Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
The Cubs scored three runs in the eighth to post a 3-1 victory Saturday over the Braves, and force Atlanta to wait a little longer before clinching the NL East division. The Braves’ magic number is one. Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI double, Dioner Navarro smacked a RBI single and Nate Schierholtz hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for the win. Pedro Strop pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Carlos Villanueva got the win in relief of starter Travis Wood, who gave up one run over seven-plus innings. It was Wood’s 24th quality start. Wood is one inning shy of 200, and will get that in his next start Friday against the Cardinals.
Rizzo’s double was his 62nd extra base hit, the most by a left-handed Cubs batter since Corey Patterson’s 63 in 2004. Villanueva is now 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his last eight relief appearances.
The Braves may stay at Wrigley Saturday night to celebrate. They clinch the division if the Nationals lose to the Marlins
“One day, hopefully that will be us and we’ll move forward from there,” Wood said of the Braves.
– Carrie Muskat
Gold Glove ballots will be distributed this week. Here’s a look at recent or season-long defensive accomplishments by qualifying Cubs defenders:
* Welington Castillo leads all Major League catchers with a 2.5 defensive WAR (2.5) this season.
* Anthony Rizzo leads all ML first basemen in defensive WAR (0.6) and leads all National League first basemen with an .900 ultimate zone rating. Rizzo ranks second in the league with a .996 fielding percentage this season.
* Darwin Barney leads all National League second basemen in defensive WAR (1.4), and has made only four errors this season, by far the fewest by any everyday second baseman. Barney’s .993 fielding percentage is far and away the best in the National League. He began this season with a 71-game errorless streak and takes an active 41-game errorless streak into tonight’s game.
* Starlin Castro has made four errors in his last 72 games starting June 26. He has an .882 ultimate zone rating during that span, second-best among NL shortstops, and a .988 fielding percentage, also second-best among league shortstops in that span.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the team’s nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente award. Tuesday marks the 12th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially acknowledge local club nominees of the award. The annual Roberto Clemente Award recognizes a MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
“It’s really an honor,” Rizzo said Monday. “It’s something that Roberto did his entire career. For him to do what he did and establish his name, it’s pretty cool to be associated with that and all the guys who have won over the years.”
Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma when he was 18 years old and in the Minor Leagues, and beat it. This December, he will hold his second five-kilometer walk a thon to celebrate five years since he was cancer free.
“Being sick, this is something we wanted to do right away,” he said of his Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. “Being here and having the opportunity to be more than just a baseball player who plays baseball and that’s it, it’s cool.”
“Being nominated for this is really an honor to me and my family because they’ve helped me through everything in life,” he said.
Rizzo will be recognized for his nomination before the Cubs’ Sept. 23 game against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. His foundation will be presented a $7,500 grant as a result of his nomination for this award.
Beginning Tuesday, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Oct. 6. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 World Series.
Rizzo, diagnosed in April 2008 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, decided when he was hospitalized that he wanted to help children and their families. In 2012, he created the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, and last December, hosted the first “Walk Off for Cancer” in his hometown of Parkland, Fla. The event raised more than $100,000. In August this year, Rizzo and his foundation staged its first event in Chicago, a “Cook Off for Cancer” featuring local chefs presenting their take on traditional ballpark food. It was a success as the foundation received more than $150,000 in donations.
– Carrie Muskat
* Anthony Rizzo leads all Major League first basemen in defensive war (0.6) and leads all National League first basemen with an .899 ultimate zone rating. Rizzo is second in the league with a .996 fielding percentage this season.
* Darwin Barney leads all Major League second basemen in defensive war (1.4), and has made only four errors this season. His .993 fielding percentage is far and away the best in the NL. Barney began the season with a 71-game errorless streak and takes an active 39-game errorless streak into tonight’s game.
* Starlin Castro has made four errors in his last 70 games starting June 26. He has an .879 ultimate zone rating during that span, second-best among NL shortstops, and a .987 fielding percentage, third-best among league shortstops in that span. However, Castro does rank 10th among NL shortstops with a .971 fielding percentage for the season, and has committed the most errors (18).
Anthony Rizzo does have 21 home runs and 73 RBIs this season, but the Cubs first baseman is batting .228, and there have been longer low streaks than high ones, which is not what he expected.
“I could say it’s been frustrating,” Rizzo said Thursday, “but I’ve also hit a lot of balls hard and they just haven’t found holes. That’s the difference between a good season and a bad season. Whatever happens at the end of the year, I’ll look back at a lot of positives. In a couple weeks, we’ll be talking about the same thing and I’ll assess it then.”
Actually, Rizzo said he probably wouldn’t answer the phone once the season ends. Dale Sveum called this a character building season for the young slugger.
“You don’t expect people to hit .300 or hit eight or seven home runs each month,” Sveum said. “A lot of people have peaks and valleys. … That’s where we are in his career in his development. [He's going through] the sophomore jinx or whatever you want to call it — the fact of the matter is, he has 20 home runs and 70 something [RBIs]. The average isn’t there or with men in scoring position. It’s a learning process.”
Would Sveum encourage Rizzo to spend a week in Arizona working on his hitting in the offseason?
“That’s up to him,” Sveum said. “He might want to get away from it. He might want a change of pace, see what he can come up with — who knows? It might be a mental block anyway. You get mentally beat down. Sometimes you can blame it on mechanics or this and that, and it’s really just your confidence level is so low, it’s tough to hit in that situation.”
Rizzo said his goal is to simply help the Cubs win.
“You just play baseball,” Rizzo said. “It’s like any other season, to be honest. We’re out of it, so you have to focus on the positives and get the team together and play baseball.”
Rizzo has not homered this month, but he does have 35 doubles, fourth most in the National League. There are positives.
“[The season] got out of hand and the year got away from him,” Sveum said. “You say, ‘I’ve got to grind this out and help the team win any way I can. I’ve got to grind and get through this and make some changes and get my confidence back and move on from there. The adversity that comes with this game builds a lot of character. You have to wait and see if it does build character.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Scott Baker will make his first Major League start since Aug. 8, 2011, on Sunday when he takes the mound in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers.
“He’s built up pretty good,” Dale Sveum said of the right-hander, who has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012. “I’m not going to put a limit on [Sunday's game]. He’s obviously not going to go over 100 pitches. We’ll see how things go. We have plenty of guys in the bullpen. It’s not a necessity to do anything but evaluate and let him pitch.”
* Ryan Sweeney will get a good look in September so the Cubs can gauge what to do next season with the outfielder.
“He’s pretty savvy, he knows what’s going on,” Sveum said. “He’s a quality left-handed bat, has the ability to hit home runs. You give him 500, 700 plate appearances that he’s never gotten before, I think you could project that to be a pretty good year.”
Sweeney missed time after injuring his ribs when he crashed into the outfield wall in Seattle.
“He’s got an ability in center field to make things look easy,” Sveum said. “You don’t want to put anybody in a Jim Edmonds category but he makes it look easy like Jim Edmonds did without a great deal of speed.”
* Junior Lake leads all Major League rookies in hits since the All-Star break, but on Saturday, the Cubs outfielder got a day off. Lake, who hit his first grand slam on Friday, was not in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Brewers on Saturday. It’s part of Sveum’s effort to give the outfielders on the roster enough playing time.
In 45 games with the Cubs, Lake has 55 hits, including five home runs. Sveum said he could project the outfielder finishing with at least 15 home runs in a full season.
“He’s got tremendous raw ability,” Sveum said. “We’ve witnessed that since the All-Star break. The power is there. You’re talking about doing things, and people still have to get the 700 plate appearances to project anything. He has the power and ability to obviously hit 15 home runs [in a single season].”
* Sveum was asked how he would judge Anthony Rizzo’s season.
“In his second year, many people in this game would take 85 to 90 [RBIs] and 25 home runs,” Sveum said. “We’re down on the average and all that, but the bottom line is, it’s been a good learning year for him and understanding about playing every day and the pitching and all that. It’s still a pretty good year for a kid who had to play every single day for the first time in his career.”
Rizzo entered Saturday’s game batting .232 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs.
– Carrie Muskat
* On Sunday, the Cubs look to win two-straight home games for the first time since taking three in a row, July 6-9 vs. the Pirates and Angels.
* Starlin Castro has recorded multi-hit efforts in three of his last four games, and has four extra-base hits in his last two games (three doubles, one home run) after recording just two extra-base hits in his first 26 August contests.
* The Cubs have averaged 5.3 runs in their last six home games (32 runs total) after scoring 12 runs in their previous eight home games, Aug. 3-18, including five shutout losses.
* Anthony Rizzo (21 homers) and Nate Schierholtz (20) form one of three left-handed hitting duos with 20 home runs apiece this season, joining the Reds’ Jay Bruce (26) and Joey Votto (20), and the Mariners’ Raul Ibanez (25) and Kyle Seager (21).
The Cubs previously had two left-handed 20-home run hitters in a season 40 years ago when Rick Monday (26) and Billy Williams (20) did so in 1973. Prior to that, it hadn’t happened since 1962 when Williams and George Altman had 22 home runs apiece.
It was a perfect homecoming for Ryne Sandberg at Wrigley Field, which has been anything but friendly to the Cubs this season. Back at the ballpark he called home for 15 seasons, Sandberg, now the Phillies interim manager, celebrated a 6-5 win over the Cubs on Friday. Michael Young had four hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the ninth, and Kevin Frandsen hit a game-tying home run in the seventh to lift the Phillies.
Last Friday in San Diego, the Cubs blew a six-run first inning lead in an 8-6 loss to the Padres. This time, they couldn’t hold a 5-0 lead after five innings. Chicago now is 25-42 at Wrigley, and are one of five teams with more wins on the road than at home.
“Twice in one week, to see this kind of game, and this one at home, with your big horse [Jeff Samardzija] on the mound, cruising along and all of a sudden he starts misfiring and gets the ball up [it's tough],” Dale Sveum said. “We can’t get a big hit to walk them off or get the chance. Michael Young hits the outfield grass [with his game-winning single] — we’re having trouble doing that at home.”
Sandberg, the Hall of Fame second baseman, received a nice ovation from the fans in his return to Wrigley. He took time to sign autographs, meet the media and say hello to old friends at the ballpark he called home from 1982-94 and again from 1996-97.
“It was good,” Sandberg said of the reception. “I heard it. A little tip of the hat to the crowd for that. And once I got up there with the umpires, we chatted a little bit. I asked them if they wanted me to take them around the ground rules.”
Sandberg not only could offer advice on how to deal with the hitter-friendly wind or the tough infield at Wrigley, but may have had a few suggestions about dealing with Samardzija, who was once on his Triple-A Iowa roster. The right-hander was shut down last Sept. 8 in his first season as a starter because the Cubs wanted to watch his innings. This year, the kid gloves are off. Friday was Samardzija’s career-high 28th start, and it included his 500th career strikeout, which he notched when he struck out Young in the third.
“Any time you get the early runs, you can be aggressive and attack the zone,” Samardzija said. “It allowed me to cruise through the middle innings. I obviously had the hiccup in the sixth.”
Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz each hit solo home runs. The Cubs added on in the fourth on Starlin Castro’s two-run double. Brian Bogusevic hit a RBi single in the fifth. But it wasn’t enough.
Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen tripled to open the Phillies’ sixth and scored on Young’s second single of the game. Jimmy Rollins then singled, and he and Young scored on Chase Utley’s triple to pull within 5-3. Utley then tallied on Domonic Brown’s groundout.
Frandsen stayed in the game, and delivered a solo homer with two outs in the seventh to tie the game at 5.
The Cubs had runners at first and second and one out in the seventh but Zach Miner struck out Murphy. Bogusevic singled to right, and Dioner Navarro, who was on second, tried to score, but was thrown out at home.
“You think about pinch-running there, but at home, in the seventh inning, [Navarro] is coming up again, and unless it was to win a game, it’s tough to [lift him],” Sveum said.
“I knew they were going to send me, there were two outs, tie game,” Navarro said. “They told me he made a perfect throw to the plate. We couldn’t catch a break today.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo is looking much better at the plate, which is why Dale Sveum didn’t want the first baseman to get out of whack against Clayton Kershaw.
“It’s just a good day,” Sveum said about giving Rizzo a breather Tuesday. “He’s swinging the bat much better now. I want to give him a few days off here and there, and this was a good one to give him off.”
Kershaw is holding left-handed hitters to a .148 batting average.
“He’s the best in the game,” Rizzo said of the Dodgers lefty. “It’d be kind of fun to face him. It’s a good day to take off. I get the day off today, play [Wednesday] and a day off the next day, so it’s a little blow.”
Right-handers aren’t having much luck against Kershaw either. They’re batting .191 this season.
“He’s the best in the game, he’s the best left-hander pitching in the game,” Rizzo said. “It’s someone I’d like to face. I’ve faced him before. I’ll just watch how he pitches, and one day I’m going to be facing him and I’ll be ready for it.”
– Carrie Muskat
If the Cubs thought Zack Greinke was tough, on Tuesday, it’ll be even tougher as they face lefty Clayton Kershaw. No Anthony Rizzo on Tuesday. The game does mark the first time in 50 seasons that a Cubs left-handed All-Star pitcher squares off against a fellow left-handed All-Star pitcher from that same season, and the first time ever after the All-Star Game took place. In 1964, Cubs lefty Dick Ellsworth twice faced fellow southpaw All-Stars: on May 14, Ellsworth faced off against the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax and endured a 6-4, 10-inning setback at Wrigley Field. On June 23, Ellsworth tossed a complete-game, 2-0 shutout against Philadelphia’s Chris Short, also at Wrigley Field.
Here’s the lineup:
T. Wood P