Add Mad­don, sub­tract six Cubs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BASEBALL / TENNIS - Chicago Cubs re­lief pitcher In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle con­trib­uted by The Wash­ing­ton Post,The As­so­ci­ated Press and mlb.com.

Chicago Cubs Man­ager Joe Mad­don might be a lit­tle lonely at the All-Star Game a week from to­day.

One year af­ter the Cubs led the league with seven all­stars and be­came the sec­ond ma­jor-league team to have its en­tire in­field start an All-Star Game, Chicago didn’t have a sin­gle player elected to start this year’s game in Miami. No prob­lem, Mad­don said. “I thought the vot­ing was ap­pro­pri­ate and right and good,” Mad­don said on ESPN af­ter the all-star ros­ters were an­nounced Sun­day.

Mad­don will man­age the Na­tional League team by virtue of the Cubs rep­re­sent­ing the Na­tional League in the World Series last Oc­to­ber en route to win­ning their first ti­tle since 1908.

Last year, the Cubs had an MLB-best 53-35 record and a seven-game lead in the Na­tional League Cen­tral at the all-star break.

In­field­ers An­thony Rizzo, Ben Zo­brist, Ad­di­son Rus­sell and Kris Bryant were elected to start the All-Star Game, as was cen­ter fielder Dex­ter Fowler.

They were also rep­re­sented by start­ing pitch­ers John Lester and Jake Ar­ri­eta.

This year, the Cubs are 41-41, 2½ games be­hind the first-place Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers in the NL Cen­tral and 6½ games be­hind the Colorado Rock­ies for the fi­nal wild-card spot, with six games re­main­ing be­fore the All-Star break.

Their only all-star se­lec­tion Sun­day was closer Wade Davis, who was ac­quired from the Roy­als dur­ing the off­sea­son for out­fielder Jorge Soler.

Not one of the Cubs who made it last year has bet­ter num­bers than they did one year ago, and in most cases, the sea­sons are barely com­pa­ra­ble with the ex­cep­tion of Rizzo (.258 BA, 19 HRs, 51 RBI, .892 OPS) not too far be­hind last year’s first half (.299, 21, 63, 1.006).

Bryant, the reign­ing NL MVP, could still get in via the Na­tional League’s “Fi­nal Vote” con­test, but he is nowhere close to last year’s pro­duc­tion (.286, 25 HRs, 65 RBI, .962 OPS). Bryant, who started the sea­son 0 for 15 and has missed time be­cause of the flu and a sprained an­kle, is hit­ting .263, with 16 HRs, 32 RBI and a .901 OPS.

Shorstop Rus­sell (.235, 7, 29, .703) is nowhere close to his 2016 first half (.237, 11, 51, .731), slowed by a back is­sues, off-the-field tur­moil and a sore throw­ing arm.

Zo­brist (.218, 7, 21, .700 OPS) has played in 56 of 82 games, and spent more than half of June on the dis­abled list. Zo­brist was hit­ting .283 with 13 HRs, 47 RBI and an .855 OPS last sea­son.

Lester (5-4, 3.69 ERA) and Ar­ri­eta (8-6, 4.33) have win­ning records in 2017, but don’t com­pare to 2016 when Lester (9-4, 3.01) and Ar­ri­eta (12-4, 2.68) rolled.

Yet, four Cubs — catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras, Rizzo, Bryant and Javier Baez — fin­ished sec­ond at their re­spec­tive po­si­tions.

Out­field­ers Ja­son Hey­ward and Zo­brist fin­ished fourth and fifth de­spite miss­ing most of June. All ex­cept Bryant were over­looked when it came time to se­lect re­serves.

Mad­don, mean­while, looks at his role as purely cer­e­mo­nial.

“It’s like a Spring Train­ing game, which is good,” Mad­don said. “If the game mat­tered, where it was tied into the World Series, I would put a lit­tle more mind into it at this point.

AP/LYNNE SLADKY

Wade Davis, who was ob­tained in the off­sea­son from Kansas City, is the only player from the World Series cham­pi­ons se­lected to play in the All-Star Game.

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