The Rundown: Lester Collects First Hit of Career in Loss, Bryant and Rizzo are NL All-Stars, Dallas Beeler to Start Game 2 of Today’s Double-Header, RHP Rafael Soriano Makes Debut in AA

Last night saw another frustrating loss against the Cardinals, as Jon Lester went six no-hit innings before giving up a pair of unearned runs in the 7th.

The Cubs once again had opportunities with runners in scoring position but couldn’t push across any runs. Then after an hour-plus rain delay, Edwin Jackson put things out of reach by giving up four runs in the top of the ninth.

It has been difficult to watch these Cubs-Cardinals games. For the most part, the Cubs have been coming up just short and finding some way to lose.

The Cardinals are a better team than the Cubs right now, and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean the Cubs can’t have a successful season.

Lester’s first hit!

Not everything was gloom and doom last night, however. It finally happened: Jon Lester got a hit. Not only the first of the season, but the first of his career.

Lester was 0-for-66 to start his career, but now he’s on the board after hitting one right back up the middle and off John Lackey’s leg. Unfortunately, the ball stayed on the infield and the Cubs were unable to score.

It was really only a matter of time for Lester. To my non-scout eye, he appears to have a pretty nice swing for a pitcher.

Your 2015 Cubs All-Stars

No Cubs were named starters for the upcoming MLB All-Star game, but two deserving players will be heading to Cincinatti as NL reserves. Kris Bryant will be appearing in his first All-Star game, and Anthony Rizzo in his second in a row.

Bryant was named to the NL squad by manager Bruce Bochy, while Rizzo made it by player vote.

Rizzo becomes the only the second Cubs first baseman to make back-to-back All-Star appearances (the other being Phil Cavarretta in 1946 and 1947).

It may not be everyone’s bag, but I really enjoy the MLB All-Star game. I obviously think it’s ridiculous that the winner determines home field advantage in the World Series. But I’m able to look past that and enjoy the game.

And I find it even more enjoyable when the Cubs have a halfway decent team heading into the break. This would be one of those years. I’ll definitely be interested to see how Kris Bryant fares on the big stage.

Other notes

* RHP Dallas Beeler will get the call from Triple-A start for the Cubs in Game 2 of today’s double-header. Beeler wasn’t anything extraordinary in two starts last season, but also wasn’t awful. He dealt with some injury issues to start this season and got off to a slow start, but has been better as of late. Similar to fellow Triple-A hurler Donn Roach, Beeler is most effective when he’s recording a lot of ground-ball outs.

* Tsuyoshi Wada is back on the rehab trail, getting the start yesterday for Double-A Tennessee. It wasn’t the best of outings, as he gave up four runs and eight hits in four innings.

* RHP Rafael Soriano made his minor-league debut with the Smokies, tossing a scoreless inning with three strikeouts. The Cubs signed the veteran reliever in mid-June as a free agent. He hadn’t pitched all year, so he’s now working his way back in hopes to add some bullpen depth for the big-league club.

* Another frustrating part of losing to the Cardinals again last night: the Pirates, of course, won as well. This puts the Cubs 3.5 games back of Pittsburgh for second place in the Central (and first wildcard spot). The Pirates did receive some bad news yesterday, however, as they have lost infielder Josh Harrison with a thumb injury. He is expected to miss up to six weeks. Although he hasn’t been as good as he was last year, Harrison is still a key piece to the team, so perhaps it will slow them down a tad.

 

Bryan O'Donnell

After graduating from Purdue, O'Donnell entered the publishing industry and now works as a copy editor for a nonprofit. When not watching, reading about, or writing about baseball, he's most likely over-analyzing music or current TV shows. He has a soft spot in his heart for both the beaches of Alabama and the mountains of Colorado. You may not know it to look at him, but he can run really, really fast. Follow him on Twitter at @bodonnell14.

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