Cubs come home feeling good

Cubs come home feeling good

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 07/29/2013 - 18:12

We’re back at the ballpark just two days before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline. The names of Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz are the two most bandied about in trade talks, and one or both could be gone within 48 hours.

“It’s not my first go-around with the trading deadline,” Gregg said this afternoon before the Cubs took the field for batting practice ahead of tonight’s game against the Brewers. “Rumors swirl, and front offices are running all kind of scenarios. We can’t get involved that stuff as players. We’ve got to worry about the job on the field and go from there.”

The Cubs are playing their first home game in 15 days. They come home from a 6-4 road trip to Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco after the all-star break. The Cubs’ sweep at San Francisco was their first there since 1993, and all three wins were 1-run games. The Cubs are 30-25 in their last 55 games starting May 26, and they point out that’s the fourth-best record in the NL over that span. The Cubs’ .545 winning percentage since May 26 trails that of the Dodgers, Cardinals and Pirates. However, they are 15-28 against teams from the NL Central. The Cubs are 26-29 on the road this year after going 23-58 away from Wrigley Field last season.

It had manager Dale Sveum feeling pretty good. For our “take” in tomorrow’s paper, we’ll get into some of the differences between this year and last, both in look and feel.

“You’re proud of everybody,” Sveum said. “The players themselves, the pitchers, all the relievers who have gotten those tough outs on the road trip to seal some games. The offense, we didn’t score a lot of runs but we won all the games we were supposed to win. That’s the big thing. Obviously, that was the big problem earlier of the games we had and couldn’t pull them off. That’s how you win, when you have a bullpen that can close games out and that’s workable. It makes a big difference.

“I think everybody to a man has stepped up and filled those roles. Rusin’s won both games (1 win, 1 no-decision for Rusin) that (Matt) Garza was going to pitch in. (Pedro) Strop -- thats trade (with Baltimore) has been awesome -- in the setup role. (Junior) Lake coming up, he’s done a great job, obviously one of our touted young players. Everybody’s stepping up and doing things to help win a baseball game every day.”

Lake was 15-for-43 (.349) on the road trip, which represented his first major-league action. He was hitless in his last three games on the trip.

“We’re not going to panic over an 0-for-13,” said Sveum, who said he feels Lake is here to stay. “He had to face Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain. So you’re facing Cy Youngs and guys that have done a lot of good things in their careers. Those are the things for a kid like him with the ability he has is the learning experience we talk about. That’s why you want some guys to be here a little bit earlier sometimes to get that taste and see major-league pitching on an everyday basis and have to make those adjustments.”

MINOR-LEAGUE ROUNDUP

We’ll start at Class A Daytona, where C. J. Edwards made his Cubs organizational debut by pitching 5 shutout innings in a 2-1 victory over Palm Beach. Edwards, obtained from Texas in the Matt Garza trade, gave up 1 hit while walking one and striking out eight. He struck out the first seven batters he faced and has allowed 1 earned run or fewer in 8 straight starts, dating to his time with Class A Hickory.

"New uniform, new team, but same C.J.," Edwards told Jake Seiner of DaytonaCubs.com. "I'm doing the same things that got me to this point in my career. Going out each and every day, ready to fight."

In the game Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-4 with a run scored. He has hit safely in five of six games. Lendy Castillo, who opened last year with the big club, struck out three while allowing an unearned run in 3 innings of relief to earn his first win. He was promoted to Daytona from the Kane County Cougars

At Class AA Tennessee, Javier Baez hit 2 home runs, giving him 10 for the season, in the Smokies’ 8-5 loss to Birmingham. He was 2-for-5. Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch took the loss, working 5 innings and giving up 9 hits and 6 runs, 5 earned. He is 8-10 with a 3.84 ERA. Rubi Silva extended a hit streak to 14 games, going 2-for-4 with a double. He is batting .351 (20-for-57) during the streak.

Class AAA Iowa fell 4-3 to Oklahoma City. Nick Struck took the loss, falling to 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA. He worked 5.1 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned. Ty Wright went 3-for-4, all doubles. Chang-Yong Lim worked 2 scoreless innings in his Iowa debut.

Kane County (A) beat Peoria 6-3 with 4 runs in the third inning. Rock Shoulders was 2-for-5 with a double. Juan Paniagua started and pitched 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 3 runs while walking five and striking out none. Giuseppe Papaccio had 2 hits apiece. Albert Almora extended a hit streak to five games by going 2-for-5.

Boise (A) got 10 hits in a 3-1 victory over Spokane. Dillon Maples got the win, pitching 5 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball. He walked none and struck out five In improving to 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA. Kris Bryant, this year’s No. 1 draft pick, homered for the second timein three games, going 1-for-3 with 3 RBI.

Mesa (Rookie) lost 12-3 to the Diamondbacks. Jose Arias took the loss, working 1.2 innings and giving up 3 hits and 3 runs.

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