The San Francisco Giants won for the first time in seven games, Saturday against the New York Yankees, taking the second game of the three-game series, 2-1, in twelve innings. Johnny Cueto hurled six innings of one-run ball (the run was unearned) and the bullpen matched him, while rookie Mac Williamson drove in both San Francisco runs.
After dropping the opener Friday night, when Williamson committed an eighth-inning error, leading to the Yankees’ third run, the Giants managed to regroup and finally snap out of their post-All-Star funk. Their six-game losing streak is the longest of the season, and if it weren’t for the Los Angeles Dodgers also encountering some technical difficulties, it could be worse. 
The Giants maintain their four-game lead as the Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-2, Saturday.
The Giants (58-39) and Chicago Cubs (58-38) remain on a collision-course for a confrontation in October. Though they have almost identical records, the journey to get to this point in the season, has been quite different for these two competitive clubs.
The Cubs blasted off to an incredible 25-6 record during the first six weeks of the season, while the Giants were merely mortal at 16-15. However, as the hare was to discover, speed is not necessarily the optimum approach. Best keep in mind that the race will be won not so much by the swift as by the durable.

Whereas the Giants have proven less than durable with a multitude of injuries, their relief corps has been stellar. Now with Hunter Pence, Ehire Adrianza and Joe Panik rehabbing and Matt Duffy only one or two more days away from beginning his own rehab stint, the team is gearing up for a second-half crusade.

The Cubs saw Dexter Fowler return to the lineup in style, hammering a home run in his first at-bat, and he has helped balance some of the low spots created by extended slumps from a couple of key players, Ben Zobrist and Justin Heyward.
The team is also activating Joe Nathan, 41, returning from Tommy John surgery, and this can’t help but strengthen the club. 

If we go back thirty games, we find the Cubs at 46-20 and the Giants at 40-26. Since then Chicago is 14-18 (43.75%) while San Francisco is 18-13 (56.25%). A big reason for that difference has to do with Chicago’s starting pitching during this period.

Over the last thirty games, Jake Arrieta is 1-2 with a 6.17 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP; Jason Hammel is 2-2 with a 5.88 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP; John Lackey is 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP; and Jon Lester is 1-1 with a 6.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.42. 

Of course, there is Kyle Hendricks and his 4-0 record with a minuscule ERA of 0.57 and 1.09 WHIP.

San Francisco’s pitching stats are not stellar over the same period but they reflect a consistency that has not varied dramatically, as is the case with the Cubs’ rotation. Of course it goes without saying that all players are going to have ups and downs over a full season, but the simultaneous struggles of four-fifths of the Chicago rotation, bears mentioning.

Most likely we are looking at a blip on the radar of a long, grueling season. With a six-and-one-half game lead over the Cards, the Cubs do have a small cushion upon which to rest, before they have to start getting nervous. 

The Giants have a four-game lead over the Dodgers, who just learned that their ace pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, has suffered a set-back in his bid to rehab from lower back issues.

The bottom line is that injuries and slumps are all a part of the game, and a team’s ability to handle this type of adversity will often determine its degree of success. 

Both of these clubs have experienced giddying heights to their respective seasons, to accompany the low points. Both teams are looking at the approaching trade deadline with great interest.

Chicago is said to be looking at Josh Reddick of the Oakland A’s, while also contemplating a Kyle Schwarber-for-Andrew Miller trade. The Giants are rumored to be interested in Boone Logan and even Carlos Beltran, while also checking out the aforementioned Andrew Miller, along with his teammate, Aroldis Chapman.

History has proven how impactful a key acquisition can be, and you should expect that this year will be no different. With almost identical records, both the Cubs and Giants have a little over a third of the season to refine their lineups and prepare for postseason-play.

See you in the NLCS.

Mark ONeill

Game 2

Posted: July 23, 2016 by Daniel Kupres in baseball, fantasy, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio
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Day 2 at Wrigley Field North and John Lackey is searching for his eighth win of the season.  His last appearance in May against the Brewers, he only gave up  a run on four hits but did not get a decision as the Cubs lost by one in the 13th inning.  He’s taking on the 23 year old righty, Zach Davies, who is facing the Cubs for the first time this season sporting a 6-4 record.

Dexter Fowler would not lead off this game with home run.  Anthony Rizzo would double but that would be in all the action in the first.  Wilson Contreras and Addison Russell would walk in the second but again no runs.  Kris Bryant would single in the third but no runs. Davies would retire the next nine Cubs but is still taken out in the top of the 7th after giving uo a leadoff single to Ben Zobrist.  After getting Contreras out, Will Smith would replace Davies.  After giving up a single to Heyward, Russell would drive in Zo, giving the Cubs their first run of the game.  

John Lackey would strike out the first batter but gives up a single to Scooter Gennett but Lackey gets the second out.  Jonathan Lucroy would get into a full count after several foul balls and Pat Hughes more or less calling it, Lucroy sends a line drive to left center for a two run home run.  

Lackey would add a couple base runners in the second and third but doesn’t earn anymore runs.  In the top of the 4th, he would give up a solo home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis sending Bernie down the slide again.  Lackey makes it through the 5th and 6th inning with no issues.  

Clayton Richard enters the game in the bottom of the 7th giving up a double to Hernan Perez, then hits Ramon Flores.  Maddon would bring Adam Warren in.  Jake Elmore would pinch hit for Will Smith sacrifice bunting to push both runners up but Warren gets out of the inning.  He would stay in for the 8th, gets two outs but puts Ryan Braun and Lucroy on. Maddon would bring in newly acquired Mike Montgomery who gives up a three run home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis putting the Brewers up 6-1.  

Carlos Torres would come in giving up a single to Zo but would close out the game giving the W to the Brewers.  Lackey would be charged with a Loss today putting him at 7 and 7 on the season. 

Dan the Man

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Derrick Rose is a member of the New York Knicks. Now I’m not sure if Knicks fans should take Rose’s last interview as confidence in his new team or if he needs to be drug tested. Rose implied that the Knicks are a “super team” in the same class as the Golden State Warriors. Rose never specifically says who has put the Knicks in that class and uses terms like “some people” and “they’re” when mentioning who has the Knicks in that class. Golden State set a record for regular season wins with 73. The Warriors went to the NBA Finals for the second season in a row. After winning the NBA title in 2014-15 season they did lose last seasons finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. So what did the Warriors do to try and help ensure a trip back to the NBA Finals. They signed the top free agent on the market Kevin Durant. Last season the Knicks won 32 games and didn’t qualify for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Now besides Rose the Knicks have added Brandon Jennings to back up Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee in free agency. Rose, Noah and Lee should join Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the Knicks starting line up. While it looks like a solid starting line up for the Knicks and Jennings can score off the bench I think Rose may have put up too high of expectations for his new team. If the Knicks are going to get anywhere close to the “super team” rose has said they would be, he’ll have to stay healthy and play close to the form that won him the NBA MVP award in 2010-11. Rose played in and started 66 games for the Chicago Bulls last season. Those where the most games he’s played in since his MVP season. Rose’s scoring average fell to 16.4 points per game last season. Rose has never been a great shooter especially from behind the 3-point line. 29.3% last season and for his career he’s shot 30.2% from behind the 3-point line. Are the Knicks a super team? I’m not so sold on that, but they should improve on the 32 win team they where last season and may find their way into the Eastern Conference playoffs next season. Derrick Rose Stats

It’s that time in the baseball season where everyone is trading everyone to everybody. Outside of the talk there was actually a trade this week as the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs came to an agreement on a 4-player deal. The Mariners sent left handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and and minor league right hander Jordan Pries to the Cubs for minor league 1st baseman Dan Vogelbach and and right handed minor league pitcher Paul Blackburn.

Montgomery will give the Cubs some immediate help out of the bullpen. Montgomery has appeared in 32 games for the Mariners; 2 of them being starts. He has and ERA of 2.34 on the season. Lefties are hitting just .164 against Montgomery this season. Pries is a 26 year old pitcher who was pitching in Triple-A for the Mariners before the trade. He was 2-1 with an ERA of 3.85 in 7 games. Pries has spent 6 seasons in the minors and is 40-24 with an ERA of 4.41. He’s appeared in 109 career games with 93 of those as a starting pitcher.

Vogelbach was moved up to Triple-A for the Cubs. He got just 32 at bats there and was hitting just.125. Vogelbach has spent 6 seasons in the minors. He is a career .281 hitter and has 60 home runs. Vogelbach was blocked at 1st base with the Cubs by Anthony Rizzo; so turning him into a solid bullpen piece was a smart move. Reports have also said that Vogelbach is a below average defender. Now in the American League he’ll be able to spend time as a DH. Blackburn was one of the top rated pitchers in the Cubs  organization.  Blackburn is 22 years old and has been pitching in Double-A for the Cubs. He’s made 18 starts and is 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA. Over 102 1/3rd innings Blackburn has 72 strikeouts to 26 walks.

This looks like a deal that could benefit both teams. The Cubs needed bullpen help especially left handed bullpen help. Montgomery should supply that for the Cubs and down the road there’s a chance he could move into the starting rotation, but right now his value is in the bullpen for a World Series contender. The Mariners find themselves 4 1/2 games out of the wild card and the A.L. West lead. While it’s a reasonable total and the Mariners could move up they have to jump 4 teams to get a wild card spot and that’s a lot even with 66 games left in the season. Being that the Mariners got prospects you just never know, but Vogelbach has hit at every level and will get a shot in the majors with Seattle. Blackburn is young and has good numbers, but you just never know as a pitcher. We might have to wait and see how this deal turns out for Seattle.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed the #1 overall pick in the draft Austin Matthews to a 3-year entry level contract. Matthews 18-year old from Scottsdale, Arizona, immediately became the face of the Maple Leafs’ franchise when they selected him first in last month’s draft. Matthews deal includes the maximum entry level salary of $925,000 per year plus potential bonuses that could add up to an average annual value of $3,775,000. Matthews says he will spend most of the summer at home in Arizona, preparing for the season and the World Cup of Hockey, where he will play for the North American under-23 team in September. The Leafs also signed 23- year old forward Josh Leivo to a two-year contract. Leivo was a third round pick in the 2011 draft. The Maple Leafs are coming off a season where they won 29 games and accumulated 69 points. The 18-year old Matthews and the 23-year old Leivo are part of Toronto’s youth movement as they try to rebuild their team. Will it be enough to get the Maple Leafs into the playoffs or are they still a year away from making there?

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The Cubs head to Milwaukee for the weekend and depending on the whether up there, despite being in a dome, it can be very humid with the roof closed.  Let’s hope Jason Hammel has been eating his potato chips with sea salt as he searches for win number 9 against the Brew Crew.  Jimmy Nelson is looking for his seventh win of the season and his first in three starts against the Cubs.

 Dexter Fowler is back.  He gets into a hitters count and launches a lead off home run and he’s back!  Scooter Gennett would cause an error allowing Kris Bryant to reach first and would steal second.  Wilson Contreras walks but Heyward would ends the inning with a ground out.  Cubs up by 1.

Jimmy Nelson loads the bases in the second by throwing the ball away to allow Addison Russell to reach first.  He walks Miguel Montero and Jason Hammel reaches on a bunt.  With the bases loaded, Fowler is up again this time sends a ground ball to left bringing both Russell and Montero for his third RBI since returning from the DL.  Bryant reaches on a fielder’s choice with Hammel out at home.  Anthony Rizzo sends a fly ball to center scored as a sac fly as Fowler scores.  Cubs 4-0

Jason Hammel flys through the first two innings but gives up a leadoff single to Hernan Perez.  Perez ends up at second after Nelson’s sac bunt and steals third with Jonathan Villar at the plate who ends up walking but is picked off to end the inning.  Hammel has a quick 4th but not before giving up a one out home run to Ryan Braun.  Cubs 4, Brewers 1.  

Hammel leads off the 5th by walking Kirk Nieuwenhuis who scores on Perez’s double to left but he gets out of the inning.  Hammel starts the 6th off giving up a lead off double to Scooter Gennett.  Joel Maddon brings in Carl Edwards, Jr who gets out of the inning quickly.  Cubs 4, Brewers 2.

Travis Wood enters the 7th inning getting the first two outs but a throwing error by Montero puts Ramon Flores on to bring in Justin Grimm who strikes out Will Middlebrooks to end the inning.  

Nelson would also last only 5 innings.  Carlos Torres would enter the game for the Brewers working the 6th and 7th only giving up one hit with two strikeouts.  Corey Knebel enters the game in the top of the 8th and leads off with a walk to Contreras.  Heyward flys out but Russell singles on an infield ground ball.  Montero would drive in Wilson.  Tommy La Stella enters the game but goes down swinging.   

Pedro strop enters the 8th giving up a two out walk to Ryan Braun but gives up no hits or runs.  Despite Folwer’s lead off single in the top of the 9th, the Cubs go down with out adding any more runs.  Hector Rondon enters the 9th striking out Chris Carter but walks Jake Elmore.  He strikes out Perez and gets Flores to flyout to end the game.  Cubs win and Rondon is credited with a Save.

Go Cubs Go! 

Dan the Man

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It’s a hot one in Chicago as the Cubs take on the Mets with Kyle Hendricks on the mound searching for his ninth win of the season as is Bartolo Colon. Both teams are searching for the win to take the series at Wrigley as the Cubs need this series after being swept in New York earlier this year.

Kyle would start off strong striking out the first three batters in the top of the first inning.  He would make it all the way to the top of the 7th inning giving up his first and only walk, his seventh hit of the day but gets the first out of the inning.  He would not give up a run in the game but it would be enough and Maddon would bring Carl Edwards, Jr for relief.

The Cubs would strike first and fast in the bottom of the 1st, with the bases loaded on Kris Bryant’s single and the back to back two out walks to Wilson Contreras and Jason Heyward, Addison Russell would send a line drive to left field driving in the first two runs of the game.  Cubs 2-0

After Kyle strikes out the top half of the 3rd inning, Anthony Rizzo would send a fly ball to right center field for his 23rd home run of the season.  This would put the Cubs up by 3.

Keeping with the every other inning of scoring, Kris Bryant would lead off the 5th with his 22cd double of the year.  No outs and Rizzo in the box, he takes the first pitch for a ball but gets a slider on the next pitch and takes Colon to right center field again for his 24th home run of the season.  The Cubs are now up by 6.

Carl Edwards, Jr would get Alejandro De Aza to ground out for the first out in the top of the 8th but walks Jose Reyes.  Maddon would visit the mound with the double switch, Travis Wood enters the game to get the second out of the inning.  His next two pitches to Wilmer Flores would be balls.  The third four-seam fastball, Flores would take to deep to left field for his tenth home fun of the season.  He does get out of the inning but the Cubs lead is dropped to four, Cubs 6, Mets 2.

Hector Rondon enters the 9th looking to not lose another game like he did last night, and gets off to quick start with two pitches gets the first out.  Kelly Johnson would swing on the first pitch cranking his fourth single of the day.  After a wild pitch, Juan Lagares would strike out.  Michael Conforto would foul off the first pitch.  He puts the second one into play for the third out to end the game and the Cubs take the series from Mets.

The Cubs are off Thusday and head up to Milwaukee for the weekend with Jason Hammel starting on Friday.

Dan the Man

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So the rumors started yesterday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are seriously interested in trading Yasiel Puig. We heard these same rumors last season, but Puig is still with the Dodgers. Is this the season the Dodgers deal him? While it seems as though he’s been around longer this is just Puig’s 4th season in the majors and he is just 25 years old. Remember Puig came out of the gate like a sure fire superstar. Puig came in and played 104 games in 2013. He hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI’s and added 11 stolen bases. There are some people out there who have identified him as the Rookie of the Year, but he actually finished 2nd to Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. Puig also picked up some MVP votes that season and finished 15th in that voting. In 2014 Puig played 148 games hitting .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBI’s and making his first All-Star team. He also picked up some MVP votes after that season and finished 19th in the voting. Puig was injured for much of the 2015 season. He played in just 79 games. He hit .255 with 11 home runs and had 38 RBI’s. The Dodgers where hoping a healthy Puig would bounce back t numbers more like his first two seasons, but he hasn’t. In 76 games Puig is hitting .256 with 7 home runs and 32 RBI’s this season. If the Dodgers do find a taker for Puig; which player will they get? Let’s take a look at some landing spots for Puig.

How about the New York Yankees? Take it easy Yankees fans I don’t think you’ll be getting Aroldis Chapman for Puig, but there are some options for these teams to deal. A more likely trade that could happen between these two teams is Puig for Carlos Beltran. Beltran is 39 years old, but is having a good season. He’s hitting .301 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI’s. If Clayton Kershaw’s return is pushed back with his injury the Dodgers are going to have to find a way to stay in contention for a wild card spot and adding some offense might help. Beltran has been able to stay healthy this season and has appeared in 88 games this season for the Yankees. Another plus for the Dodgers is Beltran is in the last year of his contract and with the young outfielders they have in their system he won’t be in the way. Beltran is owed about $8 million for the rest of this season while Puig is under contract for two more years at $7 million apiece. It’s two teams with plenty of money; so swapping salaries shouldn’t be an issue. The Dodgers could get some offensive help to put between Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez while the Yankees can get a young outfielder they can build around.

Another possible landing spot for Puig could be the rebuilding Atlanta Braves. It might sound odd to some people as the Braves are on their way to losing 100 plus games this season and possibly next season as well. It would actually give the Braves a chance t look at Puig and decide if he could be part of their rebuilding as his contract was coming to an end after the 2018 season. If so they could try to resign him or if not they could just let him go into free agency. The tough part would be figuring out what the Braves could send back in return. I don’t think the Dodgers would be interested in Nick Markakis. With the Braves rebuilding they’d want to hang on to their young players. Could the Braves out together a package featuring someone like Chase D’Arnaud or Jace Peterson with a pitcher or two thrown in be enough to get the Dodgers to send them Puig. It’s a deal that the Braves need to look into the question will be can they find a player or players that would interest the Dodgers enough to trade them Puig.

Could another rebuilding team like the Milwaukee Brewers be a team that could step up and tried to add Puig. It could be an easy deal if the Dodgers where willing to accept Ryan Braun and what’s left of his contract for Puig. Braun is signed through 2020 with an option for 20121. He’ll receive $20 million next season and in 2018, $19 million in 2019, $17 million in 2020 with a $15 million dollar option for 2021. Braun is 32 years old and it seems as though his power has been in decline. While Braun is still a home run threat he’s not the same player who hit 41 home runs in  2012. In 77 games this season Braun is hitting .313 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI’s. If the Brewers are going to truly rebuild they need to find a way to move Braun’s contract and this could be the answer they’ve been looking for. The issue may be will the Dodgers who have some talented young outfielders be willing to tie themselves down with Braun until 2020. Don’t forget that the Dodgers are going to be paying off Carl Crawford’s contract for the next couple of seasons.

Let’s reach out for one more team here and add the Toronto Blue Jays to the list of teams that could be a good spot for Puig. Jose Batista is injured and in the last year of his contract. Don’t forget that Batista is looking for a big payday at the end of the season and adding Puig could allow the Blue Jays to let Batista walk. Edwin Encarnacion is also in the last year of his contract and has been recruited by David Ortiz to sing with the Boston Red Sox and take over his role with them next season.  At 25 Puig along with Devon Travis would be the youngest player on the Blue Jays roster. The difficult part again here is finding someone to send back to Los Angeles in a deal. Ezequiel Carrera has had a solid season for the Blue Jays; so maybe they could add him into a deal with a young pitcher like Drew Hutchinson and a couple of bullpen pieces for Puig. This is the tough part about making a deal. While it looks as though Puig would be a good fit for the Blue Jays and their future it’s difficult to fin the right set of players to send back to the Dodgers to make a deal.

There are four interesting options for Yasiel Puig. Do the Dodgers finally go through with their plan to deal Puig or will he still be there at the end of the season? Remember this is a different front office talking about trading Puig this time; so maybe he ends up being dealt this time. Would you like to see your favorite team acquire Puig? Or do you have a better landing spot than the four I picked for him. If you do let me know.

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Jake Arrieta enters tonight’s game searching for lucky number 13.  He would be challenging Noah Syndergaard looking to hit win number 10.

The Cubs would open the game up giving Noah some trouble early on. He is able to hold them at bay.  The third inning would see Rizzo and Zobrist striking out.  With two outs, Wilson Contreras would smack a line drive double to right.  With Jason Heyward at the plate, Noah would throw a wild pitch, Contreras takes advantage taking third base but Rene Rivera’s throws it away allowing Wilson to snag home and the first run of the game.

Jake would help himself in the bottom of the fourth hitting a double to right.  Tommy La Stella would send a line drive t right fielder Michael Conforto, he sends it home but Jake is able to get under the tag scoring the second run of the game.  Terry Collins would challenge the call and it would be over turned in favor of the Mets and the third out of the inning.

Jake would hold the Mets to two singles and a walk through 5 innings.  The top of the 6th, Jose Reyes would send a line drive to right making it all the way to third base for his first triple of the year.  Curtis Granderson would fly out to Heyward but it would be enough for Reyes to score and tie the game at 1.

Jake would make it through 7 full inning giving up 1 run on 5 hits striking out 8.  Pedro Strop would take the 8th inning and make it quick.  Hector Rondon would enter the 9th but would immediately give up a single to James Loney, Neil Walker would force him out. Astrubal Cabrera would single pushing walked to second but with two outs, it would be Rene Rivera’s single to right that drives Walker in for the second run of the game for the Mets.

Jeurys Familia would try to keep the Cubs from winning.  He would have trouble by walking Russell and Montero.  Javier Baez would single to load the bases.   Matt Szczur would send a grounder to first, Loney throws it home for the first out.  Kris Bryant would send a grounder to third but Jose Reyes to Neil Walker to Loney ends the game for the Cubs.

Dan the Man

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The All Star Break was exactly what the Cubs needed as they opened up taking two of three from the Texas Rangers.  Jon Lester needed the break big time and with a 7 – 5 record, and a 3.38 ERA he seemed to need a small break also.   Lester is  seeking his 10th win of the season.  

Lester would go 6 full innings without giving uo a run.  The top of the 7th would see Wilmer Flores leadoff with his ninth home run of the year.  Lester would get the first two outs in the top of the 8th but gives up a single to Curtis Granderson.  That would be enough for Joel Maddon as he brings in Pedro Strop who immediately hits Yoenis Cespedes but Strop would end the inning striking out Neil Walker.  

The Cubs bats would turn it up quickly.  Javier Baez would send a line drive to left for a single and steals second base.  Kris Bryant reaches first getting hit by Steven Matz.  With one out and two men on, Anthony Rizzo steps in the gets into a 2-2 count, Matz serves a fastball belt high and Rizzo takes him to right center for a three-run home run.  

The Cubs grab a couple base runners but it would be Matt Szczur’s double that leads off the top of the 6th that gets Matz pulled from the game for Seth Lugo.  Almora would push Matt to third and it would be David Ross’s fly ball to center that scores Matt putting the Cubs up by 4.  

Seth Lugo would pitch two innings not allowing a base runner.  Erik Goeddel would enter the bottom of the 8th striking out Wilson Contreras and Addison Russell.  Matt Szczur would knock his second double of the game and would be driven in this time by Almora on his single to center but an error by Cespedes would put Almora on third.  Ross ends the inning with a fly ball.  

Carl Edwards Jr would enter the game getting the first out but gives up back to back singles that takes him out of the game for Hector Rondon.  With one out and two men on, Travis d’Arnaud steps into the box grounding into a game ending double play to put another W in the column for the Cubs and a much needed win against the Mets.  

Go Cubs Go!

Dan The Man

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The series finale between the Cubs and the Texas Rangers ends today with John Lackey seeking his eighth win against the strong Cole Hamels looking to grab win number 10.  Hamels would strikeout the first six batters.  Cole gives puts the first batter on due to a fielding error by Adrian Beltre with Albert Almora taking first base.  With two outs, Javier Baez sends a line drive to left field allowing Almora to cross home for the Cubs first run of the game.  

The Rangers were quick to end first inning but Lackey gives up back to back singles to start the second off to Pronce Fileser and Ryan Rua.  With one out, Elvis Andrus drives in Prince with a line drive to center field.  Robinson Chirinos sends a fly ball to Almora but it’s far enough to bring Rua in for the second run for the Rangers.   

The Rangers are up 2-1, going into the 4th and Lackey assists in adding another run by walking Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara.  Chirinos’s double to left brings in Rua for the third run of the game for the Rangers putting them up by 2.  

Lackey is able to hold the Rangers up until the eighth inning when he gives up a leadoff home run to Ian Desmond but is able to end the inning completing eight innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits but strikes out 8.   I would say a pretty typical outing for Lackey but without the run support.  Clayton Richard enters game preserving the game for Lackey and the Cubs.  

Cole Hamels combats Lackey with eight full innings but only gives up only one run but strikes out seven.  Sam Dyson enters the game for the Rangers to hold the game for the Rangers and receives his 19th save of the year.  The Cubs took the series, everyone wants a sweep but this is still a positive weekend for the Cubs.  

Go Cubs Go!
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Jason Hammel still seeking out his 8th win of the season will have to take on the best in the AL West, the Texas Rangers and back from the disabled list, Yu Darvish.

Hammel would make it a quick 1st inning but goes into the 2cd giving up a single to Ryan Rua.  With two outs Elvis Andrus would send a routine ground ball to Addison Russell who’s throw pulls Rizzo off of first, Rua never stops, Rizzo’s throw home is out of reach for Montero but bounces back to him, Miguel’s throw to second is perfect getting Andrus out at 2cd to end the inning.

That would be the only run Hammel gives up through 6 innings.  He would only give up one more hit, walks one and strikes seven for a quality start.

Yu would have batter luck through the first two innings but give up a leadoff walk to Montero and a one out single to Tommy LaStella.  With two men on and two outs, Rizzo would send a line drive to right scoring both runners.  Yu would only make it 4 and 1/3 innings but he’d strike out 9 Cubs while walking four.

Shawn Tolleson would replace Yu to finish the 5th but it would be in the bottom of the 6th with two outs and two men on, he’d give up a single to Matt Szczur scoring Jason Heyward putting the Cubs up 3-1.  That would be all the Cubs need to fly the W in Wrigleyville.

Hammel would get the win as Adam Warren and Travis Wood score the hold with Hector Rondon scoring his 15th save of the season.  Two down, one more for the sweep.

Go Cubs Go!

Dan the Man

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