Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

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

7/27 Extra bases

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday at Wrigley Field, which also is Ron Santo Day. Ceremonies are expected to begin around 1 p.m. CT. As of now, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are both still on the roster.

* Since making his Cubs debut June 26, Anthony Rizzo is first among NL rookies with a .323 batting average, is tied for first with five home runs, and second in RBIs with 12.

* Alfonso Soriano is one home run away from his 11th 20-homer season. One more, and he’ll join Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more home runs in each of their first six seasons with the Cubs.

* In case you missed it, here are the pitching matchups for this weekend:

Friday: LHP Travis Wood (4-5, 4.33) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (12-4, 3.10)

Saturday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.25) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (1-3, 2.78)

Sunday: LHP Paul Maholm (9-6, 3.88) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (8-10, 4.31)

– Carrie Muskat


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


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