The Rundown: Cubs Sweep Double-Header Against Cardinals, Fowler Heating Up? Dallas Beeler Fills in Nicely, Schwarber Continues to Hit at AAA
It got a little hairy at times, but the Cubs pulled off two huge wins (7-4 and 5-3) against the seemingly-unbeatable Cardinals yesterday.
The entire day was a team effort, with the Cubs getting contributions up and down the roster.
I’m not sure where this Cubs team will end up when the season is over (I certainly think 85-88 wins is attainable), but I do know the team won’t quit. Just when things are looking bleak with that rough loss Monday, they come back and sweep a double-header from a really good team (and the first against St. Louis since 1992). Keep it coming.
Fowler heating up
Dexter Fowler finally seems to be putting things together. He had some good at-bats on Monday night after being moved down from the leadoff spot.
But yesterday he was back at the top of the order and continued to hit well. Although he went hitless in game 2 of the double-header, he had a 2-for-4 game 1, with a walk, run, RBI and stolen base.
Having Fowler getting on base at the top of the lineup makes a huge difference in how the Cubs offensive production. Hopefully he’ll put June behind him and start hitting like he did at the beginning of the year.
RHP Dallas Beeler was called up yesterday from Triple-A to be the 26th man on the roster and get the start in game 2 of the double-header. Beeler did his part to keep pace with the rest of the Cubs’ starting staff, turning in a solid five innings.
He gave up two runs on only four hits, and struck out six.
It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with the fifth starter spot going forward. Tsuyoshi Wada is rehabbing from a shoulder injury (and struggled in his first rehab start), and the Cubs have Clayton Richard, Donn Roach and possibly Dallas Beeler as possibilities.
Richard had a really nice start last Saturday, but I doubt that can be counted on in the future. However, I think you have to keep letting him pitch until he shows you he can’t be trusted. I suppose a healthy Wada would be the most trustworthy, and that’s not saying much.
But really, with the Cubs’ bullpen as good as it is, maybe they just need a fifth starter who can keep things close for five innings and then call it a day.
Cubs top prospect Kyle Schwarber seems to be handling Triple-A pretty decently. On Tuesday, the young catcher went 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, two runs and two RBIs. Not bad at all.
One of the stories of the summer is going to be monitoring how long the Cubs keep Schwarber at catcher down in the minors. The front office has said they would eventually move Schwarber to the outfield at some point in anticipation of a call-up later in the season.
But when will that happen? Will they be patient and let him catch into September? Sahadev Sharma guesses it could be as soon as mid-August. That would be pretty exciting.
I think it’ll depend on who the Cubs bring in before the trade deadline (if they bring in a bat at all), and how much the Cubs’ offense can rebound now with Jorge Soler back.
* Pierce Johnson continues to pitch well for Double-A Tennessee. Last night he tossed seven innings, giving up one run on only three hits. Johnson is one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects — may we see a promotion to Triple-A sometime soon?
* Crane Kenney told David Kaplan yesterday that the Cubs have “financial resources” to make some deals. This isn’t shocking news, but it is reassuring that the Cubs shouldn’t have money issues hampering their chances of acquiring a player they want. The ability to take on salary should help the Cubs acquire a player while possibly lessening the amount of talent they’d have to give up.
* Also from Kaplan, the Cubs will continue to show Harry Caray on the video scoreboard during the 7th inning stretch more often, but will still use live conductors. I was at the game last Friday when Harry was shown on the board singing for the first time this season, and it was a great moment. The crowd absolutely loved it (after they finished groaning about Ryan Dempster’s introduction). More Harry singing the stretch is a good thing. Maybe one day they will get rid of the guest conductor. I’d be OK with that.
* RHP Gonzalez Germen has been claimed off waivers by the Rockies. He appeared in only six games with the Cubs this year and had been designated for assignment on July 4.