Results tagged ‘ Marlins ’

5/21 Pitching and defense

If pitching and defense are keys to a winning season, and most baseball experts  say they are, then the Cubs are headed in the wrong direction. They rank second in the Major Leagues in batting, trailing only the Cardinals. But they are 28th in the Majors in pitching with a 4.72 ERA, and 28th in fielding with 33 errors. The Astros are the only National League team worse than the Cubs in the latter two categories.

Before Friday’s game against the Red Sox, GM Jim Hendry sounded encouraged by what he’d seen in Florida in the two wins over the Marlins.

“I’m hopeful that a lot of our failures early (are over),” Hendry said before the Cubs’ 15-5 loss to the Red Sox. “When you play well against a good team like the Marlins, and in a place until last year we never had any success … What we have is a lot of really solid guys, team-oriented guys, that are trying to hard to be ‘the guy’ and get something going that maybe they’ve pressed themselves into some failures.

“Hopefully, they proved the last couple of days they could relax, play good baseball against a good team, and hopefully we’ll carry that over here and in a big homestand before the end of the month.”

This has been a long, tiring road trip that started in Cincinnati with two losses to the Reds, including a 7-4 loss Monday that prompted a team meeting by manager Mike Quade.

“We gave away a few games,” Hendry said. “Everybody has them. The two in Cincinnati were probably as hard to take as any ones all year. … I think they’re going to grind their way through it and play good baseball.

“The last couple of days [against the Marlins] should show you something because [the losses to the Reds] … were two we really should’ve had. It’s hard to get off the plane the next day on the road, and they really played good baseball for two days [in Florida].”

Unfortunately for the Cubs, that good feeling didn’t last in Fenway Park. They still have not been able to win three in a row.

– Carrie Muskat 

9/19 Colvin done for the season

Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin is most likely done for the season after a freak accident Sunday in which he was impaled by a broken bat. Colvin was on third base when catcher Welington Castillo hit a broken bat double to left. Colvin was watching the ball, and then turned to head for home. A part of Castillo’s bat hit Colvin under the collarbone. He was hospitalized in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for pneumothorax, and was to remain there for observation for a few days. Pneumothorax occurs when a person has air trapped in the space between the outside of the lung and inside of the chest wall. The air enters the space when there is a hole in the surface of the lung, which allows air to leak from the lung and into the space. Colvin finished with a .254 average, 20 home runs, 18 doubles, five triples, and 56 RBIs in 135 games.

– Carrie Muskat

6/6 Up in the air

In a span of about 57 hours, give or take a few, the Cubs will play in three different ballparks, beginning Sunday in Houston at Minute Maid Park. They have a makeup game Monday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh (11:35 a.m. CT) and then fly to Milwaukee to open a series Tuesday night against the Brewers at Miller Park.

* Last season, the Cubs played three games in three days in three different ballparks when they met the Indians at Wrigley on June 21, 2009; then play at Atlanta, then at Detroit.

* The last time the Cubs played three games in three days in three different road parks was 2004 when they faced Cincinnati on Sept. 19 (a 5-1 win), then played a doubleheader in Florida Sept. 20 (which they split), and then traveled to Pittsburgh Sept. 21 (a 10-inning win). Hurricane Francis in Miami forced that crazy itinerary.

– Carrie Muskat

 

2/19 Cubs add an "idiot" in Millar

Kevin Millar is the first to admit he’s not a five-tool player.

“I don’t think I have a tool box,” Millar said Friday. “That’s not what made me. What made me is I’ve always loved it more than anybody else and that’s always the big thing.”

Millar, 38, signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs and is battling for a spot on the bench. He’s excited about being in Arizona — it’s his first Spring Training in the state. He’s also reunited with former Florida teammates Ryan Dempster and Derrek Lee.

“We lost a lot of games together,” Millar siad. “I think we lost 100-something games a year. But you learn from those times and now you look at the success these guys have had and just to be back is awesome.”

Millar isn’t really what the Cubs are looking for. They’re already overloaded with right-handed bats.

“When you sit back as a player and look at the numbers and right-handed, left-handed, obviously it’s it’s not a great fit on paper,” Millar said. “My role is to come in here and have a good camp and hopefully win a spot on the bench. That’s the main thing is just to be a veteran and have some leadership qualities and do the best you can. You get caught up in numbers and stuff as a player and it’s tough and it doesn’t make sense at times. It always works out so we’ll see what happens.”

He does have a reputation as being a great clubhouse guy. The Cubs had some discord last season, primarily created by Milton Bradley, now with the Mariners. Millar talked to Dempster before signing with the Cubs.

“[Dempster] feels this is a good spot, being that I’ve played in a place like Boston and went through a lot of the same things — there was a huge curse there and it was a huge thing and 86 years [without winning a World Series] and it was almost like ‘This is this year’ – every year is the year,” Millar said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Millar batted .297 in 2004 when the Red Sox ended their so-called curse and won the World Series. The main thing, Millar said, is to have fun.

“You go out there and you compete for three hours and play the game hard, play the game right, but you can have fun,” he said. “I think guys forget that sometimes. I think there’s such a pressure and you have to act like somebody you’re not. Be yourself. It’s a game.”

He joked that he begged GM Jim Hendry on his hands and knees to let him play for the Cubs. This is the second straight year Millar has signed a Minor League contract. He made the Blue Jays last year and batted .223.

“Last year was the first time I had to be a role player and it was a learning experience,” Millar said. “The American League is tough. Once you accept it, it’s a lot easier. In the National League, I think have a chance to be involved a lot more than in an American League game. We’ll see what happens.”

Somewhere deep in his locker were six or seven gloves. He couldn’t find any of them Friday.

“But I’m 50 years old,” he said. “I might only be able to pinch hit. Shortstop is out, center field is out but I can catch. I can play the corners and catch.”

Geovany Soto shouldn’t worry about his job. Millar is well known for his clever ability to come up with nicknames — he labeled the Red Sox “idiots.”

“We might have to think of something around here,” he said. “I have to make the team first. [Idiot] is my nickname back at the house.”

If Millar didn’t make the big league club, would he accept a Minor League assignment? He didn’t want to consider that.

“When you look at your paperwork and it says ‘Iowa Cubs,’ you just have to close your eyes when you fill that stuff out,” he said. “I’m thinking ‘Chicago.’”

– Carrie Muskat

8/3 Gregg has "tired arm;" Marmol to close Monday

If Kevin Gregg was asked, he would pitch Monday night. But Lou Piniella wants to give the Cubs closer a couple days off because of a tired arm. Gregg blew consecutive save opportunities Saturday and Sunday against the Marlins.

“I think we’ll give him a little time off tonight,” Piniella said prior to Monday’s game. “Hopefully, we can give him some time off tonight and tomorrow. He has a little bit of a tired arm. There’s no pain in any particular area but just achy. What I’m going to do is talk to him and if that’s the case, we can stay away from him. We’ve got to know it.”

Gregg was credited with the win Saturday as the Cubs rallied in the 10th for the win. Piniella checked with the closer before Sunday’s game, and again in the sixth before calling on Gregg for the ninth. The Marlins hit back to back homers off the right-hander for the 3-2 walkoff win.

“Closers take a lot of responsibility and they feel, and rightfully so, they can pitch through anything,” Piniella said. “Sometimes you have to be a little more realistic.”

Carlos Marmol would sub as the closer Monday.

Piniella was still recovering from Sunday’s loss.

“I dont know if I got my breath from that finish from yesterday,” he said. “The first [home run] took the air out of me and the second one, I needed a tank to get from the dugout to the clubhouse. That’s the quickest ending I’ve ever seen. That was good morning, good afternoon, good night. Unbelievable.”

The bullpen is a little overworked after the starters totaled 14 out of 28 innings vs. the Marlins. Will Carlos Zambrano be in the pen to help out?

“I haven’t talked to the ‘Z-man’ yet,” Piniella said.

The answer is probably no.

– Carrie Muskat

7/31 Lineup

Alfonso Soriano is getting a day off, and Jake Fox is starting in left field for the Cubs vs. the Marlins. Here’s the lineup:

CF Fukudome

SS Theriot

1B Lee

3B Ramirez

RF Bradley

LF Fox

2B Fontenot

C Hill

P Harden

– Carrie Muskat

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