Cubs

Vote for Pedro: Strop starts All-Star write-in campaign for Albert Almora Jr.

CINCINNATI — Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs’ leading hitter and sixth-leading hitter in the National League, didn’t crack the lineup Saturday against the Reds.

But that’s not stopping one teammate from launching a write-in campaign for the center fielder to make the NL All-Star team.

Almora is not on either the fan or the player ballots for All-Star voting. And player voting for the non-starters concluded last weekend.

But reliever Pedro Strop is making Instagram and Twitter pleas for his teammate, who “is having an outstanding season.”

What does Almora have to do to get some All-Star love? Deliver more walkoff hits like he did here against the Dodgers on Tuesday?

“Let’s get Albert some votes,” he writes.

 

Notes: Kris Bryant, who was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts the first two games of the series, got Saturday off. “Obviously, he’s struggling a little bit; I didn’t want to push it,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m just looking to get him a day.” …Left-hander Rob Zastryzny left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning after experiencing lower-back tightness. He tried to pitch through it, but catcher Willson Contreras sensed something wrong and signaled to the bench. Zastryzny said after the game that it wasn’t serious. …The Cubs have allowed two grand slams this season – both to the Reds in this series (Jesse Winker Thursday and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani Saturday). …Catcher Chris Gimenez made his 10th career pitching appearance Saturday, first for the Cubs. He pitched the eighth and allowed a single and walk and three-run homer to Joey Votto. His career ERA in 10 innings: 9.90. He pitched six times for the Twins last year. …Tyler Chatwood, whose wife is due with their first child in the next day or two, still had not been called back to Chicago as of Saturday night and remains on scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale.