Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’

7/1 Lake effect

Junior Lake snapped a bat over his knee after striking out in the fourth inning, the second of four times he would whiff in the Cubs’ game Monday against the Red Sox. Lake is now 0-for-13 in his last four games, but manager Rick Renteria isn’t worried.

“We just have to make sure Junior gets the ball up in the zone a little bit,” Renteria said. “[On Monday], he had four strikeouts and three of the four were balls down in the zone. It’s just a matter of us making sure we stay positive with him and share with him what we’re seeing and try to get feedback from him on what he sees.”

There has been no talk about Lake going to Triple-A Iowa to get regular at-bats, Renteria said.

“We’ll continue to give him opportunities to play,” Renteria said. “We’ll just continue to do what we’ve been doing the whole season and picking and choosing and working and trying to make adjustments.”

Lake has had some peaks and valleys. He batted .273 in 26 games in May, and hit .190 in 23 games in June.

“Obviously, for him it’s not been the track that he’s wanted,” Renteria said of Lake. “He’s shown signs of being able to do things and he’s had signs where he’s had a little valley. Right now he’s probably in taht little valley and we have to help him get back out of it.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/27 Lake OK but Cubs will talk re: padding

Fortunately for Junior Lake, he was able to laugh about his head-on collision with the outfield wall on Friday.

“I went too fast into the wall,” Lake said Friday of his crash into the metal door in the second inning Thursday night. “When I looked again, I was too close to the wall, and when I dove, I hit the door. That’s crazy. But I’m feeling good.”

Lake came out of the game after the freak accident, suffering bruises on his head and left leg, although he did try to talk the medical staff, including team physician Dr. Stephen Adams, into letting him keep playing.

“[Adams] asked me, ‘Do you know where you are?’ and I said, ‘Yeah,’” Lake said. “I said, ‘I’m alive.’ That’s when I started laughing.”

Theo Epstein said they may talk about whether or not to add padding to the metal doors in the outfield wall. The ivy does provide a little cushioning but the outfielders know to slow up once they hit the warning track. It’s brick behind the greenery.

“The ivy does provide a little bit of a buffer on the brick — you’re not going to put pads on the brick,” Epstein said.

Lake was available to pinch-hit on Friday, said manager Rick Renteria, who was impressed by the outfielder’s effort.

“For him, it could’ve been a sponge wall and the effort he gave was going to be the same,” Renteria said. “I don’t think guys think about the wall, to be honest.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/27 Cubs lineup

Jason Hammel is 6-0 in his career against the Nationals, and will take the mound Friday at Wrigley Field in the second game of the Cubs’ three-day, four-game series vs. Washington. Here’s the lineup:

Sweeney RF
Ruggiano CF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Coghlan LF
Baker C
Barney 2B
Hammel P

* Note no Junior Lake. He crashed into a metal door in the outfield wall in Thursday’s game and he was to be re-evaluated Friday.

* Starlin Castro has 21 RBI this month, third-most in the NL. He’s the fourth Cubs shortstop to reach at least 21 RBI in the month of June, joining Hall of Famer Ernie Banks (26 RBI in June 1959 and 32 RBI in June 1960), Roy Smalley (25 RBI in June 1950) and Shawon Dunston (21 RBI in June 1988).

* The Cubs’ bullpen has a 3.11 season ERA, which ranks fourth-lowest in the NL. It’s also more than a full run lower than the bullpen’s 4.22 ERA through its first 77 games of last year.

* Dallas Beeler is slated to make his Major League debut in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. He’ll be the first pitcher to make his big league debut in a starting role for the Cubs since Chris Rusin did so, Aug. 21, 2012, in Milwaukee, and just the 17th since the start of the 2000 season.

* Anthony Rizzo has 14 homers since April 30, the most in the NL and tied for fifth in the Majors. Rizzo racked up his sixth game of three or more hits this season on Thursday. According to Elias, the only players with more three-hit games as a first baseman this season are Freddie Freeman (nine) and Miguel Cabrera (eight).

– Carrie Muskat

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6/26 Lake leaves game

Junior Lake had to leave Thursday’s game in the second inning after slamming into one of the metal outfield doors at Wrigley Field. The Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman led off the second with a double into the gap in right center that Lake sprinted after. But the outfielder ran out of room, and slid into the wall, slamming his head and left leg into the metal door and brick base.

Lake stayed on the ground on the warning track, and Cubs athletic trainers PJ Mainville and Ed Halbur plus team physician Dr. Stephen Adams and Cubs manager Rick Renteria went out to check on the outfielder. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro also was there, and after Lake sat up, he and the shortstop were laughing. However, Lake came out of the game as a precaution, walking off the field under his own power.

* UPDATE: According to the Cubs, Lake never suffered concussion symptoms, and only had a bruise to his head and leg.

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 Great Lake

After Monday’s game, Junior Lake is now 9-for-20 (.450) with three home runs, three doubles, one triple and nine RBIs against the Cardinals this year. In 16 games in his young career against the Redbirds, he’s batting .333 (16-for-48) with three homers and 12 RBIs.

“When he gets the ball up in the hitting zone, he can do some damage,” manager Rick Renteria said.

There was a defensive lapse that led to two St. Louis runs.

“There are some things we have to clean up,” Renteria said. “The ball to left, he charged it as if it was a do or die play.”

The Cubs want Lake to break hard for the ball, but be in control. It will take time.

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 About last night …

The Cubs set season highs in runs scored and hits on Monday in their 17-5 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Here are some other highlights from the game:

* Travis Wood picked up his second win over the Cardinals this month. He is the first Cubs pitcher since Matt Garza to throw a non-quality start and get the win. Garza did so June 16, 2011.

* Emilio Bonifacio scored a career-high five runs, the most in MLB this season. He’s the first Cubs player since Jody Davis (June 3, 1987) to score five runs in a game. Bonifacio is the 14th Cubs player since 1900 to score five in a game. He leads the Cubs with 13 multi-hit games.

* Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in 11 of 13 games in May, including all three against the Cardinals. Rizzo had three RBIs and none came as a result of a hit.

* Mike Olt snapped an 0-for-7 streak with a two-run homer. It was his eighth of the season and he now has 19 RBIs. Both are tops among NL rookies.

* Junior Lake drove in a career-high six runs, tied for second most among an MLB player this year (Ryan Braun had a seven RBI game). The last Cubs player with six RBI was Ryan Sweeney on June 23, 2013. Lake has hit three of his four home runs against the Cardinals.

* The Cubs’ 17 runs against the Cardinals were the most since they scored 12 on Sept. 10, 2007. Each player in the Cubs starting lineup had a hit.

* The last time the Cubs scored 17 or more runs against the Cardinals in St. Louis was Sept. 21, 1974, at Busch Stadium II.

* Darwin Barney totaled a season-high three hits.

5/4 Finding the right match

Junior Lake hit a key two-run homer on Saturday in the Cubs’ 3-0 win over the Cardinals. It was one of three hits for the outfielder, who was batting 6-for-13 against St. Louis. But Lake didn’t get the start Sunday against Lance Lynn. The outfielder is 1-for-3 against Lynn, which isn’t much of a sample size. It’s part of manager Rick Renteria’s plan to use Lake in situations where he’ll hopefully have success.

“We continue to chip away and make sure we give them the best opportunity to feel more and more confident,” Renteria said. “I think as the confidence grows with the successes they have, it starts to eliminate over time sitting them against certain guys.”

It may surprise some Cubs fans that Lake was sitting but Renteria makes sure to communicate with the players.

“We talk to all our guys,” he said. “He’s really confident right now, really positive and knows how we’re working so it’s not a surprise. It helps talking about it and making sure they are aware of how we’re moving forward.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/3 Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo helped Jake Arrieta celebrate his Opening Day on Saturday. Lake hit a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth and Rizzo added a solo shot in the eighth to lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals and their first series win of the season. Chicago now has won three games in a row for the first time since last July 26-28.

“That’s three in a row and two in this series against two good starters,” Arrieta said of beating the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright on Friday and Michael Wacha on Saturday. “But we have good guys, too. We have some guys who can compete at that level and put up some good performances.”

It’s the Cubs’ first series win since they took two of three against the Reds last Sept. 9-11.

“It feels good — it just feels good to win a ballgame,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.

Reliever Brian Schlitter picked up his first Major League win, and received the traditional beer shower as a reward. He took over for Arrieta, who was making his first start of the year after being slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Saturday, the right-hander struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings, and was pulled after throwing 82 pitches.

* Rizzo now has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.

* Lake is 6-for-13 against the Cardinals this season.

* Starlin Castro is batting .429 in seven games since moving to the No. 4 spot.

– Carrie Muskat

4/10 Lineup shift

Rick Renteria abandoned his left-right platoon and started right-handed hitters Mike Olt and Junior Lake against Pirates righty Gerrit Cole on Thursday. Part of the reason is the splits against Cole are almost identical. Left-handed hitters have hit .252 against Cole, while right-handers have hit .250.

“These are two young players who we’re going to try to get them as much playing time as we can,” Renteria said of Olt and Lake. “We’re trying to find spots that can give them an opportunity to gain some confidence.

“Everybody on the squad, everybody, from [Darwin] Barney to [Ryan Sweeney] to [Nate] Schierholtz, every one of those guys has been working real hard and they all want to be in the lineup,” Renteria said. “We’re just trying to balance it all out and give us the best chance on a daily basis.”

Sweeney and Schierholtz have started against right-handed pitchers this year, but they are batting .174 and .118 respectively. Lake was hitting .273 while Olt has two home runs and was batting .158.

The Cubs have scored 21 runs in their last three games after scoring eight runs in the first five games. What gives?

“Their approaches are solid and they’re getting good pitches to hit,” Renteria said. “They’re feeling a little confident now, which is good.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/3 Junior’s jersey

Junior

Apparently, Junior Lake simply grabbed the wrong gray jersey from his locker and didn’t notice he was the only one wearing it. Reliever Justin Grimm noticed and yelled at Lake from the bullpen. Lake then went and changed.

“[Grimm] said, ‘Hey, you got the wrong jersey,’ and I looked,” Lake said. “I thought he was joking. When I looked, I saw everybody [wearing the other jersey], I said, ‘[Darn].’ I said, ‘What the [heck] is going on?”

The clubhouse staff normally hang that day’s game jersey in an obvious spot in the locker.

“I see two gray, and I took one,” Lake said. “Everybody was in gray, and I took the wrong gray.”

– Carrie Muskat

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