Set lineup? Cubs won't have one
The sun has returned to Wrigley Field. It’s cool and the wind is blowing in off the lake, but it’s been a much more tolerable morning and early afternoon here at the ballpark as the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija take on lefty Cliff Lee and the Phillies.
Someone asked Cubs manage Rick Renteria yesterday if he would shake up the lineup because the Cubs aren’t hitting. Actually, Renteria does that every day as he has gone with a different combo for each game. The Cubs have six left-handed hitters, six right-handed hitters and switch hitter Emilio Bonifacio on the roster.
“We have flexibility with the left-handed, right-handed matchups,” Renteria said this morning in the dugout. “Someone had asked yesterday about guys getting comfortable on a daily basis, and I think we’re trying to put everybody in the best possible position for success based on the guys they face.”
Here is how the Cubs will go today:
This is the second start of the year for Samardzija, who tossed 7 scoreless Monday at Pittsburgh and got a no-decision in the Cubs’ 1-0 loss. Cubs starting pitchers are 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA, having tossed 25.1 innings and given up 15 hits and 7 runs, 5 earned. They’ve allowed 1 home run and 8 walks while striking out 21. Three of the first 4 Cubs starts have been quality starts. Edwin Jackson’s non-quality start was pretty good, as he worked 5.1 innings and gave up 1 earned run in Wednesday’s 16-inning loss at Pittsburgh.
“(Samardzija) did a great job in Pittsburgh,” Renteria said. “He kept the ball at the knees and below. He worked both sides of the plate. I think his success is fastball command, like most pitchers, and keeping the ball down in the zone.
“They’ve all been fantastic. They’ve been great. Hammel. Woody threw well yesterday. We could have helped him out a little bit, but all in all, he worked through it and kept grinding. He kept us in the game as long as he could.”
The Cubs will complete the first turn through the five-man rotation tomorrow, when Carlos Villanueva starts the series finale against the Phillies.
From the game notes: Luis Valbuena has seen 5.15 pitches per plate appearance, second highest behind Cleveland’s Carlos Santana (5.17) … Villanueva will become the eighth Cubs pitcher since 1987 and the first since 2000, to pitch in relief and make a start within the team’s first six games of the season. Jamie Moyer (a current Phillies broadcaster) and Greg Maddux did so in 1987. Others to do so since then were Anthony Young (1994), Frank Castillo (1997), Terry Mulholland (1998), Brad Woodall (1999) and Andrew Lorraine (2000). The Cubs credit STATS Inc. for the note.
Matt Szczur had both of Class AAA Iowa’s hits in a 9-0 loss to Memphis. One of the hits was a double. Szczur also walked. Starting pitcher Carlos Pimentel worked 5 innings and gave up 8 hits and 4 runs while walking none and striking out six. He took the loss.
Former Cubs right-hander Casey Coleman was transferred from Iowa’s roster to that of short-season Class A Boise. That effectively ends Coleman’s run in the organization since Boise doesn’t start play until June 13. Coleman was a 15th-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2008. With the big club, he went 7-13 with a 5.76 ERA in 48 games, 26 starts. He signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs in the off-season.
"It's been an awesome ride for me," Coleman told the Des Moines Register before adding that he’ll go to Arizona for a week or two to work out and possibly get a call from another team.
"This is just a very temporary thing, and hopefully I can pick up with a new team soon," he said.
The Register reported that Coleman “became a fan favorite at the park, often chatting with fans during the game in the bullpen. He was a frequent visitor on golf courses and often played basketball in West Des Moines.”
"I learned to really enjoy the city," he told the paper.
Casey’s grandfather, Joe, pitched in the major leagues, as did his father, also named Joe. The Colemans are the only family featuring three generations of pitchers in major-league history.
Kris Bryant homered for the second time in two games for Class AA Tennessee as the Smokies beat Pensacola 1-0. Bryant was 1-for-4. The Smokies placed outfielder Jorge Soler on the seven-day disabled list with a left-hamstring injury. Soler suffered the injury hitting a double in the season opener.
In Friday’s game, C.J. Edwards got no decision, working 4 innings and giving up 1 hit and no runs while walking one and striking out four. P.J. Francescon got the win by pitching 3 innings. Armando Rivero got the save with 2 innings of work as he struck out four.
Class A Daytona lost 4-3 in 10 innings to Brevard County. Jose Rosario got no decision. He pitched 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs while walking three and striking out five. Pin-Chieh Chen went 3-for-5 with a double and 1 RBI. B.J. Rademacher was 2-for-4 with a double.
The Kane County Cougars had their game at Quad Cities postponed because of cold weather. They’ll play two today.