Results tagged ‘ Cody Ransom ’
Infielder Cody Ransom was designated for assignment on Sunday to make room on the 40-man roster for Scott Baker, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list and scheduled to start Sunday against the Brewers. Ransom was batting .189 in 62 games with the Cubs, hitting nine home runs, 10 doubles and driving in 20. He hit .220 against left-handed pitchers. Ransom had a strong April, batting .280, but hit .167 in 14 games in July and .108 in 13 games in August.
Got a question? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and maybe it will make the next Inbox on Monday on Cubs.com. Please include your full name and hometown.
Q: I’m a stats kind of guy. I noticed that Welington Castillo is a much better hitter in the daytime (.305) than at night (.219). Yes, it’s a small sample but most of Dioner Navarro’s starts come in the daytime. I would assume that Sveum has a valid reason for this but perhaps Navarro’s starts should come more often at night? Just an observation. — Travis C., Cedar Rapids, IA
A: My first reaction was that Castillo had played more day games, so the numbers may be lopsided but that’s not the case. Through Tuesday, he’s played 27 games in the day time, 26 at night. The splits aren’t too far off — he’s 29-for-95 during the day, 21-for-96 at night. I’ll ask him tonight before the game, and update later.
Q: Why doesn’t Cody Ransom get more playing time? He’s solid and can produce some big hits, I feel. — Jacob B.
A: Since you wrote, Ransom has gotten more playing time. Sveum has used him in a platoon at third with Luis Valbuena, inserting Ransom against left-handed pitchers. Ransom was batting .293 vs. lefties compared to .167 against right-handers. On Tuesday against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, Ransom did connect for his first home run off a right-hander, and was batting .304 (7-for-23) this month after a .200 June. One of the reasons Ransom bats high in the order is to give him more at-bats.
Q: I was pleased with the Cubs Draft this year. How soon will we see Kris Bryant? Any chance he could be called up in September even just to give fans a look at him? Thanks. — John L., Portland, Ore.
A: If you want to watch Bryant play, you’ll have to go to one of the Cubs’ Minor League teams, possibly Kane County. He won’t be called up in September. First, the Cubs have to sign the third baseman, who is represented by super agent Scott Boras. The Cubs have a signing bonus pool of $10,556,500, and an assigned value of $6,708,400 for Bryant. Talks are ongoing.
Q: With Steve Clevenger coming back from injury and seeming to get a hit in every rehab game, I would assume he will be brought back to the Majors once he’s ready. When this happens, who do you think will be sent down with most of the backups playing well? Would the Cubs consider sending a bullpen guy down for an extra bat? I’m afraid you’ll say Julio Borbon but I don’t want to see that late inning speed sent down. — Michael F., Raleigh, NC
A: Clevenger does give the Cubs some versatility. With three catchers available, Sveum could use Dioner Navarro or Clevenger as a pinch-hitter, and not worry about losing a backup catcher if something happened to Welington Castillo. Right now, Clevenger is getting at-bats at Triple-A Iowa and playing some infield there. Sveum was asked Tuesday about the left-handed hitter, and there’s no date set for his return. Part of the problem is that they have plenty of left-handed bats right now.
Q: With the upcoming renovation of Wrigley Field, are they going to address how small the seats are? People were a lot smaller back in the early 1900s and these days, you feel like you’re jammed in there like a sardine on both sides with no leg room. — Jeff, Calgary
A: The renovation plan includes installation of new, wider seats at Wrigley Field. It should be a more comfortable way to watch the game.
Some notes from Tuesday’s win:
* Jeff Samardzija is the first Cubs pitcher to throw 8 1/3 innings or more against the Cardinals since Carlos Zambrano went nine innings on Sept. 18, 2005.
* Nate Schierholtz extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a double in the first.
* Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back to back home runs in the first, the third time the Cubs have hit consecutive homers this season, and first since Scott Hairston and Ransom did so in April against the Padres.
* Ransom’s homer was his first off a right-handed pitcher this season. He also collected his 100th career RBIs.
* Kevin Gregg is 10-for-10 in save situations.
Jeff Samardzija had studied film of the Cardinals for days, and couldn’t find any weaknesses, so he focused on what he could do best, and it worked. Samardzija picked up his first win since May 27 as the Cubs beat the Cardinals, 4-2, on Tuesday night to even the series.
“It’s a rivalry game, and with that aside, you have a respect for [the Cardinals] and how they play the game and how they set their lineup up, one through nine,” Samardzija said. “You know you’ve got to come at it. I’m watching film five days before, and trying to find some weaknesses, and you can look as hard as you want and you’re not going to find it. You just know your margin of error against this team is real small and you’ve just got to deal with it.”
Besides having to face the best offense in the NL and the team with the best record in the Majors, he also was up against 10-game winner Adam Wainwright, who entered with a 2.18 ERA. But Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back-to-back home runs in the first off the right-hander to back Samardzija.
Samardzija was efficient and effective, giving up seven hits, including a solo home run to Carlos Beltran in the sixth, and striking out six over 8 1/3 innings. He exited after serving up two singles in the ninth. Kevin Gregg took over, and gave up a RBI single to unstoppable Yadier Molina. David Freese then hit a grounder to second baseman Darwin Barney, who flipped to shortstop Starlin Castro for the force at second. Pinch-runner Shane Robinson, who was on first, slid hard into Castro and well off the bag, and second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth called interference on the play. The game was over.
“[Robinson] wasn’t even close to the base and he had his cleats up,” Castro said. “I understand that you can try to break up the double play in that kind of situation but not like that. … I couldn’t throw the ball because he tried to kill me.”
Samardzija kept the Cubs infielders busy. There was only one flyout in the game, and that was when Matt Carpenter ended the eighth with a fly ball to right fielder Nate Schierholtz. The Cubs right-hander credited a tweak in his mechanics, which helped his fastball be more effective.
“I really wanted to kick this June bugaboo,” he said. “I’ve been working real hard and I just like where I’m at right now.”
In his career, he’s 2-8 with a 7.14 ERA in June, which includes an 0-4 record and 10.41 ERA in five starts last year in the month.
“The movement he had on his ball tonight and keeping hitters off balance and still throwing 96, 97 [mph] in the ninth inning, that’s huge, especially with how hot it is,” Sweeney said. “He kept the ball down and had his sinker going. Whenever you keep the ball down, that’s a plus for the defense.”
No Rizzo? No problem. The Cubs’ lineup was without Anthony Rizzo, who was given his first game off this season. Sveum didn’t say how long the first baseman would sit, just that he needed a “breather” after batting .157 this month. Rizzo is 3-for-6 against Jake Westbrook, who starts Wednesday.
— Carrie Muskat
Luis Valbuena is still sidelined with a sprained right pinky finger, so Cody Ransom gets the start on Monday in the Cubs’ series opener against the Rockies. Travis Wood takes the mound. He has posted a quality start in each of his seven games this year. Here’s the lineup:
T. Wood P
* Kevin Gregg notched his 150th career save, making him the 75th pitcher in Major League history to collect at least 150 career saves. He is 6-for-6 in save situations this season.
* Kyuji Fujikawa’s second rehab outing was postponed because of unplayable conditions. He was to have pitched for Double-A Tennessee on Tuesday, but the game was called after five innings. The Smokies trailed, 16-0 at that point. Fujikawa was to pitch Wednesday.
If all goes well, the right-hander will be activated from the disabled list in time for the Cubs’ weekend series against the Nationals. Fujikawa has been sidelined since April 13 with a strained right forearm, and pitched one inning in a rehab outing Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.
* Anthony Rizzo was batting .439 with seven doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games, and has raised his average from .173 on April 25 to .262.
“The bottom line is you just get more comfortable,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Coming out of Spring Training, it’s totally different how pitchers will start pitching you, and you’ll see a lot more breaking balls as the season goes on which you don’t see much of in Spring Training, and you see different kind of pitchers. It’s just getting your at-bats and getting better pitches to hit, for one. He’s still a little bit aggressive, but right now he’s taking advantage of mistakes he’s getting.”
* Cody Ransom is the only backup infielder on the Cubs roster, and he’s been getting some extra work at first base in early batting practice. Rizzo is the regular but the Cubs don’t have a backup.
“You never know if [Ransom] will get over there one day,” Sveum said. “Hopefully not. Especially the way Rizzo is swinging against left-handed pitching. It’s a ‘just in case’ thing.”
* Right-handed pitcher Cory Wade, who was pitching for for Triple-A Iowa, was released, the Cubs announced. In 16 innings over 10 games at Iowa, Wade gave up 14 runs on 28 hits and walked seven while striking out 16.
— Carrie Muskat
* Kyuji Fujikawa, on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, threw his second bullpen on Thursday and the next step could be a rehab outing with Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.
“His command and everything was much better,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the right-hander. “Everything looked a lot crisper than the other day [in his first bullpen].”
Fujikawa could start the Minor League game to make sure he gets one inning of work. However, the Cubs do want to have him pitch in relief to get into his normal routine in preparation for his return.
* Cubs third basemen have combined for seven home runs in 27 games, most in the Major Leagues, and more than half of the entire season total in 2012. Luis Valbuena has hit five and Cody Ransom two so far. Last season, Chicago third basemen combined for 12 home runs.
* Starlin Castro moved down from the No. 2 hole to fifth for the second straight game, but Sveum said the move was more to take advantage of Ransom’s numbers against left-handed pitching. Castro is the Cubs’ No. 2 hitter.
“I see [Castro] as a two-hole hitter,” Sveum said of the Cubs shortstop, who has a career .303 average batting fifth and a .299 average batting second. “When everything is set correctly, he’s really a two-hole hitter. A lot of times you’d like a left-handed hitter there to hook the ball, and right-handed catchers have trouble throwing when a left-handed hitter is in the batter’s box.
“On our team right now, he’s a two-hole hitter,” Sveum said. “Obviously, he’s a hand-eye coordination guy who will put the ball in play and doesn’t walk much so maybe he’s more apt to hit at the bottom or the order because he can hit into some double plays and things like that. For the team we have now, he’s the second hitter.”
Ransom was 6-for-16 with three home runs against left-handed pitchers so far; Castro was batting .206 against left-handed pitching.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs may be a little unconventional these days as far as their closer is concerned, but it’s working. Kevin Gregg picked up his fourth save, Darwin Barney hit a pair of RBI doubles, and Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom smacked back-to-back home runs to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory Monday night over the Padres for their fourth win in the last five games.
Gregg, who signed after being released by the Dodgers April 15, now has converted a save in each of his last four outings. However, manager Dale Sveum refuses to name him or anyone else the closer.
“For whatever reason, guys are getting the job done and getting big outs when we have to get outs,” Sveum said of his collection of relievers. “That’s the key is making pitches when you need to.”
Michael Bowden picked up the win in relief of starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out eight in five innings to raise his season total to 47, among the tops in the NL. It’s the second most K’s in Cubs history in the month of April, behind Matt Garza, who fanned 51 in 2011. Samardzija now is 0-4 with a no decision since his Opening Day victory over the Pirates. He had a tough time getting a grip on the ball, still bothered by right index finger that he cut trying to make a bare-handed grab in last start.
“Too many walks,” Samardzija said. “You can’t put that many guys on for free. Just pitching in a lot of situations where you have to battle and make bigger pitches makes it harder on yourself.”
The Cubs’ 6-7-8 hitters provided the offense. Ransom and Barney also made solid defensive plays, including a running bare-handed grab by Ransom on Jedd Gyorko’s grounder with the bases loaded in the seventh. Ransom was able to get the Padres’ second baseman by a half step.
“You take a million ground balls and hope to have the opportunity to catch it and throw it,” Ransom said. “Checked swing, and it was a little strange off the bat and it came off a little harder than I thought it would and made it to me and luckily for us, Gyorko didn’t run that well.”
“That bare-hand play saved the game for us,” Barney said.
All 25 of the Cubs’ games this season have been decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record, and second most to start a season all-time in the Major Leagues. The 1914 Tigers have the longest streak at 33 games.
The Cubs are ready to turn the calendar. It’s been a tough April.
“Let’s be honest — we’ve played some really good teams in the first month,” Samardzija said. “You’ve got the defending World Champs [the Giants], you’ve got the defending [American League West champs, the Rangers], you’ve got the Brew Crew at their place, and Cincinnati. We knew we’d have to come out and be on top of our game in April.
“It could easily be flipped around and we could be 15-10 instead of 10-15,” he said. “They say you don’t win or lose the season in April. I feel we’re good where we are. … Let’s get a little momentum going and see what happens from there.”
— Carrie Muskat
* Cody Ransom made the most of his Cubs debut. He homered on the first pitch he saw, and is the first Cubs player to hit a home run in his first at-bat since Starlin Castro did so on May 7, 2010, also in Cincinnati. Ransom also homered in his first at-bat with the Yankees in 2008.
* Carlos Villanueva now has a 1.53 ERA in four starts, and has four quality starts.
* Starlin Castro’s 14-game hitting streak came to an end. He went 0-for-4.
* Dave Sappelt, Alfonso Soriano and Julio Borbon each stole a base for the Cubs, and finished with four as Soriano swiped two in one inning. The four stolen bases by the team is a season high.
* Kevin Gregg picked up his first save since Sept. 24, 2011.
Cody Ransom gets his first start of the season on Tuesday when the Cubs face the Reds and lefty Tony Cingrani at Great American Ball Park. Here’s the lineup: