Series notes: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Series notes: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Friday, April 22, 2011Posted: 10:00 a.m.
Cubs (9-9) vs. Dodgers (10-10)
Series schedule
Friday: 1:20 p.m. on WGN
Saturday: 12:05 p.m. on CSN
Sunday: 1:20 p.m. on CSN

Starting Pitchers
Friday: Casey Coleman (1-0, 4.22) vs. Chad Billingsley (1-1, 4.91)
Saturday: Ryan Dempster (1-2, 6.84) vs. Ted Lilly (1-2, 4.09)
Sunday: Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.21) vs. TBA

Previous games
The Cubs won two of three against the Padres this week, including a doubleheader split on Wednesday. They won the opener, 2-1, on Reed Johnsons walk-off homer in the 11th. They lost the nightcap, 5-4, despite another big game from Johnson (three hits, including an RBI double).

The Dodgers franchise may be in trouble, with MLB recently taking control of the day-to-day operations of the team. But on the field, they took three of four from Atlanta this week, including a walk-off win on Wednesday, when Matt Kemps two-run homer in the 12th sent the Dodgers faithful home happy.
Head-to-head
This is the Cubs first meeting with the Dodgers this season. Last year, the Cubs went 3-4 against the Dodgers, including a 2-1 record at Wrigley Field.

Whos hot?
Kosuke Fukudome has a six-game hitting streak, during which he is 9-for-21 all singles. Darwin Barney went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in Game 2 on Wednesday and now has multi-hit efforts in six of his last 10 games. For Los Angeles, Andre Ethier is riding a 17-game hitting streak to raise his average to .385, while Casey Blake has five hits in the last two games.

StorylinesMarlon Byrd, who is 2-for-24 over his last six games, is expected to return to the lineup Friday night. Chicago, as a team, scored just seven runs in the three-game series with San Diego. Nevertheless, the Cubs entered Thursday with a .277 team average - the second-highest mark in the majors. Still, the Cubs rank just 14th in the majors in runs scored.
Sound off
Given the inconsistencies out of the Cubs' offense this season, how confident are you in the team's offense?

More bad news for Cubs: Kris Bryant leaves game with injury

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More bad news for Cubs: Kris Bryant leaves game with injury

WASHINGTON – On a surreal day that already saw the Cubs dump veteran catcher Miguel Montero and visit Donald Trump’s White House, Kris Bryant hobbled off the field with his arms wrapped around the shoulders of two athletic trainers.

At a time when the season already felt like it could be teetering on the brink of a collapse, the Cubs watched the National League’s reigning MVP twist his right ankle on Wednesday night at Nationals Park, exiting the game in the fifth inning. Bryant tracked a Matt Wieters pop-up and awkwardly stepped on third base as he caught the ball.

Bryant is an All-Star third baseman with 16 home runs this year but he fills so many holes – all over the outfield and as a backup first baseman and an excellent baserunner – for a team that already has World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, Gold Glove outfielder Jason Heyward and Cy Young Award finalist Kyle Hendricks on the disabled list.

No, Albert Almora Jr. didn’t subtly give the middle finger to President Donald Trump during Cubs’ White House visit

No, Albert Almora Jr. didn’t subtly give the middle finger to President Donald Trump during Cubs’ White House visit

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

Almora is 23 years old, confident and focused, rarely straying off message during his interactions with reporters. He grew up in a Cuban-American family in South Florida and traveled with the team in January for the final official event in the Obama White House.   

“Hey, man, it’s not every day you get to meet the president of the United States,” Almora said. “To meet two in one calendar year, for me, is a special feeling.”