Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’
Chris Rusin lasted long enough to get the win and make a little history. Junior Lake hit an RBI single and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s two-run single, all in the seventh, to back Rusin and lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory Friday night over the Cardinals for their third win in the last 12 games. Rusin combined with four other pitchers, including Kevin Gregg, who picked up his 24th save, for the shutout.
It’s the first time the Cubs have shutout the Cardinals in St. Louis since the late Geremi Gonzalez threw a complete game shutout on June 23, 1997, beating Fernando Valenzuela. The Cubs have played 127 games since that date at various versions of Busch Stadium.
Promoted from Triple-A Iowa to fill Matt Garza’s spot in the rotation after the right-hander was traded, Rusin also threw seven scoreless innings against the Giants on July 27 and called that start a better one “because I went one more inning scoreless.” But he didn’t get a decision that day. Rusin is the first Cubs left-hander to throw at least six scoreless innings in St. Louis since Ken Holtzman totaled seven on Sept. 19, 1979.
“With him, when he throws strikes, he’s able to get back in the count with a strike and throws a quality pitch to get back in the count,” manager Dale Sveum said. “His ball can move so much, he gets some swings and misses at balls quite a way out of the zone. He makes the ball move and keeps the ball down. He did a great job again.”
This was the first time Rusin had ever faced the Cardinals, who lead the Majors with a .335 batting average with runners in scoring position. The lefty kept them in check, scattering seven hits over six scoreless innings.
“I was able to get ahead in the count with first-pitch strikes, and that helped me out and I didn’t get beat by the heart of the lineup,” Rusin said. “I limited them to a couple singles and no home runs. I got away with one with [Allen] Craig [in the fifth] — the wind was blowing in or something [because] I don’t know how it didn’t go out. I got away with that one and didn’t make any more big mistakes.”
The Cubs are on the other end of the stats chart with runners in scoring position, ranking last in the Majors at .224, which includes a 1-for-12 effort Thursday against the Phillies.
Welington Castillo walked to lead off the seventh, and moved up on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice, which was first ruled an infield hit by first-base umpire Larry Vanover. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny argued that Lynn had tagged Castro as he ran down the line, and after the umpires met, they reversed the call. Darwin Barney then walked, and one out later, Lake delivered a RBI single. Cole Gillespie was hit by a pitch to load the bases and chase Lynn. Rizzo, who is batting .197 against lefties, greeted southpaw Randy Choate with his single to center to open a 3-0 lead.
“That was huge — off a lefty and in a big situation,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, that transpires into a lot more.”
Clutch hits have been missing from the Cubs’ repertoire, including Rizzo.
“It was nice, especially against Randy Choate, [because] he’s tough on lefties,” Rizzo said. “I tried to see the ball as long as possible off him. Hit it where they’re not, honestly. I just put the ball in play and hit it where they’re not.”
– Carrie Muskat
All-Star Travis Wood had his shortest outing of the season in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. Junior Lake was 4-for-5, and is the first Cubs player since 1916 to record two four-hit games in his first 16 big league contests. He’s the first Major Leaguer to accomplish the feat since the Cardinals’ Bo Hart in June 2003. Wood was charged with a season-high tying five runs in a season-low 3 1/3 innings. He walked five, tying a career high, and dropped to 1-2 with a 7.65 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. Cole Gillespie matched a career high with three hits, including two doubles. Darwin Barney had two hits for his first multi-hit game since July 20 at Colorado. The Cubs did hit five doubles Friday, and have at least one extra-base hit in each of the last 26 games dating to July 5. The team’s 352 extra-base hits lead the NL, and rank third in the Majors.
With the loss, the Cubs are 1-5 at the start of this eight-game homestand.
* ROSTER MOVE: After the game, outfielder Julio Borbon was designated for assignment. A corresponding move will be made Saturday.
Organist Gary Pressy has been playing “Smoke on the Water” when Junior Lake comes up to hit. Some in the Wrigley Field press box think it should be changed to “Lake Shore Drive.” Looking for water related music — “Under the Sea”? — and suggestions for Lake’s walk-up tune. Thanks.
Updates on Arrieta, Baker, Lake and Rizzo
* The Cubs recalled right-hander Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be the 26th man for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Brewers. Arrieta will make his Cubs debut, starting the second game of the twinbill. Arrieta, 27, was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2012. He was acquired from Baltimore as part of the Scott Feldman deal on July 2. In five starts at Triple-A Iowa, Arrieta was 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA.
* Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader was the Cubs first at Wrigley Field since June 28, 2011, when they played two against the Giants. Chicago did play a twinbill in Cincinnati last Aug. 18.
* Scott Baker can take his time rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Cubs had hoped the right-hander would start this year, but there isn’t as much of a need as last season when they were scrambling to find starters. In his fourth rehab start on Monday, Baker gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings for Class A Daytona against Fort Myers. Baker threw 65 pitches, struck out two, and served up a solo home run to Matt Koch in the fourth. In three previous rehab outings with Class A Kane County, Baker was charged with 13 runs on 17 hits and six walks over 8 2/3 innings.
Dale Sveum said Tuesday that Baker’s velocity was a little better in Monday’s outing.
“Sixty five pitches in 3 1/3 innings, that’s 20 pitches per inning again,” Sveum said. “He’s still not getting quick outs and what you want done in a 65-pitch outing.”
The Cubs have dealt two-fifths of their rotation — Matt Garza and Scott Feldman — but were better prepared this season to fill the gaps, inserting Carlos Villanueva and promoting lefty Chris Rusin. Jake Arrieta, acquired from the Orioles in the Feldman deal, started the second game of the Cubs’ doubleheader Tuesday.
“We’re not too concerned [about Baker] because right now, we don’t have a need right now, and we’re OK with everything,” Sveum said. “It’s just kind of a slow development for him right now. We don’t have a big need right now for a starting pitcher and we’re OK with things progressing at a slow rate.”
* The best way for Junior Lake to learn how to play the outfield is by playing. Lake, who had been an infielder primarily coming up through the Cubs system, has played only in the outfield since he was promoted July 19.
“You can’t replace the reps in a game in center field and the outfield,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “You can kind of simulate infield because of ground balls but the outfield. It’s very difficult to simulate balls over your head and in the gap and other outfielders running for the same ball. Outfield is a lot of reps to get going out there.”
The Cubs are hoping Lake gets more playing time in the outfield in winter ball. Sveum wouldn’t rule out having the athletic Lake switch to third if needed.
“He’s the kind of guy you want covering a lot of space,” Sveum said. “It looks like he can go get ‘em.”
* Anthony Rizzo will host his first “Cook-Off for Cancer” on Aug. 14 at Cafe Brauer in Chicago. Notable Chicago chefs will prepare ballpark food as only they can, and the dishes will be served by Cubs players. Guests will vote for their favorite chef by tipping their Cubs server. All tips and event proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. The event will take place from 6-10 p.m. CT. Among the chefs participating are Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno; Nate Henssler of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Cosmo Goss of Publican; Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig; Mark Sparacino of Proseco; and David Burns, Wrigley Field’s executive chef. Tickets are $200, and available on Cubs.com/cook.
Rizzo also will celebrate being cancer free for five years when he hosts his second Walk-Off for Cancer on Dec. 15 in Parkland, Fla., at Pine Trails Park. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. ET.
– Carrie Muskat
When Junior Lake arrived at Wrigley Field for his first home game on Monday, his gear was stowed in a prime space. Lake was given Alfonso Soriano’s locker in the Cubs’ clubhouse. Lake has been in Chicago before but never played at Wrigley until Monday. The young outfielder opened the season on fire, with 15 hits in his first 30 at-bats, but is 0-for-13 since an infield single in the sixth last Thursday. Manager Dale Sveum said they aren’t worried.
“No, we’re not going to panic over an 0-for-13 [stretch],” Sveum said. “He had to face [Tim] Lincecum, [Madison] Bumgarner and [Matt] Cain, so you’re facing Cy Young’s and guys that have done a lot of good things in their careers.
“Those are the things that, for a kid like him with the ability that he has, is the experience we talked about,” Sveum said. “That’s why you want some guys to be here a little bit earlier sometimes to get that taste and see Major League pitching on an everyday basis sometimes and have to make those adjustments.”
With the departure of Soriano via trade, Lake has taken over in left field, and will start in center against left-handed pitchers. Outfielder Brian Bogusevic is rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., from a strained left hamstring. Will Lake stay the remainder of the season? Sveum said there’s been no discussion about sending Lake back to Triple-A Iowa.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s going to be in there pretty much every day unless I feel he needs a day off,” Sveum said.
– Carrie Muskat
How do the Cubs fill the opening in the lineup with the pending departure of Alfonso Soriano?
“You say you’re prepared for it, but I don’t think you’re really prepared to lose somebody of that nature,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “All the things he brings to a team, the fourth hole, the character, the clubhouse, the leadership and everything. You just don’t replace that.”
Soriano was pulled from Thursday’s Cubs lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the request of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and appears to be headed to the Yankees.
Physically, Sveum said he’ll mix and match in the outfield, using rookie Junior Lake as well as Cole Gillespie in left field. Brian Bogusevic, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, could return in early August.
The Cubs may decide to add a pitcher when they make a roster move rather than an outfielder because the bullpen has been overworked, and they have a doubleheader coming up on Tuesday.
Soriano, 37, was one of the few veterans in the clubhouse.
“You have [Kevin] Gregg, DeJesus, and other than that, it’s a lot of young guys,” Sveum said. “With the addition of Lake, now we’re getting pretty young.”
The Cubs were busy at the Trade Deadline last year, and this season, have made six deals before July 31. The only players who were on the Chicago roster when Jim Hendry was the general manager are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo and Jeff Samardzija.
The Cubs may find another left fielder, but can’t replace Soriano’s professionalism.
“You don’t replace that,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, down the road you do. You don’t have a Band-aid right now to replace that kind of guy in your clubhouse.”
– Carrie Muskat
Nate Schierholtz has been the Cubs most consistent hitter with runners on base for most of the season, and he came through at the right time Wednesday night. Schierholtz drove in a career-high five runs, hitting a three-run homer in the fifth and a game-winning RBI double in the 12th, to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the National League West.
Schierholtz was shut down for the Cubs’ final two games before the All-Star break because of nagging injuries, and admitted Wednesday that the rest helped.
“I’m feeling a lot better now,” Schierholtz said. “The All-Star break definitely helped, and so did the cortisone shot. I feel like I’m doing well now, and I’m trying to help the team.”
With two outs and the game tied at 6 against David Hernandez in the 12th, Anthony Rizzo walked to set up Schierholtz’s double into the left-field corner. Schierholtz’s previous high was three RBIs, done four times, most recently April 23, 2012, against the Mets.
Rizzo and rookie Junior Lake each hit RBI doubles for the Cubs, now 7-3 in extra-inning games this season. Chicago had only reliever Michael Bowden in the bullpen by the 12th.
“We were going to have to have the re-entry rule,” Dale Sveum jokingly said.
Jeff Samardzija scattered six hits over 5 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 118 pitches. Arizona had two on and two outs in the sixth when he was pulled, and Paul Goldschmidt greeted Blake Parker with a three-run homer, his 22nd, to cut the Cubs’ lead to 6-5.
– Carrie Muskat
David DeJesus, sidelined since June 24 with a sprained right shoulder, was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, and Dave Sappelt optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The next question, though, is how long will DeJesus stay with the Cubs?
DeJesus was injured when he crashed into the outfield wall at Citi Field. He played four rehab games for the Cubs’ Rookie League team.
“When I’m at the plate, I’m not really worrying about it,” DeJesus said of his shoulder.
DeJesus started in center field and led off on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Rookie Junior Lake, who had been playing center and had 12 hits in his first five games, was shifted to left field on Wednesday.
“I thought about [the order] for 10, 15 minutes, and decided just get Lake at the top of the lineup, and it doesn’t matter first or second,” Dale Sveum said. “DeJesus’ game is built for that spot. I’ve got ‘Laker’ in the second spot.”
DeJesus’ name has been mentioned in trade rumors, and Theo Epstein did take time to talk to the outfielder, but not about a possible move. Instead, Epstein wanted to thank DeJesus, and tell him how much they appreciate his mentorship of the younger players. DeJesus showed that during his rehab stint with the Rookie League players, many of whom are teenagers.
“He’s a really good baseball player, lived up to his contract, he’s a left-handed bat who has the exact approach we’re trying to teach in this organization,” Epstein said. “There’s a lot of value to having him here. That said, will we make him untouchable? No — no one’s untouchable. We’ll sit and weigh out the options and what’s best for the Cubs.”
DeJesus was prepared.
“My name’s been in the rumors before,” he said. “It’s nothing new. You’ve just got to be professional and play the game and see what happens from there.”
– Carrie Muskat
For just the third time in 20 starts this season, Travis Wood failed to record a quality start. Martin Prado hit a game-tying home run and A.J. Pollock drove in four runs to help Patrick Corbin win his 12th game and power the Diamondbacks to a 10-4 victory Tuesday night over Wood and the Cubs.
Wood was vying for his 18th quality start, and had a tough opponent in the Diamondbacks and Corbin, who was the Cubs’ lefty’s teammate on the National League All-Star team. This was the second time this season that two All-Stars squared off in their first starts after the break. Corbin served up one run on four hits over six innings, while Wood was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innings.
Wood, who began the day tied with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright for the National League lead in quality starts, failed to notch No. 18 in his last start before the All-Star break on July 14 against the Cardinals. His only other non-quality start was May 25 against the Reds.
Nate Schierholtz smacked a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth for the Cubs, but the D-Backs collected 16 hits in the game. Junior Lake posted another multi-hit game, finishing with three hits, including a solo homer in the ninth. Lake is now 12-for-22 in five games.
Arizona, which won for the second time in its last six games, is trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the NL West.
– Carrie Muskat
Junior Lake is back at the top of the Cubs’ lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks. This will be Travis Wood’s first start after the All-Star break. Here’s the lineup:
T. Wood P