The Rundown: Cubs Overcome 3 Deficits to Win, Javy Baez and Austin Jackson Make Debuts, James Russell and Rafael Soriano DFA’d

Much better.

After a very disappointing loss Monday night to the Reds, the Cubs took care of business last night with their typical never-say-die attitude. The Cubs trailed three separate times but then took the lead for good on Kyle Schwarber’s two-run, two-out bomb to left-center.

The bullpen was much better. Justin Grimm had a nice bounce-back outing, entering the game with a man at second and no outs. He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two. After the Cubs took the lead in the 7th, it was time for Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon slammed the door in impressive fashion.

The Reds are not a good team, but this was a big win. Monday night was ugly, especially coming after a somewhat disappointing road trip. And multiple times it looked like they might lose two straight to the Reds. But that didn’t happen.

Both the Pirates and Giants lost last night, so the Cubs pad their lead on the second wild card spot (6.5 games up) and draw a game closer to the top spot (4.5 games back).

Jason Hammel will look to keep the winning going today at 1:20. Isn’t it weird how few 1:20 games there have been this year?


Last night, Javier Baez made his 2015 Cubs debut, much to my delight. Love watching the guy play. Baez, starting at second base and batting seventh, went hitless in four at-bats, striking out once.

Also making his Cubs debut was recently acquired outfielder Austin Jackson. He pinch-hit in the 7th and then remained in the game in right field. He went 0-for-2 on the night.

Defensive replacements

It sure looks like Joe Maddon will be taking full advantage of the expanded September rosters. In last night’s game, he double-switched Addison Russell out of the game in the 6th inning — sliding Javier Baez over to shortstop and putting Tommy La Stella at second base.

Then in the 8th, after the Cubs had grabbed a late lead, Maddon inserted Chris Denorfia into left field for Kyle Schwarber. Austin Jackson stayed in the game to play right field for Chris Coghlan.

I like these defensive options for late in games when the Cubs have a lead. The decision to remove Russell was a bit odd, and led to worries of an injury, but postgame comments seemed to dismiss that.

But I guess we’ll see if he’s in the lineup today.

Other notes

* To make room on the 40-man roster for call-up Quintin Berry and RHP Trevor Cahill, the Cubs designated LHP James Russell and RHP Rafael Soriano for assignment. Russell has struggled of late, but it’s kind of sad to hear that news. He has been solid for most of the year out of the bullpen. Yesterday before the game, Theo Epstein said he was “grateful” for what Russell did for the bullpen. Rafael Soriano ended up not working out, after the Cubs took a flyer on him. Not all of those chances will work out, obviously.

* Catcher David Ross — the Gray Wolf — has returned from the family medical emergency leave list.

* The Cubs will make a qualifying offer on outfielder Dexter Fowler after this season, writes Patrick Mooney. It definitely makes sense after Fowler’s outstanding second half and the Cubs’ lack of an MLB-ready center fielder for next year. I assume Fowler will decline the offer and elect free agency, in which case the Cubs would get a compensation draft pick. Unless of course the Cubs offer Dexter an extension. Should be interesting to see how it plays out.

* Eight Cubs prospects will be participating in the Arizona Fall League this year: pitchers Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny; catchers Cael Brockmeyer and Willson Contreras; infielder Jeimer Candelario; and outfielder Mark Zagunis. It doesn’t have the star value of years past (Kris Bryant) but there are still a couple of exciting names here. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Contreras and Johnson.

* The Tampa Bay Rays have designated shortstop Hak-Ju Lee for assignment. Lee was the top prospect (at the time) sent from the Cubs to the Rays for Matt Garza. Before you chuckle at the Rays’ misfortune, remember that the Cubs also shipped off RHP Chris Archer in the same deal.

* Pretty neat gesture by the Dodgers — they sent Jake Arrieta the pitching rubber used during Sunday’s no-hitter:

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