Results tagged ‘ Rick Renteria ’

9/14 Pirates 7, Cubs 3

Matt Szczur hit the ball hard at the wrong time for the Cubs Sunday. Szczur, one of the fastest players on the Cubs, hit into a triple play in the fourth inning sparked by Josh Harrison, who also drove in two runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-3 come from behind victory. The Cubs lost for the eighth time in their last nine games and ended their road trip 1-5. Chicago struggled to generate any offense without Anthony Rizzo (back), Jorge Soler (paternity leave) and Starlin Castro (ankle). It didn’t help when the Pirates thwarted a rally with their web gem.

Chicago led 3-0 when Chris Valaika doubled to lead off the fourth against Edinson Volquez, who then walked Mike Olt. But Szczur smacked the ball to Harrison at third base to start the first triple play at PNC Park and the first the Cubs have hit into since May 14, 2000, at Montreal.

“It was a heck of a play,” Szczur said. “I was looking for a good pitch to hit and something to hit hard, and it was probably the wrong time I hit the ball hard.”

Szczur remembers he and Logan Watkins were on the bases once for a triple play while at Class A Daytona. That was the last one he could recall.

“I thought I was going to [beat the throw],” Szczur said. “It was close. I put a good swing on it and tried to get out of the box as fast as I could. Wrong time to hit it hard, that’s for sure.”

Cubs manager Rick Renteria felt Szczur had a chance.

“He hit it right on the nose, and Harrison made a really nice play because he ended up catching it going away from him — he didn’t even back hand it, he stayed with it — and it took him right to the bag,” Renteria said.

Renteria didn’t feel that play turned the momentum in the game.

“I don’t allow our guys to put their heads down,” Renteria said. “That’s just a play that happened. We were still in the lead. That’s baseball.”

The Pirates would respectfully disagree.

“Anytime you pull a triple play, I think you’re going to feel an instant boost of energy,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s an exciting play, it was crisp, it was fun.”

Said Neil Walker: “It was huge. You don’t see that too many times, and we were in spot in the game where we were just playing flat for the first several innings, [Volquez] was having a tough time getting his rhythm, and we were having a tough time putting together some at-bats. All of a sudden, that kind of momentum carried us into the offensive side of things. Really cool to be a part of that. “

– Carrie Muskat

9/14 Renteria: “I don’t worry about my job”

Rick Renteria is wrapping up his first season as manager, and was eager to build on what the Cubs did this season. Last week, Theo Epstein complimented Renteria, saying the challenge for the rookie manager was to “provide an environment for the young players to develop and thrive at the big league level.” Renteria did just that.

Is Renteria comfortable in his job?

“Fortunately for me, the players, [the media], the front office, everybody has made it an easier transition than I would have imagined,” Renteria said. “I think everybody’s been very supportive. Everybody has a sense of what the organization is trying to do, so maybe that’s made it easier for me in my transition to manager as opposed to being a coach.”

He admitted that sometimes he’s done things that may seem a little odd, such as batting Javier Baez second — he’s more of a middle of the order hitter — and carrying an extra reliever in the ‘pen.

“There are things you do to make sure guys are gaining experience and knowledge in key situations that they need to develop those roles that they’ve fallen into,” he said.

But the Cubs development phase may be ending soon. Does Renteria expect more pressure next year?

“I don’t think it’s pressure,” he said Saturday. “It’s what you expect to do. Any club at any Major League sport is expected to win. I’ve been the first one to say it and I won’t be the last, I place expectations on myself to lead men and hopefully not get in the way and allow them to perform and win ballgames. The results are truly their process of how they play the game and giving yourself a chance. In the end if I don’t do what I was brought here to do, change is inevitable. My hope is I’m able to do a good enough job and our staff is able to do a good enough job to continue to move us forward and ultimately win.”

He isn’t losing sleep over the season.

“I’ve always said I’ll do my job and in the end, I’m always hopeful that what I do is good enough to take care of me and where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t worry about my job, never have. I’ve never done it as a Minor League coach, big league coach. I focus on my job. I think there are a lot of good things in place here. I think the organization is moving in the right direction here. I sincerely believe that. I sincerely believed that when I first interviewed for this job. It’s legitimate.”

Look at Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Both have bounced back from disappointing 2013 seasons.

“We’re all individuals and we all do what we think is best and we all have to feel comfortable in our own skins, and I think at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, good day or bad day, I want to make sure I did everything I could,” Renteria said. “If it didn’t work out, I have to put it to rest. If it did, I put it to rest, and then I go to bed. That’s the way it is, that’s the way I live my life. It’s not going to change.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/5 Cubs vs. Pirates, suspended

The Cubs will play one-plus games on Saturday to make up for Friday’s contest, which was suspended with one out in the Pirates seventh inning and the game tied at 3. Friday’s game will resume at 2 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field, and upon completion, will be followed by the regularly scheduled game, which was to start at 3:05 p.m. CT. Fans with tickets to Saturday’s game can come early.

Friday’s game was interrupted twice by rain, which has been a recurring theme for the Cubs this season. They have now had 18 delays, totaling more than 24 hours. After the second delay of 1 hour 15 minutes, two of the umpires walked around the edge of the tarp, and then signaled that the game had been suspended. This is the second game the Cubs have had suspended this year; it also happened Aug. 19 against the Giants.

“I think it was a sound decision,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Friday’s suspension. “There was some weather coming.”

Renteria has spent most of his career in San Diego, where he recalled some significant rain in 1994 or ’95, and that’s about it. He has never experienced anything like the seemingly non-stop rainfall in Chicago.

“After the first rain delay, I thought this is what’s been different,” Renteria said of his first year as manager. “It’s something we have to deal with, and it’s not me, it’s those guys. The players are the ones who have to deal with the delays and getting up and sitting down, and they’ve done a great job. They’ve dealt with it with the least amount of complaints, quite frankly. It is what it is — we can’t control the weather.”

There isn’t much the players can do.

“We’ve had bad luck because of all the rain delays and long games,” Cubs catcher Welington Castillo said. “I think we have to stay with it, because if the other team stays with it, we have to stay with it. We’ll be fine. We have a lot of young guys in here who can handle it.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/28 Finding a happy medium

On Wednesday, Starlin Castro failed to run hard after hitting a ball to center, and it may have proved costly in a loss to the Reds. On Friday, Castro doubled with one out in the sixth, tried to stretch his hit, and was thrown out at third. The Cubs are working on finding a happy medium.

“Here’s a guy who everybody gets on because he doesn’t run out of the box,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been hustling, he runs out of the box hard, gets to second base, and in that instance, he did everything I wanted him to do except now you have to make sure you see the ball in front of you.

“I said, ‘It’s OK in this instance to stay there,'” Renteria said. “I’ll take that and take being able to explain to him how to approach it better than him not getting over there. I think he showed everybody he’s willing to go ahead and do the things he’s supposed to. We have to do it consistently over a long period of time. At least he showed me something by trying to get over there and trying to make something happen.”

The Cubs are counting on players like Castro and Anthony Rizzo to be examples for the rookies, who aren’t much younger than the pair. General manager Jed Hoyer said he liked how Renteria handled Castro.

“First of all, I’d say, I’m really glad Starlin right away went and apologized to everyone,” Hoyer said. “He knew he messed up. I think it’s the wrong time right now, and Ricky knows this — [Castro] is going through a lot. He knows he made a mistake, he apologized to everyone. It’s not something you need to harp on.”

Hoyer complimented Castro’s play this season, saying he’s eliminated a lot of the mental mistakes.

“In some ways we’re asking a lot of those guys — we need those guys to show [the rookies] how to play,” Hoyer said of Castro and Rizzo.

– Carrie Muskat

8/24 Renteria to the rescue

On Tuesday, the Cubs grounds crew was short-handed and couldn’t get the tarp on the field fast enough to handle a sudden downpour at Wrigley Field. On Saturday, the crew was quick and efficient, but needed help from Cubs manager Rick Renteria and bench coach Brandon Hyde, who rescued a fallen worker from underneath the tarp.

Rain halted play at the start of the third inning Saturday between the Cubs and Orioles, and as the crew was pulling the tarp across the infield at Wrigley Field, one of the workers stumbled and fell, and was caught underneath. The crew didn’t stop, and the tarp was pulled over him.

Renteria and Hyde saw what happened from the dugout, and went to the worker’s aid.

“I just didn’t think it was good for him to be under the tarp and just reacted,” Renteria said Sunday. “Brandon went in there and lifted it and got him out.”

Weren’t they nervous going under there?

“I didn’t think about it to be honest with you,” Renteria said. “The guy needed to get out of there.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/16 The second half

The Cubs open the second half of the season on Friday against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Here are some comments from manager Rick Renteria about the first half, which he made Sunday in Chicago to reporters:

Q: What did the team accomplish in the first half?

Renteria: “I would just say more than anything they’re building their confidence. They’re playing as a team – not giving up, continuing to chip away, maintaining an attitude that grinds and doesn’t take any deficit or any part of the game [and] allow it to affect them to an extent where you see them start to fall into a low. I think they’ve been playing hard all season. That’s one of the things we were hoping to get done and I think they’re doing that.”

Q: Could you sum up the first half?

Renteria: “We’ve done well as a club. They’ve chipped away. Obviously, early, we had certain things, little things, in the game that we probably weren’t doing as well as we would like. The ‘pen was a little erratic at times. Our starting pitching was good the whole season. We’ve continued to adjust to play the game, so to speak. There have been times where we’ve had some hiccups. But all in all, I think there have been very few games where you look at our club and think ‘God, this is terrible.’ They’ve plugged away, they’ve played. We’ve been in almost every game this season.”

Q: It’s been six months since you took over as manager. How do you feel about yourself and the team?

Renteria: “I feel good about where I’m at just simply because you get to know your personnel. Coming in, you have an understanding based on reports and information you’ve had and some of the contact you’ve had with some of the players. But there’s nothing like being with them on a daily basis to get a really good feel about who they are, what they’re about. Hopefully they’re taking on some of the personality of the coaches and myself as a manager. But, all in all, you have to continue to give players credit for what they do because they’re the ones out there between the lines and playing the game.”

Q: What can Cubs fans look forward to in the second half?

Renteria: “There are more opportunities before us. We have a chance to continue to grind, play the game. We need to understand that we’re not playing for August or September. The mentality is to keep playing so you feel you want to keep playing beyond August and September. As long as they continue to play the game and give themselves a chance to win every ballgame and play collectively as they should, we’ll hopefully be competitive and come out with some victories.”

Q: After the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Theo Epstein said he saw a light at the end of the tunnel for the organization. Do you see that?

Renteria: “Honestly, I thought I could see it prior to even being hired after studying all the players that were in the system and the guys that were here. I’ve always believed, even for the last four or five months, that, based on everything we’ve seen and how these guys have been playing, quite frankly, yeah, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a lot of talent in the system and I think there’s some talent on the big league field. With attitude and work, we can continue to move forward.”

6/3 One-third mark

It’s the one-third mark in the season, and manager Rick Renteria was asked if he’s learned something about the Cubs that he didn’t know:

“A lot of things have been confirmed, more than things I didn’t know,” Renteria said. “I know the city wants a winner. I know the community would like to have their club have more success than they have. I’m trying to stay focused on things we are improving on. I think our shortstop [Castro] has done better, I think our first baseman [Rizzo] has come along. I think our pitching has done a nice job. I think some of the younger guys have shown the things they have — Olt has shown he has some pop. Junior is now playing a lot of left field, and I think he’s showing better at-bats.

“it’s just a short snippet of a season. Do I expect or hope we continue to improve and get better? Absolutely. Is it something we’ve talked about as a club? yes we have. I still try to keep my vision totally on the field and look at things we’re doing well and hopefully move forward.”

Despite his optimism, the Cubs are on pace to lose 100 games. Can they finish at .500?

“I can focus on today, and things we have to do against the Mets,” Renteria said. “I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves at the end. I’m the one who has to be held to task, and so be it.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/20 Trade chatter

Cubs manager Rick Renteria says he doesn’t listen to all the trade rumors, even though two of his pitchers, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, will likely be mentioned often.

“I’ll be honest, I really don’t concern myself with that too much,” Renteria said. “I can only control what I have before me.”

Jeff Samardzija will try for his first win of the season on Wednesday against a team that might be interested in acquiring him.

“Just because he hasn’t had the victories at the end of his scoreline, doesn’t mean he hasn’t pitched victoriously,” Renteria said of Samardzija, who is 0-1 with a 1.62 ERA, second best in the National League. “He’s pitched great. He’s mature, he’s a man who knows he’s doing what he can do, controlling what he can control, and every single time he takes the ball, he’ll try to do the same thing. Most people keep asking me if he’s getting frustrated. I see a guy going out there every single day who is as professional as I can depict any person being and knowing he can only do what he can do.”

Does Renteria need to talk to Samardzija or Jason Hammel, who also could be trade bait, about dealing with the rumors? The Cubs manager says no, and that both pitchers are “in a pretty good place.”

“If anybody has shown resiliency, it’s Jeff,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

5/10 Extra bases

* The Cubs are 2-7 in one-run games after Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Braves, and 3-13 in games decided by two runs or less.

* Mike Olt hit his third homer in as many games on Friday. He leads NL rookies with seven homers and 17 RBIs. He’s the first Cubs rookie with at least six homers by May 10 since Geovany Soto did so in 2008. That year, Soto won NL Rookie of the Year.

* Jeff Samardzija will try for his first win of the season Saturday night. He has a 1.62 ERA, second in the NL. He’s winless in his last 13 starts, dating to Aug. 24. He’s the first big league pitcher to have at least five starts, a sub 2.00 ERA and no wins by May 10 since Ryan Dempster did so with the Cubs in 2012, when he posted a 1.02 ERA in five starts but was winless.

* The Cubs bullpen has eight save opportunities this year, fewest in baseball.

* Manager Rick Renteria has used 33 different lineups in the first 34 games. The only time he used the same lineup was April 19 vs. the Reds and April 23 vs. the D-Backs: Bonifacio, Lake, Rizzo, Ruggiano, Castro, Olt, Castillo, Barney and the pitcher.

5/8 Patience

The Cubs’ offense has scuffled in three games against the White Sox, totaling four hits in each of the games, all losses. In the series finale on Thursday, Ryan Kalish and Luis Valbuena were inserted at the top of the lineup to try to get things going.

“Those are obviously important pieces,” manager Rick Renteria said of his Nos. 1-2 hitters. “The reality is we have to keep the line moving. One of the things we’re trying to do is make sure guys don’t put too much pressure on themselves. If one guy is not getting a pitch to hit, then let the next guy get it done.”

The Cubs are ranked 13th in batting average in the National League, and hitting just .195 with runners in scoring position. Renteria said he’s hoping players don’t try to do too much to turn things around.

“Right now, they’ve hit a little valley — ‘Don’t panic,'” Renteria said of his message to the players. “Do what you can, grind out at-bats, and put a nice line together and see what we can do with that.'”

Some of the players are still developing, he said.

“The biggest thing I can bring to this picture, quite frankly, is patience,” Renteria said. “They need to know that we know they have a skill set that will work, we believe that, we believe that there’s a process in which they’re adjusting and learning maybe new concepts or reaffirming concepts they’ve heard in the past.

“We’re trying to see if we can see some consistency with all the work they’re doing with [the hitting coaches],” he said. “The other thing is let them know we’re confident in them and hopefully that confidence translates into them being comfortable and going out and playing the game the way they want to.”

– Carrie Muskat

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