Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

8/9 Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

Chris Rusin lasted long enough to get the win and make a little history. Junior Lake hit an RBI single and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s two-run single, all in the seventh, to back Rusin and lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory Friday night over the Cardinals for their third win in the last 12 games. Rusin combined with four other pitchers, including Kevin Gregg, who picked up his 24th save, for the shutout.

It’s the first time the Cubs have shutout the Cardinals in St. Louis since the late Geremi Gonzalez threw a complete game shutout on June 23, 1997, beating Fernando Valenzuela. The Cubs have played 127 games since that date at various versions of Busch Stadium.

Promoted from Triple-A Iowa to fill Matt Garza’s spot in the rotation after the right-hander was traded, Rusin also threw seven scoreless innings against the Giants on July 27 and called that start a better one “because I went one more inning scoreless.” But he didn’t get a decision that day. Rusin is the first Cubs left-hander to throw at least six scoreless innings in St. Louis since Ken Holtzman totaled seven on Sept. 19, 1979.

“With him, when he throws strikes, he’s able to get back in the count with a strike and throws a quality pitch to get back in the count,” manager Dale Sveum said. “His ball can move so much, he gets some swings and misses at balls quite a way out of the zone. He makes the ball move and keeps the ball down. He did a great job again.”

This was the first time Rusin had ever faced the Cardinals, who lead the Majors with a .335 batting average with runners in scoring position. The lefty kept them in check, scattering seven hits over six scoreless innings.

“I was able to get ahead in the count with first-pitch strikes, and that helped me out and I didn’t get beat by the heart of the lineup,” Rusin said. “I limited them to a couple singles and no home runs. I got away with one with [Allen] Craig [in the fifth] — the wind was blowing in or something [because] I don’t know how it didn’t go out. I got away with that one and didn’t make any more big mistakes.”

The Cubs are on the other end of the stats chart with runners in scoring position, ranking last in the Majors at .224, which includes a 1-for-12 effort Thursday against the Phillies.

Welington Castillo walked to lead off the seventh, and moved up on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice, which was first ruled an infield hit by first-base umpire Larry Vanover. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny argued that Lynn had tagged Castro as he ran down the line, and after the umpires met, they reversed the call. Darwin Barney then walked, and one out later, Lake delivered a RBI single. Cole Gillespie was hit by a pitch to load the bases and chase Lynn. Rizzo, who is batting .197 against lefties, greeted southpaw Randy Choate with his single to center to open a 3-0 lead.

“That was huge — off a lefty and in a big situation,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, that transpires into a lot more.”

Clutch hits have been missing from the Cubs’ repertoire, including Rizzo.

“It was nice, especially against Randy Choate, [because] he’s tough on lefties,” Rizzo said. “I tried to see the ball as long as possible off him. Hit it where they’re not, honestly. I just put the ball in play and hit it where they’re not.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/6 Rizzo Cook off for Cancer


Anthony Rizzo will host his first “Cook-Off for Cancer” on Aug. 14 at Cafe Brauer in Chicago. Notable Chicago chefs will prepare ballpark food as only they can, and the dishes will be served by Cubs players. Guests will vote for their favorite chef by tipping their Cubs server. All tips and event proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. The event will take place from 6-10 p.m. CT. Among the chefs participating are Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno; Nate Henssler of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Cosmo Goss of Publican; Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig; Mark Sparacino of Proseco; and David Burns, Wrigley Field’s executive chef. Tickets are $200, and available on

Rizzo also will celebrate being cancer free for five years when he hosts his second Walk-Off for Cancer on Dec. 15 in Parkland, Fla., at Pine Trails Park. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

7/31 Cubs 6, Brewers 1

Apparently, Edwin Jackson doesn’t mind a little rain. Anthony Rizzo belted a two-run home run, Starlin Castro added a solo shot and David DeJesus drove in three runs to back Jackson, who continued his second-half resurgence, and lift the Cubs to a 6-1 victory Wednesday night over the Brewers, and avoid a sweep.

Rain stopped play with two outs in the Brewers’ sixth, but Jackson returned after the 1 hour 6 minute delay. The Cubs were going to let the right-hander continue if he was on the mound within one hour. Jackson just made it. He was back on the mound in 55 minutes from when the game was stopped. What did he do during the break?

“I listened to music, rode the bike, and just sat and waited and hoped it didn’t go past 10 [p.m.] because I would’ve been done,” Jackson said. “I just tried to stay loose any way you can and stay relaxed, but still focused at the same time.”

He recalled a game against the Tigers once when he had to wait an hour because of rain, yet still finished the game. This isn’t the first time nature has messed up one of Jackson’s starts. One of his best outings was May 28 against the White Sox, when rained postponed the game after 3 1/3 innings.

“I’m the rain man,” Jackson said. “I’m the designated rain man. It seems like mostly every start we’ve had that’s been rained out has been on my day. I don’t know, maybe a black cloud is trying to follow me.”

There’s a silver lining. The right-hander won for the fourth time in his last six starts, scattering eight hits, including a RBI double by Jonathan Lucroy in the eighth, over eight innings. He completed five July starts with a 1.83 ERA (seven earned runs over 34 1/3 innings).

“His fastball, since the fourth or fifth start of the year, he’s creating a lot of ground balls and getting late action,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s got a ratio of ground ball to fly ball like a power type sinker guy now. It’s 2-to-1, and it’s off the charts for a guy like Derek Lowe and Kevin Brown and [Jake] Peavy who make their living on ground balls. At the beginning of the year, every ground ball he gave up found a hole, and now they’re going at people.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/30 Extra bases

Updates on Arrieta, Baker, Lake and Rizzo

* The Cubs recalled right-hander Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be the 26th man for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Brewers. Arrieta will make his Cubs debut, starting the second game of the twinbill. Arrieta, 27, was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2012. He was acquired from Baltimore as part of the Scott Feldman deal on July 2. In five starts at Triple-A Iowa, Arrieta was 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA.

* Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader was the Cubs first at Wrigley Field since June 28, 2011, when they played two against the Giants. Chicago did play a twinbill in Cincinnati last Aug. 18.

* Scott Baker can take his time rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Cubs had hoped the right-hander would start this year, but there isn’t as much of a need as last season when they were scrambling to find starters. In his fourth rehab start on Monday, Baker gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings for Class A Daytona against Fort Myers. Baker threw 65 pitches, struck out two, and served up a solo home run to Matt Koch in the fourth. In three previous rehab outings with Class A Kane County, Baker was charged with 13 runs on 17 hits and six walks over 8 2/3 innings.

Dale Sveum said Tuesday that Baker’s velocity was a little better in Monday’s outing.

“Sixty five pitches in 3 1/3 innings, that’s 20 pitches per inning again,” Sveum said. “He’s still not getting quick outs and what you want done in a 65-pitch outing.”

The Cubs have dealt two-fifths of their rotation — Matt Garza and Scott Feldman — but were better prepared this season to fill the gaps, inserting Carlos Villanueva and promoting lefty Chris Rusin. Jake Arrieta, acquired from the Orioles in the Feldman deal, started the second game of the Cubs’ doubleheader Tuesday.

“We’re not too concerned [about Baker] because right now, we don’t have a need right now, and we’re OK with everything,” Sveum said. “It’s just kind of a slow development for him right now. We don’t have a big need right now for a starting pitcher and we’re OK with things progressing at a slow rate.”

* The best way for Junior Lake to learn how to play the outfield is by playing. Lake, who had been an infielder primarily coming up through the Cubs system, has played only in the outfield since he was promoted July 19.

“You can’t replace the reps in a game in center field and the outfield,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “You can kind of simulate infield because of ground balls but the outfield. It’s very difficult to simulate balls over your head and in the gap and other outfielders running for the same ball. Outfield is a lot of reps to get going out there.”

The Cubs are hoping Lake gets more playing time in the outfield in winter ball. Sveum wouldn’t rule out having the athletic Lake switch to third if needed.

“He’s the kind of guy you want covering a lot of space,” Sveum said. “It looks like he can go get ‘em.”

* Anthony Rizzo will host his first “Cook-Off for Cancer” on Aug. 14 at Cafe Brauer in Chicago. Notable Chicago chefs will prepare ballpark food as only they can, and the dishes will be served by Cubs players. Guests will vote for their favorite chef by tipping their Cubs server. All tips and event proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. The event will take place from 6-10 p.m. CT. Among the chefs participating are Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno; Nate Henssler of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Cosmo Goss of Publican; Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig; Mark Sparacino of Proseco; and David Burns, Wrigley Field’s executive chef. Tickets are $200, and available on

Rizzo also will celebrate being cancer free for five years when he hosts his second Walk-Off for Cancer on Dec. 15 in Parkland, Fla., at Pine Trails Park. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

– Carrie Muskat

7/26 Cubs 3, Giants 2

Two runs scored on an error by Giants first baseman Brandon Belt with two outs in the ninth to give the Cubs a 3-2 victory Friday night. Trailing, 2-1, against Sergio Romo, pinch-hitter Julio Borbon singled and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro walked. One out later, Junior Lake reached on a fielder’s choice, forcing Navarro at second. Rizzo then lined the ball to right, through Belt’s legs, for an error. Borbon and Lake scored.

“It’s just a routine ground ball,” Belt said. “I did what I’ve always done in that situation. … That wasn’t the only mistake I made. Looking back on it, it cost us the game.”

The other blip came in the seventh. More on that later.

The Cubs picked up their 24th win on the road, one more than they won all last season away from Wrigley Field.

“Yes,” Sveum said emphatically. “And a lot more west of the Mississippi [River].”

Edwin Jackson did not get a decision but continued his much improved second half. He struck out five and did not walk a batter in the first six innings. Second baseman Darwin Barney made a great diving stop on Buster Posey’s hard-hit grounder and threw him out to begin the seventh. Jackson then walked Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence doubled down the left-field line.

Belt was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Jeff Francoeur blooped a single to right, driving in Sandoval and Pence. That’s when Belt’s other mistake occurred. He thought about scoring, but Jackson, who had his back to the action on the field, got a break as the throw went past him, bounced off the wall and back to the pitcher, who made the tag.

“Jackson wasn’t even looking,” Belt said. “He had no idea where the ball was.”

Sometimes, things do work in the Cubs’ favor.

“I think he was frustrated,” Sveum said of Jackson. “The ball fell in, and he might have lost concentration there. You saw where the ball was and he ended up making the play.”

Catcher Welington Castillo yelled at his pitcher to get his attention but probably couldn’t be heard over the crowd of 41,797 at AT&T Park. What happened?

“I stopped to not run into Sandoval,” Jackson said. “When I stopped to not run into him, I went around him. By the time I could turn around, the ball was coming at me, and right in front of me. Sometimes the ball bounces in your favor, and sometimes it doesn’t. … It’s a crazy game. That was something that worked in our favor.”

It’s not a good idea to run into Sandoval.

“He’s a big man,” Jackson said. “Nobody wants that collision at home like that.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/14 Cardinals 10, Cubs 6

The Cubs saw first-hand why the Cardinals are the best team in baseball at the All-Star break. St. Louis pounded a season-high 21 hits off the Cubs, including a go-ahead RBI single by Allen Craig with one out in the ninth and a three-run homer by Yadier Molina that inning, to post a 10-6 come from behind victory and split the series.

“That’s a great team over there, from top to bottom, even with [Matt] Holliday out,” Chicago starter and All-Star Travis Wood said. “They’ve got guys stepping in and filling the spots and doing an outstanding job. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every time you face them.”

Wood did just that, holding the Cardinals to three runs over 5 2/3 innings, and falling one out shy of becoming the first Cubs pitcher ever to record 18 quality starts before the All-Star break. His 17 quality starts lead the Majors, and he’s the fourth Cubs pitcher in franchise history to have that many at the break, joining Bill Hands (1969), Fergie Jenkins (1969) and Greg Maddux (1988).

“When a guy has done what Travis has done, that’s our horse, and that’s our most consistent guy,” Dale Sveum said.

Wood reached 100 pitches when he walked Allen Craig with one on and two outs in the fifth. Pedro Strop took over, and needed just one pitch to end the inning, getting David Freese to ground out.

“It was just time,” Sveum said about his decision to pull Wood.

The Cubs needed nearly every pitcher as they tried to keep the Cardinals in check.

Chicago trailed 3-1 in the sixth against All-Star Adam Wainwright when Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic hit back to back singles. One out later, Darwin Barney, who hit a RBI single in the second, launched the first pitch into the basket rimming the left field bleachers for his sixth home run. According to ESPN, the ball traveled 366 feet and would not have gone out of any other Major League ballpark except Wrigley Field.

“Barney’s home run was huge at a huge time,” Sveum said. “We had the bullpen set up. You’ve got to give their hitters a lot of credit. That’s why they’re the best hitting team in baseball. But [Pete] Kozma hits one off his thumbs that bloops in and took the momentum away from us.”

That was part of the Cardinals’ seventh inning rally against Matt Guerrier. Molina doubled and scored one out later on Kozma’s single that dropped over shortstop Starlin Castro. One out later, pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso singled to chase Guerrier, and Matt Carpenter greeted James Russell with a go-ahead RBI single.

Matt Adams added a RBI double in the eighth, driving in David Freese from second. Anthony Rizzo cut off Castro’s relay throw home, cutting off a possible play at the plate.

“I don’t know why he was there,” Sveum said of Rizzo. “That’s not really protocal in our playbook.”

Rizzo said he usually looks behind him to see where the catcher is, but didn’t this time.

“It would’ve been a close play,” Rizzo said.

“That didn’t lose the game for us,” Barney said. “They swung the bats a little better than we did. You can’t take anything away from them or say we did anything wrong. They had more good swings than we did in the end.”

The Cubs did rally again with one out in the eighth as pinch-hitter Cole Gillespie singled in his debut, and one out later, his former Oregon State teammate, Barney, singled, to set up pinch-hitter Cody Ransom’s two-run double off Edward Mujica, named to the All-Star Game late Sunday.

With the game tied at 6 and one out in the St. Louis ninth against Kevin Gregg, Carlos Beltran doubled to right and reached third on an error charged to Dave Sappelt, who lost his footing. Beltran tallied on Craig’s single and Freese then singled to set up Molina’s home run, his seventh.

“Yadi is unbelievable,” Barney said.

The Cubs end the first half 42-51, and 15 games back in the NL Central behind the Cardinals. Wood was given the go-ahead to take part in the All-Star Game. Tuesday would be his side day.

– Carrie Muskat

7/11 Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

It’s been a crazy first half for Edwin Jackson, who seems to have found his groove. Jackson held the Cardinals to three hits over seven shutout innings to win his third straight start and Anthony Rizzo had two hits and three RBIs to lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory Thursday.

The Cardinals boast the best record in baseball, but that didn’t seem to faze Jackson. The right-hander, who helped St. Louis win the World Series in 2011, struck out five and did not walk a batter. This was the first start this season in which he did not issue a walk, and the first time since Sept. 21 with the Nationals.

It was a good ending to what has been an inconsistent first half for Jackson, who signed a four-year, $52 million deal this offseason, his first long-term contract.

“Tonight, he was really sharp against the best offense in baseball,” manager Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “He had a lot more conviction with his pitches, and wasn’t worred about pitching as much as throwing. He pitched well tonight, had command, was hitting his spots, and had a really good slider. He got ahead, which I think was the biggest thing.”

After opening the season 3-10 with a 5.84 ERA in his first 15 starts, Jackson now is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last three outings. How do you eliminate slow starts?

“If you had the answer to those things, we’d be a heck of a lot richer,” Sveum said.

“This is probably the craziest start I’ve ever had in baseball,” Jackson said. “It’s a game of grinding it out and as long as you believe you have the confidence that you can come in and turn things around, that’s all that matters. No one expected me to start like I did — myself, the front office, the team, my manager. It’s a game, you have to keep grinding. You can sink or you can swim. I’m definitely one of those guys who won’t give up.”

He could have. Teams were batting .286 against him in those first 15 games, and were hitting .203 in his last three.

“I never did lose confidence, even in the bad starts I had,” Jackson said. “You just have to work harder to get back to where you want to be.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/6 Cubs lineup

Anthony Rizzo is back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup Saturday for the Cubs’ game against the Pirates.

“Losing [Ryan] Sweeney and [Brian] Bogusevic changes a lot of things,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We had the luxury of people hitting behind people, and
left-handers hitting behind people, and without those two guys in the lineup, it kind of changes things a little bit. We have to get somebody hitting behind Rizzo. [The changes are] more of the cosmetics of the team than anything.”

Bogusevic (hamstring) is still day to day, but improving.

Here’s the lineup:

Borbon CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Valbuena 3B
Schierholtz RF
Barney 2B
Castillo C
E. Jackson P

– Carrie Muskat

7/5 Cubs lineup & road trip

Here’s the Cubs’ lineup for Friday’s game vs. the first-place Pirates. Dioner Navarro moves into the No. 3 spot in the lineup after a successful road trip. Here’s the lineup:

Sappelt CF
Castro SS
Navarro C
Soriano LF
Ransom 3B
Rizzo 1B
Hairston RF
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

* The Cubs had a successful road trip, but some of the players did not. Here are the batting averages from the nine-game trip to Milwaukee, Seattle and Oakland:

Darwin Barney .182 (6-for-33)

Welington Castillo .208 (5-for-24)

Starlin Castro .306 (11-for-36), HR, double, two RBIs

Scott Hairston .000 (DNP)

Dioner Navarro .364 (8-for-22)

Cody Ransom .000 (0-for-4)

Anthony Rizzo .182 (6-for-33), four doubles, four RBIs (last homer, June 23)

Nate Schierholtz .179 (7-for-39)

Alfonso Soriano .333 (10-for-30), 3 HRs

Luis Valbuena .237 (9-for-38)

* Jake Arrieta joined Triple-A Iowa and will start Friday against Albuquerque in his Cubs debut. The right-hander was acquired from the Orioles on Tuesday along with Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.

– Carrie Muskat

6/26 Post-game notes

* The Cubs have 247 extra-base hits, second most in the NL behind the Rockies.

* Cubs pitchers have 46 quality starts, fourth-most in the NL.

* Scott Feldman picked up his 500th career strikeout when he fanned Jonathan Lucroy in the third. Nine of his 12 starts have been quality starts.

* Kevin Gregg is now 12-for-12 in save opportunities.

* Anthony Rizzo had a double, a single, a walk and two RBIs. This year, 36 of his 72 hits have gone for extra bases, and his 22 doubles rank among the NL leaders.


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