Results tagged ‘ Carlos Villanueva ’

3/22 Pitching notes

* Looking ahead, pitching-wise, Jeff Samardzija will make his final spring start on Wednesday against the jet-lagged Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. Arizona has already opened the season with a game in Australia.

* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ home opener on April 4.

“It’ll be exciting for sure, even though Pittsburgh is a great place to pitch,” said Wood, who had been expected to follow Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.

Isn’t Wrigley Field a good place?

“Wrigley’s fine,” Wood said, laughing. “It’ll be cold either place, so it’s not like the weather will be different. The place will be packed, it’ll be jumping, it’ll be nice.”

Rick Renteria said they made the decision because of matchups. Wood has made three starts against the Phillies, and held them to five runs on 13 hits over 21 1/3 innings.

* The Cubs are still trying to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. The candidates include Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada. Villanueva, a valuable swingman, will start Monday against the Padres, while Wada will start Tuesday against the Angels. Rusin, who threw five shutout innings on Friday against the White Sox, is a possibility, but the Cubs may pick Villanueva because of his versatility and the fact they have four off days in the first three weeks of games. If the other four starters stay on a five-day rotation, Villanueva could slide into the bullpen until needed.

Renteria didn’t tip his hand on Saturday when asked about the fifth spot.

“They’re all still in the mix,” he said. “They’re all going out there and doing a nice job.”

* The Cubs had projected Jake Arrieta as the fifth starter but he’s been slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Sunday, Arrieta was scheduled to throw a bullpen.

“I’m hoping the next step is a game,” he said Saturday. “We’ll talk things over and see where we stand.”

* Cubs fans will get a chance to see two of the top pitching prospects on Tuesday when C.J. Edwards and Eric Jokisch pitch against the Padres. Edwards, 22, was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 24 games with Class A Hickory and Daytona last season. The Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza deal. Jokisch, 24, was 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA at Double-A Tennessee in 2013.

– Carrie Muskat

3/22 Cubs rotation

The Cubs have reconfigured the rotation. Jeff Samardzija will be the Opening Day starter and be followed by Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. That means Wood would start the Cubs’ home opener at Wrigley Field on April 4. Who’s the fifth starter? That’s still to be determined, with Carlos Villanueva and Chris Rusin as options. Villanueva would have an edge in that if the fifth starter has to be skipped, he could go to the bullpen.

– Carrie Muskat

3/19 Cubs lineup

The Cubs travel to Scottsdale on Wednesday night to face the Rockies. Carlos Villanueva gets the start against lefty Franklin Morales, although the Cubs are looking at Villanueva as more of a swing man and would start only in emergency. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio SS
Barney 2B
Ruggiano LF
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Valbuena 3B
Kottaras C
Villanueva P

11/22 RIP, Michael Weiner

Friday was a sad day for Major League players trying to cope with the passing of union executive director Michael Weiner. Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva, an active member of the MLB Players Association, called it a “difficult day.”

“It was a very difficult day, not only for me, but for all of us who had the pleasure of spending time with Michael,” Villanueva said Friday. “All I can say about Michael is what a wonderful leader he was to us, how he genuinely cared about us, and even when he was battling his illness, how he was there almost everyday at the office making sure that we were OK.”

Weiner lost his 15-month battle with brain cancer on Thursday. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August 2012, and continued to serve the players and provide leadership and counsel to the MLBPA staff. Weiner was 51.

“He was not only our leader but he was family, because only someone who is family could dedicate their life to us the way he did,” Villanueva said.

The Cubs pitcher is the only non-American born player on the MLBPA board, and involved with the Latin players.

“From a Latin player point of view, he fought for us, he made sure that we got fair treatment above all, even when it seemed that we would get the short end of the stick,” Villanueva said from his home in the Dominican Republic. “Michael always had his calm demeanor, worked his magic, and made us feel that we mattered.

“He showed me personally, to not only care about the Latin players, but to care and love all of our members equally, that it is never about the individual, it’s about what we do now, and how that will affect in a positive way the well being of our future members,” Villanueva said. “He will stay with us forever, and we will never have anybody like him.”

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also acknowledged Weiner’s passing on Twitter, saying: “It’s sad to see such a good man’s life be taken by cancer! Thank you for everything you have done! Rest in peace Michael Weiner!”

– Carrie Muskat

9/21 Cubs 3, Braves 1

The Cubs scored three runs in the eighth to post a 3-1 victory Saturday over the Braves, and force Atlanta to wait a little longer before clinching the NL East division. The Braves’ magic number is one. Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI double, Dioner Navarro smacked a RBI single and Nate Schierholtz hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for the win. Pedro Strop pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Carlos Villanueva got the win in relief of starter Travis Wood, who gave up one run over seven-plus innings. It was Wood’s 24th quality start. Wood is one inning shy of 200, and will get that in his next start Friday against the Cardinals.

Rizzo’s double was his 62nd extra base hit, the most by a left-handed Cubs batter since Corey Patterson’s 63 in 2004. Villanueva is now 5-0 with a 0.93 ERA in his last eight relief appearances.

The Braves may stay at Wrigley Saturday night to celebrate. They clinch the division if the Nationals lose to the Marlins

“One day, hopefully that will be us and we’ll move forward from there,” Wood said of the Braves.

– Carrie Muskat

8/13 Rotation update

The Cubs have tweaked their rotation. Jake Arrieta will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa and start on Friday against the Cardinals, and be followed by Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson. Jeff Samardzija will open the Cubs’ series against the Nationals on Monday and be followed by Chris Rusin and Arrieta. With the moves, Carlos Villanueva goes back to the bullpen.

“Not that Villanueva was doing horrible, but Rusin was doing really, really well, and it was hard to bump a guy who’s given up one run or no runs every outing since he’s been here,” Dale Sveum said. “‘Villa’ has done it before. Losing [Matt] Guerrier, he can be that guy in the sixth or seventh inning when we’re winning and get people out.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/10 Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

Manager Dale Sveum only needed to see two things from Dioner Navarro on Saturday to know whether his backup catcher and top bench player was able to play three days after being carted off the field.

“Just walk and squat,” Sveum said of the requirements. “One time was fine enough.”

Navarro also was ready to hit. Darwin Barney smacked a game-tying two-run double in the eighth and Navarro followed with a pinch-hit RBI double to lift the Cubs to a motivated 6-5 victory over the Cardinals.

Nate Schierholtz delivered a RBI single in the ninth, which turned out to be much needed as Matt Holliday hit his second home run of the game in the St. Louis ninth off Kevin Gregg. Welington Castillo hit a solo home run and sacrifice fly for the Cubs, who came into this series with a few more incentives than past matchups. Adam Wainwright was originally scheduled to start Saturday but was skipped so he could be ready for St. Louis’ upcoming series against Pittsburgh. The Cubs felt snubbed.

“If you look at it from their point of view, you don’t really try to take offense to that kind of stuff,” Barney said. “Obviously, we knew what happened, and it wasn’t not talked about, I’ll say that. That young kid [Michael Wacha] threw well today and he has good stuff. It’s not like they were throwing a nobody against us. It’s one of those things.”

Wacha, making his fourth big league start, served up Castillo’s home run leading off the Chicago second. Holliday belted a three-run homer off Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva with one out in the fourth to go ahead, 3-1. Castillo added a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran hit back to back doubles in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead.

In the eighth, Trevor Rosenthal walked Castillo and Schierholtz, then struck out the next two batters. Barney, batting .211, then lined a double to right to drive in both and tie the game.

“People are always, ‘Why don’t you pinch-hit for Barney?'” Sveum said. “It’s because he’s the one guy who is going to battle and put the ball in play and do baseball player-type things.”

Navarro arrived in St. Louis about five hours before game time. He injured his right ankle in a collision at home plate on Wednesday in Philadelphia with Chase Utley, and had gone to Chicago to be examined. Prior to the game, Navarro had to do some agility drills — as well as walk and squat — and was pronounced fit. He didn’t take batting practice but it didn’t seem to matter as he lined a 97 mph fastball from Rosenthal to right.

“He gets here today,” Barney said, “and he hadn’t taken a swing, he didn’t take batting practice, and he’s one of those guys who’s a gamer. Turn on 98 [mph] like that after not seeing a pitch in three days is pretty unbelievable.”

Blake Parker picked up his first Major League win in relief, and Gregg hung on for his 25th save, and survived David Freese’s liner off his right shoulder.

With the win, the Cubs notched their first series victory at Busch Stadium since sweeping the Cardinals in a three-game set, Sept. 13-15, 2010. The two teams square off next weekend at Wrigley Field. Wainwright’s next start, by the way, is Tuesday against the Pirates.

– Carrie Muskat

8/10 Cubs lineup

David DeJesus is back in the leadoff spot on Saturday as the Cubs play Game 2 of their weekend series against the Cardinals. Welington Castillo is batting fourth. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Castro SS
Ransom 3B
Barney 2B
Villanueva P

8/10 Extra bases

* With 3-0 victories both on July 11 at Wrigley Field and Friday at Busch Stadium, the Cubs have shut out the Cardinals twice in the same season for the first time since 2010, and the second time in the last 16 years.

* The Cubs look for their first series victory at Busch Stadium since sweeping the Cardinals in a three-game set, Sept. 13-15, 2010. Chicago is 0-6-1 in the last seven series in St. Louis.

* Welington Castillo is hitting .405 (15-for-37) with three doubles, a home run, four RBI and a .522 on-base percentage (eight walks/six strikeouts) in his last 13 games since July 25. His .405 average since July 25 ranks first among big league catchers and fifth overall in the Majors.

* Carlos Villanueva is looking for his first victory in a starting role since April 18 vs. Texas. He’s left four starts with a lead since then. The Cubs have scored two or fewer runs while Villanueva’s been in the game in nine of his 14 starts while he’s received no-decisions in six starts that he’s left with the lead.

* J.C. Boscan, selected Thursday from Triple-A Iowa, looks to become the 50th player to appear for the Cubs this season. The record for a single-season is 53, set last year.

* Friday’s win was the Cubs’ first in which it did not record an extra-base hit since April 23, 2012, in a 3-2 win vs. the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

8/8 Cubs vs. Cardinals – UPDATED

Adam Wainwright will be skipped, and not start Saturday when the Cubs play a weekend series against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday: LHP Chris Rusin (1-1, 3.98) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (13-5, 3.78)
Saturday: RHP Carlos Villanueva (2-8, 4.16) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (1-0, 4.58)
Sunday: RHP Edwin Jackson (7-12, 4.96) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (3-3, 2.98)

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