Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
* Anthony Rizzo picked up his 20th extra-base hit of the season with a double in the first. He is batting .392 since April 26 with nine doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs.
* Jeff Samardzija picked up his first win since Opening Day, ending a five-game losing streak. His two-run homer was the first by a Cubs pitcher since Travis Wood did so Aug. 28 against the Brewers.
* David DeJesus notched his 500th career RBIs with his first inning home run.
* The Cubs have 24 doubles in the last six games, and lead the Majors with 92 doubles.
* Darwin Barney made a great defensive play in the fourth when he snared Carlos Gonzalez’s hard hit ball up the middle and threw in time to first.
“The one thing you do with Barney on defense is you don’t worry about it,” Dale Sveum said. “He’s either going to make a great play, and he never messes up any routine plays, even the pivot around second base.”
* Matt Garza makes a Minor League rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa.
“It’s only going to get better when we get him back here,” Samardzija said. “Obviously, we want him to be healthy and that’s the most important thing.”
– Carrie Muskat
Luis Valbuena is back in the Cubs’ lineup for the series finale against the Rockies. Jeff Samardzija will be on the mound, looking for his first win since Opening Day. Here’s the lineup:
* Anthony Rizzo has not struck out in his last 28 at-bats dating to the sixth inning, May 7, vs. the Cardinals. It’s the second-longest active stretch in the Majors without a strikeout, trailing only the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy, who has not fanned in his last 31 at-bats (thanks to STATS Inc. for the info).
Rizzo was batting .380 (21-for-71) with eight doubles, three homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.056 OPS in his last 18 games dating to April 26. He has struck out eight times in that stretch. Prior to this 18-game span, he batted .173 (14-for-81) in his first 21 games to open the season with 26 Ks. His .380 batting average since April 26 is fourth-highest in the National League.
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo appeared on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” and revealed that he had to borrow a belt, that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are his “step parents,” and he’s jealous of Jeff Samardzija’s hair. During the interview with Kevin Millar and Chris Rose, Rizzo was asked for his first response when told the Cubs wanted to give him a long term contract.
“[I said] ‘Where do I sign?’” Rizzo said.
He did sign a seven-year, $41 million deal on Monday but apparently had to borrow a belt from teammate Ryan Sweeney for the news conference.
Epstein, Hoyer and Jason McLeod, the scouting and player development director, first selected Rizzo in the 2007 Draft. Then Hoyer traded for him when he and McLeod went to the Padres. Epstein, Hoyer and McLeod were reunited on the Cubs, and traded for Rizzo again. Does the first baseman have a man crush on Epstein and Hoyer?
“Those are my step parents, to be honest, Jed, Theo and Jason,” Rizzo said. “They brought me along on their ride. I think I have a crush on them more now.”
Millar and Rose wanted to know who has the best hair on the Cubs. Rizzo said it’s not him.
“[Samardzija] and [James] Russell have the best hair on the team so far,” Rizzo said.
He may like the locks, but during a quick Q&A, Rizzo couldn’t spell Samardzija’s name.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs might want to save Dale Sveum some time and have lineup cards printed with Anthony Rizzo’s name in the No. 3 spot after the first baseman signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension on Monday that includes two club options.
“In my position, it’s nice to have a guy projected for 30 [homers] and 100 RBIs in your lineup for the next seven to whatever years, especially with his makeup and defensive ability,” Sveum said Monday. “It’s pretty important to all of us — the city and the organization — to have somebody like that locked up for that long. It’s a pretty special day for all of us.”
Rizzo, 23, is the second young Cubs player to receive a long term extension. Shortstop Starlin Castro was rewarded with a seven-year, $60 million contract last August.
“Now, you don’t have pressure,” Castro said. “You have your contract, your family is good. The only thing you have to put in your mind is play hard and help your team win.”
With the two signings, GM Jed Hoyer has sent a clear signal as to who they plan on building the team around.
“This is just the base and the start of things to get these core players, those position players who you have control over for a long time and can stay here and be something special,” Sveum said.
Castro, 23, wasn’t surprised to see Rizzo get the large contract.
“I knew it was coming,” Castro said. “If it happened to me, I think the next one was him.”
Who’s next? Castro wouldn’t say. But Rizzo does give young players the same message.
“[The front office] has been watching me since I was 17,” Rizzo said. “They’ve seen me develop, they’ve seen me make my mistakes, and they’re going to continue to see me develop and do good things and bad things. What I tell the young guys is work hard. You can always control working hard. Once you get labeled as slacking off by one coach, that can stay with you for a long time. That’s the message I try to send.
“Last year at this time, I was in Triple-A and wondering when that call was going to come,” Rizzo said, “and it’s just the hard work pays off. Five years ago at this time, I was in a hospital waiting on my first treatment for cancer. It’s crazy how everything has come full circle.”
Now, the focus is on playing winning baseball.
“The only thing I think about is that, winning here,” Castro said. “I know it’ll be unbelievable. That’s why those people up there started signing players for long-term deals, to be here when the team becomes good every season. I think it’s very soon.”
– Carrie Muskat
Starlin Castro got a long-term deal last August and Anthony Rizzo received a new contract on Monday. What about Jeff Samardzija?
“It’s not really important to me, to tell you the truth,” Samardzija said. “I’m the type of guy who the play speaks for itself and if you’re healthy and do everything you’re supposed to do like those guys do and most importantly, do what it takes to win ballgames, that’s what it’s all about. I’m a little older than they are — I wouldn’t mind being 22 or 23 again — but baseball wise, I’m still pretty young. That stuff comes as the game goes.”
In Spring Training, Samardzija said he wanted to pitch first, and then talk contract. That’s still the way he’s looking at it.
“We’re still in only the second month of the season,” Samardzija said. “Coming in and starting Opening Day and pitching every fifth game from there, I’ve felt great. I’m excited to get into the summer and get into August and get toward that high innings count and see where I’m at as a starter. Nothing has changed. The games that happen out here are the most important for me personally.”
He didn’t ask to table negotiations.
“I know they have a lot of things on their minds right now,” Samardzija said of the Cubs front office. “We have an understanding that we both want to be here, and both want me here, and that’s a great place to be. It’s up to me to do my job on the field.”
The right-hander recognizes that players are paid based on what they do on the field.
“I want my play to determine how everything goes down,” he said. “I have high expectations for myself and this team. That comes first. I feel everything after that will fall into line for me personally.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs locked up another one of their core players on Sunday. Sources confirmed the Cubs have signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with two club options worth $14.5 million each. The deal includes escalators which could increase the total value of the contract to $73 million.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal, which does not include a no-trade clause. Rosenthal reports the contract will override Rizzo’s existing 2013 deal, and is essentially a six-year extension. As a “Super Two” player, Rizzo, 23, would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season. The deal will effectively buy out one year prior to qualifying for arbitration plus four arbitration years and two years of free agency eligibility.
Last August, the Cubs gave shortstop Starlin Castro a seven-year, $60 million contract. Rizzo and Castro are key pieces which Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer hope to build around. The Rizzo extension ensures the Cubs can keep him under control through 2021.
Rizzo was batting .280 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs. He was tied for second in the NL and fifth in the Majors with 19 extra-base hits. In his last 16 games, Rizzo was batting .452 with eight doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBIs; he opened the season hitting .173 in his first 21 games.
Promoted from the big leagues last June 26, Rizzo was inserted into the No. 3 spot in the Cubs lineup, and showed he was worthy, batting .330 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in July to win NL Player of the Month honors. He does not have a full season yet with the Cubs, and has played 172 games total in the Majors.
– Carrie Muskat
Edwin Jackson pitched the way the Cubs had hoped, but it was his two-run double that provided the spark the team needed Saturday. Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, and David DeJesus each drove in two runs to lift the Cubs to an 8-2 victory over the Nationals and even the series.
The Cubs weren’t sure if Jackson’s struggles in his first seven starts were because he was feeling some pressure after signing his first long-term contract. The right-hander, who received a four-year, $52 million contract this offseason, has played for eight different teams, including the Nationals last season, and likes to joke about how easy it is for him to make friends. But going 0-5 to open the season was a concern.
“It is a natural emotion when you get a contract to try to do much more than you’re capable of doing instead of just being yourself,” Dale Sveum said. “Hopefully, those kind of things are going away. He just needs to be Edwin Jackson and not worry about how much money he’s making.”
Jackson did exactly what he needed to do, and joked after the game he was going to give himself a celebratory beer shower.
“It was definitely nice to get the monkey off my back to come out and help contribute to a team win,” Jackson said.
It was a big monkey.
“It felt like the same size as me, that I was carrying double,” Jackson said. “When things are going bad, you can either fold and collapse or you can continue to work hard and climb your way out of a hole.”
Said Rizzo: “You couldn’t tell he was 0-5, and that’s the ultimate pro. He comes in and does his work and he’s a great teammate, and great clubhouse guy.”
With two outs in the Cubs fifth, Welington Castillo reached on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman. Darwin Barney then walked, and both he and Castillo scored on Jackson’s double, his first hit in 12 at-bats this year.
“That was probably the difference in the whole ballgame,” Sveum said of Jackson’s hit. “If Strasburg punches him out there, it’s a whole different ballgame. Those kind of guys settle in and it’s a shutout and you’re battling the rest of the game.”
Jackson had joked with some of his former Nats teammates on Friday that he was looking forward to facing Strasburg. How did he approach the at-bat?
“It was 3-2 [in the count], I was looking for something I could hit hard,” Jackson said. “He’s throwing 96, 97, 98 [mph], and I’d been missing the whole game, and I told myself to relax and find something I could make contact with.
“You saw how he made me look the first [at-bat],” Jackson said of a strikeout in the third. “Fastball, fastball, than, whoo, slider and kind of froze me. I felt when it was 3-2, he was going to try to come at me — he doesn’t want to walk a pitcher — and I got a pitch I could drive.”
Strasburg then walked DeJesus, and Starlin Castro was safe on an infield hit to load the bases for Rizzo, who hit a two-run single. Rizzo ended the inning when he was caught trying to steal second.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs have made 30 errors, most in the Major Leagues, and they have led to 19 unearned runs, tied with the Astros for most in the Majors. The Cubs also have committed an error in a season-high seven straight games for the first time since a nine game stretch, July 9-20, 2011.
Cubs pitchers have made eight errors. The Diamondbacks as a team have combined for eight errors.
* So far, 33 of the Cubs’ 35 games (94 percent) have been decided by four runs or less, and 28 of those games (80 percent) have been determined by three runs or less. More than half of the Cubs losses have been by two runs or less.
* Anthony Rizzo is tied for the NL lead and tied for third in the Majors with 19 extra-base hits. The Cubs’ 117 extra base hits lead the NL.
– Carrie Muskat
Another day, another close game for the Cubs.
“Another one-run game — it [stinks],” Carlos Villanueva said. “We’re close, right there.”
Carlos Beltran hit a pair of RBI singles and Jon Jay drove in two runs, including a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth, to lift the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory on Wednesday over the Cubs, who hit into four double plays, and split the two-game series.
The Cubs now have had 28 of their 34 games decided by three runs or fewer, and the team is 10-18 in those games. Chicago is 5-8 in one-run games.
“It kind of speaks well for our team,” James Russell said of the tight games. “We don’t give up and we’re always in the game. If breaks fall our way, then we win a lot more games then we have right now.”
The loss wasted the fifth quality start by Villanueva. This was the 21st quality start by a Cubs pitcher, and they have compiled a 2.01 ERA but have won only eight of the games. Only the Cardinals (24) and Phillies (22) have more quality starts, and St. Louis has 15 wins and Philadelphia has 11.
“[Villanueva] did a nice job and got out of some jams and made the pitches when he had to,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He got the outs when he had to and left it up to [Russell] who has been the most reliable guy for two years to get a left-hander out.”
Russell ran into trouble in the seventh. St. Louis trailed 4-3 when Matt Carpenter doubled off Russell and reached third on an error by Nate Schierholtz, who had trouble picking up Carpenter’s ball. Then Beltran delivered the game-tying RBI single.
“If I make a better pitch to Carpenter, I’m not in that situation,” Russell said. “I hung a curveball to him and he hit my mistake and that’s what good hitters do. He made me pay for it.”
Beltran’s hit snapped Russell’s season-opening scoreless streak at 13 innings, spanning 17 games.
“For some reason, the lefties they have over there, they hit left-handers pretty well,” Russell said of the Cardinals. “I’ve just got to find some different things to do against them.
“You’ll have those days when broken bat hits fall in and you’ll have days when guys will smoke balls and they’re hit right at somebody,” he said. “Right now, I was on the other end of it, but it is what it is.”
In the St. Louis eighth against Michael Bowden, Yadier Molina singled and moved up on a wild pitch before scoring on Jay’s single to center. Chicago now has lost 10 games in which it had a lead, tied with the Diamondbacks for the most in the National League.
The Cubs seem to have their starting pitching figured out and have settled on Kevin Gregg as the closer. It’s those middle innings that are a little tricky.
“We just can’t seem to shut anybody down in that sixth, seventh inning right now,” Sveum said. “We’re getting two strikes on people. We just can’t make a pitch when we have to.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Anthony Rizzo leads the NL and is tied for second in the Majors with 18 extra-base hits while David DeJesus is tied for ninth in the NL with 15. The Cubs’ 108 extra-base hits are second-most in the NL behind the Rockies (111).
* Travis Wood recorded his seventh-straight quality start to begin the season on Tuesday, the first Cubs lefty to accomplish the feat since Johnny Schmitz did so to start the 1948 campaign.
* Cubs third basemen have an .806 OPS this season, fourth-best in the NL, after recording a .611 OPS in 2012, second-lowest in the Majors.
* The Cubs have four starting pitchers with a season ERA of 3.09 or lower, the second-most in the Majors: Scott Feldman (2.70), Jeff Samardzija (3.09), Carlos Villanueva (2.85) and Travis Wood (2.33). The Cardinals feature a staff in which all five starters have sub-3.09 ERAs.
* Looking ahead to the Cubs weekend series in Washington against the Nationals, here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.09) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.50)
Saturday: RHP Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45)
Sunday: RHP Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.97)
– Carrie Muskat