Results tagged ‘ Carlos Pena ’

9/15 Cubs milestones

The Cubs will do what they can so Ryan Dempster has a chance at 200 innings and also are looking forward to Starlin Castro reaching the 200-hit mark. Castro wants to accomplish the feat at home.

“You’d always like to do it at home,” Mike Quade said. “I hope he gets his 210th hit at home. Just keep making progress and stay healthy these last few weeks and whenever it happens it happens.”

Quade was considering giving Castro a day off. Not now.

“Let him drive to 200 and hopefully more than that,” Quade said.

As much as he’ll encourage players to achieve the goals, he’ll also be realistic.

“I’m not going to let Carlos [Pena] steal bases so he gets to 10,” Quade said.

— Carrie Muskat 

9/7 Pena power, Demp, Castro & Ramy

Carlos Pena’s three-run homer in the eighth Wednesday was his ninth first-pitch home run of the season, good for second most in the Major Leagues behind teammate Aramis Ramirez, who has 12. It was Pena’s seventh home run off a lefty this year, and 26th of the season, and gave the Cubs a 6-3 win over the Reds. The ball soared over the right field bleachers onto Sheffield Avenue.

“I would’ve liked to have seen that with no wind let alone the wind blowing out,” Ryan Dempster said. “That’s a big win for us.”

The Reds brought in lefty Bill Bray to face Pena.

“We had the match-up we wanted,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Billy has been great on lefties all year, hitting [.188] off him. Pena is hitting [.135] off of lefties. He made a mistake and hung a slider that didn’t slide. It just spun up there. He didn’t miss it.” 

Pena now has five homers and 16 RBIs against Cincinnati.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Baker said. “Evidentially, he must like hitting off of us.”

 * Dempster now is 6-6 with a 3.59 ERA in his last 17 starts, but has not won since Aug. 11.

* Starlin Castro has reached base safely in his last 21 games since Aug. 15, a career high. He has hit safely in 32 of his last 35 games, batting .323 in that span. He has 49 hits in his last 34 games, and leads the NL with 182 hits. He’s on pace for 206 this season. Castro is riding a 12-game home hitting streak.

* Aramis Ramirez hit his 254th double as a Cub, tying him with Wildfire Schulte for 14th on the team’s all-time doubles list.

— Carrie Muskat


9/6 LaHair’s big blast

Bryan LaHair hit three home runs in 2008 with the Mariners, but his two-run blast into the wind on Tuesday was an impressive and also fulfilling blast. LaHair connected with two outs in the ninth to tie the game at 2 and send it into extra innings. The Reds eventually won, 4-2, in 13 innings.

Cincinnati’s Mike Leake had given up one hit through eight innings, then Starlin Castro was safe on an infield single with two outs in the ninth before LaHair stepped up.

“Before my at-bat, I talked to [Carlos] Pena about how [Leake] was pitching him and he gave me some advice on some of the balls and the way they moved and those kind of things,” Lahair said. “My whole focus was to get a good pitch and hit it hard.”

He did just that. LaHair got ahead in the count 2-0, then launched the next pitch over the right field bleachers. Give Pena an assist.

“He’s been amazing since I walked in here,” LaHair said of the veteran first baseman. “He’s really made me feel comfortable and we’re just trying to feed off each other.”

The Cubs celebrated in the dugout. Leake had been tough up until then.

“It was an incredible moment,” LaHair said. “It’s always fun when you can do something like that and your team really appreciates it. It’s a good feeling.”

It was LaHair’s fourth career big league home run and first in the Majors since Sept. 20, 2008, at Oakland with the Mariners. It was LaHair’s 39th homer this season; he hit 38 with Triple-A Iowa.

— Carrie Muskat


9/3 Extra bases

* The Cubs led the National League in home runs in both June (33 homers) and August (39). The last time the team led the NL in home runs two months in the same season was 2004. That year, the Cubs paced the league with 48 homers in August and 44 in September/October.

* The Cubs have won 3,995 games at Wrigley Field heading into Saturday’s contest. They look to become the third franchise in Major League history to win at least 4,000 regular season games in one ballpark, joining the Red Sox (4,427 at Fenway Park) and the Yankees (4,133 at original Yankee Stadium).

* Carlos Pena has reached the 25 homer mark for the sixth time in his career and fifth straight season. He joins six others to hit 25 homers in each of the last five seasons, including Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Dan Uggla. Pena is the first Cubs left-handed hitter to notch 25 homers since Jacque Jones hit 27 in 2006.

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Wells gets 1st CG, shutout

The Cubs had scuffled offensively in their last series, were facing two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on a cool night, and the Giants were fighting to stay in the playoff race. Who would’ve figured Randy Wells would end up with a shaving cream pie to celebrate his first complete game shutout or that Lincecum would serve up three homers?

Blake DeWitt belted a three-run homer and Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena each hit solo shots to help Wells finish August unbeaten as the Cubs roughed the Giants, 7-0, on Monday night in San Francisco. Lincecum had given up three home runs in his 14 previous outings combined, so when Soriano connected to lead off the fifth, that appeared to be it.

“At 1-0, you figure that’s the way it’s going to end,” Mike Quade said.

Wells (6-4) delivered a strong counter. He gave up two hits — a double by Andres Torres with two outs in the third and a single by pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot with one out in the eighth — and struck out seven. It’s a good finish for the right-hander, 29, who had to go on the disabled list after his first start April 4 because of a strained right forearm. Being healthy makes a difference.

He received a celebratory shaving cream pie, his first since his first win.

“It’s pretty fun,” Wells said.

Some other highlights:

* They hit three homers in one inning for the first time since June 9, 2010, when they did so in the fifth against the Brewers.

* Starlin Castro tied a career high with two doubles while Carlos Pena tied a personal best with three walks.

* This was the first time Blake DeWitt tripled and homered in the same game. Soto’s homer ended an 0-for-25 skid.

* Besides being his first shutout ever, it was Wells’ longest career start. His previous high was 8 1/3 innings on May 22, 2010, at Texas.

— Carrie Muskat


8/24 Pena: ‘It was flattering the Cubs retained me’

The Cubs told Carlos Pena on Wednesday they pulled him off waivers after the Yankees claimed the first baseman. Cubs interim GM Randy Bush, who has taken over the GM duties following the dismissal of Jim Hendry, spoke to Pena before the team’s game against the Braves.

“The conversation was to reassure me how much they think of me,” Pena said. “I made sure I told him likewise and that I appreciate being here and being a Cub, and how much pride I take in wearing the uniform.

“Regardless of what I was hearing or what people were talking about, I never lost sight that today I’m wearing this uniform and this is my whole entire eternity right here,” Pena said.

The Yankees put in a waiver claim on Pena. GM Brian Cashman said a deal seemed unlikely. Pena has $5 million of his total $10 million contract deferred until January 2012. If the first baseman was dealt, the Cubs would pay a pro-rated portion of the contract, which means they would be obligated for the $5 million.

Pena had heard the rumors, although not directly.

“I try to stay oblivious to all that,” he said. “It’s almost impossible because of how advanced we are with the media, computers, the Internet. Even if I’m not … connected to the Internet, my friends are, my family is, my brothers may be and they may say something.”

Pena, 33, who signed a one-year deal last December, was batting .223 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs this season, and has reached the 20-homer mark for the fifth straight year.

He didn’t take the waiver process as anything but a procedural move. Most teams put their entire roster through waivers.

“I certainly wasn’t the only one going through waivers,” Pena said. “It was flattering to see the interest. It was more flattering to see how the Cubs pulled back and retained me. If anything, I tried to look at those positives.”

Pena also complimented Bush for the professional way he gave the first baseman the news.

“It’s weird to go through this type of process but at the end of the day, I have to keep it simple,” Pena said. “Get here, put the uniform on, grab a bat, a glove and go play baseball and leave it at that because that’s all I can control.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/24 Pena reportedly claimed on waivers

Carlos Pena has reportedly been claimed on waivers by an unidentified team, according to reports. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Pena was selected on Wednesday. However, FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal said a deal is unlikely to happen. Pena has $5 million of his total $10 million contract deferred until January 2012. Rosenthal reported if a trade occurred, the Cubs would pay a pro-rated portion of the contract, and nearly all of the money. Not many teams would want to take on $6 million for the final five weeks.

Pena, 33, who signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last December, was batting .222 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs, and he leads the team in walks. He’s reached the 20-homer mark for the fifth straight season.

The Cubs are not set at first base for next season, even though Bryan Lahair, 28, is on a roll, batting .335 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs at Triple-A Iowa. LaHair, who went 4-for-5 on Tuesday with four doubles and five RBIs, also has 37 doubles, a .411 on-base percentage and 103 strikeouts. He was expected to be called up in September and get a chance to prove himself at the big league level.

— Carrie Muskat

8/22 Report: Pena on waivers

According to reports, Carlos Pena was placed on waivers on Monday. Pena, 33, was hitting .222 with 23 homers in 480 plate appearances for the Cubs. If a team were to pick him up, they would have to be prepared to handle at least $5 million of his $10 million contract. Half of Pena’s total money was deferred until January 2012.

Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano also have cleared waivers, according to reports. Soriano is owed slightly more than $54 million through 2014. Zambrano is a little more complicated. He reportedly cleared waivers before he was placed on the disqualified list and is owed $18 million next season. There is a 2013 vesting player option for $19.25 million.

To be traded after the July 31 Trading Deadline, a player must be placed on waivers. If more than one team claims the player, the team with the weakest record in the player’s league gets preference. If no team in the player’s league claims him, the claiming team with the weakest record in the other league gets preference. If a player is claimed, the current team has the option of arranging a trade, rescinding the request and keeping the player, or doing nothing and allowing the claiming team to assme the player’s existing contract.

— Carrie Muskat


7/30 You make the call

Did you miss the controversial slide by the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday that upended Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro in the fifth inning Saturday? Here’s the video.

The Cubs didn’t question Holliday’s aggressiveness but did contend he made an illegal slide because he couldn’t touch the base. The Cubs led 5-2 when the Cardinals had two runners on and one out in the fifth. Albert Pujols, who had homered earlier in the game, was intentionally walked to load the bases and starter Rodrigo Lopez then walked Holliday to force in a run.

Lopez was pulled, and Jeff Samardzija took over and got David Freese to hit a grounder to second baseman Darwin Barney, who threw to Castro for the force. Holliday slid hard into the shortstop, and upended him. Holliday didn’t appear to touch the bag.

Both Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena and third baseman Aramis Ramirez went to Cousins to argue, and Quade then came onto the field to join in the discussion, which ended with the Cubs manager getting ejected for the fourth time this season.

“I applaud somebody for going in hard and trying to break up a double play to end an inning,” Quade said. “My thing is, it’s not a legal slide to me and that’s it.”

When Pena and Ramirez challenged Cousins’ call, Quade knew something wasn’t right.

“They don’t do that unless they feel that it was blatant and was out of the realm of what’s legal and what’s not legal,” Quade said of the two veteran infielders. “The rule is there for a reason.”

Castro was lucky Holliday wasn’t wearing metal spikes. His left shin was cut and raw from Holliday coming in high on the shortstop.

“It’s OK, because he didn’t have cleats,” Castro said. “If he had cleats, he would’ve cut me because he slid hard and way out of the base. It’s not good. It’s baseball. He tried to break a double play.”

Two runs scored on the play as Castro was down on the dirt, trying to regroup.

“I assumed he was hurt and waited to see what was going on with that,” Quade said. “At that point, somehow [throwing the ball home] was not on my mind. The fact that it could’ve been a double play and we could’ve been out of the inning was on my mind.”

But they weren’t, and the Cardinals scored eight runs in the fifth en route to a 13-5 win.

Quade had said he would do his best to not get ejected in the second half.

“I was pretty upset,” he said. “It was a combination of the play itself and the importance of it at that time had me really upset.”

Said Castro: “He’s out. He didn’t have a chance to touch the base.”

Said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: “I watched it on tape. He’s sliding into the bag. He’s in the vicinity of the base.”

Guess it depends on your point of view.

“I disagree with Derryl’s assessment that it was a clean play,” Quade said. “I think that’s why they have the rule in place. I don’t think there was an attempt at the bag. He got a pretty good piece of Castro as well. That’s a huge play, obviously, in the game, too, and would’ve gotten us out with a 5-3 lead. I disagree a bunch, obviously, and fortunately Starlin is OK.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Extra bases

Kerry Wood was back with the team Wednesday, recovered from his bout with a virus, and available. The right-hander has not pitched since July 20. He posted a 1.38 ERA in his first 13 appearances and has a 4.91 ERA in his last 20. However, outfielder Reed Johnson was still bothered by his back, and not available Wednesday. He has not played since Saturday.

* Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena are both in a funk. Soriano did not start Wednesday. He’s batting .171 (12-for-70) in July after hitting .265 in June. He has one home run in his last 32 games — July 22.

“He hasn’t been able to be consistent,” Quade said of Soriano. “It’s been a tough run for him. We’ll give him a mental day off, or at least won’t start him, and give Blake [DeWitt] a needed game.”

Pena entered Wednesday’s game 0-for-15, and batting .219 overall.

“He goes through these things,” Quade said of his first baseman. “Hitters go through this a lot and I don’t think it’s unique to Carlos. Nobody works harder than him on his swing.”

* Quade is a proponent of instant replay or possibly challenge flags, like coaches use in the NFL, to get close calls like the one that ended the Pirates-Braves game correct.

“The question I had is if you went to a challenge flag system, would you still have the flag in your pocket in the 19th at 2 in the morning?” Quade said Wednesday about the 19-inning marathon game, which the Braves won on a controversial play at the plate.

Quade is an advocate of instant replay in football and would support something similar in baseball. That said, he doesn’t want 15 replays a night.

“[The umpires] don’t want to get those calls wrong,” he said. “They’re bearing down and these things are going to happen. If you have the ability to correct it, in some sort of form that doesn’t have us all here for five hours, maybe you look into that.”

* Edwin Jackson, whom the Cardinals acquired Wednesday in a three-team multi-player deal with the Blue Jays and White Sox, will open the Chicago-St. Louis series on Friday. Kyle Lohse will start Saturday. Jackson was the winning pitcher when the White Sox beat the Cubs, 6-4, on July 1 at Wrigley Field in an Interleague game. He gave up four runs on five hits over six innings, including a home run by Aramis Ramirez.

— Carrie Muskat