By: Alex Patt
It was another odd week for the Cubs as they embarked on the last of their road trip. After last weekend splitting in Miami, they would play a four game set in Washington and a three game set in Cincinnati. Most of the main stories from that week were off the playing field with the Cubs team visiting the White House Wednesday and the Miguel Montero situation that saw him DFA’ed and eventually traded. Also a matter of keeping track on injuries that have plagued this team.
The most recent news is Montero. After being DFA’ed he was traded Monday morning to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash and a player to be named later. Like mentioned in the previous Montero article, he was designated for assignment after publicly criticizing the team last Tuesday night after a 6-1 loss to the Nationals. Montero was 0-31 throwing out runners this year and struggled behind the plate despite having a nice offensive year. Willson Contreras and prospect Victor Caratini are now the catching duo; do not be surprised if Theo goes and and gets a veteran backup catcher via trade or signing.
Other player news involves the return of Ben Zobrist from the DL. He had a two-game rehab assignment with AA Tennessee last week and had three hits and two walks, he returned with the team Saturday as Mark Zagunis was sent down to AAA. Jason Heyward is currently in a rehab assignment with A South Bend after the cut on his hand sidelined him for a few weeks, he should be back soon. Kyle Schwarber is still with AAA in attempt to fix things and is slashing .385/.500/1.346 with four homers in eight games with the I Cubs and there is no real time set for him to be called back up. Lastly Kyle Hendricks is still battling with his tendinitis but has been doing some throwing sessions and seems to be improving, again, no real timetable set for him at the moment. Also notable was Kris Bryant rolling his ankle in game 3 of the Nationals series, but he was back after just two days with no seriousness.
As for on the field, there was some ugly and some good. The Cubs took game one of the Nationals series 5-4 after almost blowing a 5-0 lead in the ninth, all ending on Ryan Zimmerman striking out to end the game. The next two games were 6-1 and 8-4 losses which saw the Nationals steal seven bases in just a few innings (the source of the Montero ordeal) and John Lackey didn’t last long at all the next night. The final game of the series was probably the most incredible win of the year. Down to 2 outs and a man on, down 4-2 the Cubs stringed together hits from Baez, LaStella and Jay to take a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning, and Wade Davis shut the door for a great win. A 2-2 split was seen as a win for the banged up struggling Cubs.
On to Cincy where cheers turned to groans with former Cub Scott Feldman shutting out the Cubs in game one and losing to a AAA callup in game two (who also hit in the winning runs) but salvaged the finale 6-2 behind seven shutout innings from Jake Arrieta and Ian Happ’s two homers and four RBIs.
Now at 41-41 and 2.0 back of Milwaukee the Cubs return home for stints with the Rays, Pirates and Brewers.