Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

7/6 Vote Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo needs your vote. The Cubs’ first baseman is one of five players up for the 2014 All-Star Game Final Vote, competing for a spot on the National League team with the Rockies’ Justin Morneau, the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon, the Marlins’ Casey McGehee, and the Braves’ Justin Upton.

Rizzo, 24, led all NL first basemen with 17 home runs and was tied for the league lead with 14 homers since April 30. He ranked first among NL first basemen in walks (50), was tied for first with 16 go-ahead RBIs, and fourth with an .873 OPS. Overall, he was batting .274 with 13 doubles, one triple and 45 RBIs in 84 games.

Fans began voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian now. You can cast your votes on MLB.com, and the winner will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 10.

“It’s an honor to come down to the wire like this, but I’m sure that the other four players are well-deserving as well,” Rizzo said Sunday in Washington after the Cubs’ game against the Nationals. “It’ll be fun.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/24 Extra bases

* Anthony Rizzo may not rank among the top five NL first basemen in the fan’s All-Star balloting but he got an endorsement from the Reds’ Joey Votto.

“Anthony’s made a big adjustment this year,” Votto said. “He’s always been a pretty excellent defender, and he’s always had the potential. It seems to me like he’s put it all together. He’s played like — he’s probably going to be an All-Star this year. He’s worthy of it.

“He’s played really quite well, and I hope he continues it because he’s set himself up this year for long-term success,” Votto said. “And I think the Cubs are probably pretty happy because they got him at a pretty fair price.”

Rizzo leads all NL first basemen in home runs, hitting his 16th on Monday, and trailed only the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen in walks entering Tuesday’s game.

* Jeff Samardzija doesn’t have the won-loss record that would justify being considered an All-Star, but Cubs manager Rick Renteria feels the right-hander should be on the NL team. Samardzija ranks seventh in the NL with a 2.53 ERA and also is seventh in strikeouts with 97. He just hasn’t gotten any run support. The right-hander has received one or less runs of support in eight of his 16 starts, and has a 2.82 ERA in those outings. He has a 1.63 ERA in eight starts at Wrigley Field, but is just 1-3 in those games.

“If the question is, would I recommend him? Yes,” Renteria said when asked if Samardzija should be on the All-Star team. “Would I be criticized for it? It really wouldn’t matter. He’s pitched extremely well. He’s among the top 10 pitchers in ERA. We haven’t scored a whole lot of runs for him.

“Is he an individual who deserves sincere consideration? Absolutely.”

* Emilio Bonifacio, on the disabled list with a right oblique strain since June 13, has yet to begin baseball activities as part of his rehab. Renteria said Bonifacio was making progress but there is no timetable for his return.

* Eli Whiteside, who was designated for assignment on Sunday to make room on the roster for Welington Castillo, has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa. Whiteside was 3-for-25 in eight games with the Cubs.

– Carrie Muskat

6/10 Cubs 7, Pirates 3

Could Anthony Rizzo be an All-Star? He’s on a good run lately. Rizzo had three hits, including a two-run homer off southpaw Francisco Liriano, and pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena smacked a tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth to lift the Cubs to a 7-3 victory Tuesday night over the Pirates and spoil Gregory Polanco’s coming out party.

Rizzo is now batting .344 (21-for-61) with five home runs and 15 RBIs off southpaws this season. He connected on his 13th home run with one out in the first, and his other two hits, both doubles, came off right-handers. It’s quite a turnaround after last season when he batted .189 against left-handers, hitting seven home runs.

“I just feel very confident and that’s everything in this game,” Rizzo said. “I don’t care what anyone says. Whether your mechanics are good or bad, if you’re feeling confident at the plate, it makes a huge difference.”

Travis Wood got the win, giving up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. The Pirates rallied to tie the game twice. But with one out in the Chicago sixth, Starlin Castro walked and Justin Ruggiano was hit by a pitch for the second straight at-bat. Valbuena hit the first pitch into the gap in right center to go ahead, 5-3. Rizzo added a RBI double in the seventh that Polanco had trouble catching up to. Rizzo then tallied on Castro’s single for a 7-3 lead.

Although he has yet to appear in the top five in the National League balloting, the Cubs could make a case for Rizzo to be their All-Star representative on July 15.

“The first basemen in this league, they’re all All-Stars,” Rizzo said. “I’ll just keep playing my game and not let it affect me.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/1 Brewers 9, Cubs 0

Kyle Lohse threw a three-hit complete game to lead the Brewers to a 9-0 win over the Cubs Sunday and take the series. Jeff Samardzija had the shortest start of his career, giving up eight runs over three innings. Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer, Scooter Gennett had three hits, including a solo homer, and Lyle Overbay hit a three-run double.

“It was one of those days,” Samardzija said. “They came out aggressive and were hitting the ball. Tip your hat to them, they’re swinging it pretty good. I left some balls up in the zone and they jumped on them.”

Samardzija was coming off his first win of the season, and making his 12th start. It was his worst. He had not given up more than three earned runs in a game this season, and had done that only twice. It was the first time he had been charged with that many runs since the Phillies scored nine in 3 1/3 innings on Aug. 8.

“Whatever he threw over the plate, they were on it,” Cubs catcher Welington Castillo said. “We all know what kind of stuff Samardzija has and how good a game he can pitch. His stuff was there today and they were on it.”

The Brewers were prepared, but didn’t expect this.

“I figured it’d be low scoring on both ends,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “I knew Kyle had a good chance of keeping them down, and I didn’t expect to get a lot of runs off Samardzija.”

Who would? When Samardzija started the game, he had a 1.68 ERA, just percentage points ahead of the Reds’ Johnny Cueto in the Majors. He finished with a 2.54 ERA.

“I’m obviously upset with how it went today,” Samardzija said. “It’s just about going out and understanding that it’s a season of 32 starts and some are good, some are bad, and next time you want to go out and prevent the big number and keep your team in the game.

“That’s the most frustrating part of it is when they’re hitting in the fourth and feel like it’s a big dish they’re in,” he said. “If you have a rough day, you need to keep it to four, five, six runs, something maneagable for the offense.”

Samardzija wasn’t the only one who made an early exit. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo was ejected for the first time in his career in the fourth after arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Jerry Meals.

“I didn’t agree with the calls, obviously,” Rizzo said. “I said my piece, and definitely understand why I got ejected, and I’ll just move on with it.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/1 Rizzo tossed; Samardzija exits

Jeff Samardzija had the shortest outing of his career Sunday, giving up eight runs on eight hits and two walks over three innings against the Brewers. Samardzija began the day leading the Majors in ERA at 1.68; that increased to 2.55. He wasn’t the only Cubs player to make an early exit. Anthony Rizzo was ejected in the fourth inning after arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. It’s the first time Rizzo has been tossed in his career.

– Carrie Muskat

5/31 Extra bases, post-game edition

* Anthony Rizzo posted his fifth career multi-homer game on Saturday, hitting a pair of two-run homers. It’s his first multi-homer game since Aug. 21, against the Nationals.

* Jason Hammel has thrown 14 scoreless innings at Miller Park in two starts, and struck out 15 over that stretch.

* Since May 12, the Cubs bullpen has a 1.96 ERA, giving up 12 runs over 55 1/3 innings.

* Jeff Samardzija faces Kyle Lohse on Sunday in the series finale.

5/31 Cubs 8, Brewers 0

One day after getting a breather for the first time this season, Anthony Rizzo crushed a pair of two-run homers on Saturday to back Jason Hammel and lift the Cubs to an 8-0 victory over the Brewers in front of a sellout crowd of 42,332 at Miller Park.

Hammel continued his love affair with Miller Park. When he most recently pitched here on April 27, he did not give up a hit until one out into the sixth. The Brewers didn’t wait that long Saturday, collecting a single with two outs in the first, but they mustered only four hits off the right-hander over seven innings.

“He set the tone and gave us seven really, really good innings,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He kept the ball down, mixed up his pitches, very calm, very poised. He’s a veteran. He commands his emotions and is very meticulous in his preparations and just attacks the hitters.”

Whether the right-hander will still be pitching for the Cubs after the Trade Deadline remains to be seen.

“I know my own value,” Hammel said. “My value is here for the Cubs and that’s the way I see it. I’m not going to play into the trade talk — it is what it is. The only way you can’t get traded in baseball is if you have a no-trade clause. It can happen to anybody.”

Rizzo apparently benefitted from the respite. Emilio Bonifacio singled to lead off the Chicago fourth, and he was safe at second on Junior Lake’s grounder despite a challenge from Roenicke. Rizzo then smacked a 3-2 pitch from Wily Peralta into the right-field seats for his ninth homer and a 2-0 lead.

“Having a day off is kind of weird,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

He knew what to do at the plate. Hammel singled to lead off the Chicago sixth, and two outs later, Rizzo launched his second homer of the game, again off a 3-2 pitch from Peralta, to put the Cubs ahead, 4-0. It was Rizzo’s fifth career multihomer game and his first since Aug. 21 against the Nationals.

Starlin Castro followed Rizzo with a double, and Nate Schierholtz walked to chase Peralta. Zach Duke took over and served up RBI singles to Chris Coghlan and Baker, as well as an RBI double to Barney as Chicago opened a 7-0 lead.

– Carrie Muskat

5/21 Rizzo’s Cook Off a success

Anthony Rizzo’s second “Cook-Off for Cancer” raised $140,000, which will be used for pediatric cancer research, care and support. The event was held last Friday at Revel Downtown, and about 400 guests took part. Rizzo has devoted himself to helping kids with cancer after after surviving non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008.

The event featured 11 Chicago chefs serving upscale versions of ballpark food served by various players from the Cubs team. Guests voted on their favorite dish by tipping servers. Chef Molly Johnson of Limelight Catering won with her “Frozen Ball Park Nachos” made with vanilla ice cream, chaco-taco chips, buttered rum caramel, roasted peanuts, and salted pretzels. Other participating chefs included Lee Ann Whippen of Chicago q, Mario Hernandez of Del Frisco’s, Joseph Farina of Joe’s Fish, David Burns of Levy Restaurants, Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno, Mark Sparacino of Prosecco, Cosmo Goss of Publican, Doug Psaltis of RPM Italian, Joseph Heppe of Untitled 111 and last year’s winner Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster.

“Thanks to my family, the Cubs family, chefs and everyone who attended, the Cook-Off was a huge success,” Rizzo said. “Through this event, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation is able to support and help families who are battling cancer.”

The beneficiaries of this year’s Cook-Off are Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Bear Hugs program, Family Reach Foundation and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

5/15 Cardinals 5, Cubs 3

Jason Hammel gave up more runs in one inning than he’s served up in any of his previous starts as the Cubs closed their rain-shortened series against the Cardinals with a 5-3 loss on Thursday. It was an interesting matinee. Anthony Rizzo bunted twice for singles, setting up Starlin Castro’s sixth home run in the fourth inning the second time, Jose Veras returned in relief, and manager Rick Renteria tried not to cough in his battle with a nasty case of bronchitis.

Hammel did not record a quality start for the first time this season. The right-hander struck out the side to start the game, and he finished with six K’s. He scattered five hits and walked two over 5 1/3 innings.

“It’s the kiss of death to strike out the side in the first inning as a starting pitcher — everybody knows that,” Hammel said. “Today was the best physically I felt all year and obviously, it’s the way the game works, and it didn’t work out. My fastball was up. It caught up with me in the second.”

The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the second inning on a double by Yadier Molina and walks to both Allen Craig and Peter Bourjos. Molina scored on Mark Ellis’ groundout to second. Wacha then helped himself with a two-run single and he scored on Matt Carpenter’s double for a 4-0 lead. That prompted a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Hammel felt good on the mound, but just missed with his pitches at the wrong time.

“I was confident with what I was doing and had a good game plan,” Hammel said. “It was good for three of the five [innings] I was out there and other two was a little bit of a labor.”

Hammel needed 33 pitches to get through the second, but he was able to find his rhythm and retired 10 in a row.

“He wants you to swing at his pitch, kind of nibbles the zone,” St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter said of Hammel. “We did a good job of making him work his pitch count up. We were able to get the big knock, and that’s been the big difference, really, with the season so far, getting guys on and being able to get them in.”

Rizzo bunted for a single for the second time in the game leading off the fourth, beating the Cardinals’ defensive shift. Castro followed with his sixth home run to pull the Cubs within, 4-2. The shortstop now has four homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games since moving to the No. 4 spot in the lineup.

“I like it there,” Castro said of his role as the cleanup man. “I feel pretty good there. I like hitting with men in scoring position. [Renteria] put me there for a reason.”

And Castro would bunt, too, if needed. Rizzo now has three career bunt singles.

“It’s something he’s seen as a mode of maybe off-setting [the shift],” Renteria said. “He’s looking at the game from a lot of different angles. Think about it — you’re down four runs, and a solo home run isn’t going to do a whole lot for you. Why not?”

It’s one way to get teams to stop employing the extreme defensive adjustments against the left-handed hitting first baseman.

“Everyone wants to play these shifts and I have Starlin Castro hitting behind me,” Rizzo said. “If they’re going to give me that, I might as well take it.

“I almost made them pay twice for it,” he said. “Whenever you can get a base runner — Wacha’s a great pitcher and you want to get him in the stretch and try to maybe throw him off a little bit. If teams are going to give me that, I’ll take it all the time.”

Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Kevin Siegrist, and tallied a run on Junior Lake’s sacrifice fly against Trevor Rosenthal.

With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 13-26, matching their slowest start through 39 games since 2002.

“You’ve got to look at the positive,” Hammel said of the Cubs. “We’ve played a lot of good ballgames. We’re not getting blown out. It’s not ugly games. It’s one or two pitches here or there, or one or two timely hits that we haven’t gotten. It’s not like we’re just laying down. It’s obviously frustrating but I think we’ve played pretty good ball.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 More from Monday’s win

* The Cubs’ 17 runs were the most in a game since a 17-2 win vs. the Pirates on Aug. 14, 2009, and the most runs on the road since a 17-4 victory on July 26, 1996, at Colorado.

* The 20 hits were their most since a 21-hit outburst on Aug. 2, 2011, at Pittsburgh.

* Mike Olt hit his team-leading eighth home run of the season on Monday. Olt is the 13th Cubs rookie in the last 82 seasons (starting in 1933) to reach eight home runs prior to the All-Star break.

* Anthony Rizzo is batting .295 (13-for-44) with a double, four homers, 11 RBI, 10 walks (compared to eight strikeouts) and a 1.009 OPS in his last 12 games dating to April 30. He has a .393 OBP in 37 games this season, 10th-best in the NL.

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