Results tagged ‘ Josh Vitters ’

8/13 Cubs lineup

Josh Vitters is starting at third and batting second Monday night for the Cubs as they open a three-game series against the Astros at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus RF

Vitters 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Samardzija P

– Carrie Muskat

8/13 Monday morning quarterback

When a Cubs player has a tough time, Dale Sveum often calls it a “hiccup.” This month has been one big hiccup. Getting caught up after a tough weekend vs. the Reds …

* What happened? After a winning July, the Cubs are 1-10 in August, and batting .199 this month with a .300 slugging percentage. They’re averaging 2.8 runs per game, and have been out-scored 55-31, out-hit 104-71, and out-homered 11-5.

The pitchers have posted a 5.01 ERA, and opponents were batting .277 against in the last 11 games. The starters are 0-8 with a 4.48 ERA with six quality starts (Dates: 8/4, 8/6, 8/8, 8/9, 8/11, 8/12), while the bullpen has a 6.21 ERA, giving up 20 earned runs over 29 innings. Teams are batting .346 against the Cubs bullpen this month.

* 3B Josh Vitters was expected to start two of the three games against this week the Astros. Dale Sveum says Vitters, who has made three starts, is a good fastball hitter, which should serve him well in the big leagues.

* What’s surprising about the offensive slump is that the players dealt at the Trade Deadline (Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Geovany Soto) weren’t exactly forces in the Cubs lineup. Here are August numbers so far:

Anthony Rizzo .209 (9-for-43)
Darwin Barney .250 (10-for-40)
Starlin Castro .163 (7-for-43)
Steve Clevenger .143 (2-for-14)
David DeJesus .216 (8-for-37)
Brett Jackson .150 (3-for-20)
Alfonso Soriano .189 (7-for-37)
Bryan LaHair .176 (3-for-17)
Luis Valbuena .261 (6-for-23)

* August numbers for the bullpen …

Shawn Camp: 6 Gs, 8 ER, 4 2/3 IP, 15.43 ERA
Carlos Marmol: 4 Gs, 1 ER, 4 IP, 2.25 ERA
James Russell: 6 Gs, 3 ER, 5 IP, 5.40 ERA (.440 batting average against)

* On the plus side, congrats to Tim Wilken, who was director of amateur scouting and named a special assistant to GM Jed Hoyer.

* Keep an eye on: Double-A Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour now has 100 RBIs, and was batting .300. He’s batting .341 in August with four home runs and 15 RBIs. Bour is the first player in the Southern League to drive in 100 runs in a single season since 1999. Bour is the first player in the Cubs Minor League organization this year to reach 100 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat 

8/10 Cubs lineup

Here’s a lineup that should make everyone who wants to see the kids play happy. Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo are all starting.

DeJesus RF

Barney 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Vitters 3B

Jackson CF

Castillo C

Germano P

* The Cubs are 14-5 in their last 19 games at Wrigley Field, dating to June 25, good for a .737 home winning percentage. That’s third in the majors in that span, behind only the Tigers (16-5/.762) and Reds (15-5/.750).

The Cubs’ .538 winning percentage (28-24) at Wrigley Field is .262 points higher than its .276 winning percentage (16-42) on the road. That’s the largest difference in home and road winning percentage in baseball.

* Alfonso Soriano hit his 20th home runs on Thursday, a game-winning two-run shot in the eighth. It’s his 11th-straight 20-home run campaign, and he joins David Ortiz and Albert Pujols as the only players to record 11 consecutive 20-home run seasons, including this year. Soriano joins Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more long balls in each of their first six seasons with the Cubs.

– Carrie Muskat

8/8 Welcome to Wrigley

Thursday night will mark the Wrigley Field debuts for Cubs’ top prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters.

“The fans are probably curious to look at the guys who all the hype is about,” Dale Sveum said. “I would think they’re very excited to see all these guys. There’s no mystery now as to what’s going on with the team. As a fan myself, you’re always like, ‘I want to see that guy play.’ I would think they’re probably chomping at the bit to see some of these guys, too.”

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have stressed the need to find impact players. Could Jackson and Vitters be those guys?

“They could be impact players,” Sveum said. “All you want in an organization is the thought of guys who could be impact players. What they do at the big league level is sometimes up to them, and how they do the adjustments.”

What Sveum likes is that Jackson and Vitters have the tools needed.

“They’ve gone through the development,” he said. “Now it’s just being able to develop at the big league level and do things. These guys can be impact players. They’re two-way players. That’s the one thing you want is a two-way player who can hit balls out of the ballpark, who can run balls down, who can throw, who can steal bases. These guys are hard to come by. You hope with the organization and where we’re at now, these are the guys who have to come through now.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/8 Cubs lineup

Josh Vitters gets the start Wednesday and Brett Jackson will get a break in the Cubs’ series finale against the Padres and lefty Clayton Richard. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Barney 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Vitters 3B

Mather RF

Samardzija P

– Carrie Muskat

8/7 Extra bases

* Josh Vitters got some extra infield work on Tuesday at third base with infield coach Pat Listach. Vitters made an impressive stop in the sixth inning Monday, snaring Cameron Maybin’s liner and getting to his feet in time to throw the speedster out.

“Watching him defensively taking ground balls, he’s gotten better than he was in Spring Training,” Dale Sveum said of Vitters. “Hopefully that continues. The one thing about third base that you have to get these guys to understand is that you have to use your athleticism at third base. It’s not that everything is cut and dried. You don’t do it mechanically like you do at shortstop and second base. You can go a whole week at third base and not get a routine ground ball.”

* Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm, worked out with the Cubs on Monday and Tuesday at PETCO Park. The right-hander is coming back from Tommy John surgery in March, and will continue his rehab in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex.

“I’m going to be ready next year in Spring Training,” Vizcaino said.

* The Cubs and Cubs wives will host the 10th annual Food Drive at Wrigley Field on Saturday prior to the game against the Reds. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lakeview Pantry in Chicago. Since its inception in 2003, the event has gathered more than 121,000 pounds of food.  Fans making a donation of $20 will receive a 5-by-7 autographed photo of a Cubs player, limited to two photos per person while they last. Donations will be accepted outside Gate D at the corner of Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street. A $20 donation allows Lakeview Pantry to purchase 200 pounds of food.

* Who’s got the best name in Minor League baseball? It’s Class A Boise first baseman Rock Shoulders, who won the 2012 MiLB.com Moniker Madness contest. Shoulders, 20, easily triumped over Rougned Odor in the final, getting 60 percent of the vote.

– Carrie Muskat

8/6 Defensive play of the game

The knock on third baseman Josh Vitters has been his defense but he impressed Dale Sveum on Monday night in his first test. The Padres’ Cameron Maybin smacked the ball sharply down the line with one out and one on in the sixth, and Vitters dove on the line to stop the ball, and recovered in time to throw the speedy outfielder out at first.

“It was a big play at the time, too,” Sveum said. “It was nice for his only ground ball to make the play.”

Said Travis Wood: “It was outstanding to make that play and then to come up and make a good throw. Vitters has got a great arm. He made that play and that was awesome.”

Wood would know. He played with Vitters this season at Triple-A Iowa.

– Carrie Muskat

8/6 Cubs lineup

Both Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters are in the Cubs’ lineup Monday when they open a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego. Travis Wood gets the start. He has lost four in a row. Wood has no record in four career games against the Padres. He faced them in May and did not get a decision, giving up six runs on seven hits over five innings.

With Jackson and Vitters making their Major League debuts Sunday, the Cubs have now utilized 13 rookies this season, including seven position players: Adrian Cardenas, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Jackson, Blake Lalli, Anthony Rizzo and Vitters. The six rookie pitchers used: Jairo Asencio, Jeff Beliveau, Lendy Castillo, Rafael Dolis, Scott Maine and Blake Parker.

Here’s Monday’s lineup:

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Vitters 3B

Mather RF

T. Wood P

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 The kids can play

Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were both operating on little sleep and lots of adrenaline Sunday in their first Major League game, and at times, it was hard to breathe.

“I’ve just been soaking it in,” said Jackson, the Cubs’ newest center fielder. “I was thrown into the game and was in game mode all day. I’m sure it will sink in more tonight. I caught myself laughing a couple times — ‘You’ve got to be kidding me right now.’ It’s a pretty indescribable feeling, inspiring. I look forward to the days and hopefully years to come.”

Unfortunately, the two couldn’t celebrate their first day in the big leagues with a win. Hanley Ramirez hit a walk-off RBI single with one out in the ninth inning to power the Dodgers to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Cubs and complete a sweep to keep pace with the Giants in the National League West.

Rookie Anthony Rizzo forced the late-inning drama by hitting a game-tying home run leading off the ninth. It was the rookie’s ninth home run and his third RBI of the game. But the highlight was the arrival of Jackson and Vitters, both No. 1 Draft picks, both top prospects, and both eager to show what they can do.

“The kids did pretty good,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

Jackson batted second and grounded out in his first at-bat in the first, then walked in the third, and singled in the fifth for his first Major League hit. He also singled in the seventh off a lefty, and scored on Alfonso Soriano’s two-run double in the seventh, doing a barrel-roll into catcher A.J. Ellis at home. His day ended when he struck out in the eighth to strand two.

Vitters made his debut in the seventh as a pinch-hitter and flied out to left. The Cubs are in full rebuild mode. They now have 11 players on the 25-man roster who were not with the team on Opening Day.

“These guys have bat speed, they’ve got hand speed,” Sveum said of Jackson, Vitters and Rizzo, who made his Cubs debut June 26. “These are the things you want to see at the big league level and how they develop.”

Were they nervous?

“It made it a little bit easier because we were so tired and out of it because we didn’t get any sleep,” Vitters said. “We were like zombies on the plane, we couldn’t really think. It was hard to be nervous. We tried to sleep so we could perform well when we got here.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 Minor League report

Josh Vitters hit a three-run homer to lift Iowa to a 5-1 win over Colorado Springs Saturday night and snap a seven-game losing streak. It was Vitters’ 17th home run. Chris Rusin did not get a decision but did post a quality start, giving up one run on four hits over seven innings and striking out eight. Brett Jackson reached base twice, and stole a base. He’s batting .256. Could we see Jackson and Vitters on Sunday in L.A.? Stay tuned.

Nick Struck gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 6-5 win over Jackson in the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Bour hit his 13th home run. Junior Lake had two hits and a stolen base. In the second game, Bour homered again, but it wasn’t enough as the Smokies lost, 8-7. Bour was batting .301. Michael Brenly had two hits and two RBIs.

Rebel Ridling hit his third home run in Daytona’s 12-5 loss to Dunedin. Matt Loosen took the loss, giving up four earned runs on four hits over two innings.

Joseph Zeller gave up five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings in Peoria’s 8-1 loss to Cinton. Chadd Krist hit his second home run, a solo shot.

Tayler Scott gave up one earned run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in Boise’s 6-2 win over Spokane. Daniel Vogelbach had two hits and three RBIs and Jeimer Candelario reached base twice, hitting a RBI double.

– Carrie Muskat

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