Two days and two very similar games back-to-back for the Cubs this weekend. After Jon Lester dominated the Braves on Saturday night, it was Jake Arrieta’s turn on Sunday — leading to a 4-1 win.
Arrieta pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out 10 and giving up only three hits.
The 1-2 punch at the top of the Cubs rotation is really fun to watch right now.
Jorge Soler hit a home run (his fifth), something the Cubs haven’t been doing a lot of lately. I keep telling myself that the power will come eventually, but at this point I think it’s a safer bet to count on the team’s strong pitching.
Both the Cardinals and Pirates lost yesterday, putting the Cubs back 8 and 3.5 games back, respectively. The Cubs are only one game ahead of the Giants — who have won six in a row — for the second wild card spot.
So long, E-Jax
I wrote yesterday that Rafael Soriano appeared close to being called up to the Cubs, and that Edwin Jackson was a possibility to go in order to make room on the roster.
Well that appears to be the case, as the Cubs will designate Jackson for assignment, according to multiple reports.
The Cubs will have 10 days to trade, waive or release Jackson. He still has a year left on his four-year deal, and I think a trade is pretty unlikely.
The signing of Jackson is right up there with the trade for Ian Stewart as one of Theo Epstein’s biggest mistakes. (Thankfully there have been far more positives.) Jackson never seemed to be able to string together any sort of success during his time with the Cubs.
After two years of struggles in the rotation, the Cubs relegated Jackson to the bullpen this season. He was basically only used in mop-up duty.
It’s too bad things didn’t work out for Jackson and the Cubs — it seems like Jackson was a good guy and a good teammate:
This was second time I got to play with @EJ36 & I enjoyed every second. Gonna be missed in the pen & clubhouse. Best of luck down the road!
— Jason Motte (@JMotte30) July 20, 2015
Rough day 4 me personally. @EJ36 is 1 of the best teammates u could ask 4. Grinded w/him for years. Best of luck EJax! C u down the road.
— Jason Hammel (@HammelTime39) July 20, 2015
This one is tough. Ejax is one of the best teammates I've had. Taught me so much over the years. The ultimate professional! Best of luck
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) July 20, 2015
Arrieta on EJax: "He's one of the best human beings I've ever been around. It's tough to see him go."
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) July 20, 2015
Soriano, his replacement in the bullpen, is no sure thing. The Cubs are hoping he can regain the success he saw in the first half of last season, on his way to 32 saves with the Nationals.
* Kyle Schwarber will be back starting behind the plate the next few days. The Cubs’ lineup looks so much more dangerous with him in it. Should be a fun series against the Reds.
* Dallas Beeler may get another shot at starting this week, as the Cubs will need an extra starter in the double-header on Wednesday, tweets Carrie Muskat. Beeler looked pretty good in his only start with the Cubs this year. Interested to see him out there again.