Cubs commit five errors in loss to Reds

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Cubs commit five errors in loss to Reds

In a game that saw 28 combined hits and fielders scrambling to track down fly balls whipped around by a fierce wind at Wrigley Field, offenses didnt need any help. But the Cubs defense supplied it anyway.
Five different Cubs committed errors, leading to two unearned runs in a 10-8 loss to Cincinnati in front of 36,891 at Wrigley Field.
The Reds scored twice by themselves in the second inning off Cubs starter Justin Germano, and three more (two gifted by the Cubs) in the third, when three Cubs infielders committed an error. It started with sure-handed first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who muffed an easy grounder for just his second error of the season. Ryan Ludwick followed by hitting a two-run homer through the 24-mph wind.
With two outs, third baseman Josh Vitters, making his Wrigley Field debut, received a hard-luck error when a smash by Wilson Valdez ricocheted off his body. Devin Mesoraco then hit a soft grounder to short, but Castro pulled up his glove too soon, allowing another run to score, drawing boos from the crowd. On the next play, Castro cleanly handled a grounder to finally end the inning to a chorus of sarcastic cheers.
Alfonso Sorianos two-run double in the bottom half made it 5-3, but the Reds blew the game open with a three-run sixth, again with help from the Cubs. With one run already in, Drew Stubbs singled and stole second. Catcher Wellington Castillos throw sailed way right of the bag and continued into center field for the Cubs fourth error. Then center fielder Brett Jackson missed the ball, allowing Stubbs to come all the way around to score for an 8-3 Reds lead.
The Cubs made it interesting late, getting RBI-doubles from David DeJesus, Castro and Castillo (who had two of them). After cutting the lead to 9-8, DeJesus reached third as Rizzo came to the plate with two outs. Reds manager Dusty Baker called on lefty reliever Aroldis Chapman, who took care of Rizzo with three fastballs to squash the Cubs comeback. Chapman stayed in for a perfect ninth, earning his 26th save in 30 chances.
Despite all the offense, the Cubs needed fewer mistakes, especially from Castro. In addition to his error, Castro, who has made his share of mental mistakes over his first three seasons, ran himself into an out in the sixth. Vitters lined a single to right, but Castro, who was running on the pitch and was unaware of the hit, slowed down before second base and looked around confusedly. After realizing the ball was put in play, Castro unwisely decided to head for third, and the Reds threw him out easily. Castro then heard boos for the second time in one game.
Germano went 5 23 innings and gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits in his third start for the Cubs.

Report: Dexter Fowler closing in on deal with Cardinals

Report: Dexter Fowler closing in on deal with Cardinals

Dexter Fowler won't be making a surprise return to the Cubs next season.

Fowler is closing in on a deal to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

The Cubs signed outfielder Jon Jay last week to a one-year deal, pretty much sealing Fowler's future with the Cubs.

In two seasons in Chicago, Fowler batted .261/.367/.427 with 30 home runs and 94 RBI, and a World Series ring.

Koji Uehara would add another dimension to Cubs bullpen

Koji Uehara would add another dimension to Cubs bullpen

The Cubs are reportedly on the verge of adding another pitcher who’s notched the final out of a World Series as Theo Epstein’s front office builds out the bullpen for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs are nearing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with Koji Uehara, according to Nikkan Sports in Japan, which would open up even more possibilities for the defending champs in front of All-Star closer Wade Davis.

The Cubs made their biggest splash during this week’s winter meetings at National Harbor in Maryland by trading young outfielder Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for Davis, who finished off Game 5 in the 2015 World Series.

Uehara closed out the 2013 World Series for the Boston Red Sox, the beginning of three straight seasons where he put up 20-plus saves. The Cubs have not confirmed an agreement is in place.

The Cubs needed another lefty presence with Mike Montgomery – the pitcher on the mound when the 108-year drought ended in November – moving to the rotation and Travis Wood likely leaving as a free agent.

Uehara throws right-handed, but he shuts down left-handed hitters (.183 batting average, .555 OPS across 800 at-bats) and has appeared in seven postseason series after a distinguished career in Japan.

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Uehara will turn 42 the day after Opening Day. But an array of relievers should help preserve Uehara, strengthen Carl Edwards Jr. (who’s generously listed at 170 pounds) and maybe prevent the late-season injuries that marginalized Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop during the playoffs.

“We’re going to try to build up a ton of depth,” Epstein said. “We’re going to try to build up a really talented, deep bullpen with a lot of different options that you can use in close games.

“Instead of three late-game options, it would be ideal if you had five or six. And you could always like who you’re turning to in the ‘pen and not feel the need to use a Rondon four out of five times.

“(We could) use them every other day and occasional back-to-backs. And that would help keep them fresh down the stretch – and help keep them strong in October.”