Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’

9/13 The Lake effect

On Thursday, Cubs outfielder Junior Lake played the 50th game of his career and extended his hitting streak to nine games, which matches his career high, also done Aug. 18-26. This is Lake’s fourth hitting streak of seven games or more.

The rookie outfielder is the only active Major Leaguer to begin his career with four separate, stand alone hitting streaks of seven games or more in his first 50 games. Two active players posted a similar feat to Lake. According to Elias, in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki began his career with a 23-game hitting streak and a 15-game hitting streak within his first 50 games, which amounts to five stretches of hitting in seven-straight games. In 2000, Juan Pierre began his career with a 16-game hitting streak and a 15-game hitting streak within his first 50 games, which amounts to four stretches of hitting in seven-straight games.

9/8 Brewers 3, Cubs 1

Scott Baker’s rebuilt right elbow was good enough to shut down Major League hitters for five innings, even if he didn’t overpower anyone. The Cubs just couldn’t get him the win. Pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi hit a two-run single and Yovani Gallardo added a RBI single, both in the seventh, to spark the Brewers to a 3-1 win Sunday over the Cubs. It was their 21st loss in the last 28 home games.

Baker, 31, was making his first start one year and one month after his last, Aug. 8, 2011. He underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on April 17, 2012, and signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract in the offseason with the Cubs. This season, he made eight rehab starts at Class A Kane County and Daytona combined before joining the big league team.

Baker was lifted after throwing 55 pitches over five innings, walking one and striking out one. He hit 90 mph on the radar gun on two pitches in the first. What’s next for the right-hander? The Cubs want to see how he feels Monday.

“We’ll see how it all works out,” Dale Sveum said.

Junior Lake, who hit a grand slam Friday, led off the Chicago fifth with his sixth home run off a 2-1 pitch from Yovani Gallardo. But the Brewers rallied in the seventh. Aramis Ramirez doubled with one out against Justin Grimm and Carlos Gomez singled. James Russell replaced Grimm, and pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi greeted the lefty with a single to score both runners. One out later, Gallardo hit a RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

It was the 26th blown save this season for the Cubs, three shy of the club single-season record of 29 set in 2000. Gallardo struck out six over seven innings to improve to 8-3 against the Cubs with the win.

– Carrie Muskat

9/8 Cubs lineup

The Cubs wrap up their series against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. A win Sunday would give the Cubs their first winning homestand of at least two series since going 3-2 vs. the White Sox (2-0) and D-backs (1-2), May 29-June 2. Scott Baker, looks to make his season debut and will become the 55th player used by the team this year, extending a franchise record that surpasses 53 used last year. Still to make their debuts are catcher J.C. Boscan and pitcher Daniel Bard.

Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Bogusevic LF
Murphy 2B
Lake CF
Castillo C
Baker P

9/7 Cubs notebook

* Scott Baker will make his first Major League start since Aug. 8, 2011, on Sunday when he takes the mound in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers.

“He’s built up pretty good,” Dale Sveum said of the right-hander, who has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012. “I’m not going to put a limit on [Sunday's game]. He’s obviously not going to go over 100 pitches. We’ll see how things go. We have plenty of guys in the bullpen. It’s not a necessity to do anything but evaluate and let him pitch.”

* Ryan Sweeney will get a good look in September so the Cubs can gauge what to do next season with the outfielder.

“He’s pretty savvy, he knows what’s going on,” Sveum said. “He’s a quality left-handed bat, has the ability to hit home runs. You give him 500, 700 plate appearances that he’s never gotten before, I think you could project that to be a pretty good year.”

Sweeney missed time after injuring his ribs when he crashed into the outfield wall in Seattle.

“He’s got an ability in center field to make things look easy,” Sveum said. “You don’t want to put anybody in a Jim Edmonds category but he makes it look easy like Jim Edmonds did without a great deal of speed.”

* Junior Lake leads all Major League rookies in hits since the All-Star break, but on Saturday, the Cubs outfielder got a day off. Lake, who hit his first grand slam on Friday, was not in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Brewers on Saturday. It’s part of Sveum’s effort to give the outfielders on the roster enough playing time.

In 45 games with the Cubs, Lake has 55 hits, including five home runs. Sveum said he could project the outfielder finishing with at least 15 home runs in a full season.

“He’s got tremendous raw ability,” Sveum said. “We’ve witnessed that since the All-Star break. The power is there. You’re talking about doing things, and people still have to get the 700 plate appearances to project anything. He has the power and ability to obviously hit 15 home runs [in a single season].”

* Sveum was asked how he would judge Anthony Rizzo’s season.

“In his second year, many people in this game would take 85 to 90 [RBIs] and 25 home runs,” Sveum said. “We’re down on the average and all that, but the bottom line is, it’s been a good learning year for him and understanding about playing every day and the pitching and all that. It’s still a pretty good year for a kid who had to play every single day for the first time in his career.”

Rizzo entered Saturday’s game batting .232 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

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.

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