Results tagged ‘ Scott Feldman ’
Scott Feldman was one pitch away from getting out of a jam Friday but he had thrown too many pitches already. Justin Upton drove in two runs, including one on a solo homer in the first, and Juan Francisco hit a key two-run single in the fifth to lift the Braves to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs on Friday at Turner Field. The Cubs wanted Feldman to be more efficient with his pitches, but he wasn’t.
“He threw a lot of pitches that were uncompetitive pitches,” Dale Sveum said of Friday’s outing. “He was managing to get through a night where he didn’t have much command of anything. He was basically one pitch away from getting out of that [in the fifth]. We didn’t want him to be at 100 pitches, but at that time, it was his game to win or lose. He could keep it at 2-1 or give it up. Unfortunately, Francisco had a good at-bat and ended up blooping one into left field and that was that.”
The Braves had loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth when Feldman walked two batters and hit another. That set up Francisco’s hit, which made it 4-1, and Feldman exited, having thrown 102 pitches over 4 2/3 innings.
“That was the at-bat of the game for me,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “[Francisco] gets bases loaded there with a 3-2 count and battles and battles. He flared one in there to give us a two-run lead and a little wiggle room.”
Feldman was making his first trip to Atlanta, but he had faced Upton before. Upton apparently remembered something. The right-hander fell behind 0-2 with two outs in the first, and then lined the next pitch over the left-field fence for his third home run.
“I had a little trouble with my command tonight and they got into some deep counts and made me throw a lot of pitches,” Feldman said. “That’s a tough lineup there. When you’re behind in the count, you can’t give in and they battled well and made me throw way too many pitches.”
Scott Hairston, starting in right field as part of the Cubs’ lineup against left-handed pitchers, led off the fifth against Mike Minor (1-0) with his first home run to close the gap to 2-1.
The Cubs were happy to no longer be shivering after opening the season in chilly Pittsburgh. But the warmer temps weren’t enough to get the offense going. They began the day with the fewest hits in the National League and lowest team batting average and slugging percentage.
“Nobody’s swinging the bat at all right now,” Sveum said. “Somebody’s going to have to step up and get hot and hopefully it’s the whole team at one team. We don’t have a whole lot going on offensively right now.”
Leadoff man David DeJesus, who didn’t start but got a pinch-hit at-bat, doesn’t have a hit yet. Neither does Luis Valbuena or Brent Lillibridge. Anthony Rizzo has one, and that was his home run on the first pitch he saw on Opening Day. The Cubs have had two hits in a row twice this season — Opening Day and again on Friday.
“It’s too soon to call it struggling,” Hairston said. “We as hitters need to go out and put together good at-bats and I think we’re all capable of doing that.”
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs open a three-game series against the Braves on Friday night. Scott Feldman will make his Cubs debut. Atlanta is starting lefty Mike Minor, so manager Dale Sveum is countering with his righty lineup.
— Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs headed into Thursday’s game 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
“We haven’t had real bad at-bats, but we obviously haven’t had the results,” Dale Sveum said. “Your approach is to get elevation with men in scoring position, whether it’s third or whatever, you get something in the air and don’t ground out to the corners. Pitchers are always trying to get you to ground out to the corners. You want to get the ball up, out over the plate.”
* After Thursday, the Cubs begin a stretch of 19 consecutive games against teams that finished above .500 last season.
“We don’t look at it as tough, but a way to show what we’ve got from the beginning,” Chicago pitcher Carlos Villanueva said. “I think it’s better we face those teams and we face good competition early on to test ourselves and see how well we are this year.
“It’s such a long season and we’re not going to think about winning one series or two series — we have to focus on winning ballgames one at a time,” he said. “It’s so cliche, it’s so boring, but it is how it is. For us to be playing tough teams now, the Braves, the Giants, the Brewers, the Reds, it’s good. We get a chance to show what we’ve got early on.”
* Scott Feldman will make his Cubs debut Friday night when the team opens a three-game series against the Braves.
“I’m kind of anxious,” Feldman said Thursday. “Sitting here, watching these games, I want to get that first one under my belt and get off to a good start.”
It’s not only a new team for Feldman, but he’s going to be pitching in ballparks and cities he’s never been in. Atlanta is on that list. The good news is that Feldman has seen the Cubs play some good defense in the first two games.
“You can get some momentum on your side with a good play,” he said. “We had it happen a couple times on Opening Day. Guys back there are pretty solid on ‘D’ so hopefully they’ll keep it going.”
* As far as Sveum is concerned, he’d like to keep the designated hitter in the American League. This year, adding the DH to the National League will likely be discussed as teams play Interleague games every day of the season.
“I enjoy the National League game, and I enjoy managing the National League game,” said Sveum, sticking to tradition.
The Cubs will need a DH May 27-28 against the White Sox, June 4-5 versus the Angels, June 28-29 when they face the Mariners, and July 2-4 versus the Athletics. They have some candidates, including switch-hitter Dioner Navarro, Steve Clevenger and Alfonso Soriano.
Some have said American League teams are at a disadvantage in National League parks because their pitchers haven’t batted as much.
“I think it works both ways,” Sveum said. “We go to an American League park and have to use a DH but we didn’t build our team with a DH. They pay people a lot of money to DH. That’s part of their game. We’re fortunate because our pitchers can swing the bat pretty good and that’s an advantage to us.”
* Matt Garza will join the Cubs Friday in Atlanta and was to begin throwing off the mound. Second baseman Darwin Barney, rehabbing from a laceration in his left knee, is able to swing in the batting cage, but still needs to keep his leg extended.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs travel to Surprise Wednesday night to face the Royals in their next to last game in Arizona. Scott Feldman will get the start. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Arizona time. Starlin Castro was scratched because he’s headed to New York to be with his girlfriend, who is expecting the couple’s first child. Here’s the lineup:
— Carrie Muskat
Just in case you missed some of this from Monday:
* This will be the first season in which Nate Schierholtz is projected as an everyday player, and Cubs manager Dale Sveum hopes the right fielder doesn’t try to do too much. Schierholtz, a free agent who signed a one-year contract with the Cubs last December, has not gotten more than 335 at-bats with a team in a single season and that was in 2011 with the Giants. He boasts a .270 career batting average.
“He’s kind of working on a few different things than he has in the past,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Schierholtz, who was batting .294 this spring. “He’s having an OK camp. That’s probably what he’d tell you, too.
“His defense, his arm, the ability to hit left-handed, that’s a guy who hopefully is very consistent but he’ll probably be a little more on the streaky side,” Sveum said. “He’ll have to get used to seeing his name in the lineup every single day and not try to do too much to think maybe he’s got to do a lot to stay in that because he’s worked so hard.”
Schierholtz had spent his entire career with the Giants until last season when he was dealt to the Phillies.
* The Cubs are realistic. They know they don’t have much speed on the roster.
“Let’s get one thing straight, we don’t have a lot of base stealers, we don’t have a lot of what I call larceny guys,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “You won’t see a whole lot of that going on. We’re not going to try to trick people, we’re going to have to do it by being smart on the bases and being aggressive.”
Tony Campana led the Cubs last season with 30 steals, but he’s now with the Diamondbacks. Next in line was Starlin Castro, who had 25 steals.
* Every morning, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Darwin Barney put their “Breakfast” shirts on, and go to work. The three have been following a rigorous training program this spring that they hope keeps them strong during the 162-game season. The players had shirts made up that say “breakfast” to wear and help motivate them.
“My trainer sent me something, [Rizzo’s] trainer sent me something and we mix and match,” DeJesus said of the workout. “We make sure everything is incorporated. It’s core, and we want to build some strength but not go crazy. We’re not going to be body builders but want to stay strong.
“People have this myth they want to maintain, maintain, but as the season goes on, it gets hot and maintaining levels go down,” DeJesus said. “You want to increase, but very minimal increase weight. You want to stay strong.”
So far, no plans for t-shirts that say “lunch” or “dinner.”
* On Wednesday, the Cubs play another night game, this time in Surprise against the Royals. Scott Feldman gets the start against James Shields. First pitch is 6:05 p.m. Arizona time and the game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.
— Carrie Muskat
Alex Castellanos hit a three-run home run to lift the Dodgers to a 5-4 victory Thursday over the Cubs. The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 11,118 at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium to benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation. Green was 9 years old when she was killed in the 2011 Tucson shooting that critically wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Her father, John Green, is a supervisor of amateur scouts for the Dodgers, and her grandfather, Dallas Green, is the former general manager of the Cubs.
Scott Hairston singled to lead off the Chicago second and was safe at second on a throwing error by pitcher Stephen Fife, who was trying for a double play on Dave Sappelt’s grounder but threw into center field. Hairston moved up, and scored on Brent Lillibridge’s single. Castro made it 2-0 in the third with a solo home run. Lillibridge doubled to lead off the fifth and scored on Scott Feldman’s single to close to 4-3.
Feldman, who will start the fourth game of the regular season for the Cubs, gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings. He’s been hitting well this spring. But that’s not a high priority. The right-hander admits he still has work to do, and will have some time. Feldman is slotted into the No. 4 spot in the rotation and will open the Cubs’ series in Atlanta on April 5.
“I feel pretty good with three out of four of my pitches but the changeup is one I haven’t thrown enough in spring, and the ones I have thrown, they’re not game ready,” Feldman said. “It’s something I need to hammer out the last 10 days or however long I have to pitch. It’s something I have to work on a lot and get it straightened out.”
It’s tough to gauge pitchers in Arizona because the dry air makes it difficult to get a good grip on their breaking pitches. But with Matt Garza and Scott Baker sidelined because of injuries for the start of the season, Feldman becomes a key piece in the Cubs’ rotation.
He is making the transition from the American League to the National League at the plate. With two on and none out in the fifth, Feldman lined a single to left center, perfectly timed as the shortstop was shifting to cover second base. The first person Feldman looked for in the dugout? Assistant hitting coach Rob Deer, who talked to the pitcher during batting practice.
“He tried to take credit for that hit,” Feldman said of Deer. “He told me, ‘If you get a hit today, I better be the first one you look at when you’re standing at first.'”
Feldman is now 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBIs. Did Deer say anything helpful?
“He’s Rob Deer,” Feldman said. “He’s a better hitter than I am. I’ll listen to it.”
* Up next: On Friday, the Cubs travel to Maryvale to face the Brewers. Carlos Villanueva will get the start against his former team. The right-hander, who will open the season in the rotation, will be making his fifth spring start, and is hoping to bounce back from a rough outing in Las Vegas against the Rangers. Friday’s game will be broadcast on WGN TV and Cubs.com.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs face the Dodgers in Tucson on Thursday (and a split squad will face the Mariners in Peoria Thursday night). The game in Tucson vs. the Dodgers is a fundraiser for the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation. She was the young girl killed in the tragic shooting involving Gabby Giffords. The game in Tucson will not be broadcast; WGN Radio will handle the night game vs. the Mariners. Here’s the lineup vs. the Dodgers:
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs and White Sox square off on Friday at Glendale in a split squad game for the Cubs. Scott Feldman will start while the other half of the team faces Team Japan in an exhibition game at HoHoKam Stadium. This is the last meeting between the intracity rivals until a four-game home and road series May 27-30. This will be different than the six-game Interleague series the two teams have played in the past.
“I like it,” said Brent Lillibridge, a non-roster invitee for the Cubs, who has played for the White Sox in these games in the past. “Especially last year, after doing it for four years with the White Sox, it was a great experience and a lot of fun, but last year, I think the fans got stagnant a little bit and there wasn’t the intensity right away.
“I don’t know exactly why they changed it to four — I think because there’s so much Interleague play happening,” he said. “I think this will work good. A smaller series, even though it’s a four-game series — although it’s hard to win a four-game series — the less games will make it more fun for the fans who look forward to it. Also, away or home, you’re still at home. Two, you get to play in your own city and your fans for that time, it’s exciting and I like how it’s going. In the end, obviously, the most important thing for Chicago is they want to see that seven-game series and the World Series.
“[Intracity series] are always a great thing. Basically every city that has two teams loves that. It’s a great time of trash talking and all the stuff. Fans love it. I like that there are a few less games so it’s not dragged out process. We’ll just get them out of the way, have fun playing them and move on to playing our division.”
Do the players see them as exhibition games? Lillibridge says no.
“There’s a better vibe, more excitement, there’s more of a playoff feel to it because the fans are so rowdy,” he said. “We enjoy seeing the fans get at each other verbally and chanting, ‘Go White Sox’ and during the seventh inning stretch, screaming out. That’s the fun stuff about it. That’s why it’s been a fun part of the season every year. I think the four games is a good medium for going forward.”
Friday’s lineup at Glendale:
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs play host to the Padres at HoHoKam Stadium on Sunday. Scott Feldman will get the start. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com with Len Kasper doing the play by play. Junior Lake was scratched from the lineup because of a sore shoulder. Christian Villanueva will start at third. Here’s the lineup:
— Carrie Muskat
Cedric Hunter hit a three-run home run, Jason Kipnis added a solo shot, and Michael Bourn hit a RBI single to power the Indians to a 9-2 victory Saturday over the Cubs and Javier Baez, who smacked a two-run homer in the first.
The Cubs struck first in the first. David DeJesus doubled to lead off against Indians starter David Huff and Baez followed with his second spring home run. Baez’s home run gave him six RBIs this spring, tied for the team lead with Dioner Navarro.
Baez will eventually be assigned to the Minor League camp but he’s batting .360 this spring, and has had some good at-bats.
“They know I can play the game,” Baez said, “but I still have to learn a lot of things.”
The game featured three pitchers projected for the Triple-A Iowa rotation in Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera. Rusin started and threw three shutout innings, giving up three hits, while Raley served up three runs on four hits and one walk over 1 1/3 innings. Cabrera was charged with five runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings. Welington Castillo, who caught all three, said Raley and Cabrera had trouble because they fell behind in the count.
* Cubs up next: The Cubs will play host to the Padres at HoHoKam Stadium on Sunday, sending right-hander Scott Feldman against former Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis. This will be Feldman’s third spring start. He’s given up eight hits and walked three over four innings so far. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com. Here’s Sunday’s early lineup:
— Carrie Muskat