Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Have The Cubs Red The News?

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All right, so the Cubs had it bad yesterday. Losing 4-1 against the division rivals Cincinnati Reds is a hard one to take.

The good news is Jeff Samardzija tied a major league record and for the Cubs, it wasn’t a bad record. The Shark had two putouts in an inning and Anthony Rizzo tied for most assists in an inning by a first baseman.

So you see, not all was bad with the loss. Now, going into the game the Cubs hadn’t scored in 24 innings. I don’t know about you guys, but a team doesn’t win championships like that. Plus, when your ace pitcher hasn’t won since August 24, that’s ten starts for all you folks keeping score at home; there’s a problem. The problem doesn’t lie with Jeff because he’s been playing pretty good ball.

“I concern myself more with the way we approach the game,” Rick Renteria said. “If our approach is good and we’re really focused on what we’re supposed to be doing both at the plate and in the field, I’m good with it. Today, I think we were a little sloppy in general, and Jeff really kept us in the ballgame throughout.”

No, I’m not talking about Jeff Samardzija. I’m talking about that little guy stuck between second and third base. Yeah Starlin, you’re having a bounce back season and I’m happy for you, but try not wearing that blue balaclava under your ball cap and you might just not drop some balls. I know it’s cold in Chicago, but I’m Canadian and it gets just as cold. Put your toque on in the dugout and then take it off when you get out on the field. Don’t forget your long underwear. I’m just trying to help.

“We’re not playing a fifth-place team,” Jeff Samardzija said of the Reds. “They’re a complete team. They can hit, they can play defense, they can pitch. … When you play the Reds, Cardinals and Pirates and the Brewers now, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game and play clean defense and put some runs on the board and pitch well if you want to win games.

That’s what the Cubs are having trouble with right now is putting some runs on the board. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know who can help with that.

Back to you, Theo.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Could Use Javier Baez Now, Mr. Epstein

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If the Cubs have any hopes in competing this season, I think they should call up Javier Baez. He’s a fan favourite and was tearing it up in Spring Training. Imagine the youth movement on the team with Junior Lake, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Baez? Yes folks, they might not be playoff bound, but fans would surly clamour to the Ivy Field this season not only to share in the centennial bash, but to witness some deep long balls.

The question remains though, Is Javier Baez ready?

I’m sure Baez would answer with an enthusiastic, Yes!

All right, management doesn’t want to rush him and I sympathise with them, but consider the draw he’d be? Listen, I like Darwin Barney but his days are numbered. The Cubs can get someone decent in return.

Javier Baez is on the injured list but when he gets back, the Cubs need him. The excitement he brought in Spring will only continue this season. He needs a real test and it’s not in Triple A. To be honest, I’m glad the Cubs pencilled Mike Olt in for the season, but out of the two, I really did think that Javier Baez was the guy they would keep in the season instead of him. You know, out of the two.

Theo Epstein needs to keep his job. He has to infuse some sort of shot into the team to prove to the fans and critics alike that his rebuilding plan is working. Calling up Javier Baez would be a great start and a vote of confidence in him that he’s doing the right thing.

Javier Baez only has a sprained ankle, it’s a minor injury and should heal well. if the Cubs do call him up, they’ll have to make sure he has limited playing time and that’s ok with me. We know he can hit the long ball. I mean those things are rockets. He was tearing it up in Iowa before getting injured and all he needs to do once he gets back is play a few games and then get called up.

Theo, if you’re reading this, the Cubs need Baez. Now.

Believe it!

—Mark

Tanaka, The One That Got Away.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees

I have a theory about everything that went wrong with yesterday’s double header in New York:

The Cubs are saving the Yankees for their return gig at Wrigley Field next month. Yup, that’s what I’m sticking too.

So, in the first game of the double header, the Cubs watched in awe at the one that got away in the form of Masahiro Tanaka, that Japanese ace the Cubs almost signed in the offseason. He struck out ten over eight innings, that’s pretty darn good if you ask me.

“He threw well,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “His split had tremendous dive. He can elevate to change your eye level. He can work both sides of the plate.”

The Cubs had a great chance in the seventh inning off an Anthony Rizzo bunt that put two on with nobody out but Schierholtz sent one up the gut that bounced off Tanaka’s glove. The play went under review and he was out at first.

Was it a lesson on how good the Yankees can be with Tanaka or just how much the Cubs still have to learn this season.

The truth is that the inexperienced Cubs didn’t stand a chance against the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo had a pretty good day, but the more I see Nate Schierholtz, the more I think he’s not the same player he was last year.

The Cubs have a day off before facing the Reds tomorrow at Wrigley Field. It’s not going to be an easy one either for the Cubs.

“I don’t want to say that has anything to do with it,” Renteria said of the conditions and timing. “The reality is both teams play in it. [On] the off-days, we still worked, we still got in here and were able to hit. Today, they took batting practice on the field. No, we just weren’t able to put anything together.”

—Mark

Cubs Plan On Mauling Yankees In Double Header

The Cubs will play as Ernie Banks famously said, “Let’s play two.” today. They will celebrate Jackie Robinson today. Call them what you will, I’ve got a few choice words for those maligned Yankees, but they deserve the respect and admiration as being the class organization that they are.

Jason Hammell will get the ball in the first game and Travis Wood goes tonight. Right now, the Cubs sit last place in the Central but don’t let that fool anyone because the Cubs have shown some resilience in the young season. Guys like, Bonifacio, Rizzo and Castro have all played extremely well considering the circumstances. Coach Renteria has shown that he’ll stand up for the players by calling for the replays and challenges even going so far as to get tossed out of the game at one point.

Are the Yankees going to be tough?

“They’re a perennial powerhouse and find a way to win, and the organization is committed to their players. That’s how they do it,” Hammel said. “That being said, there’s still a way to beat them. I’ve faced them many times and had some success. You just have to keep the ball down there.”

The two clubs aren’t that much different in their record. The Cubs are 4-8 while the Yankees are sitting with a record of 7-6

—Mark

Jackie Robinson, the Cubs and the Feds

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We talk about “Game Changers” you know the players like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldshmidt and Andrew MCutchen. These are guys that are big hitters and superstars nobody else in the game today. With a single hit, catch and just plain old work ethic excites fans and teammates alike. We can have players like Babe Ruth, Stan Musiel, Ernie Banks and Ted Williams, but there will never be another player in the history of the game like Jackie Robinson.

Not only did Jackie Robinson break down barriers, but he signalled to everyone that baseball is everybody’s game. Today, Major League Baseball pays tribute by wearing number 42 on every jersey across the league. The Cubs play the Yankees wearing number 42 on the old vintage Chicago Feds jersey.

Thank you Jackie for making baseball the game it is today.

Cubs Have Only One Thing Left To Do, “Win The Whole Thing”

I really didn’t see this one coming. Last night’s victory came down to the Duke of Welington Castillo and his three run rocker into the stands. A nice souvenir that one. 6-3

“Welington got a good fastball, got a pitch up to hit and did a nice job with it,” Rick Renteria said. “I don’t think he was thinking too much in terms of innings. I think he just wanted to get in there and do his job and he got a good pitch to handle, and he drove it out of the ballpark.”

There’s a question circulating from the bleachers and that is, “What are they going to do with Jose Veras?” I even heard that some people are yelling, “We want Marmol back!” No, I made that one up. Veras is 0-2 so what should the Cubs do? Yeah, it’s not even a month into the season so hopefully he can iron out the kinks, but if I were Renteria, I’d be keeping someone on standby.

The Cubs were lucky to squeeze out that victory, but they fought back which if anyone has anything nice to say about the 2014 edition of the North Siders is that they’re gutsy and similar to the 1988 Cleveland Indians with Ricky Vaughn on the mound. Wait a minute.

The fact that the Cubs took game one away from the much despised St. Louis Cardinals is a great victory that will carry forth into today’s matchup when Carlos “The Villain” Villanueva takes on the great Adam Wainwright. This is the key game in the series. Yesterday, I said that if the Cubs can take the series away from the Cardinals it would be a turning point for the team this year but really, if they can beat Wainwright then the Cubs, who are four games behind the surprising Brewers can remain in the hunt for the Central.

With Emilio Bonifacio’s amazing young season, the Cubs must decide what to do with Gold Glove winner, Darwin Barney. Do they trade him or keep him. All clichés point to Dancing With The One Who Got You There and Bonifacio is the guy this season so they’ve got to use him.

“I’m still getting used to finding ways to get myself prepared during the game,” Barney said. “In the past, off-days were to rest. Now, I have to find a way to be mentally prepared for that first at-bat, which could be a big at-bat in the game. For me, that’s the mindset I’m taking. I’ve got a ‘C’ on my chest, and we’re trying to win as many games as I can.”

Darwin Barney is quite a guy and he’ll help out the team any way he can.

—Mark

Cubs Show Heart But Pirates Battle Back

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The one thing that nobody can take away from the Chicago Cubs and that is they keep everything exciting. Having a 4-0 lead going into the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates was not an easy task to do, but somehow the Cubs managed to do it. Then a funny thing happened. The Bullpen took over.

Travis Wood pitched a great game with nine strikeouts.

“He did a great job,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of his lefty. “We sent him back out there (for the seventh), and it was going to be if a guy gets on, he’s done.”

Yup, I think that was great leaving Wood out there. If Renteria shows faith in his pitchers, they’re going to get the job done as witnessed tonight.

These one run games are killing me. I can’t stand the pressure and it’s apparent the Cubs need some juggling around to fix this problem, but now for the good stuff.

“This year, it’s closer in every game, more intensity in every game,” Starlin Castro said. “We’ve got energy in the dugout that we can tie the game or win the game. It’s tough sometimes to lose a game like that. It’s tough, but that’s the game.”

Yes, Mr. Starlin Castro went 3-4 and whatever he’s doing, keep doing it buddy cause it’s working.

Tonight is going to be a tough one for sure. The Cubs face the arch nemesis, St Louis Cardinals when Jeff Samardzija gets the start against Joe Kelly. This is the first time that Rick Renteria will see the rivalry between the two clubs.

The Shark is eying his first win of the season and it’s n ot going to be an easy task against the birds. To me, this will be a turning point for the Cubs. if they can hold their own against the Cardinals, and perhaps take the series, then it could turn around their season.

“I see these guys work every day and I know what they’re doing,” Samardzija said after his last start, speaking of the Cubs’ hitters. “If it was a different situation and I thought they were lazy, it’d be different. Guys come to work every day and do everything they can. It’s early in the season and we’ll keep going, keep pushing and figure this out.”

The Cubs may not be there in talent yet, or that’s not fair, they’re not where they want to be because we all know that they’ve got quality guys out there. What I mean to say is they’re a hard working team with a lot of hustle so far this season.

Exciting things to come.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Loot The Pirates

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Mike Olt has been up and down so far in this young season but last night he found his groove knocking out a homer on his second hit of the season. Yup, we’ll take it. The Chicago Cubs have certainly got Pittsburgh’s number this season. They played them close in the last series and can go for the series win today. This would be a huge victory for the Cubs, morally and in the standings. With the win, it would put the Cubs one game under .500 and that’s not a bad place to be for these Cubs.

Adding to Olt’s home run was Junior Lake bashing one out into the stands. Sure, it’s nice to see Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro hitting, that’s their role for the club, but having guys like Lake, Olt and Bonifacio getting in on the action is a good sign for the team. They’ve played aggressive this season so far.

“You want to get the seven, 12, 100 hits that Bonifacio got,” Anthony Rizzo said, exaggerating slightly. “It’s a long season, we went through a long season last year, and you know two weeks aren’t going to make or break your season. It’s nice to rack up some hits early.”

With Mike and Starlin picking up their games this week, Olt might find that spot at third, perhaps a few more games will help, but it’s going to be interesting.

Another player that is vying for that, “Impact” player status is Jason Hammel who notched his second win of the season. Three hits over seven innings of work is not too shabby.

“I got my first taste of Wrigley, and I hope it’s much kinder next time,” he said. “When the wind is howling out you’ve got to keep the ball down, and I made three mistakes today, and they all left the yard. I think a couple of those are outs in other ballparks, but you still have to keep the ball down.” Hammel said.

The Cubs are onto something.

Believe it!
—Mark

Starlin Castro Goes Deep—Twice!

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There were a lot of things that happened in yesterday’s loss. A lot of good things. There were a lot of bad things as well but no point in dwelling. It looks like Starlin Castro read my post yesterday and is starting to incorporated it at the plate. He hit two huge home runs for the Cubs, one was a three run demon in the third to bring the Cubs to tie it at 4-4.

“He’s just starting to get into a rhythm,” Rick Renteria said. “He’s got some guys getting on base ahead of him. He’s seeing a lot of good at-bats from his teammates. He’s making a real good conscientious effort of bearing down and doing his thing.

Speaking of Rick Renteria, he became the first manager ejected from the game this season after arguing his case with Umpire Jeff Nelson.

All right, so Starlin is catching fire at the plate, but what about his defense and base running? There was an instance where he was running from second to third and then he crossed over the line. What should have been an easy safe at third turned into an out. Yeah, he’s got to work on that.

The pitching? Last year, the pitching worked out for the Cubs, but it’s starting to look the opposite. Personally, I didn’t think the Cubs needed to use all those guys on the mound. To me, it’s showing a huge gaping hole. Given, it’s still early so a pitcher needs to find their groove, but maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

“They came out aggressive and I left a lot of balls out over the plate, which is a bad combination,” Edwin Jackson said. “Our team did a great job coming back and fighting back. At the end of the day, I have to do a better job of getting the ball down and executing pitches, especially when your team comes back and gives you runs.”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I like Edwin because he’s accountable for himself. He’s a mature pitcher and he’s just getting warmed up.

The Cubs showed a lot of heart and determination. This season has proven that the Cubs are a much different team than last year and players like Emilio Bonifacio, who had another great game padding his numbers, are just going to improve.

Now, “Let’s get some runs, Cubbies!”

Believe It!

—Mark

Cubs Go On The Offensive.

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It’s almost like deja vu today when the Cubs face the Pirates. This time it’s on home turf and this time Emilio Bonifacio is on a tear. So, who would have thought that Emilio Bonifacio, a late addition to the club, would set everything on fire and be the sleeper player on the Cubs this year. I didn’t think that did you? So what’s wrong with this picture?

Bonifacio is well in front with 14 hits on the team. There’s a two way tie between Anthony Rizzo and Junior Lake for second with 6 hits. Keep this in mind when you consider that last year his total hits were 102 hits playing in 136 games. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s MVP caliber stats. Now, if he keeps up the pace. He’s a switch hitter and that’s a valuable player to have on the Cubs.

“It would be impossible for us to believe he would maintain the clip he had through the Pittsburgh series but when he gets to the plate, he tries to work the count, he tries to get on, and when he gets on base, he wants to wreak havoc on the pitchers and the opposition,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. “It’s good for him to be part of our club.”

His OBP is .548 a great number for a leadoff hitter. This begs the question of, “What is wrong with the other players?” The Cubs have 3 RBI’s on the season from Anthony Rizzo and Ryan Kalish. Arizona Diamondbacks Mark Trumbo has 13. It doesn’t mean much right now, because Arizona isn’t doing too well and the Cubs well, the Cubs are the Cubs. However, watch those numbers in July and see the difference in the standings between the two clubs. The Cubs need to score runs. The good news is that Bonifacio is tied for the lead in hits. The bad news in that statistic is it doesn’t mean jack if the Cubs leave the runners stranded.

In a perfect world, Bonifacio in the leadoff ripping the leather off the ball. He’s a base stealer so this is good news. Next up is Starlin Castro would be an extra base hitter and then Anthony Rizzo would send the leather off of the ball into orbit. There’s your runs right there.

The problem as we are seeing is the two key guys in Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have been less than stellar in their performance. I think it’s still too early to worry about it, but Rick Renteria should at least feel a little concerned with their performance. Bonifacio can’t and won’t continue his pace, the Cubs need help from their big guns.

Believe it!

—Mark

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