Cubs Swept by Diamondbacks

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PHOENIX — A 100-loss season has become a possibility during the Cubs’ 2-11 skid.

But with Arismendy Alcantara providing a spark and Kyle Hendricks receiving an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, slugger Anthony Rizzo says the entire Cubs’ farm system should take notice.

“It’s an opportunity for guys to step up,” Rizzo said Sunday before he hit his 23rd home run and made a spectacular catch in a 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks that extended the Cubs’ losing streak to five games.

“Our whole organization should be loving where we’re at, because even guys in high A and Double A should see there’s so much opportunity in our organization right now to step up and become someone who can make a name for themselves.

“If I’m looking at it from the standpoint of being a guy in the minors, I’m doing everything I can to get an opportunity to get up here. There are opportunities here, and honestly, you’re not going to have a lot of opportunity pretty soon.”

Alcantara, 22, has started all eight games since he was promoted from Triple-A Iowa and hit an RBI single Sunday that cut the Cubs’ deficit to 3-2 in the eighth inning. Hendricks, 24, will get his second start Tuesday night after showing poise in a July 10 start against the Reds.

Rizzo, 24, appreciates making the most of his opportunity with the Cubs after playing in the Red Sox and Padres organizations. He received a seven-year contract in May 2013, only to struggle before rebounding to National League All-Star status this season.

“The guys up top believed in me, and that’s not always the case for everyone,” Rizzo said. “Sometimes guys get only one opportunity and make the best out of it. You see what Alcantara is doing. He was supposed to be up for two days, and he’s taken advantage of it.

“If that’s not sending a message to other people, I don’t know what’s going to.”

As shocking as the July 4 trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel was to the players, the possibility of more moves by the July 31 trade deadline remains strong.

The Giants — who are believed to be seeking relief help — Mariners, Tigers and White Sox were among teams in attendance. The Mariners are looking for shortstop help but also have kept an eye on outfielder Junior Lake since spring training.

“We’re well aware that trades will possibly continue to take place, guys will be shuffled around in different positions and getting experience across the board, trying to fit guys in and get them comfortable in certain situations,” starter Jake Arrieta said after battling a stomach virus to strike out eight but suffering from a lack of offensive support.

“That’s part of the game for us as a team right now, but that doesn’t take away from our mindset of going out there and trying to win every game, every series. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all here to do. We’re going to need guys to step up in the rotation and give us innings.

“We’re going to need innings and keep the bullpen fresh for the last couple months. It’s going to be tough to do. Those guys will have their work cut out for them, but I’m confident they’re capable.”


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