Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

5/12 Cubs vs. Cardinals

The Cubs open a four-game series in St. Louis Monday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Pitching matchups:

Monday: LHP Travis Wood (2-4, 4.75) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (0-2, 3.43)
Tuesday: RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 2.89) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (6-2, 2.02)
Wednesday: RHP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.45) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.85)
Thursday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.45) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-2, 3.83)

Extra bases:

* The Cubs’ 12-24 record is the slowest start through 36 games since they were 11-25 in 1997. That team lost its first 14 games of the season. This year, the Cubs have lost at least 24 of their first 36 games for the third time in the last 33 seasons (1994, ’97 and 2014).

* Cubs pitchers have 21 quality starts but only six individual wins from starters in those games. Cubs starters have as many wins as losses when recording a quality start (6-6) to go with nine no-decisions. The Cubs are 7-14 in those quality starts despite a 2.06 ERA from the starting pitchers.

* Samardzija and Hammel are tied for fourth in MLB in quality starts (seven each).

* Here’s a bizarre stat: The Cubs have not had a starting pitcher throw at least six innings and give up more than three earned runs and notch a win since Matt Garza on June 16, 2011 (six innings, five earned runs in a 12-7 win over the Brewers).

9/28 Cardinals 6, Cubs 2

Edwin Jackson’s final start of the season ended sooner than expected. Jackson was pulled after 2 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 6-2 loss Saturday to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium because of discomfort in his right side. The only good news is that he’ll have a few months to heal.

“It’s just a crazy year, man,” said Jackson, who will likely finish as the Major League leader in losses with 18. “If I had the answer, I would’ve changed a long time ago. It’s one of those years where you forget it but still learn from it. It was a [bad] year to sum it up. There’s a lot of things to take from it.”

The Cardinals continued to tune up for the postseason. Matt Holliday hit a two-run home run and Yadier Molina drove in two runs off Jackson to back Adam Wainwright in front of 42,520 fans. St. Louis clinched the National League Central title with a 7-0 win on Friday night, and now is battling Atlanta to determine the top seed in the NL playoffs.

The Cubs lost for the 13th time in their last 17 games, and are simply trying to wrap up a disappointing season in which they will finish last in the division.

“We only have nine innings left this year,” said Anthony Rizzo, who hit his 23rd home run leading off the ninth. “Hopefully, those nine innings get us going and we can go into the offseason on a high note.”

With one out in the St. Louis third, Jackson walked two batters, and both scored on Molina’s double. One out later, Pete Kozma hit a ground-rule double that bounced into the Cubs’ bullpen, and Jackson intentionally walked Adron Chambers to face Wainwright, who hit a RBI single. Cubs manager Dale Sveum and athletic trainer PJ Mainville then went to the mound, and Jackson was pulled after 65 pitches. The right-hander said the problem began when he was warming up and continued as the game progressed.

“He hasn’t had the year he wanted or anything like that but [Travis Wood] has pitched really good and [his record is] under .500,” Sveum said. “[Jackson] has kept us in some games. He’s been a .500 pitcher his whole career. Obviously, you don’t want losses, but at the same time, the games we’ve been in, we don’t seem to win or get a lead.”

Since Jackson reported to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training, he’s been asked about the four-year, $52 million contract he signed with the Cubs, his first long-term deal. Maybe his struggles were related to putting too much pressure on himself with a new team?

“He handles everything really well and he’s ready to come back next year and prove himself,” Sveum said. “I think a lot of things go into it pressure-wise — you get a contract like that, you’re with a new team. I think next year he’ll be a lot more comfortable and settle in and have a good year.”

That’s the goal, Jackson said.

“I don’t feel like I pressed as far as playing,” Jackson said. “There were times when I was over analyzing things and thinking too much and not allowing myself to go out and do what I’m capable of doing athletically. As far as pressure with the new contract and new team and all that, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of pressure.

“When you’re not pitching well, it’s easy to make excuses and point out things that could be happening,” he said. “It’s the craziest year I’ve had in baseball for a long time. You just look forward the working in the offseason and coming back and turning it around.”

The Cubs avoided being shutout for a second straight game when they tallied in the ninth against Edward Mujica. Rizzo led off with his first home run since Sept. 13 and second of the month. J.C. Boscan doubled and scored one out later on Donnie Murphy’s double.

On Sunday, the Cubs close the 2013 season. The players will head home, and Sveum will find out if he’s coming back next year on Monday.

“At the end of the day, the manager can’t play for us,” Jackson said. “The 25 guys who go on the field, we have to produce and play baseball like we know we can. I think we’re capable of doing that. It takes everyone to believe we can win games and go out and play like that.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/8 Cubs notebook

* Right-hander Daniel Bard, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, threw a second bullpen on Sunday. There is no timetable for him to get into a game, and he may not in the Cubs’ remaining 20 games.

“It’d be nice to see but it’s his timetable and we’ll evaluate and we’ll find out how he’s doing and how he’s feeling,” Sveum said.

Bard was sidelined most of the season with a strained abdominal muscle, and struggled with his consistency.

* Darwin Barney got a rare day off Sunday.

“His numbers against [Yovani] Gallardo aren’t staggering, so I figured it’d be a good day to give him a day going into the long road trip,” Sveum said. “We’ll get [Donnie] Murphy’s bat in there as well as [Luis] Valbuena’s left-handed bat.”

* The Cubs have a tough trip ahead as the Reds and Pirates are battling for position in the playoffs.

“You never want to be a spoiler, and not that there’s really any spoiling going on,” Sveum said since the Reds and Pirates appear set for posteason baseball. “Cincinnati is getting hot, and they’ve put themselves in the division race as well. It’ll be fun, the atmosphere in Pittsburgh as well as Cincinnati. You’re getting in that playoff type atmosphere when you’re trying to win a division, and later, it’ll be the same when we get to St. Louis. It’s good for everybody to see that and play in those atmospheres. It’s different.”

* The Cubs are one win away from matching their win total last year.

“Obviously, the difference between this year and last year is coming down the stretch, we have a lot better pitching going out there every day,” Sveum said. “Our starting pitching has been pretty good. There’s satisfaction but we’re still a long way away from where we want to be.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/16 Cubs vs. Cardinals

The Cubs have scuffled vs. the NL Central this year, compiling an 18-35 record prior to Friday’s game against the Cardinals. They’ve also won more games against the Redbirds than any other team in the division, posting a 6-7 record so far.

“Every game right now is meaningful, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” Dale Sveum said. “A weekend series with the Cardinals is great for the fans, great for us. We have pulled out some games and played pretty well against them and a lot better than some of the other teams in our division. They’re one of the better elite teams in the game and you have to be your best to beat them.”

Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (7-7, 4.11)
Saturday: LHP Travis Wood (7-9, 3.00) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (3-3, 3.14)
Sunday: RHP Edwin Jackson (7-12, 5.05) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (13-7, 2.71)

– Carrie Muskat

8/12 Updating Cubs start times

Time to both doublecheck and update your Cubs calendar. Remember, the Cubs’ games Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals will start at 3:05 p.m. CT. Sunday’s game will start at 1:20 p.m. CT.

The Cubs’ game Sept. 7 vs. the Brewers will start at 3:05 p.m. CT. It had originally been listed as a 12:05 p.m. CT start, but was changed at the request of national television.

The Sept. 1 start time vs. the Phillies is still to be determined.

8/11 Cubs don’t like being snubbed

The Cubs may be a sub .500 team, but they didn’t take kindly to having both the Dodgers and the Cardinals alter their rotations against Chicago to save their aces for upcoming series. The Dodgers moved Zack Greinke so he could face the Cardinals, who skipped Adam Wainright on Saturday, so he could face the Pirates this week.

“You take anything like that personal,” manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “Obviously, they’re doing what they need to be doing, being in the pennant race. But the guys in that locker room take it to heart. They’re saying we’re not a very good team and we’re going to get by you with this guy or that guy. It’s the competitive nature in anybody to take that to heart.”

The Cubs got the last word on Saturday, winning 6-5 over the Cardinals.

Wainwright will start Tuesday, and could face the Cubs next Sunday at Wrigley Field.

– Carrie Muskat

7/4 Game time changes

There have been changes to the start times for two Cubs games coming up. FOX TV made the broadcast changes that impact two upcoming games.

On Aug. 17, the Cubs game against the Cardinals will now be broadcast on FOX. The start time has been changed from 12:05 p.m. CT to 3:05 p.m. CT.

On Sept. 7, the Brewers’ game at Wrigley is no longer a FOX game, and the game will start at 3:05 p.m. CT.

5/2 Pink out

If you’re coming to next Wednesday’s Cubs-Cardinals game at Wrigley Field, wear pink. It will be the first Cubs Charities “Pink Out,” presented by Advocate Health Care, to promote breast cancer awareness. Fans sitting in the Budweiser Bleachers will receive a Chicago Cubs Charities “Pink Out” hat, which will be handed out at the entrance gate by the wives of Cubs coaches and players.

Fans throughout the ballpark are encouraged to wear pink that day. The Cubs Store, located across Wrigley Field at the corner of Clark and Addison Streets, will display a “Pink Out” section with pink Cubs merchandise.

All fans in attendance that day are encouraged to participate in the Chicago Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle as proceeds will benefit mammograms for under/uninsured women through Advocate Healthcare.

The Cubs and Advocate Health Care will honor breast cancer survivors by having them throw out the first pitch, sing the National Anthem, and the seventh inning stretch. The game will also feature Major League Baseball’s 2013 Honorary Bat Girl Contest winner, who was selected for submitting a story about “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer.” In addition, Advocate will bring more than 50 survivors to enjoy the game in the stands.

Fans will notice other pink touches throughout the ballpark as well, such as a temporary pink ribbon on the outfield wall, pink hats worn by the grounds crew and more. Go to Cubs.com for more info.

9/20 Here come the Cardinals

The Cubs play host to the Cardinals in a three-game series, which starts Friday. Dale Sveum expects to hear from a few of his friends on the Brewers about the importance of winning this weekend against the Redbirds. If the season ended today, St. Louis has clinched one of the Wild Card spots. But the Brewers are 2 1/2 games back.

“The Cardinals are coming in and it’s a spoiler factor to come out and play with a lot more enthusiasm than we’ve had the last few days and focus a little more,” Sveum said. “We’ve had a few breakdowns. We have to swing the bats a lot better than we have in some situations.”

Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26) vs. Chris Carpenter (0-0, 0.00)

Saturday: Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25) vs. Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97)

Sunday: Justin Germano (2-8, 6.17) vs. Kyle Lohse (15-3, 2.71)

* Sunday will be Kerry Wood appreciation day at Wrigley Field. Wood and his family will be present, and they will sing the seventh inning stretch.

– Carrie Muskat

 

7/28 Reed to the rescue

Reed Johnson has heard his name mentioned in rumors so many times, he simply ignores them.

“I’ve had rumors over my 10-year career and never been traded,” Johnson said Saturday. “It’s a situation for me for when you’re packing your stuff, that’s when you believe you’re headed somewhere else. If I stay here, great; if not, I realize that’s part of the game, and I have to move on.”

On Saturday, Johnson drove in the game-winning run with a pinch-hit bunt single in the seventh to give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

“That was on his own,” Dale Sveum said. “He’s a good bunter, and I remember once in Boston, he did it against us with the bases loaded and it turned into a monster inning.”

Tuesday’s Trade Deadline can’t come soon enough for the players, who are weary of the rumors. It’s not really distracting, Johnson said.

“Once you’re in between the lines, you don’t think about it too much,” he said. “Maybe before the game when you’re in the clubhouse with the guys, everybody’s kind of chipping on each other about getting traded, and you think about it then, but once the game starts, you forget about that stuff. It’s a good release to get out there this time of year.”

He’s had family and friends keep him up to date.

“I feel like my mom could be my agent because she always has an idea of where I’m going to go but I never end up anywhere,” Johnson said. “I might have to fire her.”

Could Johnson, who was batting .448 as a pinch-hitter this year, help a team?

“He’s a valuable guy to a team vying for a championship or trying to get to the playoffs,” Sveum said.

 — Carrie Muskat

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