News & Analysis

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates lose lead late then rally to defeat Cubs

June 23, 2022, 8:36 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Michael Chavis hit a game-tying home run in the eighth inning and a game-ending bloop single for a run in the 10th on Thursday to give the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Against Chicago's Scott Effross (1-3) in the 10th inning, Ke'Bryan Hayes was the automatic runner for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds was intentionally walked before Chavis drove in Hayes on an 0-1 pitch.

Hayes and Reynolds also hit home runs, Oneil Cruz hit an RBI double and Tyler Heineman had an RBI single for the Pirates, who took three of four in the series.

Pittsburgh starter Jose Quintana gave up two runs and six hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and one walk. Pittsburgh's Chris Stratton (4-3) pitched a scoreless 10th inning.

Nico Hoerner and Alfonso Rivas each had a two-run single in the eighth inning as the Cubs took a 7-6 lead. Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom each an RBI single for the Cubs.

Chicago starter Justin Steele allowed six runs (five earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks.

In the first, Reynolds hit a one-out homer to center, his 12th, for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead.

Chicago moved ahead in the third. Hoerner had an infield base hit, Nelson Velazquez walked and P.J. Higgins had a bunt single to load the bases. An out later, Willson Contreras reached on a fielder's choice, with Hoerner scoring to tie it. Happ singled home Velasquez to make it 2-1.

In the bottom of the third, with Bligh Madris aboard, Hayes homered to left-center, his third, for a 3-2 Pirates lead.

With two outs in the fifth, Hayes reached on Jonathan Villar's error at second and scored when Reynolds reached on Higgins' error at third.

Pittsburgh's Yu Chang singled and scored on Cruz's double in the sixth, 5-2. Heineman singled, and Cruz scored on Christopher Morel's throwing error from center, making it 6-2 before the Cubs went ahead with a five-run eighth.

Chavis tied it leading off the bottom of the eighth with a home run to center, his seventh.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves

Report: Cubs RHP Ethan Roberts needs Tommy John surgery

June 23, 2022, 3:52 PM

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Cubs right-hander Ethan Roberts will require season-ending Tommy John surgery after sustaining a right elbow injury during his rehabilitation appearance Sunday at Triple-A Iowa, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Roberts previously was placed on the 60-day injured list. He last pitched for the Cubs on April 29.

The 24-year-old Roberts exited after facing just one hitter at Iowa.

Roberts owns an 0-1 record with an 8.22 ERA in nine relief appearances this season.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

Pirates-Cubs finale caps high-scoring series

June 23, 2022, 6:30 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

If the first three games of the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Chicago Cubs set any sort of precedent, the clubs might need a calculator to track the runs Thursday in the series finale.

The teams have combined for 40 runs through the three games, all of them lopsided.

Pittsburgh won the opener 12-1 and Tuesday's game 7-1 to run its winning streak to three. Chicago responded by snapping a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a 14-5 win and will go for a series split Thursday.

While both teams have some serious work to do to even get to .500, there have been lighter moments in this series, such as Cubs veteran David Robertson pitching a scoreless eighth Wednesday, then striking out in the ninth in his first at-bat in the major leagues using, according to a team reporter, a borrowed bat and helmet.

Pittsburgh got a poor performance on Wednesday from Jerad Eickhoff, who gave up 10 runs in a spot start and his Pirates debut, and his first major-league appearance since last July.

In addition, the Pirates went with a position player, Diego Castillo, on the mound in the ninth, and he gave up a grand slam to Alfonso Rivas.

Then the Pirates picked up four runs in the bottom of the ninth.

That allowed Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton to smile as he thought of a bigger picture.

"This group continues to play hard," Shelton said. "That game got out of hand, but our effort level did not. We continue to still go after it."

In the series finale, Chicago left-hander Justin Steele (2-5, 4.27 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Pittsburgh left-hander Jose Quintana (1-4, 3.66 ERA).

Steele is coming off something of a relief appearance - not coming out of the bullpen but snapping a career-high five-game losing streak Saturday in a 6-3 win against the Atlanta Braves.

It was his first win since April 9.

"You can build off that outing," said Cubs manager David Ross.

Steele hasn't really pitched poorly - he has a 1.89 ERA in three starts this month, and he has given up three runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts - but he needed to make an adjustment.

That came after former Cubs stalwart Jon Lester suggested to Ross that Steele go after right-handed hitters low and inside. Ross passed that advice on to Steele.

"Since he's told me, that's been my main thing, especially the way my ball is cutting (inside)," Steele said. "My sinker is going the other way, and I'm using my changeup and slider more."

Against the Pirates, Steele is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career games, two of them starts. He allowed three runs and four hits in three innings April 24.

Quintana has stumbled some recently after he turned in a 2.00 ERA in May, giving up a total of 11 runs in his past three starts.

Saturday, Quintana did not get a decision when he allowed three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants. He has dished up five homers over his past two starts.

Quintana is 0-4 with a 3.47 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs, with one loss and one no-decision this season.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees

Cubs outright LHP Sean Newcomb to Triple-A Iowa

June 21, 2022, 6:31 PM

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The Chicago Cubs assigned left-hander Sean Newcomb outright to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday after he cleared waivers following the club's move last week to designate him for assignment.

Newcomb has 48 hours to accept the assignment or become a free agent, although he would part with his current $900,000 salary for 2022 if he leaves the organization.

Newcomb, 29, had a 16.62 ERA in four outings with the Cubs, his first season in Chicago after he was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves on April 21 for right-hander Jesse Chavez. He also had three outings with the Braves (7.20 ERA) before the trade.

In parts of six major league seasons, almost all of it with the Braves, Newcomb is 24-23 with a 4.39 ERA over 148 outings (57 starts).

--Field Level Media

MLB: San Diego Padres-Media Day

Pirates acquire LHP Eric Stout from Cubs for cash

June 21, 2022, 4:36 PM

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The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired left-hander Eric Stout from the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations on Tuesday.

The Pirates optioned the 29-year-old reliever to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Stout allowed two runs on three hits in 3 2/3 innings in two relief appearances this season for the Cubs.

He previously pitched for the Kansas City Royals in 2018 and posted a 23.14 ERA in three games (2 1/3 innings).

Stout's career numbers in the minors include a 23-18 record with a 4.39 ERA and 17 saves in 202 games (19 starts) since 2014.

--Field Level Media

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates put RHP Zach Thompson (forearm) on 15-day IL

June 20, 2022, 7:28 PM

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The Pittsburgh Pirates placed right-hander Zach Thompson on the 15-day injured list Monday with right forearm nerve inflammation.

The Pirates also optioned shortstop Liover Peguero to Double-A Altoona. Peguero, 21, notched his first major league hit on Saturday.

In corresponding moves, the team recalled shortstop Oneil Cruz and selected the contract of outfielder Bligh Madris, both from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Thompson, 28, is 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) this season, his first in Pittsburgh.

Cruz, 23, will make his season debut in his first appearance with the Pirates. He went 3-for-9 over the last three games of the 2021 season with a homer and three RBIs.

Madris, 26, will be making his major league debut. He has posted a .304 average with 15 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 20 RBIs in 46 games for Indianapolis this season.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds

Cubs place INF Frank Schwindel (back) on 10-day IL

June 19, 2022, 8:32 PM

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The Chicago Cubs placed infielder Frank Schwindel on the 10-day injured list Saturday due to a low back strain.

The Cubs recalled infielder Alfonso Rivas from Triple-A Iowa ahead of Saturday afternoon's home game against the Atlanta Braves.

Schwindel, 29, was forced to leave Friday's 1-0 win against Atlanta in the second inning with back tightness after running out a ground ball.

He is batting .237 with eight homers and 33 RBIs through 62 games this season.

Rivas, 25, has played in 38 games with the Cubs this season and is hitting .194 with two homers and 13 RBIS.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

Cubs activate LHP Sean Newcomb from 15-day IL

June 12, 2022, 6:20 PM

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The Chicago Cubs activated left-hander Sean Newcomb from the 15-day injured list and optioned right-hander Michael Rucker to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.

Newcomb, who turned 29 on Sunday, has not pitched for the Cubs since May 7 due to a sprained left ankle. He was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves on April 21.

He has a 7.56 ERA and no decisions in six relief appearances this season between Atlanta and Chicago. For his career, Newcomb is 24-23 with a 4.28 ERA in 147 games (57 starts) since debuting in 2017.

Rucker, 28, is 0-1 with a 5.49 ERA in 12 relief outings this season. He has struck out 21 batters in 19 2/3 innings.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees

Cubs LHP Wade Miley (shoulder) back on IL

June 12, 2022, 12:35 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs left-hander Wade Miley went right back on the 15-day injured list with a strained pitching shoulder on Saturday, one day after coming off the list with the same ailment to start against the New York Yankees.

Miley tossed three scoreless innings on Friday but had to exit after pain intensified while tossing his warm-up pitches prior to the fourth inning. Miley said he injured the shoulder while pitching to Josh Donaldson in the third inning.

"One pitch to Donaldson, I felt a little something back there," Miley said after Friday's game. "I tried to stay consistent in those remaining four or five pitches. In between innings, (the shoulder) calmed down a little bit. I tried to go back out.

"The first pitch I threw, (the pain) was there again. Rather than try to push it, I tried to do the smart thing, get it checked out and try to figure out what's going on."

Miley had last pitched on May 22 before Friday's game.

Miley 35, missed the start of the season due to left elbow inflammation. He made his season debut on May 10.

Miley is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts this season. The 12-year veteran is 98-92 with a 4.13 ERA in 287 appearances (281 starts) with eight teams.

Right-hander Michael Rucker was recalled from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rucker was optioned to Iowa on Friday when Miley was activated.

Rucker, 28, is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 appearances with the Cubs this season.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

Cubs P Wade Miley exits game with sore shoulder

June 11, 2022, 12:58 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Wade Miley exited Friday's game against the host New York Yankees due to left shoulder soreness.

Miley came out for the fourth and threw a few warmup pitches. After catcher Willson Contreras came to check on the left-hander, manager David Ross and trainer PJ Mainville also checked on him and lifted him from the game.

Miley was activated off the injured list before Friday's game after missing nearly three weeks with left shoulder soreness.

On Friday, he allowed three hits in three scoreless innings and threw 42 pitches.

Miley is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts this season. He also missed the first month of the season due to left elbow inflammation before making his season debut May 10.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds

Report: Cubs reach deal with C Willson Contreras

June 9, 2022, 4:01 PM

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The Chicago Cubs struck a late-night deal with catcher Willson Contreras to avoid Thursday's scheduled arbitration hearing, multiple outlets reported.

The one-year contract is for $9.625 million, midway between the amounts submitted by the team ($9 million) and the two-time All-Star ($10.25 million). The contract covers the 2022 season.

Contreras, 30, entered Thursday batting .277 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs through 47 games.

He is a career .260 hitter with 105 home runs and 333 RBIs in 668 games since his Cubs debut in 2016. He made the National League All-Star teams in 2018 and 2019.

Chicago insiders expect that Contreras, who is eligible for free agency after this season, will be traded before the Aug. 2 deadline.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

Cubs remove RHP Alec Mills from 60-day IL

June 7, 2022, 10:39 PM

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The Chicago Cubs activated right-hander Alec Mills off the 60-day injured list prior to Tuesday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Mills hasn't pitched this season due to back and quadriceps injuries. He will be used in a multi-inning relief role, according to Cubs manager David Ross.

Mills initially was sidelined with the back injury and later injured the quadriceps after beginning a rehab stint.

Mills threw a no-hitter for the Cubs in September of 2020 and is 12-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 62 appearances (37 starts) for the franchise since 2018. The 30-year-old went 6-7 with a 5.07 ERA last season in 32 appearances (20 starts) and pitched a career-high 119 innings.

Chicago optioned right-hander Anderson Espinoza to Double-A Tennessee in a corresponding move.

Anderson, 24, made one appearance for the Cubs and gave up two runs in four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in his major league debut on May 30. He was 0-4 with a 7.31 ERA in eight Double-A starts earlier this season.

--Field Level Media

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arkansas vs Texas Tech

Cubs call up top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian to make debut

June 4, 2022, 6:54 PM

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The Chicago Cubs called up top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian, and the right-hander will take the mound in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs also optioned right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. to Triple-A Iowa, while left-hander Conner Menez was designated for assignment. Chicago also added right-hander Anderson Espinoza as the 27th man for the doubleheader.

Kilian, who turned 25 on Thursday, was acquired from the San Francisco Giants last summer as part of the Kris Bryant trade. He will be making his major league debut after going 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in nine Triple-A starts this season.

"He's a hard worker with good makeup," Cubs manager David Ross said. "He's got a real chance to be a big-league starter. I know he wants to grow, wants to learn. There's a good energy about him."

Leiter, 31, was 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in seven appearances (three starts) for the Cubs. Menez, 27, threw just one inning this season and has a 2-1 record with a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances (four starts) with the Cubs and San Francisco Giants over the past four seasons.

Espinoza, 24, made his major league debut with the Cubs on May 30 when he gave up two runs over four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. He took the loss in a 3-1 game.

--Field Level Media

MLB: Game Two-Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

Cubs place LHP Drew Smyly (oblique) on 15-day IL

June 1, 2022, 10:51 PM

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The Chicago Cubs placed left-hander Drew Smyly on the 15-day injured list on Wednesday because of a strained left oblique muscle.

The move is retroactive to May 31, one day after his previous start was cut short when he suffered the injury.

In related transactions, the Cubs activated right-hander Michael Rucker after he missed the past two weeks because of a turf toe ailment. The team also activated veteran outfielder Jason Heyward and optioned outfielder Nelson Velazquez to Triple-A Iowa.

Smyly, who turns 33 on June 13, completed three hitless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers during his start in a May 30 doubleheader. But after tossing a few warmup pitches before the start of the fourth frame, he left the game after a brief mound meeting with manager David Ross and a club trainer.

The vagabond pitcher, on his fifth team over the past five seasons and seventh overall, is 2-5 this season with a 3.80 ERA in nine starts with the Cubs. Smyly won a career-high 11 games in 2021 with the world champion Atlanta Braves.

Rucker, 28, has appeared in eight games this season for Chicago, all in relief. In his second season, he is 0-0 with a 4.20 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 15 innings.

Heyward, 32, is off to a slow start in 2022, hitting a career-low .208 with no homers and four RBIs in 27 games. The 13-year veteran had been on the team's COVID-19 injured list, last playing on May 15.

The 23-year-old Velazquez, a fifth-round pick in 2017, had played in two games before the Cubs sent him back to the minors. He produced two singles in seven at-bats.

The Cubs made room on their 40-man roster after Rucker's activation by recalling right-hander Manuel Rodriguez, then moving him to the 60-day IL (elbow strain)

--Field Level Media

Syndication: The Enquirer

Cubs place OF Seiya Suzuki (finger) on IL

May 31, 2022, 12:46 AM

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A sprained left ring finger has landed Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder Seiya Suzuki on the 10-day injured list.

The Cubs made the move, retroactive to last Friday, prior to the second game of Monday's doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.

Suzuki, the Cubs' regular right fielder, injured his finger in last Thursday's road game against the Cincinnati Reds when he stole second base and jammed his left hand on the bag. He has four home runs and 21 RBIs with a .245 batting average in 41 games for Chicago.

In addition, the Cubs designated right-handed reliever Robert Gsellman for assignment and recalled lefty reliever Brandon Hughes from Triple-A Iowa.

Gsellman, who joined the Cubs as a non-roster invitee in spring training after six seasons with the New York Mets, was 0-2 with nine strikeouts and a 4.70 ERA in eight appearances (15 1/3 innings) with the Cubs. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning Monday in Chicago's 7-6 Game 1 loss to the Brewers.

Hughes was 0-0 with nine strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA in five games (7 innings) in a stint with the Cubs earlier this month.

--Field Level Media