULD win these games.

  • In reply to Squareburgers:

    Well, there WAS that 2-2 split with LA in their home ballpark. I really hate to get into the strong vs. weak division stuff, mostly because there's always some bonehead reporter (usually from the Northeast) claiming that the NL Central is weak.

  • Happy 4th, everyone! Let the Cubs unleash some fireworks upon the Tigers staff tomorrow.

    Go Cubs!

  • nice

  • Any morning news flashes on Caratini?

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    My guess is that Giminez is related to Darvish but my eye test is that he has not shown the command defensively that was presumed. If Darvish has a bone spur that is causing his impingement and inflammation then we are looking at a longer DL stint and Cubs have to decide what to do going into the trade deadline.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Is there a limit to Caratini’s options? I love that kid and it’s a shame to see him blocked. I’ll bet the Mets could use a catcher. Victor could be a key trade piece for pitching at the deadline.

  • Let us talk about the Cubs now in the midst of their longest winning streak (3rd one of 5 games but this is still counting and without unquestionably their best all around player), without Bryant they have gone 6-4 in that span staying on Milwaukee's hip. Milwaukee now is going to go through a stretch to the ASB without Cain and Saladino, while also seeing their pitching staff hit hard with three key injuries. The Brewers by way of Pythagorean has the Brewers playing 2 games better than their RS/RA, while the Cubs are 4 games below. This stretch over the next 10 games will establish a benchmark to look forward after the ASB.

  • Caratini recalled gimenez dfa'd

  • In reply to bolla:

    Well there it is, they gave him a month and Maddon wanted Caratini back, we can rest Contreras and have a switch hitter off the bench. Bet the Cubs look for a waiver insurance as well.

  • Bryant also still has shoulder soreness and will not be activated thurs/fri l

  • In reply to bolla:

    hope there is not a tear to the cuff

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    there is not a tear

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    And you know this HOW?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    So Barley can't know Javy off the field, but you can know there isn't a tear in Bryant's shoulder? ????

  • In reply to bolla:

    Is it known how Bryant hurt his shoulder?

  • In reply to RiJo:

    Sliding head first @ 6 weeks ago is the story.

  • NINE current Cub players with a high WAR rating right now than Harper......he ain’t comin’ here

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I prefer Machy (Machado) but wouldn’t mind Harps (Harper) here either. But Heyward coming around to his projected form & Almora’s break through throws a kink in that. Pretty much why I prefer Machado.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Do see your point but I don’t see taking on a huge projected contract for an offensive player when offense is not a problem we have. I would use that money instead on paying our own when they come due in a few years, in the mean time the offense should still be producing well at least up until then.
    Pitching is still our weaker point and I don’t know where to find that.

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