Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’

9/19 Barney: “It’s hard to blame anybody”

The Cubs lost 101 games in Dale Sveum’s first season as manager, and entered Thursday’s game with 89 losses and 10 games to play. The front office has said it will not evaluate Sveum on the basis of wins and losses. But an evaluation is underway.

“In a season like this, it’s hard to blame anybody,” Darwin Barney said. “We’re all accountable for our own actions and our play on the field. … It is a business and any time a team has this kind of a sesaon, there’s obviously going to be evaluations,” he said. “That’s not to say [Sveum] did a bad job or any of us think he did a bad job — I stand behind Dale. It’s just an evaluation and we’ll see how it goes.”

Theo Epstein will meet with Sveum and the coaching staff on Sept. 30 in Chicago after the regular season ends.

“I think a lot of us stand behind Dale and think he’s the right fit for this team,” Barney said. “That’s obviously not our call. Everybody’s being evaluated now, it’s top to bottom. It’s how can we make this better and turn this around.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/16 Gold Glove nuggets

Gold Glove ballots will be distributed this week. Here’s a look at recent or season-long defensive accomplishments by qualifying Cubs defenders:

* Welington Castillo leads all Major League catchers with a 2.5 defensive WAR (2.5) this season.

* Anthony Rizzo leads all ML first basemen in defensive WAR (0.6) and leads all National League first basemen with an .900 ultimate zone rating. Rizzo ranks second in the league with a .996 fielding percentage this season.

* Darwin Barney leads all National League second basemen in defensive WAR (1.4), and has made only four errors this season, by far the fewest by any everyday second baseman. Barney’s .993 fielding percentage is far and away the best in the National League. He began this season with a 71-game errorless streak and takes an active 41-game errorless streak into tonight’s game.

* Starlin Castro has made four errors in his last 72 games starting June 26. He has an .882 ultimate zone rating during that span, second-best among NL shortstops, and a .988 fielding percentage, also second-best among league shortstops in that span.

9/14 Web gems

* Anthony Rizzo leads all Major League first basemen in defensive war (0.6) and leads all National League first basemen with an .899 ultimate zone rating. Rizzo is second in the league with a .996 fielding percentage this season.

* Darwin Barney leads all Major League second basemen in defensive war (1.4), and has made only four errors this season. His .993 fielding percentage is far and away the best in the NL. Barney began the season with a 71-game errorless streak and takes an active 39-game errorless streak into tonight’s game.

* Starlin Castro has made four errors in his last 70 games starting June 26. He has an .879 ultimate zone rating during that span, second-best among NL shortstops, and a .987 fielding percentage, third-best among league shortstops in that span. However, Castro does rank 10th among NL shortstops with a .971 fielding percentage for the season, and has committed the most errors (18).

9/8 Cubs notebook

* Right-hander Daniel Bard, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, threw a second bullpen on Sunday. There is no timetable for him to get into a game, and he may not in the Cubs’ remaining 20 games.

“It’d be nice to see but it’s his timetable and we’ll evaluate and we’ll find out how he’s doing and how he’s feeling,” Sveum said.

Bard was sidelined most of the season with a strained abdominal muscle, and struggled with his consistency.

* Darwin Barney got a rare day off Sunday.

“His numbers against [Yovani] Gallardo aren’t staggering, so I figured it’d be a good day to give him a day going into the long road trip,” Sveum said. “We’ll get [Donnie] Murphy’s bat in there as well as [Luis] Valbuena’s left-handed bat.”

* The Cubs have a tough trip ahead as the Reds and Pirates are battling for position in the playoffs.

“You never want to be a spoiler, and not that there’s really any spoiling going on,” Sveum said since the Reds and Pirates appear set for posteason baseball. “Cincinnati is getting hot, and they’ve put themselves in the division race as well. It’ll be fun, the atmosphere in Pittsburgh as well as Cincinnati. You’re getting in that playoff type atmosphere when you’re trying to win a division, and later, it’ll be the same when we get to St. Louis. It’s good for everybody to see that and play in those atmospheres. It’s different.”

* The Cubs are one win away from matching their win total last year.

“Obviously, the difference between this year and last year is coming down the stretch, we have a lot better pitching going out there every day,” Sveum said. “Our starting pitching has been pretty good. There’s satisfaction but we’re still a long way away from where we want to be.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/7 Barney goes for gold

The Cubs’ Darwin Barney leads all National League second basemen in fielding percentage, which would make him the favorite to repeat as Gold Glove winner at that position. Barney just hasn’t gotten as much attention about his defensive play this year because he isn’t pursuing the Major League record for error-free games.

Last year, Barney tied the Major League single-season record with 141 consecutive errorless games at second, and won his first Rawlings Gold Glove.

“He hasn’t done anything for anybody to take it away from him,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of his second baseman. “He’s had a heck of a year defensively again. The way he turns a double play, tough double plays, he’s the incumbent and somebody has to take it away from him. I don’t see anybody doing that.”

Barney leads NL second basemen with a .993 fielding percentage; the Twins’ Brian Dozier and the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia lead the Majors with a .994 figure. Barney has been charged with four errors in 123 games, one more than he made in 155 games last season.

He’s not flashy but will likely face competition from the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, the Pirates’ Neil Walker and the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter.

“Sometimes people do things without having ‘web gems’ and that’s why they’re the best at their positions,” Sveum said.

Barney was tied with the Braves’ Dan Uggla for fifth in most double plays (68), and was fourth in putouts.

“It’s definitely a goal of mine every year to win a Gold Glove,” Barney said. “I don’t think it’s my No. 1 goal. My No. 1 goal is to win 90, 95 games and make the playoffs.

“On a personal level, having the season I’ve had defensively this year, if I don’t win the Gold Glove, I’d still be satisfied and feel I helped the team defensively,” he said. “Leading the league in defense at second base is something I take pride in.”

He’s aware that there are players who make more acrobatic plays.

“The coaches and managers vote,” Barney said. “They’re players. They understand. I don’t think they’re going to vote someone in because they make ‘web gems,’ they’ll vote someone in who deserves the award. If someone else wins, that person deserved the award among their peers, and that’s fine with me.

“Last year with the [error-less] streak, there was a lot to be talked about,” Barney said. “This year, it’s one of those years where it’s a normal year. There’s no streak. It’s been a good year and every error could be prevented and I’ll look back on the film on the ones I’ve made and not let them happen again.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Ryno’s back

Darwin Barney still has a bat autographed by his former Triple-A manager, Ryne Sandberg. The current Cubs second baseman also remembers all the lessons he learned from the former one, now a Hall of Famer and back at Wrigley Field as the Phillies interim manager.

“I admired the way he prepared for the game every day, his intensity, the way baseball was his life,” Barney said Friday. “He went about it the right way and respected it where he’s like, ‘I’ll start in the Minor Leagues and won’t try to jump on with a buddy and be a bench coach.’ He wanted to learn how to manage. The way he went about his business every day and the way he helped me out before games at second base [was huge].”

Sandberg spent four seasons in the Cubs organization as a Minor League manager, and was passed over the big league job twice. He then left to manage in the Phillies’ system, and was on the big league team’s coaching staff this year. When Charlie Manuel was dismissed, Sandberg took over the Phillies.

Barney was Iowa’s starting shortstop but passed over when the Cubs promoted Starlin Castro from Double-A Tennessee in May 2010. Barney went to Sandberg because he wanted to know what to do to get that call. Sandberg and Barney began working at second base before games three times a week at home and on the road.

“I was fortunate to have a good relationship with him,” Barney said. “The ability to communicate with him was very helpful.”

Dale Sveum could relate to Sandberg’s interim status. Sveum was the Brewers’ interim manager for 12 games in 2008.

“The biggest thing is we’re probably taking over in the same kind of way,” said Sveum, hired as the Cubs manager prior to the 2012 season. “I took over as interim with 12 games. He’s got a couple months, six weeks. As a coach, you’ve got your own little world, and then all of a sudden, you have everybody’s little world, all 25 players, and the game management as well. You have so many responsbilities as well as the media as well as the game management as well as managing 25 players.”

Sveum said he didn’t even think about being an “interim” manager. He was the manager.

“You’re just managing at that time, you don’t worry about any tag,” he said. “You have a job to do and that’s all you can do.”

Sveum expected the Wrigley Field crowd to give Sandberg a nice welcome.

“A guy coming back to a place where he was a Hall of Famer, he deserves a lot of attention,” Sveum said. “He had a heck of a career here in Chicago. On the field, off the field, he was the ultimate professional and deserves all the attention he’s going to get. He’s one of the best players of all time.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/24 Cubs 3, Padres 2

The best thing about the eighth inning Saturday night wasn’t that Jeff Samardzija escaped a bases-loaded, none out mess, giving up only one run, but that manager Dale Sveum left the right-hander alone to figure it out. Samardzija struck out seven over eight innings and Darwin Barney smacked a solo home run and a RBI double to lead the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Padres at PETCO Park and even the series.

Samardzija scattered seven hits and walked two. He now has totaled 176 innings this year, passing his personal high of 174 1/3 innings set last season, his first as a starter. The right-hander also is closing in on his single-season strikeout high of 180, set last season. He has fanned 175 this year.

His biggest K was his last one. Trailing 3-1, Padres pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay walked to open the eighth and Will Venable singled. Alexi Amarista then delivered what Sveum called “the most perfect bunt” toward third, with the ball just staying fair as catcher Dioner Navarro, third baseman DOnnie Murphy and Samardzija watched it roll. With the bases loaded, Yonder Alonso hit a sacrifice fly. One out later, the runners moved up on a passed ball. Chase Headley was then intentionally walked, but Samardzija struck out Forsythe to end the inning.

“That’s why you leave a guy like that in the game,” Sveum said of Samardzija. “Getting strike one for him is huge. When he gets that, those are usually all his good games.”

Neither Sveum nor pitching coach Chris Bosio went to the mound in the eighth to calm Samardzija down. They’ve had to do so a few times this season when he gets in what Sveum calls “gorilla” mode. Was Samardzija surprised Sveum left him in there?

“I wasn’t,” Samardzija said. “Me and Dale might have had a meeting down there in the dugout if he had taken me out. That’s what Dale is all about. Dale’s all about putting confidence in his players. He lets our hitters swing in bunt situations, he lets our pitchers hit.

“There are a lot of under the radar things that he does that puts confidence in the players and he did it for me there, too,” Samardzija said. “He didn’t come out and have a mound visit or anything. As a player, that says a lot. You’re out there understanding this is your inning, your game. You don’t want to waste that or give it back, and you want to say, ‘Hey, I appreciate that and I’m going to do good work for you.'”

Samardzija is one win shy of his career high of nine set last season, when he was shut down early after reaching his innings limit.

The Cubs have been trying to find a No. 4 hitter now that Alfonso Soriano is gone. What about Barney?

“No chance,” he said. “After I hit the homer, I told [Donnie Murphy],’ I ‘Murphied’ that ball. We’ll let him continue to do that, and I’ll take my singles.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Cubs 7, Cardinals 0

Jake Arrieta struck out seven over seven scoreless innings and drove in a run Friday and Nate Schierholtz knocked in three runs to lift the Cubs to a 7-0 victory over the Cardinals and even their season series at 7. This was Arrieta’s second start with the Cubs and 65th in the Major Leagues. Acquired July 2 from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal, he had started the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Brewers, and gave up one run on two hits over six innings. Before that game, the right-hander said he wasn’t going back to the Minor Leagues but he did, and made two more starts for Triple-A Iowa. Now, the Cubs want to see what Arrieta can do in the final six weeks of the season. The Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2012, he gave up an infield single by Carlos Beltran in the second that Arrieta knocked down, and a ground rule double by Carlos Beltran with one out in the seventh, and that was it.

Jake Westbrook walked the first three Cubs batters in the first, and Schierholtz followed with a two-run single. After Welington Castillo grounded into a double play, Donnie Murphy hit a RBI single for a 3-0 lead. In the fifth, Schierholtz added a sacrifice fly. Murphy was hit by a pitch to start the sixth, and one out later, scored on Darwin Barney’s double. Barney eventually scored on Arrieta’s sacrifice for his second career RBIs, and 25th by a Cubs pitcher, tops in the National League.

The Cardinals, who lead the NL Wild Card standings, may have been a little weary after a tough series against the Pirates, which included two extra inning games, both St. Louis wins. Westbrook was pulled after throwing 124 pitches over 6 2/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Best of luck, Ryno

When the Cubs played in Philadelphia earlier this month, Darwin Barney talked to Ryne Sandberg about his future. At the time, Sandberg, who had been Barney’s Minor League manager for two seasons in the Cubs organization, was the Phillies third base coach.

“We talked about what his future was there and obviously, he was optimistic but he wasn’t at all thinking that it’s his job,” Barney said about the Phillies managerial job. “He was just happy to be at the big league level and obviously, very humble. I think it happened a little quicker than I thought. Good for him. I think there are good things to come.”

What happened on Friday was Sandberg’s promotion from coach to big league manager, replacing the Phillies’ Charlie Manuel as the interim manager for the remainder of the season.

Barney didn’t know about the news until after Friday’s Cubs game.

“I’m really happy for him,” Barney said. “He’s done every step to get there. He didn’t cut any corners, he didn’t hop on with a buddy at the big league level. He wanted to be a manager and he wanted to learn how to manage in the Minor Leagues, and watching his growth every year was kind of fun.

“I know it’s only an ‘interim’ in front of his name, but I think he’s going to do a good job and hopefully he can hold onto that job.”

Sandberg, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs, spent four years as a Minor League manager in their organization, beginning at Class A Peoria in 2007. Barney was on the team at the time, and learned a lot from the Hall of Fame second baseman.

“The main thing was his competitive nature and the way he prepared for every game, even as a manager,” Barney said. “He didn’t say too much when things weren’t needed to be said. When he did say things, you definitely listened because it was very timely and to the point. I think he became a players’ manager pretty quick. He’s a guy you think about and you want to go to battle with him.”

Sandberg, named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, made it clear he wanted to manage the big league Cubs but then GM Jim Hendry bypassed him in 2011 and hired Mike Quade, who was dismissed after one season.

Sandberg endured the bus rides and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the long hours required of a Minor League manager. He didn’t shy from the chores just because he was enshrined in Cooperstown.

“[Being a Hall of Famer] was the last thing on his mind,” Barney said. “One of the things I thought when he left the Cubs organization was that maybe that will help him because now he’s not Ryne Sandberg, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Chicago Cubs, but now he’s Ryne Sandberg, the manager. I think that paid dividends in the end. I wish him the best of luck.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/14 Cubs lineup

Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney are all sitting Wednesday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds. Starter Chris Rusin is ready. He tweeted today: “It’s wins day! Haaa #daygame”

Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
McDonald LF
Rizzo 1B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Murphy SS
Watkins 2B
Ransom 3B
Rusin P

* After going 6-4 in their first 10 games after the All-Star break, the Cubs have gone 4-12 in their last 16 games. The Cubs had a 3.44 ERA in the first 10 games of the “second half” but have a 4.72 ERA in their last 16 games. Also, they’ve batted .227 in their first 10 games after the break and hit .231 in their last 16 games.

— Carrie Muskat