Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

4/12 Minor matters

Chris Valaika hit a three-run homer but it wasn’t enough as Iowa lost 8-5 to Memphis. Eric Jokisch gave up seven runs on eight hits over five innings.

Corey Black walked three but did not give up a hit over five innings in Tennessee’s 6-5 win over Chattanooga. Stephen Bruno delivered a walk off RBI single in the ninth for the win. Dustin Geiger and Jeudy Valdez each homered.

Bijan Rademacher had two hits in Daytona’s 5-1 loss to Tampa. Yao-Lin Wang started and gave up two runs on four hits over five innings.

Daury Torrez gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings in Kane County’s 6-4 win over Lake County. Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert each had three hits.

4/12 Veras out as closer for now

Manager Rick Renteria had a long talk Saturday morning with Jose Veras, and told him that as of now, the right-hander is no longer the Cubs closer and will be used in other situations to try to get back on track. Veras blew a two-run lead on Friday against the Cardinals and is 0-2 in save situations so far.

“I was just telling him we believe in him and we’ll try to find spots where he can continue to work through things he needs to work to get better,” Renteria said.

Veras knows there’s a problem.

“I don’t have an answer,” Veras said. “I can’t find myself. It’s kind of tough. I feel I’m good, my body feels good. I’m not hurt, I’m 100 percent healthy, thank God. For some reason, I can’t get three down. I’ve got to get going. Today is a new day and find a way to get out of there.

“Everybody has been in that position. … I know how to handle it, I’m not going to put my head down,” he said. “A couple bad outings, hopefully it’s going to stop. If it doesn’t, I’m going to keep fighting, keep working. I’ll never give up, brother. My stuff is there. For some reason, I can’t get it done. I try to pitch inside, hit a guy, try to throw front door breaking ball, hit a guy. Make good pitches, and they don’t swing at them. Make good pitches, and I don’t receive a call by the guy behind home plate. There’s too much stuff at the same time. It’s no excuse. I’ve got to get the job done.”

Who will be the Cubs closer? That’s to be determined on a game by game situation. Among the Cubs options are Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm.

“Right now what we’re going to do is see who emerges,” Renteria said. “We’ll use some of our other guys. We need to help [Veras] work through some things right now. I told him I have all the confidence in the world in him and I think he’ll be back.”

Renteria made the decision after talking with Veras.

“You have to be able to talk to your players and kind of get a feel where they’re at before you make decisions,” Renteria said.

– Carrie Muskat

4/12 Cubs lineup

Emilio Bonifacio gets Saturday off as the Cubs play the Cardinals in Game 2 of their three-game series at Busch Stadium. Here’s the lineup:

Lake LF
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Castro SS
Barney 2B
Baker C
Villanueva P

4/11 Minor matters

Javier Baez hit his second homer of the season to back Kyle Hendricks and lead Iowa to a 5-1 win over Nashville on Thursday. Hendricks gave up five hits and walked one over seven innings, striking out five. Chris Valaika had two hits and two RBI, and Marr Szczur and Arismendy Alcantara each had two hits.

Jake Arrieta gave up three hits and walked two over 3 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Tennessee, which lost 1-0 to Chattanooga. Arrieta struck out four, and threw 66 pitches, 44 strikes.

Tayler Scott gave up eight runs — four earned — on 11 hits over three innings in Daytona’s 12-2 loss to Dunedin. Bijan Rademacher was 3-for-3.

Tyler Skulina gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings and got the win in Kane County’s 7-5 victory over Fort Wayne. Skulina struck out six. Daniel Lockhart and Carlos Penalver combined to go 4-for-10 and scored five runs. Yasiel Balaguert had three RBI.

4/11 Cubs lineup

The Cubs open a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals on Friday, sending Jeff Samardzija against Joe Kelly. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio 2B
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Castro SS
Kalish LF
Castillo C
Samardzija P

* Bonifacio is tied for the Major League lead in hits with 19, and ranks fourth with a .452 batting average. His 19 hits in the first nine games of a season are the most by any Cubs player in the last 100 years since Randy Jackson had 19 in 1954. Thanks to STATS Inc. for that nugget.

* For the rest of the series:

Saturday: Carlos Villanueva vs. Adam Wainwright
Sunday: Edwin Jackson vs. Michael Wada

– Carrie Muskat

4/10 About last night …

Jason Hammel picked up the win on Wednesday night for the Cubs against the Pirates, his second straight against Pittsburgh.

“He’s pitching well, hitting spots, mixing pitches well,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the right-hander. “We couldn’t get a lot done off him. A good effective outing for him. We wanted to counter-punch better than we were able to, and sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the pitcher. Two consecutive outings, he’s made pitches. To right-handers, basically sinker-slider, to left-handers, mixes in the curve and the change up, makes him a four-pitch guy. We haven’t been able to throw too many punches at him.”

Hammel’s next start will be Tuesday in New York against the Yankees.

4/10 Lineup shift

Rick Renteria abandoned his left-right platoon and started right-handed hitters Mike Olt and Junior Lake against Pirates righty Gerrit Cole on Thursday. Part of the reason is the splits against Cole are almost identical. Left-handed hitters have hit .252 against Cole, while right-handers have hit .250.

“These are two young players who we’re going to try to get them as much playing time as we can,” Renteria said of Olt and Lake. “We’re trying to find spots that can give them an opportunity to gain some confidence.

“Everybody on the squad, everybody, from [Darwin] Barney to [Ryan Sweeney] to [Nate] Schierholtz, every one of those guys has been working real hard and they all want to be in the lineup,” Renteria said. “We’re just trying to balance it all out and give us the best chance on a daily basis.”

Sweeney and Schierholtz have started against right-handed pitchers this year, but they are batting .174 and .118 respectively. Lake was hitting .273 while Olt has two home runs and was batting .158.

The Cubs have scored 21 runs in their last three games after scoring eight runs in the first five games. What gives?

“Their approaches are solid and they’re getting good pitches to hit,” Renteria said. “They’re feeling a little confident now, which is good.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/10 Cubs lineup

Mike Olt will start against right-hander Gerritt Cole on Thursday in the series finale between the Cubs and Pirates at Wrigley Field. Travis Wood gets the start, and needs to do better against left-handed hitters. In his first start against the Phillies, lefties were 5-for-17 against him, while right-handers were 1-for-9. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio 2B
Kalish LF
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Lake CF
Castro SS
Olt 3B
Castillo C
Wood P

4/10 Minor matters – Wednesday’s games

Carlos Pimentel struck out 10 over six innings to help Iowa beat Nashville, 6-1, on Wednesday. Pimentel gave up a solo homer in the second, but that was the only blemish. Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters each homered, and Javier Baez doubled and scored on Chris Coghlan’s sacrifice fly.

C.J. Edwards gave up one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in Tennessee’s 3-1 win over Chattanooga. Rafael Lopez hit a two-run double. Armando Rivero struck out three over 1 1/3 innings for his second save.

Albert Almora was 2-for-4 with two doubles in Daytona’s 1-0 loss to Dunedin in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Dan Vogelbach hit his first home run of the season, a three-run blast, but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost, 6-4.

Jacob Rogers hit a second inning solo home run in Kane County’s 7-4 loss to Fort Wayne. Shawon Dunston Jr. had two RBI.

4/9 Hot start

Emilio Bonifacio has not only provided a much needed spark for the Cubs offense but he’s made it very easy for manager Rick Renteria to fill out his lineup card. David DeJesus was the Cubs’ main leadoff man last season until he was traded. Others to bat No. 1 in 2013 included Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena, Dave Sappelt, Junior Lake, Darwin Barney, and Julio Borbon. Bonifacio has led off all seven Cubs games this season, and provided stability at that spot.

“If you can have a leadoff guy who you can slot in, it’s really big,” Renteria said. “We’ve had a couple guys who have done it in the past — Starlin has done it, and Junior has done it. ‘Boni’ might profile more as a typical leadoff guy.”

Bonifacio is on a record-setting pace. According to Elias, he is the first big league player in the modern era (since 1900) to record games with one hit, two hits, three hits, four hits and five hits all within the team’s first seven contests of a season. Bonifacio‘s 17 hits are the most by any Cubs player in the team’s first seven games of a season in the last 100 years since 1914, according to STATS Inc.

– Carrie Muskat


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