Results tagged ‘ Rodrigo Lopez ’

9/17 Lopez, LaHair, Campy & Barney

Rodrigo Lopez hopes he’s doing enough to get a job next year. Lopez struck out a season-high seven batters over six innings, only the second time in his past 10 starts he’s lasted at least six innings, in the Cubs’ 2-1 win over the Astros on Saturday. When left fielder Alfonso Soriano caught Jimmy Paredes’ fly ball to end the Astros sixth, Lopez raised his arms touchdown-style as he came off the field.

“I didn’t know if I was going to get the win or not, but I was like, ‘OK, I made it,'” he said.

Said Houston’s Clint Barmes on Lopez: “He hit his spots, he attacked the zone and threw the ball pretty well. That’s nothing surprising out of him, but I mean he didn’t miss very many pitches over the heart of the plate and that made him pretty effective today.”

* Bryan LaHair hit a tie-breaking home run in the fourth that proved to be the game winner. He’s now hit safely in 10 of his 11 games with a plate appearance, and is 13-for-30 (.433).

“It’s part of my plan — I’m trying to get good pitches to hit and hit them hard like I’ve been doing all year,” LaHair said.

If you count the franchise-record 38 homers he hit at Triple-A Iowa, LaHair now has 40 for the season.

“When he squares it up, it’s pretty impressive,” Mike Quade said. “He’s a big strong kid. We like what we’ve seen so far, that’s for sure.”

* Tony Campana swiped his 22nd base of the year. That leads the Cubs and is the most by a Cubs player since Ryan Theriot stole 22 in 2008. It’s the most by a Cubs rookie since Ced Landrum’s 27 in 1991.

* Darwin Barney notched his 45th multi-hit game, tops among all rookies.

– Carrie Muskat

9/15 Cubs open final homestand

The Cubs open their final homestand of the 2011 season on Friday when they play host to the Astros for three games. The Cubs also play host to the Brewers Monday through Wednesday. So far this season, the Cubs are 35-40 at home.

“I’ll probably take a few minutes during that homestand,” Mike Quade said. “Right now, I haven’t thought much about it in preparation for Houston. The last homestand, Opening Day, those things always matter a great deal. No matter what a season has amounted to or where it’s at, when it winds down, for me, whether it’s Chicago, Des Moines, you take a deep breath and go, ‘My God, we started this seven, eight months ago and here we are.’ There are times when it seems to fly by and times when you think it won’t come. It’ll be special to finish up at Wrigley Field.”

* Here are the pitching probables vs. the Astros:

Friday: Matt Garza (8-10, 3.54) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (11-10, 3.51)
Saturday: Rodrigo Lopez (5-6, 5.04) vs. Henry Sosa (2-4, 5.02)
Sunday: Ryan Dempster (10-12, 4.66) vs. Brett Myers (5-13, 4.52)

– Carrie Muskat

9/13 Lopez 4th among Mexican pitchers in W’s

With his win on Monday, Rodrigo Lopez now has 80 wins in his career, which ranks fourth all-time among Mexican pitchers. Fernando Valenzuela is the all-time leader with 173 wins and Ismael Valdez is second with 104. Teddy Higuera, who starred for the Brewers, won 94 games and Lopez is next with 80 wins.

– Carrie Muskat

9/12 Big blast

Juan Francisco’s homer in the Reds’ second inning Monday would’ve cleared not only the right field seats at Wrigley Field but Sheffield Avenue and the buildings beyond. Francisco hit a 502-foot blast, the second longest at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The ball sailed over the right field bleachers and landed on the southern sidewalk. Francisco’s homer is second only to Adam Dunn’s 535-foot homer off the Dodgers’ Jose Lima on Aug. 10, 2004, that landed in the Ohio River.

Two Cubs are on the list of 10 longest home runs at GABP: Derrek Lee hit a 482-foot shot on April 18, 2005, off Matt Belisle that ranks fifth. Alfonso Soriano hit a 492-foot homer on May 9, 2006, while with the Nationals off Brian Shackelford.

– 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

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

8/26 Cubs lineup

Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker, who are batting .355 and .340, respectively, against left-handers, are in the Cubs’ lineup Friday for the first game of a three-game set against the Brewers and southpaw Randy Wolf. Here’s the rest of the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

3B Ramirez

1B Baker

C Soto

CF Byrd

LF Soriano

RF Johnson

P Lopez

– Carrie Muskat

8/9 Extra bases

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was scratched Tuesday because of back spasms and is day to day. Blake DeWitt started at third base and batted third, his fifth start at third this year.

* If you had tickets to Monday’s Cubs-Nationals game and can’t attend Thursday’s makeup game, don’t be mad at the Cubs. The game was postponed because of rain and Koyie Hill, the Cubs player representative, said they lobbied to play a split doubleheader on Wednesday. The Nationals were already scheduled to stay in Chicago on Wednesday night and wanted to play Thursday, which was an off day for both teams.

“If our players and their players can’t agree on when to play, then it goes to the union and if they can keep from scheduling split doubleheaders and there’s another option, they’ll take the other option no matter what,” Hill said Tuesday. “The only way we could’ve gotten to play Wednesday was if Washington agreed.”

The two sides presented their preference, disagreed, discussed their options with their respective teams again, and still disagreed.

“At that point, it goes to the [players'] union,” Hill said. “[The Nationals] were flying out Thursday at 3 [p.m.], so for them it made sense. They were going to stay one more night and enjoy our wonderful city and then go to Philadelphia in the middle of our off day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much of a say.”

This was Chicago’s fourth rainout this season, the most since 2009 when five home games were washed out because of the weather. The other rainouts this year were April 19 against the Padres; April 27 against the Rockies; and May 15 against the Giants.

Tickets for Monday’s game will be good for admission to Thursday’s game, which will start at 1:20 p.m. CT.

* Darwin Barney, Andrew Cashner and Blake DeWitt took part Tuesday in a “Play Campaign” clinic for more than 60 kids at Wrigley Field, emphasizing good nutrition and activity. The campaign is sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and Athletico Physical Therapy, and was led by Cubs athletic trainer Mark O’Neal and assistant trainer Ed Halbur. Besides sessions on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs, the kids were treated to mini baseball clinics. Barney talked to them about fielding, DeWitt discussed hitting and Cashner gave some pointers on pitching. O’Neal and Halbur emphasized the importance of staying active.

All 30 Major League teams conduct “Play Campaign” clinics during the season in an effort to fight childhood obesity, which, according to the Center for Disease Control, has tripled in the last 30 years. The kids at the Cubs event were sponsored by Athletico, the official provider of physical therapy to the team, and also by Sheil Park in Chicago.

* Rodrigo Lopez will make his eighth start on Wednesday for the Cubs. He’s 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA so far compared to a 3.72 ERA in 10 relief appearances.

“I’m committed to him right now,” Mike Quade said of the right-hander. “As I look at this thing, we take it four days at a time. We’re going to play Washington, which is in the hunt still. We’ve got contenders the  rest of the month and that’s part of the reason I want to keep the pitching in line, at least a couple of the big three in each series to face these better clubs.”

The big three, in case you didn’t know, are Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.

* The unexpected off day on Monday gave the Cubs bullpen an extra day of rest and they are fully loaded. Said Quade: “That’s always a good thing.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 Extra bases – UPDATED

After pitching in four of the last five games, Carlos Marmol was expected to get Friday off. Maybe. Mike Quade said he would most likely lean toward lefty Sean Marshall as his closer on Friday instead of Marmol to give the right-hander a breather. Unless Marmol talks him out of it. Which he did, and he picked up his 24th save. In his last five games, Marmol has given up one hit over five innings and struck out seven.

“The funny thing is he still can be better,” Quade said of Marmol, who is 21-for-28 in save situations for the season. “The quality of the breaking ball is back but I’ve seen it even more devastating. He’s pounding the zone.”

* Friday was the first Cubs game at Wrigley Field since the ballpark hosted two Paul McCartney concerts, and the field was in fairly good shape. The right field corner looked beat up and there were marks leftover from the seating. Quade has dealt with having to share a facility in Oakland. The Athletics and Oakland Raiders both played at the coliseum.

“That field, for not being maybe a great stadium, the grounds were incredible and the groundskeeper there did a great job,” Quade said. “When the [NFL] preseason started, oh boy. The infield was fine but the outfield was a mess.

“You understand sometimes when the outfield gets beat up but if you wind up with offensive linemen on your infield, it’s not fun,” he said.

The Cubs played in St. Louis after Busch Stadium hosted a U2 concert and the outfield had been re-sodded.

* On Saturday, Wrigley Field will help celebrate the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. The Cubs will partner with the Dixon Park District and the Illinois Reagan Centennial Commission to honor the only president born in Illinois who was a Cubs announcer. Reagan actually was born Feb. 6, 1911. His oldest son, Michael Reagan, will attend the game and throw out a first pitch just as his father did in 1988.

* The Cubs announced updated start times for two games to be played at Wrigley Field. The Aug. 21 game against the Cardinals will start at 7:09 p.m. CT and be broadcast by ESPN. The Sept. 17 game against the Astros, which had been listed as “to be determined,” will now start at 12:05 p.m. CT and be televised by WGN TV.

* As of now, Rodrigo Lopez will stay in the Cubs’ rotation, Quade said. The right-hander was roughed up in his last start against the Pirates, lasting four innings.

* The Cubs wives will host their annual food drive on Saturday at Wrigley Field to benefit the Lakeview Pantry. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable items and will receive an autographed photo of a Cubs player in return.

* How important is pitching? The Cubs now have 14 quality starts in their last 21 games, and are 10-4 in those games.

“I don’t think it’s rocket science,” Quade said. “It starts with our pitching and our pitching has been better. I wish we would’ve put seven or eight on the board today but we didn’t but we still found a way [to win].”

– Carrie Muskat

7/29 Saturday’s starter: Rodrigo Lopez

On Saturday, Rodrigo Lopez returns to the mound for the Cubs, his first start since July 18. The right-hander has had to battle to stay in the big leagues, including spending time on the DL because he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

“It’s been tough to establish myself in the big leagues,” Lopez said. “I guess a lot of factors are involved. I don’t think my age has taken anything from my skills. My velocity hs been pretty consistent, 88 to 90 [miles an hour]. I’ve never been a power pitcher.”

 Growing up in Mexico, his hero was Fernando Valenzuela.
 
“In the ’80s, when ‘Fernando-mania’ hit Mexico, everyone started to play,” he said. “We were playing soccer, my brother and I, and baseball was a new sport, and we started playing that. That’s why I started playing baseball.”
 
Why did he become a pitcher?
 
“I’m a pitcher because I can’t hit,” he said.
 
Lopez was a catcher and shortstop but when he was 14, he was playing with boys older than he was. He couldn’t hit and the only spot open, if he wanted to play, was pitcher.
 
“My arm started getting some strength and it seemed like I had pretty good life on my fastball, so they wanted me to pitch,” he said.
 
Lopez was at a tryout where scouts had gathered to see his brother, but they watched Rodrigo pitch and signed him.
 
“Since then, I’ve been surviving,” he said.
 
– Carrie Muskat
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