Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’
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.
Daytona outfielder Jorge Soler was named the FSL’s Player of the Week. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Iowa and Tennessee captured a win after late offensive outbursts Monday while Daytona and Kane County both fell in a shutout losses. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (14-21)
Iowa used a six-run, sixth inning to roll past Reno, 6-4.
- SS Donnie Murphy (.241) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (3), a home run and a season-high three RBI (6).
- 1B Brad Nelson (.278) extended his hitting streak to four games, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI (24).
- RHP Esmailin Caridad (5.74) secured his first hold of the season, tossing two scoreless innings of relief. He has not allowed a run in his last three appearances (5 IP).
- RHP Zach Putnam (3.52) converted his second save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Tennessee Smokies (18-18)
Tennessee scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning, stunning Jackson, 6-4.
- RF Matt Szczur (.291) recorded his fifth-straight, multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a double (4), a RBI (18) and a stolen base (13). He’s hitting .458 (11-for-24) with four runs and six RBI in his last five contests.
- C Rafael Lopez (.259) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double (8), a home run and one RBI (11).
- CF Rubi Silva (.276) hit his third home run in his last six games, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (6), the home run and two RBI (20).
- RHP Trey McNutt (2-3, 4.50) walked two and struck out three in a scoreless eighth frame, picking up his second win of the campaign.
- RHP Kevin Rhoderick (6.91) converted his first save of the season, fanning two in a perfect ninth inning.
Daytona Cubs (17-17)
Daytona managed just five singles in a 3-0 loss to visiting Charlotte.
- 3B Ben Carhart (.296) recorded his 12th multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4.
- DH Zeke DeVoss (.211) went 2-for-4, snapping a three-game hitless skid.
- OF Jorge Soler (0-for-3, BB, SB) 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. He has reached base in 10 consecutive games.
- LHP Frank Del Valle (1.93) struck out two hitters in a scoreless seventh inning. The southpaw is holding opponents to a .158 batting average (3-for-19) with runners in scoring position.
Kane County Cougars (17-17)
Kane County finished its six-game road trip with a 4-0 loss to Clinton. The Cougars went 3-3 on the trip.
- 2B Gioskar Amaya (.236) went 2-for-4 with a stolen base (4).
- 1B Dan Vogelbach (.295) went 2-for-4, hitting safely in seven of his last eight games.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.230) recorded one of Kane County’s two extra-base hits, going 1-for-4 with his sixth double.
- LHP Jeffry Antigua (3.57) struck out five in 2.0-scoreless innings of relief.
Troy Tulowitzki is the key component in the Rockies’ lineup. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Not much was expected of the Rockies after a woeful 2012 campaign that saw them compile the third-worst record in baseball and finish 30 games back of the World Series champion Giants. But the 2013 squad, under new manager Walt Weiss, took advantage of a soft early-season schedule and got off to a fast start. If healthy, the offense should continue to carry the load—they do play in Colorado, after all—behind stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. They added some bullpen depth by picking up right-hander Wilton Lopez, who has an ERA of 4.00 in 18 innings this year, but the rotation is still a big question mark. Over the years, the Rockies have tried everything—sinkerballers, fireballers, humidors, even a four-man rotation—to manage the Rocky Mountain high. It’s unlikely pitchers like former South Sider Jon Garland and retread Jeff Francis are going to be able to tame the beast.
4.8 RS/G 1st in NL
As always, Colorado should feature a high-powered attack, buoyed by the mile-high altitude at Coors Field. All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop Tulowitzki is back to lead the Rockies on offense and defense after left groin surgery limited him to just 47 games in 2012. If Colorado falters this year, 27-year-old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez should again be in high demand on the trade market. He’s a two-time Gold Glove winner who can run and hit for average and power. Dexter Fowler and Wilin Rosario both provide quality at-bats as well, but there’s not much behind that group. And little can be expected of Mr. Rockie, Todd Helton, this late in his career. It will be interesting to see how Weiss, a scrappy, 14-year major league veteran, will deploy his offense in his first year in the captain’s chair.
4.1 RA/G 8th in NL
It’s safe to say GM Dan O’Dowd’s Project 5,183—in which the Rockies used a four-man rotation and limited all starters to 75 pitches no matter how the game was going—is firmly in the rearview mirror. Unfortunately for Colorado fans, the Rockies did little to bolster their major league-worst 5.22 ERA from last season. Lopez should help in the bullpen, and Rafael Betancourt isn’t a liability at closer, but the lion’s share of the Rockies’ 98 losses in 2012 can be placed squarely on the starting rotation. The team re-signed soft-tosser Francis, the ninth overall pick in the 2002 draft, but he has managed only a 6.90 ERA this year. They also picked up major league veteran Garland, who sat out the last season and a half following shoulder surgery. Both should be able to keep the ball on the ground, but they don’t exactly inspire fear in opposing offenses. Plus, we’ve seen this script before, when the Rockies tried sinkerballers like Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton to mitigate the Coors Field effect.
Brett Jackson posted his first three-hit game of the season Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
While Iowa fell in the ninth inning, Kane County pulled through in extra innings and Tennessee recorded a shutout Sunday. Daytona had the day off and will hit the field tonight, hosting Charlotte. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (13-21)
Reno scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, stunning Iowa, 9-8.
- 1B Brad Nelson (.279) hit his team-leading sixth home run of the campaign. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, the home run and two RBI (22).
- LF Brett Jackson (.259) recorded his first three-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a double (4).
- CF Dave Sappelt (.174) registered his second straight multi-RBI game, going 1-for-5 with a run scored, a triple (1) and a season-high three RBI (6).
- PH Ian Stewart (.100) went 1-for-1 with a triple (1) and two RBI (6).
- RHP Casey Coleman (3.75) tossed two scoreless innings of relief. He’s holding right-handed hitters to a .143 batting average (3-for-21).
Tennessee Smokies (17-18)
Tennessee won its second game in a row with a 5-0 shutout at Jackson.
- RF Matt Szczur (.287) recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a double (3) and a team-high two RBI (17). He’s hitting .474 (9-for-19) with four runs and five RBI in his last four contests.
- SS Arismendy Alcantara (.244) went 2-for-4 with a double (5). He’s hit safely in four of his last five games.
- 3B Christian Villanueva (.239) extended his hitting streak to five games, going 1-for-2 with a run, a double (10) and a RBI (18).
- RHP A.J. Morris (6.92) and LHP Zach Rosscup (1.08) each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, preserving the shutout. Opposing hitters are just 1-for-26 (.038) against Rosscup with runners on base.
Kane County Cougars (17-16)
Clinton 3B Patrick Kivlehan ripped a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning, defeating the Cougars, 7-6.
- DH Rock Shoulders (.317) clubbed a grand slam in the sixth inning. He finished 1-for-5 with four RBI (25).
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.229) went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, a home run and one RBI (10).
- C Carlos Escobar (.250) and CF Oliver Zapata (.270) recorded two hits apiece.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach (.288) went 1-for-5 with a run and a RBI (21). He’s hit safely in six of his last seven games.
- RF Bijan Rademacher (.361) went 0-for-2 with a run scored and a season-high three walks. He’s reached base safely in his last 11 games.