A fun morning around the old ballyard today as we come back with another Sunday brunch blog. Kerry Wood was a clubhouse visitor and reaffirmed that he made the right decision to retire. "Absolutely,” he said. “I tried to play catch today so I know I made the right decision." Kerry said he is enjoying family life but that he would be back more starting in August to help out with the team.
Third baseman Ian Stewart rejoined the team, with is left arm in a sling, the result of last week’s surgery on his wrist. Stewart said he’ll go back to Cleveland in a couple weeks to have the wrappings removed and then begin his rehab. Neither he nor the Cubs know whether he’ll play again this season.
Matt Garza, who has lost 2 of his last three starts, will take on Arizona’s Trevor Cahill, a right-hander, today. Cubs lineup:
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Garza’s key to success is using his fastball, especially against left-handed hitters.
"He can throw 95 mph down and away to lefties and keep the damage at a minimum instead of giving up so much slugging percentage to left-handers on the off-speed stuff,” Sveum said.
Cubs pitchers have recorded an ERA of 1.29 in the last four games, including 1.44 from the starters and 0.90 from the bullpen. The won-loss record is starting to show the benefits of getting quality starts. When the Cubs get a quality start, they’re 27-19, and the starters have an ERA of 1.79 in those starts. The Cubs have won 10 of their last 12 quality-start games. When the Cubs don’t get a quality start, the team is 8-33, and the starters’ ERA is 8.03 in those games.
Starlin Castro has see his batting average dip to .287. He is 1-for-8 over the two games on the homestand, but he has a walk. Castro is 7-for-37 (.189) over his last 10 games.
After an off-day Monday, the Cubs will host the Miami Marlins Tuesday-Thursday. The Cubs will miss Carlos Zambrano, who pitches Monday’s wrap-around game against Washington. They will get Mark Buehrle, who pitches Thursday’s series finale.
Randy Wells had a rough go of it in Class AAA Iowa’s 7-1 loss to Omaha. Wells lasted just 1.2 innings as he gave up 6 hits and 7 runs. He fell to 3-3 with a 7.89 ERA. Josh Vitters extended his hitting streak to 13 games, going 1-for-5 with his 27th double of the season. The 13-game streak is the longest for Iowa this year.
Class AA Tennessee beat Jackson 4-2, getting home runs from Juan Apodaca (1) and Michael Burgess (10). Justin Bour went 2-for-4, with a double. Dae-Eun Rhee got the win, going 5 innings and giving up 2 hits and 2 runs. He’s 6-4 with a 5.21 ERA.
Daytona (A) blew a 6-2 lead and fell to Palm Beach. Starter Austin Kirk got a no-decision, working 6 innings and giving up 6 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned. He walked five and struck out four. His ERA for the season is 2.59. Roni Torreyes was 3-for-4.
Peoria (A) got a walk-off two-out single in the 10th from DH Chadd Krist. Krist, a ninth-rounder this year out of UC Berkeley, is 7-for-14 in his first three games with the Chiefs. He has 1 homer. Javier Baez, last year’s first-rounder, extended his hit streak to 10 games, going 3-for-5 and driving in 4. He had a 3-run homer (8), a triple and a stolen base.
Boise (A) beat Vancouver 9-3. Ian Dickson started and worked 4.1 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs. Trey Martin hit a 3-run homer in the second and extended a hit streak to five games. He also tripled. Martin was a 13th-rounder last year, and he made his pro debut this season. Gioskar Amaya (.306) was on base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple.
Arizona (Rookie) beat the Padres 13-3. Timothy Saunders, a 32nd-rounder this year, hit his third homer in going 4-for-6. He had a double and 5 RBI. Dan Vogelbach was 2-for-5 with a double and 4 RBI.