Cubs offense falters in sixth straight loss

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Cubs offense falters in sixth straight loss

SAN DIEGO -- Eric Stults and four relievers combined on a five-hitter, leading the San Diego Padres to a 2-0 win over the slumping Chicago Cubs on Monday night.Stults (2-2) allowed five hits as he pitched 5 1-3 innings in his first start since June 3. He struck out five, walked two and had a wild pitch.Yonder Alonso and Everth Cabrera each drove in a run and the Padres won for just the fourth time in 10 games. Chicago lost its sixth straight.Brad Brach, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street combined for 3 2-3 innings of no-hit relief, finished San Diego's seventh shutout.Street pitched the ninth for his 19th save.Carlos Quentin reached on a one-out double in the fourth inning and scored on Alonso's single. After Cameron Maybin followed with a double, Alonso scored when Cabrera's soft liner deflected off the glove of Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney for an infield single.Chicago was not able to take advantage of the few scoring chances it had, going 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven runners overall.Travis Wood (4-8) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. The lefty struck out three and walked three with a wild pitch.The Cubs' two prized prospects - Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters - both started and had tough nights.Jackson, who got two hits in his major league debut Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, struck out four times. Vitters, who also debuted Sunday as a pinch hitter, was 0 for 4, including a groundout to end the sixth inning with runners at second and third.Since his last start, Stults spent time on the disabled list with a strained left lat and made his last four appearances out of the bullpen. He was inserted into the rotation after Kip Wells was designated for assignment on Friday.NOTES:
Cubs RHP Matt Garza (right elbow stress) was placed on the 15-day DL and will be out "indefinitely," according to GM Jed Hoyer. . San Diego has won eight times in its last 10 home games. . Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo made his return to San Diego for the first time since the Padres dealt him to Chicago for RHP Andrew Cashner in a four-player deal in January. Rizzo, who went 0 for 4, was the centerpiece for San Diego in the four-player deal when he was acquired from Boston for 1B Adrian Gonzalez before the 2011 season. But after his highly anticipated arrival in San Diego in June 2011, the lefty hit just .141 with one home run and nine RBIs in 128 at-bats. Asked before the game if spacious Petco Park had anything to do with his poor offensive showing, Rizzo said, "The ballpark could have been a T-ball field and I wouldn't have hit the ball. I just wasn't hitting the ball." . Cubs LHP Brooks Raley will make his major league debut on Tuesday night against LHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA).
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The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

The ‘friendly rivalry’ between Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman with Cubs, Dodgers becoming NL superpowers

LOS ANGELES – A man stepped to the microphone during a Q&A session at Cubs Convention and called Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman “the two boy geniuses.” The fan told Epstein how his friends used to call the Dodgers baseball boss “your Mini-Me,” asking about their personal rivalry and if beating L.A. in the playoffs had any extra meaning.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” Epstein told a packed hotel ballroom in downtown Chicago in January. “First off, didn’t he interview for an internship with us and we turned him down way back in the day?

“And then like nine months later, he was GM of the Rays. When he was with Tampa and I was with Boston, we never spoke, because we were in the same division. It was kind of a heated rivalry. We literally never called each other on trades or anything like that.”

But where it’s so difficult for the small-market Rays to keep up with the ultra-rich Red Sox – and replace Friedman’s vision and Joe Maddon’s star power and survive a string of wasted first-round draft picks and find a long-term stadium solution – the Cubs and Dodgers are positioned to be superpowers for years to come.

That’s what makes this Memorial Day weekend showdown at Dodger Stadium so compelling beyond the National League Championship Series rematch. It’s not just upcoming free agent Jake Arrieta returning to the site of his onesie no-hitter on Friday night, a reigning MVP (Kris Bryant) and Rookie of the Year (Corey Seager), two of the best closers on the planet (Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen) and a classic Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup on Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs eliminated the Dodgers less than a month after Epstein finalized a five-year contract worth in the neighborhood of $50 million, likely surpassing Friedman as the game’s highest-paid personnel executive.

“Jed developed a pretty good relationship with him, because I didn’t like talking to him,” Epstein said, referencing GM Jed Hoyer, another Boston transplant on the Cubs Convention panel that day. “But then when I came out here with the Cubs, a different league and everything, I developed a much better relationship with Andrew and we became friends, so now it’s much more of a friendly rivalry.

“I will say that losing to the Dodgers would have been a bitter pill to swallow on a number of fronts, including that one. But they’re developing a powerhouse out there.

“We see them as a team we have to go through each year to get where we want to be.”

[MORE CUBS: Summing up the Cubs' impressive, potentially season-altering homestand]

Backed by Guggenheim Partners’ financial muscle and flush with new TV money, the Dodgers have won four straight division titles and 90-plus games each season while ramping up a farm system that’s now ranked fourth, fifth or sixth by Baseball America, ESPN and MLB.com.

“Everyone’s got their own style and their own approach,” Epstein said. “Ours was more kind of bottom-up (where) they needed to keep it rolling at a high level in the big leagues while retooling their system and nurturing the talent that was already there.

“We had to go out and transact and bring some stuff in. We were at different points of the success cycle. They’ve done a really nice job of winning while kind of establishing something new at the same time.”

The blue-blooded franchise that produced 17 Rookie of the Year winners last month rolled out Cody Bellinger, a 21-year-old, left-handed first baseman with nine homers in his first 28 games in The Show. Julio Urias – who might be the next Fernando Valenzuela – is supposed to be conserving some innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City for another October where the Cubs could be standing in the way of the Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988.

“They’ve been producing great young talent for a long period of time,” Epstein said. “If you go back and look at some of the young studs they have in the big leagues that (former scouting director) Logan White and (the previous regime) brought in, some of the guys are still coming.

“They’re stocked and the Dodger tradition runs really deep. With Andrew and his front office, we know they’re going to be dynamic. They’re going to have more resources than anyone. And they’re a big threat to the whole league for a long period of time.”

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Could Derrick Rose reunite with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota?

Tom Thibodeau was without Derrick Rose for the first time in his head-coaching career last season, coaching the Timberwolves while Rose suited up for the New York Knicks.

But a reunion may be on the horizon. Rose is an unrestricted free agent and the Timberwolves, though they don't have a real need at point guard, are showing interest in the Chicago native. We'll have to wait until July 1, when free agency begins, to see what happens.

See what special guest Nick Friedell, Bulls beat reporter for ESPN, had to say about the topic on SportsTalk Live in the video above.