Motte: Cubs have Cardinals' unwavering spirit

After playing in St. Louis during title run, reliever said Chicago can similarly roll with punches

Motte: Cubs have Cardinals' unwavering spirit

CHICAGO -- Jason Motte knows all about how tough St. Louis is, having worn Cardinal red from 2008-14, but he said there's no secret formula to the Redbirds' success. The reliever also said the Cubs are showing signs of the same resilience.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo among Cubs needing All-Star support

Rizzo among Cubs needing All-Star support

CHICAGO -- Rookie Kris Bryant was third, Starlin Castro fourth and Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Montero both fifth at their respective position in the latest 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, released Monday.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel: Location after delay was issue

Hammel: Location after delay was issue

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel played catch in the tunnel, rode the stationary bike, and probably played a few video games during the lengthy one-hour, 43-minute rain delay in the middle of the second inning Sunday night against the Cardinals. That wasn't the problem.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Jonathan Mayo

Schwarber on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of Week

Schwarber on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

When Miguel Sano was hitting just .159 and slugging .381 in April, no one in the Twins organization was overly concerned. They knew the rust from having missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery would be considerable, and fully expected him to return to the power-hitting corner infielder he was before the injury.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cease returns to mound after Tommy John

11 months after surgery, Cubs No. 18 prospect looks to regain his mechanics

Cease returns to mound after Tommy John

TEMPE, Ariz. -- No draft pick is a sure thing, but when the Cubs selected Dylan Cease in the sixth round of the 2014 Draft they were taking a bigger gamble than most.

"I'm really grateful," Cease, the Cubs No. 18 prospect, said. "It was a big chance on their part. I'm very happy that they did."

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs can't solve Cards in series finale

Cubs can't solve Cards in series finale

ST. LOUIS -- After weathering two hours and 29 minutes' worth of rain delays, the Cardinals ran their winning streak to six by finishing off a three-game sweep of the Cubs with a 4-1 win at Busch Stadium on Sunday night. The Cubs, who fell 11 1/2 games behind the National League Central leaders, have dropped five straight.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon: Cubs need 'mojo' back on offense

Maddon: Cubs need 'mojo' back on offense

ST. LOUIS -- Joe Maddon predicted this would happen. In Spring Training, the Cubs' manager said his team would endure a long losing stretch during the season, and on Sunday, it reached five games with a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wada to DL; Ramirez activated, added to 'pen

Wada to DL; Ramirez activated, added to 'pen

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs placed Tsuyoshi Wada on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, retroactive to June 23, with left deltoid inflammation, and activated right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez from the DL.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soler to begin rehab assignment with Iowa

Soler to begin rehab assignment with Iowa

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler, on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle since June 3, will begin a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Iowa.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hendricks, Cubs face off with Mets in series opener

Hendricks, Cubs face off with Mets in series opener

If Jon Niese's last four starts have indeed been auditions, then consider Tuesday his call-back. Niese will be front and center for the Cubs to see, opposing Kyle Hendricks as New York and Chicago start a three-game series at Citi Field.

Niese hasn't won since May 9, but has been more effective lately after posting a 5.67 ERA in May. That stretch of rough outings began in Chicago, where the Cubs swept a four-game set from the Mets earlier this year. Niese allowed six runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings in that loss. He's 0-2 but pitching to a 3.46 ERA in four June starts.

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Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Motte unites Cubs, Cards to help K cancer

Motte unites Cubs, Cards to help K cancer

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals and Cubs are rivals on the field, but at Sunday morning's St. Louis Cornhole Challenge, they were teammates in the fight against cancer thanks to the efforts of former Cardinal and current Cubs reliever Jason Motte and his wife, Caitlin.

Before reporting to Busch Stadium for the series finale, several players from both teams and a throng of fans comprising 158 cornhole teams packed Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University to raise money for the Jason Motte Foundation and the league-wide effort to "strike out cancer."

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David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strop feels better after Costas' apology

Strop feels better after Costas' apology

ST. LOUIS -- MLB Network broadcaster Bob Costas met with Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop on Sunday to apologize for comments he made during Friday's telecast, and the reliever says the incident is water under the bridge.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roach's once-promising start unravels quickly

Fourth-inning single by Wacha off Cubs starter's glove shifts game's momentum

Roach's once-promising start unravels quickly

ST. LOUIS -- Donn Roach was as advertised, a ground-ball pitcher who kept the Cardinals from hitting any home runs. Unfortunately for the Cubs right-hander, the one mistake he made was on defense.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bats remain cold as Cubs drop fourth straight

Bats remain cold as Cubs drop fourth straight

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals extended their winning streak to five and became the first team since the 2005 World Series champion White Sox to win 50 of its first 74 games by rolling over the Cubs, 8-1, in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium on Saturday night. St. Louis became just the 18th team in the past 50 years to win 50 of its first 74.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs poised to activate Ramirez for 'pen help

Through with rehab stint, righty slated to join club for Sunday's series finale

Cubs poised to activate Ramirez for 'pen help

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs' bullpen will get some reinforcement for Sunday night's series finale against the Cardinals when right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez joins the club.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rotation depth atop Cubs' Deadline wish list

String of brief starts putting pressure on club's bullpen

Rotation depth atop Cubs' Deadline wish list

ST. LOUIS -- When the Cubs needed a spot starter for Saturday's game against the Cardinals, they called up right-hander Donn Roach from Triple-A Iowa. But there isn't much more depth, and finding some additional starting pitching is definitely a need, general manager Jed Hoyer said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soler to begin rehab stint in coming week

Soler to begin rehab stint in coming week

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, on the disabled list since June 3 with a sprained left ankle, will begin a rehab assignment next week, manager Joe Maddon said. The time off may benefit the outfielder, too.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta solid for Cubs in unfriendly confines

Chicago falls to 1-4 at Busch Stadium in 2015

Arrieta solid for Cubs in unfriendly confines

ST. LOUIS -- Busch Stadium is not a friendly place for any opposing team, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon feels his team can win there. It just couldn't on Friday night.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs fall to Cards on error in extras

Cubs fall to Cards on error in extras

ST. LOUIS -- Peter Bourjos beat an errant throw home from Cubs right fielder Mike Baxter, who had been pulled in as a fifth infielder, to lift the Cardinals to their sixth walk-off win of the season. The 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Cubs in front of a sellout crowd on Friday night at Busch Stadium pushed the Cardinals' winning streak to four.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baxter's eventful night ends with errant throw

Baxter's eventful night ends with errant throw

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Baxter tied a career high with three hits, including a game-tying RBI single in the fourth, and he dove into the stands to catch a foul ball along the right-field line. But Baxter's throwing error in the 10th led to the Cardinals' walk-off 3-2 win Friday over the Cubs, who missed several opportunities in the National League Central showdown.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs call up Roach to start in place of Wada

Righty to start vs. Cardinals in first appearance with Chicago

Cubs call up Roach to start in place of Wada

ST. LOUIS -- Donn Roach will make his first big league start since May 18, 2014, when he takes the mound Saturday for the Cubs in place of lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who is still bothered by some cramping in his left shoulder.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant back and feeling better after illness

Bryant back and feeling better after illness

ST. LOUIS -- Kris Bryant was back in the Cubs' lineup and feeling better in Friday night's 3-2 loss in St. Louis. He went 1-for-4 with a sac fly, and was caught stealing after sliding past the bag in the fifth inning.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester frustrated, but not with home-plate ump

Ross, Maddon block Fletcher's path as Cubs starter struggles with command

Lester frustrated, but not with home-plate ump

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester said he wasn't upset at home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher. The Cubs' left-hander had plenty to be frustrated about.

Lester struggled with his fastball command in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Dodgers, and he allowed two runs in a weird first in which he gave up two hits, walked two and struck out the side. In the second, Lester walked A.J. Ellis, wasn't happy about the outcome, and yelled something. Fletcher must have thought the comment was directed at him.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester tagged early as Cubs can't climb back

Lester tagged early as Cubs can't climb back

CHICAGO -- Howie Kendrick hit a two-run double in a rough first inning for Chicago starter Jon Lester to spark the Dodgers to a 4-0 victory over the Cubs and split their four-game series Thursday in front of 41,498, the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant exits game with flu-like symptoms

Bryant exits game with flu-like symptoms

CHICAGO -- Even the best ones get sick.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant left Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Dodgers after two innings because of flu-like symptoms. The rookie, who has started every game since he was called up from Triple-A Iowa on April 17, struck out in the first and did not return on defense after the second. Bryant has thrived at Wrigley Field, batting .324 following the game.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schwarber, Edwards rep Cubs in Futures Game

Club's top two prospects follow last year's stars Bryant and Baez

Schwarber, Edwards rep Cubs in Futures Game

CHICAGO -- Cubs prospects Carl Edwards Jr. (No. 1) and Kyle Schwarber (No. 2) were named to the 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How Jake Arrieta became an ace

Sinker, curve, change all rank highly on spin leaderboards

How Jake Arrieta became an ace

It's clear that the long rebuilding process the Cubs have been mired in is finally paying off, with the team recently reaching nine games over .500 for the first time since 2009. Unsurprisingly, most of the focus has been on the impressive crop of young Chicago hitters, with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber joining Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

But for all the names, the offense has only been just OK -- 19th in runs scored -- and it's actually been the unexpectedly good rotation which has kept the team afloat. The Cubs' starters rank sixth in baseball in ERA and seventh in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), and while you'd have expected improvement given the $155 million invested in Jon Lester, he actually hasn't been one of Chicago's top two starters so far. Instead, it's been a pair of former Orioles, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel, who have led the Cubs' rotation to success.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.