Results tagged ‘ Nate Schierholtz ’
Who needs a DH?
Travis Wood smacked a grand slam, the first by a Cubs pitcher at Wrigley since 1972, and Luis Valbuena and Nate Schierholtz each hit solo home runs to power the Cubs to a 8-3 Interleague victory over the White Sox.
The Cubs could claim the crosstown cup with the win. They lead the intracity series, 3-0, and the two teams will meet once more at U.S. Cellular Field this summer to make up Tuesday’s game, which was interrupted by rain. That date has not been announced. The Cubs may want to want to abandon the designated hitter if it’s Wood’s turn to pitch.
The Cubs led 2-1 when they loaded the bases in the fourth. Welington Castillo was safe on a pop up single that dropped near the pitcher’s mound, Luis Valbuena singled off the right field wall, and Darwin Barney was hit by a pitch to set up Wood, who launched a 2-1 pitch from Jake Peavy into the left field bleachers. It was Wood’s second homer of the season and the first grand slam by a Cubs player since Anthony Rizzo connected Sept. 16, 2012, against the Pirates. The last Cubs pitcher to hit one was Jason Marquis on Sept. 22, 2008, at Shea Stadium against the Mets.
The last Cubs pitcher to hit a slam at Wrigley was Burt Hooton on Sept. 16, 1972. Wood began this season with three home runs in 120 at-bats.
It was Wood’s 10th quality start in 11 games.
The Cubs players were happy to celebrate bragging rights in the city.
“It’s absolutely awesome,” Wood said. “We were in there a minute ago, holding the cup up. It’s nice and brings a good feeling to the clubhouse. Hopefully, we can build off that and keep rolling.”
The Cubs secured their first series win against the White Sox since going 5-1 in 2007.
“Since the cup’s been around, it’s the first time the Cubs have won it, and it came at a good time for our ballclub,” Dale Sveum said. “They were hot coming in and playing real well and we weren’t except for that final game in Cincinnati. Hopefully that’s a springboard to keep things going.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs are wasting good starting pitching and Dale Sveum said he may abandon his lineup platoon against left-handed starters to try and shake things up. Entering Thursday’s game, Chicago starters had posted 28 quality starts this season and had a 1.98 ERA in those games, yet the pitchers had won only 11 of those contests; the team has won 16 total.
“It’s mind boggling,” Sveum said. “Some of the stats we have are really strange. To have this good stating pitching and be nine games under .500 and have a run differential of five — there are certain things you can’t explain other than just not being able to put games away. Hitting with men in scoring position, getting that run in, getting that big inning here or there, we’re just snake bit on that and not getting that stuff done.”
The Cubs are batting .214 with runners in scoring position, lowest in the NL. Only the Mariners are worse at .206.
“It’s just understanding that the pitcher is on the ropes, not you, and I think that’s our biggest problem in those situations,” Sveum said. “We’re letting [the pitchers] dictate the at-bat and we’re not dictating those at-bats.”
Sveum has been platooning batters, and sitting left-handed hitting David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz against southpaw starters, but said Thursday he may change that approach.
“We talk about hundreds of things when things aren’t going well,” Sveum said of his options. “The fact of the matter is we’re pitching well — we’ve had a few hiccups in the bullpen — and we’re catching the ball and hitting, but not scoring runs.”
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs are 12-10 since April 23, and have won six of their last nine games after losing five of six, April 30-May 5.
* With 40 games played, the Cubs are roughly a quarter of the way through the season. They’re batting .249 with 93 doubles, 44 homers, 160 runs scored and 28 stolen bases, and on pace to finish the season with 377 doubles, 178 home runs, 648 runs scored and 113 stolen bases. The club record for doubles in a season is 340, set both in 1931 and in 2007. Last year, the team hit .240 with 265 doubles, 137 home runs, 613 runs scored and 94 stolen bases.
* In 24 quality starts, Cubs pitchers have recorded a 1.92 ERA yet have just 10 victories. Only three NL teams have more quality starts than the Cubs: the Cardinals (28), Phillies (27) and Nationals (25). The Cardinals starters have 18 wins in their quality starts, the Phillies have 13 and the Nationals 16.
* The Cubs are batting .339 (19-for-56) with runners in scoring position in their last five games dating to May 11. However, the team’s .208 season average with RISP is lowest in the Majors. Nate Schierholtz leads the Cubs with a .323 average (10-for-31) with RISP.
* Here are the pitching matchups for the Cubs vs. Mets series:
Friday: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-5, 6.02) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.44)
Saturday: RHP Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53) vs. RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13)
Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz came up in the Giants organization, and stayed there until he was dealt last July to the Phillies.
“I’m excited to get out there and play them,” he said prior to Thursday’s game against the Giants. “It’s been a long time and it’s obviously the first game I get to face them so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
He and Buster Posey are good friends, but they can catch up away from the field.
“I’m here now and focused on winning here,” he said.
The Giants have a stellar pitching staff, and now Schierholtz has to face them, rather than play behind them.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I want to go out there and beat these guys,” he said.
Playing in San Francisco since 2007 — and winning a ring in 2010 — he’s learned what it takes to win.
“I think it all starts in the locker room, team chemistry, as well as playing the game the right way, playing solid defense behind your pitching, and playing the game the right way from hitting to pitching to defense,” he said. “Small ball is obviously important, and I think it’ll be important this series because of the weather.”
Do the Cubs have that good vibe?
“I felt that right away here,” Schierholtz said. “We’ve got a great group of guys and they want to win as much as we ever did there.”
He has yet to get his championship ring from 2012, and most likely won’t until the Cubs travel to San Francisco in July.
– Carrie Muskat
Carlos Marmol most likely will keep it interesting in the ninth inning the rest of the season. At least, he listened to his pitching coach. The Pirates had two on and one out in the ninth Thursday, and had closed to within two runs against Marmol, who had been pulled from Monday’s game after failing to convert a save. Chicago pitching coach Chris Bosio then went to the mound. The message?
“Strike him out and get a ground ball,” Marmol said, “and that’s exactly what happened.”
Well, not exactly. Marmol gave up a RBI single to Gaby Sanchez, then struck out Pedro Alvarez and finally got Neil Walker to ground into a game-ending double play as the Cubs held on for a 3-2 victory Thursday, taking the first series of the season.
Said Dale Sveum on Marmol: “He was OK. It didn’t seem that way, but it wasn’t too bad.”
The Cubs didn’t exactly solve their offensive struggles Thursday, but were more efficient. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth and Starlin Castro delivered a two-out RBI single in the third to back Travis Wood, who tossed six scoreless innings.
The Cubs entered the game 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in their first two games. Castro ended the skid in the third. With two outs and Wood at second after a single and groundout, Castro delivered a RBI single to center off James McDonald (0-1). Schierholtz homered in the ninth off Jared Hughes, and drove in Anthony Rizzo, who had walked and stole second. It was Schierholtz’s first home run since Aug. 1, when he connected off current teammate Edwin Jackson, who was pitching for the Nationals at the time.
With the win, the Cubs claimed their first season-opening series victory since the start of the 2009 season, when they took two of three against the Astros.
“Our goal is to win every game, and win every series,” Schiernholtz said. “It’s a good start.”
– Carrie Muskat
Just in case you missed some of this from Monday:
* This will be the first season in which Nate Schierholtz is projected as an everyday player, and Cubs manager Dale Sveum hopes the right fielder doesn’t try to do too much. Schierholtz, a free agent who signed a one-year contract with the Cubs last December, has not gotten more than 335 at-bats with a team in a single season and that was in 2011 with the Giants. He boasts a .270 career batting average.
“He’s kind of working on a few different things than he has in the past,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Schierholtz, who was batting .294 this spring. “He’s having an OK camp. That’s probably what he’d tell you, too.
“His defense, his arm, the ability to hit left-handed, that’s a guy who hopefully is very consistent but he’ll probably be a little more on the streaky side,” Sveum said. “He’ll have to get used to seeing his name in the lineup every single day and not try to do too much to think maybe he’s got to do a lot to stay in that because he’s worked so hard.”
Schierholtz had spent his entire career with the Giants until last season when he was dealt to the Phillies.
* The Cubs are realistic. They know they don’t have much speed on the roster.
“Let’s get one thing straight, we don’t have a lot of base stealers, we don’t have a lot of what I call larceny guys,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “You won’t see a whole lot of that going on. We’re not going to try to trick people, we’re going to have to do it by being smart on the bases and being aggressive.”
Tony Campana led the Cubs last season with 30 steals, but he’s now with the Diamondbacks. Next in line was Starlin Castro, who had 25 steals.
* Every morning, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Darwin Barney put their “Breakfast” shirts on, and go to work. The three have been following a rigorous training program this spring that they hope keeps them strong during the 162-game season. The players had shirts made up that say “breakfast” to wear and help motivate them.
“My trainer sent me something, [Rizzo's] trainer sent me something and we mix and match,” DeJesus said of the workout. “We make sure everything is incorporated. It’s core, and we want to build some strength but not go crazy. We’re not going to be body builders but want to stay strong.
“People have this myth they want to maintain, maintain, but as the season goes on, it gets hot and maintaining levels go down,” DeJesus said. “You want to increase, but very minimal increase weight. You want to stay strong.”
So far, no plans for t-shirts that say “lunch” or “dinner.”
* On Wednesday, the Cubs play another night game, this time in Surprise against the Royals. Scott Feldman gets the start against James Shields. First pitch is 6:05 p.m. Arizona time and the game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.
– Carrie Muskat
Nate Schierholtz hit a solo home run and Tim Saunders added a two-run shot but that wasn’t enough as the Rangers roughed up the Cubs, 8-5, on Sunday in a split squad game at Cashman Field. Carlos Villanueva started, and took the loss, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. All of the runs off the right-hander came in the first and then he settled down.
“The good thing about today is that I know from experience that I’m going to have days like today,” Villanueva said. “To be honest, I felt I had nothing.”
There wasn’t anything wrong physically. His three previous outings had been fairly quick so it felt good to get his work in.
“Games like this I think are necessary, especially in spring,” he said. “You can’t really plan them out.”
* Up next: The Cubs travel to Peoria, Ariz., on Monday to face the Padres. Edwin Jackson will get the start. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler will be in the lineup, but on Monday, both will officially be assigned to the Minor League camp. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat
* Carlos Villanueva’s Cubs debut lasted five batters on Monday. He had a long at-bat against Dee Gordon, and eventually struck him out. Then Villanueva walked the next two batters, and one out later, Nick Punto hit a two-run single and the right-hander was lifted.
Here’s the lineup:
Other pitchers on the travel squad include Jensen Lewis, Blake Parker, Michael Bowden, Robert Whitenack and Barret Loux. Birthday boy Jorge Soler, who turned 21 on Monday, also was on the travel squad.
* Nate Schierholtz was listed in the Cubs lineup at first base for Tuesday’s game at HoHoKam. Schierholtz has never played first. Ever.
“I’ve never played first, I’ve never taken any ground balls, so I’m not sure if that’s a misprint or not,” he said.
“Not really, no,” he said. “If that’s the case, I’ll have to obviously start taking ground balls before I play in a game and get a first baseman’s glove.”
He can’t borrow one from Anthony Rizzo. Wrong hand.
“I have one at home here,” he said.
Turns out, he won’t need it. There was a typo in the lineup. Schierholtz actually gets Tuesday off and Rizzo will be starting at first.
* Scott Feldman will make his Cubs debut on Thursday. He’s been getting his work in before most people have their first cup of coffee.
“I’m working on my sleeping patterns now, trying to get up a little earlier, working on getting my body moving and grooving at 8 [a.m.],” he said.
Maybe they’re getting him ready for day games at Wrigley Field.
“I’ve been getting up before it’s even light out,” he said.
* Arodys Vizcaino, recovering from Tommy John surgery, will throw his first bullpen session on Tuesday. He has already been told that he’ll be staying in Mesa after Spring Training ends for extended spring workouts, possibly for a couple months. He most likely will not get into any Cactus League games.
* Besides being Soler’s birthday, Monday also would’ve been Ron Santo’s B-day.
* Rafael Dolis was wearing a large wall clock around his neck when he went onto the field for stretching Sunday. He didn’t have to do so Monday. Dolis was given the clock by the coaching staff because he was 15 minutes late for a 7:30 a.m. meeting. Parents, you may want to consider that when your kids are tardy.
– Carrie Muskat
GM Jed Hoyer’s search for an extra outfielder may be over. According to FOXSports.com, the Cubs have reached agreement with Scott Hairston on a two-year contract. A right-handed hitter, Hairston, 32, was expected to platoon in right with Nate Schierholtz.
Hairston has to pass a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is full, and they must make a move to open a spot for Hairston as well as pitcher Carlos Villanueva, who has yet to be officially added to the team.
Hairston’s older brother, Jerry, played for the Cubs from 2005-06.
Hoyer has said the team wanted to add some outfield depth. Alfonso Soriano, 37, will start in left with David DeJesus, 33, in center. Schierholtz, who turns 29 on Feb. 15, is a career .270 hitter covering all or part of the last six seasons with the Giants and Phillies. Hairston batted .263 with 20 homers and 57 RBIs last season with the Mets. He has an .825 OPS against left-handed pitchers. The Cubs’ other backup outfielders heading into Spring Training include Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have been busy adding pitchers this offseason. What about the outfield? GM Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that they project free agent Nate Schierholtz, who signed prior to the holidays, to be a regular in right field.
“He’s certainly going to play a ton for us,” Hoyer said. “We feel he’s a guy who has been undervalued and a guy who, with more at-bats, can thrive. He’s played in the NL West and playing 100 games that are tough hitters ballparks.”
Last season, Schierholtz batted .257 for the Giants and Phillies with six home runs in 114 games. He began the year with San Francisco, and was dealt to Philadelphia on July 31 along with two Minor League players for Hunter Pence. He made a good impression in his Phillies debut, hitting a home run against the Nationals. His playing time was limited when he fractured his right big toe on Aug. 13.
In six seasons, he has a .270 batting average, 24 home runs, 75 doubles and 123 RBIs. The Phillies decided to non-tender Schierholtz, who made $1.3 million last season. He would’ve received a raise, which wouldn’t have made sense for the Phillies because Schierholtz was projected as the fifth outfielder.
– Carrie Muskat