Sveum says Barney making difference on 'D'
It will be slightly warmer tonight at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out hard as the Cubs and Edwin Jackson take on Edinson Volquez and the Padres. Hang with us tonight even as you flip between the Cubs and Blackhawks. Let’s do a few leftovers from last night and get to our minor-league report below.
Manager Dale Sveum said last night the infield defense is indeed better with Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney back in there.
“Barney’s solidified our defense, believe me,” Dale said. “He’s just that guy, when he’s out there, he’s going to do a lot of things throughout the course of a game. He’s going to do at least one thing a day that’s going to change the aspect of a game. It’s going to save pitchers umpteen pitches, whether it’s turning the double play … That’s why he won the Gold Glove. He’s the best in the league, and that’s how much he means to us defensively. He changes the game around for us defensively.”
After a slow start at the plate since coming off the DL, Barney is at .200/.265/.333 with 3 doubles, a homer and 3 RBI. His 2 doubles last night tied a career high, and he had a pair of two-out RBI.
“I’m feeling better and better,” Barney said. “I’m making some adjustments here and there and working on my posture a little bit, swing at better pitches, and hopefully, it turns around a little more. I think defensively, we’ve definitely picked it up a lot. With all these close games, pitching and defense is going to help us win those games. It’s nice to get on a roll a little bit. Hopefully we can keep it going and see where we can go with it.”
All 25 Cubs games this season have been decided by 4 runs or fewer, a franchise record. The previous club record of 21 games to start a season with all contests decided by 4 or fewer took place in 1908. The 25 games to start a season with all contests decided by 4 runs or fewer is the second-longest streak in major-league history. The only team to start with a longer streak is the 1914 Detroit Tigers (33 games). Again, the Cubs credit Elias for the info.
“It’s a positive and negative,” Barney said. "It’s a positive our pitching staff has done a great job thus far. It’s a negative because our offense hasn’t blown up yet in one of those games. Hopefully, that happens. Hopefully, we have one of those games some time this year when we’re up by a lot. We’re working. Everybody’s working hard.”
This afternoon, David DeJesus, Luis Valbuena and Julio Borbon were hitting off a tee with assistant hitting coach Rob Deer.
Last night, the Cubs got their first victory when a starting pitcher (Jeff Samardzija) didn’t turn in a quality start. They’re 1-9 in non-quality-start games, with the starters having an ERA of 5.67. In quality, start games, the Cubs are 9-6, with the starters having a 1.98 ERA.
Anthony Rizzo has 8 homers and 19 RBI. The 8 homers in April are the most by a left-handed hitter for this month in franchise history. The 19 RBI are second most in April to Billy Williams’ 25 RBI in April 1970.
Big Dan Vogelbach hit homers in both games of a doubleheader yesterday, but the Kane County Cougars dropped a pair to Lake County, 7-6 and 4-2. Vogelbach has 4 homers. Rock Shoulders hit his fifth in the first game. He’s hitting .384, and his 5 homers lead the team. Felix Pena got a no-decision in Game 1, working 6 innings and giving up 5 hits and 2 runs. Michael Heesch took the loss in Game 2, working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 4 runs.
Class AAA Iowa fell 10-9 to Round Rock. The teams combined for 24 hits and 4 homers. Brett Jackson hit his second of the year for the I-Cubs. Brian Bogusevic extended a hit streak to 10 games, going 1-for-5. He’s 16-for-36 in the streak. Nick Struck got no decision. He worked 3 innings, giving up 4 hits and 5 runs while walking four and striking out one. Brad Nelson was 4-for-5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI.
Tennessee (AA) split a pair with Pensacola. In Game 1, Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch suffered his first loss, working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs. He’s 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA. In Game 2, Jae-Hoon Ha hit a pinch, walk-off 3-run homer to give the Smokies a 3-0 win. It was Ha’s first homer. Kyle Hendricks worked 6 shutout innings, allowing 1 hit while walking one and striking out eight.
Daytona (A) got a rain-shortened 2-1 victory over Palm Beach in a game called in the eighth inning. Yeiper Castillo worked 4 innings and gave up 2 hits and no runs. Dustin Geiger (.314) hit his third homer of the year and extended a hit streak to five games.
Javier Baez was named Florida State League player of the week for April 22-28. He was 10-for-23 (.435) with 2 homers, 3 doubles and a slugging percentage of .826.