Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty)
The Reds used a balanced attack to win 90 games and snag the second Wild Card spot in 2013. Even though it was their third playoff appearance in four seasons, manager Dusty Baker was let go, as his team failed to advance in any of their three postseason trips. The organization stayed within the family to find Baker’s replacement, promoting highly respected pitching coach Bryan Price to the top spot. Price could find himself with an even stronger rotation, despite losing Bronson Arroyo to the Diamondbacks, but he must hope rookie speedster Billy Hamilton can fill a giant-sized hole at the top of the lineup created by the departure of on-base machine Shin-Soo Choo. Still, led by perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto, there’s a ton of talent on this roster.
(11th in NL, 3.8 RS/G)
The Reds likely won’t be able to replace Choo and his .423 OBP in the leadoff spot, but rookie phenom Hamilton hopes to wreak havoc on the basepaths (though he has struggled with just a .220 on-base percentage thus far). His speed is so disruptive that if he finds his way to first, it’s likely he’ll be in scoring position within a pitch or two. Votto gets dinged for not driving in runs, but there’s no debating he’s one of the most productive offensive forces in the game, with a .446 OBP and the ability to consistently hit 25-plus home runs. Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier are both good complementary run producers, but Brandon Phillips is on the downside of his career and struggled with a .310 OBP and .706 OPS last season.
(5th in NL, 3.4 RA/G)
Despite losing Arroyo, the Reds’ rotation actually has a chance to improve from last season. After making only 11 starts in 2013, ace Johnny Cueto appears to be healthy, and though Homer Bailey is having a rough start to 2014, the right-hander finally started living up to the high expectations that come with being a top prospect last aseaon. He posted career bests in ERA (3.49), IP (209), WHIP (1.12), K% (23.4 percent) and K/BB (3.69). Add Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani and Mat Latos when he returns from a DL stint, and Cincinnati’s rotation is one of the most impressive on paper entering 2014. The bullpen is also excellent, even with closer Aroldis Chapman still recovering from a comebacker to the face in Spring Training. Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon and J.J. Hoover all posted sub-3.00 ERAs in more than 60 innings of work last season. And the Reds still have veteran arms in Jonathan Broxton and Manny Parra.
Iowa, Tennessee and Kane County all notched wins Wednesday, while Daytona continued to scuffle. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (7-6)
T-2nd place (-2.5)
A three-run seventh inning and a strong start by RHP Kyle Hendricks led Iowa past New Orleans at home, 6-3, knotting the series at one win apiece.
- 2B Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-5) was a home run shy of the cycle, picking up two RBI on a go-ahead triple in the seventh.
- LF Josh Vitters (2-for-4) raised his season average to .293 with two RBI doubles.
- Hendricks’ eight punchouts launched him into a tie for third place in the PCL with 19 (teammate Carlos Pimentel leads the league with 21).
Tennessee Smokies (6-6)
4th Place (-1.5)
Rehabbing RHP Jake Arrieta and Tennessee earned a 7-2 win at home over the Generals with a five-run fourth inning.
- Arrieta allowed his first earned run since beginning his rehab stint with Tennessee. He is 1-1 with a 0.73 ERA (1 ER/12.1 IP), allowing six hits, four bases on balls and striking out nine.
- LF John Andreoli (1-for-4) knocked in three runs from the leadoff spot.
- CF Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) recorded two RBI on his first hit of the season, a single in the fourth.
Daytona Cubs (2-11)
6th Place (-9.0)
Daytona fell at Dunedin, 5-1, failing to record a hit after the fourth inning.
- SS Marco Hernandez (2-for-3) reached base three times, including two singles and a walk, to raise his season average to .308.
- RHPs Michael Jensen (7.20) and Austin Reed (4.05) combined for 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit and striking out three.
Kane County Cougars (10-3)
1st Place (+1.5)
Kane County completed the sweep at Bowling Green in dramatic fashion, notching five runs in the top of the ninth to win, 6-2.
- Kane County recorded one hit from each spot in the lineup, including four-consecutive RBI base hits in the ninth from 3B David Bote, 2B Danny Lockhart, DH Shawon Dunston and LF Trey Martin, the lineup’s six-nine hitters.
- CF Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3) stole his sixth and seventh bases, tied for fourth in the league.
- RHP Tyler Bremer (1-0, 4.76) earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief.
The following Q&A appears in the April edition of Vine Line magazine.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria has certainly paid his dues. After 30 years in professional baseball, he’ll feel like a rookie again this season as he takes the managerial reins for the first time. Though the 51-year-old is unfailingly positive, he’s also tough, and he hopes to bring a new attitude to a Cubs franchise that is brimming with young talent. We sat down with Renteria during Spring Training to ask about running his first big league team and his expectations for the season.
Vine Line: You’ve had a long coaching career, but you’re a first-time major league manager. What was your opening message to the team?
RR: That we should place high expectations upon ourselves to compete and to win. We shouldn’t be afraid to raise the bar and expect ourselves to attain that bar. If we go about doing our business with the fear that we won’t attain it—and thereby not set expectations—what’s the goal? We need to have goals, and I think they’re going about their business a certain way right now. I’m very excited about the club.
VL: Is it nice to finally get your eyes on some of the top prospects like Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant?
RR: It’s extremely exciting to see all the young guys that are in camp, with Almora, Baez and all the guys that are here. It’s important that we put our eyes on them to see where they end up ultimately fitting into the scheme of things. I think the skill sets are very high. Experience has to continue to play into it while they’re developing and playing in the minor leagues, so we make sure that once they get here, it’s not overwhelming.
Some guys may not make the splash that everybody expects, but that’s OK. You can work through those things. Some guys will make a big splash, and that’s great. But the reality is you’ve got to stay even keel, and that’s where we as a coaching staff and as an organization have to make sure these guys feel comfortable.
VL: You were aggressive with stealing bases, bunts, etc. in the spring. Is that an indication of how you expect the team to play?
RR: I think every skill set the players bring has to be taken into account when you’re determining what you’re going to do with them. But we do expect these guys to be able to do many things—to be able to steal a base, be able to hit and run, be able to sac bunt, be able to squeeze. If we lay the foundation right now in the spring that those are the expectations we have for them, anything is possible.
Once the season starts, the bell rings, you’ve got 40,000 people in the stands, and the lights are on, we expect that the transition to the regular season shouldn’t be as hard for us because we’re expecting to do a lot of things, and we’re doing them from Day One.
VL: You’ve talked about your coaching staff and the players sharing a family feeling. Why is that important?
RR: I think being a family-like team is extremely important. You feel like you have each other’s back. You’re willing to go out and fight for your teammate. You’re willing to defend anything that they do. You may be in the clubhouse, and you may be getting on each other, but nobody else can come in and say the same thing that you can as a teammate. That’s the family feel, you know? I grew up in a large family of nine, and maybe we could get on each other, but if somebody else came in from the outside and wanted to do the same thing, “Hey, not going to happen.”
VL: A lot of people are saying this team can’t compete this year. What do you say to that?
RR: We can compete this year. I think we have the ability to go out there and play the game. Anybody can do whatever it is they choose to do. The question is: Who do we choose to believe we are? Do we choose to believe what everybody else says—the naysayers, the doubters, whatever the case might be? Do they have a reason? Sure, but that’s not our reason. Our reason to go out here is to perform, to do well and expect to do well.
VL: There’s a new wrinkle this year with expanded instant replay. Do you have a system in place for how you’ll handle that?
RR: If my eyes tell me I should challenge something, I’m going to challenge. It’s not necessarily like I’m going to take every opportunity to go ahead and challenge every single play just because I can. … I don’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it. I think there should be a purpose. I should develop my skill set, and the bench coach and all of us on the bench should develop our skill sets.
Kane County took both games of its doubleheader, but Iowa and Daytona both came up short. Tennessee was rained out Tuesday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (6-6)
T-2nd place (-2.5)
The I-Cubs fell to New Orleans, 8-4. SS Logan Watkins was 1-for-3 with a walk. He had a two-run single in the club’s four-run second inning.
- 1B Chris Valaika (.333) was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a double (3). He has multihit efforts in three of his last five games.
- RHP Carlos Pimentel recorded a 1-2-3 first inning before New Orleans scored five runs in the second. The right-hander had issued just one walk in his previous two starts before allowing five last night. He also struck out five in the losing effort.
- RHP Yoanner Negrin (2.08) allowed one run in 3.1 relief innings, walking none and striking out three.
Daytona Cubs (2-10)
T-5th Place (-8.0)
Daytona lost to Dunedin, 10-3. The team had nine hits but was just 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
- 2B Tim Saunders (.310) paced Daytona with three hits, including two doubles (5). He has eight hits and four doubles in his last three games.
- RF Pin-Chieh Chen (.289) was 2-for-4 with an RBI (7), while DH Rock Shoulders (.179) was 2-for-4 with two runs and a solo home run, his first of the year.
- RHP Starling Peralta (3.86) threw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out three and walking none.
Kane County Cougars (9-3)
1st Place (+1.0)
Kane County swept a doubleheader at Bowling Green, recording shutouts in both games. In the first, a 2-0 win, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng tossed 5.1 shutout innings. In Game Two, a 1-0 victory, RHP Paul Blackburn spun six shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
- RHP Jen-Ho Tseng earned his first win of the season, striking out six batters.
- RHP Zach Godley (3.60) picked up his second save of the season, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out four of the six batters he faced.
- RF Yasiel Balaguert (.391) was 1-for-2 with a sac fly, extending his hitting streak to nine games (.389/14-for-36). He’d go 0-for-2 with a walk in the second game to snap the streak.
- RHP Paul Blackburn walked one and struck out six to pick up the victory.
- RHP Jose Arias (1.69) tossed a scoreless seventh inning to pick up his first save.
- SS Carlos Penalver (.279) was 1-for-3 with an RBI (3).
Dutchie Caray and friends will do the seventh-inning stretch honors at the Wrigley Field 100th birthday game on April 23. (Photo by Stephen Green)
In addition to celebrating Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday on April 23, the Cubs will host the following promotions and guests in honor of the 1910s decade at Wrigley Field. This homestand begins the season-long, decade-themed celebration of 100 years at the ballpark, including historic Bobblehead Fridays and Throwback Sundays featuring retro kids toys for the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under in the ballpark.
Friday, April 18, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- Promotion: Limited-edition Joe Tinker Bobblehead (first 10,000 fans)
- Seventh-inning stretch: Three generations of Tinker family members
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, MLB Network, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Saturday, April 19, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Sunday, April 20, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- Promotion: 1910s Throwback Cubs Diecast Train Engine (first 5,000 kids 13-and-under)
- Seventh-inning stretch: Todd Protzman Davis (great grandson of Zachary Taylor Davis, architect of Wrigley Field)
- Broadcast: WCIU-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Monday, April 21, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 7:05 p.m.
- Seventh-inning stretch: Bob Brenly, former Cubs and current Diamondbacks broadcaster
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com
Tuesday, April 22, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 7:05 p.m.
- Seventh-inning stretch: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern women’s lacrosse coach (Wrigley Field hosts Northwestern vs. USC for the ballpark’s first ever collegiate lacrosse match Sat., April 26)
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com
Wednesday, April 23, Chicago Federals (Chicago Cubs) vs. Kansas City Packers (Arizona D-backs), 1:20 p.m.
*100th Birthday Game*
- Promotions: Replica Chicago Federals jersey (first 30,000 fans), Jewel-Osco birthday cupcake (first 10,000 fans)
- Seventh-inning stretch: Dutchie Caray, Cubs alumni and other special guests
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, beginning at 12:30 p.m., airing a special pregame show and the Wrigley Field ceremony, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Thursday, April 24, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 1:20 p.m.
- Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Wrigley Field’s highly anticipated 100th birthday arrives Wednesday, April 23, as the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks exactly a century after the Chicago Federals opened then-Weeghman Park against the Kansas City Packers in 1914. The 100th birthday game headlines the first of 10 decade-themed homestands celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field. Tickets for the April 23 game are still available at cubs.com Fans can look forward to the following special events.
The sights and sounds at Wrigley Field will reflect the ballpark experience from a century ago, including music, graphics and even elements of the game broadcast. Leading up to the pregame ceremony, historic photos and video tributes to Wrigley Field will play on the right field video board. Greeters wearing clothing modeled from a century ago will welcome fans to the park, while grounds crew members work on the field wearing Weeghman Park jackets from the same era. After both starting lineups are announced, members of the Northwestern University marching band will take the field, as was customary for Opening Day and other special events during the ballpark’s first two decades. Wrigley Field was the site of the National Football League’s first marching band halftime show on Oct. 17, 1926, when Jack Bramhall’s band played during a Chicago Bears home game.
An extended pregame ceremony will include Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and a lineage of Wrigley Field’s most important icons. Past owners will be recognized near home plate, as the Ricketts family will be joined by descendants of both the Weeghman and Wrigley families and representatives of the Tribune Company. The Chicago Bears, who played 50 seasons at Wrigley Field from 1921-70, will also be honored. Members of the McCaskey family will be joined on field by Bears legends Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, who will be recognized with a bobblehead at Wrigley Field on July 11.
Many Cubs legends and Hall of Famers will return to their former positions on the field for the occasion. Ernie Banks (SS), Glenn Beckert (2B), Andre Dawson (RF), Ryan Dempster (P), Bobby Dernier (CF), Randy Hundley (C), Fergie Jenkins (P), Gary Matthews (LF), Milt Pappas (P), Lee Smith (P), Billy Williams (LF), Kerry Wood (P), and Sam and Spencer Brown (grandchildren of Ron Santo, 3B) are scheduled to take part in an “Alumni Take the Field” presentation before the ceremonial first pitch.
Sue Quigg, grandniece of former Cubs owner Charles Weeghman, will throw the game’s ceremonial first pitch using the 100-year-old ball her grandmother Dessa Weeghman threw at a Chi-Feds game a century ago. Wrigley Field staple Wayne Messmer will sing the game’s National Anthem, concluded by a historic biplane flyover.
The tributes to Wrigley Field will continue throughout the day. Fans will have a chance to sing “Happy Birthday” to the venerable ballpark, along with organist Gary Pressy, in the fifth inning. The crowd can then join Dutchie Caray, wife of the late Cubs broadcast legend Harry Caray, and many of the day’s special guests as they lead the seventh-inning stretch from the field.
Specialty Food Offerings
Levy Restaurants has developed several menu items at the ballpark that trace back to popular food offerings from a century ago. Guests can take a culinary trip through time by visiting the Decade Diner, formerly the Sheffield Grill, located inside Gate D near section 142. Homestand specials for the 1910s include a classic Reuben Sandwich with pastrami, sauerkraut, house-made Louie dressing and Kraft Swiss cheese on a marble rye bread, as well as a Breaded Pork Chop Sandwich with an herb-breaded boneless pork chop, slow-cooked onions and spicy mustard on toasted roll. The Decade Dogs stand near section 123 will serve decade-themed specialty hot dogs this season, starting with the 1910s Reuben Dog, featuring a Vienna Beef hot dog, sliced corn beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese.
Adults 21-and-over can imbibe in a 1910s Weeghman Park Old Fashioned—made of Bulleit Rye and Finest Call Old Fashioned Mix, served with an orange slice and cherry, and offered in limited-edition souvenir glass—from April 18-24 on the main concourse at Section 109 and on the bleacher patio in left field.
Cubs Authentics Memorabilia
Game-used memorabilia from Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday game will be available to collectors through various purchase opportunities. Framed, game-used bases with commemorative base jewels may be pre-ordered or purchased at the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field, pending availability. Baseballs used at Wrigley Field this season feature the Wrigley Field 100th logo, while an additional “April 23, 2014” time stamp will be added to baseballs used on the centennial date. Game-worn throwback Chi-Feds uniforms will be available via auction following the April 23 game. For additional purchase and product information, collectors can contact Cubs Authentics at 773-404-4753, cubs.com/authentics or visit the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field.
Bricks & Ivy Ball
Cubs Charities will continue Wrigley Field’s birthday celebration during its primary fundraiser, the Bricks & Ivy Ball. The “Party of the Century” theme will be integrated into the event for an exciting night of fun, entertainment and charitable giving. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet players, coaches and front office staff while bidding on exclusive experiences and memorabilia. The evening’s events support Cubs Charities’ mission of providing increased access to sports opportunities and targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. For the first time in team history, the event has raised more than $1 million for charity before guests arrive.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Cubs Tuesday named former player Darnell McDonald to the role of baseball operations assistant.
McDonald, 35, announced his retirement as a player earlier this month after 16 professional seasons, including last year with the Cubs organization. The former outfielder also went to Spring Training with the club this year.
In his new role, McDonald will contribute to all elements within the club’s player development and amateur scouting departments. He will visit the club’s affiliates to work with the minor league players on and off the field, evaluate amateur players leading up to the draft and spend time around the major league club. McDonald will also attend instructional league during the fall where he’ll serve as an extra coach among other responsibilities.
McDonald was originally selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the 1997 draft and made his major league debut with the Orioles in 2004, the first of seven seasons in which he saw big league action. He batted .302 (16-for-53) with one home run and five RBI last season with the Cubs and retired with a .250 (191-for-764) batting average with Baltimore (2004), Minnesota (2007), Cincinnati (2009), Boston (2010-12) and the Cubs (2013).
Tennessee let a lead slip away in the ninth, while offensive woes continued to plague Daytona in another one-run loss. Iowa and Kane County were both rained out, but LHP Tsuyoshi Wada was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 3-13. Wada went 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA (1 ER/13.1 IP) while striking out 18 hitters in two starts against Nashville and Memphis. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Tennessee Smokies (5-6)
4th Place (-2.5)
Visiting Jackson scored three runs in the ninth inning to beat Tennessee 6-4.
- 1B Dustin Geiger (.300) went 2-for-4 and clubbed his Southern League-leading fourth home run.
- Rafael Lopez (.333) hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the fifth inning.
- RHP C.J. Edwards allowed his second career home run when Jackson’s Jack Marder took him deep in the second inning. Edwards has surrendered only two home runs in 198.0 professional innings.
- LHP Austin Kirk (0.00) tossed 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.
- Tuesday’s scheduled contest between Tennessee and Jackson has been postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday evening.
Daytona Cubs (2-9)
5th Place (-7.0)
Daytona dropped its seventh game in its last eight, falling at Dunedin 1-0.
- RHP Felix Pena suffered the loss despite tossing his second career complete game. Daytona has now lost each of Pena’s three starts this season by identical 1-0 scores.
- CF Albert Almora (.279) went 0-for-3 before leaving the game in the fifth inning with a nose bleed.
- 2B Tim Saunders (.263) recorded a game-high three hits, going 3-for-5 with a double (3).
(Photo by Stephen Green)
April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day, a day to celebrate perhaps the most influential player in the game’s history. On this day in 1947, the Hall of Famer became the first African-American athlete to play in the major leagues. In a 10-year big league career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the six-time All-Star hit .311 with 137 home runs, was the 1947 NL Rookie of the Year, and won the 1949 NL MVP after leading the league in batting average and stolen bases.
Though the Cubs will be in New York Tuesday night to kick off a two-game set with the Yankees, Robinson fared pretty well at Wrigley Field. He hit .295/.400/.446 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 401 career plate appearances on the North Side, with 22 doubles and 14 stolen bases.
Today, every player in major league baseball will wear the No. 42 in honor of Robinson.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Happy 48th birthday to the Cubs newest Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux. The Professor pitched 10 years on the North Side in two different stints, piling up a 133-112 record, a 3.61 ERA and picking up one Cy Young Award.
During his 23-year major league career, the right-hander amassed 355 wins, won four Cy Young Awards, went to eight All-Star games, led the NL in ERA and WHIP four times, and won 18 Gold Gloves. On Jan. 8, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced Maddux was headed to Cooperstown, after receiving 555 votes out of a possible 571 (97.2 percent) in his first year of eligibility.
The Cubs selected Maddux in the second round of the 1984 draft, and he made his big league debut on Sept. 3, 1986, at Wrigley Field, not as a pitcher but as a pinch-runner in the 17th inning of a game that had been suspended the previous evening after 15 innings because of darkness. He stayed in to pitch the 18th, but gave up a one-out homer to Houston’s Billy Hatcher to take the loss.
He picked up his first career win four days later against the Reds at Riverfront Stadium, pitching a complete-game, 11-3 gem. Thanks to MLB Cut4, you can watch that first win here (and revel in the 20-year-old Maddux’s glorious mustache).
If you missed our tribute to Maddux in the March issue of Vine Line, you can check it out here.