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SAN FRANCISCO -- Back-to-back losing series, a slumping offense and an overnight flight with three games looming against their archrivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. These are tough times for the Chicago Cubs, who dropped a 1-0 affair to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday night as once again their pitching staff kept them in the game but their offense couldn’t do much against Madison Bumgarner.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A bad Jon Lester start combined with an Anthony Rizzo slump is a rarity these days for the Chicago Cubs, but both contributed to a 5-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, a loss that dropped the Cubs to 4-6 in their past 10 games.
It has been a step forward followed by a step back lately. That is something the Cubs predicted.
“If anyone thought we were going to win 140 games, I want to know what they’re taking,” Rizzo said. “You can’t ride the highs too high. I don’t think any of us did, and none of us are going to ride the lows too low.”
The Chicago Cubs' offense returned to the spotlight in a big way Friday night, hitting three home runs -- including two back-to-back -- in the process of ending the San Francisco Giants' eight-game winning streak, pulling away for an 8-1 win.
The Cubs did it by returning to what they do best: wearing down the opponent's starting pitcher. In this case, Jake Peavy left the mound in the second inning having thrown 55 pitches. A 10-pitch at-bat by Jason Heyward in the first inning foreshadowed Peavy's quick exit. Then came the boppers.
Kris Bryant hit a three-run home run in the second, and Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler hit bombs in the eighth. Bryant had a run-scoring single in the ninth, giving him 30 RBIs on the year. Score early, add on late. We've seen that formula somewhere before, though it took a few days off before returning in a big way Friday against a marquee opponent.
MILWAUKEE – Anthony Rizzo sat down in a folding chair facing the table stacked with laptops and TV screens and joked with the Cubs staffers who coordinate the video/advance-scouting systems: “Who we got tonight?”
The Cubs were a few hours away from facing Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 2 in their first matchup since last year’s National League wild-card showdown. Rizzo walked into PNC Park’s visiting clubhouse that afternoon wearing a short-sleeve blue jacket covered in stars – with no shirt underneath – and red shorts as part of Joe Maddon’s “Minimalist Zany” suit dress-up gimmick.
Looking ahead: Iowa Hawkeyes young, inexperienced in rebuilding year - Men's College Basketball Blog- ESPN
It’s never too early to look at what’s to come. During the next few weeks, we will give you a peek at what is ahead for teams in the Power 5 conferences and some other teams expected to be players on the national scene. Next up: Iowa.
This feels premature. Not only because Peter Jok, who wasn’t invited to the NBA combine, could make a horrible decision next week and keep his name in this summer’s draft. Don’t do it, Peter!
But the fresh scent of last season’s collapse still wafts over Iowa City. So perhaps we should wait a few weeks before we do this.
Iowa was ranked third in the Associated Press Top 25 poll in Week 12 before finishing 3-7 in the final 10 games. That ended a momentous stretch for a program that swept Michigan State and, for a month or so, became the country’s sexy national championship pick.
Every team in the Big Ten faces a crucial stretch in 2016. It might make the difference in a program’s bid to escape the division basement, to reach bowl eligibility or contend for the College Football Playoff. But for all 14 teams, a three- or four-game, make-or-break period exists.
So to help you map your fall, this week, we’re identifying and analyzing those pivotal points around the conference.
Up next: Iowa.
Toughest stretch: Weeks 8 through 11 (Wisconsin, at Penn State, Michigan)
CHICAGO -- Through six innings on Sunday, Jon Lester had allowed no hits but needed 91 pitches to record 18 outs. Besides the obvious drama of a possible no-hitter, there was the potential intrigue of Lester reaching his pitch limit and being pulled from the game before giving up a hit.
That scenario, no doubt, would have sparked an interesting reaction from the Wrigley Field crowd.
Afterward, the Chicago Cubs' left-hander was asked if was aware of both the no-hitter and pitch count at that point.
“It’s hard not to notice,” Lester said. “We’ve got two giant scoreboards out there that kind of display everything. You’ve got giant numbers out there telling you what your pitch count is at and you’ve got a giant scoreboard telling you you haven’t given up any hits.
“But it really doesn’t matter now.”
IOWA CITY, Iowa - A three-run Iowa first inning doomed the Michigan State baseball team in the rubber game of the weekend series between the teams on Sunday afternoon as the Hawkeyes topped the Spartans, 5-1, at Duane Banks Field. The loss drops the Spartans to 33-15 overall and 12-9 in Big Ten play as they enter the final week of the regular season.
The Hawkeyes’ three-run inning didn’t take long to get started and it was a trio of Spartan errors that aided Iowa. Consecutive flare singles and errors on both plays to start the bottom of the first gave the Hawkeyes their first two runs. A two-out fielding error kept the inning going and the Hawkeyes were able to add another run to make it 3-0.
CHICAGO - Jake Arrieta regained his form right after Anthony Rizzo’s towering drive landed in the bleachers in right field.
The unbeaten ace took over from there.
Arrieta struck out 11 in eight innings, Rizzo drove in four runs and the Chicago Cubs remained perfect against the Pittsburgh Pirates with an 8-2 victory on Saturday.
Arrieta improved to 18-0 with a microscopic 0.75 ERA in 20 regular-season starts since Aug. 1. The Cubs have won his last 21 starts, extending a franchise record.
“It’s unusual,” manager Joe Maddon said with a chuckle. “It’s very unusual what he is doing.”