Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

9/26 Extra bases

* Javier Baez went 4-for-41 with 20 strikeouts on the Cubs’ final homestand, and leads the Major Leagues in strikeouts this month. And Theo Epstein isn’t that surprised.

“It’s gone very much as expected,” Epstein said Friday of Baez’s first two months in the big leagues.

“His confidence is high,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Baez. “Just like everyone, he understands he needs to make adjustments and knows he needs to do better.”

Renteria is quick to remind everyone that Baez is just 21 years old. Epstein said Baez is aware of what he needs to do, adding that sometimes it just takes an offseason to make those adjustments. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro both did that after struggling in 2013; both had All-Star seasons this year. What’s encouraging, Epstein said, is that Baez is open to making adjustments.

“It’s like getting comfortable in the big leagues — you can’t just tell someone, ‘Get comfortable,'” Epstein said. “He readily admits he’ll be more comfortable in the big leagues than he is now. Sometimes you have to just experience it for yourself and the light goes on with one swing or one video session or one offseason when you can take a deep breath and come back differently.”

* Asked if Renteria will return to manage in 2015, Epstein said “absolutely.” However, there could be changes with the coaching staff. Epstein and Renteria said they expected to announce something Tuesday.

* Jacob Turner will start Sunday in place of rookie right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who is being shut down after reaching 183 innings. Hendricks totaled 102 2/3 innings in 17 starts at Triple-A Iowa, and 80 1/3 innings in 13 starts with the Cubs.

* Edwin Jackson has accepted the late season switch to the bullpen but Epstein said Friday the right-hander needs to come into next year and show he can be counted on. This year is the second year of Jackson’s four-year, $52 million deal, and it hasn’t gone that well. He led the National League in losses last season with 18, and is third this year.

“I think Edwin’s aware that he needs to turn his Cubs career around and work hard and show better form that he’s someone who can be counted on,” Epstein said Friday. “I think the default position is that given the competition we’re going to have, guys will have to need to pitch well to have a spot.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/26 Cubs lineup

Rookie Eric Jokisch gets the start Friday as the Cubs open their final series of the regular season. There are three more to go at Miller Park vs. the Brewers. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Valbuena 3B
Alcantara 2B
Szczur CF
Lopez C
Jokisch P

This will be Jokisch’s first Major League start, and fourth appearance. He’s had three relief appearances.

“For me, it was good to get the first three outings in, get my feet wet, and not jump straight into a start,” Jokisch said Wednesday. “I’m going to take it like every other start. I’ve got my routine. I’m going to go after them. It’s the same game. That’s what [Iowa pitching coach] Bruce Walton said to me all year. When you go to the big leagues, it’s a big huge game with a bunch of fans and lights but you just play the little game of pounding down in the strike zone. I’m going to focus on that and make sure I breathe and just go out and pitch.”

Walton was very instrumental, Jokisch said.

“I had some struggles early on in Iowa and we made some huge adjustments and a huge mentality change in how to approach pitching, and he’s such a good guy and really cares about the players,” Jokisch said. “For it to pay off and me to be here at all, a lot of credit goes to him.”

This will be Jokisch’s last outing for 2014.

“Any day I can spend in the big leagues, I’ll take that,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun up here and it’s a joy to come to work every day. It’s also been a long season. I was talking with [Kyle] Hendricks — we both had our first Spring Training that started in February and it’s our first time through September, too. We’re definitely dragging a little bit and it’s part of the grind, and it’s good to get used to it now because hopefully we can do that for a long time is pitch into September and October. I’m a little tired but I’ll take any day in the big leagues that I can.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/26 Cubs players on Jeter

I asked three Cubs players for one word to describe Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and say why they picked that word.

Carlos Villanueva:
Respect.

“In 2011, I faced him in New York. We went back to Toronto, and to go to the clubhouse there, you have to go past the hitting cage. It just so happened he was walking in the same time I was coming in. I was starstruck — it’s Jeter. The guy just spoke to me like one of his peers. He remembered that I punched him out in the first at-bat — I think I threw a 3-2 changeup. He kind of smiled; I guess he was surprised. He mentioned it, he said, ‘Man, that was a good pitch you threw me that first at-bat of the game.’ I’ve played with a lot of superstars and some of their egos are a little up there more than you would want them to be, but this guy was so much about what you want the game to be. I don’t think I have as much respect for any opposing hitter than I have for him. A guy who conducts himself the way he does, the way he has for so many years in such a difficult city to play in, it’s an example I wish every player could see and follow. It doesn’t compare when everybody says it, but the respect, even not knowing him and seeing how he conducts his business, no showmanship, none of that stuff. Just winning and doing things the way you’re supposed to, and spend time enjoying the game. It’s something I don’t think we’ll see as good as he’s done it for such a long time. He respects the game.”

Starlin Castro:
Respect.

“He’s one of the greatest players who I’ve watched since I was a little kid. It’s how he plays baseball, how he controls the situation on the biggest stage with the Yankees. Not everybody can take that big responsibility to be a captain on the biggest team like that. It’s also how he plays the game, how his teammates respect him. Not everybody can do that. We won’t see that for a long time, everybody doesn’t have that kind of respect. In the world, we have a lot of Hall of Famers and great players, but to be captain on one team like the Yankees, not everybody can do it. Respect. That’s the most important thing. Everybody who plays on the Yankees, everybody respects him, everybody does what he says in a good way. He’s awesome. Everybody pays attention to him, and everybody listens to him because they respect him, and not only the players but the coaches, everybody.”

John Baker:
No. 2

“I think about No. 2, and the reason I think about No. 2 is because it’s the perfectly appropriate number for Derek Jeter because I think he’s the best player of all time. He’s gone through the steroid generation and never been in trouble and stayed relevant as baseball has improved. At the same time, he always takes a back seat to his team. No. 2 for me is the perfect number for Derek Jeter because he’s the best player who doesn’t want everyone to see him as the best player and it makes him the best teammate. No. 1 would be inappropriate because it would be selfish. No. 2 is perfect.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/25 The South Bend Cubs

The Class A South Bend team announced Thursday it is changing its name to the South Bend Cubs. Team owner Andrew Berlin made the announcement during a news conference in South Bend.

“We are now The South Bend Cubs,” Berlin said. “Affection for and loyalty to the Chicago Cubs goes back generations in this community. We’ve listened to fans throughout the region, and this is a name that we know they are thrilled about.”

Berlin also unveiled a new logo for the team that he described as the model that the team expects to use in the design of new uniforms, apparel and other South Bend Cubs branded items.

“We’re moving fast,” Berlin said. “Officials gave South Bend a special waiver so that we could show you this today, but something as important as a logo needs to be approved by the league and by the Chicago Cubs. So, I can’t call it official yet, but it is what you’re likely to see on all our uniforms, apparel, advertising and merchandise from now on.”

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein attended the news conference.

“We’re thrilled to begin this partnership with South Bend and we’re looking forward to working with everyone here,” Epstein said. “It is important to have first-class facilities not only at the big league level, but also throughout our farm system. South Bend provides exactly what we were looking for both as a community and as a farm club.”

Players will have a new 15,000-square foot facility in South Bend next year that will include batting cages. There also will be a new fitness center and clubhouse for the players.

The Cubs’ Class A team had been at Kane County the last two years, and won the Midwest League championship this season under manager Mark Johnson.

9/25 The Wright way

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On Wednesday, Cubs pitcher Wesley Wright stopped by the Pablo Casals School of Excellence to visit a third grade class. He read “A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis” to the class, and then spoke to the students about the importance of perseverance and working hard.

9/24 Cubs 3, Cardinals 1

In three starts this season, Jake Arrieta has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning. In his last start of the year on Wednesday, the right-hander flirted briefly with a no-no and, more importantly, helped himself with his bat.

Arrieta smacked a two-run triple to spark the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals, and take the series against the National League Central leaders. St. Louis maintained a 1 1/2 game lead in the division over Pittsburgh, which also lost Wednesday.

Arrieta struck out 10 over seven innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits. He’s had the edge against the Cardinals, holding them to three earned runs over 22 1/3 innings for a 1.21 ERA.

Luis Valbuena doubled to lead off the Chicago fourth against John Lackey, and two outs later, Logan Watkins was intentionally walked. Arrieta then delivered, lining the ball into the gap in right center for the first triple by a Cubs pitcher since Chris Rusin did so, Aug. 21, 2012. It was Arrieta’s 10th career hit in 64 at-bats.

The Cardinals had runners at first and third with one out in the fifth, and tallied on a throwing error by catcher Welington Castillo.

A crowd of 33,292 attended the Cubs last home game of the season at Wrigley Field.

9/24 Renteria: “We’ll be better next year”

Wednesday was the Cubs last home game at Wrigley Field, and manager Rick Renteria was already looking ahead to next year.

“This was certainly a great experience for me in my first year,” Renteria said. “More than anything, it’s been awesome to see a lot of those young guys show up here in the big leagues and everybody gets to see them.

“Being with them the whole year has given me an advantage because we have a basis now to establish how we’re going to continue to move forward and things we need to work on to become a better ballclub. We’ve been thinking about that for two or three weeks already.”

The Cubs will finish with a sub .500 record and Renteria knows that won’t be acceptable in years to come.

“We all know what this is about — it’s about ultimately winning,” he said. “There’s nobody who takes this [job] who thinks otherwise. I just happened to be in a unique position this year where I had a lot of young players and new players for me, and got to know them and their personalities and tried to help them in any way we could through the coaching staff and communication we’ve had throughout the season to help them become better big league baseball players.”

Can the Cubs win?

“My expectation is that we can,” Renteria said. “I’m not going to shy away from that. Do I expect we’ll be better next year? Absolutely.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/24 Saying goodbye

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Firefighters from Engine 78 located on Waveland Avenue near Wrigley Field posed their fire truck near the left field bleachers on Wednesday prior to the Cubs last home game. That part of the bleachers will be torn down, with work scheduled to begin Thursday, as the renovation gets underway. The plan is to install a video scoreboard behind the left field bleachers in addition to six other signs.

9/24 Cubs lineup

It’s the last home game at Wrigley Field Wednesday, and Jake Arrieta makes his final start of the 2014 season. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Lake CF
Watkins 2B
Arrieta P

If you’re coming to the game, you might want to arrive early. Players will be giving fans autographed baseballs during pre-game ceremonies.

9/24 Last Cubs home game

If you’re coming to Wednesday’s last Cubs home game, make sure you get there early. Players will give away autographed baseballs in the stands before the final home game.

Cubs Charities and Bank of America will host a group of military members and their families for a pregame batting practice experience, player meet-and-greet before the game as well. Fans can help salute these troops during a Military Take the Field pregame ceremony.

And, it’s my favorite seventh inning stretch as members of the Wrigley Field grounds crew lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” If you’re coming, bring your camera. Wrigley Field won’t look the same in 2015. The Cubs start renovation work this weekend.

* On this date in Cubs history:

1976: Bill Madlock suffers bruises and a slight concussion when he is mugged in New York City. The Cubs then get mugged by the Mets, 4-3.

1984: Rick Sutcliffe pitched a two-hitter in a 4-1 win over the Pirates to help the Cubs clinch the NL East title and secure the first postseason berth since 1945.

1985: Andre Dawson hit three home runs, including a pair of three-run blasts in a 12-run fifth inning, to lead the Expos to a 17-15 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

– Carrie Muskat

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