Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

9/15 Cubs 1, Reds 0

Anthony Rizzo showed why the Cubs missed him for the last 18 games. Playing his first game since Aug. 26, Rizzo hit a walk-off home run leading off the ninth inning to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over the Reds on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Rizzo belted a 1-0 pitch from Pedro Villarreal to straightaway center for his 31st home run. Rizzo hit his 30th on Aug. 26 in Cincinnati, and then had to leave the game because of tightness in his lower back.

“First pitch, I was taking all the way, just to see his arm,” Rizzo said of his at-bat in the ninth. “The second pitch, I just let loose, and fortunately, put a a good swing on it.”

When Rizzo was running away from the celebration at home plate, he grabbed his back. Don’t worry, Cubs fans. He was joking.

“I did it on purpose, just messing around with the guys,” Rizzo said. “I definitely thought about [his back] the whole game. To get through the game tonight was nice. The next couple days, we’ll completely forget about it.”

The Reds won’t forget this one.

“It was a mistake that Rizzo took advantage of,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “[Rizzo] looked a little rusty the first couple of at-bats, then he had the infield hit, and certainly is always a dangerous hitter. But it’s typically going to be a simple mistake or someone taking advantage of something in a [0-0] game like that’s going to be the deciding factor.”

Rizzo did not have a chance to rehab anywhere, so Monday’s game was his first live action in nearly three weeks. Alfredo Simon struck him out in his first two at-bats in the first and third, and Rizzo reached on an infield single in the sixth.

“[Simon] has got a good split, I know that, and he exposed me there,” Rizzo said. “He pitched well, pitched a great game. That little infield single turned everything around.”

It was Rizzo’s third walk-off hit this season. He also beat the Marlins with a walk-off homer on June 6, and delivered a game-winning RBI single in the 12th on Aug. 10 against Tampa Bay.

“The game’s over, one swing of the bat,” Rizzo said. “It’s a good feeling. The biggest thing is the win. To win in that fashion is always fun.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/8 Cubs notebook

* Right-hander Daniel Bard, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, threw a second bullpen on Sunday. There is no timetable for him to get into a game, and he may not in the Cubs’ remaining 20 games.

“It’d be nice to see but it’s his timetable and we’ll evaluate and we’ll find out how he’s doing and how he’s feeling,” Sveum said.

Bard was sidelined most of the season with a strained abdominal muscle, and struggled with his consistency.

* Darwin Barney got a rare day off Sunday.

“His numbers against [Yovani] Gallardo aren’t staggering, so I figured it’d be a good day to give him a day going into the long road trip,” Sveum said. “We’ll get [Donnie] Murphy’s bat in there as well as [Luis] Valbuena’s left-handed bat.”

* The Cubs have a tough trip ahead as the Reds and Pirates are battling for position in the playoffs.

“You never want to be a spoiler, and not that there’s really any spoiling going on,” Sveum said since the Reds and Pirates appear set for posteason baseball. “Cincinnati is getting hot, and they’ve put themselves in the division race as well. It’ll be fun, the atmosphere in Pittsburgh as well as Cincinnati. You’re getting in that playoff type atmosphere when you’re trying to win a division, and later, it’ll be the same when we get to St. Louis. It’s good for everybody to see that and play in those atmospheres. It’s different.”

* The Cubs are one win away from matching their win total last year.

“Obviously, the difference between this year and last year is coming down the stretch, we have a lot better pitching going out there every day,” Sveum said. “Our starting pitching has been pretty good. There’s satisfaction but we’re still a long way away from where we want to be.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/9 Cubs vs. Reds

After Sunday’s series finale agaisnt the Pirates, the Cubs continue this 10-game homestand against NL Central teams on Monday, opening a four-game series against the Reds. Here are the pitching matchups:

Monday: RHP Scott Feldman (5-4, 2.84) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (3-4, 3.84)
Tuesday: RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 4.03) vs. TBD
Wednesday: LHP Travis Wood (5-4, 2.65) vs. RHP Mike Leake (5-3, 2.93)
Thursday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-7, 3.18) vs. RHP Mat Latos (6-0. 2.87)

5/24 Cubs lineup

Alfonso Soriano will get Friday off with Ryan Sweeney in the lineup and starting in left for the Cubs as they open a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Sweeney LF
Schierholtz RF
Valbuena 3B
Navarro C
Barney 2B
Feldman p

* Feldman is 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his last five starts, holding the opponent to a .192 batting average. Prior to this five-start stretch, Feldman was 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in three outings with opponents batting .263 (15-for-57). Since April 26, Feldman’s 1.27 ERA ranks fourth in the NL behind only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (0.68), the Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann (0.91) and Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (1.25). Feldman’s seven unearned runs allowed this season rank tied for third-most in the Majors. The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg has surrendered a Major-League high nine unearned runs.

2/18 Phillips felt ‘punk’d’

Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips apparently does not like to lose. The Cubs’ Darwin Barney beat out Phillips for the Gold Glove award as the top NL second baseman, and the Reds infielder is bitter.

“They picked who they picked,” Phillips told Reds reporters when asked about being snubbed from the All-Star game and Gold Glove. “Do I feel I should have gotten both of those things? Of course. I feel like I’m one of the best second basemen in the game. I’m at least in the top three. I can’t make people vote for me on the All-Star team. I can’t make myself win the Gold Glove, even though I should have. When I didn’t win, I was surprised. I wasn’t mad at all, but surprised. I thought I got ‘punk’d.’”

– Carrie Muskat

5/25 Makeup game vs. Reds

The Cubs-Reds game rained out in Cincinnati on May 1 has been rescheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on Aug. 18 as part of a day-night doubleheader. The originally scheduled game will begin at 7:10 p.m. ET. Fans with tickets dated May 1 can use that same ticket at the gate for admission to the day game with no exchange necessary.

– Carrie Muskat 

12/29 Garza hot topic

Could the Cubs deal Matt Garza? They are apparently still listening to teams interested in the right-hander. The Cubs are most likely looking for a package similar to what the Padres received from the Reds for Mat Latos and what the Athletics received from the Nationals for Gio Gonzalez, which means a lot of talented prospects. According to reports, the Blue Jays and Yankees may be the front-runners. What makes Garza attractive to the Jays and Yankees is his 23-15 record, 3.34 ERA in 56 career games vs. the AL East. Plus, he’s 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 19 games against the Red Sox.

Chicago helped its system by dealing Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for Travis Wood and two other players. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, has said Garza is “exactly the type of pitcher we want to build around” but is willing to listen as the team re-tools. They’d have to be overwhelmed to move Garza, who is under team control through 2013. Gonzalez, 26, and Latos, 24, will be under team control for at least four years.

– Carrie Muskat

9/4 Cubs probables vs. Reds

The Reds come to town Monday for a three-game series. Here are the pitching probables:

Monday, 1:20 p.m. CT: Dontrelle Willis (0-4, 4.10) vs. Matt Garza (7-10, 3.64)
Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. CT: Mike Leake (1-9, 4.12) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (4-6, 4.94)
Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. CT: Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.29) vs. Ryan Dempster (10-11, 4.75)

– Carrie Muskat

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 

5/15 Looking at positives

So, the Cubs went 3-5 vs. the Reds, Cardinals and Giants. Does Mike Quade have a better feel for his team?
 
“They talk about the fine line in this game,” Quade said before Sunday’s game was postponed because of the miserable weather. “The truth of the matter is, you take two out ofthree from those clubs and it’s a huge difference but you have to take them. You’ve got to do the things that will allow you take them and we’re not there yet.”
 
Even though they went 1-2 against the Reds and Cardinals, Quade feels his squad can beat his division rivals.
 
“Absolutely,” he said. “If you’re going to compete successfully, then there are some of the little things we need to do,” he said, citing improving the production with runners on base.
 
The Cubs did hit .309 during the homestand and a much improved .346 (18-for-52) with RISP. In their first 33 games, the Cubs hit .213 with RISP.
 
“There were more missed opportunities to score runs than anything else,” Quade said. “The problem is for each opportunity missed, where you don’t find a way to put up a crooked number, then when you do make a mistake, you go back to how magnified it is. If we’re going to continue to struggle and if run production is an issue right now, then we need to play perfect baseball in other areas so we don’t give clubs 29 outs a game or whatever the case may be.”
 
Carlos Pena said it’s important to be positive.
 
“It’s easy to look at the results and say, ‘That ball didn’t drop,’” Pena said. “We have to look back and say, ‘How was the at-bat? How was the execution? How was the contact?’ I’m doing that now. You say, ‘OK, good contact, good pitch to hit, good at-bat’ and leave it at that. It’s very hard to do because you’re not getting the reward.”
 
– Carrie Muskat
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