Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

7/22 Cubs lineup

Steve Clevenger will be behind the plate Sunday for the Cubs series finale against the Cardinals. After hitting .304 (34-for-112) with runners in scoring position in the first 14 games this month, the Cubs are 0-for-6 with RISP in the first two games of this Cardinals series. Still, the Cubs are batting .288 (34-for-118) with RISP in July after producing just a .199 average (39-for-196) with RISP in June. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Wood P

– Carrie Muskat

7/21 Numbers game

You needed a calculator to keep up with the Cardinals seventh inning Saturday night. They sent 17 batters to the plate, totaled 10 hits, including seven doubles, and 12 runs in one inning en route to a 12-0 victory over the Cubs.

“You look at their lineup and something like that — not that extreme — but that’s a tough lineup to get through with the switch hitters and the quality hitters they’ve got,” Dale Sveum said.

* The 12 runs and 10 hits were both season highs against the Cubs for a single inning. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that long since the Cubs gave up a dozen runs in one inning. Flash back to July 30, 2010, against the Rockies. Colorado scored 12 runs on 13 hits in the eighth in a 17-2 win. Before that game against the Rockies, the last time the Cubs gave up 12 runs in one inning was when Montreal scored a dozen on Sept. 24, 1985, in the eighth.

* The Cardinals’ seven doubles in the seventh tied a Major League record for most doubles in one inning, set Aug. 25, 1936, by the Boston Bees, in the first inning of a doubleheader.

* The dozen runs were the highest run total by any team this season, and equaled the Cardinals club record for runs in a single inning.

* The Cardinals finished with nine doubles in the game. The last time they did that was July 12, 1931, against — who else? — the Cubs. St. Louis hit 13 doubles in that one.

“I’m a firm believer that hitting is contagious,” St. Louis’ David Freese said. “Obviously, innings like that don’t come around that often. When you can string hits together, it keeps the train moving and a lot of the times it’s how you get big innings because guys just stay focused and they keep pushing.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/20 Cubs lineup

Ryan Dempster is in the Cubs’ lineup Friday for Game 1 of a three-game series against the Cardinals. Dempster enters with a 33-inning scoreless innings streak dating to June 5. That’s tied for the seventh-longest single-season scoreless innings streak by a Cubs pitcher in the last 104 years dating to 1908. With a 30 1/3 scoreless innings stretch as a reliever in 2005-06 and his current 33-inning scoreless streak as a starter, Dempster is the only pitcher in modern history (since 1900) to record 30-inning scoreless stretches as both a starter and a reliever (Elias Sports Bureau). Dempster’s 33-inning streak is the longest in the Majors since Cliff Lee’s 34-inning stretch last season.

Here’s Friday’s lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Dempster P

– Carrie Muskat

7/19 Looking ahead

As of now, Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start Friday in the Cubs series opener against the Cardinals. The subject of trade rumors, Demspter will face Kyle Lohse. The game will begin nearly five weeks in which the Cubs will play against NL Central teams (26 out of 32 games).

Friday: RHP Ryan Dempster (5-3, 1.86) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.80)

Saturday: RHP Matt Garza (5-7, 4.02) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (7-8, 3.82)

Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (4-4, 3.92) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.27)

– Carrie Muskat

4/14 Volstad goes for “W”

Chris Volstad aims for his first victory since July 10, 2011, when he takes the mound — weather permitting — against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Saturday. This will be Volstad’s second start for the Cubs. His last win was a 5-4 decision over the Astros while he was with the Marlins. Volstad has gone winless in his last 12 starts (five losses, seven no-decisions) despite posting a 4.14 ERA in that stretch. He’s the only pitcher in baseball to make at least 10 starts since last year’s All-Star Break and not record a victory, though his run support average of 3.07 is the sixth lowest in the National League in that span.

– Carrie Muskat

4/12 McKay to celebrate Cards with Cubs

For 16 seasons, Dave McKay wore Cardinal red and was the first base coach for Tony La Russa. He has won two World Championships with St. Louis, but on Friday, McKay returns to the city wearing Cubs blue. McKay is now on Dale Sveum’s coaching staff and players have raved about his expertise and coaching. Friday will be the Cardinals home opener and they will raise a banner celebrating the World Series win. On Saturday, the players will be presented with their rings.

It will be weird for McKay, 62, to not be wearing red.

“Most people say, ‘Oh, it’s just another game,’ but it isn’t,” McKay said. “It’s the Cardinals and the Cubs and I’m with the Cubs now. I’m looking forward to it. I hope we put on a good show. I gave them everything I had for 16 years but that’s baseball. Now I’m with the Cubs, and I’m going to give them everything I got.”

He will take part in the ring ceremony. La Russa made a point of inviting McKay.

“You’ll see a lot of red and one blue,” McKay said of the players on the field.

He’s eager to win a ring with the Cubs.

“I hope we can do some good things over here now,” he said.

 – Carrie Muskat

4/11 Pitching matchups

Ryan Dempster takes the mound Wednesday and will try to continue his success against the Brewers. Dempster is 15-5 with 10 saves and a 2.75 ERA in 47 career games against Milwaukee. That’s the most career wins vs. the Brewers among all active pitchers. From the start of 2008 to June 13 last year, Dempster was 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA against them. He lost his last two starts last season against Milwaukee. Matt Garza will close the homestand on Thursday and then the Cubs leave for their first road trip, beginning in St. Louis and followed by three games next week in Miami at the Marlins new ballpark. It won’t get any easier.

“It’s a tough schedule, but hey, its Major League Baseball,” Dale Sveum said. “A lot of teams have really good starting pitching now. It’s part of the game and you have to find a way to scratch runs out and have good at-bats and get leads, which is what we need to do. We have to get leads to be able to do things, run the bases, hit and run and all that kind of stuff.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming series against the Cardinals:

Friday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 1.04) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (0-1, 4.76), 2:15 p.m. CT

Saturday: RHP Chris Volstad (0-0, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 1.35), 12:05 p.m. CT

Sunday: LHP Paul Maholm (0-1, 13.50) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (1-0, 0.00), 1:15 p.m. CT

– Carrie Muskat

12/8 What if Pujols leaves NL Central?

There are reports Albert Pujols has left the NL Central and the Cardinals and has signed a 10-year, $250 million deal with the Angels. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer did not want to talk about Pujols until it was done:
“I’ll comment on that when it’s official — I’d be foolish to jump the gun,” Hoyer said Thursday.
Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, also wanted to defer comment until the Pujols deal was done:
“I’ll just say, if he left, it’d probably be a good thing for us in terms of developing young pitching,” Epstein said Wednesday. “You get a young pitcher up there and he’s working on his third pitch and working on his fastball command and you tell him to get ahead strike one and all of a sudden, instead of a Triple-A hitter he’s got Albert Pujols there and it leaves the yard 420 to right center field and it’s not good for his confidence.”
– Carrie Muskat

11/9 Francona update

Terry Francona interviewed with the Cardinals on Wednesday. There has been speculation that Francona could rejoin Theo Epstein in Chicago with the Cubs, who are also looking for a manager. Francona was the only manager Epstein hired in Boston when he was GM there.

However, the Cubs might not be the right fit for Francona. Epstein acknowledged as much last week.

“I’ve talked to Theo a bunch, actually, which I’ve appreciated,” Francona told’s Ian Browne on Wednesday. “Theo and I are always going to be friends, regardless of what happens, so that’s good.”

– Carrie Muskat

10/13 Waiting for Theo, Day 2

The Theo Epstein-to-the-Cubs deal is not official yet. Sources say the Cubs and Red Sox still must settle on compensation — Epstein has one year remaining on his contract — and who, if anybody, on his staff can accompany him to Chicago.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak was asked about Epstein joining the NL Central.

“When you look at that type of hire, [the Cubs] are obviously changing their strategy and how they’re going about it,” Mozeliak said Wednesday. “Not knowing what they’re going to do or how they’re going to attack, it doesn’t necessarily mean instant success for 2012, but they surely are looking at this long term and for that leadership.”

He noted the similarities between the Red Sox and Cubs.

“There is unique history in the sense of what [Epstein had] in Boston,” Mozeliak said. “It had been a while since they had success, especially to the level that he brought them to. Obviously, in Chicago is trying to replicate that. But I don’t want to speak for them.”

If Epstein does make the move, Cubs fans will have to be patient.  When he took over the Red Sox in November 2002, they were coming off a 93-win season. The Cubs lost 91 games in 2011, and have finished fifth in back to back years. His expertise couldn’t save the Red Sox this season as they finished third for the second year in a row.

“For all of us, collectively, it’s a failure,” Epstein said on Sept. 29 of the 2011 season in Boston. “In some small ways, we’ve gotten away a little bit from our ideal of what we want to be on the field and off the field. It’s our responsibility to fix it.”

Epstein did make key moves over the years. He acquired David Ortiz, who has become a Boston icon, and Curt Schilling for the 2004 championship team, and oversaw the drafting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon, who helped the ’07 Red Sox win another ring.

But he also missed with acquisitions Mike Cameron, Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria and John Lackey. His most recent big purchases — Lackey and Carl Crawford — flopped this year. Lackey is entering the third year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract; Crawford just finished the first year of a seven-year, $142 million deal. The Red Sox also invested $101 million to obtain Daisuke Matsuzaka and spent $70 million on J.D. Drew.

Kevin Towers promoted Epstein from the Padres media relations department to become director of baseball operations in San Diego. Now the Diamondbacks GM, Towers praised Epstein.

“I would enjoy giving him a project and expect him to take a couple weeks,” Towers told the Chicago Tribune. “Theo would have it done by the next day. Of course, he would stay up all night. He wanted to be good. His work is off the charts.

“I know Cubs fans are going to have great expectations,” Towers said. “He’s going t have the same expectations. I think he’s going to create an edge.”

Towers said Epstein was touting David Eckstein because he was an “on-base machine who would set up the middle of the order.” Towers and the Padres passed, and the Angels got Eckstein and won a World Series in 2002.

“Theo is a big-time thinker who has incredible instincts,” Towers said. “He has zero fear, as he showed when he traded Nomar [Garciaparra to the Cubs in '04]. He takes the amateur Draft seriously. He’s going to be involved because he’s going to have a plan, a vision.”

Added Mozeliak: “Obviously, he had a ton of success in Boston and now that he’s taking it to our division, it’s going to change the landscape a little bit. It’s good for baseball and if it makes our rivalry any more interesting, that’s fun, too.”

– Carrie Muskat


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