Arrieta starts in Cy Young clash vs. Scherzer

Arrieta starts in Cy Young clash vs. Scherzer

The past two National League Cy Young Award winners will go head to head when Max Scherzer leads the Nationals against Jake Arrieta and the Cubs at Nationals Park on Tuesday night in the MLB Network Showcase game. It's the second game of the four-game series, which could be a postseason preview.

"I view it the same as I do any other series," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We're trying to win. We're trying to increase our lead. We're trying to get to 50 [wins]. We're trying to win 15 this month. This is a big series for us. ... We're trying to establish some home superiority. We haven't had as much success at home."

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Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

You can Javy it all! Cubs dazzle on D, get W

Statcast of the Day: Shortstop makes 2 spectacular catches, adds RBI double

You can Javy it all! Cubs dazzle on D, get W

WASHINGTON -- Javier Baez flew, hit, ran, struck out, slid, and dazzled on Monday night.

Starting at shortstop in place of injured Addison Russell, Baez added to his personal highlight reel with two defensive gems, and the Cubs needed all of his acrobatics to preserve a 5-4 victory over the Nationals.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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 withstand Nats' late rally to win opener

Cubs withstand Nats' late rally to win opener

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Cubs have hovered around .500 this season, the Nationals are treating this four-game series as a measuring stick against the defending World Series champions. And this scene at Nationals Park is serving as a potential postseason preview, with the National League East winner currently on track to match up with the winner of the NL Central in October.

Their first meeting Monday night was a thriller, as the Cubs staved off a furious ninth-inning comeback from the Nationals to hang on for a 5-4 victory. Chicago led the game from the first batter thanks to a leadoff homer from Willson Contreras, while sparkling defense from Javier Baez and stellar pitching performances helped hold the Major Leagues' top-ranked offense scoreless for eight innings.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

That's a first: Contreras starts game with HR

Replacing Rizzo, Cubs catcher goes deep in only experience batting in leadoff spot

That's a first: Contreras starts game with HR

WASHINGTON -- Willson Contreras couldn't remember ever leading off a game in his baseball life. He won't forget his debut at the top of the Cubs' order on Monday.

Contreras, inserted into the No. 1 spot against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez, launched a 3-1 pitch to left for a leadoff home run, the fifth this season by the Cubs. Chicago added on, posting a 5-4 victory over Washington in the opener of this four-game series.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Give Cubs a final All-Star Ballot boost

Bryant, Rizzo, Heyward among those in mix for NL starting spots

Give Cubs a final All-Star Ballot boost

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs' Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward need some votes this week in order to start in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which will be played July 11 in Miami.

Bryant has received 1,978,692 votes in the latest Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot update, released Monday, while the Rockies' Nolan Arenado is close behind with 1,920,610. Bryant is bidding for his second consecutive fan-elected start, while Arenado is trying to become the first Rockies third baseman to earn a fan election.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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 singles in last AB in Triple-A debut

Schwarber singles in last AB in Triple-A debut

Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber made his first Minor League start with Triple-A Iowa, batting third and playing left field in a 1-0 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.

Schwarber didn't have much success at the plate, striking out in each of his first three at-bats. In his fourth and final time up, however, Schwarber crushed a line-drive single off the wall in the eighth inning.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper not pleased with Baez robbery

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Harper not pleased with Baez robbery

The Cubs and Nationals began a four-game series at Nationals Park on Monday night, and it didn't take long for something flashy to happen. In the bottom of the third in the Cubs' 5-4 win, Bryce Harper laced an outside pitch from Eddie Butler toward left-center field, surely destined to land in the gap for an extra-base hit. 

But instead, Javy Baez -- playing shortstop in the absence of Addison Russell while he deals with a shoulder issue -- did this. 

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Cut on Heyward's hand needs time to heal

Cubs not taking chances with Russell; Zobrist works out, while Hendricks rests

Cut on Heyward's hand needs time to heal

WASHINGTON -- Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is making slow progress regarding the cut on his left hand, saying Monday that it still needs time to heal.

"I'm not to the point where I can do everything swinging yet," Heyward said. "I can't take full [batting practice]. It's getting better every day, but until it gets to the point where I can swing every day, I have to do a little more healing."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Maddon feeling no pressure in ASG duties

Cubs manager planning to enjoy himself with Midsummer Classic 'purely an exhibition'

Maddon feeling no pressure in ASG duties

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs' Joe Maddon, who will manage the National League team in next month's All-Star Game, isn't looking at stat sheets as he tries to fill out the roster.

"There's nothing about the game other than to organize it," Maddon said Monday of his duties for the the 2017 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which will be played July 11 in Miami.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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 chip away, can't capitalize on chances

Cubs chip away, can't capitalize on chances

MIAMI -- Martin Prado lined a two-run double in a three-run first inning and Giancarlo Stanton provided insurance with his 20th homer in the seventh as the Marlins edged the Cubs, 4-2, to split a four-game series Sunday at Marlins Park.

Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna continued his All-Star worthy first half by roping a single to knock in Ichiro Suzuki to ignite the first-inning rally. Two batters later, Prado collected his first two RBIs since coming off the disabled list on Friday.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Marlins on Sunday.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo choked way up on his bat before singling

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Rizzo choked way up on his bat before singling

Anthony Rizzo doesn't care how he gets on base. Sure, he enjoys crushing home runs, and doesn't mind hitting them from the leadoff spot, but unlike other sluggers, Rizzo uses every tool available to him. 

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Cease throws four scoreless for South Bend

Cease throws four scoreless for South Bend

Logan Ice put together one of the best offensive games of his young career and led Class A Lake County to a 15-6 win over Dayton on Sunday.

Ice, the Indians' No. 21 prospect, put together his first career two-homer game and finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a career-high seven RBIs.

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

Cubs rally in Miami on Lester's milestone day

Cubs rally in Miami on Lester's milestone day

MIAMI -- Check the Marlins off the list for Jon Lester. The veteran left-hander, who hadn't faced them much in his career, was winless against Miami until Saturday afternoon. Lester overcame a sluggish three-run first, regrouped and was dominant for the rest of his seven innings in the Cubs' 5-3 win at Marlins Park.

In four previous career starts, Lester was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 22 innings against the Marlins. The 33-year-old has now beaten 29 of the 30 big league clubs. The lone team he hasn't beaten are the Red Sox, the club he broke in with and has never faced.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Baez's hitting maturation on display

Sticking with approach, infielder delivers opposite-field, go-ahead two-run double

Young Baez's hitting maturation on display

MIAMI -- Going with the pitch seems like the most basic of strategies, but for a young player still learning his craft at the highest level, it's not as easy as it appears.

But Javier Baez continues to work that key approach, and it paid off Saturday. The infielder sparked an 11-hit Cubs attack with a pair of run-scoring hits in a 5-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon rests Rizzo, talks keeping Cubs fresh

Manager has seen clubs 'exhausted' in September, tries to find balance

Maddon rests Rizzo, talks keeping Cubs fresh

MIAMI -- How do you justify and when do you know it's the right time to give one of the hottest hitters in baseball the day off?

That's a decision Cubs manager Joe Maddon said was not a difficult one at all when he made out Saturday's lineup card sans Anthony Rizzo. The hot-hitting leadoff man didn't start against the Marlins, but he did pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the 5-3 win, lining out before playing first base in the bottom half. Rizzo has now played in 73 of Chicago's first 74 games.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2nd-rounder Abbott latest Cubs pick to sign

2nd-rounder Abbott latest Cubs pick to sign

MIAMI -- The Cubs are wasting little time in signing their picks from the recently completed 2017 Major League Draft. After announcing the signing of their top pick, left-handed pitcher Brendon Little, on Thursday, they locked up second-rounder Cory Abbott on Friday.

A right-handed pitcher from Loyola Marymount, Abbott becomes the 14th pick signed by the Cubs from this year's Draft. Abbott was signed for the full pick value ($901,900), according to MLBPipeline.com's Jonathan Mayo, after his stock climbed before the Draft.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Cubs first-rounder stops No. 1 team in CWS

Cubs first-rounder stops No. 1 team in CWS

OMAHA, Neb. -- Alex Lange has pitched and won a lot of significant games in his three years at Louisiana State, but none more significant than Friday afternoon.

Other than a third-inning jam, the junior right-hander breezed through 7 1/3 innings of a 3-1 win over No. 1 national seed Oregon State, which had won 23 straight games and is chasing the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I history. A first-round pick by the Cubs (No. 30 overall) 11 days ago, Lange allowed one run on two hits and four walks while striking out eight, saving the Tigers from elimination at the College World Series.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey, Cubs fall despite 3-hitting Marlins

Lackey, Cubs fall despite 3-hitting Marlins

MIAMI -- When the season started, the Marlins used Jose Urena in a long-relief role. The 25-year-old has since become a stopper of sorts, especially in recent weeks.

Urena scattered five hits over six shutout innings, and backed by a home run from Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins edged the Cubs, 2-0, on Friday night at Marlins Park. Urena has now won his last five decisions.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey extends trend; bats can't follow suit

Cubs starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in 9 of last 10

Lackey extends trend; bats can't follow suit

MIAMI -- Things had been falling into place for the Cubs lately. Good starting pitching, coupled with clutch hitting, had resulted in five wins over their previous six games. But one of those trends did not continue on Friday in a 2-0 loss to the Marlins.

Though starting pitcher John Lackey (5-8) was able to do his part on the mound, it was the Cubs' bats that went silent. Lackey allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits in six innings, making it nine out of the last 10 games in which a Cubs starter allowed two earned runs or fewer. Coming into the game, Chicago was 25-11 when starting pitchers worked a minimum of six innings this season, and the winner in eight of the last nine such occasions.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

MIAMI -- Maybe pushing the reset button is all Kyle Schwarber needs to return to his 2016 World Series form. At least that's the hope for the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon and Schwarber's teammates.

"We think this is best for him right now," Maddon said of the young slugger, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. "We know he's gonna be back, and obviously just look forward to it. I really personally love having him here, too. It's just even when he's struggling, whenever he walks up to the plate, everyone expects something good to happen. So let's just get him right for him and for us."

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs hit 3 HRs, crush Marlins behind Arrieta

Cubs hit 3 HRs, crush Marlins behind Arrieta

MIAMI -- In tinkering with a lineup now minus Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stuck with Addison Russell in the fourth spot on Thursday night. Russell cleaned up, collecting four hits, including a home run, and the shortstop was a triple shy of the cycle.

Russell, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras homered, and the Cubs rolled to an 11-1 win over the Marlins in the four-game series opener at Marlins Park.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Schwarber going to Triple-A, but just for now

Schwarber going to Triple-A, but just for now

CHICAGO -- There's no shame in going to the Minor Leagues when you're 24 and haven't spent one full season in the Majors, even if you're Kyle Schwarber.

The Cubs' demotion of Schwarber reverberated through the baseball world on Thursday, as you'd think it would.

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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.

Russell cleaning up; Happ right behind him

Nos. 4-5 hitters thrive again for depleted Cubs, combining for 8 hits, 4 runs, 4 RBIs

Russell cleaning up; Happ right behind him

MIAMI -- Addison Russell needed a triple to notch the Cubs' first cycle in more than 20 years, but he instead squeaked a grounder down the right-field line and settled for an eighth-inning double.

It was that kind of night for Chicago's cleanup hitter, along with five-hole hitter Ian Happ, in the club's 11-1 win over Miami on Thursday at Marlins Park.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heyward lands on DL; Zagunis, Floro recalled

Heyward lands on DL; Zagunis, Floro recalled

MIAMI -- The Cubs were hoping Jason Heyward's left hand would heal more quickly than it has, but ultimately the injury was too severe to avoid a disabled list stint.

The Chicago outfielder was placed on the 10-day DL on Thursday, retroactive to Monday, after he sustained an abrasion by scraping it on the warning track while trying to catch a foul ball at PNC Park on Sunday.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs sign top Draft pick Little, 13 others

Taken No. 27 overall, left-hander inks deal for $2.2 million

Cubs sign top Draft pick Little, 13 others

CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced Thursday they have signed left-handed pitcher Brendon Little, the 27th pick overall in the Major League Draft. MLB.com's Jim Callis reported that Little signed for $2.2 million.

The Cubs also announced on Thursday they have signed 13 other Draft picks, including right-hander Cory Abbott (second round), right-hander Keegan Thompson (third round), right-hander Erich Uelmen (fourth round), left-hander Ricky Tyler Thomas (seventh round), infielder Austin Filiere (eighth round), and outfielder Chris Carrier (ninth round).

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Hatch goes seven strong for Pelicans

Hatch goes seven strong for Pelicans

After a long wait to begin his professional career, Brandon Marsh is showing just what all the hype was about.

The Angels' No. 3 prospect continued his torrid start on Thursday as he connected on his first pro homer and finished a triple shy of the cycle in a 3-for-4 effort for Rookie-level Orem. He tallied four RBIs and scored three runs in the contest, a 13-8 victory over Ogden.

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

Cubs' offense stalls in series finale vs. Padres

Cubs' offense stalls in series finale vs. Padres

CHICAGO -- The Padres lost their starter in the third inning and struggled to hit in the clutch but overcame all of that on Wednesday. Erick Aybar hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning and Luis Torrens drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth to force in the go-ahead run and lift the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With the game tied at 2 in the Padres' eighth, Wil Myers singled off Koji Uehara, and reached third one out later on Cory Spangenberg's single. Aybar was intentionally walked to load the bases. Matt Szczur popped up to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, but Uehara walked Torrens to force home Myers.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.