I was a little worried that the Cubs’ bats might quiet down a bit after leaving Wrigley Field for San Francisco.
However, that was certainly not the case, at least yesterday. The Cubs didn’t need the Wrigley winds last night to hit the ball out of the ballpark at will. Kyle Schwarber, Miguel Montero and Starlin Castro each homered. It was only Castro’s sixth home run of the year and his first since June 12.
Staked to a huge lead, starter Jake Arrieta cruised again until the 6th. He gave up one run in 6 innings (he faced one batter in the 7th), gave up only four hits and struck out eight. Arrieta has tossed 13 straight quality starts, and his ERA now sits at 2.22.
As they did last time these teams met, the Giants fought back before ultimately falling short. The Cubs are 5-0 against the Giants this year.
With the win, the Cubs extend their hold on the second wild card spot to 7.5 games. The Pirates miraculously lost last night as well, meaning the Cubs are only 2 games out of the top wild card. St. Louis beat up on the Diamondbacks to hold a 6.5-game lead on the National League Central.
The Cubs have won six in a row. It was a very impressive win yesterday, as this series is huge for the Giants if they want a shot at the wild card.
But the Cubs went on the road and dominated right from the start. This team simply doesn’t get intimidated.
A familiar face
The Cubs have brought back switch-hitting utility man Emilio Bonifacio, signing him to a minor-league deal. The veteran was traded from the Cubs to the Braves last year, along with LHP James Russell.
Now both are back with the Cubs. The fact that players are returning like this is, I think, a very good sign.
Sure, Cubs fans and media members are now buying into this team. But players looking in from the outside are buying in too. Don’t forget, Jason Hammel agreed to come back to Chicago after being traded away last season too.
Bonifacio, who was released by the White Sox earlier this month, could be used down the stretch as a pinch runner or defensive replacement. I believe he was also well-liked in the clubhouse last year.
He hit .279/.318/.373 and stole 14 bases in 69 games for the Cubs last season.
With the Cubs call-ups of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, and Jorge Soler as a permanent member of the big-league squad, you might think the Cubs would be running somewhat thin on hitting prospects in the minors. Not the case.
South Bend Shortstop Gleyber Torres has been named the Midwest League Prospect of the Year. Torres has hit .294/.357/.387 with three home runs and 22 stolen bases this year.
Considering he has put up these numbers as an 18-year-old shortstop in Single-A, Torres’ future is looking very bright.
When the Cubs signed Torres out of Venezuela in 2013, Baseball America had him ranked as the second best international prospect. The Cubs also signed the No. 1 BA-rated international prospect, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, in 2013.
Jimenez, also 18 years old, is currently playing at Low-A Eugene, and he’s starting to find his power stroke. Last night between two games of a double-header, Jimenez hit three home runs.
Eugene Emeralds teammate, and 2015 second-round pick, Donnie Dewees has an 18-game hitting streak and certainly seems to be holding his own at the plate.
It’s pretty exciting to know that the Cubs still have a number of exciting players in the minor leagues. And remember, they didn’t give up any of them at the trade deadline this year.