Labor Day blog: More Cubs call-ups coming
Happy Labor Day. The Cubs and lefty Travis Wood take on the Miami Marlins and right-hander Henderson Alvarez this afternoon, and the wind is blowing in again during batting practice. Wood today looks to become the first Cubs lefty since 1970 to record at least 22 quality starts in a season. His 21 are tied for fourth most by a Cubs lefty in a single season (since 1921) with Ted Lilly (2008-09).
Since 1921, Dick Ellsworth’s 29 quality starts in 1963 pace Cubs left-handers. Ken Holtzman had 25 quality starts in 1970, and Larry French had 23 quality starts in 1935. Wood is tied for fourth in the majors with 21 quality starts, 2 off of Clayton Kershaw’s big-league lead.
Manager Dale Sveum said this morning that the Cubs will call up four or five more players from the minor leagues. Catcher J.C. Boscan figures to be one, as does lefty Brooks Raley. The Cubs may go off the 40-man roster for another, but it won’t be Javier Baez.
Yesterday’s postgame notes stated that James Russell made his 70th appearance of the season. He is the fifth Cubs left-hander to record multiple 70-game seasons; he worked a career-high 77 games last year. Other Cubs lefties with multiple 70-game seasons are Paul Assenmacher (1990-92), Sean Marshall (2010-11), Chuck McElroy (1991-92) and Bob Patterson (1996-97). Russell’s 70 appearances rank second among all relievers, trailing only the Mets’ Scott Rice, who enters today with 72.
Manager Dale Sveum said the workload this year is not the same as last.
“Last year, he finished innings, he’d start an inning, finish an inning,” Dale said. “This year, yeah, the appearances are there, but the innings and the pitches aren’t there like last year. I don’t think we’re going to abuse him the last month and pitch him when you’re losing games and stuff like at.”
Russell worked 69.1 innings last year over the 77 games. This year in 70, he has pitched 50 innings. He is 1-5 with a 3.42 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18.
The Cubs will have three minor-league teams in the playoffs this year (and we’ll have our minor-league roundup below): Class AA Tennessee, Class A Daytona and Class A Boise.
“One thing you try to do in the minor leagues is not only produce players but you produce winning players and have those guys go through things that are winning all the time, winning championships, being in playoffs,” Sveum said. “Being down the last two weeks, even if they don’t get into the playoffs, understanding how important every game is and every pitch and every out. All those things are very valuable when you get to the big leagues as well.”
The aforementioned Boise Hawks will meet Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League South division series beginning Tuesday. The Hawks fell to Hillsboro 14-3 Sunday, as Hillsboro recorded 18 hits. Jose Rosario started for Boise, giving up 12 hits and 8 runs in 5 innings. He is 2-1 with a 5.48 ERA. Kevin Encarnacion walked and hit his eighth home run.
"I told the players, ‘Congratulations look at the overall season and what you've done,'" manager Gary Van Tol told Chris Langrill of the Idaho Statesman. "You can't take away any of that … We're going up against Salem, who in my opinion is the best team in the league. But we've matched them pretty closely, head to head, especially on the road, at their place. … That first game is going to be important, but we know we've gone there and played very well."
Daytona finished its regular season with a 7-4 victory over Brevard County. The Cubs will meet Dunedin at home Tuesday night in Game 1 of the playoffs. Lefty Kyler Burke started Sunday and worked 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs. He walked one and struck out six. Kris Bryant was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run, a double and 2 RBI. He has hit safely in 13 of 16 games with Daytona after moving up from Boise. Dustin Geiger, Dan Vogelbach and Chadd Krist all had 2 hits. Austin Reed got the win.
Tennessee won its sixth straight, beating Chattanooga 4-3. Javier Baez (.299) hit his 20th homer for Tennessee, a 3-run shot in the fifth. He wound up 2-for-4. Brett Jackson was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Arismendy Alcantara extended a hit streak to five games, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a double. Dae-Eun Rhee worked 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs. Matt Loosen (3-3) struck out five in a season-high 4 scoreless innings of relief. Local guy Tony Zych recorded his third save.
The Kane County Cougars (A) snapped a three-game losing streak with an 11-2 victory over Peoria. Nathan Dorris got the win, working 5 innings and giving up 4 hits and 1 run. He is 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA. Trevor Gretzky hit his first homer and went 1-for-3. Rock Shoulders was 3-for-4 with a walk, 2 runs, a double and 3 RBI. Marco Hernandez was 2-for-5.
Class AAA Iowa beat Nashville 3-2 in 10 innings. Starter Justin Grimm worked 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 run while walking three and striking out six. Greg Rohan hit his first homer.