Results tagged ‘ Donnie Murphy ’

3/16 Cubs split split-squad games

Travis Wood struck out eight over five innings in the Cubs’ 3-2 loss to the Indians Sunday at Cubs Park in Mesa. Luis Valbuena hit a RBI double in the sixth.

In Las Vegas, Chris Rusin gave up one hit over four innings and Donnie Murphy, Daniel Vogelbach and Arismendy Alcantara each hit solo home runs to lead the Cubs to a 6-3 win over the Mets. Two runs scored on a throwing error in the Chicago first, and Ryan Sweeney added a RBI single. Alcantara finished with three hits.

On Monday, the Cubs play split squad games for the third straight day. Half of the team will face the Angels at Cubs Park. Edwin Jackson gets the start in Mesa. The other half travels to Phoenix where James McDonald will start against the Athletics.

2/11 Murphy: “We just have to put it together”

The Cubs have lost 197 games the last two seasons combined, and aren’t predicted to finish at the top of the tough National League Central this year. Don’t tell Donnie Murphy that.

“Everything you read out there, we’re one of the worst teams in baseball,” Murphy said Tuesday of the preseason prognosticators. “I think that’s a lot of motivation. Twenty-five of us don’t think we’re the worst team in baseball.

“We all look at [that critique] as a positive and it makes us even more hungry and we want to prove people wrong,” he said. “I think guys will bounce back. Everybody knows [Starlin] Castro isn’t that kind of player, everybody knows [Darwin] Barney isn’t that kind of player, everybody knows [Anthony] Rizzo isn’t a .230 hitter.

“We have guys who can bounce back and put together good years, and you make a decent run and hopefully get close and make the playoffs. We know what type of players we have in this clubhouse. We just have to put it together.”

Murphy, 30, is hoping he’s one of the guys who gets a chance to do that with the Cubs. Promoted to the big league team last Aug. 3, Murphy hit a career-high 11 home runs in 46 games with the Cubs, equaling his total between the 2008, 2010-12 seasons combined.

Despite his short time with the Cubs, he finished third among the third baseman in games played and total at-bats, trailing Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom. Ransom signed with a Japanese team this year, but Valbuena is back along with Mike Olt, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal last July.

Valbuena, who batted .218 and hit 12 home runs in 94 games at third, is considered the leading candidate to start there on Opening Day. Olt, who appears to have overcome vision problems, will contend for the job as well. Murphy hasn’t been mentioned much.

“That’s fine,” he said after a workout with some of the early bird position players at the Cubs’ new spring facility. “It means I’m under the radar. That’s fine with me. I don’t take exception to that. I know there’s Valbuena, I know there’s Olt. There’s going to be competition, but it’s fun competition. We’re all good friends and it’s all good nature.”

— Carrie Muskat

12/2 Roster moves

The Cubs signed infielder Donnie Murphy and catcher George Kottaras to one-year contracts on Monday, and tendered contracts to seven arbitration eligible players, including Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. The Cubs non-tendered relievers Daniel Bard and Chang-Yong Lim as well as infielder Mat Gamel, who are now free agents. Lim was not eligible for arbitration.

Besides Barney, Samardzija and Wood, the other arbitration-eligible players tendered 2014 contracts include pitchers Pedro Strop and James Russell; infielder Luis Valbuena; and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. A total of 28 players from the Cubs’ 40-man roster were tendered 2014 contracts, including 21 not yet eligible for arbitration.

With all the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Murphy, 30, who was arbitration eligible, agreed to terms on a $825,000 deal. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .265. In 46 games with the Cubs, Murphy batted .255 and hit 11 home runs.

Kottaras, who also was arbitration eligible, signed a one-year, $1.075 million contract that includes incentives. Acquired last Tuesday from the Royals in a trade for cash considerations, Kottaras made $1 million last season. He is projected to back up Welington Castillo behind the plate.

According to, Samardzija is projected to get $4.9 million in 2014, while Schierholtz is projected to get $4.4 million; Wood $3.6 million; Barney $2.1 million; Russell $1.7 million; Valbuena $1.5 million; and Strop $1 million.

The Cubs already have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

The Cubs are keeping an eye on the now expanded list of free agents. Last year, they signed Schierholtz after he was non-tendered by the Phillies, and the outfielder became a regular in right field. Schierholtz set career highs in home runs (21), doubles (32) and RBIs (68), and led the team with a .259 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Bard, once a dominant set-up pitcher with the Red Sox, was claimed off waivers in September. At that time, Theo Epstein, who knew Bard from his Boston days, said the Cubs were committed to the right-hander for the long haul. Bard had struggled after the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and battled a strained abdominal muscle this season.

When he joined the Cubs, Bard did not get into a game but worked on the side with pitching coach Chris Bosio. They videotaped the sessions, even though Bard was unaware of the cameras as the Cubs hid one in the ivy and another in a door at Wrigley Field.

Bard, 28, appeared in three games in Puerto Rico last month, but retired only one of the 13 batters he faced. He walked nine, hit three batters, and threw four wild pitches in those outings. The Cubs could still re-sign Bard, who made $1.8625 million this year.

Gamel, 28, sidelined most of this season because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, was acquired off waivers from the Brewers in early October. Lim, 37, signed as a free agent with the Cubs, and appeared in six games in September.

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Pirates 2, Cubs 1

For the second straight day, champagne was sprayed at Wrigley Field, and once again, it was on the visitor’s side. One day after the Braves clinched the NL East title, the Cubs watched the Pirates party as they secured their first playoff berth since 1992 with a 2-1 win Monday night.

“It’s a tough one to lose after coming back like that,” said Dale Sveum, whose team tied the game in the eighth on pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy’s RBI single.

Starling Marte smacked a tiebreaking solo home run with two outs in the ninth off Kevin Gregg to lift the Pirates to victory but it took a close play at the plate to clinch it. Marte had entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement in left field, and his at-bat in the ninth was his first of the game. He launched a 2-2 pitch from Gregg into the left-field bleachers. Marte’s last two home runs have come off Gregg in the ninth; he also connected July 7 on a homer that tied the game.

The Cubs tried to answer in the ninth. With one out and one on, Nate Schierholtz reached on a fielder’s choice, and Ryan Sweeney then singled into the gap in right center. Schierholtz was thrown out at home on an 8-3-2 relay.

Schierholtz has played in a World Series, doing so with the Giants in 2010.

“It brought back some memories,” Schierholtz said of watching the Braves, then the Pirates. “That’s why we play this game. It’s pretty exciting being in the postseason and I obviously want to get back there one day.”

Jeff Samardzija, who also knows about championship seasons, having played football at Notre Dame, had talked to Schierholtz after Sunday’s game.

“We mentioned to each other that’s what it’s all about, that’s why you work in the offseason, that’s why you work hard in Spring Training, that’s why you want to get off to a fast start in April and May so you can have those moments,” Samardzija said. “That’s what you want. If you’re just here just to play until next year, that’s not what it’s all about. You have to let it all hang out and you have to play for right now. That’s what we need to do.

“I think we’re getting there,” Samardzija said, “but I think we need to get some things ironed out and get this team mentally in a spot where that’s what we’re shooting for, and we’re not shooting to survive but we’re shooting to win and thrive out there.”

The Pirates needed to beat the Cubs and have the Cardinals beat the Nationals to secure a playoff spot, and the Cards won, 4-3. Samardzija tried to delay having to watch their fun in his career-high 32nd start. He did serve up Neil Walker’s home run on a 1-1 fastball with one out in the first, but that was really the only hard hit ball.

This was his fifth start against the Pirates this season, including Opening Day, when he threw eight shutout innings. That was his only win against Pittsburgh this year.

“They’re aggressive,” Samardzija said. “They’ve seen me a lot and know I throw a lot of fastballs early in the count. You could tell when one was in the zone, they were hacking. I threw a couple cutters early which kept them off balance. It’s the fifth, sixth time I’ve faced them this year. You have to keep adjusting to what you’re doing against them.”

The Cubs dropped to 30-49 at home, and have two games left at Wrigley Field. They’ve never lost 50 games at home in a single season.

— Carrie Muskat

9/4 Cubs 9, Marlins 7

Starlin Castro, Dioner Navarro and Ryan Sweeney each hit solo home runs and Donnie Murphy smacked a two-run go-ahead blast in the seventh to lift the Cubs to a 9-7 victory Wednesday over the Marlins at Wrigley Field, and avoid being swept. The Cubs now have hit 94 home runs at Wrigley Field, tied with the Orioles for the most at home. But Chicago won at Wrigley for the sixth time in the last 25 games.

Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija did not get a decision. He struck out nine over six innings, and now has 190 Ks this season, which ranks among the National League leaders. He also served up two home runs, a two-run shot by Logan Morrison, and a grand slam to Adeiny Hechavarria.

Sweeney connected with one out in the sixth, but Donovan Solano tripled to open the Miami seventh and scored on a throwing error by Navarro for a 7-4 lead. Chicago had two on and none out in the seventh, and both scored on Navarro’s single down the left field line off A.J. Ramos. Ryan Webb took over, and Murphy sent the first pitch into the left field bleachers. Murphy was now batting .333 (11-for-33) from the seventh inning on, with six home runs and 10 RBIs.

“I’ve come through in those situations before and for some reason I’m comfortable in them,” Murphy said. “It’s not pressure on me, it’s the pitcher who has to throw the ball over the plate.”

Plus, he had a slight edge. He played with Webb on the Marlins.

“I have the luxury of playing with those guys,” Murphy said. “I know he’s a sinker ball guy. I didn’t want to get beat with a sinker ball. I was looking for a first sinker, and he gave it to me, and I put a good swing on it.”

Webb knew Murphy, too.

“He did exactly what I wanted him to, swing at a two-seamer, and he just got underneath it,” Webb said. “It doesn’t happen too often but I missed my spot. I was trying to go down and away, and I went down and in, right where he was looking for it, I guess.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/23 Nationals 5, Cubs 4, 13 innings

Thursday’s game

Donnie Murphy hit a two-run homer in the ninth but the Cubs came up short in a 5-4, 13-inning loss to the Nationals on Thursday at Wrigley Field. The start of the game was delayed by two hours because of rain. Travis Wood gave up four runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. After walking Bryce Harper in the second, Wood retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced. On the plus side, Brian Bogusevic had three hits, including a home run. Murphy tied the game with his homer in the ninth. He’s the first Cubs player since 1921 to hit eight home runs in his first 16 games with the team. The Cubs are 3-16 in their last 19 home games, and 6-18 in their last 24 games overall.

8/20 Nationals 4, Cubs 2

Brian Bogusevic and Donnie Murphy each hit solo home runs but it wasn’t enough as the Nationals beat the Cubs, 4-2, on Tuesday. Chris Rusin took the loss, giving up two runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Dan Haren struck out six over six innings for the win. Murphy now has seven home runs, a career high. He’s tied with Alfonso Soriano for second most homers in the Majors in August (the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera has eight). Bogusevic’s blast was his first as a Cub, and came in his first game back from the DL. The Cubs have hit 136 home runs, second in the NL, and one shy of the 137 the team hit in 2012 total. The bad news is, the Cubs are 4-for-37 (.108) with runners in scoring position in the first eight games of this homestand.

8/8 Cubs lineup

Jeff Samardzija gets the start Thursday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Phillies. Here’s the lineup on Anthony Rizzo’s 24th birthday:

DeJesus CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Murphy 3B
Castillo C
Castro SS
Barney 2B
Samardzija P

* Donnie Murphy Murphy hit two home runs Wednesday in his second straight start at third base. Combined, Cubs third basemen now have hit 19 homers, surpassing the 12 hit by Cubs third basemen last season. The 19 home runs by Cubs third basemen are second-most in the NL and fifth most in the Majors. Here’s some trivia to test your friends: Who has played third base for the Cubs this year? Here’s the list: Luis Valbuena, Cody Ransom, Brent Lillibridge, Murphy, Steve Clevenger and Alberto Gonzalez.

— Carrie Muskat

8/8 Cubs survive rough 7th; Guerrier out

It was a rough seventh inning for the Cubs in Wednesday’s win over the Phillies. Both outfielder Thomas Neal and catcher Dioner Navarro had to leave the game with injuries; Navarro getting carted off the field after a hard collision at the plate with Chase Utley. X-rays came back negative on Navarro’s right ankle — no fracture — and it was being evaluated as a contusion. After the game, Dale Sveum said it was “looking a little better than we thought.”

Neal, however, is headed to the DL with a dislocated right shoulder. He was injured while making a throw from left field.

“As soon as I released it, I knew something was wrong,” Neal told reporters in Philadelphia. “It kind of felt like a dead arm almost.”

The Cubs are short-handed at catcher. Welington Castillo and Navarro are the only catchers on the 40-man roster. On Monday, infielder Edwin Maysonet subbed at catcher because Luis Flores had to come out of the game. J.C. Boscan, the Iowa Cubs other catcher, was ill. Cael Brockmeyer was promoted from Boise to Iowa, and was behind the plate Tuesday. Iowa had Wednesday off. Catchers at Double-A Tennessee include Rafael Lopez, who caught Eric Jokisch’s no-hitter on Tuesday, and Chad Noble.

On Thursday, reliever Matt Guerrier was headed to Chicago with soreness in his right elbow. He did pitch Wednesday, and struggled, giving up two hits and walking two in one-third of an inning. Guerrier allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh, which tied the game at 2. He appears headed to the DL; Eduardo Sanchez was to join the Cubs’ pen.

Donnie Murphy hit a solo home run in the third and a three-run, tie-breaking homer in the ninth in the 5-2 Chicago win.

— Carrie Muskat

8/6 Cubs lineup

Donnie Murphy starts at third base on Tuesday in the Cubs’ series opener against the Phillies. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Castro SS
Castillo C
Barney 2B
Murphy 3B
E. Jackson P

* The Cubs are 11-9 in their last 20 road games, and have already collected 26 wins on the road, surpassing their 23 wins away from Wrigley Field all of last season. The Cubs are one of four teams to have more road wins than home wins this season. Others to do so are the Mets (22 home wins, 27 road wins), the Royals (28, 29) and the Cardinals (32, 33).

* Jackson has gone 6-3 with a 3.13 ERA (22 ER/63 1/3 IP) in his last 11 starts beginning June 9, including wins in four of his last six starts during which he has posted a 2.23 ERA (10 ER/40 1/3 IP). During this stretch, he has lowered his season ERA more than a point and a half, from 6.29 to 4.65.