Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’

7/14 Cardinals 10, Cubs 6

The Cubs saw first-hand why the Cardinals are the best team in baseball at the All-Star break. St. Louis pounded a season-high 21 hits off the Cubs, including a go-ahead RBI single by Allen Craig with one out in the ninth and a three-run homer by Yadier Molina that inning, to post a 10-6 come from behind victory and split the series.

“That’s a great team over there, from top to bottom, even with [Matt] Holliday out,” Chicago starter and All-Star Travis Wood said. “They’ve got guys stepping in and filling the spots and doing an outstanding job. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game every time you face them.”

Wood did just that, holding the Cardinals to three runs over 5 2/3 innings, and falling one out shy of becoming the first Cubs pitcher ever to record 18 quality starts before the All-Star break. His 17 quality starts lead the Majors, and he’s the fourth Cubs pitcher in franchise history to have that many at the break, joining Bill Hands (1969), Fergie Jenkins (1969) and Greg Maddux (1988).

“When a guy has done what Travis has done, that’s our horse, and that’s our most consistent guy,” Dale Sveum said.

Wood reached 100 pitches when he walked Allen Craig with one on and two outs in the fifth. Pedro Strop took over, and needed just one pitch to end the inning, getting David Freese to ground out.

“It was just time,” Sveum said about his decision to pull Wood.

The Cubs needed nearly every pitcher as they tried to keep the Cardinals in check.

Chicago trailed 3-1 in the sixth against All-Star Adam Wainwright when Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic hit back to back singles. One out later, Darwin Barney, who hit a RBI single in the second, launched the first pitch into the basket rimming the left field bleachers for his sixth home run. According to ESPN, the ball traveled 366 feet and would not have gone out of any other Major League ballpark except Wrigley Field.

“Barney’s home run was huge at a huge time,” Sveum said. “We had the bullpen set up. You’ve got to give their hitters a lot of credit. That’s why they’re the best hitting team in baseball. But [Pete] Kozma hits one off his thumbs that bloops in and took the momentum away from us.”

That was part of the Cardinals’ seventh inning rally against Matt Guerrier. Molina doubled and scored one out later on Kozma’s single that dropped over shortstop Starlin Castro. One out later, pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso singled to chase Guerrier, and Matt Carpenter greeted James Russell with a go-ahead RBI single.

Matt Adams added a RBI double in the eighth, driving in David Freese from second. Anthony Rizzo cut off Castro’s relay throw home, cutting off a possible play at the plate.

“I don’t know why he was there,” Sveum said of Rizzo. “That’s not really protocal in our playbook.”

Rizzo said he usually looks behind him to see where the catcher is, but didn’t this time.

“It would’ve been a close play,” Rizzo said.

“That didn’t lose the game for us,” Barney said. “They swung the bats a little better than we did. You can’t take anything away from them or say we did anything wrong. They had more good swings than we did in the end.”

The Cubs did rally again with one out in the eighth as pinch-hitter Cole Gillespie singled in his debut, and one out later, his former Oregon State teammate, Barney, singled, to set up pinch-hitter Cody Ransom’s two-run double off Edward Mujica, named to the All-Star Game late Sunday.

With the game tied at 6 and one out in the St. Louis ninth against Kevin Gregg, Carlos Beltran doubled to right and reached third on an error charged to Dave Sappelt, who lost his footing. Beltran tallied on Craig’s single and Freese then singled to set up Molina’s home run, his seventh.

“Yadi is unbelievable,” Barney said.

The Cubs end the first half 42-51, and 15 games back in the NL Central behind the Cardinals. Wood was given the go-ahead to take part in the All-Star Game. Tuesday would be his side day.

– Carrie Muskat

6/22 Astros 4, Cubs 3

Before Saturday’s game, Cubs manager Dale Sveum joked that if he didn’t have to meet with the media post-game, he might have a chance to see the Blackhawks play in the Stanley Cup Final. As it turns out, the team could’ve spared him, and replayed quotes from past losses. Once again, the Cubs wasted a solid effort by one of their starting pitchers and missed scoring opportunities in a 4-3 loss to the Astros. J.D. Martinez hit a game-tying three-run homer in the sixth and Justin Maxwell scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze in the ninth inning to even the Interleague series in front of 38,870 at Wrigley Field.

“It’s a broken record,” Sveum said. “We can’t seem to get that hit to bust the game open in those situations. We get guys on and we just can’t get them in.”

With the game tied at 3 in the ninth against Kevin Gregg, Maxwell doubled to lead off and moved up on Matt Dominguez’s sacrifice. Ronny Cedeno then bunted toward first, and Maxwell sprinted home with the game-winning run. It was only the fourth time in 25 games that Gregg has given up a run.

The Cubs had a chance in the eighth. With one out, Alfonso Soriano doubled and Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked. Soriano was then picked off at second on a close play, although it appeared that he got his hand on the base before the tag. Second base umpire David Rackley called Soriano out. The Cubs didn’t agree.

“I know it’s not an easy job they have, but when I get mad at something they call, it’s because I’m 100 percent [sure] I have the right call,” Soriano said. “I knew I was safe. It’s part of the game. I have a lot of respect for the umpires. He called me out and I got mad because I knew I was safe.”

The Cubs then loaded the bases, and Darwin Barney thought he had drawn a walk on a 3-1 pitch but instead home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called a strike. Jose Cisnero then got Barney to fly out to center to end the inning.

“Soriano is safe at second so there’s a run, and the guy’s throwing the ball all over the place and Barney takes a 3-1 pitch and it’s eight inches inside, and instead it’s a pop up and an out,” Sveum said. “It’s a shame.”

Nate Schierholtz set a career high with his 10th home run and Luis Valbuena hit a two-run single for the Cubs, now 7-3 against American League teams this year. Travis Wood picked up his 14th quality start, most in the Major Leagues, but the lefty couldn’t snap a personal three-game losing streak.

Cubs starters now have posted quality starts in seven of the last nine games, and have won five of those nine games. The team also is 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position over the last four games, and batting .167 with RISP in the last 15.

“The whole year has been like that,” Soriano said. “We don’t get the big hit when we need it. It’s a little frustrating but we have to forget this game today and come back tomorrow and win the series tomorrow.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/22 Did you know …

Friday’s game was the first time in the Cubs’ 98 seasons at Wrigley Field in which both teams combined to score at least four runs and all the runs were on solo home runs. That’s according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Cubs had solo homers by Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Scott Hairston, and Chris Carter hit a solo shot for the Astros.

6/7 Pirates 2, Cubs 0

It was deja vu for the Cubs. For the second time this season, Francisco Liriano held the Cubs to two hits over seven shutout innings as the Pirates won, 2-0, on Friday.

“Obviously, if our offense puts a few on the board, it changes the whole game,” Chicago’s Darwin Barney said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap to Liriano and not let him be one of those guys who starts slumps with hitters. Right now, he’s making his pitches and not giving in.”

Liriano did not serve up a hit until pitcher Travis Wood singled with one out in the fifth.

“He’s done this to everybody,” Dale Sveum said of Liriano. “When he’s right and he has his velocity, he’s basically in the CC Sabathia type category where he has great velocity but really doesn’t throw his fastball that much. He’s got great command of his changeup and slider. He’s one of those guys where it’s very, very difficult if he’s on with his offspeed stuff — it’s going to be a tough day.”

Wood was also stingy. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second when he struck out Liriano, then retired the next 10 batters before Jordy Mercer doubled with one out in the sixth. One out later, Gaby Sanchez walked and Russell Martin then lined a RBI double to left.

“I got the outs when I needed, except the one that really counted,” Wood said.

The Pirates added a run in the ninth off Carlos Villanueva when Martin walked, moved up on Pedro Alvarez’s single and scored one out later on Travis Snider’s fielder’s choice. Snider hit the ball to third baseman Luis Valbuena, who opted to try for the double play instead of throwing home.

“He knows after the fact that something broke down there,” Sveum said of Valbuena. “That run is very, very important. A left-handed hitter hitting a ground ball, you need to throw that guy out at home. The odds of turning a double play, especially when you’re trying to take the pull side away with Villanueva pitching — there’s a 99 percent chance he’s going to pull Villanueva so Barney wasn’t going to be near the bag anyway.”

With the loss, the Cubs now are 6-17 against NL Central teams. The six wins are the fewest for any club within its own division.

– Carrie Muskat

6/2 Diamondbacks 8, Cubs 4

Edwin Jackson has had worse seasons, and he’s definitely had better, but right now, the Cubs right-hander is frustrated. Jackson served up seven runs over 5 2/3 innings to the Diamondbacks, who took advantage of an error and romped, 8-4, on Sunday over the Cubs. Gerardo Parra and Cody Ross each hit two-run singles, and Wil Nieves added a pair of RBI singles to help Patrick Corbin remain unbeaten at 9-0.

“It’s probably one of the most frustrating seasons I’ve been through,” said Jackson, who has one win in 11 starts. “It’s disappointing when you feel like you’re not going out to help the team have a chance to win a game. I’m a way better pitcher than I’ve shown. It hasn’t been anything about confidence. I just haven’t been getting the job done. I’ve been through a lot of up and down seasons, but this has been a pretty frustrating season to say the least, and it’s shown in the stats and numbers and everything.”

The right-hander’s previous two starts had been interrupted by rain. On Sunday, it was unseasonably cold, with a game-time temperature of 47. He gave up 12 hits — all singles except a double by Cody Ross in the third — and walked three. Not even the defensive shift could help. The Cubs moved third baseman Cody Ransom to the right side of second and had second baseman Darwin Barney in shallow right and Jason Kubel still lined a single between them in the fifth.

“He hasn’t really caught any breaks,” Barney said of Jackson. “This is what he does for a living, he’s a competitor, he’ll come back ready to pitch the next time and he’ll say the same thing. We’re going to see better things out of him, that’s for sure.”

The Cubs hope so. They made a four-year, $52 million commitment to Jackson this offseason. He is now 1-7 with a 7.87 ERA in nine starts at Wrigley Field.

“The last few outings, he’s pitched with conviction and today, I think could’ve been a whole [different] ballgame if that fly ball was caught,” Dale Sveum said.

The mistake came in the second. Nieves and Cliff Pennington singled, and Corbin lofted a ball to center. Julio Borbon closed his glove before he caught the ball for an error, and the bases were loaded. Parra hit a two-run single, and Didi Gregorius was safe on a fielder’s choice. Corbin scored on a wild pitch to take a 3-1 lead.

“Right now, it’s not about me throwing strikes, it’s just quality strikes,” Jackson said. “I felt that today, I came out and made some pitches and they had an inning where they had an error, and I got behind and got a ground ball and it was through the hole. I had ground balls and they were just through holes. When things are going bad, everything goes bad. When things are going good, you can make the same pitches and they go right at someone.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/22 Barney update

Darwin Barney matched a career high with four hits on Tuesday. He also did so Aug. 13, 2011, against the Braves. Barney batted .333 (7-for-21) on the last homestand, and now is batting .371 (13-for-35) with four doubles, a home run, three RBIs, a triple and two walks in his last 10 games. He does have two three-hit games this year.

– Carrie Muskat

5/15 Post-game notes

* Anthony Rizzo picked up his 20th extra-base hit of the season with a double in the first. He is batting .392 since April 26 with nine doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs.

* Jeff Samardzija picked up his first win since Opening Day, ending a five-game losing streak. His two-run homer was the first by a Cubs pitcher since Travis Wood did so Aug. 28 against the Brewers.

* David DeJesus notched his 500th career RBIs with his first inning home run.

* The Cubs have 24 doubles in the last six games, and lead the Majors with 92 doubles.

* Darwin Barney made a great defensive play in the fourth when he snared Carlos Gonzalez’s hard hit ball up the middle and threw in time to first.

“The one thing you do with Barney on defense is you don’t worry about it,” Dale Sveum said. “He’s either going to make a great play, and he never messes up any routine plays, even the pivot around second base.”

* Matt Garza makes a Minor League rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa.

“It’s only going to get better when we get him back here,” Samardzija said. “Obviously, we want him to be healthy and that’s the most important thing.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/15 Cubs 6, Rockies 3

Check the standings. The Cubs are no longer in last place in the NL Central.

Jeff Samardzija smacked a two-run home run and struck out seven over eight innings to pick up his first win since April 1 and lead the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies at Wrigley Field. David DeJesus hit a leadoff homer in the first to help the Cubs take the series and back Samardzija, who raised his season strikeout total to 64, which ranks among the top five in the National League.

Samardzija needed a win. This is the right-hander’s second full season as a starter, and he’s still going through some growing pains.

“He used the whole four corners of the plate,” Dale Sveum said. “He pitched up, he pitched in, he pitched away, used his slider, used his split, used a lot of cutters tonight. He used his whole repertoire tonight. He knew what he was doing tonight; he was pitching.”

Samardzija got off to a good start, needing just nine pitches to get through the first. He got some more help from DeJesus, who opened the Chicago half with his fifth home run and 14th career leadoff homer. The Rockies tied the game in the second but Samardzija answered in the Cubs half. With two outs, Darwin Barney doubled and Samardzija launched the first pitch from Jon Garland into the left-field bleachers for his second career home run and a 3-1 lead.

“That was huge at that time,” Sveum said. “For him to come through and pick us up like that was huge.”

Said Garland: “He’s a good athlete, a pretty good player. It was a cutter out over the plate. It was the first pitch and I was trying to get it over the plate. He was looking off-speed and got it.”

Samardzija’s other home run was Sept. 23, 2009, against the Brewers.

“I need to slow down around the bases and enjoy it a little bit,” Samardzija said of his fast-paced trot. “It doesn’t happen too often. We work a lot on hitting. [Pitching coach Chris] Bosio has us out there hitting every day in the cages. In the National League, it’s an important at-bat. There in the sixth when I got that bunt down, those are important plays in the game and we ended up putting up a three-spot. You can’t accept the out as a pitcher.”

The Cubs added three more runs in the seventh. They’ve now won back to back series for the first time this season.

“We’re playing great baseball and not shooting ourselves in the foot and we’re just looking to keep it going, keep the momentum going that we’ve built up in the last couple weeks,” Samardzija said. “It’s exciting now, it’s exciting in the locker room and fun to play with these guys.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/8 Barney gets day off

Darwin Barney, stuck in an 0-for-21 skid, took time Wednesday to hit the ball hard. Dale Sveum and Barney had an early hitting session at Wrigley Field in which the Cubs manager wanted his infielder to try to relax.

“It was nice to bring him out today and let him hit and not think about any mechanics, and get a mindset about hitting the ball as hard as he can,” Sveum said. “There were no mechanics going on out there.”

Sveum and Barney spent time together in Arizona for one week to work on the second baseman’s swing but whatever they did at that time has been “abandoned,” the manager said. The goal on Wednesday was to take some “brand new white balls and hit them as far as you can,” Sveum said.

Barney was batting .147 overall with a .275 on-base percentage.

“It’s confidence as much as anything,” Sveum said of the second baseman’s problems, “and understanding your job is to hit the ball hard and not try to do something with it every at-bat, just get a good pitch and hit it hard instead of trying to hit it to this field or that field or whatever. That was [the goal Wednesday] to have one mindset, hit the ball as hard as you can.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/4 Extra bases

* Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa will make a rehab outing Saturday for Triple-A Iowa, his first game action since going on the disabled list April 13 with a strained right forearm. Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, will make his second Minor League rehab start Monday for Iowa, and was expected to throw at least three innings. Both pitchers are hoping for better weather. The Iowa team has been snowed out for two straight days, Thursday and Friday.

* With the Cubs’ decision to option Ian Stewart to Iowa, Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom now are the Cubs’ third base combo. Ransom, claimed off waivers from the Padres, starts against left-handed pitchers.

“He’s going to strike out a lot against right-handed pitching, but he’s always been very dependable in the field at every position, has an accurate arm,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Ransom. “He’s a guy who’s a no panic kind of defensive player. We knew what we were getting and obviously, he’s done a really nice job at the plate.”

Ransom was batting .375 on the Cubs’ current homestand.

* Second baseman Darwin Barney survived a nasty crash into a bench in the visitor’s bullpen chasing a foul ball in the fifth inning Friday.

“He was very fortunate that wasn’t multiple injuries,” Sveum said. “It could’ve been a head injury, shoulder. He slid perfect — his arm was above the bench. From here, it looked like hammered his head.”

* Sveum would like to see Barney do a little better at the plate. The second baseman entered Saturday’s game batting .179 overall, and was 3-for-14 in his last five games.

“We all know Barney, he’s always working and trying,” Sveum said. “I think he needs to stick with one thing and go with that. There’s a lot of changing going on every single day.”

What does Sveum want to see? He laughed.

“A lot of things,” Sveum said. “We don’t have enough time for it.”

The problem is more mechanics than his approach at the plate.

– Carrie Muskat

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