Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

8/27 Cubs lineup

Josh Vitters is back in the Cubs lineup, playing third, as they open a four-game series against the Brewers. Milwaukee has had the edge this season, posting a 10-3 record so far. This week is their last meeting of the year. Justin Germano takes the mound. He lost to the Brewers last Monday at Miller Park, giving up seven runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus RF

Vitters 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Clevenger C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Germano P

— Carrie Muskat

5/13 Mother’s Day lineup

The Cubs will try to avoid being swept at Miller Park on Sunday as Jeff Samardzija takes the mound in the series finale. The Brewers are 5-1 against the Cubs so far this season. The Cubs are trying to snap a 10-game losing streak at Miller Park. It’s their longest skid at a visiting ballpark since losing 13 in a row at Busch Stadium Oct. 3, 1999, to June 19, 2001.

Since 1914, the Cubs are 49-64 on Mother’s Day, and 5-3 since 2004.  Jeff Samardzija will start, vying for his third straight win. Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair are both in mini funks. They’re both 1-for-10 in the two games so far on this road trip, while Ian Stewart is 0-for-6. Here’s the lineup:

RF DeJesus

CF Campana

SS Castro

1B LaHair

LF Soriano

3B Stewart

C Soto

2B Barney

P Samardzija

— Carrie Muskat

4/9 Sveum has inside info

The Cubs didn’t need to tap into their advanced scouting system for the four-game series against the Brewers. All they had to do was ask manager Dale Sveum, who took over the scouting report.

“I did most of it, to tell you the truth,” Sveum said Monday. “It was pretty easy to go over the scouting report and I might have given some people a series off that way. I was able to handle the whole deal.”

Sveum was on the Brewers coaching staff for six seasons, including the last three as the hitting coach, before taking the Cubs job last November.

“I think it definitely gives you an edge but the bottom line is you still have to make your pitches,” Sveum said. “With the video equipment you have, you get to know people as well as I do. I know the insights and the mental part of people and what the video doesn’t show and I think that will benefit us. You still have to execute the pitches and execute the plan and sequence of the pitches.”

Aramis Ramirez, now with the Brewers after nine years with the Cubs, did his part and sat in on the Milwaukee pitchers’ meeting.

Sveum and the Cubs did face the Brewers in Spring Training but said this is different.

“These games count,” he said.

There is a big difference gap in the Brewers lineup with the departure of Prince Fielder, who signed with the Tigers.

“They’re extremely different,” Sveum said of Milwaukee’s lineup. “You take the one big left-handed bat out of the lineup who had been a staple there for six years. Mat Gamel is capable of doing a lot of good things but there’s only one Prince Fielder. The threat that guy brings every day and hitting behind [Ryan Braun] all the time is huge for Braun, too. They replace him with Aramis Ramirez so it becomes a little easier. Not that [Ramirez] can’t put up the numbers but it’s easier to go through right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/8 Ramirez, Braun headed to Wrigley

Monday will be an interesting night for the middle of the Brewers order. Ryan Braun will be playing his first regular season away game since appealing a suspension over the winter. Cleanup man Aramis Ramirez is returning as an enemy after parts of nine seasons with the Cubs. Ramirez said he isn’t sure what kind of reception he’ll get. But he has a hunch about Braun.

“I think it’s going to be ugly for Braun everywhere we go,” Ramirez told reporters Sunday in Milwaukee. “On the road, it’s going to be tough for him. He knows it. That’s no secret. Plus, he got a taste of it in Spring Training. Everywhere we go, he was getting booed. But that’s a good player, and he’s tough. He’s tough mentally, and I think he’s going to be OK. He’s a good enough player to separate that from his game.”

How will Cubs fans greet Ramirez?

“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” he said. “I had a great career there. I played for some good teams and also played for some bad teams. I guess you have to ask the fans.”

Ramirez had a similar experience in September 2003 when he returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since a midseason trade from the Pirates to the Cubs. Ramirez went 5-for-13 in that four-game series, with three home runs and six RBIs. He homered twice in that series finale, a 4-1 Cubs win.

“They booed me,” Ramirez said of Pirates fans. “I don’t know why. I didn’t ask to be traded.”

Likewise, Ramirez said, he did not ask to leave Chicago after batting .294 with 239 home runs and 806 RBIs in 1,124 games. He was a free agent, and the Cubs’ new president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, informed agent Paul Kinzer early in the process that Ramirez did not fit the franchise’s plan.

“Theo was honest,” Ramirez said. “He told my agent they were going young, so there was no place for me there. I’m 33.”

If Cubs fans do boo him this week, Ramirez said, “I want to know the reason why. What did I do? But [Cubs] fans, they go to the park and they do whatever they want.”

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked whether he worried about Ramirez trying to do too much in his return to Wrigley Field.

“I think sometimes it goes both ways,” Roenicke said. “Sometimes a guy comes back and does great, and then there’s the player who comes back and tries so hard to do well that he gets out of his game. It’s hard to say which way Aramis will go. He’s calm, he’s always thinking, but there’s still emotion under that calm. Going back to a place he was for that many years, there’s going to be emotion there.”

Ramirez still has a home in downtown Chicago, but it’s for sale so he will stay with the Brewers at the team hotel.

— Carrie Muskat

4/8 Happy Easter

On Sunday, some of the Cubs players’ children were looking for Easter eggs in the outfield grass. For Cubs manager Dale Sveum, Easter Sunday has a special meaning. Twenty-five years ago on Easter Sunday, Sveum hit a walkoff homer at County Stadium to give the Brewers a 6-4 win over Rangers for their 12th straight win. That was on April 19, 1987, so technically the official anniversary will be in 11 days.

“I actually forgot all about it until I got a few texts from the clubbies in Milwaukee reminding me,” Sveum said Sunday.

The Brewers apparently included the homer, which he hit off Greg Harris, in the video highlights shown pregame at Miller Park. By the way, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief in that game, played at County Stadium in front of 29,357. The Brewers trailed 4-1 going into the ninth inning 25 years ago. Milwaukee had two on and one out when Rob Deer hit a three-run homer to tie the game. One out later, Jim Gantner walked and Sveum then connected on the walkoff blast.

Sveum has fond memories of old County Stadium.

“There were a lot of good times,” he said. “That’s where you grow up as a player. That’s the one thing you remember is the good times. That’s the one place I got to play everyday, too. Wherever you come up in the big leagues, that will always be a special place even though there were some pretty cold days, like we know here [at Wrigley Field]. It was the same thing at County Stadium with the wind blowing off the lake.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/7 Welcome to Chicago

Dale Sveum took advantage of Friday’s off day to outfit his Chicago apartment.

“[My daughter] said, ‘You spent more money than I did when I moved into college,'” the new Cubs manager said Saturday.

Despite losing the season opener on Thursday to the Nationals, Sveum said he has been well received in the city. He’s been recognized.

“I’ve had it a few times but nothing off the charts by no means,” he said. “It’ll happen more and more, not that you’re putting yourself out there all the time. It’s part of the game and being with the Chicago Cubs, that’s part of it. There’s nothing wrong with it. People have said nice things and that’s fine. It is what it is.”

He has yet to see his face on the billboard, part of the Cubs “Baseball is Better” ad campaign.

“You are going to be more familiar when you have a billboard,” he said, laughing.

His old team, the Brewers, will definitely see it on their way to Chicago. There’s one on the Illinois side of the Illinois-Wisconsin border next to Interstate 94.

— Carrie Muskat

3/16 Cubs claim De La Cruz

The Cubs have claimed right-handed pitcher Frankie De La Cruz from the Brewers. In three games with Milwaukee this spring, De La Cruz has given up eight runs on seven hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings. He’s been added to the Cubs 40-man roster and will compete for a spot in the bullpen. The Brewers had hoped De La Cruz would clear waivers and start at Triple-A Nashville. Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio knows the right-hander well.

— Carrie Muskat

1/11 Roster move

The Brewers claimed infielder Jeff Bianchi off waivers from the Cubs on Wednesday, which opens a spot on the 40-man roster for Paul Maholm, whom the Cubs signed on Tuesday. Bianchi was previously claimed by the Cubs from the Royals on Dec. 9. He batted .259 with two homers, 48 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 119 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season.  He missed 2010 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery on his right elbow during Spring Training. Bianchi has spent his entire playing career in the Royals organization (2005-11).

— Carrie Muskat

12/7 Ramirez declines arbitration offer

The agent for Aramis Ramirez told the Cubs Wednesday that the third baseman was declining the Cubs’ offer of arbitration. The deadline for players to decide whether to accept was 11 p.m. CT Wednesday. Both Ramirez and Carlos Pena were Type B free agents, and if they sign with other teams, as expected, the Cubs will receive a compensatory Draft pick between the first and second rounds. Pena already has told the Cubs he will decline the offer.

Ramirez may not go too far from Chicago. He is considering the Brewers as well as the Angels. There also is a third team, but Milwaukee’s advantage is that he could stay in the NL Central. Ramirez, who has met with both Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Angels manager Mike Scioscia, has made it clear he wants to play for a contender. Ramirez, 33, won his first Silver Slugger award this season, batting .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs, and is considered the top free agent third baseman available.

— Carrie Muskat

5/13 Davis set to join Cubs

It was almost one year ago today that Doug Davis woke up around 4 a.m. sweating and feeling sharp pain in his chest, jaw, neck and back. Heartburn medication didn’t help.

“I Googled what was going on, and it said signs of a heart attack,” Davis said at the time.

He was diagnosed May 17, 2010, with pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining surrounding the heart. The left-hander was pitching for the Brewers then, and had made his last start May 10. He was told not to rush back because if he did, he would run the risk of having heart problems for the rest of his life.

Davis did make one more start on July 7, 2010, and on Saturday, will make his first Major League start since then when the Cubs play the Giants. Davis signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs in April and tuned up with two Minor League starts, although his last one was cut short so he’d be ready for Saturday’s game.

Doctors said the left-hander had a mild case of pericarditis. He’s probably had enough of hospitals. In March 2008, Davis was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He made two starts before having his thyroid removed.

According to reports, his contract with the Cubs states that if he joins the Major League team, he will make $900,000 with possible bonuses that could bring his total salary to $2 million. He’ll get started on Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat