Lester's 10 K's go unsupported by Cubs

Lester's 10 K's go unsupported by Cubs

CHICAGO -- Bryce Harper belted his National League-leading 18th home run and Max Scherzer outdueled Jon Lester on Wednesday night to lead the Nationals to a 3-0 victory over the Cubs and a series win.

Scherzer struck out 13, two shy of his career best, and scattered five hits over seven innings for the win, while Lester fanned 10 over seven innings and took his first loss in six May starts. This was the fourth meeting between the two pitchers; Scherzer now leads, 3-1.

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John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.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.

Lester vs. Scherzer anything but ordinary

Lester vs. Scherzer anything but ordinary

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester prepares to pitch against Max Scherzer the same as if he were to face a journeyman hurler making an emergency start. But Lester vs. Scherzer is anything but ordinary.

The two pitchers combined for 23 strikeouts on Wednesday, with Scherzer coming out ahead in the win column as the Nationals topped the Cubs, 3-0, at Wrigley Field.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

In duel of winter prizes, no topping Scherzer

Lester on his game, but Nats' ace fans 13 Cubs in finale of hard-fought set

In duel of winter prizes, no topping Scherzer

CHICAGO -- You've got to beat the best to be the best. Joe Maddon says it all the time, and the chance was right there for the manager and his Cubs during Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Nationals. But let it be known that the belt, as it were, stays with Max Scherzer and the Nats.

On an idyllic night in one of baseball's great old shrines, Scherzer showed the Cubs that he's not just the guy who was the best pitcher in the American League in 2013. He's mounting a challenge at Clayton Kershaw to become the best arm in the game. Period.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs Minor Leaguer makes a diving, game-saving catch

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Cubs Minor Leaguer makes a diving, game-saving catch

Cubs Minor League outfielder Jacob Hannemann stood in left field during the 12th inning of Thursday's Double-A matchup between the Tennessee Smokies and Mobile Bay Bears. The Bay Bears had loaded the bases with two outs, and Brandon Drury, the D-backs' No. 6 prospect, was at the plate.

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Maddon says youth behind Cubs' errors

Maddon says youth behind Cubs' errors

CHICAGO -- Neither of Starlin Castro's two errors on Wednesday night led to a run in the Cubs' 3-0 loss to the Nationals, but they aren't something manager Joe Maddon wants to see too much of.

Castro, who now has 11 errors this season, second most in the National League, had made just three miscues in his last 16 games prior to Wednesday.

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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.

Cubs well represented in NL ASG vote

Cubs well represented in NL ASG vote

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro are each second at their respective positions in the first 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot results, released on Wednesday.

"Obviously, people are paying attention to us," manager Joe Maddon said of the young players on the ballot. "I think it's deserved. ... It's a validation of how well we've been playing, and [how] they've been playing individually. It's good to have that recognition come our way."

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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.

Theo thinks the kids are all right

Theo thinks the kids are all right

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have three rookies in the lineup -- Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler -- and Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, likes how the kids are doing so far.

"These guys are handling themselves on and off the field in a manner well beyond their years," Epstein said on Wednesday. "When you see the quality at-bats they're having, the great plays they're making, and they're participating in some winning baseball, it's easy to forget how hard it is for young position players to have any kind of success in 2015 Major League Baseball.

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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.

Cubs take on KC in first Interleague game of '15

Cubs take on KC in first Interleague game of '15

The Royals and Cubs open a three-game series on Friday at Wrigley Field -- it's the first trip to Wrigley for the Royals since 2001.

Right-hander Edinson Volquez takes the hill for the Royals, with right-hander Jake Arrieta pitching for the Cubs.

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

Bryant wows Wrigley with mammoth home run

Third baseman hits 477-foot blast to tie Tuesday's game vs. Nats

Bryant wows Wrigley with mammoth home run

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant hit some long home runs at Bonanza High School in Las Vegas and his father, Mike, will tell you that he launched one 600 feet over a light tower at Fowler Field in San Diego. On Tuesday, Bryant belted a game-tying home run that left the 30,440 at Wrigley Field stirring and may have dented the left-field video board.

Bryant hit a game-tying home run leading off the eighth inning, and Addison Russell delivered a walk-off RBI double with two outs in the ninth in the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Nationals.

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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.

Russell delivers game-winner to beat Nats

Russell delivers game-winner to beat Nats

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Herrera scored on a walk-off double by Addison Russell with two outs in the ninth to lift the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Nationals and even the series. It was Chicago's 23rd one-run game and fifth walk-off win, both tops in the Major Leagues.

With the game tied at 2 and one out against Matt Grace, Chris Coghlan singled to center, but was forced at second on Herrera's grounder. Herrera was safe as shortstop Ian Desmond threw the ball high for an error. Russell then doubled into the gap in right-center.

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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. John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

Today's schedule starts with a White Sox-Orioles doubleheader that makes up the games that were postponed last month in Baltimore, and then a Corey Kluber-vs.-Nelson Cruz matchup that headlines six more games to follow. Along the way, you are about to have another one of those MLB.TV moments that make you realize how far we have come since the first live video broadcast stream by a major sports league in 2002.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is introducing its new Web-based media player (version 5.0), for those who currently subscribe or those who sign up now for MLB.TV Premium ($114.99 a year or $24.99 a month) or regular MLB.TV ($94.99/$19.99). You'll notice the difference right away as the HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Rogers: Scherzer, Lester provide early return on deals

Ace hurlers face off Wednesday in meeting of big free-agent signings

Rogers: Scherzer, Lester provide early return on deals

CHICAGO -- They were the two must-have starting pitchers in last winter's free-agent crop, signing contracts that accounted for almost 56 percent of the money going to the 10 starters who got multiyear deals.

It's going to be a while before economists and baseball historians figure whether Max Scherzer and Jon Lester were worth the investment. But before they meet on Wednesday night, we can draw some early conclusions:

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Addison playing like seasoned veteran

Second baseman wins game with double in 9th vs. Nats

Young Addison playing like seasoned veteran

CHICAGO -- Addison Russell had a feeling before he collected his career-high third hit of the game, and before he hit a walk-off RBI double in the ninth inning that Tuesday night was going to be a big game.

With Jonathan Herrera on second base in the ninth and the game tied, Russell took a ball deep to right-center field to drive in the game-winner and give the Cubs a 3-2 victory over the Nationals. He's doing this at the age of 21.

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

Cubs being patient with hot-hitting Baez

Infielder batting .321 in 23 games at Triple-A Iowa in May

Cubs being patient with hot-hitting Baez

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez is on a roll, batting .321 in 23 games this month at Triple-A Iowa, but the infielder's success has not prompted the Cubs to want to promote him to the big league team right now.

"He's on a really good run right now," said Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development. "The mindset is there. He had to deal with a lot in the offseason on a professional level and certainly with what took place with his family. He's in a good place right now."

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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.

One-run games becoming habit for Cubs

Cubs had dropped four of five games decided by a run before Tuesday's win

One-run games becoming habit for Cubs

CHICAGO -- In a season where half of their games have come down to the wire, even the last week has been stressful for the Cubs and manager Joe Maddon. Tuesday night's walk-off win in the ninth probably didn't help.
 
In its last eight games, six of Chicago's outings have been decided by one run, where it is 2-4 in that span. Now, after Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Nationals, 23 of the Cubs' games this season have been decided by one run. They are 13-10 in those one-run games this year.

Addison Russell delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth on Tuesday for the Cubs' latest one-run victory.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

In Nats, Cubs catch glimpse of own future

Following path blazed by childhood friend Harper, Bryant has hopes high in Chicago

In Nats, Cubs catch glimpse of own future

CHICAGO -- Monday was a special day for baseball fans, especially those in Chicago. Despite a 2-1 loss to the Nationals, it marked the first Memorial Day game at Wrigley Field since 2009 that the ballpark was a gathering place for fans looking toward the summer with genuine excitement about their team for both this season and those ahead.

Washington fans had to know the feeling. It happened at Nationals Park in 2012, with Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg on the roster for the first time. And as the schedule makers had it, the Nationals were at Wrigley on Monday to start a stretch in which the Cubs will play 12 of 15 games against the Royals, Tigers and Nats (including four games in Washington).

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wada escapes jams, lifted due to matchups

Cubs starter limits Nationals in second start of season; Grimm serves up decisive blast in relief

Wada escapes jams, lifted due to matchups

CHICAGO -- Tsuyoshi Wada threw just 5 1/3 innings in his second start of the season, but he was able to limit the damage after allowing a leadoff home run in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Nationals on Monday afternoon.

The left-hander exited after getting Bryce Harper to pop out to start the sixth inning. Manager Joe Maddon went with right-handed reliever Justin Grimm, who got Ryan Zimmerman to ground out before Wilson Ramos hit a go-ahead home run.

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Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Growing up: Bryant forces issue in key at-bat

Rookie homers, prompts review which overturns call, giving Cubs fighting chance in ninth

Growing up: Bryant forces issue in key at-bat

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant has settled into the Major Leagues after 36 games with the Chicago Cubs.

Bryant spoke up for himself after home-plate umpire Ryan Blakney initially ruled that he struck out on a foul tip to begin the bottom of the ninth in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Nationals on Monday afternoon. Bryant felt closer Drew Storen's pitch grazed his wrist.

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Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant's blast Cubs' lone run in loss to Nats

Bryant's blast Cubs' lone run in loss to Nats

CHICAGO -- The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs will see a lot of each other in the near future, as they play seven games over two weeks. In their first meeting, the Nationals struck first, edging the Cubs, 2-1, on Memorial Day at Wrigley Field.

Denard Span and Wilson Ramos homered for the National League East-leading Nationals, while Tanner Roark started in place of the injured Doug Fister and allowed a run and three hits in five innings. Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada struck out six and allowed a run, four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings in his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list. After Wada departed, Ramos hit a go-ahead solo homer off right-hander Justin Grimm in the sixth.

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John Jackson and Sarah Trotto are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Remember when? Harper, Bryant meet again

Nats, Cubs rising stars played ball together growing up; 'Silk' immediately sets bar with homer

Remember when? Harper, Bryant meet again

CHICAGO -- Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and traveled in many of the same baseball circles as young players. But personality-wise, the two Major League rising stars almost appear as if they're from different planets. Bryant is mostly quiet and reserved, while Harper is not.

On Monday, before the Nationals beat the Cubs, 2-1, to open a three-game series at Wrigley Field, someone asked Harper if he had checked the flags on the center-field scoreboard to see if the wind was blowing in or out.

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John Jackson and Sarah Trotto are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero, Coghlan homer in loss to D-backs

Montero, Coghlan homer in loss to D-backs

PHOENIX -- The Cubs will be happy to not see Paul Goldschmidt again until early September.

The D-backs first baseman hit an RBI single and a two-run home run Sunday to back Jeremy Hellickson and lead the D-backs to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs at Chase Field and take the series. Goldschmidt, now a career .383 batter against the Cubs, went 5-for-10 with two home runs in the three-game set.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can listen to her podcast. Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel's adjustments too late vs. D-backs

Cubs starter doesn't give up a hit after third inning, strikes out nine

Hammel's adjustments too late vs. D-backs

PHOENIX -- It was a tale of two pitchers, Jason Hammel said.

The D-backs were aggressive against the Cubs right-hander early in the game, and he finally changed his approach and shut them down after the third inning. It wasn't quick enough as Arizona posted a 4-3 win over Chicago to take the series. Hammel took the loss, his first since April 22.

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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, Goldschmidt share mutual respect

Counterparts admire each other, just not when they are opposing

Rizzo, Goldschmidt share mutual respect

PHOENIX -- Who's the top first baseman in the National League? Two of the best, Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt, were at Chase Field this weekend, and most likely will meet again at the All-Star Game.

On Friday, Goldschmidt was the D-backs' hero, hitting an RBI single and a game-tying two-run homer in the 10th inning. On Saturday, it was Rizzo's turn as he drove in six runs, hitting a three-run double in the fifth and a game-winning three-run homer in the ninth.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Constructing the perfect Cubs-Mets trade

Constructing the perfect Cubs-Mets trade

Many evaluators -- myself included -- can see a good trade fit between two rising organizations, the Cubs and Mets.

In fact, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer recently acknowledged that the two sides have had ongoing dialogue to see if there is a good fit. The Cubs have stocked their system primarily with high-end position players -- including a number of shortstops -- but lack high-end pitching prospects. Meanwhile, the Mets have a plethora of elite young power arms but a hole at short.

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant eager to catch up with boyhood rival Harper

Cubs rookie, Nats star played with and against each other in Vegas

Bryant eager to catch up with boyhood rival Harper

PHOENIX -- They played against each other and were teammates, starting when the pair were about 8 years old growing up in Las Vegas. On Monday, the Cubs' Kris Bryant and the Nationals' Bryce Harper will compete against each other at Wrigley Field in the first game of a three-game series.

"The thing that stands out to me is just how good he was and how much better he was than the competition," Bryant said Sunday of Harper, who starred at Las Vegas High School. "He was 11 years old and throwing 80 miles an hour off the mound. It was special to see that from a guy that young. He's obviously younger than I am, but watching him play, I was amazed. I knew he'd be doing what he's doing at this level someday."

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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.

Top prospect Schwarber progresses at plate

Cubs catcher still needs work on defense

Top prospect Schwarber progresses at plate

PHOENIX -- Kyle Schwarber may not be ready to catch in the big leagues, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon feels the youngster could help with his bat.

Schwarber, 22, ranked No. 4 on MLB.com's list of top Cubs prospects, was batting .296 at Double-A Tennessee with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs this season leading into Sunday. Maddon sees the catcher's offensive exploits when they're posted on the new video board at Wrigley Field.

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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.