Renteria stays upbeat about struggling Cubs offense

Renteria stays upbeat about struggling Cubs offense

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:18

It’s back at Wrigley Field, where the wind is blowing in hard and cold from the north. That should benefit the starting pitchers today, the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija and the Reds’ Alfredo Simon. We talked in Friday’s paper about the Cubs and Reds having trouble getting on base in certain situations. The Cubs enter today ranked 14th in on-base percentage, 15th in slugging, 13th in walks and 14th in runs scored. With runners in scoring position, the Cubs are batting .195 (22-for-113).

They’re coming off a 1-4 road trip, including being shut out in both games of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

“I think situationally the last couple days we’ve had some opportunities to put some runs across,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. “Maybe we’ve become a anxious in our approaches at the plate, not putting ourselves in position and the frame of mind that the pitcher is on the ropes in a particular situation and maybe we get outside ourselves a little bit wanting to do too much. I want these guys to stay relaxed.

“When they come to the ballpark, I want them to feel comfortable in their element. There’s no reason for us as coaches to put them in a state of panic. They’re frustrated just as much as anybody else is. I think the most important thing is to help them step away from that frustration and just regroup and put their approaches back into play and see if we can maximize some run production.”

That said, Renteria said he doesn’t feel the Cubs have played as poorly as their 4-10 record might indicate.

“All in all, I don’t think our record is truly indicative of how we actually have been playing,” he said. “We have been playing pretty well. I think we’ve had a couple of games where we’ve been completely out of it. For the most part, we’ve battled them every single one. Even the last couple of outings in which we haven’t been able to come back we’ve put ourselves to have the potential tying or winning run at the plate in the end and just haven’t been able to push them across.”

As far as pregame notes, pitcher Jake Arrieta is at Wrigley Field, fresh off a solid rehab start for Class AA Tennessee. Arrieta is recovering from a shoulder ailment that he went to spring training with. He’ll throw a bullpen session with pitching coach Chris Bosio watching him. It’s likely he’ll throw another rehab game next Monday for Class AAA Iowa. It’s possible the Cubs could activate him following that start if all goes well.

From the game notes. Samardzija, is one of 11 starting pitchers with at least 3 games pitched and a 1.29 ERA or better this season. However, he’s the only one of the 11 without a victory. He is looking to end a 9-start winless streak dating to August 30 of last season (0-3, 4.17 ERA), including a 2.25 ERA (10 ER/40.0 IP) in his last 6starts. The Cubs this season have scored 3 runs total while Samardzija has been in the game. That’s tied for fewest among NL. pitchers with at least 3 starts this season (with Washington’s Taylor Jordan and Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano).

The Cubs aim to win their first series of the season and their first series overall since taking two-of-three games in Cincinnati September 9-11 last season. They are winless in their last 10 series dating to last year.

Emilio Bonifacio has recorded 7 stolen bases, tied for third most in the majors and already tied for the sixth-most steals in the month of March/April in franchise history (Brian McRae had 12 steals in March/April of 1996) … Starlin Castro has hit safely in nine of his last 12 games, batting .354 (17-for-48) dating to April 3.

Reliever Hector Rondon has a 16.2-inning scoreless streak dating to September 3 of last season (16 appearances). The 16.2-inning streak is the second-longest active run in the majors trailing only Washington’s Rafael Soriano (18.0). Rondon has limited batters to a .093 batting average (5-for-54) during his 16.2-inning scoreless streak … he’s issued 6 walks and struck out 17 in this stretch.

MINOR-LEAGUE ROUNDUP

Class AAA Iowa committed 6 errors Thursday but still beat New Orleans 5-4.

"We did everything we could to help them win today," Iowa shortstop Logan Watkins told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register.

Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch got no decision as he worked 5.2 innings and gave up 3 hits and 3 unearned runs while walking two and striking out five. He has a 3.57 ERA. Watkins, Chris Valaika and Eli Whiteside each had 2 hits.

Class AA Tennessee split a doubleheader with Jackson, losing 4-0 and winning 3-2. Corey Black took the loss in Game 1, working 4 innings and giving up 2 hits and 3 runs while walking five and striking out three. He is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA. In Game 2, Dae-Eun Rhee got a no-decision as he worked 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs.

Class A Daytona lost its fifth straight, 6-5 to Tampa.

“We're not creating enough situations to do things,” Daytona manager Dave Keller told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “That's the problem.”

Rob Zastryzny got no decision after working 4 innings and giving up 9 hits and 4 runs. Tim Sauners hit his first homer of the year, going 2-for-4. Rock Shoulders was 3-for-4. Arodys Vizcaino allowed a hit and a walk while striking out three in the ninth.

The Kane County Cougars got a nice start from Daury Torrez to beat Dayton 13-1. Torrez, 20, pitched 8 innings and gave up 2 hits and 1 run while walking one and striking out four. Will Remillard went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles and 5 RBI. Yasiel Balaguert was 2-for-5 to raise his average to .382, good for second in the Midwest League.

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