Chicago's Inside Pitch

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Sunday brunch blog: Wood looks to keep quality going

Posted by Bruce on Sun, 05/19/2013 - 12:42

We’re blogging all over the place today, so we might get a little bit full with all we have to do on our Sunday brunch blog. I’m a guest today on WGN-TV’s Leadoff Man show, with Len Kasper. Len was nice enough to invite me to be a guest blogger on WGN’s Stats Sunday blog.

Garza to return Tuesday; Villanueva to bullpen

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 05/18/2013 - 11:35

So the Cubs have made their decision, or Matt Garza made it for them. Garza will come off the disabled list Tuesday night and pitch against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The upshot is that Carlos Villanueva gets bumped from the rotation and will go to the bullpen.

Garza has not pitched since last July. A “stress reaction” in his right elbow shut him down last year. Early in spring training this year, he suffered a left-lat-muscle strain. After 4 minor-league rehab starts, including a 6-inning performance this week at Class AAA Iowa, he proclaimed himself ready to go.

Garza says he's ready to come off DL

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/17/2013 - 12:44

The Cubs face the tall task of going up against Matt Harvey today as they take on the Mets at 1:20 p.m. Harvey is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA and a WHIP of 0.73. We’ll get to Cubs manager Dale Sveum’s comments about Harvey in a bit. First, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza made his rehab start at Class AAA Iowa last night and proclaimed himself ready to come off the DL.

“I don’t need another start down here,” Garza told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register after he pitched 6 scoreless innings. “There’s no reason for me to stay in the minor leagues.”

Garza gave up 2 hits while walking none and striking out six as he picked up the victory. He threw 75 pitches, 53 strikes, in his fourth rehab start. Garza faced 20 batters, and both hits were singles.

Marmol says he doesn't want out of Chicago

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/15/2013 - 18:58

It was another teapot-tempest kind of day earlier as Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol denied a web site report that he wants out of town. The site, Bleacher Nation, wrote a story based on tweets and photos sent to the site by someone who photographed Marmol and his agents in a public area of his apartment building. The report had Marmol saying he “can’t wait” to get out of Chicago.

“I know what I said, but I didn’t say anything about baseball,” Marmol said. “I don’t know who that guy is or why he tweeted it or whatever. I don’t know where that came from.”

Marmol went on to say he loves Chicago and wants to stay here. The web site since has apologized for the way it handled the story.

Cubs could go short term with six-man rotation

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 05/14/2013 - 17:30

The Cubs will send Carlos Villanueva to the mound tonight against the Colorado Rockies. Early this afternoon, it was warm at Wrigley Field, with the wind blowing out. The wind since has shifted, and it’s cool, but not chilly. It’s a big start for Villanueva, who could be headed to the bullpen when Matt Garza comes off the disabled list later this month. Or maybe not.

Manager Dale Sveum today said the Cubs could consider a six-man rotation for the short term once Garza gets back.

Early thoughts on the Rizzo deal: fair for both sides

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 14:29

The big news of the day is the Cubs making official the signing of first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a contract guaranteed for seven years and $41 million. It could grow to nine years and $68 million if the Cubs exercise two option years. We’ll have more on this in our “take” for the Tuesday newspaper, and we’ll update the blog here after this afternoon’s news conference with Rizzo and GM Jed Hoyer.

Rizzo, who turns 24 on Aug. 8, will have this deal take him through two pre-arbitration years, four arbitration years and at least one, and perhaps two more, seasons of free agency.

White Sox GM says it's too early to panic

Posted by scotgreg on Fri, 05/10/2013 - 18:43

We’re about 30 minutes away from first pitch here at U.S. Cellular Field, and it’s 39 degrees with a biting wind.
On the bright side, the White Sox were snowed out at Kansas City a week ago, so at least there will be baseball tonight.
The Sox (14-18) and Angels (12-22) play a three-game series, and it’s back out on the road for the South Siders, who just wrapped up a 4-4 trip to Texas, K.C. and New York.
“It's weird, but there's nothing you can do it so you just kind of go with it,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It's like you get home and I'm already packed and ready to go.”
Given their slow start, the last-place White Sox aren’t being given much of a chance to go anywhere in October.

Sveum: Gregg's our closer

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/08/2013 - 12:35

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.

The walks-are-important Cubs blog

Posted by Bruce on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 18:34

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.

Cubs: .241/.301/.412.


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.

Sweeney, Dolis in for Cubs; Loe and Sappelt out (UPDATED)

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 15:25

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.