Chicago's Inside Pitch
Another day, another closer for the Cubs, at least officially. Manager Dale Sveum conceded this morning that Kevin Gregg is the team’s closer and that he’ll have that job even when Kyuji Fujikawa comes off the disabled list, most likely this weekend in Washington.
“Gregg’s our closer,” Sveum said. “That’s pretty much the way it is right now. He’s obviously earned it. There’s a bigger sample out there now.”
Fujikawa is scheduled to pitch today for Class AA Tennessee in a rehab appearance as he works his way back from a right-forearm strain.
“We’ll kind of get him in and get him acclimated and see how he’s doing out there on the mound in a big-league atmosphere," Sveum said.
I was poring over some of the stats over yesterday and today and noticed some pretty interesting things, especially in the wake of the Cubs drawing a season-high 7 walks in last night’s 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers. Two of those walks were intentional walks ordered by Rangers manager Ron Washington to light-hitting Darwin Barney.
For fun and illumination, let’s take a look at the hitting lines of two teams: the Cubs and the Oakland Athletics.
As we can see, the Cubs and the Athletics have slugged pretty much the same. The Cubs have hit 39 home runs as a team while the A’s have hit 33.
It’s a happy 15th anniversary to the Kerry Wood 20-strikeout game at Wrigley Field today as the Cubs take on the other team from Texas, the Rangers. Wood struck out 20 Houston Astros on this date in 1998. We’ll update as we go today, as we have roster moves and Matt Garza pitching at Class AAA Iowa.
The Cubs have selected the contract of outfielder Ryan Sweeney from Iowa and recalled reliever Rafael Dolis from that club. They’ve optioned outfielder Dave Sappelt to Iowa and designated reliever Kameron Loe for assignment. Sweeney is likely to be used as a backup outfielder. At Iowa, he had a line of .337/.396/.627 with 6 homers, 2 doubles, 2 triples and 16 RBI. The Cubs are hoping Loe clears waivers and accepts an outright assignment to Iowa, where he can work on his sinker.
The bad news keeps piling up for the White Sox.
Buried in last place in the AL Central and still stinging from a tough 10-inning loss at Kansas City Sunday, the Sox announced right-handed starting pitcher Gavin Floyd will undergo season-ending surgery tomorrow in New York City to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his elbow.
Dr. David Altchek will repair Floyd’s elbow at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Expected recovery time for Floyd, 30, is approximately 14-19 months.
Floyd was 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA in 5 starts with the White Sox this season.
In his last start, at home against Tampa Bay on April 27, Floyd came out of the game with two outs in the third inning with elbow discomfort.
The topic everybody wanted to know about this morning was Carlos Marmol. After yesterday’s brutal outing, the question was what the Cubs were going to do with Marmol and how he will be used.
“We’re really in no different situation than we were yesterday,” said manager Dale Sveum.” Obviously he had a bad outing and couldn’t throw strikes. But nothing’s changed in that fashion right now. Like I said he’s one of the seven guys, and he’s got to pitch, and we’ll get him back out there in some fashion. You can’t hide people. They have to pitch.”
We also had a chance to visit with pitching coach Chris Bosio. He tied Marmol’s woes to a couple of factors.
The weather has improved greatly at Wrigley Field for today’s noon matchup with the Reds. Jeff Samardzija takes on lefty Tony Cingrani, whom Cubs manager Dale Sveum says has a “super-live fastball.” The Cubs will go with their right-handed hitting lineup, with Jeff Samardzija on the mound:
As much as Sveum liked the plate appearances the Cubs had in yesterday’s ninth-inning rally that fell short against Aroldis Chapman, he wants to see those kinds of adjustments during the whole game.
This time, it looks like the White Sox are going to benefit from the latest round of lousy weather.
Friday night’s game at Kansas City has been postponed due to rain, snow, sleet and whatever else is falling in the “City of Fountains.”
Considering the Sox are down to three healthy starters – Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod – another break in the schedule is not all bad.
Jake Peavy was scratched from Thursday’s start at Texas with back spasms, but he might be able to go on Monday afternoon, when the White Sox and Royals are scheduled to make up tonight’s game.
Gavin Floyd could be done for the season after being diagnosed with a tear in the flexor muscle in his right elbow and an unstable ulnar collateral ligament.
The Friday weather at Wrigley Field is iffy as morning rain washed out batting practice. The Cubs and Reds are scheduled to get it under way at 1:20. We’ll get to a few things. Check out the minor-league roundup below as we’ll have more on Kane County Cougars infielder Rock Shoulders and Northwestern product Eric Jokisch being named the Cubs’ minor-league player and pitcher of the month for April.
Another day, another injury for the White Sox.
The Sox announced Jake Peavy is going to miss his scheduled start against the Rangers tonight due to back spasms.
Hector Santiago, who was pulled out of the bullpen to replace injured starter Gavin Floyd (flexor strain in right arm), will pitch for the White Sox tonight in place of Peavy.
Floyd, Gordon Beckham (fractured hamate bone), Dayan Viciedo (oblique), John Danks (shoulder), Angel Sanchez (back) and Leyson Septimo (shoulder) are on the disabled list.
Danks starts his rehab assignment tonight with Class AA Birmingham.
There is yet another Sox injury to report.
Top prospect Courtney Hawkins strained his left shoulder diving for a ball Wednesday night and is scheduled to have an MRI.
As of noon today, nobody has made any threats about moving or anything else around the ballpark. It’s a much cooler day at Wrigley Field, with the wind coming straight in off the lake. We talked a little bit about lineups today with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose team takes on the Padres and left-hander Eric Stults.
Starlin Castro again is in the fifth spot, as Sveum is going with his right-handed hitting lineup. Don’t get too used to Castro hitting fifth.
“In our normal lineup, he’s going to hit second,” Sveum said. “I don’t really want to get away from our normal lineup.”
Today’s lineup looks like this: