Results tagged ‘ Reed Johnson ’

6/17 Sunday night baseball

* The Cubs did rally in the ninth, but came up short Sunday night in a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox.

“The thing that’s going on all year long is we get into close ballgames and something breaks down,” Dale Sveum said. “We can’t score if it’s close or we just can’t make a pitch when it’s close to hold them or shut them down to get the game into extra innings. We’ve got to be better at those things — somebody stepping up and getting a big hit when it counts, not when we’re four or five runs down.”

* Paul Maholm is 0-3 with a 5.59 ERA in his last seven starts. He gave up two runs in the first, and now has an 8.31 ERA in the first inning this season.

* Reed Johnson is batting .366 in his last 28 games dating to May 11.

* Now, the Cubs head eight miles south to U.S. Cellular Field to renew their intracity Interleague series against the White Sox.

“It’ll be loud and rowdy,” Johnson said. “That’s the atmosphere you want, especially now when you’re struggling as a team. You go into a place and know there will be a packed house and it makes it easier to concentrate than when you’re playing in an empty stadium. It’ll be a good series and I think we’re playing good baseball. It seems like we can’t do those little things to finish off a ballgame. We need to get better doing those things and those ballgames will start falling our way.”

–  Carrie Muskat

6/7 Cubs lineup

The Cubs have a chance to take the series with a win Thursday over the Brewers at Miller Park. Here’s the lineup against lefty Randy Wolf:

Johnson RF

Barney 2B

Castro SS

Soriano LF

Baker 1B

Mather CF

Stewart 3B

Hill C

Garza P

– Carrie Muskat

6/3 Deja vu all over again

The Cubs have been making a lot of starting pitchers look real good, and Sunday, it was Barry Zito’s turn. Zito threw 8 1/3 shutout innings to lead the Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Cubs, who lost their 10th straight road game. The Cubs’ problems haven’t just been on the road. In 14 losses since May 16, they’ve scored 13 earned runs over 95 innings against starting pitchers, who have a combined 1.23 ERA. Zito joins John Danks, Jake Peavy, Bud Norris, A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard as starters who did not allow a run in that stretch.

“It’s the same press conference every day, a broken record,” Dale Sveum said. “I don’t know what to say to come up with something different. It’s just frustrating — I mean, golly.”

The Cubs need some kind of offense. Reed Johnson made good contact against Zito as did Starlin Castro, even though he went 0-for-4.

“Other than that, there weren’t a lot of good at-bats,” Sveum said.

In the three games in San Francisco, the Cubs have scored three runs against the Giants starting trio of Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Zito.

“If we knew the answer — give credit to them,” Hill said of the sputtering offense. “They’ve run three pretty good pitchers out there. We know Zito has had his issues in the past but he doesn’t look like the same guy. He’s competitive with all his pitches and it makes it tough on us, especially in a ballpark that’s not very hitter friendly to begin with.”

The Cubs now have lost 15 of their last 18 games, and nine of those games have been decided by two runs or less. Wood remained optimistic.

“We’re right there,” Wood said. “We’re going to win some ballgames.”

– Carrie Muskat 

5/12 Johnson prepped to pitch

If Friday’s game had gone any longer, Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson would’ve been called on to pitch. Manager Dale Sveum used all of his relievers in the 13-inning marathon against the Brewers.  Johnson didn’t know that until Saturday morning.

“I was thinking about it, actually, because of that game the other night with the Red Sox and Orioles,” he said of the 18-inning game in which two position players were called on to pitch.

“All the pressure is on the hitter at that point,” Johnson said Saturday. “I hate facing position players. It’s a lose-lose situation. You’re supposed to get a hit.”

When was the last time Johnson, 35, actually pitched?

“A long time,” he said. “I couldn’t really tell you.”

He guessed the last time he took the mound was for Temecula Valley High School in California. That is a long time ago.

“Position players always think they can pitch and pitchers always think they can hit, and it usually doesn’t work out,” Johnson said. “I probably would’ve featured some different arm angles but I wouldn’t really realize I was doing it. I’d release the ball from a different spot every time, probably throw a curve ball.

“Actually, in those situations, you just want to throw strikes, to tell you the truth, and try to get out of it,” he said.

And his velocity?

“I don’t know if I want to find out,” Johnson said. “We’ll just say I throw mid 90s.”

On Saturday, he said he’d be prepared if needed.

“Maybe I’ll go down to the bullpen and throw a side,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

5/11 Cubs vs. Brewers

The Cubs have a very right-handed heavy lineup for Friday’s game against Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf. Chicago enters the game batting .240 against left-handed pitchers, 10th best in the National League. The Cardinals are first, hitting .301. This will be Matt Garza’s first start since April 29. He was skipped one time because of the flu. Here you go:

CF Johnson

RF Baker

SS Castro

1B LaHair

LF Soriano

3B Mather

C Castillo

2B Barney

P Garza

– Carrie Muskat

4/23 Cubs lineup

The Cubs will face lefty Jamie Garcia on Monday, and Dale Sveum is getting as many right-handed hitters in the lineup as possible. Here’s the lineup:

RF DeJesus

2B Barney

SS Castro

LF Soriano

1B Baker

C Soto

CF Johnson

3B Mather

P Garza

– Carrie Muskat

4/15 Cubs vs. Westbrook

Cubs manager Dale Sveum rested some of the regulars and started Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Joe Mather on Sunday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Part of the reason is to give the players at-bats before they face lefty Mark Buehrle in the upcoming series in Miami. This way, Alfonso Soriano gets two days off — the Cubs have Monday off — to rest and stay fresh. Sveum said right-handed hitters also seem to have an edge against Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook. In his career, left-handed batters have a .275 average against Westbook compared to .278 by right-handed hitters. There isn’t much difference in those numbers but last year, lefties hit .260 while right-handers batted .316 off the Cardinals pitcher.

– Carrie Muskat

4/12 Congrats to Reed, Taryn & Tyce

Reed Johnson didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night. When he got home after the Cubs night game, his wife, Taryn, was having contractions 10 minutes apart. At 2 a.m. Wednesday, they went to the hospital and five hours later, they welcomed the arrival of Jordan Elizabeth. It’s their second child; she joins big brother Tyce.

“I was glad I was in town for it,” Johnson said Thursday, still a little bleary eyed from lack of sleep. “Tyce loves her. He’s like, ‘Not real? Pretend?’ He thought she was a doll.”

Johnson is awake enough to start Thursday in center field in the Cubs series finale against the Brewers.

– Carrie Muskat

 

3/31 Cubs 3, Angels 3, 10 innings

What went right:

Paul Maholm gave up two runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings. Joe Mather doubled and scored on an error in the fifth and Tony Campana reached on a bunt single, stole second and eventually scored on a ground out in the sixth. Reed Johnson stole home during a double steal. The bullpen did well as Carlos Marmol, Rafael Dolis and James Russell each threw a hitless inning. Dolis has not given up a run over nine innings this spring.

What went wrong:

Howie Kendrick doubled with one out in the Angels first and Albert Pujols launched the first pitch from Maholm to left to go ahead, 2-0. It’s a good thing Pujols is now in the American League. In the regular season, he has a career .564 (22-for-39) batting average against Maholm, including two home runs.

“There’s a reason I made sure no [American League] West team was on my wish list,” said Maholm, who was a free agent this offseason.

Maholm’s next outing will be Wednesday in a Minor League game at Fitch Park and then he’ll join the big league team in Chicago for Opening Day festivities on Thursday.

Quotable:

“I’ve got all the time in the world. The game’s three hours and I meet with [the media] for 10, 15 minutes a day and the rest of my job is when I see things or teaching factors of the game. That’s just the way I am. I’m more hands on, whether it’s hitting fungoes, throwing batting practice. It’s just something I do and have always done.” — Cubs manager Dale Sveum on how he’ll work with the players during the regular season, the way he has this spring.

Injury report:

Marcos Mateo continues to rehab from right elbow soreness. He will not be ready for Opening Day.

This and that:

Looking ahead, Jay Jackson will start Monday against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale and Travis Wood will close the Cactus League season on Tuesday against the Brewers. Tuesday’s game will start one hour earlier at 12:05 p.m. Arizona time and be broadcast on WGN Radio.

Up next:

Lefty Chris Rusin will start on Sunday when the Cubs travel to Tempe to face the Angels for the second straight day. The fourth round pick in 2009, Rusin was 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA at Double-A Tennessee last year and 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs lineup will be David DeJesus in right, Darwin Barney at second, Starlin Castro at short, Alfonso Soriano in left, Bryan LaHair at first, Ian Stewart at third, Marlon Byrd in center, Geovany Soto as the designated hitter, and Steve Clevenger catching. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

– Carrie Muskat

2/18 Reed & son ready to go in Cubs camp

It’s tough to say who was more excited coming to Fitch Park on Saturday, outfielder Reed Johnson or his 2-year-old son, Tyce. Johnson drove his family, including dog Yogi, from Las Vegas on Friday and arrived with young Tyce swinging his bat, ready to go.

“We kept bribing him [on the drive] — ‘We’re going to Spring Training, it’s baseball season, it’s baseball season,’” Johnson said of the message they gave his son to keep him quiet during the five-hour drive. “I’m definitely excited. I’ll keep doing this until they rip the uniform off me, that’s for sure.”

Johnson, one of the Cubs’ extra outfielders, wanted to come back to Chicago after hearing about manager Dale Sveum, who has promised he won’t tolerate any lackadaisical play.

“I think that’s a big reason why I came back as well,” Johnson said. “You see Dale and the way he approaches things and you can tell he means that. A lot of coaches and a lot of staff members can say that but you can tell it’s not genuine or they’re not going to follow through. [Sveum] doesn’t care if you’re making $15 million or $450,000. You’re going to go out there and play the game hard and if not, you’re not going to play. For players like me, that’s really refreshing because a lot of times, especially throughout the league and throughout my experiences, that hasn’t been true. If you come in with that attitude, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening with this staff.”

Johnson likes the Cubs pitching, too.

“From top to bottom, we’ve got solid guys,” he said. “I feel in 2008, every time we ran out a starter, we had a chance to win that game. I feel when you look at the starting staff we have now, you feel you have a chance to win that night. I think that’s key mentally for this team as well.”

– Carrie Muskat 

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