Results tagged ‘ Bryan LaHair ’

5/7 Back to back jacks

Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart hit back to back home runs in the fourth inning Monday, the first time the Cubs have done so since their previous corner infielders, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, did last Aug. 11. It was LaHair’s eighth of the season and Stewart’s third.

– Carrie Muskat

5/7 Extra bases & lineup

* Today marks the two-year anniversary of when Starlin Castro made his Major League debut at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati (May 7, 2010). He went 2-for-5, hitting a three-run homer in his first plate appearance. Castro added a three-run triple that game, and his six RBIs were the most recorded by a player in his first career ML appearance. In his first two calendar years of big league play, Castro has hit .308 with 73 doubles, 16 triples, 14 homers and 125 RBIs in 311 games.

Since making his debut, Castro ranks fourth in the Majors with 385 hits, trailing the Rangers’ Michael Young, the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki and the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez.

* On Sunday, the Cubs bullpen threw five scoreless innings without issuing a walk. It’s the first time that’s happened since Aug. 30, 2009, against the Mets, when the Cubs ‘pen gave up one hit over 5 2/3 innings.

* Ian Stewart, back in the starting lineup on Monday, was batting .389 (7-for-18) in his last six games with a double, homer and two RBIs.

* Bryan LaHair has reached base safely in a team-high 24 straight games. He’s the first Cubs first baseman to do that since Derrek Lee had a 30-game run May 16-June 23, 2009.

* Here’s Monday’s lineup vs. the Braves:

RF DeJesus

CF Campana

SS Castro

1B LaHair

3B Stewart

LF Johnson

2B Barney

C Soto

P Samardzija

* Pitching matchups:

Monday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.41) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.74)

Tuesday: RHP Ryan Dempster (0-1, 0.95) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14)

Wednesday: LHP Paul Maholm (3-2, 5.13) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (1-0, 6.55)

– Carrie Muskat

5/6 In-game notes

* Bryan LaHair drew a walk to leadoff the second inning on Sunday, and he now has reached safely in a team-high 24 straight games. That’s the longest streak by a Cubs first baseman since Derrek Lee’s 23-game stretch in 2009.

* Starlin Castro singled in the third, and has reached base safely in 65 of his last 68 games, starting Aug. 15, 2011.

* Travis Wood doubled in the third for the first extra-base hit by a Cubs pitcher this year and only the second hit by a Cubs pitcher. Matt Garza has the other one. Wood also singled in the fifth. For the game, Wood gave up three runs on three hits and three walks over six innings, while striking out four. He was pulled after throwing 100 pitches. What was impressive, besides his hitting, is that the lefty settled down after two rough innings, and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

* Sunday marked the anniversary of Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game against the Astros, May 6, 1998, at Wrigley Field.

* Ian Stewart was scratched from the starting lineup because of the flu but appeared in the dugout.

* Sunday’s rain delay also was fifth this year for the Cubs.

– Carrie Muskat

5/2 LaHair’s streak

Bryan LaHair homered to lead off the second inning Wednesday night, and now has reached base safely in 20 straight games. The last Cubs first baseman with a longer streak was Derrek Lee who did so in 21 straight games in 2009. LaHair has six homers, more than half of the Cubs’ total 10. It’s 87 degrees at Great American Ball Park. There could be more.

– Carrie Muskat

5/1 Extra bases

* Bryan LaHair hit five home runs in April, more than half of the team’s total nine homers for the month. The last Cubs player to account for more than half of the team’s homers in a month was Sammy Sosa, who hit 17 in August 2001, and the team totaled 32.

* The last time the Cubs hit nine homers in a month (with at least 20 games played) was August 1981. They totaled nine in 21 games that month.

* LaHair also has reached base safely in a team-high 19 straight games. The last Cubs first baseman to have a longer streak was Derrek Lee, who reached safely in 21 straight from July 31-Aug. 22, 2009.

* Starlin Castro and Tony Campana are the first Cubs duo to have at least seven stolen bases apiece in the first month since stolen base records were first kept in 1921. Castro has 10 steals and Campana has seven. The Cubs have 20 stolen bases so far; last year, they did not get their 20th until June 16.

– Carrie Muskat

 

4/25 Vote for LaHair

Bryan LaHair has been a Triple-A All-Star and a Texas League All-Star, but this year, he’s on the big league All-Star ballot, included among National League first basemen.

“It’s cool to see those things,” said the Cubs first baseman, who hit his fourth homer on Wednesday in a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals. “It’s just another new experience for me. Every time a new experience comes around, it’s always fun to see — my family was excited to see that.”

Did he pick up a ballot as a souvenir?

“No, but I may if it comes across,” LaHair said. “It’s not something I play for. I play to help the team win and if my numbers and the votes come my way, that’s a plus.”

Maybe he can get his friends to vote online for him on MLB.com and Cubs.com.

“I’m sure there’s a bunch of people back in my hometown or maybe in Chicago,” he said, hoping the folks in his hometown of Worcester, Mass., come through. “We’ll see.”

– Carrie Muskat 

4/25 Cardinals 5, Cubs 1

The Cubs missed a chance to sweep the Cardinals on Wednesday. Chris Volstad took the loss, extending his winless streak to 15 starts. He has not celebrated a victory since last July 10. The right-hander cruised through five innings and then missed his spots in the sixth. With the game tied at 1, Rafael Furcal singled and scored two outs later on Carlos Beltran’s double. David Freese followed with his fourth home run of the season and 22nd by the team off a 2-2 pitch.

“Two outs, you’ve got to be able to close those innings out,” Volstad said. “One swing of the bat put us in a big hole. I had been working him in the entire game and that one [pitch] wasn’t in as much as the other ones. He did a great job.”

Said Dale Sveum: “He threw the ball really well up to that point. He got the sinker in on Freese all day long and tried to come in and left it out over the plate and that was a backbreaker in that inning. … For the most part, it was a much more improved outing and he pitched more aggressively and used his sinker and did a good job.”

Rookie catcher Steve Clevenger noticed Volstad’s pitches started to trend up in the sixth. Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio want the Cubs catchers to monitor the pitchers to reduce visits to the mound.

“If [the pitchers] aren’t executing, we can go out and tell them,” Clevenger said.

Which is what he did in the sixth.

“[Volstad] pitched really good — just one bad inning, and I wouldn’t even say it was a bad inning,” Clevenger said. “The ball to Freese was in and Freese did a good job of getting to it. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe we went in there too much. Maybe we should have gone with something different. That was the game plan, we stuck with it, and Freese did a good job.”

* Cubs pitching has combined for a 2.35 ERA in the last five games. That includes a 1.76 ERA by the bullpen.

* Bryan LaHair has hit four of the Cubs seven home runs this season, and connected in back to back games.

“The first at-bat, [Lance Lynn] threw me a fastball away, fastball in and I fouled it back,” LaHair said. “My second at-bat, he threw me a fastball away and I hit that one. I made the adjustment.”

Sveum wants to see more home runs.

“Coming in, [LaHair] was one guy we needed to hit home runs,” Sveum said. “We definitely need those two corner guys [LaHair and Ian Stewart] to drive the ball out of the ballpark.”

Stewart is batting .175 for the season.

“I think sometimes when you don’t get results, guys start pressing a little and swinging out of the zone,” Sveum said. “We’ll get him going. He’s got too much bat speed. For the most part, he’s getting good pitches to hit. We just have to get him going swinging the bat.”

* The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Wednesday.

* After a day off Thursday, the Cubs travel to Philadelphia for a four-game series against the Phillies. Paul Maholm will get things started on Friday against Roy Halladay.

– Carrie Muskat 

4/24 Extra bases

* The Cubs enter Tuesday’s game without a home run since Bryan LaHair’s grand slam in the third inning April 13. That’s nine games ago. The last longest homerless streak was 10 games from June 30-July 13, 2007.

* Starlin Castro has reached base safely in 56 of his last 57 games starting last Aug. 15. He has a .362 on-base percentage and .314 batting average in that stretch.

* At least one Cubs hitter has reached base safely via an error in six straight games, dating to April 18 in Miami. Conversely, opponents have reached base because of a Cubs error 13 times this year, most in the Major Leagues.

* LaHair ranks fifth in the National League in pitches per plate appearance, averaging 4.20.

* The Cubs have not had a save situation in the last 14 games since April 8 against the Nationals. That’s the longest stretch since a 20-game streak July 25-Aug. 14, 2007.

– Carrie Muskat

4/23 Baker gets start over LaHair

Jeff Baker started at first base Monday night against Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia instead of left-handed hitting Bryan LaHair.

“Right now, I’d like to see better at-bats [by LaHair] against left-handers,” Dale Sveum said. “He’s obviously swung the bat great against right-handed pitchers but Spring Training through now, we’ve talked about some things to try to adjust his approach against left-handed pitching, especially big league left-handed pitching specialists. We have to give him some at-bats as well. When a guy like Baker is sitting on your bench who kills left-handed pitching, you’ve got to get him in the lineup somehow.”

So far this season, LaHair is 0-for-6 against left-handed pitchers and batting .433 (13-for-30) against right-handers. Baker has a career .310 average against lefties and is batting .237 against right-handed pitchers.

– Carrie Muskat 

4/20 Extra bases: Reds 9, Cubs 4

The Cubs committed three errors Friday which contributed to a loss to the Reds, Chicago’s sixth straight defeat. Chris Volstad (0-2) gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks over five innings. Bryan LaHair, batting fourth in place of Alfonso Soriano, had two hits.

* Ryan Dempster is questionable for Sunday’s start because of a right quad strain. Dempster underwent an MRI on Friday. Randy Wells was brought to Chicago from Triple-A Iowa in case the Cubs need a starter. Dempster is 0-1 but has a 1.33 ERA in his three starts this season and has struck out 23.

* The Cubs have a Major League low five home runs. The Yankees hit five homers Friday against the Red Sox.

* The Cubs placed Kerry Wood on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 14, with right shoulder fatigue and recalled left-handed reliever Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa. Maine spent most of last season at Iowa where he went 3-4 with 12 saves and a 3.68 ERA. Wood has appeared in four games, with his last outing one week ago in St. Louis. It’s the 16th time in his career he’s been placed on the DL.

* The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced that Dodgers Minor League pitcher Angel Guzman has received a 50-game suspension after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse. The suspension of Guzman, who is currently on the roster of Triple-A Albuquerque, was effective immediately.

* Sports radio host Dan Patrick will lead the Wrigley Field crowd in the seventh inning stretch on Saturday. On Sunday, it will be Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett. On Monday, UIC men’s basketball coach Howard Moore will do the honors. On Tuesday, it will be Loyola men’s basketball coach Porter Moser. On Wednesday, former Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander will sing “Take Me out to the Ballgame.”

– Carrie Muskat

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