Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’

8/11 Sveum sticking with Barney

If you’re one of the fans who has been yelling at Dale Sveum to pinch-hit for Darwin Barney, the Cubs manager has heard you. And he’s not going to do it.

“It’s hard for me to ever [pinch-hit for him] because the guy gives you a battle up there and he’ll put the ball in play in situations,” Sveum said Sunday of the second baseman. “He’s gotten some big hits for us. He’s just a guy who you know is going to battle and [against a pitcher with] velocity, he’ll put it in play and give you a great at-bat.”

Barney entered Sunday’s game against the Cardinals batting .212 overall, but he’s hitting .255 with runners in scoring position with two outs, and .278 in close and late situations. On Saturday, he delivered a game-tying two-run double with two outs in the eighth, and then scored on pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro’s RBI double.

“It’s not like [Barney] is a major power, RBI guy,” Sveum said, “but when you’re in situations, there are certain guys you like up there because they’re better in situations. All you need is for the ball to hit the outfield grass and that’s why you stick with guys like that. You don’t need something huge, just to have the ball hit the outfield grass.”

It’s been a tough year for Barney, who batted .276 in 2011. Sveum worked with Barney in Arizona in the offseason for a few days but admitted on Sunday that the second baseman “didn’t really stick with that too much.”

Now, the Cubs are hoping Barney and others can wrap up the season on a good note.

“You’d like everybody to finish strong for the team’s sake, for their own sake, for their own sanity sometimes going into the winter,” Sveum said. “There’s that saying, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and that’s true in a lot of situations.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/10 Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

Manager Dale Sveum only needed to see two things from Dioner Navarro on Saturday to know whether his backup catcher and top bench player was able to play three days after being carted off the field.

“Just walk and squat,” Sveum said of the requirements. “One time was fine enough.”

Navarro also was ready to hit. Darwin Barney smacked a game-tying two-run double in the eighth and Navarro followed with a pinch-hit RBI double to lift the Cubs to a motivated 6-5 victory over the Cardinals.

Nate Schierholtz delivered a RBI single in the ninth, which turned out to be much needed as Matt Holliday hit his second home run of the game in the St. Louis ninth off Kevin Gregg. Welington Castillo hit a solo home run and sacrifice fly for the Cubs, who came into this series with a few more incentives than past matchups. Adam Wainwright was originally scheduled to start Saturday but was skipped so he could be ready for St. Louis’ upcoming series against Pittsburgh. The Cubs felt snubbed.

“If you look at it from their point of view, you don’t really try to take offense to that kind of stuff,” Barney said. “Obviously, we knew what happened, and it wasn’t not talked about, I’ll say that. That young kid [Michael Wacha] threw well today and he has good stuff. It’s not like they were throwing a nobody against us. It’s one of those things.”

Wacha, making his fourth big league start, served up Castillo’s home run leading off the Chicago second. Holliday belted a three-run homer off Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva with one out in the fourth to go ahead, 3-1. Castillo added a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran hit back to back doubles in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead.

In the eighth, Trevor Rosenthal walked Castillo and Schierholtz, then struck out the next two batters. Barney, batting .211, then lined a double to right to drive in both and tie the game.

“People are always, ‘Why don’t you pinch-hit for Barney?'” Sveum said. “It’s because he’s the one guy who is going to battle and put the ball in play and do baseball player-type things.”

Navarro arrived in St. Louis about five hours before game time. He injured his right ankle in a collision at home plate on Wednesday in Philadelphia with Chase Utley, and had gone to Chicago to be examined. Prior to the game, Navarro had to do some agility drills — as well as walk and squat — and was pronounced fit. He didn’t take batting practice but it didn’t seem to matter as he lined a 97 mph fastball from Rosenthal to right.

“He gets here today,” Barney said, “and he hadn’t taken a swing, he didn’t take batting practice, and he’s one of those guys who’s a gamer. Turn on 98 [mph] like that after not seeing a pitch in three days is pretty unbelievable.”

Blake Parker picked up his first Major League win in relief, and Gregg hung on for his 25th save, and survived David Freese’s liner off his right shoulder.

With the win, the Cubs notched their first series victory at Busch Stadium since sweeping the Cardinals in a three-game set, Sept. 13-15, 2010. The two teams square off next weekend at Wrigley Field. Wainwright’s next start, by the way, is Tuesday against the Pirates.

— Carrie Muskat

7/28 Early extra bases

Early notes before Sunday’s game:

* The Cubs are 25-29 on the road through 54 games after going 23-58 on the road all last season.

* Including a series win this weekend in San Francisco, the Cubs are 3-1-3 in their last seven series. They will try for their first series sweep in San Francisco since Sept. 13-15, 1993

* Alfonso Soriano was the last player remaining from the 2007 Cubs team that won the NL Central. Jeff Samardzija is the only player remaining from the ’08 team that won 97 games. Samardzija is the only player on the roster to have made his Cubs debut prior to 2010 (not including Kevin Gregg, who departed after 2009 and returned in 2013).

* Only five players on the current 25-man roster were on the 2012 Opening Day roster: Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell and Samardzija.

* Nearly half of the players on the current 25-man roster (12) have joined the Cubs since the end of the 2012 campaign.

* Also, 10 players on the current 25-man roster were not on the Cubs 2013 Opening Day roster: pitchers Chris Rusin, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Matt Guerrier, Kevin Gregg and Eduardo Sanchez; infielder Cody Ransom; and outfielders Cole Gillespie, Pedro Borbon and Junior Lake.

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