Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’
Before Saturday’s game, Cubs manager Dale Sveum joked that if he didn’t have to meet with the media post-game, he might have a chance to see the Blackhawks play in the Stanley Cup Final. As it turns out, the team could’ve spared him, and replayed quotes from past losses. Once again, the Cubs wasted a solid effort by one of their starting pitchers and missed scoring opportunities in a 4-3 loss to the Astros. J.D. Martinez hit a game-tying three-run homer in the sixth and Justin Maxwell scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze in the ninth inning to even the Interleague series in front of 38,870 at Wrigley Field.
“It’s a broken record,” Sveum said. “We can’t seem to get that hit to bust the game open in those situations. We get guys on and we just can’t get them in.”
With the game tied at 3 in the ninth against Kevin Gregg, Maxwell doubled to lead off and moved up on Matt Dominguez’s sacrifice. Ronny Cedeno then bunted toward first, and Maxwell sprinted home with the game-winning run. It was only the fourth time in 25 games that Gregg has given up a run.
The Cubs had a chance in the eighth. With one out, Alfonso Soriano doubled and Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked. Soriano was then picked off at second on a close play, although it appeared that he got his hand on the base before the tag. Second base umpire David Rackley called Soriano out. The Cubs didn’t agree.
“I know it’s not an easy job they have, but when I get mad at something they call, it’s because I’m 100 percent [sure] I have the right call,” Soriano said. “I knew I was safe. It’s part of the game. I have a lot of respect for the umpires. He called me out and I got mad because I knew I was safe.”
The Cubs then loaded the bases, and Darwin Barney thought he had drawn a walk on a 3-1 pitch but instead home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called a strike. Jose Cisnero then got Barney to fly out to center to end the inning.
“Soriano is safe at second so there’s a run, and the guy’s throwing the ball all over the place and Barney takes a 3-1 pitch and it’s eight inches inside, and instead it’s a pop up and an out,” Sveum said. “It’s a shame.”
Nate Schierholtz set a career high with his 10th home run and Luis Valbuena hit a two-run single for the Cubs, now 7-3 against American League teams this year. Travis Wood picked up his 14th quality start, most in the Major Leagues, but the lefty couldn’t snap a personal three-game losing streak.
Cubs starters now have posted quality starts in seven of the last nine games, and have won five of those nine games. The team also is 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position over the last four games, and batting .167 with RISP in the last 15.
“The whole year has been like that,” Soriano said. “We don’t get the big hit when we need it. It’s a little frustrating but we have to forget this game today and come back tomorrow and win the series tomorrow.”
– Carrie Muskat
* After Sunday’s game in which he threw seven shutout innings, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said he hoped to be matched up with Dioner Navarro as his catcher in the future. Manager Dale Sveum wouldn’t guarantee that. He didn’t think the difference Sunday was the catcher, but Garza.
“I make of it a guy having command of his fastball,” Sveum said. “When you have command of your fastball down and away, in any kind of format in the big leagues, you’re going to have success.”
Welington Castillo had caught Garza’s five previous starts, including a game May 31 against the Diamondbacks, when the right-hander gave up two runs over seven innings and picked up the win.
“[Castillo] has caught the other guys pretty well,” Sveum said. “He’s done a great job. However it works out, it works out. Welington Castillo has put himself in a situation where he’s caught the [Scott] Feldman’s and the [Travis] Wood’s and the [Jeff] Samardzija’s great outings. The things he’s done for all these guys is well and above what a young catcher is supposed to do.”
So, is Garza frustrated or making excuses?
“You can call it what you want,” Sveum said. “When you have fastball command, you can have an [Class] ‘A’ ball catcher catching.”
* Instead of adding another outfielder, the Cubs activated reliever Shawn Camp from the disabled list on Saturday, which leaves them a little short-handed as far as position players go. Sveum said there will be no change in the immediate future.
“Right now, it’s coming in handy having that extra guy,” Sveum said.
* Alfonso Soriano was visibly upset after Sunday’s loss to the Mets in which Carlos Marmol blew a three-run lead in the ninth.
“For the position players in that clubhouse as well as some of our starting pitchers, a lot of our starting pitchers, it’s been frustrating to beat a lot of teams and have games won after seven innings, whatever our record is after the seventh inning, and have a run differential of where we are,” Sveum said. “It wears on you after a while as a player.”
The Cubs have 21 losses in games in which they’ve had a lead.
* Left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny, the Cubs’ second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, apparently has signed with the team. Zastryzny tweeted on Monday: “Officially part of the Chicago Cubs organization. Thanks for all the support and I can’t wait to start the journey. #Cubs”
The Cubs have yet to confirm any Draft pick signings.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs are hitting just .164 (42-for-256) with 14 runs scored in eight games against the Pirates this season, an average of 1.8 runs per game. Chicago has a .257 average (449-for-1,748) and is averaging 4.5 runs in its 51 other contests (228 runs total).
* Anthony Rizzo has reached base safely in 12-straight games, tied for his single-season career-high, also done Aug. 30-Sept. 10 last season.
* Alfonso Soriano hit his 379th career home run on Saturday, tied for 64th-most in Major League history. His 171 home runs as a Cub rank 13th in franchise history, three behind Andre Dawson who is 12th with 174.
* On Saturday, the Cubs finished the First-Year Player Draft, and selected 19 pitchers (16 right-handers and three left-handers), seven infielders, eight outfielders and six catchers. Of the players taken, there were 22 college players, seven junior college players and 11 high school players.
Alfonso Soriano will be the designated hitter Tuesday night and Starlin Castro was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the Cubs. Castro batted .252 in May. Here’s the lineup:
The Cubs ended two streaks on Saturday but, unfortunately, kept another going as they lost their sixth in a row. Todd Frazier drove in two runs, including a game-tying RBI single in a four-run sixth, and Brandon Phillips scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze to spark the Reds to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs, who set a season high in consecutive losses. Chicago is now a season-low 12 games under .500.
Travis Wood took the loss, and his streak of quality starts ended at nine. He was vying to become the first Cubs pitcher to open the season with 10 straight quality starts since Mordecai Brown did so in 11 consecutive games at the beginning of the 1908 season. Wood was pulled after giving up five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, and throwing a season-high 115 pitches. He’s also winless in four starts against his former team, including two games this season. He was traded to the Cubs in December 2011 in a four-player deal that sent reliever Sean Marshall to Cincinnati.
The good news for the Cubs is Anthony Rizzo’s hitless streak is over. Rizzo, who was in an 0-for-23 funk, nearly did not play Saturday. Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted he was thinking about giving the first baseman a day off. Rizzo went 3-for-3 and drew a walk.
In the third inning, Rizzo ended his skid with a two-out, RBI double off Homer Bailey, driving in David DeJesus, who had walked. Alfonso Soriano followed with a RBI single to go ahead, 2-0. But that was all the offense for the Cubs, who have scored 12 runs in their last five games and were batting .220 on the road. Frazier hit a sacrifice fly in the Reds’ fourth to make it 2-1.
Cincinnati then took the lead in the sixth. Joey Votto led off with a walk and Brandon Phillips singled. One out later, Frazier hit a RBI single to tie the game. Phillips then scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze by Derrick Robinson, and Ryan Hanigan followed with a RBI double. Pinch-hitter Cesar Izturis added a RBI single to chase Wood.
– Carrie Muskat
* Alfonso Soriano did not start Friday, getting a breather in the Cubs’ first game of a three-game series against the Reds. Manager Dale Sveum said Soriano, 37, will definitely be in the lineup for next week’s Interleague series against the White Sox, which starts Monday. Soriano is one option as the designated hitter, and Sveum said he’s also considering Dioner Navarro and Welington Castillo.
The Cubs were expected to face lefties Jose Quintana and Chris Sale in the first two games against the White Sox. Sveum has hinted he’ll tweak the lineup he’s used so far against southpaw starters and include some of the left-handed hitters. Any hints?
“I don’t know,” Sveum said. “Wait and see.”
* Starlin Castro, who appeared to injure his right ankle sliding into second base on Thursday, was in the lineup on Friday. The shortstop now has appeared in 243 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the National League, and second longest in baseball. Prince Fielder has appeared in 389 games in a row.
“I’m good to go,” Castro said.
* The Cubs have not hit a home run on the road since April 28 in Miami.
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano will get Friday off with Ryan Sweeney in the lineup and starting in left for the Cubs as they open a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Here’s the lineup:
* Feldman is 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his last five starts, holding the opponent to a .192 batting average. Prior to this five-start stretch, Feldman was 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in three outings with opponents batting .263 (15-for-57). Since April 26, Feldman’s 1.27 ERA ranks fourth in the NL behind only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (0.68), the Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann (0.91) and Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (1.25). Feldman’s seven unearned runs allowed this season rank tied for third-most in the Majors. The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg has surrendered a Major-League high nine unearned runs.
* Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting streak to three games with his home run on Monday. It was his 376th career blast, tying him with Carlton Fisk for 69th on MLB’s all-time list.
* Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to four games. Welington Castillo is batting .382 in 15 home games.
* With Monday’s win over the Rockies, the Cubs have won three in a row, matching their season high. They are 11-9 since April 23.
* The Cubs totaled eight extra-base hits and lead the NL with 131. They also lead the NL in doubles.
* Kyuji Fujikawa pitched Sunday and Monday, his first back to back games since coming off the disabled list. That was by design, manager Dale Sveum said. Fujikawa will get Tuesday off, and likely pitch Wednesday. He had been sidelined with a strained right forearm.
– Carrie Muskat
* Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs Saturday for his 31st career multi-homer game, and second by a Cubs player this year. Soriano now has 375 career home runs, one of 70 players in MLB history to reach that mark. He hit a pair of two-run home runs off the Reds, and that accounted for two of the three hits by the Cubs.
* Jeff Samardzija has a 1.50 ERA in two starts against the Reds this year, yet no wins. On Saturday, he threw a season-high 111 pitches over six innings. The Cubs have compiled 18 quality starts this year, and a 2.05 ERA. But they have won just six of those games.
* James Russell has 16 straight scoreless outings to open the season. He has 15 Ks, and two walks.
* On Sunday, Edwin Jackson (0-4, 6.27 ERA) will face Mat Latos (2-0, 1.83 ERA) in the series finale at Wrigley Field.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs are convinced Carlos Marmol can still get batters out, but on Saturday, he couldn’t throw a strike. Marmol entered in the eighth with a two-run lead and failed to retire a batter, walking two and hitting another, to help the Reds rally for four runs and post a 6-4 victory over the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of two-run home runs and Jeff Samardzija was in line for his first win since Opening Day until the fateful eighth.
Chicago led 4-2 when Marmol took over, making his 453rd appearance, a franchise record, passing Lee Smith. But he walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, then walked Joey Votto. Dale Sveum left Marmol in, hoping he could get Brandon Phillips to ground into a double play. Instead, Marmol hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch to load the bases. Hector Rondon entered, and Jay Bruce hit a RBI single, Todd Frazier followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4. Rondon intentionally walked Xavier Paul, and unintentionally walked pinch-hitter Joel Hannahan to force in the go-ahead run. Another run scored on pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco’s sacrifice fly.
Marmol is the problem, though. In 14 appearances, he has given up 11 hits, walked 12 and hit three batters over 11 2/3 innings. He lost his job as the closer after the first week of the season, and now has a 6.17 ERA.
“I can’t throw strikes,” Marmol said. “I’m giving people a chance to score.”
“He’s not executing,” Sveum said. “He’s not throwing the ball over the plate. It doesn’t matter what pitch is called.”
The Cubs are trying to make it work for the right-hander, who lost his job as the closer last season yet won it back and finished strong. He hasn’t been able to bounce back this year.
“He’ll be pitching in roles with the game on the line, early in the game, or whatever,” Sveum said. “One way or the other, he’s got to get fixed. … I don’t even know if he threw a strike today. There were a couple swings but I don’t know if they were strikes. One way or the other, we have to get him fixed because he’s got to pitch.”
Marmol threw 14 pitches Saturday, only four were strikes, and only one was a called strike. He said he isn’t lacking confidence and that he’s healthy. He is frustrated.
“I have to go out there tomorrow and throw strikes and get people out,” Marmol said. “That’s all you can do.”
Unfortunately for the Cubs, this isn’t the first time they’ve blown a lead in the late innings. This was the 25th game out of the Cubs’ 30 to be decided by three runs or less, and Chicago now is 9-16 in those games. Twelve of those losses have been by two runs or less.
“Probably half of our losses have been these kind of losses,” Sveum said. “That’s what’s frustrating. If we could turn the switch around, we’d have eight more wins. It’s not like we’re going through a game and losing 6-2 and it’s a normal game. Whether it’s errors or walking people like today or whatever it might be, there aren’t a lot of clean games going on in the first 30 games.”
They may be frustrated but they’re not down.
“Maybe on some other teams but this team is pretty resilient,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and turn these ‘L’s’ into ‘W’s.’”
– Carrie Muskat