Cubs extend TV broadcasters through 2019 season

Cubs extend TV broadcasters through 2019 season

Cubs fans will be hearing Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies for the next three seasons, at least.

The Cubs re-upped with the dynamic TV broadcasting duo through the 2019 season.

Kasper and Deshaies — more often referred to as "Len and JD" — have brought wit and analysis to Cubs TV broadcasts for the last four years, watching as ratings have doubled the last two years on CSN.

After enduring a couple years of rebuilding, Len and JD have been calling games for a Cubs team that has won 200 regular-season contests plus five postseason series (and of course, the first World Series in 108 years).

"We think Len and JD are the best team in baseball," Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said in a statement. "Their chemistry as a team and their ability to weave baseball history, current events and the Wrigley experience into the game call speaks to their preparation and love of baseball. We are excited to know they will continue bringing Cub games to our fans, especially after such a thrilling and historic season."

[SHOP: Get your Cubs gear right here]

2017 will be Kasper's 13th year as the Cubs play-by-play TV broadcaster after three seasons with the Florida Marlins (2002-04) and three years with the Milwaukee Brewers (1999-2001)

"I am thrilled to formalize an extension of what has been the greatest job in the world," Kasper said in a statement. "Calling Cubs games with Jim Deshaies for the most passionate fans in baseball is something I cherish and hope to do for the rest of my career. I am incredibly thankful to the Cubs, the Ricketts family, WGN, CSN and ABC 7 and all the fans with whom we watch and cheer on the Cubs every season."

Deshaies worked 16 years as the analyst for the Houston Astros broadcast before joining the Cubs. He played 12 years in the big-leagues, working almost exclusively as a starting pitcher, going 84-95 with a 4.14 ERA over 1,525 innings from 1984-95. 

"I am excited to continue my relationship with the Cubs and the entire organization," Deshaies said. "It has been a joy to share Cubs baseball with our great fans and I hope to do so for a long time. It is a special privilege to call Wrigley Field your home office, and working with a top notch partner in Len Kasper and all our broadcast partners makes coming to the ballpark that much more enjoyable."

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

CSN's Cubs Pregame and Postgame host David Kaplan and analyst David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Cubs' bats are finally coming around. 

On the back of Anthony Rizzo, who hit three homers this weekend, the North Siders took two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds and have been winners of four out of five overall. 

The offense will attempt to stay in their groove against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Cubs at Wrigley during the teams' last meeting. 

Luckily for Chicago's pitching staff, Starling Marte won't be anchoring the Pirates' order. The outfielder is serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

After Pittsburgh, Joe Maddon's club hits Fenway Park for what should be a wild three-game set against the Red Sox. 

Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus break down the upcoming matchups in the video above. 

 

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

CINCINNATI — With his high leg kick and below-the-radar breaking balls, Bronson Arroyo showed the Cubs a little old-style pitching. Who needs to throw 90 mph to beat the World Series champions?

The 40-year-old righty gave his best performance yet in his long comeback from elbow problems, pitching three-hit ball over six innings on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory . Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept `em guessing with his minimalist pitches.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a tough pitcher to face. Obviously he's throwing below hitting speed right now."

Arroyo (2-2) needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery. The Reds gave him what amounted to a final chance this spring, and he's back to fooling `em with his unusual repertoire. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat.

"I don't want to say I had pinpoint control, but I was throwing the breaking ball down and out where it was almost impossible to hit," Arroyo said. "They knew where I was going, but I still had enough late movement to surprise them."

Arroyo allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer - his third of the series - and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014.

"This was the first time he looked like the Bronson of his first time through here," manager Bryan Price said, referring to Arroyo's 2006-13 stay in Cincinnati.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your Cubs seats right here]

Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.

Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.

Despite the loss, the defending champs took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati - the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.

"I have nothing to complain about," manager Joe Maddon said.

Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games - matching his career high - with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.

The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.