Results tagged ‘ Nate Schierholtz ’

7/12 Theo: “There’s a lot of chatter”

With the Trade Deadline on July 31, Theo Epstein is getting plenty of phone calls from teams interested in Cubs players. Matt Garza is high on some team’s lists, as well as relievers Kevin Gregg and James Russell and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

Garza is considered the best starting pitcher on the market.

“Obviously, he’s throwing extremely well and he’s very healthy and there are teams out there looking for pitching who are going to call and try to acquire him,” Epstein said Friday. “For us, he’s helping us win games now, there’s a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year, so we’ll just balance all that out and do what’s best for the organization.”

It is a busy time of the season.

“There’s a lot of chatter going on right now,” Epstein said. “I wouldn’t say anything major is imminent. There’s a lot of talk, and we’ll continue to stay abreast with what other teams are trying to do as their situation changes.”

This is the second year the Cubs have been sellers. That’s not a position Epstein wants to be in.

“We wanted to be buyers this year,” he said. “With a few breaks, this year, we could’ve been in a much different situation. If some one-run games early change, and different bullpen situations [it could’ve been different]. The goal every year is to be in a position where you’re looking to add and have a strong pennant push.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Brewers 9, Cubs 3

Rickie Weeks belted a two-run homer, a solo shot, and and RBI double, and Juan Francisco added a solo homer to power the Brewers to a 9-3 victory over Edwin Jackson and the Cubs Tuesday night. Jackson served up six runs over 4 2/3 innings, his third outing in the last 10 in which he failed to finish the fifth.

Francisco got things started with his home run with one out in the second off a 3-1 pitch. But Jackson singled to open the third, and one out later, Darwin Barney singled to set up Nate Schierholtz’s home run, his 11th, and go-ahead 3-1.

Francisco walked to lead off the fifth and scored on Weeks’ double. One out later, Francisco scored on Caleb Gindl’s single, his first Major League RBI, to tie the game at 3. Gindl moved up on Kyle Lohse’s sacrifice, Norichika Aoki then walked and Segura hit a go-ahead RBI double. It was Segura’s 100th hit of the season, most in the National League.

Lucroy followed with a two-run single to open a 6-3 lead, and chase Jackson. Weeks belted a two-run home run off Hector Rondon in the sixth, and added a solo shot off Shawn Camp in the eighth.

The Cubs went 1-for-10 with RISP.

6/19 Extra bases

* Anthony Rizzo was back in the Cubs lineup Wednesday, after getting a one-day “breather,” but stayed in the No. 5 spot instead of returning to No. 3. Nate Schierholtz seems pretty comfortable batting third. In four games batting third, Schierholtz is 4-for-13 (.308) with one home run, one double and two RBIs. He entered Wednesday’s game with a career-high 10-game hitting streak.

“There’s no change,” Schierholtz said of his approach. “Third to fifth isn’t a whole lot different [in the order]. You hit in the first inning always on the road but other than that, I try to keep the same approach no matter where I’m hitting. I don’t over-think it.”

He also leads the Cubs in batting with runners in scoring position, hitting .313 this season.

“I have a game plan that I go up there with and I know it changes with runners on because pitchers pitch you different,” Schierholtz said. “I just try to stick to my game plan and, like I said, not try to think too much and over-analyze anything.”

He already has more doubles (18), home runs (nine) and RBIs (26) than he totaled last year between the Giants and Phillies.

* The Cubs may make a roster move Friday when they open a three-game Interleague series against the Astros, manager Dale Sveum said. The team is currently carrying eight relievers. One option would be to activate catcher Steve Clevenger from the disabled list. He’s been sidelined since April 14 because of a left oblique strain, and was currently rehabbing with Triple-A Iowa.

* There is no timetable for David DeJesus’ return, but the outfielder will most likely be out at least one month after spraining his right shoulder in a collision last Friday at Citi Field.

“It’s one of those injuries, from the time it happened a few days ago, it’s definitely a month before he’s back on the field,” Sveum said.

Luis Valbuena has done well subbing as the leadoff man for DeJesus.

“[Valbuena] is a guy who has always been able to take his walks and see some pitches and drive the ball and do some things,” Sveum said. “So far, it’s really, really good.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/19 About last night …

Some notes from Tuesday’s win:

* Jeff Samardzija is the first Cubs pitcher to throw 8 1/3 innings or more against the Cardinals since Carlos Zambrano went nine innings on Sept. 18, 2005.

* Nate Schierholtz extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a double in the first.

* Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back to back home runs in the first, the third time the Cubs have hit consecutive homers this season, and first since Scott Hairston and Ransom did so in April against the Padres.

* Ransom’s homer was his first off a right-handed pitcher this season. He also collected his 100th career RBIs.

* Kevin Gregg is 10-for-10 in save situations.

5/30 Cubs 8, White Sox 3

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

5/23 Cubs stats can be “mind boggling”

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

5/17 Extra bases

* 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)

4/11 Schierholtz on the Giants

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

4/4 Cubs 3, Pirates 2

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

3/26 Extra bases

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