Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
* 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.
Anthony Rizzo celebrated the one-year anniversary of his call-up to the Cubs by hitting a two-run single, Ryan Sweeney added a solo home run and Kevin Gregg registered his 12th save in 12 tries to post a 5-4 victory against the Brewers, ending a nine-game losing streak at Miller Park.
Milwaukee made it interesting in the ninth. Chicago led 5-3 but Juan Francisco homered for the second time in as many nights, going deep off Gregg. Rickie Weeks doubled and moved up on a sacrifice but was forced at home, despite charging into catcher Welington Castillo like a linebacker. The Cubs were happy to take that out. Gennett then launched a ball to right, and Nate Schierholtz caught it in front of the warning track.
“What an ending,” Cubs starter Scott Feldman said. “It was nice to put that one away and keep everyone on their toes.”
“I’ll have to start shaving my head and face completely so you don’t see the gray [hair],” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “When that ball left [Gennett's] bat, I ain’t lying, I thought it was a homer, especially in this ballpark. I like that kid. He’s going to be a good Major League player. … I’ve seen him hit some bombs. That little guy can hit the ball a long way.”
Not this time.
“In this park, you never know,” Gregg said. “I knew it wasn’t hit well and that it wasn’t a no doubter. It plays pretty short over there [in right] at times. Luckily, it stayed in.”
Gregg, who the Cubs pitchers say is the calmest person on the planet, didn’t get rattled by Francisco’s homer.
“If we win by one every time, great, we win,” he said. “As a closer, you don’t want to give up any runs, but you want to win, first and foremost.”
Gregg has been a vast improvement over Carlos Marmol, who began the season as the Cubs closer but was designated for assignment on Tuesday.
“You have a calm [with Gregg] because you know he’s not going to implode with walks and stuff like that,” Sveum said. “They’re going to have to get their hits to beat him. The times that he’s given up a run, they’ve hit the ball. He doesn’t walk guys. He knows how to pitch. He knows, ‘If I throw stirkes, they have to get hits to beat me.’ We’ve seen many many closers over the years do a nice job just because they don’t walk anybody.”
Released by the Dodgers after a solid Spring Training, Gregg has filled the vacancy created by Marmol’s ineffectiveness and a season-ending injury to Kyuji Fujikawa.
“We’re pretty fortunate to have him,” Feldman said. “He brings a lot of stability to the back end of the bullpen and also just having a veteran like that who’s been through so much adversity and overcome it and is having one of the better seasons in his career right now. You can learn a lot from guys like that.”
The Cubs are lucky to have Feldman, who is drawing interest from playoff-bound teams.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Feldman said of the trade rumors. “I’d love to stay on this team. I love the guys here. I think we’re headed in the right direction. You never know what’s going to happen but it’s kind of out of my control at htis point. I hope I’m pitching well and I hope I stay here but it’s really out of my control.”
– Carrie Muskat
There was no cake or balloons in the clubhouse, but Wednesday was a milestone day, marking the one-year anniversary of when Anthony Rizzo was called up from the Minor Leagues to the Cubs. In his Cubs debut, the first baseman was 2-for-4 with a game-winning RBI double in the fourth against the Mets.
“There was a lot of uncertainty, to be honest, because of what happened to me in San Diego, and that was fresh in my mind,” said Rizzo, who batted .141 in 49 games with the Padres in 2011 in his first Major League action.
“Coming up and doing well at first was the best thing to ever happen to me, to get that whole San Diego thing out of my head completely,” he said. “I can finally say it’s way in the past.”
Since June 26, 2012, Rizzo has appeared in 161 games, hit 27 home runs, and driven in 92 runs. His 65 extra-base hits in that span are second most among National League first baseman, trailing Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt (70).
“When he got here, he took off right away and had a great first six weeks, and then tailed off and finished up pretty well,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Rizzo, who batted .330 last July to be named NL Rookie of the Month.
“He’s one of those guys who is all in to his defense and his work ethic and trying to make himself a better player every day,” Sveum said. “The rest falls into place when you have that kind of mentality. The hands are there, the ability to hit is there. He’s already produced at the big league level. The power numbers — they only get better when you have that kind of work ethic and mindset.”
Rizzo is sporting the same cropped hair cut he did when called up last year.
“I got sick of my hair — I had long hair last year in Triple-A,” Rizzo said. “I cut it two days before I got called up. [This year] I cut it three days ago.”
So, could he win NL Player of the Month honors again?
“Yeah, let’s repeat that,” Rizzo said, smiling.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs announced they have signed four more Draft picks on Monday. Left-handed pitcher Sam Wilson, an eighth-round pick who played at Lamar Community College, signed as did catcher Jordan Hankins of Austin Peay, an 11th round pick, and 13th round selection Trevor Graham, a right-handed pitcher who played at Franklin Pierce University. Also signing was 15th-round pick Michael Wagner, a right-handed pitcher who was No. 1 pick Kris Bryant’s teammate at San Diego.
* Right-handed pitcher P.J. Francescon has been promoted from Class A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee, and Smokies outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha has been promoted to Triple-A Iowa. Francescon, 24, was 5-4 record with a 4.76 ERA with Daytona. In 14 appearances (13 starts), he gave up 40 runs (37 earned) on 75 hits, walked 21 and struck out 62. He was a 40th round pick in the 2011 Draft.
Ha, 22, hit .284 with five doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs in 28 games for the Smokies. Following a 42-day (May 7-June 18) stint on the disabled list, Ha appeared in the Smokies first three games of the second half and batted 2-for-13 with a run scored and a RBI.
* Maybe the Cubs should consider a move to the American League? They’re 8-3 this season in Interleague play.
* Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in four of his last five games (7-for-16, .438), and scored a career-high four runs on Sunday. He also had his first multi-RBI game since June 5, driving in four runs.
* The Cubs have hit 52 home runs at Wrigley Field, most home homers in the National League. On Sunday, they set season-highs in runs scored (14) and hits (16).
Friday’s game was the first time in the Cubs’ 98 seasons at Wrigley Field in which both teams combined to score at least four runs and all the runs were on solo home runs. That’s according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Cubs had solo homers by Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Scott Hairston, and Chris Carter hit a solo shot for the Astros.
Matt Garza’s Spring Training is finally over. The Cubs right-hander, who began the year on the disabled list and didn’t make his first start until May 21, held the Astros to one run over eight plus innings in a 3-1 rain-delayed Interleague victory Friday.
Anthony Rizzo belted a monster leadoff home run in the fourth, Darwin Barney had three hits and needed a triple to complete the cycle, and Scott Hairston added a solo shot in the sixth to power the Cubs, now 7-2 against American League teams this year.
Garza set season highs in innings pitched and strikeouts, and posted his third quality start and second ina row. Among the four hits off the right-hander was a leadoff home run by Chris Carter in the seventh.
“His fastball had life and [he had] command of it, down and away, and in,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He got his ground balls. His slider got better as the game went on. He did a great job.”
Garza may have done too well. In his last two starts, he’s given up one earned run over 15 innings. There were plenty of scouts who waited out the three hour, 18 minute rain delay at the start of the game to see the Cubs pitcher in person. The Trade Deadline isn’t that far away.
“You don’t want to lose a guy who can give up one run in his last 15 innings,” Sveum said. “Obviously, it’s a business, and that’s not part of my business.”
Garza has been rumored to be dealt his entire career. This year is no different.
“I’m looking forward to the next five days,” Garza said, staying focused on the task at hand. “I think I face Milwaukee in Milwaukee and I’ll be ready.”
He was matched up for the second straight game with catcher Dioner Navarro, who was his teammate in Tampa, rather than Welington Castillo.
“[Garza] better listen to me,” Navarro said, laughing.
Navarro then complemented Castillo for the job he’s done. Bottom line, Garza is the one on the mound.
“I’ve got nothing to do with it — he’s the one pitching and he’s the one throwing the ball,” Navarro said.
Garza missed a chance for a complete game after he walked Jose Altuve to open the ninth. Kevin Gregg took over, and closed things out for his 11th save in as many opportunities.
– Carrie Muskat
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