August 2012

8/26 Volstad’s streak

If the weather cooperates, Chris Volstad will take the mound on Sunday and try to end his 24-start winless streak, which dates back to July 17, 2011. Volstad is 0-14 during that span.

“I think he’s handled it as good as anybody can handle it,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Volstad. “He’s very calm and collected most of the time. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, good or bad. He just goes about his business and works and is trying to make adjustments.

“We haven’t gotten him a lot of run support either,” Sveum said. “He’s handled everything extremely well for the adversity he’s had to go through.”

The Cubs have scored one or fewer runs while Vosltad has been on the mound in eight of his 13 starts. He has not received more than three runs of support in any of his starts this year.

The record for longest winless streak is 28 starts, shared by Jo-Jo Reyes (2008-11) and Matt Keough (1978-79).

“Hopefully it doesn’t happen,” Sveum said about Volstad reaching that mark. “We all know it’s getting closer and closer to that. Hopefully today we can just take care of it and score some runs. We have to score early and keep adding on. We have a very difficult time of doing that.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/26 Minor League report

Diory Hernandez hit his second home run and drove in three runs in Iowa’s 4-1 win over Oklahoma City on Saturday. Ty’Relle Harris picked up the win, giving up one run and striking out six over six innings. Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the eighth and a sacrifice fly. Dave Sappelt, Greg Rohan and Jeff Frazier each had two hits. Jairo Asencio picked up the save.

Logan Watkins hit his sixth home run in Tennessee’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to Mobile. Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits and Rubi Silva drove in two runs.

Daytona lost the first game of a doubleheader to Tampa, 3-2, but won the nightcap, 4-1. Ryan Searle picked up the win in the second game, giving up one run on three hits over five innings. John Andreoli, Roni Torreyes, Rebel Ridling each had two hits.

Chadd Krist and Tim Saunders each homered to back Joseph Zeller and lead Peoria to a 3-2 win over Wisconsin. Zeller gave up one run on seven hits over six innings.

Boise reached the playoffs for the second straight season with an 8-6 win over Vancouver, clinching the second half title in the Northwest League’s East Division. Boise will face Yakima, the division’s first half winner, in the first game of the playoffs on Sept. 3. Jeimer Candelario had three hits and three RBIs in Saturday’s win and Wilson Contreras drove in two runs.

Shawon Dunston Jr. had three RBIs in Mesa’s 8-7 win over the Giants. Carlos Penalver had two hits and two RBIs and Yasiel Belaguert had two hits and two RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

8/26 Cubs lineup

Luis Valbuena is back in the lineup at third Sunday for the Cubs series finale vs. the Rockies:

DeJesus RF

Valbuena 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Clevenger C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Volstad P

– Carrie Muskat

8/26 Jackson making progress

Day by day, Brett Jackson feels he’s making progress at the plate. On Saturday, the Cubs center fielder hit a two-run homer for his first multi-RBI day.

“It’s more relaxing because my swing is more comfortable and I’m having better at-bats,” Jackson said. “It’s not that I’m getting hits — sure, I’m happy about that and I’m producing — but I feel confident at the plate and we’ve made some good adjustments and we’ll continue to work and keep trying to get better.”

Dale Sveum sees progress, too.

“With the strikeouts and everything, right now he’s got a .700 OPS,” Sveum said. “It’s not what you want, but with those strikeouts, he’s still hit three home runs, has a couple doubles, and a triple. That’s the kind of center fielder you’re asking for and when he cuts down on the strikeouts, [the numbers will] get higher and higher.”

– Carrie Muskat 

8/26 Pitching matchups

The Cubs face the Brewers in a four-game series starting Monday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Monday: RHP Justin Germano (2-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (1-5, 4.23)

Tuesday: LHP Travis Wood (4-10, 4.76) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.62)

Wednesday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.09) vs. RHP Mike Fiers (7-6, 2.98)

Thursday: LHP Brooks Raley (1-2, 6.64) vs. RHP Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.19)

– Carrie Muskat

 

8/26 Boise is playoff bound

Class A Boise is headed to the playoffs for the second straight season. The Hawks’ 8-6 win over Vancouver on Saturday plus Everett’s 6-3 win over Yakima gave Boise the second half title in the Northwest League’s East Division. Boise will face Yakima, the division’s first half winner, in the first game of the playoffs on Sept. 3. Jeimer Candelario drove in three runs in Saturday’s win. Boise plays Vancouver on Sunday before closing the regular season with a five-game homestand against Everett that begins Tuesday.

– Carrie Muskat

8/25 Minor League report

Adrian Cardenas hit his third home run in Iowa’s 5-3 win over Oklahoma City on Friday. Cardenas connected in the eighth, and finished with two RBIs. Tony Campana was 2-for-4 with a triple and one RBI. Jay Jackson picked up the win in relief.

Junior Lake, Rubi Silva and Matt Szczur each homered in Tennessee’s 11-5 win over Mobile. Dallas Beeler picked up the win, giving up five runs over five innings. Lake’s homer was his ninth and he’s now batting .280. He connected in the third for a three-run blast and Silva followed with his first of the year.

Elieser Bonne hit a three-run homer in the fifth to help Daytona beat Tampa, 4-3, in the first game of a doubleheader. Christian Villanueva hit a solo shot in the sixth to back Kyle Hendricks, who gave up two runs over five innings.  In the second game, Tampa beat Daytona, 11-5, collecting eight runs off starter Matt Loosen in 3 1/3 innings. Villanueva was 2-for-3 with a double.

Dustin Geiger hit his 17th home run but it wasn’t enough as Peoria lost, 8-2, to Beloit. Geiger finished with two hits and two RBIs. Chadd Krist had two hits and Austin Reed pitched one inning of scoreless relief.

Tayler Scott gave up five runs over five innings in Boise’s 7-6 loss to Vancouver. Marco Hernandez had three hits.

– Carrie Muskat

8/25 Cubs lineup

Brooks Raley is back with the Cubs and will start Saturday in the second game of the three-game series against the Rockies. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus RF

Vitters 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

W. Castillo C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Raley P

– Carrie Muskat

8/24 Cubs lineup

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Rockies on Friday at Wrigley Field, part of a 10-game homestand. Here’s Friday’s lineup:
Mather RF
Vitters 3B
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Castro SS
Castillo C
Jackson CF
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

8/22 LaHair connects

It’s been a long time between home runs for Bryan LaHair. On Wednesday, he hit his first blast since July 4, connecting on a leadoff homer in the seventh in the Cubs’ 3-2 loss to the Brewers.

“Any time you can get a result after hard work, it shows hard work can pay off,” LaHair said. “I’ll take it.”

He’s gone from being the Cubs’ starting first baseman and All-Star to a spot starter in right field and left-handed bat off the bench.

“It’s definitely tough,” LaHair said. “It’s not something I’m used to, and not something I like. I’m trying to do the best job I can possibly do.”

What about next year?

“I just want to be in the big leagues, I want the opportunity and whatever opportunity comes my way, I’m going to try to do the best I can,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

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