Results tagged ‘ Scott Hairston ’
As we celebrate the anniversary of the last cycle by a Cubs batter (Mark Grace, May 9, 1993, vs. the Padres), it’s time for a Cubs Inbox. Have a question? Send it to: CubsInbox@gmail.com. Here goes.
Q: Who leads Major League Baseball in blown saves since 2008 — individual and by team — and where do the Cubs and Carlos Marmol rank? I know it’s not a friendly stat but I am curious. — Steve T., Phoenix, AZ
A: Here you go:
Most blown saves: 2008-13
1. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Qualls, 30 each
4. Kevin Gregg, 29
5. J.J. Putz, 27
6. Carlos Marmol, 26
7. Juan Carlos Oviedo, 24
8. Rafael Betancourt, Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon, 23 each
12. Jon Rauch and Fernando Rodney, 22 each
Most blown saves, teams 2008-2013
1. Brewers, 123 blown saves
2. Nationals, 121
3. Orioles, 119
4. Marlins, 117
5. Rockies and Mets, 113
7. Mariners, 112
8. Angels, 111
9. Cubs and Cardinals, 110
This season, the Diamondbacks have two pitchers who lead MLB in blown saves: J.J. Putz (4) and David Hernandez (3). The Cubs’ Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol both have two blown saves. Here are the individual leaders since ’08:
2012: John Axford, Brewers, 9 blown saves (Marmol 3)
2011: Marmol, 10 (tied with Angels’ Jordan Walden, 10)
2010: Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 10 (Marmol 5)
2009: Brad Lidge, Phillies, 11 (Marmol 4)
2008: Manuel Corpas, Rockies, and Kevin Gregg, Marlins, 9 each (Marmol 2)
2012: Brewers, 29 blown saves (Cubs 21 blown saves)
2011: Nationals, 27 blown saves (Cubs 24)
2010: Orioles, 27 blown saves (Cubs 14)
2009: Mariners, 28 blown saves (Cubs 18)
2008: Mariners, 31 blown saves (Cubs 24)
Q: Carlos Marmol had all spring to get it together. I say, release him, and bring up Chris Rusin. What say you? — Louis M., San Marcos, CA
A: Marmol went through the same rough start last year. The difference this season is that Dale Sveum acted sooner. Since the May 4 game against the Reds, Marmol has made two appearances, given up two hits and walked one over 2 1/3 innings, and has not allowed a run. It seems he needs to hit rock bottom. Last season, Marmol was able to get back on track after the All-Star break, posting a 1.52 ERA in 30 games, and going 12-for-13 in save situations. Marmol has to realize he’s not unhittable.
“He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”
This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract, and he is being paid $9.8 million. It’s too early in the year to just dump him. He’s one of the seven pitchers in the Cubs’ bullpen, and Bosio and Sveum have to figure out a way for him to contribute.
As for Rusin, I’d keep him at Triple-A Iowa and let him develop as a starter. He has a bright future.
Q: I’m wondering why Scott Hairston is not being considered an every day outfielder after hitting 20 home runs last year? How many at-bats is he projected to get this year? — Anthon S., Seattle
A: I can’t give you a number for how many at-bats Hairston will get this year but do know he hasn’t done enough to warrant every day status. Hairston batted .172 (10-for-58) this spring, and he’s batting .132 (5-for-38) so far. Plus, he’s been used in a platoon against left-handed pitchers, and is 3-for-30 and all three hits have been home runs.
Q: After this year, what will happen to Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa? Do the Cubs own either facility? Would any other Major League team be interested in coming in and rehabbing the facilities? — Don W., Simpsonville, SC
A: The Athletics will be moving into HoHoKam and Fitch after signing a 20-year lease with the city. However, there won’t be spring games scheduled there for 2014. The A’s have plans to do some remodeling at HoHoKam, including widening the seats, installing a video scoreboard and updating the clubhouse. The Cubs have to remove all of their stuff from the two facilities at the end of this year.
Q: I just wanted to say, three years ago, I got a 4×4 Cubs alternate jersey logo tattooed over my heart. I cannot wait to put “World Champions” over it when we win it all. — Chuck L., Janesville, WI
A: I’m sure the Cubs appreciate the support but I think I would’ve gone with “Mom” instead.
* Travis Wood now has opened the season with six quality starts. In 17 quality starts this year, Cubs pitchers have a 2.08 ERA and only six wins. Only four NL teams have more quality starts than the Cubs.
* Scott Hairston hit a two-run home run. Three of his four hits this season have been home runs, and all three have come off left-handed pitchers.
* Carlos Marmol has made 10 straight scoreless appearances dating to April 8 against Milwaukee. However, in his last five appearances, Marmol has either given up a hit, a walk, or hit a batter.
* With Thursday’s 4-2 loss, 23 of the Cubs’ 28 games have been decided by three runs or less, and the team is 9-14 in those games. More than half of the 17 losses (10) have been by two runs or less.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs may be a little unconventional these days as far as their closer is concerned, but it’s working. Kevin Gregg picked up his fourth save, Darwin Barney hit a pair of RBI doubles, and Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom smacked back-to-back home runs to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory Monday night over the Padres for their fourth win in the last five games.
Gregg, who signed after being released by the Dodgers April 15, now has converted a save in each of his last four outings. However, manager Dale Sveum refuses to name him or anyone else the closer.
“For whatever reason, guys are getting the job done and getting big outs when we have to get outs,” Sveum said of his collection of relievers. “That’s the key is making pitches when you need to.”
Michael Bowden picked up the win in relief of starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out eight in five innings to raise his season total to 47, among the tops in the NL. It’s the second most K’s in Cubs history in the month of April, behind Matt Garza, who fanned 51 in 2011. Samardzija now is 0-4 with a no decision since his Opening Day victory over the Pirates. He had a tough time getting a grip on the ball, still bothered by right index finger that he cut trying to make a bare-handed grab in last start.
“Too many walks,” Samardzija said. “You can’t put that many guys on for free. Just pitching in a lot of situations where you have to battle and make bigger pitches makes it harder on yourself.”
The Cubs’ 6-7-8 hitters provided the offense. Ransom and Barney also made solid defensive plays, including a running bare-handed grab by Ransom on Jedd Gyorko’s grounder with the bases loaded in the seventh. Ransom was able to get the Padres’ second baseman by a half step.
“You take a million ground balls and hope to have the opportunity to catch it and throw it,” Ransom said. “Checked swing, and it was a little strange off the bat and it came off a little harder than I thought it would and made it to me and luckily for us, Gyorko didn’t run that well.”
“That bare-hand play saved the game for us,” Barney said.
All 25 of the Cubs’ games this season have been decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record, and second most to start a season all-time in the Major Leagues. The 1914 Tigers have the longest streak at 33 games.
The Cubs are ready to turn the calendar. It’s been a tough April.
“Let’s be honest — we’ve played some really good teams in the first month,” Samardzija said. “You’ve got the defending World Champs [the Giants], you’ve got the defending [American League West champs, the Rangers], you’ve got the Brew Crew at their place, and Cincinnati. We knew we’d have to come out and be on top of our game in April.
“It could easily be flipped around and we could be 15-10 instead of 10-15,” he said. “They say you don’t win or lose the season in April. I feel we’re good where we are. … Let’s get a little momentum going and see what happens from there.”
– Carrie Muskat
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’ game Friday night against the Reds was called after 1 1/2 innings because of rain. Scott Hairston hit a solo homer with two outs in the first, but it doesn’t count in the spring stats. Nick Struck started for Chicago and gave up a sacrifice fly and also committed a throwing error as he threw to second for an attempted pick off — but there was no one covering second. The game will not be made up.
On Saturday, the Cubs play host to the Indians at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. Brooks Raley will get the start and be followed by Alberto Cabrera. Here’s the early lineup:
* Looking ahead, Scott Feldman will face Jason Marquis and the Padres on Sunday at HoHoKam.
– Carrie Muskat
Scott Hairston hit a solo home run and Brian Bogusevic added a RBI double but that was it for the Cubs as they lost 3-2 to the Rangers on Wednesday. Hisanori Takahashi took the loss, giving up three runs on five hits over three innings in his first Cactus League start. The Cubs are considered Takahashi for a spot in the bullpen as a long relief man. Right now, James Russell is the only lefty set for the ‘pen. Hector Rondon, the Rule 5 Draft pick, had another good outing. In four games, he has given up two hits and struck out two over four innings.
– Carrie Muskat
Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in three runs, including a pair on a double in the second, and Brian Barden hit a two-run single in the fifth inning to lift the Dodgers to an 11-7 win over the Cubs Wednesday.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the first and a run scored on a wild pitch by starter Brooks Raley. Chicago then batted around in the first against Aaron Harang. Luis Valbuena doubled to lead off and scored one batter later on Anthony Rizzo’s single. Rizzo was forced at second on Alfonso Soriano’s fielder’s choice, and Nate Schierholtz hit a RBI single to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. One out later, Welington Castillo walked to load the bases and Darwin Barney followed with a two-run single.
The Dodgers loaded the bases again in the second against Raley, who was then pulled. Hairston greeted Trey McNutt with a two-run double and Alfredo Amezaga hit a RBI single to tie the game at 4. Hairston then scored on Hanley Ramirez’s sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers loaded the bases again in the third, taking advantage of a fielding error by Scott Hairston, Jerry’s brother, who muffed Yasiel Puig’s fly ball, and Elian Herrera hit a RBI single, Jerry Hairston added a sacrifice fly, and Amezaga hit a RBI single, his third hit of the game.
A Cubs run scored on a throwing error by third baseman Omar Luna in the third, and another scored on a throwing error by shortstop Dee Gordon in the fourth.
* One of the Cubs’ highlights came in the eighth when top prospect Javier Baez knocked down Gordon with a line drive lead off single.
“I think I’ve seen balls hit as hard, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball hit harder,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “That was like balls that [Gary] Sheffield used to hit.”
“You don’t teach the kind of bat speed Baez has,” Sveum said. “That’s special and comes around once in a while.”
Baez, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, didn’t say anything to Gordon about the rocket.
“It felt pretty good,” Baez said. “If you hit a ball like that all the time, you’re going to be great, you’re going to feel great. You just have to get on base no matter how.”
– Carrie Muskat
* On Wednesday, Scott Hairston put a Cubs cap on for the first time in his life. He should’ve done so sooner. He grew up in Illinois, prepping at Naperville North High School, and his father played for the White Sox and his brother, Jerry, played for the Cubs. Hairston, who signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs on Sunday, joined the team officially for the first time Wednesday at Fitch Park.
“I was a fan of the players on the Cubs, but my dad played for the Sox, so I was a Sox fan,” he said about growing up. “I used to love coming to Wrigley Field and the history, especially in the late ’90s when Sammy [Sosa] was doing his thing. I sat in the bleachers a few times when he was hitting all his home runs. That was a good time to be in Chicago.”
Coincidentally, Hairston will wear No. 21 with the Cubs, which also was Sosa’s number.
“It’s Sammy’s,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want it? Who wouldn’t want to be 21?”
* Give Dale Sveum an assist in convincing Brent Lillibridge to sign with the team.
“I like to get a feel for the manager, especially in a situation like this,” said Lillibridge, a non-roster invitee. “I wanted to just talk baseball. [Sveum] really sold me on so many different parts of it and was real honest with me. That’s what you want from the manager and the whole organization.”
Now, his wife is already scouting for a place to rent in Chicago. They know the area. He played 3 1/2 seasons with the White Sox, then was traded twice last year — once to the Red Sox and again to the Indians.
He could be the utility player the Cubs need. Anthony Rizzo will be the main first baseman, but there is no backup. Catchers Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro will get some playing time at first in Spring Training just in case but Lillibridge could be the guy. It helps that he has played outfield and shortstop as well.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it gives you a huge edge in the National League,” Sveum said of Lillibridge’s versatility. “He’s got some sock in his bat for a guy who looks like he’s 150 pounds soaking wet.”
* Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija all threw bullpen sessions on Wednesday. All looked good but Sveum was really pleased with Samardzija.
“You would’ve thought it was playoff time,” Sveum said. “That was about as dominant a bullpen as you’re going to see. It was pretty impressive to watch him throw those 30 pitches today.”
The trio of pitchers give the Cubs something they didn’t have, which is power arms.
“It’s nice as a manager, the players, the organization, to know you have three guys who have no-hitter stuff when they walk up on the mound,” Sveum said. “One, they have experience; two, they have great stuff; and three, they all throw over 95 miles an hour, which is always a huge plus.”
* Keep an eye on Brett Jackson. He has changed his swing, and it should pay off.
“I think it’s going to benefit him a lot,” Sveum said of the changes made during a week in November. “A lot of these things, you’re optimistic about change and making adjustments and stuff, and as a player, you really want the games to get going because it all feels great, but how’s it going to work in a game? That’s the final piece of the puzzle.”
* The Cubs front office bunting tourney gets underway Saturday to determine the final spot in the field of 64. GM Jed Hoyer will face Theo Epstein in the first round, with the media relations staff facing several of the clubhouse crew.
– Carrie Muskat
There’s frost on the fields at Fitch Park for Tuesday’s first workout of pitchers and catchers. How cold is it? Hitting coach James Rowson, who was working with some early bird position players in the cages, needed some winter head gear.
* Pitchers Dayan Diaz and Hector Rondon were the only ones who failed to report on Monday. Both were delayed because of visa problems. Rondon is the Cubs’ Rule 5 pick.
* Pitchers scheduled to throw Tuesday include: Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Kyuji Fujikawa, Travis Wood, Barret Loux, Alberto Cabrera, Carlos Villanueva, Brooks Raley, Michael Bowden, Jensen Lewis, Drew Carpenter, Robert Whitenack, Rafael Dolis, and Hisanori Takahashi.
* For those of you interested in uniform numbers, new Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston will wear No. 21.
* Kerry Wood is in camp as an extra instructor. No talk of a comeback.
* Casey Coleman spent part of his offseason rehabbing at D1 Sports in Knoxville, Tenn., which is co-owned by Peyton Manning. Coleman was shut down in August after feeling some discomfort in his right shoulder, and didn’t resume throwing until December. Now, he’s trying to build up strength. The right-hander has bounced between starting and relieving, but says this year, he’s been told he’ll be used solely in relief.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs added to their bench on Sunday, signing free agent outfielder Scott Hairston to a two-year, $5 million contract. Tony Campana was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Hairston batted .263 with 20 homers and 57 RBIs last season with the Mets. A right-handed hitter, he has played for the Diamondbacks, Padres, Athletics, and Mets, and has a career .247 average. Hairston could platoon in right field with left-handed hitting Nate Schierholtz. Hairston’s older brother, Jerry Jr., played for the Cubs from 2005-06.
Campana, 26, who was popular among Cubs fans because of his speed, batted .262 with nine doubles, one home run, 54 stolen bases, a .306 on-base percentage and a .300 slugging percentage in 184 games over the last two seasons.
– Carrie Muskat