Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

It’s Early, But Cubs Making Strides at the Plate

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A popular narrative the last couple of years has the been the Cubs ability, or inability to take walks, or make contact.  It was absolutely true, the Cubs were a team that would belt a dinger, but no one would be on base.  When someone was on base, the Cubs just couldn’t make contact, it wasn’t hard to see why they were 26th in the Majors in runs scored last year.  For the past few years the organization preached a “Cubs Way” that would see the team grind out at bats, make more contact, and be a general pain in the you know what for opposing pitchers.  While it’s early, we are starting to see glimpses of what an offense built around the “Cubs Way” will look like.

The Cubs organization was definitely targeting guys this off-season that could help push the club in this new direction.  What impresses me are the guys that were here last year have been so much better in their approach this year.  Arismendy Alcantara is only hitting .091 on the season, but he has an OBP of .259, he’s walked five times already this year.  We haven’t seen OBP numbers like this in what seems like forever, Chris Coghlan (.385), Jorge Soler (.382), Anthony Rizzo (.429), even Starlin Castro has contributed in this way (.364).  These are the kind of numbers that turn solo home runs into two run shots to tie the game in the eighth, kind of like Soler on Monday Night.  The importance of getting on base really can’t be understated, it really doesn’t matter how, just do it.

Let’s look at a comparison between 2014 and 2015, I know it’s a super small sample size, but the improvement in the numbers is striking.

Walk rates

Let’s extrapolate that out for a full 2015 season, the Cubs are on pace to walk 607 times, and strikeout 1,316 times.  That would mean that the Cubs would have 165 more guys on base via the walk over the course of the season compared to last year.  In regards to the strikeouts, the Cubs are on pace to strikeout 161 fewer times, that means those K’s turn into walks, or balls in play that the other team has to account for.  You couple this kind of turnaround at the plate with a lineup that has some additional power in it (Kris Bryant), and the Cubs aren’t going to be 26th in the Majors in scoring for very long, and that should mean more victories on the Northside.

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One Bad Inning Does in Cubs

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Full Box Score

Jake Arrieta had his typical no hit stuff against the Reds once again, at least until the fourth inning.  The Reds scored three times on five singles in the fourth inning en route to a 3-2 victory to even up the three game series.  The Cubs didn’t exactly go quietly, that seems to be their thing this year.  Welington Castillo smacked a pinch hit homer in the 8th inning to bring the Cubs to within one, but they couldn’t get any closer.  The Cubs had two more guys on base in the eighth and the ninth, but couldn’t come up with a big hit, this time.  Being able to come back in games is a nice thing to be able to do, you just don’t want to be doing it every night.

At the Plate:

  • Welington Castillo didn’t start but probably had the best game, he was 1-for-1 with a pinch hit dinger, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Matt Szczur, also coming off the bench, had two plate appearances, and walked each time.
  • Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Starlin Castro had the other hits, one each.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta got the start, and was just fine except for that fateful fourth inning, he worked 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Zac Rosscup made his 2015 debut, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out two.
  • Pedro Strop worked a scoreless inning to give the Cubs a chance in the ninth, he struck out one in the process.

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Jorge Soler Powers Cubs Past Reds

Cubs Final 4-13 Full Box Score

How about those Cubs?  I’m not going to lie, I’m excited, sure it’s only April, I don’t care, first place.  Jon Lester was off again tonight, but the bullpen picked him up and gave the club a chance to comeback.  That’s exactly what the Cubs did, they came back from two separate three run deficits to win 7-6 thanks for a walk-off single by Arismendy Alcantara.  The game doesn’t get there without Jorge Soler who jacked a pair of two-run homers, what a thrilling night.

At the Plate:

  • Anthony Rizzo was locked in tonight, he was 2-for-3 with two walks, and two runs scored.
  • Jorge Soler was outstanding tonight, he went 3-for-5 with two dingers, four RBI’s, and three runs scored.  He also had a tasty outfield assist.
  • Chris Coghlan continued his torrid start to the season, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

On the Mound:

Alcantara wins it!

Soler with an unreal throw.

Soler ties it in the 8th with a bomb!

Soler’s first two-run shot.

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Arrieta Powers Past Cardinals

Cubs 4-8-15 Scorecard

I’m so glad the Cubs didn’t cancel the season after Sunday, because that was fun.  It was a pitchers day at Wrigley, but I’m not sure if 80 degrees and sun would have mattered as Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn were brilliant.  Luckily for the Cubs, Arrieta was better, but not by much.  Both guys were dealing, and the winning run came as a result of a hit batter, and a wild throw on a pick-off, go figure.  After Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the 7th, and advanced to second on said wild pick-off, Starlin Castro delivered the game winning single, it was a super lazy single though…

Back to Arrieta, early on he didn’t have his best stuff as he had to battle through trouble in the first and third inning before settling into a groove.  Arrieta worked seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking three, and striking out seven en route to his first win of the season.  For the second straight game the Cubs bullpen displayed just how dangerous they could be, dangerous in a good way, not a Carlos Marmol way.  Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon combined to pitch the last two innings with Rondon picking up his first save of the season.

Cubs 4-8 box scor

 

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Hammel Leads Cubs Back Into Win Column

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Full Box Score

Jason Hammel cemented his status as the Cubs number three starter this afternoon by baffling the defending AL Champ Royals in a 4-3 win.  Hammel was brilliant going four scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three, the outing lowered his spring ERA to six, it’s been rough.  Phil Coke, Zac Rosscup, and Stephen Perakslis all had scoreless outings with Perakslis nailed down the save.  Anthony Rizzo who has struggled in finding his timing this spring had a solid game, he went 2-for-2 with an RBI, his second of the spring.  Junior Lake, Starlin Castro, and Jonathan Herrera all chipped in with one RBI each in the win.

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“Fatigued” Kris Bryant Carries Cubs to Victory

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Full Box Score

Kris Bryant was originally in the lineup today at third base before being scratched with shoulder fatigue.  I guess he felt better by the third inning as he took over for DH Anthony Rizzo and promptly destroyed two dingers.  That now gives Kris Bryant six home runs this spring, six is good.  Bryant wasn’t the only story today, Kyle Hendricks was stellar on the mound, and really couldn’t miss.  Hendricks worked five perfect innings while striking out three, he threw 54 pitches, 40 of them for strikes, tasty.  The Cubs as a staff took a perfect game into the 8th inning before the A’s were able to find the hit column, and scratch across a run.

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Spring Fever – March 14, 2015 (Cubs Lineups, Broadcast Info)

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Two more games today as the Cubs take on the Athletics at 2:05 PM CST in Vegas, and also battle the Brewers at 3:05 PM CST.  Kyle Hendricks gets the ball against the A’s, the game can be listened to through mlb.tv, but there is no TV.  Back in Arizona, Edwin Jackson will take the mound against the Brewers, the game can be watched, and listened to on mlb.tv with a subscription.  It’s a big start for Jackson as he needs to show this coaching staff something or else he will not be in the rotation, I still think he loses out to Travis Wood.

vs. Athletics – 2:05 PM CST -Vegas

1. Fowler – CF
2. Rizzo – DH
3. Soler – RF
4. Bryant 3B
5. Lake – LF
6. La Stella – 2B
7. Valaika – 1B
8. Teagarden – C
9. Herrera – SS

SP – Kyle Hendricks

@ Brewers – 3:05 PM CST

1. Coghlan – LF
2. Alcantara – 2B
3. Castro – SS
4. Sweeney – DH
5. Olt – 3B
6. Baxter – 1B
7. Castillo – C
8. Chambers – RF
9. Szczur – CF

SP – Edwin Jackson

Some things to keep an eye on for today.  Both Matt Szczur, and Junior Lake have had a really good spring, both guys are vying for bench spots on the 2015 opening day roster.  While I think Szczur has the edge because of his defense, I’ve been very impressed with Junior Lake’s purpose at the plate, it clearly has carried over from Winter League ball.  Joe Maddon said not to read too much into Rizzo batting second, and he’s there again today, so start reading into it.  Mike Olt is getting every day at bats right now because he has earned them, he’s winning the third base job with his Spring so far, he needs to keep progressing to nail it down.

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Spring Fever – March 11, 2015 (Cubs Lineup, Broadcast Info)

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The Cubs will win today…. or they won’t, it doesn’t really matter at this point, but it would be fun to see a “W.”  Jon Lester makes his second appearance of the spring today as the Cubs take on Zack Greinke and the Dodgers.  First pitch today is at 3:05 PM CST, and can be seen on MLB.tv if you have a subscription, and the game is also on MLB Network if you have that.  Here is how the Cubs will lineup today…

1. Fowler – CF
2. Rizzo – 1B
3. Castro – SS
4. Montero – C
5. Coghlan – LF
6. Olt – 3B
7. Sweeney – RF
8. Alcantara – 2B
9. Baxter – DH

Impressions?  Well, Rizzo is back in the second spot, I still don’t think he will end up there, but he’s been there more often than not this spring.  Arismendy Alcantara is clearly the “Ben Zobrist” of the Cubs in Maddon’s eyes, and that’s a pretty great thing.  Let’s see if Mike Olt can continue his hot spring as he battles for a roster spot, I hope he does.

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Spring Fever – March 9, 2015 (Lineups, Broadcast Info)

 

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Big day for Edwin Jackson, today is his first chance to show the new Cubs staff that he belongs as the number five starter.  Travis Wood has already been solid this spring, so E-Jax needs to get going, now.  I for one want Jackson to succeed, it means a better Cubs rotation, and the possibility of another team wanting his services.  First pitch is 3:05 PM CST at beautiful Sloan Park, and can be heard on mlb.com if you have an account.  There is no TV for today’s game as of right now, here is how the Cubs will lineup, Rizzo back in that familiar three spot.

1. Fowler – CF
2. Denorfia – RF
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Castro – SS
5. Montero – DH
6. Olt – 3B
7. Ross – C
8. Coghlan – LF
9. Hererra – 2B

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Spring Fever; March 7, 2015 (Lineups, broadcast info)

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The Cubs travel to Scottsdale today to take on the Rockies, and will make their debut on WBBM radio (780 AM) with Pat Hughes, and Ron Coomer on the call.  Jason Hammel gets the ball as he makes his return to the Cubs organization this afternoon.  First pitch is at 2:15 PM CST, and as of right now there are no streams or video.  Here is how the Cubs will lineup behind Hammel…

1. Fowler CF
2. Rizzo 1B
3. Castro SS
4. Montero C
5. Soler RF
6. Bryant 3B
7. Coghlan LF
8. Ross DH
9. Herrera 2B

SP – Hammel

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