Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

8/26 Dodgers 6, Cubs 2

The Cubs couldn’t skip Zack Greinke on Monday. Greinke hit a RBI single in the fourth and held the Cubs to five hits over 8 2/3 innings, and Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each hit solo home runs to lead the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory for their 47th win in the last 59 games. The Cubs have now lost eight straight to the Dodgers. How good is Greinke? He struck out nine, and improved to 5-0 in five starts this month.

Jake Arrieta took the loss in his fourth start for the Cubs. The right-hander had faced the Dodgers April 21 in Baltimore while with the Orioles, giving up five runs on two hits and five walks over four innings. That was a different Dodger lineup, without Puig, who joined the team in June, or Ramirez, who was injured. Puig wasn’t the problem Monday for Arrieta; walks were. With one out in the Dodgers’ fourth, A.J. Ellis walked on four pitches, and one out later, Nick Punto walked on five to set up Greinke’s RBI single. Carl Crawford followed with a ground-rule double that bounced over the left field fence to open a 2-0 lead.

Arrieta walked Mark Ellis to open the sixth and he scored on Punto’s double. Arrieta was pulled, and Punto moved up on Greinke’s sacrifice against Carlos Villanueva and scored on Crawford’s sacrifice fly.

Ramirez connected on his 14th homer with one out in the seventh against Villanueva, and Puig added his 13th with two outs in the eighth off Michael Bowden.

Rizzo doubled with two outs in the ninth, Greinke hit Nate Schierholtz with a pitch, and Brian Bogusevic then drove both in with a double to chase the Dodgers starter.

– Carrie Muskat

8/26 Rizzo back in No. 3 spot

Anthony Rizzo was back where he feels he belongs in the lineup, batting third for the Cubs, and hopes he is never inserted into the No. 2 spot again. Rizzo batted second for five games for the Cubs, and was 7-for-24, hitting two home runs in his first game there last Wednesday against the Nationals. Did it make a difference?

“No, it didn’t,” Rizzo said Monday. “It really didn’t, in my opinion. I was very uncomfortable there in the two-hole but it was what it was and hopefully, I never go back.”

What made it uncomfortable?

“It’s more an ego thing,” he said. “I’ve never hit second in my life. If you’re the second hitter, you’re someone who gets guys over and bunts and slaps and what not. I think our lineup doesn’t call for me hitting second. You see the Cardinals and [Carlos] Beltran hitting second but that’s because he has no where else to hit. I was there and I tried to make the best of it. Dale [Sveum] says it best, it’s just a spot in the lineup. I just didn’t like it much.”

When Sveum, the Cubs manager, made the switch, he said the change was not going to be long-term.

“Who knows if any of that stuff works,” Sveum said. “Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Rizzo was batting .177 with runners in scoring position, and part of the reason the move was made was to give him more at-bats without having to try to think about driving men in.

In December 2010, the Red Sox dealt Rizzo to the Padres as part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal. Rizzo was asked if he ever talked to Gonzalez about dealing with the ups and downs of the game.

“You can’t expect everyone to be Superman every day,” Rizzo said. “[Gonzalez] had a good year last year, just not an Adrian Gonzalez year. … You look at everyone’s career and they’ve had monster years and a down year.”

Does Rizzo feel he has to be Superman?

“I expect myself to be,” he said. “When the time is there, I’ll be where I need to be.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/25 Rizzo stays in No. 2 spot

As of now, Anthony Rizzo will stay in the No. 2 spot in the Cubs’ batting order. Manager Dale Sveum doesn’t see any reason to change.

“We’ve scored six, four, six and three [runs] — that’s a plethora for us,” Sveum said of the Cubs’ offense since the switch.

Is there really a correlation?

“No, but I like to think there is,” Sveum said. “It’s not where you want things to be, obviously.”

That’s because the Cubs project Rizzo as their No. 3 batter, which is where he has hit for 100 games this season. In four games at the No. 2 spot, he’s 5-for-18 with four RBIs, and hit two home runs the first day he was inserted there.

“He had a big day [Wednesday], and the line drive two nights ago in the gap and I think the at-bats and the aggressiveness is better and the pitch selection,” Sveum said of Rizzo’s approach. “Where you hit in the lineup is irrelevant for the most part. Sometimes it does give you a little relaxation where you don’t have to worry about things. Everybody’s different.”

Part of the reason for the switch was because Rizzo has scuffled with runners in scoring position. He was batting .178 this season with runners in scoring position with 39 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

8/16 Rizzo stops by children’s hospital

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Anthony Rizzo stopped by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to visit with patients on the oncology floor this week.

8/13 Rizzo Cook-Off for Cancer

The Anthony Rizzo Cook-Off for Cancer event on Wednesday is sold out, but you can still donate money to the first baseman’s foundation at http://www.rizzo44.com. Wednesday’s event will feature upscale versions of ballpark food prepared by Chicago chefs and served by Cubs players. Guests will vote for their favorite dishes by tipping their Cubs server. All proceeds benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support.

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

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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 Cubs.com/cook.

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 Cubs.com/cook.

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

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