Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’

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


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

3/25 Angels 8, Cubs 4

Junior Lake, who hit three home runs Sunday, launched his fourth in his last six at-bats this spring with two outs in the fifth but it wasn’t enough as the Cubs lost, 8-4, to the Angels on Tuesday at Cubs Park. The game was played in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 15,276.

Tsuyoshi Wada, a non-roster invitee who was released on Sunday, then re-signed to a Minor League contract the next day, started for the Cubs. The lefty walked Kole Calhoun to start the game and he reached third on Mike Trout’s single before scoring on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly. Wada had his longest outing of the spring, giving up two runs on four hits over four innings.

Mike Olt, who is trying to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, made a nice bare-handed grab of Mike Trout’s grounder and threw him out to open the third, and executed a backhanded grab in the fifth. Olt was slowed this spring by soreness in his right shoulder.

One of the Cubs’ top prospects, Albert Almora, had a scare in the fourth when he caught Collin Cowgill’s fly ball, then slid hard into the wall. Almora lay on the track for a few minutes, but was able to get up and jog off the field.

* Up next: Jeff Samardzija makes his final Cactus League start Wednesday when the Cubs face the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. The D-Backs may be a little jetlagged. They returned home early Monday from their two-game series against the Dodgers in Australia. Samardzija won’t go too deep in the game as he prepares for Monday’s season opener against the Pirates, and Chris Rusin, a candidate for the fifth spot, is slated to follow. The game will be broadcast on

3/23 Cubs 10, A’s 6

Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena hit back to back home runs in the sixth and ninth innings, while Lake added a two-run blast in the seventh Sunday to power the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Athletics’ split-squad team.

The Cubs trailed 2-0 in the sixth against Jesse Chavez when Darwin Barney singled and scored on Chris Coghlan’s double. Emilio Bonifacio blooped a single to left and Lake followed with his first home run. Valbuena then hit his fifth this spring to go ahead, 5-2.

Barney reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie to open the seventh, and two outs later, Lake smacked his second home run.

The Athletics took advantage of two errors by third baseman Mike Olt in the seventh to add three more runs. Olt led off the eighth with his fifth home run.

After Lake smashed his third of the game with two outs in the ninth, Valbuena followed with his second. Chicago now has hit 32 home runs, which leads the Major Leagues this spring.

* Jason Hammel, making his third Cactus League start, was roughed up in the first. Jed Lowrie tripled with two outs in the Oakland first and scored one batter later on Josh Reddick’s single to center. Alberto Callaspo followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0.

“I’m not too happy with it,” Hammel said of the first inning. “Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff and you have to find a way. We did that today. It definitely wasn’t pretty.”

Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio told Hammel he was trying to do too much, a little tentative and needed to keep the ball down.

“Strike one has to be the most important thing for me and I’m learning that as guys know I’m a sinkerballer, they’re seeing it down and leaving it down,” he said. “I’m making adjustments.”

* Carlos Villanueva, who could fill the fifth starter spot at the beginning of the season, will make his second Cactus League start Monday night when the Cubs play host to the Padres at Cubs Park. It will be the first night game at the Cubs’ new facility, which is averaging 14,020 fans. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.

— Carrie Muskat

3/21 Great Lake


Here’s a great photo of Junior Lake’s home run robbing catch in Thursday’s game. Give credit to photographer John Antonoff for perfect timing.

3/9 Cubs 10, Brewers 8

Justin Ruggiano drove in three runs, including two on his second spring homer, Junior Lake smacked a tie-breaking RBI and a sacrifice fly, Brett Jackson had a two-run pinch-hit single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI triple for the Cubs who rallied to beat the Brewers, 10-8, on Sunday. The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,770. The attendance topped the previous league mark of 14,680 set March 1 at new Cubs Park.

* Right fielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave the game after chasing Jeff Bianchi’s double because of soreness in his right knee. Sweeney was listed as day to day.

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings in his second Cactus League start.

“I’m much happier with this [start],” Hendricks said. “I’m just disappointed that we go out and score two runs and then I go out and give them both back up. That will all work itself out as I get out there more and am more consistent with my mechanics.”

Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd during his two at-bats. Hendricks struck Braun out to end the first, but the Brewers outfielder doubled in the third.

“He got me on the second at-bat, but that wasn’t a bad pitch,” Hendricks said. “His barrel stays through the zone very well. I could’ve thrown a different pitch to him — but it was a good pitch, and he’s a really good hitter. He’s going to get his hits.”

Did Hendricks hear the crowd?

“You could hear those boos,” Hendricks said. “All the Brewers fans were trying to cheer over them.”

* Jeff Samardzija will make his third spring start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants. Samardzija will likely pitch at least four innings. In his last outing against the Rockies, he gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. So far, he has not walked a batter, which is good. The right-hander is working on being more efficient with his pitches. The game will be broadcast on

— Carrie Muskat


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