(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Eduardo Sanchez off waivers Tuesday afternoon. The 24-year-old spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors with the Cardinals, going a combined 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA and five saves over 45 innings. He’s fanned 48 batters and held opponents to a .166 OBA.
The reliever appeared in nine games for Triple-A Memphis this season, recording a 3.72 ERA with a save in 9.2 innings pitched.
Sanchez made his major league debut in 2011, going 3-1 with five saves and a 1.80 ERA. He jumped between St. Louis and the minors last year, going 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA.
Sanchez will be assigned to Triple-A Iowa.
Christian Villanueva continued his hit streak Monday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Tennessee split a doubleheader while Daytona and Kane County were on the losing end of their games Monday. Iowa’s game was rained out and will be made up Tuesday as part of a doubleheader. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Tennessee Smokies (23-20)
Game 1: Tennessee won its fourth straight game, defeating Chattanooga 9-2 in the first game of a doubleheader.
- SS Arismendy Alcantara (.270) collected his second consecutive three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two doubles (10), two runs scored and two RBI (22).
- C Rafael Lopez (.275) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, extending his hitting streak to six games (.360/9-for-25).
- RF Rubi Silva (.260) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI (21).
- RHP Alberto Cabrera earned his fourth win, tossing a seven-inning complete game. He has allowed only three runs on 10 hits in his last two starts (14 IP).
Game 2: Tennessee could not complete the doubleheader sweep, mustering five hits in a 1-0 setback in the nightcap.
- 3B Christian Villanueva (2-for-3) extended his hitting streak to four games (.438/7-for-16) with a first-inning single.
- LHP Eric Jokisch tossed his sixth quality start in nine games and added a double at the plate (1-for-2).
Daytona Cubs (21-21)
Jupiter broke open a 1-1 tie with a three-run, eighth inning, defeating Daytona 4-1 in the opener of a four-game set.
- SS Javier Baez (.262) extended his hitting streak to seven games (.379/11-for-29), going 2-for-4 with two doubles (11) and a RBI (24).
- CF Zeke DeVoss (.214) went 2-for-3, collecting his second consecutive multi-hit game.
- Prior to the game, 1B Dustin Geiger (0-for-3, BB) was named Florida State League Player of the Week after batting .469 (15-for-32) with two home runs, one triple, seven doubles, seven RBI and six runs scored in eight games.
Kane County Cougars (20-22)
Kane County suffered an 8-7 loss for the second straight day, losing its third game in four tries against Cedar Rapids.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.267) recorded his first four-hit game of the season and his fourth multi-hit game in the last five. He went 4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI (12), hitting safely in six-straight games (.480/12-for-25).
- 2B Gioskar Amaya (.260) went 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles (10) and two runs scored.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach collected two hits and two RBI (25) in five at-bats.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs team strength should get even stronger tonight in Pittsburgh. After a 10-month absence, right-hander Matt Garza will make his highly anticipated debut as the Cubs take on the division rival Pirates. To make room for him in the starting rotation, Carlos Villanueva has been moved to the bullpen.
Garza’s last start was on July 21, 2012, before a stress reaction in his right elbow shut him down for the season. He came into the spring healthy, but suffered a left lat strain in his first bullpen session in Mesa, Ariz, and has been on the DL all year. In his last start with Triple-A Iowa on May 16, he went six scoreless innings on 75 pitches, walking none and striking out six. Garza has said he hopes there will be no limitations on him in his first outing, but manager Dale Sveum will likely keep the veteran at 85-90 pitches.
In two seasons with the Cubs, Garza is 15-17 with a 3.52 ERA in 49 games (301.2 IP).
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is one of the few Cubs hitting well with runners in scoring position. (Photo by Stephen Green)
On many occasions throughout Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s tenure, he has made it clear that slugging percentage (total bases divided by at-bats) is his go-to number when evaluating a player’s approach at the plate.
On paper, the 2013 Cubs’ power stats look good. The team’s .420 slugging percentage is second best in the National League, largely thanks to the squad’s 48 homers (third in NL) and whopping 101 doubles (15 more than the next-highest NL total). But like many stats, these numbers can be a bit deceiving. While displaying strong power stats is never a bad thing, baseball is predicated on timely hitting. As the graph below indicates, the Cubs struggle with men in scoring position compared with other NL teams.
The Cubs sit in the top five of most common statistical categories with nobody on base, but those same numbers drop drastically with men on second and/or third. It’s interesting to note that their home run and doubles don’t decrease, though the slash line takes a huge hit. We also looked at the eight regular position players to see how they have fared with the bases empty versus with runners in scoring position.
Of the eight regulars, just two are hitting better with runners in scoring position than with the bases empty. And while Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena have a higher slugging percentage with runners in scoring position, the same cannot be said for the rest of the team.
The basic stats make it look like the Cubs have one of the better offenses in the National League, but they’re going to need some more timely hitting for those stats to have an impact in the standings.
Nick Struck captured his second victory of the season Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Iowa held off a short-lived comeback attempt, Daytona battled back to grab a win, Kane County’s late push fell short and Tennessee was rained out. Here are some highlights from Sunday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (16-24)
Iowa led 7-2 after five innings and held on for a 7-3 victory over Tucson, splitting the four-game set.
- 1B Brad Nelson (.286) went 2-for-4 with a double (8), a homer (7), two runs and a season-high five RBI (31).
- CF Dave Sappelt (.225) collected his second multi-hit effort in his last three games, going 2-for-4 with two runs.
- SS Donnie Murphy (.284) singled and homered in four at-bats, hitting safely for the eighth time in nine games.
- RHP Nick Struck earned his second consecutive win after starting the season winless in his first five starts.
Daytona Cubs (21-20)
Daytona came from behind to defeat Lakeland 5-4, sweeping the four-game, road series.
- DH Dustin Geiger (.333) blasted a go-ahead, solo home run in the eighth inning, extending his hitting streak to seven games (.536/15-for-28).
- 1B Taylor Davis (.240) collected his first multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- SS Javier Baez (.256) extended his hitting streak to six games (.360/9-for-25), going 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.
- LHP Jeff Lorick (2-0, 0.00) scattered three hits in two scoreless frames, earning the win in relief. He has yet to allow a run in 5.1 innings this season (four appearances).
- RHP Luis Liria (2 IP) converted his first save in his third-straight, scoreless appearance (5 IP).
Kane County Cougars (20-21)
Kane County scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning, tying the game 7-7 at Cedar Rapids, but fell in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth, 8-7.
- RF Bijan Rademacher (.343) collected his third, multi-hit effort in his last six games, going 2-for-4 with two runs.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.248) went 2-for-4 with a double (15) and a run scored. He has hit safely in five-straight games (.400/8-for-20).
- LF Rock Shoulders (.300) hit his 10th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
- SS David Bote (.182) went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, a game-tying, two-run blast with two outs in the ninth inning.
Jonathan Mota claimed his fifth two-hit game of the season Thursday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Iowa and Tennessee both tallied a win Thursday, while Kane County split its doubleheader and Daytona continued to struggle in its fourth-straight loss. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (15-22)
Matt Garza and Brooks Raley combined on a four-hitter in a 1-0 victory vs. Tucson.
- RHP Matt Garza threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes, in his fourth rehab start. He faced twenty batters, allowing two singles while striking out six.
- LHP Brooks Raley walked one and allowed two hits in a three scoreless innings of relief, converting his first save.
- SS Donnie Murphy (.254) went 1-for-2 with a stolen base (3) and knocked in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
- CF Dave Sappelt (.167) scored a run for the fourth consecutive game in a 1-for-4 effort.
Tennessee Smokies (20-19)
The Smokies defeated host Jackson 6-4 behind two home runs from DH Ty Wright.
- DH Ty Wright (.254) hit two-run homers in the first and third innings and collected season-highs in both runs scored (2) and RBI (4).
- 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.252) went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He’s hit safely in five of six games.
- 1B Jonathan Mota (.238) recorded his fifth two-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- C Rafael Lopez (.266) went 2-for-4 with a RBI, extending his hitting streak to four games (.353/6-for-17).
- RHP A.J. Morris (3 IP, 3 K) tossed 3.0-perfect innings, earning his second win of the season.
Daytona Cubs (17-20)
Daytona lost its fourth-consecutive game, falling 12-7 to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
- 1B Dustin Geiger (.298) went 3-for-5 with a double (6), a homer, two runs scored and his team-leading 30th RBI.
- DH Chadd Krist (.500) went 3-for-3 with two doubles (2), a run scored and five RBI.
- 3B Ben Carhart (.287) scored two runs, going 1-for-4 with a walk.
- LF Taiwan Easterling (.234) went 1-for-4 with a RBI (12) and a stolen base (5).
- RHP Hunter Cervenka (IP, H) has not allowed an earned run in his last seven relief appearances (14.2 IP).
Kane County Cougars (19-19)
Game 1: Kane County scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull away from Peoria, 5-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
- 2B Gioskar Amaya (3-for-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI) recorded a season-high three RBI.
- SS Marco Hernandez (3-for-3, 2 R) collected his third multi-hit effort in the last four games.
- C Willson Contreras (.307) recorded his third-straight, multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
- LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.254) went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI (9).
Game 2: Peoria scored six runs in the third inning to defeat Kane County, 6-2, in the nightcap.
- SS Marco Hernandez (.271) extended his hitting streak to three games (.333/6-for-9) with a second-inning, two-run homer.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.235) went 2-for-3 with two doubles (12).
- RHP Steve Perakslis (3 IP, 3 H, 2 K) threw a season-high 3.0 innings.
- Kane County committed six errors leading to six unearned runs.
Mets ace Matt Harvey will throw against the Cubs Friday afternoon. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The 2013 season is shaping up to be a tough one for the 15-23 Mets. Though they re-signed star third baseman David Wright to a long-term deal, the organization reduced payroll for the second straight season, shipped defending NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto and lost their highest paid player, Johan Santana, for the season after he re-injured his shoulder in Spring Training. Not to mention they play in a stacked NL East that features two of baseball’s best teams in Atlanta and Washington. Despite a hot start, the team has sputtered of late. While the offense has been keeping them in ballgames, every pitcher not named Matt Harvey—the organization’s 24-year-old ace—or Bobby Parnell has struggled.
4.3 RS/G 5th in NL
Even with the nine-figure extension the organization gave their franchise third baseman, the Mets likely didn’t expect the kind of offensive production they have gotten early on. While the 30-year-old Wright is the centerpiece of the lineup—batting third and looking like his old self in the cozier Citi Field—he’s received a lot of help from different spots in the order. Catcher John Buck, an add-in on the Dickey deal, had a surprising power surge in April, launching 10 homers and driving in 31 (both third in the NL). And second baseman Daniel Murphy looks like he’ll continue his two-plus-year run of success. Not one to attempt many stolen bases anyway, manager Terry Collins hasn’t let the increase in offensive output alter his conservative basepath philosophy. But the team has done a better job of being selective at the plate thus far, increasing the number of pitches they see per game.
5.0 RA/G 15th in NL
After the Mets traded away knuckleballer Dickey for a haul of prospects, many were wondering if the New York roster had an arm that could step in and fill the void. Enter Harvey (Friday’s starter), the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft. The right-hander took the baseball world by storm in 10 starts last season, posting a 2.73 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. This season, Harvey, who has four pitches and averages almost 95 mph on his heater, looks poised to become a legitimate top-line starter. Outside of him however, the squad is short on reliable arms. The bullpen has gotten quality innings from set-up man Brandon Lyon, and flamethrower Parnell has done a solid job in the closer role. But despite the abundance of early-season offense, the Mets will need more out of their pitching corps if they hope to hang with the beasts of the East.
Javier Baez has hit safely in five of the last six games for the D-Cubs. (Photo by Stephen Green)
While Tennessee and Daytona were both unable to overcome sizable run deficits, Kane County snapped a three-game skid with a shutout victory Wednesday. Iowa had the day off, but will return to the field tonight against Tuscon with RHP Matt Garza on the mound for his fourth rehabilitation start. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s games:
Tennessee Smokies (19-19)
Tennessee had its four-game winning streak snapped with an 8-4 loss at Jackson.
- RF Matt Szczur (.301) extended his hitting streak to seven games, going 1-for-4 with his third stolen base of the season. He’s hitting .455 (15-for-33) with four runs and six RBI during the streak, raising his batting average by 45 points.
- C Jair Fernandez (.267) clubbed his first home run of the campaign. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk, the home run, two RBI (8) and one stolen base (1).
- 3B Christian Villanueva (.250) went 1-for-4 with a RBI (20), extending his hitting streak to eight games. He’s hitting .414 (12-for-29) with four doubles, a home run and four RBI during the stretch.
- 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.245) went 2-for-3 with a run scored. He’s hitting safely in four of five games.
Daytona Cubs (17-19)
Charlotte used a 15-hit attack to defeat Daytona, 7-1. The Cubs have dropped three-straight games and seven of eight.
- LF John Andreoli (.323) went 1-for-3 with a walk. He is hitting .361 (35-for-97) with five triples and 14 RBI against right-handed pitchers.
- SS Javier Baez (.238) went 1-for-4 and has hit safely in five of six games.
- LHP Sheldon McDonald (3.00) tossed two scoreless innings of relief. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last four appearances (6 IP).
Kane County Cougars (18-18)
Kane County snapped its three-game skid, blanking Peoria 4-0.
- C Willson Contreras (.294) recorded his second-straight, multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a triple and two RBI (18).
- RF Bijan Rademacher (.360) and 1B Dan Vogelbach (.292) recorded two hits apiece.
- SS Marco Hernandez (.248) went 2-for-3 with a RBI (11).
- RHP Taylor Scott tossed a season-high 7.1 innings, earning his second win of the campaign. He owns a 1.47 ERA (3 ER/18.1 IP) in three May starts after posting a 4.05 ERA (9 ER/20 IP) in four April starts.
- LHP Nathan Dorris (1.69) hurled 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, converting his third save.
Matt Szczur has boosted his batting average 46 points in six games. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Iowa, Daytona and Kane County all collected a loss Tuesday while Tennessee’s 10th inning victory marked a four-game win streak. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (14-22).
Reno used a 19-hit attack to defeat visiting Iowa, 11-1.
- 1B Brad Nelson (.286 AVG) extended his hitting streak to five games, going 2-for-4 with a double (7) and a RBI (25).
- RF Brian Bogusevic (.373) recorded his 15th multi-hit game of the campaign, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double (12). He’s sporting a .323 batting average (10-for-31) with nine RBI with runners in scoring position.
- 3B Ian Stewart (.113) went 1-for-3 with a walk and his second double of the season.
- LHP Hisanori Takahashi (5.00 ERA) worked a scoreless eighth inning.
Tennessee Smokies (19-18)
Tennessee extended its winning streak to four games with a 3-2, 10-inning victory over Jackson.
- RF Matt Szczur (.302) recorded his sixth-straight, multi-hit game, going 3-for-5. He’s hitting .483 (14-for-29) with four runs and six RBI in his last six contests, raising his batting average by 46 points.
- 3B Christian Villanueva (.250) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a fifth-inning, solo homer. He’s batting .440 (11-for-25) with four doubles, a home run and three RBI during the streak.
- SS Arismendy Alcantara (.236) recorded his sixth multi-RBI game of the season, going 1-for-5 with two RBI (18).
- LHP Zach Rosscup (1-0, 1.53) picked up his first win, despite blowing the save in the ninth inning (IP, 2 H, R, BB, 2 K).
- RHP Frank Batista (2.76) converted his fourth save of the campaign with a scoreless 10th frame. He’s holding right-handed batters to a .219 average (7-for-32).
Daytona Cubs (17-18)
Daytona was held to just four hits in a 4-2 loss to visiting Charlotte.
- C Chad Noble (.237) snapped a four-game hitless skid, going 1-for-3 with a RBI (5).
- 1B Dustin Geiger (.287) recorded Daytona’s lone extra-base hit, going 1-for-3 with his fifth double of the season.
- RHP Austin Reed (6.75) tossed two scoreless innings of relief. He has not allowed a run in his last five appearances (8 IP).
- Yesterday, OF Jorge Soler (0-for-3, RBI) was named Florida State League Player of the Week for the week ending May 12. In four games during the week, he went 7-for-15 (.467) with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored.
Kane County Cougars (17-18)
Kane County dropped its third-straight game, falling to Peoria, 8-4.
- C Willson Contreras (.284) went 2-f0r-2 with a home run, a run scored, one RBI (16) and a stolen base (4).
- LF Rock Shoulders (.315) registered his eighth multi-RBI game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (10) and two RBI (27).
- 2B Gioksar Amaya (.240) reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Jorge Soler might have gotten off to a rocky start this season, but the Cubs outfield prospect has been on a tear of late. On Tuesday, he was named the Florida State League player of the week for the week ending May 12.
In four games from May 6-12, the 21-year-old went 7-for-15 with a pair of homers, three doubles, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored. In addition, the organization’s No. 3 prospect (according to MLB.com) has reached base in 10 straight games. For the season, Soler is hitting .281/.369/542 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with five homers, eight doubles and 14 driven in.
The native of Cuba was suspended five games earlier in the year for an on-field altercation.