Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
Yadier Molina guessed right. He belted a tie-breaking two-run home run in the sixth to lift the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs. Edwin Jackson took the loss, ending a brief two-game win streak. The right-hander, who appeared in 13 games (12 starts) for the Cardinals in 2011, gave up six hits over 5 1/3 innings.
“It was a good outing against the best hitting team in the league — he did a good job,” Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “We scored one earned run on two hits. Jackson was going to have to basically pitch a shutout [to beat Westbrook].”
And it was one pitch, a two-seam fastball, that cost Jackson the game.
“I felt like it wasn’t a super bad outing tonight,” Jackson said. “I thought it was a pretty good pitch but either he was looking for it or he guessed right. It was right in his zone. I threw my pitch with conviction, the pitch I wanted to throw. Sometimes that happens.”
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first on Allen Craig’s RBI single. The Cubs answered in the second. Anthony Rizzo singled with one out in the second, and was then safe on an error by Matt Carpenter, who threw a potential double play ball by Ryan Sweeney into shallow left. Welington Castillo walked to load the bases, and Rizzo scored on Darwin Barney’s sacrifice fly to center. John Jay fired a strike to Molina, but Rizzo was able to dance around the catcher, who muffed the throw, and was safe.
St. Louis had a runner at first with one out in the sixth when Molina connected on his fifth home run, launching a 1-2 fastball into the left field bleachers. Jackson then plunked Jay with a pitch, and was pulled. Carlos Villanueva entered and gave up back to back singles, including a RBI single to Pete Kozma. Before the game, Sveum said the Cardinals catcher may be MVP of the league.
“Right now, we’re hoping he hits the ball at somebody — he’s that locked in,” Sveum said of Molina.
Westbrook combined with two other pitchers on a two-hitter. Besides Rizzo’s single in the first, Luis Valbuena singled to open the third but was caught stealing.
On the plus side, Jackson had his third straight solid outing.
“Earlier, I felt I was kind of mechanical, kind of too much in a bubble, and I had to go back to having fun,” Jackson said. “We know it’s a job but at the end of the day, it’s a game, and we have to go out there and have fun doing so.”
The right-hander was 1-8 before these last three starts. Was he thinking too much?
“Just kind of over-analyzing everything,” he said. “I won’t say I was trying to be too perfect, but it was just too robotic. You have to sometimes allow yourself to do what your body does and allow your athleticism to take over. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re human. Some balls come back over the plate, some times they won’t.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Anthony Rizzo was back in the Cubs lineup Wednesday, after getting a one-day “breather,” but stayed in the No. 5 spot instead of returning to No. 3. Nate Schierholtz seems pretty comfortable batting third. In four games batting third, Schierholtz is 4-for-13 (.308) with one home run, one double and two RBIs. He entered Wednesday’s game with a career-high 10-game hitting streak.
“There’s no change,” Schierholtz said of his approach. “Third to fifth isn’t a whole lot different [in the order]. You hit in the first inning always on the road but other than that, I try to keep the same approach no matter where I’m hitting. I don’t over-think it.”
He also leads the Cubs in batting with runners in scoring position, hitting .313 this season.
“I have a game plan that I go up there with and I know it changes with runners on because pitchers pitch you different,” Schierholtz said. “I just try to stick to my game plan and, like I said, not try to think too much and over-analyze anything.”
He already has more doubles (18), home runs (nine) and RBIs (26) than he totaled last year between the Giants and Phillies.
* The Cubs may make a roster move Friday when they open a three-game Interleague series against the Astros, manager Dale Sveum said. The team is currently carrying eight relievers. One option would be to activate catcher Steve Clevenger from the disabled list. He’s been sidelined since April 14 because of a left oblique strain, and was currently rehabbing with Triple-A Iowa.
* There is no timetable for David DeJesus’ return, but the outfielder will most likely be out at least one month after spraining his right shoulder in a collision last Friday at Citi Field.
“It’s one of those injuries, from the time it happened a few days ago, it’s definitely a month before he’s back on the field,” Sveum said.
Luis Valbuena has done well subbing as the leadoff man for DeJesus.
“[Valbuena] is a guy who has always been able to take his walks and see some pitches and drive the ball and do some things,” Sveum said. “So far, it’s really, really good.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo is back. After a one day breather, the first baseman was back in the Cubs lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals. The four-game series is tied at 1-1 after a 4-2 win Tuesday. Here’s the lineup:
E. Jackson P
* Cubs starting pitchers have 42 quality starts this season, tied with the Cardinals for fourth most in the NL. The Cubs also are 5-for-5 in quality starts on this road trip so far. In the 42 starts, the pitchers are 19-10 with 13 no decisions and a 2.01 ERA. The Cubs have a 24-18 record in those games.
On Tuesday, Game No. 69 of the season, Anthony Rizzo rested. The first baseman, who had started every Cubs game this season, was not in the lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals.
“It’s nice to get a breather,” said Rizzo, who was batting .157 this month, with two extra-base hits.
Rizzo hasn’t homered since May 18, and he’s 3-for-14 in the last four games, including 0-for-10 in his last three games. He was batting .241 overall.
“Last year, I had a couple days off, and came back like I normally am,” Rizzo said. “You’re going to have good times and bad times, and it’s one of the down times for myself personally. It’s frustrating. The game is beating me up a little bit. I think it’ll be nice to relax and enjoy the game from the bird’s eye.
“I feel real close,” he said. “It’s just a matter of trying to do too much.”
It’s been nearly one year since Rizzo was promoted from Triple-A Iowa — he made his Cubs debut last June 26 — and one has to wonder if pitchers have figured him out. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said part of the problem is opponents have a better sample size for their scouting reports and part of it is Rizzo’s mechanics.
“Once you get a decent sample, the other teams know he’s vulnerable to this or vulnerable to that, but the bottom line is we all know hitting comes down to when you get a good pitch, do something with it,” Sveum said. “Just like [Starlin] Castro, you see him get a lot of good pitches but there are a lot of foul balls back to the screen. You’re putting the at-bat in the pitcher’s hand once you’ve missed his mistake or two mistakes in an at-bat. It’s not like Major League pitchers make three [mistakes] in an at-bat. You become vulnerable when you’re not hitting mistakes.”
Rizzo said pitchers are making him become even more patient at the plate.
“With the struggles going on, I’m still taking my walks,” he said. “It’s a matter of being patient and getting my pitch. I’ve gotten my pitches, and I’m not doing any damage with them.”
Sveum dropped Rizzo to the fifth spot in the batting order on Friday, and will likely keep the first baseman there. That’s OK with Rizzo, who had batted third in 61 games, and hit fourth in three games.
“I personally like hitting in the five hole,” Rizzo said. “There are a lot more RBI opportunities there, and that’s what my job is, to drive in runs, but I also love the three-hole. I love hitting in front of [Alfonso Soriano] and getting on in front of him. It doesn’t really matter. I think once everything gets going again, I’ll be back in the three-hole. Wherever Dale wants to put me, he’s the boss.”
Nate Schierholtz has been the Cubs most consistent hitter lately, and has taken over the No. 3 spot for now.
Could part of Rizzo’s problem be the new seven-year, $41 million contract extension he signed May 13? Since that date, he’s batting .195 with one home run, nine doubles and 11 RBIs.
“I personally think that’s all outside noise,” Rizzo said. “My contract doesn’t kick in until three years from now, to be honest. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform, it’s baseball, I’m a competitor. No matter what I do, I want to win. In baseball, you fail most of the time, and it’s a little frustrating. It’s part of the game and understanding this will beat you up.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo is out of the Cubs lineup Tuesday in Game 2 of the four-game series versus the Cardinals. Rizzo is 3-for-14 on this road trip, and 0-for-10 in his last three games. He’s batting .241 overall, and that includes a .157 June. Cody Ransom takes over at first. Here’s the lineup:
After eight games in the bottom of the order, Starlin Castro was back in the No. 2 spot in the Cubs’ lineup on Thursday. The shortstop was dropped from second to seventh on June 4, and was inserted in the No. 6 spot on Wednesday. He went 2-for-28 in the eight games. Castro was batting .254 in 49 games in the No. 2 hole.
“We dabbled with it a little bit and obviously, the offense isn’t doing a whole lot with him down there,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Thursday. “It’s just getting back to where we were. He’s a guy who can swing the bat and we have all the confidence in the world he can come out of it. You need him up there more than three or four times. Hopefully, he can get that fifth at-bat.”
Castro isn’t the only one scuffling. Anthony Rizzo is batting .248, Darwin Barney .203, Luis Valbuena .238.
“There’s nobody right now who’s stepping up and doing anything in any position in the lineup,” Sveum said. “Sometimes you get to the point where you might want to pick the lineup out of a hat and see what happens.”
The Cubs were batting .158 in the last eight home games, and after Wednesday’s game, Rizzo mentioned that players aren’t having fun.
“Offensively, especially, you try to make guys understand these things are in cycles and go in cycles,” Sveum said. “You don’t use things as excuses but we’ve faced some pretty good pitching lately. You have to grind out the at-bats and all of a sudden it starts coming.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have plenty of quality starts, but not enough quality at-bats. Brandon Phillips hit a game-tying RBI single and Todd Frazier belted a tie-breaking home run to lift the Reds to a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Cubs, who can’t get their offense going.
The Reds now have won 12 straight at Wrigley, the longest consecutive streak by the same opponent in Cubs history. The Cubs, 7-21 against National League Central teams, are batting .210 against teams in their division, and .264 against everyone else. That won’t get it done.
“It’s getting frustrating because it’s the same game, almost,” Dale Sveum said. “We’ve obviously had a few of the games like [Tuesday, a 12-2 loss] but the starting pitcher pitches into the seventh inning and gives us quality starts and we’re not having quality at-bats on an every day basis. We’re not getting enough three, four, five quality at-bats from everybody on a daily basis.”
The focus has been on Starlin Castro’s offensive struggles but he’s not alone. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-18 in his last six games and hasn’t homered since May 18.
“Rizzo hasn’t done anything in quite a while as well,” Sveum said. “Castro has probably had better at-bats than he has in the last month. We’ve got to get these guys going. They’re our better hitters and we’re not getting any solid contact or slugging percentage out of them at all.”
The Cubs are 2-8 this month, and began the day 16 games back in the Central.
“I think it’s going to test everyone’s character that we are far out of it,” Rizzo said. “We obviously aren’t playing very well right now. The pitchers are pitching their tails off and us hitters aren’t giving them anything to show for it. It’s going to be a grind.
“You’re just going to have to have fun,” Rizzo said. “When you look out there, it doesn’t seem like anyone is having fun. We need to pick each other up.”
Travis Wood did his part. The lefty limited the Reds to four hits over seven innings, and notched his 12th quality start out of 13 outings this season. His only non-quality start came on May 25 in Cincinnati, when Wood was charged with five runs in 5 2/3 innings. But he didn’t get any help.
“It’s a broken record,” Sveum said. “Woody just pitched another great game and has nothing to show for it.”
– 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.
The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo leads all National League first basemen in extra-base hits. He’s tied with two others for the second-most home runs. Could he be the Cubs’ All-Star representative? There are no Cubs players in the top five at any position in the latest All-Star balloting results, released Tuesday. But one could make a case for Rizzo, who had 10 home runs, a NL-leading 17 doubles, two triples, and 36 RBIs. The Reds’ Joey Votto leads the field of NL first basemen, receiving more than 1 million votes in online and in-stadium balloting so far. The Giants’ Brandon Belt is second followed by the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez and the Braves’ Freddie Freeman. Goldschmidt is tops among first basemen in home runs (13), RBIs (47) and batting average (.332).
Other Cubs on the NL All-Star ballot include two-time All-Star Starlin Castro, second baseman Darwin Barney, third baseman Luis Valbuena, catcher Welington Castillo, and outfielders David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz. Soriano, 37, is a seven-time All-Star, while this is the first time Rizzo, Valbuena, Castillo and Schierholtz are on the ballot.
The All-Star Game will be played July 16 at Citi Field.
– Carrie Muskat
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