September 2010

9/23 Cubs lineup vs Giants

Jeff Baker is back in the Cubs lineup Thursday for the series finale against the Giants. He’s been sidelined with the stomach flu. Baker is batting .350 against left-handers this year and the Giants are starting southpaw Madison Bumgarner. It’s the Cubs’ last home night game at Wrigley Field. Here’s the order:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
LF Soriano
RF Fukudome
C Hill
P Dempster

– Carrie Muskat

9/23 The Cubs have won nine of their last 11 games …

… and the pitching deserves a lot of credit. The team ERA in that stretch is 1.29 (14 earned runs in 98 innings), with the starters posting a 1.09 ERA (nine earned runs over 74 innings). Opponents are hitting .179 off the Cubs in those 11 games, and they’ve walked 42 while striking out 92. Also, the Cubs have given up one or no runs in six of the 11.

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Interview process

The Cubs are 18-8 since Mike Quade took over as manager following Wednesday’s win over the Giants. Cubs GM Jim Hendry was in Arizona this week to interview Ryne Sandberg for the manager’s job. Quade also is a candidate.

“I think he’s doing a pretty good job,” Cubs catcher Koyie Hill said of Quade. “If he doesn’t get [the job] — and it’s not the players’ choice — I feel like he’s giving it a pretty good effort. The guys in the clubhouse enjoy playing for him. We just play. When it comes down to it, we’re just fortunate to play for anybody.”

It’s been fun for the Cubs to come to the ballpark lately.

“It could be miserable,” Hill said. “Guys have showed a lot of class and a lot of heart and it’s been fun to come to the ballpark in the last six weeks.”

The Cubs have had a lot of roster turnover since Opening Day following trades, injuries. It’s a happy clubhouse.

“Veteran guys don’t always enjoy young guys coming up and getting in the way of their routines and things like that,” Hill said, “but this time, [the kids] have brought a lot of energy. It’s fun to sit back, like the last game we had in Miami [Sunday] to watch the guys and their enthusiasm. It’s fun to see guys run balls out and chase foul balls. It’s a good little pick me up. I think everybody is feeling good about the way we’re going about our business. It’s that something we were looking for earlier. We all thought as soon as we won a couple games, we’d get rolling and it just happened that way at the end of August and in September.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Friday cookbook sales

On Friday, the Cubs Wives will sell copies of the Chicago Cubs Cookbook on the concourse at Wrigley Field prior to the game against the Cardinals. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Ryan Dempster foundation, and Dempster said he’ll be at the booth to sign copies of the cookbook. Have you gotten your copy yet?

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Rally cry

The Cubs have 12 games remaining, counting Wednesday against the Giants, and manager Mike Quade isn’t just playing out the string.

“The rally cry right now is look, we’ve got 12 left, and everything
we’ve got for 12,” Quade said Wednesday. “That’s not just 22-year-olds — that’s
30-year-olds as well. How you get that out of those guys I think depends
on how you use them and I think you’ll get it out of them if you use
them correctly.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Soto encouraged after surgery

Geovany Soto is already beginning his rehab after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Monday. Soto said Wednesday that everything went well and he’s glad he had the procedure done now.

“They didn’t go in and repair anything and said every ligament and muscle looks great and I’m really happy for that,” Soto said.

The Cubs medical staff was pleased with the Cubs catcher’s progress.

“They were really surprised today,” Soto said, smiling. “I could move it all around — it was pretty good today.”

He’s expected to begin baseball activities by Jan. 1.

“No doubt I’ll be 100 percent by Spring Training and way before that, too,” Soto said. “Our goal is to get it 100 percent as early as possible. I’m going to try to get ready as soon as possible so it’s not a big deal.”

The pain in his shoulder flared up during the Cubs’ early August series against Milwaukee. The Cubs medical staff said the problem could have been caused by an earlier hit on his shoulder when he was younger. The problem wasn’t throwing but hitting.

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Game 2 lineup vs Giants

Darwin Barney is leading off and playing second Wednesday night for the Cubs in Game 2 against the Giants. Jeff Baker was battling the stomach flu and is sidelined. Here’s the lineup:

2B Barney
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
LF Soriano
RF Fukudome
C Hill
P Wells

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Probable pitchers

Carlos Zambrano’s next start will be Monday in San Diego, and Tuesday was his last game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs now have a six-man rotation with Tom Gorzelanny inserted into the mix on Friday against the Cardinals. He’ll be followed by Casey Coleman and Jeff Samardzija Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Zambrano will open the series in San Diego on Monday and be followed by Randy Wells and Ryan Dempster. No word on whether Carlos Silva will get another start this year.

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Extra bases

The Cubs are 17-8 in 25 games since Mike Quade took over on Aug. 23. That’s the best start by a Cubs manager through 25 games since Charlie Grimm began 20-5 in 1932, 78 years ago. Also, the 17-8 mark is third-best in the National League and fourth best in the Majors. Only the Phillies (21-8), Rockies (19-8), and Twins (19-8) have done better than the Cubs in that stretch.

* Heading into Wednesday’s game against the Giants, the Cubs need to win two of their final five home games to reach 35 victories at Wrigley Field for the 11th straight season.

* James Russell has 53 relief outings so far, most by a Cubs rookie since Will Ohman’s 69 in 2005. Andrew Cashner has 49 relief appearances. When he reaches 50, it’ll be the first time the Cubs have had two rookies pitch in at least 50 games since Chuck McElroy (71) and Heathcliff Slocumb (52) did so in 1991.

– Carrie Muskat

9/22 Colvin released from hospital

Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was released from a Miami hospital on Wednesday and headed home to South Carolina. Colvin has been hospitalized since Sunday when he was hit in the chest by a broken bat. He was diagnosed with pneumothorax, and kept in the hospital for observation. Colvin will not play again this season and it was not known if he’ll rejoin the Cubs this year.

“I’d love to see him again before the season is over,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

– Carrie Muskat

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