Results tagged ‘ Randy Wells ’

9/4 Cubs lineup

Bryan LaHair gets his first start Sunday when the Cubs finish their three-game series against the Pirates. LaHair, who hit 38 homers this season for Triple-A Iowa, is starting in left field. Here’s the Cubs lineup:

Castro SS

Campana RF

Ramirez 3B

Pena 1B

LaHair LF

Byrd CF

Barney 2B

Hill C

Wells P

– Carrie Muskat

8/31 August happenings

The Cubs enter Wednesday’s game with a 16-12 mark this month. It’s the team’s first winning month this season, and first August with a record above .500 since the Cubs were 20-8 in August 2008. They’ve hit 39 homers this month, most in the National League and second in the Majors. They have hit 40 homers in August four times in franchise history.

What’s the difference?

“Everybody’s healthy,” Matt Garza said. “We only have one guy on the DL [Andrew Cashner] who should be coming back in a couple days. This is the way we expected to come out of spring but when you lose [Randy Wells] and ‘Cash’ in the first week and then you have to mix and match your rotation and it was injury after injury after injury, it just seemed like it never stopped. Now that we’re all back together with the team we broke camp with, it’s fun to watch.”

After an off day Thursday, the Cubs will have 25 games remaining, including 13 road games and 12 home games.

– Carrie Muskat

8/29 Wells gets 1st CG, shutout

The Cubs had scuffled offensively in their last series, were facing two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on a cool night, and the Giants were fighting to stay in the playoff race. Who would’ve figured Randy Wells would end up with a shaving cream pie to celebrate his first complete game shutout or that Lincecum would serve up three homers?

Blake DeWitt belted a three-run homer and Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena each hit solo shots to help Wells finish August unbeaten as the Cubs roughed the Giants, 7-0, on Monday night in San Francisco. Lincecum had given up three home runs in his 14 previous outings combined, so when Soriano connected to lead off the fifth, that appeared to be it.

“At 1-0, you figure that’s the way it’s going to end,” Mike Quade said.

Wells (6-4) delivered a strong counter. He gave up two hits — a double by Andres Torres with two outs in the third and a single by pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot with one out in the eighth — and struck out seven. It’s a good finish for the right-hander, 29, who had to go on the disabled list after his first start April 4 because of a strained right forearm. Being healthy makes a difference.

He received a celebratory shaving cream pie, his first since his first win.

“It’s pretty fun,” Wells said.

Some other highlights:

* They hit three homers in one inning for the first time since June 9, 2010, when they did so in the fifth against the Brewers.

* Starlin Castro tied a career high with two doubles while Carlos Pena tied a personal best with three walks.

* This was the first time Blake DeWitt tripled and homered in the same game. Soto’s homer ended an 0-for-25 skid.

* Besides being his first shutout ever, it was Wells’ longest career start. His previous high was 8 1/3 innings on May 22, 2010, at Texas.

– Carrie Muskat

 

8/28 Extra bases

The Cubs close out their series against the Brewers on Sunday, sending Casey Coleman against Zack Greinke, who is the first of two Cy Young winners the team will face in back to back games. On Monday, Randy Wells will have to deal with the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, who won the award in 2008 and ’09. Looking ahead, here’s the pitching matchups for the three-game series against the defending World Champs:

Monday: Randy Wells (5-4, 5.53) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-10, 2.46)

Tuesday: Matt Garza (6-10, 3.68) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (10-4, 2.54)

Wednesday: Rodrigo Lopez (4-5, 4.80) vs. Madison Bumgarner (8-12, 3.59)

* After hitting .270 with runners in scoring position in July, the Cubs are batting .179 (42-for-234) this month. That includes a .157 mark in the last 13 games.

* Tony Campana and Starlin Castro are tied for the team lead with 17 stolen bases each. The last time the Cubs had a pair with at least 17 steals was 2008 when Ryan theriot swiped 22 and Alfonso Soriano stole 19.

* Aramis Ramirez enters Sunday’s game with a 16-game hitting streak. He’s batting .508 in that stretch. It’s his longest streak since a 22-game stretch May 14-June 11, 2003. Ramirez also is one home run away from tying Billy Williams as the only Cubs players to hit at least 30 doubles and 25 homers six times. Williams did so 1963-65, 1968, 1970 and 1972.

* Starlin Castro leads the National League and is third in the Majors with 169 hits. He’s on pace for 206 hits this year.

– Carrie Muskat

8/24 Cubs lineup

Marlon Byrd in not in the Cubs lineup on Wednesday as they face the red hot Braves in the third game of this four-game series. Byrd is 3-for-20 on the homestand and scuffling with men on base. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

RF Colvin

LF Soriano

CF Campana

C Soto

P Wells

– Carrie Muskat

8/17 Extra bases

A win Wednesday would give the Cubs a fifth consecutive series victory for the first time since winning nine series in a row July 28-Aug. 27, 2008. Despite losing Tuesday, the Cubs are 17-14 since the All-Star break. Since July 31, they are 12-4, the third best record in baseball behind the Brewers and Phillies.

* Casey Coleman will make his 10th start for the Cubs on Wednesday. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

C Soto

CF Byrd

LF Soriano

RF Colvin

P Coleman

* Wednesday’s game wraps up a stretch of 23 consecutive days at the ballpark for the Cubs. The stretch included 22 games, one postponement on Aug. 8 and one makeup game Aug. 11. After a much needed off day Thursday, the Cubs play host to the Cardinals and Braves at Wrigley Field. After Wednesday’s game, the Cubs will have 19 home games and 19 road games remaining. Randy Wells (4-4, 5.90 ERA) opens the homestand Friday against the Cardinals.

* The Cubs lost to the Astros on Tuesday night on a walkoff grand slam served up by Carlos Marmol. The last time that happened was Aug. 27, 2006, in St. Louis. The Cubs and Cardinals were tied at 6 in the ninth when Gary Bennett homered off Bob Howry to give St. Louis a 10-6 win. The last time the Cubs lost a game on a walkoff grand slam when they were winning was Aug. 26, 1966, in Houston. Chicago led 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth when Cubs pitcher Cal Koonce gave up a walkoff slam to Bob Aspromonte. The Astros won, 7-4.

* Cubs starters have 18 quality starts in their last 31 games since the All-Star break, and a 2.22 ERA and 12-6 record in those 18 games. In the 13 non-quality starts, they have an 8.32 ERA.

– Carrie Muskat

8/3 Extra bases

* The Cubs hit six home runs in the first four innings Tuesday against the Pirates. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it’s only the second time in Cubs history that they hit that many home runs in the first four innings of a game. The other time was May 31, 1954, against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The Cubs who connected that day were Ernie Banks, Hank Sauer (2), Paul Minner, Randy Jackson and Bill Serena.
 
The six homers tied for the most the Cubs have hit on the road in one game, now accomplished six times, most recently Aug. 20, 2004, at Houston. Six homers were the most in a game, home or road, since Sept. 17, 2006, against the Reds at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ all-time record for most homers in a game is seven, done three times, most recently May 17, 1977, against the Padres.

* Matt Garza will face the Pirates Wednesday night for the second time in his career and this season. He also faced them in his season opener April 3 at Wrigley Field, and struck out 12 in that game. The dozen Ks set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a team debut. All 12 hits off Garza were singles. He was the first Cubs pitcher to strike out 12 and not walk a batter since Carlos Zambrano did so July 22, 2005, in St. Louis.

* Starlin Castro is on pace for 205 hits. He had three Tuesday night, and now has 139 for the season. That’s second most in the National League. The shortstop leads the NL with three-hit games (now 17).

* Cubs pitchers have 12 quality starts in their last 18 games and a 2.07 ERA in the quality starts while the team is 8-4. The pitchers have a 10.31 ERA in the six non-quality starts.

* Looking ahead to the Cubs’ weekend series against the Reds, here’s the pitching probables:

Friday: Mike Leake (9-6, 3.89 ERA) vs.Ryan Dempster (-8, 4.96 ERA)
Saturday: Johnny Cueto (7-4, 1.72 ERA) vs. Carlos Zambrano (8-6, 4.46 ERA)
Sunday: Bronson Arroyo (7-9, 5.45 ERA) vs. Randy Wells (3-4, 4.89 ERA)

– Carrie Muskat

7/24 Extra bases

The Cubs will be vying for their first three-game win streak on Sunday.

“I’d like to get 12 [wins in a row],” Mike Quade said. “I’d like to see [Matt Garza] pitch well and win. If we get three, don’t think we won’t be hungry for four. It’s still a part of playing well and doing stuff consistently, whether it’s getting consistent starting pitching or driving in runs or finding a way to finish games. Three in a row doesn’t happen unless those things happen.”

* The trade deadline is one week away but Quade doesn’t think any of his players should be distracted by it.

“Show up every day and focus on who we’re playing,” Quade said Sunday about what their approach should be. “Everybody deals with stuff differently, whether it’s speculation or reality. I do think that when I look at the veterans who are here, this is not their first rodeo and this is not stuff they haven’t experienced before, whether it’s them personally or a teammate. I suppose [the rumors are] out there but I would expect them not to be distracted at all.”

* The Cubs have a tough road trip ahead, facing the three top teams in the Central Division in the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates. The rotation against Milwaukee will be Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells, and Garza will open the series in St. Louis on Friday, followed by Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez remains in the bullpen for now.

“He’d be available even through the second game in Milwaukee,” Quade said. “He’s been pretty resilient. His experience is important.”

* Garza, who started Sunday, has not let the lack of run support bother him.

“To his credit, he just keeps pitching,” Quade said. “He’s something. He shows up and he’s ready to go every day. I don’t notice any wear or tear because he’s not getting the breaks. He comes back to pitch and wants to pitch well for his club.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/20 Extra bases

Shade and water were more important than a scorecard or peanuts on Wednesday because of oppressive heat. Neither the Cubs nor the Phillies took batting practice on the field to save their energy. The Cubs trainers were emphasizing the need to stay hydrated. The official game time temperature was 97 degrees, but the heat index made it feel like 108 degrees. An on-field thermometer registered 120 degrees.

Wrigley Field organist Gary Pressy tried to help fans cool off, playing “Jingle Bells” and “Let it Snow” pregame.

* Rodrigo Lopez has posted quality starts in each of his last three outings but the Cubs have decided to put him in the bullpen temporarily. After Thursday’s off day, the Cubs will have Carlos Zambrano (6-5, 4.78 ERA), Randy Wells (1-3, 6.71 ERA), and Matt Garza (4-7, 3.80 ERA) will go in the weekend series against the Astros, which opens Friday.

Wells has not won a start since April 4, his first outing of the season. He went on the disabled list the next day because of a strained right forearm and hasn’t found his groove since returning May 28.

“He needs to make progress and I’d like to see him pitch the way I’ve seen him in the past,” Mike Quade said of the right-hander, who had a solid spring and won the fourth spot in the rotation. “I’m hoping for as good an outing as I’ve seen from him in quite some time.”

* Carlos Marmol was available on Wednesday but Quade said he’s still gauging how he uses the right-hander each day, depending on the amount of work he does on the side. The Cubs are trying to get Marmol back on track. He’s given up eight runs on five hits and nine walks over 5 1/3 innings in his last eight games. The time off gives Marmol more than just a fresher arm.

“I’d like to think [the time off allows for] some self evaluation and spending some time to think about what you need to do to get people out,” Quade said. “I know the intensity which they’ve gone about it with both [pitching coach Mark Riggins] and he and Lester [Strode, bullpen coach] is important.”

* If you have a question about the Cubs, send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com. We’ll run an Inbox on Thursday.

– Carrie Muskat

7/14 Time for the 2nd half

Before Thursday’s game against the Marlins, Cubs manager Mike Quade addressed the team. His message?

“Play better, execute better, pitch better, hit better,” Quade said. “We’ve got to be better. I talked to the guys right before the workout and it’s the healthiest group I’ve addressed since before [Randy] Wells and [Andrew Cashner] went down. Now let’s see if we can stay healthy and be a better team.”
 
Wells and Cashner were placed on the DL after their first starts of the season, so it’s been a long time since the club has been healthy.
 
“You have to put the first 90 games behind you and look forward and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Quade said.

 

 Someone asked Quade if the Cubs needed change for change’s sake:

 

“I’ve heard that used several times — not here but in other places — and I despise that wording,” Quade said. “Maybe it does apply somewhere that I’m not associated with.
 
“I think there should be reasons, whether it’s this sport or business or anything else,” he said. “It usually means people don’t want to say why they’re making changes. ‘Oh, let’s just change things.’ It’s probably because things are going well and it’s time. Every time I hear that, it’s like, ‘Be more specific, please.'”

 

 He was specific to the players.
 
“There’s a lot of things out of our control, so let’s make sure we take care of the things we can control, whether it’s executing fundamentals or whatever the case may be,” he said.
 
The Cubs went 24-13 under Quade in the final six weeks of 2010. He’s hoping for that same level of performance.
 
“What I saw last year when these guys finished up so well, you’d like to see more of the same,” Quade said. “The thing to draw from to me is these guys didn’t suddenly start beating people 9-1. We won a lot of close ballgames, we pitched very effectively, we caught the ball better than we have. We did a lot of little things better than we have now.”
 
– Carrie Muskat
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