Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

11/22 RIP, Michael Weiner

Friday was a sad day for Major League players trying to cope with the passing of union executive director Michael Weiner. Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva, an active member of the MLB Players Association, called it a “difficult day.”

“It was a very difficult day, not only for me, but for all of us who had the pleasure of spending time with Michael,” Villanueva said Friday. “All I can say about Michael is what a wonderful leader he was to us, how he genuinely cared about us, and even when he was battling his illness, how he was there almost everyday at the office making sure that we were OK.”

Weiner lost his 15-month battle with brain cancer on Thursday. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August 2012, and continued to serve the players and provide leadership and counsel to the MLBPA staff. Weiner was 51.

“He was not only our leader but he was family, because only someone who is family could dedicate their life to us the way he did,” Villanueva said.

The Cubs pitcher is the only non-American born player on the MLBPA board, and involved with the Latin players.

“From a Latin player point of view, he fought for us, he made sure that we got fair treatment above all, even when it seemed that we would get the short end of the stick,” Villanueva said from his home in the Dominican Republic. “Michael always had his calm demeanor, worked his magic, and made us feel that we mattered.

“He showed me personally, to not only care about the Latin players, but to care and love all of our members equally, that it is never about the individual, it’s about what we do now, and how that will affect in a positive way the well being of our future members,” Villanueva said. “He will stay with us forever, and we will never have anybody like him.”

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also acknowledged Weiner’s passing on Twitter, saying: “It’s sad to see such a good man’s life be taken by cancer! Thank you for everything you have done! Rest in peace Michael Weiner!”

– Carrie Muskat

11/12 Good causes

* The Wood Family Foundation has named Lawndale Elementary Community Academy as the school to be celebrated in its Warm Wishes program. On Dec. 13, the WFF will acknowledge the academy’s success and provide holiday treats to students. Each student will receive a gift bag filled with a new winter coat, hats, gloves and scarves plus one to two gifts. You can help by donating to the Wood Family Foundation. Go to mlb.mlb.com/players/woodfamilyfoundation for more information.

* On Dec. 15, Anthony Rizzo will host his second “Walk Off for Cancer,” a 5-kilometer walk at Pine Trails park in Parkland, Fla. Besides the walk, there will be entertainment and refreshments, raffle prizes and guest appearances. This is a family friendly event. Registration is limited to 1,000 people, and costs $30 per person. If you can’t go, you can still donate to the Rizzo Family Foundation. Go to http://www.rizzo44.com for more information. This event marks five years that Rizzo has been cancer free.

– Carrie Muskat

10/31 Rizzo vs. Goldschmidt

I presented numbers comparing Darwin Barney from 2012 and this past season. Per request, here’s Anthony Rizzo vs. 2013 Gold Glove winner Paul Goldschmidt:

Rizzo
Fielding percentage: .997 (3rd in NL)
Total putouts: 1,287 (3rd in NL)
Assists: 149 (2nd in NL)
Errors: 5
Double plays: 114 (5th in NL)
Range factor: 9.03 (5th in NL)
UZR: 8.3
WAR: 1.6

Goldschmidt
Fielding percentage: .997 (2nd in NL)
Total putouts: 1,494 (1st)
Assists: 99 (4th)
Errors: 5
Double plays: 118 (2nd)
Range factor: 10.02 (1st)
UZR: 5.4
WAR: 6.4

* Note on UZR Rating: A plus 15 is Gold Glove caliber; a plus 10 is great; a plus five is above average.

* Note on WAR: Wins Above Replacement is an attempt to summarize a player’s total contribution to the team in one stat. According to Fangraphs, it looks at a player and asks, if this guy was injured, and he had to be replaced with a Minor Leaguer or someone from the bench, how much value would the team be losing? An MVP gets a six-plus WAR; a solid starter 2-3 WAR. A scrub, 0-1.

You can talk amongst yourselves about this.

– Carrie Muskat

10/29 Gold Glove results

There was no repeat for the Cubs’ Darwin Barney. Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips reclaimed the Rawlings Gold Glove award in the National League, which Barney won in 2012. Winners of the top defensive award were announced Tuesday.

Barney, 27, and Phillips were finalists for the NL second base honors along with the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis. Barney led the NL in fielding percentage this season, but was seventh in zone rating, which is determined by how many plays a fielder makes and how many were hit into his zone. Phillips, who won the award in 2008, ’10 and ’11, was second in zone rating at .833 behind the Padres’ Jedd Gyorko (.851).

This year, managers and coaches who received the Gold Glove ballots also had an additional packet of statistics as Rawlings collaborated with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component of the award.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt won the NL Gold Glove at first base over the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who was a finalist for the first time in his career. The Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez, who was vying for his third Gold Glove, and first since 2009, also was a finalist. Rizzo, 24, and Goldschmidt were tied for second in the NL in fielding percentage behind the Rockies’ Todd Helton, and the Cubs’ first baseman led the NL in zone rating (.902).

– Carrie Muskat

10/28 Extra bases

* Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo will find out whether they have won Gold Gloves on Tuesday. ESPN2 will unveil the winners on a special “Baseball Tonight” show, starting at 7 p.m. CT. Both of the Cubs infielders are finalists for the top defensive award. Barney is vying for his second, and competing against the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis.

* Tickets are still available for the 2014 Cubs Convention, to be held Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Go to Cubs.com for more information.

* Rizzo will host his second “Walk Off for Cancer” on Dec. 15 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. Rizzo will celebrate five years of being cancer free. Registration is limited to 1,000 people, and costs $30 per person. Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $100,000. For more information, go to http://www.Rizzo44.com.

* Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce will hold a baseball clinic for boys and girls ages 9-13 on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, at Queens College, New York. Kids will get two hours of hitting, plus lessons on fielding, throwing and base running. For more information, contact iapocebaseball@gmail.com.

10/25 Barney, Rizzo Gold Glove finalists

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney and first baseman Anthony Rizzo are finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove award, announced Friday. Barney, who ousted Brandon Phillips last year to win his first Gold Glove, is one of three National League finalists along with the Reds’ second baseman and the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis. Barney led the NL in fielding percentage. Phillips won the award in 2008, ’10 and ’11. At first base, the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez is vying for his third Gold Glove and first since 2009 (he also won in ’08). The other finalist is the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschimidt.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday at 6 p.m. during a one-hour ESPN2 “Baseball Tonight” show.

10/21 Support Rizzo in 5K walk Dec. 15

Anthony Rizzo has now been cancer free for five years and you can celebrate the anniversary with the Cubs first baseman and help a good cause by taking part in his second Walk Off for Cancer on Dec. 15 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. The event includes a 5K walk, entertainment, refreshments from local merchants, a raffle and guest appearances. This is a family friendly event, so everyone is welcome.

Registration is available for $30 per person until 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 14. It’s best to register online at http://www.Rizzo44.com, and the fee includes access to food and beverages, a T-shirt, and a Rizzo Family Foundation wristband.

If you can’t attend the walk, you can still donate to Rizzo’s foundation. Go to http://www.Rizzo44.com for more information.

In 2008, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma while in the Red Sox Minor League system. He underwent six months of chemotherapy, and after passing the tests, made a personal commitment to help others. His first Walk Off for Cancer last year raised more than $100,000. He also hosted a “Cook Off for Cancer” in August in Chicago, which raised more than $150,000. Rizzo is the Cubs’ Roberto Clemente nominee this year as well.

– Carrie Muskat

9/29 Final notebook

* Anthony Rizzo doubled in his first at-bat in the first to become the first Cubs left-handed hitter to reach 40 doubles since Mark Grace had 41 doubles in 2000. Rizzo finished with 65 extra-base hits this season, the most by a Cubs left-handed hitter since Mark Grace had that many in 1999.

“I’m going to take a lot of positives out of this year,” Rizzo said. “The only thing people are going to ride me on is the average but things could’ve been different there. Things didn’t go my way sometimes but that’s the game of baseball. I’m not happy about that at all but I’m going into the offseason pretty confident I can hit .300 and do all the other things as well.”

Rizzo, who finished with a .233 average in his first full season, and Nate Schierholtz (32 doubles) are the first Cubs left-handed hitting teammates to each reach 30 doubles in the same season since Jacque Jones (32 doubles) and Juan Pierre (31 doubles) in 2006.

In May, Rizzo signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension. That didn’t affect his hitting.

“One of the goals at the beginning of this year and it was the same last year was to be the starting first baseman for the Cubs,” Rizzo said. “Obviously, now it’ll be for a few more years. Like I said when I signed it, it’s security. I get to play baseball and don’t have to worry about anything else except playing baseball.”

* Shortstop Starlin Castro totaled 666 at-bats, tops in the National League. Baltimore’s Manny Machado led the Majors with 667 at-bats.

* The Cubs finished 25-51 against the NL Central, matching the Astros for the lowest winning percentage by any team in its own division. Chicago went 7-12 against St. Louis, 5-14 against Cincinnati, 6-13 against Milwaukee, and 7-12 against Pittsburgh. It’s the first time they’ve finished with double-digit losses against four teams since 2002.

– Carrie Muskat

9/29 Extra bases: Game 162

* The Cubs’ 66-95 record through 161 games this season is a six-win improvement on the 60-101 record they had through 161 games last year. The team finished 2012 at 61-101. This season, the Cubs have a minus 83 run differential through 161 games compared to a minus 147 differential through 161 games in 2012 (minus 146 through 162 games). Imagine what the record would be if they hadn’t blown as many saves.

* With a 3.99 team ERA heading into the season finale Sunday, the Cubs have a chance to become one of three teams this season to have at least 95 losses yet also post a sub-4.00 ERA, joining the White Sox (3.98 ERA) and Marlins (3.73 ERA). However, there had been only four other teams in all of baseball in the last 25 seasons to post both of those marks: the 2011 and 2010 Mariners, the 1992 Dodgers, and the 1989 Braves.

The only time in franchise history the Cubs saw a team reach 95 losses and also post a sub-4.00 team ERA was in 1980, when the club went 64-98 with a 3.89 ERA.

* Anthony Rizzo (39 doubles) and Nate Schierholtz (30 doubles) have become the first Cubs left-handed hitting teammates to each reach 30 doubles in the same season since Jacque Jones (32 doubles) and Juan Pierre (31 doubles) in 2006. With one more double, Rizzo would become the first Cubs left-handed hitter to reach 40 doubles since Mark Grace had 41 doubles in 2000.

Rizzo has 64 extra-base hits this season, the most by a Cubs left-handed hitter since Grace had 65 in 1999. Rizzo’s 64 extra-base hits rank tied for fifth among NL batters.

9/28 Cardinals 6, Cubs 2

Edwin Jackson’s final start of the season ended sooner than expected. Jackson was pulled after 2 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 6-2 loss Saturday to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium because of discomfort in his right side. The only good news is that he’ll have a few months to heal.

“It’s just a crazy year, man,” said Jackson, who will likely finish as the Major League leader in losses with 18. “If I had the answer, I would’ve changed a long time ago. It’s one of those years where you forget it but still learn from it. It was a [bad] year to sum it up. There’s a lot of things to take from it.”

The Cardinals continued to tune up for the postseason. Matt Holliday hit a two-run home run and Yadier Molina drove in two runs off Jackson to back Adam Wainwright in front of 42,520 fans. St. Louis clinched the National League Central title with a 7-0 win on Friday night, and now is battling Atlanta to determine the top seed in the NL playoffs.

The Cubs lost for the 13th time in their last 17 games, and are simply trying to wrap up a disappointing season in which they will finish last in the division.

“We only have nine innings left this year,” said Anthony Rizzo, who hit his 23rd home run leading off the ninth. “Hopefully, those nine innings get us going and we can go into the offseason on a high note.”

With one out in the St. Louis third, Jackson walked two batters, and both scored on Molina’s double. One out later, Pete Kozma hit a ground-rule double that bounced into the Cubs’ bullpen, and Jackson intentionally walked Adron Chambers to face Wainwright, who hit a RBI single. Cubs manager Dale Sveum and athletic trainer PJ Mainville then went to the mound, and Jackson was pulled after 65 pitches. The right-hander said the problem began when he was warming up and continued as the game progressed.

“He hasn’t had the year he wanted or anything like that but [Travis Wood] has pitched really good and [his record is] under .500,” Sveum said. “[Jackson] has kept us in some games. He’s been a .500 pitcher his whole career. Obviously, you don’t want losses, but at the same time, the games we’ve been in, we don’t seem to win or get a lead.”

Since Jackson reported to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training, he’s been asked about the four-year, $52 million contract he signed with the Cubs, his first long-term deal. Maybe his struggles were related to putting too much pressure on himself with a new team?

“He handles everything really well and he’s ready to come back next year and prove himself,” Sveum said. “I think a lot of things go into it pressure-wise — you get a contract like that, you’re with a new team. I think next year he’ll be a lot more comfortable and settle in and have a good year.”

That’s the goal, Jackson said.

“I don’t feel like I pressed as far as playing,” Jackson said. “There were times when I was over analyzing things and thinking too much and not allowing myself to go out and do what I’m capable of doing athletically. As far as pressure with the new contract and new team and all that, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of pressure.

“When you’re not pitching well, it’s easy to make excuses and point out things that could be happening,” he said. “It’s the craziest year I’ve had in baseball for a long time. You just look forward the working in the offseason and coming back and turning it around.”

The Cubs avoided being shutout for a second straight game when they tallied in the ninth against Edward Mujica. Rizzo led off with his first home run since Sept. 13 and second of the month. J.C. Boscan doubled and scored one out later on Donnie Murphy’s double.

On Sunday, the Cubs close the 2013 season. The players will head home, and Sveum will find out if he’s coming back next year on Monday.

“At the end of the day, the manager can’t play for us,” Jackson said. “The 25 guys who go on the field, we have to produce and play baseball like we know we can. I think we’re capable of doing that. It takes everyone to believe we can win games and go out and play like that.”

– Carrie Muskat

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