Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo had to leave Saturday’s game because of back spasms but did not expect to miss Sunday’s series finale against the Reds.
“It just started barking on me in the fifth or sixth, and once we took the four-run lead, I [decided to] play with more caution than go up there, get another at-bat and go out on the field and hurt it even more,” Rizzo said.
He was lifted defensively in the eighth inning, and Mike Olt moved from third to first.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Rizzo might have aggravated his back stretching for a high throw on a pickoff attempt.
“I felt it a little bit [Friday],” Rizzo said. “It’ll probably be gone tomorrow or the next day. The play on the pickoff that was kind of high, that’s when it started barking the most.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs manager Rick Renteria did talk to the players after Friday’s game, and said it’s part of an on-going process of communication.
“Yesterday, we had a talk with everybody to talk about the same things we’ve talked about since spring — it takes a lot of focus and intensity and commitment to have a chance to win,” Renteria said Saturday. “And not even a guarantee, just a chance [to win]. Winning is not an accident, it is a process and something you can put together with different means.”
Renteria was not happy with what he called “sloppy” play by the Cubs in the 4-1 loss to the Reds.
– Carrie Muskat
Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder, will make another rehab start on Monday for Class A Daytona, and hopes that is his last tune-up before he’s ready to rejoin the Cubs. Arrieta has made three rehab starts with Double-A Tennessee but the Cubs are having him start for Daytona in hopes of finding some warmer weather. In his last outing, Arrieta went 5 2/3 innings, and said he’d like to throw 100 pitches on Monday.
“I want to get out there and get up to 100 pitches and kind of fine tune and refine some things and hopefully that’ll be the last stop,” Arrieta said.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs face lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday in the second game of their three-game series against the Reds. Edwin Jackson gets the start. Here’s the lineup:
E. Jackson P
Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run on three hits over eight innings in Iowa’s 1-0 loss to New Orleans. Wada served up the homer on the second pitch of the game, and that was the only run. Chris Valaika and Logan Watkins each had a hit.
Kris Bryant hit his fourth home run in Tennessee’s 5-2 loss to Jackson, which scored five runs in the ninth. Ivan Pineyro threw 6 2/3 shutout innings. John Andreoli doubled, and stole home for his sixth stolen base of the season.
Daytona’s game against Tampa was postponed because of rain.
Kane County totaled five hits in a 9-0 loss to Dayton. Juan Paniagua gave up five runs over five innings and took the loss.
Chris Valaika, Logan Watkins and Eli Whiteside each had two hits in Iowa’s 5-4 win over New Orleans. The I-Cubs won despite making six errors. Brian Schlitter picked up his second save.
Tennessee slit a doubleheader against Jackson, losing 4-0 in the first game and winning 3-2 in the second. Corey Black took the loss in the opener, giving up three runs over four innings. In the second game, Taylor DAvis hit a go-ahead RBI single in the fourth.
Tim Saunders hit his first home run in Daytona’s 6-5 loss to Tampa. Rock Shoulders had three hits.
Daury Torrez, 20, struck out four over eight innings in Kane County’s 13-1 win over Dayton. Torrez gave up one run on two hits. Will Remillard had four hits, including two doubles, and five RBI. Yasiel Balaguert had two hits.
Jeff Samardzija posted his fourth quality start on Friday but it wasn’t enough as the Reds beat the Cubs, 4-1, in front of 28,699 at Wrigley Field. Samardzija is winless in his last 10 starts. The Cubs have scored a total of four runs in his four starts this year.
“You keep going out there and doing your work,” Samardzija said. “Today was a tough day to hit with that wind. You just go out and keep doing your work and understand everybody is doing their job. You can’t let it get to you, for sure.”
* Manager Rick Renteria met with the players after the game, although he would not confirm the meeting.
“He said a lot of good things,” Welington Castillo said of the Cubs manager. “He’s a positive guy.”
Renteria said he’s not focused on the statistics, but what he sees on the field.
“I concern myself more with the way we approach the game,” Renteria said. “If our approach is good and we’re really focused on what we’re supposed to be doing both at the plate and in the field, I’m good with it. Today, I think we were a little sloppy in general, and Jeff really kept us in the ballgame throughout.”
* On the plus side, the Cubs did snap a 24-scoreless inning stretch with Luis Valbuena’s RBI single in the seventh.
* Anthony Rizzo had two hits, and was 13-for-26 at home this season. He also combined with Samardzija on three straight plays in the seventh inning.
“Let them roll it over and let me get to first,” Samardzija said. “I think we’ve seen enough out of Riz at first to know he’s a premium first baseman defensively. I always need to be on my toes when the ball heads that way because he plays deep and plays in the hole. We’re kind of on the same page. I’d rather have him cover a lot of ground. We’ve made that play a lot of times. It’s nice to have that over there, it’s a nice commodity to have a first baseman who can pick it like Riz.”
* Playing the NL Central is a good test for the Cubs.
“They’re a good team,” Samardzija said of the Reds. “We’re not playing a fifth-place team. They’re a complete team. They can hit, they can play defense, they can pitch. When they’re guys are healthy in the bullpen, they can close games out. When you play the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates and the Brewers now, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game and play clean defense and put some runs on the board and pitch well if you want to win games. I think it’s a good learning curve for us to understand to win games in the big leagues we need all three facets of the game to be clean. You play the good teams and they take advantage of your mistakes, and you can’t give them any breathing room.”
* The Reds stole five bases against the Cubs. It’s the first time a team has done that against Chicago since Atlanta did so on Aug. 14, 2011.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs are partnering with Ebony Magazine to present Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley Field on Monday. Jackie Robinson Day is recognized throughout MLB on April 15 but the Cubs were on the road. Ebony is making available vintage photographs of Jackie Robinson and other African American baseball legends which will be on display at Wrigley Field in the Budweiser Bleacher Concourse during Monday night’s game. The photographs are from the Ebony Collections. Joshua Mhoon, 10, of the Oak Park Mustangs will throw out the first pitch. He plays pitcher and first base for the Mustangs.
Jake Arrieta may be one start away from getting back to the big leagues. The Cubs right-hander will make at least one more rehab start with Triple-A Iowa early next week, and could then be ready to start for the big league team. Arrieta had tightness in his right shoulder when Spring Training began, and did not pitch in any Cactus League games. He has made three rehab starts for Double-A Tennessee, and given up one earned run on six hits and four walks over 12 1/3 innings. In his last outing on Wednesday, he went 5 2/3 innings. Arrieta was in Chicago on Friday to throw a side session for Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, so he could evaluate the pitcher’s progress.
The Cubs begin a three-game series against the Reds on Friday at Wrigley Field. Jeff Samardzija will get things started against right-hander Alfredo Simon. Here’s the very left-handed lineup:
* The Cubs have been held scoreless in their last 18 innings, and look to avoid being shut out for a third straight game for the first time since being blanked in four straight, April 27-May 1, 1992.
* Samardzija is one of 11 starting pitchers with at least three games pitched and a 1.29 ERA or better this season. He’s the only one without a win. He looks to end a nine-start winless streak dating to Aug. 30 of last season.
* The Cubs have scored three runs total while Samardzija has been in the game. That’s tied for fewest among NL pitchers with at least three starts this season.
Kyle Hendricks struck out nine and gave up three runs over seven innings in Iowa’s 6-3 win over New Orleans. Logan Watkins hit his first home run and Arismendy Alcantara had three hits, and was a home run shy of the cycle. Josh Vitters had two RBI doubles and was batting .293.
In injury news, the Iowa Cubs placed outfielder Brett Jackson on the disabled list with a strained right oblique and added infielder/outfielder Jonathan Mota from Tennessee.
Jake Arrieta moved closer to returning to the big leagues with a 5 2/3 innings rehab outing for Tennessee. The Smokies beat the Generals, 7-2. Arrieta gave up one run on three hits and one walk, striking out two. John Andreoli drove in three runs and Jae-Hoon Ha had two RBIs.
Tayler Scott gave up four runs over 4 2/3 innings in Daytona’s 5-1 loss to Dunedin. Marco Hernandez had two hits.
Tyler Skulina gave up two runs over five innings in Kane County’s 6-2 win over Bowling Green. David Bote, Danny Lockhart, Shawon Dunston and Trey Martin produced consecutive RBI hits in the ninth.