Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was named NL Player of the Week for the period ending July 20. Rizzo, who made his first All-Star appearance last Tuesday, led the Majors with three home runs, 14 total bases and a 1.273 slugging percentage. He was tied for third in the NL in RBI with four. Rizzo hit two home runs on Friday against the D-Backs, then added his 23rd on Sunday. He has now matched his career high in home runs, set last year.
Chris Rusin posted a quality start, giving up two runs over seven innings, but it wasn’t enough as Iowa lost, 4-3, in 12 innings against Round Rock. Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to 14 games, going 3-for-6.
Addison Russell hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and finished with six RBIs in Tennessee’s 10-3 win over Huntsville. Christian Villanueva added his fourth home run. Emilio Bonifacio was 4-for-5 in a rehab start.
Albert Almora went 4-for-5 and scored two runs in Daytona’s 9-1 win over Palm Beach. Felix Pena picked up the win, giving up one run over seven innings. He struck out seven. Kyle Schwarber, Marco Hernandez and Rock Shoulders had two hits each. Billy McKinney finished with three RBIs.
Jacob Rogers hit his 10th home run in Kane County’s 9-5 loss to Great Lakes. Tyler Skulina took the loss, giving up five runs over 2 2/3 innings. Cael Brockmeyer had two hits.
Boise totaled three hits in a 6-1 loss to Salem-Keizer. Tyler Ihrig took the loss, giving up four earned runs over seven innings.
Dillon Maples gave up two runs on one hit and two walks over three innings in Mesa’s 8-2 loss to the Angels. Kevonte Mitchell and Bryant Flete each had two hits. Maples struck out four.
At the All-Star Game, Tampa’s David Price said Chicago “would be the coolest city to win a championship in right now.” Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer feel the same way, which is what enticed them to join the Cubs. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal speculated Monday that the Cubs should pursue Price and deal some of the team’s top prospects for the pitcher. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but they are not contenders this year, and most likely not in 2015 either.
How does Hoyer feel about the rumors?
“I don’t really pay attention,” Hoyer said Monday in a radio interview on The Game 87.7. “There are going to be a lot of rumors about our players and our acquiring good players because of the good talent we have in the Minors. I think we’ll be lumped into the rumors. We just sort of ignore them.”
With one out in the sixth inning, Anthony Rizzo hit his 23rd home run Sunday to match his season total of last year. It was Rizzo’s third home run of this season after hitting two on Friday. He belted 23 home runs in 113 games last season; and notched No. 23 this year in his 96th game. Rizzo connected on the first pitch from Josh Collmenter, and now has hit 20 since April 30, the most in the NL.
– Carrie Muskat
Travis Wood has not looked like the same pitcher he was last season, and the Cubs left-hander knows it. So does pitching coach Chris Bosio.
“I think it’s a command thing for Travis,” Bosio said Sunday. “He’s getting in hitter’s counts and doesn’t have the command he had last year. We talk about it a lot as a staff. Try to find out what’s working and what’s not working. Unfortunately for Travis right now, he shows flashes and the next thing you know, he’ll walk a guy.
“He’s had more 3-0 counts this year at this point than he had all of last year,” Bosio said. “Last year, he was unbelievable and very consistent, National League All-Star, but unfortunately for baseball players, these are cycles we go in. He’s trying to find it, and he’s searching.”
In the first half last season, Wood had walked 38 over 122 2/3 innings, and teams were batting .202 against him. In the first half this year, he’s walked 48 over 110 2/3 innings, and teams were batting .270 against him.
“It can become very frustrating, emotionally frustrating,” Bosio said of Wood, who walked four on Saturday against the Diamondbacks. “I think that’s the position he’s at right now. He’s trying to do everything. Sometimes you have to simplify it and just say, ‘You know what, I’m going to get back to bread and butter and try to pound the zone. If they’re going to swing at it, let them swing it.’
“To see him go out and walk these guys, it’s crushing, and not only for us, but for him as well,” Bosio said. “You can see it in his body language.”
– Carrie Muskat
Jake Arrieta gets the start on Sunday as the Cubs close their series against the Diamondbacks. Here’s the lineup:
Cubs manager Rick Renteria said that lefty Tsuyoshi Wada will start Wednesday. Kyle Hendricks will go Tuesday, as the Cubs try to find pitchers to fill vacancies created by the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
– Carrie Muskat
* Jake Arrieta is 5-1 with a 1.95 ERA (17 ER/78 1/3 IP) in 13 starts since making his season debut on May 3. Since the start of May, Arrieta has the third-best ERA in all of baseball behind the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.81) and the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez (1.88).
* Welington Castillo hit his seventh homer of the season Saturday, one shy of the career-high eight he hit in 113 games last season. Anthony Rizzo’s 22 home runs are one shy of his career mark 23, done last year. Speaking of Castillo, he has thrown out six of the last 12 baserunners attempting to steal on him dating to June 23 (spanning his last 15 games).
* Darwin Barney last night was 2-for-4 with a triple and is batting .385 (15-for-39) with a .923 OPS in 10 July games.
Chris Valaika, Eli Whiteside and Logan Watkins each homered in Iowa’s 5-4 win over Round Rock. All three home runs came in the second inning. Javier Baez added a two-run double. Eric Jokisch started, and gave up three earned runs over four innings. Chris Rusin gets the start Sunday.
Emilio Bonifacio committed an error in the fourth that allowed a run to score in Tennessee’s 1-0 loss to Huntsville in the first game of a doubleheader. Pierce Johnson took the loss, giving up four hits and two walks over five innings. Elliot Soto had two hits. In the second game, Stephen Bruno had two of the Smokies’ three hits in a 5-0 loss. Eduardo Figueroa gave up four runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Tayler Scott gave up four runs over five innings in Daytona’s 5-3 loss to Fort Myers. Gioskar Amaya, Albert Almora and Jordan Hankins each hit doubles, and Hankins finished with two RBIs.
Trey Martin had two hits and one RBIs in Kane County’s 4-2 loss to Great Lakes. Paul Blackburn took the loss, giving up four runs over six innings.
Jesse Hodges had three hits, including his fifth home run, and a triple, plus one RBIs in Boise’s 12-9 win over Salem-Keizer. Hodges is batting .282. Ben Wells got the win, giving up two runs over five innings. Mark Zagunis added two doubles.
Mesa held on for a 5-4 win over the Brewers. Eloy Jimenez had two RBIs, and Varonex Cuevas had two hits and two walks.
Looking ahead to the Cubs’ series vs. the Padres at Wrigley Field, here are the pitching matchups:
Tuesday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.00) vs. LHP Eric Stults (3-11, 4.98)
Wednesday: TBD vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.62)
Thursday: RHP Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.61) vs. RHP Tyson Ross (7-10, 2.85)