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Lack Of Timely Hitting Dooms Cubs

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The Cubs lost their series opener in Miami against the Marlins. The Cubs had the bases loaded in the top of the ninth after Addison Russell, Albert Almora, and David Ross had managed to get on with one out. After Ross, Chris Coghlan and Ben Zobrist came up to the plate.

Coghlan struck out swinging and Zobrist popped up to end the inning. The loss marked the first four game losing streak for the Cubs this season. Had Coghlan or Zobrist gotten on base with a single, the Cubs could have scored one or even two runners. The Cubs would have to fend off the Marlins again in that inning to win the anyway, but it is possible the Cubs could have won in they could have gotten a few more hits in the ninth.

Prior to losing to the Marlins, the Cubs had been swept by their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. This cut the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central by three games. The Cubs still have a large lead on the second place Cardinals, but had a 12.5 game lead prior to being swept.

The Cubs lost their games against the Marlins and the Cardinals for a number of reasons, but mainly it has been their hitting, or lack thereof holding them back. In the series against the Cardinals, the Cubs averaged 2.33 runs per game. In their opener versus the Marlins, the Cubs only scored two runs. Nine runs over four games is abnormal for one of the MLB’s best offenses.

In addition to the Cubs struggling offense, several young prospects have taken the place of established stars in recent games. Albert Almora took the place a Dexter Fowler, and Willson Contreras took the place of Anthony Rizzo. There will be growing pains as Joe Maddon tries to get his prospects some playing time, but hopefully they will pass as the Cubs starters return to play.

Those prospects will become valuable in the near future, however, as they are considered for potential trades. For the past several weeks, multiple sources have said that the Cubs are looking to make a trade in order to bring in a big time reliever. Whether Albert Almora or Willson Contreras will be moved is speculation at this point but nothing should be ruled out at this point as the Cubs try to take improve their team for a long postseason run and try to take home some hardware.

Moving Forward

The Cubs have three more games to play the against the Marlins after losing the series opener and will round out the month of June against the Cincinnati Reds in Ohio. The Cubs will then finish their current road trip in New York against the Metsand then come home to play the Reds again in July.

The Cubs will look to get back on track going forward with two series against a last place NL Central rival. The Cincinnati Reds are 28-45 as of June 23rd, have a 17-20 home record, and are 20 games back of the 1st place Cubs. While it is still early in the season, the Cubs need to end their losing streak.

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Chicago Cubs Signs Big Name Free Agent

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Over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs announced that they have signed MLB free agent and Japanese Phenom Yu Darvish from free agency according to multiple sources.

Before joining Major League Baseball, Darvish was playing in the  Nippon Professional Baseball League with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters down in Japan. After spending six years with the team, many MLB scouts tapped him as being one of the top Major League prospects in several years.

In 2012, Darvish signed with the Texas Rangers. Yu Darvish played with the Rangers four full seasons and half of the 2017 season with the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels. In his five year MLB career, he has a 56-43 record, as a starting pitcher, 1,021 strikeouts, and a 3.42 ERA.

Now, Darvish is going to start the 2018 season playing for the one of the most historic teams in baseball history… The Chicago Bears.

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Steve Bartman Issued World Series Ring By Chicago Cubs

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One fateful night at Wrigley Field.

October 14, 2003.

The Chicago Cubs were five short outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945. With a 3-0 lead against the Florida Marlins in the eighth inning of Game 6 and Mark Prior dealing on the mound, thousands of fans throughout Chicago were on the brink of celebration.

Until one play—one infamous play—changed everything.

After a one-out double by Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo comes to bat against Prior. Castillo works the count full, and on Prior’s 113th pitch, hits a foul pop-up down the first base line. Left-fielder Moises Alou seems to be in position to make the play as he times his leap while reaching into the stands, until a fan—wearing headphones while sporting a Cubs hat—appears to interfere with the ball. Alou’s visibly angry after failing to make the catch, glaring at the fan as he makes his way back to his position in left.

That one fan’s name was Steve Bartman. And from that point on, his life had changed forever.

On the next pitch and ninth of the at-bat, Castillo walks as Pierre advances to third on a passed ball. Ivan Rodriguez’s up next. Prior gets ahead 0-2, but hangs a curveball as Rodriguez promptly slaps a single to left to make the score 3-1. Up steps 20-year-old rookie Miguel Cabrera. On the first pitch, he hits a grounder that shortstop Alex Gonzalez boots. Everyone’s safe. Bases loaded and one out now. Up next is Derrek Lee, coming off a career year in 2003 up to that point. Prior’s at 118 pitches. Kyle Farnsworth is loose in the pen. Manager Dusty Baker leaves Prior in. On the first pitch and Prior’s 119th of the game, Lee drives a fastball to left to drive in two runs.

Tied at three. Prior’s night is done. Here comes Farnsworth.

Intentional walk, sac fly, intentional walk. Here comes the light-hitting righty Mike Mordecai to hit with two outs and the bases full of fish. All Farnsworth has to do to keep it a one-run game is get him out. Keep it close and within reach. But it wasn’t to be, as Mordecai rips a double in the left-center field gap. Three runs score, now the Cubs are down 7-3. Exit Farnsworth. Florida scores one more that inning, wins 8-3, wins Game 7 to advance to and eventually win the World Series, and the rest is history.

And who were Cub fans most angry at?

You already know.

Soon after the floodgates had opened in that disastrous eighth inning, Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field by security personnel soon after fans began chanting and pointing. Drinks and other debris were thrown at him, insults were hurled his way left and right, and his life was never the same. Following the incident, personal information about him was released on online-message boards. Cruisers even had to surround his home for his own safety. It wasn’t too pretty.

Bartman was Chicago’s public enemy #1, as many Cub fans associated him with the Curse of the Billy Goat.

However, that curse finally ended last season, as the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 to put an end to the longest championship drought in professional sports.

Two days ago, Monday, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts handed out World Series rings in his office to players and other team members.

And none other than Mr. Bartman himself.

In a statement from Ricketts, he said: “On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series.”

Bartman also made a statement, breaking his silence:

“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.”

If this is how the Cubs organization saw fit to finally put an end to the “Bartman play”, then great. I can dig it. One can’t help but feel for Bartman. He made a mistake. Since that night he hasn’t made any appearances at Wrigley, has declined interviews, and for the most part has been out of the public eye.

Even though it was just one play, it’s not the reason the Cubs lost that game or the series. It changed the course of the game for sure, but Chicago just couldn’t seal the deal. Prior hung an 0-2 pitch to Pudge, Gonzalez boots a ball, Farnsworth doesn’t do his job, Cubs can’t win Game 7 which was also at Wrigley. The Cubs made mistakes, but of course, it was easy for their fans to create a scapegoat.

But it’s all over now.

Who knows, maybe a first-pitch at Wrigley will be in Bartman’s near future. We’ll see.

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New York Yankees Closing In On Deal For A’s Sonny Gray

Anthony DiMoro

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The long courtship between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics regarding A’s pitcher Sonny Gray may finally be coming to some sort of conclusion.

While other teams such as the Atlanta Braves have jumped into the mix to acquire the front-line starter, it appears that the Yankees offer the A’s the best trade return.

According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Braves can offer great pitching prospects to Oakland but the Yankees are more equipped to match the A’s positional needs such as centerfield.

Heyman also noted that the Milwaukee Brewers could jump back in the mix and that Gray “has no qualms about going to yanks (or anywhere else). but brewers would be special.”

Heyman added that the Chicago Cubs are another team interested in Gray but Oaklan’s asking price is considered “too steep” for their liking.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that an “involved person says Yankees have ‘pieces to make it work’.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that “Yankees and Athletics are ‘close enough to get over the hump’ today on a Gray deal, says source. Still gonna take some compromise.”

WFAN’s Sweeny Murti says that Oakland has come off it’s demands for a “Frazier/Torress package” and has asked for “Florial/Mateo package + more” stating “Yankees will not make that deal either.”

Gray, 27, is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this season.

It looks like this deal will come down to the wire.

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