Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

A Saturday Cubs odds-and-ends blog

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 06/22/2013 - 14:37

It’s a quiet early Saturday at Wrigley as the Cubs and Astros prepare for Game 2 of their series and the Blackhawks and Bruins get ready for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center. The 3 p.m. start to the Cubs game will make it tough for those on the team to get to the UC for puck drop.

“It’s too much,” said manager Dale Sveum, a big hockey guy. “I’ll just hunker down and watch it. It will take too long to get there after a 3-hour game. You wouldn’t even get there for the first period.”

Quick turnaround: Garza gets Navarro

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:48

It’s a quick turnaround for the Cubs today as they open an interleague series against the Astros this afternoon at Wrigley Field. It’s still hard to get used to the Astros as an American League club. The Astros had a day game yesterday in Houston. Neither team took batting practice this morning, and it looks like rain might be moving in.

Matt Garza pitches for the Cubs, and with this being a day game after a night game, Garza will get his preferred catcher in Dioner Navarro. Welington Castillo caught last night in St. Louis. Navarro was behind the plate for Garza last Sunday in New York, where Carlos Marmol coughed up what looked to be a Garza victory. Manager Dale Sveum has said he doesn’t like pitchers having “personal catchers,” but it’s working out in this case.

Can Cubs have some fun around here?

Posted by Bruce on Thu, 06/13/2013 - 13:12

It’s another day game after a night game here at Wrigley, but the night game was in a different sport as everybody here seemed to have stayed up for the Blackhawks triple-overtime winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. There are a lot of happy humans here, and speaking of that, Hawks and NBC color analyst Eddie Olczyk will sing during the seventh-inning stretch.

The Cubs will try to win one from the Reds, who have taken 12 in a row from the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The 12 straight losses by the Cubs to the same opponent at Wrigley is a franchise record.

For today’s game, the Cubs will move Starlin Castro back up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He has been batting seventh or sixth.

White Sox-Jays game postponed

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 13:35

With severe weather conditions moving into the area, tonight’s scheduled game between the White Sox and Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field has been postponed.
No makeup date has been announced.
Four home games have been postponed due to weather this season, most recently a May 28 interleague matchup against the Cubs. That game has been rescheduled for July 8 at 7:10 p.m.

Cubs add Raley to pen; Sveum talks Garza-Castillo

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 13:15

It was more roster-go-round here at Wrigley this morning after the short turnaround from last night’s 3-hour, 18-minute game. The Cubs placed reliever Zach Putnam on the 15-day DL with right-elbow soreness. They recalled lefty Brooks Raley from Class AAA Iowa to work out of the bullpen. Putnam came out of last night’s game, and manager Dale Sveum said bone spurs have been bothering him. He’ll get an MRI.

Cubs suspend Stewart for Twitter flap

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 18:16

Theo Epstein said he’d rather be talking about Javier Baez’s 4 home runs last night for Daytona instead of putting out Twitter fires. But Epstein had to talk about the need to suspend minor-league third baseman Ian Stewart for comments Stewart made on Twitter overnight.

Among other things, Stewart said he had no chance of being called back up by the Cubs because manager Dale Sveum doesn’t like him. That may be true now, but Sveum said he was in Stewart’s corner last winter when the Cubs non-tendered him and ended up bringing him back anyway.

Stewart also tweeted that life was better at Class AAA Iowa than in the big leagues. The Cubs outrighted him to Iowa early this season after he completed an injury rehab. Epstein cited a loyalty clause in Stewart’s contract.

Sveum not inclined to rest slumping Castro

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 18:27

It’s a foggy start to the evening here at Wrigley Field as the Cincinnati Reds and manager Dusty Baker come to town. I’ve got a couple of pictures up on Twitter, @BruceMiles2112.

Starlin Castro is in the Cubs lineup again tonight, batting seventh against right-hander Homer Bailey. Castro has 3 hits in his last 38 at-bats, but manager Dale Sveum doesn’t look inclined to give him a day off.

“I just can’t pull the trigger on it,” Sveum said. “He’s still a fixture on our lineup. Not that other guys aren’t capable of doing it, but he’s a threat in the lineup. He can still do things. At this point right now, I can’t seem to get myself to have enough reasons to do it other than a guy’s kind of in a slump. We’re still out here trying to win baseball games.”

Having number retired would be 'great honor' for Buehrle

Posted by scotgreg on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 18:19

Maybe next season, when the Toronto Blue Jays come back in to play the White Sox, Mark Buehrle will be on the mound to start against his former team.
The Jays are in town today through Wednesday to play the Sox. Unfortunately, Buehrle pitched Saturday and won’t start in this series.
When he pitched on the South Side from 2000-11 – and pitched very well – Buehrle never craved attention from the media.
He just liked getting the ball every five days and going out and doing his job.
Not much has changed.
“Obviously, you guys know me,” Buehrle said. “I'm not a big media guy and not crazy about doing this.”
The 34-year-old lefty answered many of the same questions thrown his way last summer at Wrigley Field, when he came in with the Miami Marlins to play the Cubs.

Sunday brunch blog: Jackson, Blackhawks and the minors

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 06/09/2013 - 12:39

It was a nice, quiet morning here at the ballpark as everyone seemed to be nursing happy Blackhawks hangovers. We got into some hockey talk with Cubs manager Dale Sveum. Not Xs and Os type of stuff, but what it means to cheer for another sport in your city.

We’ll start with baseball and wrap it up with the minor leagues below. As you probably know by now, third baseman Ian Stewart hit 3 homers and drove in all 8 runs for Class AAA Iowa Saturday in Game 1 of a doubleheader sweep of Round Rock.

“I don’t know who pitched against him, but nobody else did anything,” Sveum said. “It might have been a pretty quality pitcher who was out there that he did it off of.

Sveum sees too much movement in Castro approach

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 06/08/2013 - 14:05

Much of the pregame talk today with Cubs manager Dale Sveum centered on shortstop Starlin Castro. We’ll get to that here. One housekeeping item: The Cubs said today reliever Kyuji Fujikawa will see Dr. James Andrews Monday and that’s it’s likely he’ll have Tommy John surgery Tuesday on his right elbow.

As for Castro, he bats seventh again today against Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett. Castro enters the game with a hitting line of .250/.291/.348 with 3 home runs, 21 RBI, 11 walks and 43 strikeouts in 244 at-bats. The BABIP is .293, and Castro has a low weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .282. Castro was out early today doing some work with hitting coach James Rowson. As far as Sveum (a hitting coach by trade) sees it, there’s too much movement in Castro’s approach.