Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

The numbers behind the latest Cubs moves

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:00

It's another new day here at Wrigley. As of midafternoon, the wind is howling straight in out of the north, and it's borderline jacket weather. Last night, we had sauna conditions here. The Cubs made a flurry of moves after last night's 6-0 victory over the Padres.

At the major-league level, they optioned struggling third baseman Mike Olt to Class AAA Iowa in anticipation of activating lefty Tsuyoshi Wada to start this evening's game against the Padres. It's really hard to believe Olt's batting numbers. But look we will.

Butterflies aren't free, but they can be 'good'

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 06/28/2014 - 11:52

We've got a full day and night of baseball here at Wrigley Field with a day-night doubleheader between the Cubs and the Nationals. It's the first regularly scheduled doubleheader at Wrigley since July 4, 1983 when the Cubs played the Montreal Expos.

Dallas Beeler makes his major-league debut in Game 1, with Jeff Samardzija pitching for the Cubs in the 6:15 p.m. game. Len and JD have the call this afternoon. Although Len did the FOX game last Saturday night, it will be Kenny Albert and F.P. Santangelo working it tonight.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria said it's OK if Beeler has some butterflies.

Rodon goes to White Sox with No. 3 overall pick

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 06/05/2014 - 19:17

I thought the White Sox would select LSU starter Aaron Nola Thursday with their highest pick (No. 3 overall) since Harold Baines was the first player drafted in 1977.
I was wrong, which is hardly a shock.
The Sox did fill their biggest need by taking a starter, and it was North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, who dropped below high school pitchers Brady Aiken (first overall to Astros) and Tyler Kolek (second overall to Marlins).
In Rodon, the White Sox are getting a superior talent, no question. The 21-year-old pitcher was 25-10 with a 2.24 ERA in three seasons at N.C. State, and he was widely viewed as the No. 1 overall pick leading into Thursday’s First-Year Player draft.

Veras out, Castillo to disabled list

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 06/03/2014 - 18:33

The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves today, and we'll dissect them all in tomorrow's “take” for the newspaper. In short, they designated failed closer Jose Veras for assignment as they welcomed Hector Rondon back from paternity leave. The move is a good shot of confidence for younger relievers Neil Ramirez and Brian Schlitter, neither of whom has done anything to get sent down.

“Jose gave us a couple of outings that were pretty good,” said manager Rick Renteria. “We've had our younger guys that have had to step up in certain situations and have done well. The organization has decided that we'll just continue to move in that direction, with some of the young relievers that we have.”

Day off for Rizzo in series opener vs. Brewers

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/30/2014 - 15:21

MILWAUKEE -- It’s a game off for first baseman Anthony Rizzo tonight as the Cubs resume their 10-game road trip tonight at Miller Park. Rizzo has started all 51 games until today. Mike Olt gets the start at first base, with Luis Valbuena playing third. It’s possible shortstop Starlin Castro will get one of the next two games off this weekend.

The Cubs made another roster move today, placing closer Hector Rondon on the paternity list and activating reliever Pedro Strop off the disabled list. Strop went on the DL May 7 with a groin strain. Earlier this week, reliever Wesley Wright went on the paternity list, but he’s back, and Blake Parker has been sent back to Iowa.

Latest on Sale, Jeter, Abreu

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 05/22/2014 - 18:47

There always seems to be a million things going on when the White Sox return home from a road trip, and today is no different.
Let's get right to it:
-Chris Sale comes off the disabled list and returns to the mound tonight for the first time since April 17, when pitched 7 innings against the Red Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and allowed 1 run on 1 hit while striking out 10.
Sale also threw a career-high 127 pitches vs. Boston, and he wound up being sidelined with a strained flexor muscle near his left elbow.
Fortunately for Sale and the White Sox, season-ending surgery was not required. Now the Sox' ace is back, and he will be watched very closely.
General manager Rick Hahn was asked if he talked to manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper about Sale's pitch count tonight.

Hammel's (almost) exploding hand

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/21/2014 - 13:01

It’s a much brighter day here at Wrigley, with hazy sunshine coming through after a rainy Tuesday night, when the Cubs beat Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 6-1. It was Tanaka’s first lost since 2012 in Japan.

Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel was the winner, and he arrived in the clubhouse this morning with his right hand bandaged, the result of being hit with Brett Gardner’s comebacker to begin the game last night. Hammel said X-rays show he has a deep bone bruise and no break.

“When it hit me, I thought my hand exploded,” said Hammel, who is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale at San Diego.

Hammel has some swelling in the hand, but even as it swelled last night, he was able to continue pitching.

Sunday brunch blog: Schierholtz sits; minor league notes

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 05/18/2014 - 12:59

It’s a beautiful Sunday at Wrigley Field, and it was a pretty quiet morning, with all of the media crush over at the United Center for the Blackhawks. As far as Cubs news, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Pedro Strop will head down to Mesa to continue his recovery from the left-groin strain that put him on the disabled list.

The Brewers throw right-hander Marco Estrada against the Cubs and left-hander Travis Wood today. About the most interesting lineup news is that Ryan Kalish has replaced the struggling Nate Schierholtz in right field. Schierholtz, who had a career season last year with 21 home runs, is off to a miserable start this year. He has no homers and a hitting line of .197/.248/.252.

Braun back for Brewers; more 'clutch' talk

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 13:13

Ryan Braun returns to the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup today as they take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field. We’ve got some sun and some clouds today, but overall, it’s a much more pleasant day than Friday. Carlos Gomez was supposed to return from his suspension and lead off for the Brewers, but he was a late lineup scratch with lower-back tightness.

Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs today against former Cub Matt Garza. We’ll see if the Cubs lay down a bunt or two against Garza, who has trouble throwing to first base. Garza beat the Cubs 5-2 in Milwaukee on April 25.

Renteria: Samardzija a winner despite record

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/16/2014 - 12:58

It’s a raw, cold, wet day at Wrigley, and the tarp is on the field less than an hour before today’s schedule game against the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija will pitch for the Cubs against Kyle Lohse. Despite his 0-3 record, Samardzija has as 1.45 ERA, which ranks second in the National League to Johnny Cueto of the Reds. Cueto’s ERA is 1.25.

Samardzija is winless in his last 14 starts dating to last Aug. 30. According to the Cubs and Elias, Samardzija is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to give up 3 or fewer in each of his first 8 starts to a season and not earn at least 1 victory.

Despite the record, manager Rick Renteria said Samardzija is a winner to his way of thinking.