Chicago's Inside Pitch
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.
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.
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.
Conor Gillaspie is off the disabled list and back with the White Sox for tonight’s interleague game against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field.
Marcus Semien, however, gets the start at third base for the Sox vs. Cubs lefty Travis Wood.
With Gillaspie (sore left hand) coming back from a rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte, Semien could have been sent to the minor leagues to clear a spot on the 25-man roster.
Instead, outfielder Jordan Danks headed back to Charlotte.
Semien doesn’t have a great batting average at .213, but all 3 of his home runs have put the Sox ahead in the seventh inning or later and he also hit the game-winning double in the 12th inning against the Cubs Monday night at Wrigley Field.
While we await Cubs-White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, we have news that lefty Chris Rusin tossed a no-hitter for Class AAA Iowa this afternoon. The I-Cubs beat New Orleans 3-0 on the road, as Rusin worked 9 innings, giving up 2 walks while striking out three. He threw 118 pitches in running his record to 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA.
Rusin, who has seen major-league time the past few seasons, was up with the Cubs on April 12, and he pitched 5 innings in relief of Carlos Villanueva in a 10-4 loss at St. Louis. Rusin gave up 3 hits and 1 run that day, but more important, he saved the bullpen.
Today’s no-hitter was the first for an Iowa pitcher since Reggie Patterson in 1984.
As he dressed for his final game at Wrigley Field Tuesday afternoon – assuming the White Sox and Cubs don’t meet up in the World Series (wink, wink) – Paul Konerko joked about taking something from his tiny locker in the cramped visitor’s clubhouse as a keepsake.
Retiring at the end of the season after 17 years in the major leagues, 16 with the Sox, Konerko is going to be honored by the rival Cubs before tonight’s game and he’ll receive a proper parting gift.
“That’s the word on the street,” Konerko said.
It’s a classy move by the Cubs.
Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu, Jose Abreu.
The White Sox' new first baseman seems to be in the headlines every day, and Monday is no different.
Before the Sox took the field against the Cubs at chilly Wrigley Field tonight, Abreu was back in the record books.
Abreu is the first player in American League history - and second overall - to be named Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in his first month in the major leagues.
Last year, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig claimed double honors in June.
Abreu batted .270 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI and 20 runs scored in 29 April games.
It’s Cubs-White Sox week in Chicago. With the Blackhawks going full tilt in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and neither the Cubs nor the lighting it up, the atmosphere seems pretty subdued for the intra-city baseball series. As far as the Cubs go, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Hector Rondon is not available tonight after working in four straight games over the past five days.
Rondon suffered the defeat in last night’s 5-4 loss to the Cardinals. He threw 28 pitches, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks while striking out two.
As expected, the Cubs made some roster moves this morning. They placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Sweeney injured himself making a running catch in Friday’s game against the Cardinals. To replace him in the outfield, the Cubs selected the contract of Chris Coghlan from Class AAA Iowa.
They also activated pitcher Jake Arrieta from the disabled list to start against the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha in today’s 12:05 p.m. game. The Cubs also optioned left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup to Iowa and transferred injured reliever Kyuji Fujikawa from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. That move is procedural as the Cubs had to make room on the 40-man roster for Coghlan.
Sweeney is likely looking at a 3-4-week stint on the DL.
It’s the second of May, but the Cubs will be playing their first game of the new month after going 9-17 in April, or 1 game worse than last season. They’ll send lefty Travis Wood to the mound this afternoon against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who is 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA.