Results tagged ‘ Joe Mather ’

7/1 Cubs lineup

Dale Sveum has more right-handed hitters in Sunday’s lineup against Wandy Rodriguez, including Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker and Joe Mather. Here’s the lineup:

Johnson CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Baker RF

Soto C

Mather LF

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

T. Wood P

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Numbers game

Joe Mather switched from No. 16 to No. 21 on Monday, and christened the switch with a home run in the Cubs’ 6-1 win over the Mets. Why the change?

“I had it in high school,” Mather said. “It’s always been a favorite number of mine. I always see the highlight of Roberto Clemente running around and I see the 21 on his back and I always liked that and always wanted myself to look like that. I always liked the number for that reason.”

Clubhouse manager Tom Hellmann approved of the switch. It looked even better with two outs in the Chicago fourth when Geovany Soto walked and Mather followed with his fourth home run, hitting a 1-1 pitch from Johan Santana into the left field bleachers.

“It was a good way to break it in, that’s for sure,” Mather said.

“He got the perfect trajectory,” Dale Sveum said of Mather, who hit the ball into the wind. “You put a little more height on it and the wind would knock it down.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/9 Shifting around

In the ninth and 10th innings Friday, Dale Sveum used a five-man infield, bringing Joe Mather in from left field to play near second base. Had Mather ever done that before?

“The umpire asked me the same thing — he asked me the second time out there, ‘How many times have you done this?’ and I said, ‘Well, this is the second time,'” Mather said. “We had to do something kind of crazy.”

Mather was technically still a left fielder even though he was standing at second base.

“I like ‘rover,'” Mather said. “I don’t know what you’d call that. I was on top of second base. I’ve never seen that alignment either. It was kind of a cool alignment.”

In the ninth, it worked. The Twins had runners at first and third and one out. Alexi Casilla hit a grounder to the Cubs real second baseman, Darwin Barney, and he threw home for the force. Brian Dozier then flew out to end the inning.

In the 10th, Mather moved in again with runners at first and third and one out but Josh Willingham lined a single down the left field line for the game-winner. The Cubs almost needed six infielders.

“Being able to go infield to outfield has obviously been good for my career,” Mather said. “Even in dire situations, it’s nice to have a guy like that.”

Sveum made sure Mather knew what to do if the ball was hit to him.

“If he hit it hard, I would have tried to turn two,” Mather said. “If there was any play at the plate, go home. The first time it worked out great.”

— Carrie Muskat 

6/2 Cubs lineup & new No. 3 hitter

David DeJesus, who has primarily been the leadoff man, was moved into the No. 3 spot in the Cubs lineup Saturday for Game 2 against the Giants. DeJesus has hit third in 126 games in his career and has a .292 batting average there. He did so in 23 games last year with the Royals, batting .193 (17-for-88). He’s 11-for-33 in his last 10 games, and has hit safely in nine of his last 21 games. The Cubs No. 3 hitters are batting a collective .300 so far with two home runs. DeJesus may not provide much pop but he can deliver doubles and triples. Joe Mather is 6-for-27 (.222) so far in the No. 3 spot. Here’s the lineup:

Campana CF

Castro SS

DeJesus RF

Soriano LF

LaHair 1B

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Mather 3B

Garza P

— Carrie Muskat

6/1 Cubs lineup

Tony Campana is leading off Friday night for the Cubs as they open a four-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park. It’s the second time this season Campana has led off. The Cubs are 10-11 when he starts. Here’s the lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner:

Campana CF

Castro SS

Mather 3B

Soriano LF

Johnson RF

Baker 1B

Barney 2B

Clevenger C

Maholm P

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Castro out of No. 3 spot

Dale Sveum didn’t pick a new lineup out of a hat but he may try that next to kick-start the Cubs offense. On Friday, Starlin Castro was moved from the No. 3 spot to No. 2 for the first time this year and Joe Mather, who was hitting .278, made his 12th start, and and first batting third.

“It’s time,” Sveum said Friday. “The combination of not scoring throughout the whole season and Mather’s been as good as anybody swinging the bat so I’m going to give him a little opportunity to see what he can do. Like I told Castro, I said, ‘It’s not a demotion, it’s more shaking the team up.’ He was great about it — he was like, ‘Hey, I just want to win, I don’t care where I hit in the lineup.’ He took it well and completely understood.”

Mather started in center — he’s also played third and left field. The Cubs would like to see a little more pop out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Castro has hit two home runs; only the Phillies have had fewer homers from that spot in the lineup (one).

“There’s nothing [Castro] has done to be put down in the two-spot,” Sveum said. “It’s more change to get everything going. You never know. Sometimes you pick a lineup out of a hat and you win. I wasn’t going to go that far. You can do that in the American League, not the National League.”

Was he close to randomly picking a lineup?

“Not too far,” Sveum said, smiling. “You never know.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Lineup & extra bases – UPDATED

Starlin Castro is batting second Friday for the Cubs as they open a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Castro hit .335 in the No. 2 spot last year. Ryan Dempster is on the mound, looking for his first win since last August. Also, Ian Stewart was a late scratch and rookie Adrian Cardenas is starting at third base. Stewart’s left wrist is sore — it’s the same discomfort he’s battled this season. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus RF

Castro SS

Mather CF

LaHair 1b

Soriano LF

Cardenas 3B

Barney 2B

Hill C

Dempster P

* The Cubs have lost nine in a row, and have not lost 10 straight since dropping the first 14 games of the 1997 season.

* The Cubs were 12-9 in 21 games from April 21-May 14, but are 2-11 in the last 13 games. They’ve scored 75 runs in the 15 wins, an average of five runs per win, and 80 runs in the 29 losses, for an average of 2.8 runs per game. How bad is it? The Cubs have scored in four of their last 47 innings, and they are batting .231 in the last eight games.

* Pitching matchups:

Friday: Ryan Dempster vs. A.J. Burnett

Saturday: Paul Maholm vs. Kevin Correia

Sunday: Matt Garza vs. Erik Bedard

— Carrie Muskat

4/24 About last night …

Joe Mather’s walkoff two-run single with two outs in the ninth Monday night was somewhat significant. According to Elias Sports Bureau, in the last 20 years, the Cubs had only one other home win against the Cardinals after trailing in the ninth inning or later. That was May 29, 1999, when Glenallen Hill hit a game-tying homer and Mark Grace delivered a walkoff double in the ninth.

* Mather also is the first former Cardinals player to have a walkoff RBI for the Cubs against St. Louis since Jerry Morales on Sept. 22, 1981.

“I have a lot of good friends over there,” Mather said of the Cardinals. “It does feel good. When it comes down to it, we won a big league game and the self satisfaction is secondary. The win is first, but it felt good to do it against those guys.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/23 Cubs lineup

The Cubs will face lefty Jamie Garcia on Monday, and Dale Sveum is getting as many right-handed hitters in the lineup as possible. Here’s the lineup:

RF DeJesus

2B Barney

SS Castro

LF Soriano

1B Baker

C Soto

CF Johnson

3B Mather

P Garza

— Carrie Muskat

4/15 Cubs vs. Westbrook

Cubs manager Dale Sveum rested some of the regulars and started Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Joe Mather on Sunday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Part of the reason is to give the players at-bats before they face lefty Mark Buehrle in the upcoming series in Miami. This way, Alfonso Soriano gets two days off — the Cubs have Monday off — to rest and stay fresh. Sveum said right-handed hitters also seem to have an edge against Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook. In his career, left-handed batters have a .275 average against Westbook compared to .278 by right-handed hitters. There isn’t much difference in those numbers but last year, lefties hit .260 while right-handers batted .316 off the Cardinals pitcher.

— Carrie Muskat