As always, it’s good to be back at a ballpark, even when it’s raining. An hour before tonight’s scheduled game time, it’s raining lightly at Wrigley Field with the wind coming straight in. Neither the Cubs nor the Reds took batting practice. We’ll have a lot more on Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters for our “take” in tomorrow’s paper. Jackson is in the lineup, batting seventh, while Vitters will sit against Reds righty Mike Leake. The Cubs said earlier it’s about 50-50 that we get this one in tonight.
On the kids getting their first taste of Wrigley Field, manager Dale Sveum said: "I think it's always nice when you get your first taste of home games, especially in a place like this: Wrigley Field and just to get a taste of the atmosphere and the fans and everything. It's one of those special ballparks, that it's always awesome even if you're coming here for the firs time as a visitor. It's always one of those places you dreamed about playing in."
The Cubs have lost eight straight, with a tough road ahead of them.
"Every major-league team is good,” Sveum said. “It doesn't matter the schedule, the win-loss records and all that. We just got swept by San Diego, who wasn't too much better than us in the loss column, either. Just a matter of going out and competing. Yeah, it's tough, but every major-league game is tough. It's why you play 162 games. Teams get hot. Teams get cold. No matter who we're playing, 53-game stretch, we're going to see what guys are made out of, no doubt about it."
The offensive numbers on the recent road trip were not good:
Darwin Barney: 5-for-23
Starlin Castro: 1-for-22
Steve Clevenger: 1-for-7
David DeJesus: 3-for-16
Brett Jackson: 2-for-11
Bryan LaHair: 1-for-8 (no homer since July 4)
Anthony Rizzo: 4-for-24
Alfonso Soriano: 3-for-17 (no homer since July 24)
Josh Vitters: 1-for-10
Matt Garza met with the media before the game and said he hopes to pitch again this season. He’s on the DL with a “stress reaction” in his right elbow.
The Cubs, as we mentioned on the last blog, promoted outfielder Jorge Soler from Mesa to Peoria. He left Arizona early this morning and may not catch up with the Chiefs in time to be effective at Burlington.
"I've seen his video, and (Albert) Almora and other guys,” Sveum said. “It's just interesting to see him in a different atmosphere, too, when there's fans in the stands and just a little more baseball orientated instead of an instructional league atmosphere or simulated-game atmosphere."
Not much going on with Class AAA Iowa. The I-Cubs lost to Reno 5-1. Rehabbing reliever Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning. Opposing hitters are 9-for-51 against him.
Class AA Tennessee fell 7-2 to Huntsville. Dallas Beeler took the loss, working 3 innings and giving up 6 hits and 6 runs, 5 earned. He’s 4-7 with a 4.27 ERA. Junior Lake was 2-for-4.
Daytona (A) was rained out. Peoria (A) lost in 14 innings, 9-8 at Burlington. Starter Yao-Lin Wang worked 6 innings, giving up 3 hits and 1 run. He walked none and struck out 10. He is 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Paul Hoilman hit his eighth homer and Tim Saunders his first. He was 2-for-5 with 2 walks.
The big boys hit for Boise (A) in an 8-6 win at Everett. Rock Shoulders hit his seventh homer, a grand slam in the fifth, and Dan Vogelbach hit his fourth. Jose Arias got the win, working 5 innings and giving up 4 hits and 3 runs. He’s 3-2 with a 3.62 ERA.
Mesa (Rookie) beat the Dodgers 5-2 despite making 3 errors. Paul Blackburn started and worked 2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 unearned runs. Albert Almora extended a hit streak to a season-high six games, going 1-for-4. Shawon Dunston Jr. was 2-for-5.