Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’

9/6 Cubs 8, Brewers 5

Junior Lake hit his first career grand slam and Chris Rusin added a two-run single to spark the Cubs to an 8-5 win Friday over the Brewers, and move into a tie for last in the National League Central. The Brewers lead the Cubs in the season series, 8-5, but both teams have 60-80 records.

Lake added a bunt single in the third and now has 55 hits in his first 45 games, tops among Major League rookies in that stretch. Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 30th save, the third time he has reached that milestone in his career.

The Cubs batted around in a five-run first against Kyle Lohse. With one out, the first three batters each singled, with a run scoring on Nate Schierholtz hit. Ryan Sweeney then walked to load the bases, and one out later, Lake drove a 1-0 pitch from Lohse into the bleachers in left center. It was Lake’s fifth home run of the season, and the Cubs’ third grand slam this year. Chicago now has hit 95 home runs at Wrigley Field, the most at home in the Major Leagues. The Orioles are second, hitting 94 at Camden Yards entering Friday’s game.

Norichika Aoki hit a sacrifice fly in the Milwaukee second, and Aramis Ramirez, who played for the Cubs from 2003-11, hit his 127th home run at Wrigley, and 10th overall this year, with one out in the third to close to 5-2 in the third.

Chicago loaded the bases again with one out in the third, keyed by Lake’s bunt single, and Rusin smacked a two-run single to center for a 7-2 lead. Cubs pitchers now have 27 RBIs, most in the Major Leagues.

Rusin needed 32 pitches to get through the first, and was pulled after throwing 85 over 3 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits. Carlos Villanueva picked up the win in 2 1/3 innings in relief.

The Cubs have won four of their last six games.

– Carrie Muskat

8/18 Cardinals 6, Cubs 1

At least the Cubs weren’t shut out again. Jon Jay drove in four runs, including three on a home run, to back Adam Wainwright, who struck out 11 over seven innings and power the Wild Card-leading Cardinals to a 6-1 victory Sunday against the Cubs to take the series at Wrigley Field. Dale Sveum and James Russell were both ejected in the seventh after an argument about a third-strike call by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi on Donnie Murphy’s check-swing attempt.

The Cubs have scored 12 runs in their last eight home games, with seven coming in Friday’s 7-0 win to open the series. They’re batting .197 in the eight games, and are 4-for-38 (.105) with runners in scoring position.

“We seem to get guys on base enough during the game, but we’re not getting those runs in or that three-run homer to break a game open or that two-run double or anything from anybody,” Sveum said.

Edwin Jackson took the loss but might have escaped some damage if Junior Lake had caught a fly ball. Yadier Molina doubled down the left-field line with one out in the second, and scored on Jay’s double that followed nearly the exact same path. Kolten Wong reached second on Lake’s error as he muffed a fly ball in center. Daniel Descalso was intentionally walked to load the bases, and one out later, Matt Carpenter drove in a pair with a single for a 3-0 lead.

Lake did hit a RBI double in the sixth, but the Cards put two runners in scoring position with one out in the seventh, and Jay connected on his sixth home run off a 1-1 pitch from Russell. The numbers favored Russell; this was the first home run he’s given up to a left-handed batter. Jay was hitting .198 against lefties before the at-bat.

“Jay has struggled all year against left-handed pitching, and [Russell] got a slider up, and Jay hit it through the wind,” Sveum said. “He hit that ball about as good as you can hit a ball, the way the wind was blowing.”

The Cubs were left shaking their heads.

“There weren’t too many good things that happened,” Sveum said of the game. “The dropped fly ball led to some things that could’ve been a different game. One pitch from Russell got that out of hand.”

The Cubs haven’t quit. Check out Anthony Rizzo’s diving grab of Molina’s popup in the fifth in which the first baseman nearly ended up head-first in the visitor’s dugout.

“The ball hung up long enough,” Rizzo said. “It’s something I mess around with and say I can do. It was just a perfect opportunity, I guess, to do it.”

Some of the Cardinals in the dugout were there to save him from landing on his face.

“That’s good sportsmanship,” Rizzo said. “I probably would’ve went in pretty hard there, head first.”

Said Jackson: “We’re not giving up by any means. “We’re out there fighting and battling. Some times things don’t work in our favor, some times things don’t look the best the way we do them. It’s a young team and things are going to happen throughout the season. Everybody is giving 110 percent and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/14 Cubs lineup

Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney are all sitting Wednesday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds. Starter Chris Rusin is ready. He tweeted today: “It’s wins day! Haaa #daygame”

Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
McDonald LF
Rizzo 1B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Murphy SS
Watkins 2B
Ransom 3B
Rusin P

* After going 6-4 in their first 10 games after the All-Star break, the Cubs have gone 4-12 in their last 16 games. The Cubs had a 3.44 ERA in the first 10 games of the “second half” but have a 4.72 ERA in their last 16 games. Also, they’ve batted .227 in their first 10 games after the break and hit .231 in their last 16 games.

– Carrie Muskat

8/9 Cubs 3, Cardinals 0

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

8/3 Dodgers 6, Cubs 2

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.

7/29 Junior Lake walkup music

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.

7/30 Extra bases

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

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

7/29 Lake effect

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

7/25 What’s next?

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

7/24 Cubs 7, D-Backs 6 (12 innings)

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


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