Results tagged ‘ Jeff Samardzija ’
Jeff Samardzija posted his fourth quality start on Friday but it wasn’t enough as the Reds beat the Cubs, 4-1, in front of 28,699 at Wrigley Field. Samardzija is winless in his last 10 starts. The Cubs have scored a total of four runs in his four starts this year.
“You keep going out there and doing your work,” Samardzija said. “Today was a tough day to hit with that wind. You just go out and keep doing your work and understand everybody is doing their job. You can’t let it get to you, for sure.”
* Manager Rick Renteria met with the players after the game, although he would not confirm the meeting.
“He said a lot of good things,” Welington Castillo said of the Cubs manager. “He’s a positive guy.”
Renteria said he’s not focused on the statistics, but what he sees on the field.
“I concern myself more with the way we approach the game,” Renteria said. “If our approach is good and we’re really focused on what we’re supposed to be doing both at the plate and in the field, I’m good with it. Today, I think we were a little sloppy in general, and Jeff really kept us in the ballgame throughout.”
* On the plus side, the Cubs did snap a 24-scoreless inning stretch with Luis Valbuena’s RBI single in the seventh.
* Anthony Rizzo had two hits, and was 13-for-26 at home this season. He also combined with Samardzija on three straight plays in the seventh inning.
“Let them roll it over and let me get to first,” Samardzija said. “I think we’ve seen enough out of Riz at first to know he’s a premium first baseman defensively. I always need to be on my toes when the ball heads that way because he plays deep and plays in the hole. We’re kind of on the same page. I’d rather have him cover a lot of ground. We’ve made that play a lot of times. It’s nice to have that over there, it’s a nice commodity to have a first baseman who can pick it like Riz.”
* Playing the NL Central is a good test for the Cubs.
“They’re a good team,” Samardzija said of the Reds. “We’re not playing a fifth-place team. They’re a complete team. They can hit, they can play defense, they can pitch. When they’re guys are healthy in the bullpen, they can close games out. When you play the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates and the Brewers now, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game and play clean defense and put some runs on the board and pitch well if you want to win games. I think it’s a good learning curve for us to understand to win games in the big leagues we need all three facets of the game to be clean. You play the good teams and they take advantage of your mistakes, and you can’t give them any breathing room.”
* The Reds stole five bases against the Cubs. It’s the first time a team has done that against Chicago since Atlanta did so on Aug. 14, 2011.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs begin a three-game series against the Reds on Friday at Wrigley Field. Jeff Samardzija will get things started against right-hander Alfredo Simon. Here’s the very left-handed lineup:
* The Cubs have been held scoreless in their last 18 innings, and look to avoid being shut out for a third straight game for the first time since being blanked in four straight, April 27-May 1, 1992.
* Samardzija is one of 11 starting pitchers with at least three games pitched and a 1.29 ERA or better this season. He’s the only one without a win. He looks to end a nine-start winless streak dating to Aug. 30 of last season.
* The Cubs have scored three runs total while Samardzija has been in the game. That’s tied for fewest among NL pitchers with at least three starts this season.
The Cubs open a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals on Friday, sending Jeff Samardzija against Joe Kelly. Here’s the lineup:
* Bonifacio is tied for the Major League lead in hits with 19, and ranks fourth with a .452 batting average. His 19 hits in the first nine games of a season are the most by any Cubs player in the last 100 years since Randy Jackson had 19 in 1954. Thanks to STATS Inc. for that nugget.
* For the rest of the series:
Saturday: Carlos Villanueva vs. Adam Wainwright
Sunday: Edwin Jackson vs. Michael Wada
– Carrie Muskat
Jeff Samardzija posted the fourth quality start in five games for the Cubs. Emilio Bonifacio and Starlin Castro got on base five times. Now, if the Cubs could just drive runners in — and keep Chase Utley quiet — they might turn things around. Utley had three hits, including his second home run in as many games, and scored the Phillies’ second run to post a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Cubs in front of 30,651 fans bundled up to deal with the brisk game-time temperature of 39 degrees.
Samardzija took the loss in his first start at Wrigley Field this season, giving up six hits over seven innings and striking out eight. It was the fourth quality start in five games for a Cubs pitcher, and the Chicago starters now have a 1.95 ERA this season (seven earned runs over 32 1/3 innings).
Renteria, still waiting to hear “Go Cubs Go” played after a home win, loaded the lineup with right-handed hitters Mike Olt, Junior Lake and Justin Ruggiano against Lee, who was the third left-handed starter the Cubs have faced in five games. Lee shrugged it off, and scattered 10 hits over seven innings. But the Cubs didn’t help themselves, stranding 10 runners, and now are 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position in five games.
“You do have to be relaxed and know the pitcher is on the ropes a little bit,” Renteria said. “You talk about it and see if it starts to take hold, an understanding of that particular situation, so guys can be a little more relaxed.”
Samardzija knows his teammates are doing everything they can.
“I see these guys work every day and I know what they’re doing,” Samardzija said. “If it was a different situation and I thought they were lazy, it’d be different. Guys come to work every day and do everything they can. It’s early in the season, and we’ll keep going, keep pushing and figure this out.”
Renteria plans on repeating the message.
“It’s OK if it’s a broken record — you keep repeating it and you keep talking about it,” Renteria said. “You never stop talking about it until you start to understand it and get a good feel for it. A lot of it is more games, just keep getting in more games. I know we didn’t come up with a victory today but for me, it was a ballgame we were in the whole way.”
– Carrie Muskat
The sun is shining at Wrigley Field, but it’s still a little chilly as the Cubs prepare to play the Phillies in Game 2 of their three-game series. Here’s the lineup vs. lefty Cliff Lee:
* Cubs top prospect Jorge Soler had to leave his Minor League season opener Thursday after he hit a double because of a sore left hamstring. Soler doubled in the first inning for Double-A Tennessee off Mat Latos, who was making a rehab start for Pensacola. Soler was limited to 55 games at Class A Daytona last season because of a strained left calf.
“It sounds like the exact same injury,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Friday. “He maybe rushed back too early to get ready for Opening Day or maybe it’s a coincidence. He hits a double in the gap against Latos and it’s a shame that’s the way his season started out. Hopefully, we’ll get good news and he’ll be back on the field soon.”
Soler was to have an MRI on his leg either Friday or Saturday, Hoyer said.
* Hoyer would not say whether the Cubs are still talking to Jeff Samardzija about a contract extension, or if the team would discuss anything this season.
“We’ll keep that in house,” Hoyer said. “In general, it’s up to the player [whether to talk in-season]. We don’t have any problem negotiating in season. I don’t have to hit a fastball or throw a strike. It doesn’t bother me or [president of baseball operations Theo Epstein], but if he or his agent thinks it’ll influence a performance at all, then we don’t do it. We take it on a case by case basis.”
* Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva threw a bullpen on Friday in preparation for what he feels will be his first start on Sunday. The right-hander was eager to get back on the mound.
“I threw a bullpen and I told [pitching coach Chris] Bosio, ‘I wish I could pitch today,’” Villanueva said. “I feel really good today.”
Villanueva took the loss in the Cubs’ first two games Monday and Wednesday, pitching in relief. His start on Sunday was in question because of the workload and manager Rick Renteria said he would talk with Bosio to go over their options. As far as Villanueva is concerned, he’s starting in the series finale against the Phillies.
“I’m in on Sunday,” Villanueva said. “Unless, they tell me otherwise, I’m in.”
– Carrie Muskat
Neil Walker spoiled Rick Renteria’s managerial debut. Walker smacked a walkoff home run in the 10th inning Monday to lift the Pirates to a 1-0 victory over the Cubs on a sun-splashed day at PNC Park. Walker connected on a 3-2 pitch from Carlos Villanueva, who won the fifth spot in the rotation, but was not scheduled to start until Sunday. It was Walker’s first career walkoff hit.
The Cubs had chances, stranding eight batters in the game, and went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Renteria made his managerial debut in front of 39,833, the largest regular season crowd in PNC Park history. He also was the first to use expanded instant replay in the history of Major League Baseball when he challenged a play at first base in the fifth inning.
This was Jeff Samardzija’s second straight Opening Day start, and second in a row at PNC Park. One year ago, he gave up two hits over eight shutout innings in the Cubs’ win. On Monday, he threw seven shutout innings.
“You can only control what you can control,” Samardzija said about the lack of offense. “[Pitchers] have a bat, too. We have a say in how it turns out. We need to take advantage of every opportunity we get. Ultimately, we’re out there pitching and that’s our job. We’re not here to speculate, we’re not here to say this or that. We’re pitchers and we’re out there to pitch. These guys are working hard and we have their back 100 percent. The quicker we can get them in the dugout, the better chance we have to score some runs.”
Renteria, 52, has come full circle. He made his big league debut at Three Rivers Stadium with the Pirates on Sept. 14, 1986, against the Cubs.
The Cubs batted .218 last year with RISP, worst in the National League. Anthony Rizzo doesn’t expect a repeat of that.
“We’re a very confident group,” Rizzo said. “It’s a good thing. There’s a lot of good energy in the dugout and the clubhouse before the game. It’s a tough loss, obviously, but it’s one game. No one’s going home yet. It’s nice to have the energy in here. Runs will be scored.”
– Carrie Muskat
On Monday, the games count. It was snowing and sleeting in Pittsburgh Saturday night when the Cubs arrived from Phoenix. They’ll kick off the 2014 season on Monday at PNC Park, and the forecast calls for lots of sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50s. There is zero chance of precipitation. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT.
* The Cubs are 75-61-2 all-time on Opening Day, including a 46-38 record on the road. They are looking to win consecutive Opening Day games for the first time since winning four straight from 2003-06.
* Last year, the Cubs had three new pitchers in the rotation in Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva. This year, four of the five pitchers in the Cubs’ season-opening starting rotation are returnees: Jeff Samardzija, Jackson, Travis Wood and Villanueva. Jason Hammel is the lone new starting pitcher.
* Luis Valbuena finished tied for the Major League lead (with the Reds’ Chris Heisey) with six home spring home runs. Javier Baez and Mike Olt were tied for third with five homers apiece.
* Ryan Kalish’s six stolen bases were tied for fifth in the Cactus League with the D-backs’ Tony Campana. Emilio Bonifacio’s four triples were tied for third in the Cactus League. Alberto Cabrera’s three saves were tied for second.
* The Cubs smacked 36 home runs this spring, most in the Majors, but the team’s .237 batting average was the lowest among Cactus League clubs.
* Cubs pitchers posted 10 saves, tied for the Cactus League lead with the Giants.
* The 2014 season marks manager Rick Renteria’s 16th year as a manager or coach following a 13-year playing career (1980-89, 1991-94). He spent the previous six seasons on the Padres coaching staff, including the last three as the club’s bench coach (2011-13).
Here are the starting pitchers for the final Cactus League games:
Wednesday at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale: Jeff Samardzija (Chris Rusin to follow)
Thursday vs. White Sox, Mesa: Travis Wood
Friday vs. Diamondbacks, Chase Field: Edwin Jackson
Saturday vs. Diamondbacks, Chase Field: Jason Hammel
* Looking ahead, pitching-wise, Jeff Samardzija will make his final spring start on Wednesday against the jet-lagged Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. Arizona has already opened the season with a game in Australia.
* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ home opener on April 4.
“It’ll be exciting for sure, even though Pittsburgh is a great place to pitch,” said Wood, who had been expected to follow Jeff Samardzija in the rotation.
Isn’t Wrigley Field a good place?
“Wrigley’s fine,” Wood said, laughing. “It’ll be cold either place, so it’s not like the weather will be different. The place will be packed, it’ll be jumping, it’ll be nice.”
Rick Renteria said they made the decision because of matchups. Wood has made three starts against the Phillies, and held them to five runs on 13 hits over 21 1/3 innings.
* The Cubs are still trying to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. The candidates include Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada. Villanueva, a valuable swingman, will start Monday against the Padres, while Wada will start Tuesday against the Angels. Rusin, who threw five shutout innings on Friday against the White Sox, is a possibility, but the Cubs may pick Villanueva because of his versatility and the fact they have four off days in the first three weeks of games. If the other four starters stay on a five-day rotation, Villanueva could slide into the bullpen until needed.
Renteria didn’t tip his hand on Saturday when asked about the fifth spot.
“They’re all still in the mix,” he said. “They’re all going out there and doing a nice job.”
* The Cubs had projected Jake Arrieta as the fifth starter but he’s been slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Sunday, Arrieta was scheduled to throw a bullpen.
“I’m hoping the next step is a game,” he said Saturday. “We’ll talk things over and see where we stand.”
* Cubs fans will get a chance to see two of the top pitching prospects on Tuesday when C.J. Edwards and Eric Jokisch pitch against the Padres. Edwards, 22, was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 24 games with Class A Hickory and Daytona last season. The Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza deal. Jokisch, 24, was 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA at Double-A Tennessee in 2013.
– Carrie Muskat