Renteria basks in sunshine again
A few clouds have moved in over Wrigley Field on this cool Saturday, but it was all sunshine in the Cubs dugout this morning as manager Rick Renteria was back to his old positive self.
“Today’s a new day, a beautiful day, actually,” Renteria said, one day after having to address his team following a sloppy 4-1 loss to the Reds. For whatever reason Friday, Renteria didn’t even want to acknowledge that he had a team meeting. He only alluded to being upset with some poor play. He expanded on that a bit this morning.
“We had to talk to everybody about everything we’ve been talking about since the spring,” he said. “It takes a lot of focus and intensity and commitment to have a chance to win, not even a guarantee, just a chance. Winning is not an accident. It is a process. It is something that you can put together by different means. The reality is whether you believe you’re the most gifted athlete in the world or the least gifted athlete in the world, you better believe in yourself.”
The Cubs are not hitting, and Renteria was asked if that amplifies things.
“I don’t know if it’s amplified,” he said. “I just know that a poorly executed game or a sloppy game is a sloppy game whether you’re swinging the bat or not. I think the reality is when we talk about changing the way we think, focusing our concentration on the things that we can control is really important. But certainly if you play sloppy baseball, you don’t have as good a chance to come out with a victory at the end of the day as it is. It’s incumbent on all of us to make sure that we play the game that we’re capable of playing. Catch the ball. Do the little things that we’re capable of doing and make sure we stay on top of it.”
Ricky also was asked if there’s only so much preparation a manager can do when he has a roster that’s limited on talent.
“I think that every player can excel,” he said. “I guess skill set is relative to production. I think that players need to prepare and continue to expect of themselves great things. I would venture to say that if you told someone like a David Eckstein or any number of players that were always considered probably not the most talented that they couldn’t be World Series MVP or he couldn’t play shortstop, when that stops being true, then maybe we’ll say there’s a disconnect. For me, the reality is that all the players we have have the ability to perform. I think they can play the game. I think we should have expectations of ourselves as they have of themselves. And we’re going to go out and try to do the same things we do every single day to prepare.”
The Cubs and Edwin Jackson will take on lefty Tony Cingrani and the Reds today. The Reds have activated former Cubs lefty Sean Marshall from the disabled list after Marshall battled shoulder problems. Cingrani is a graduate of Lincoln Way High School in New Lenox. He’s 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.10.
Jackson is 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA and a WHIP of 1.88. In 16 innings, he’s given up 19 hits and 11 walks while striking out 14.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta will make his next rehab start Monday at Class A Daytona, not Class AAA Iowa, as originally the Cubs had indicated. The Cubs hope Arrieta can use the warm weather and get stretched out to 100-plus pitches. It’s possible he could return soon after that start.
From the game notes: Anthony Rizzo is hitting .364 (8-for-22) against left-handed pitchers. That ranks fifth best among NL left-handed batters. Teammate Nate Schierholtz is 4-for-12 (.333) against lefties, tied for eighth best among NL left-handed hitters. Rizzo entered the season with a .194 career batting average (62-for-320) against left-handed pitchers. Rizzo’s .500 batting average (13-for-26) at home ranks fourth in the NL while Starlin Castro’s .448 mark (13-for-29) ranks ninth. Rizzo has hit safely in his last six home games, batting .591 (13-for-22) with 5 multihit games, after going 0-for-4 in the home opener. Castro has hit safely in all seven home games this season and enters today with a 10-game hitting streak at home dating to September 23 of last year (17-for-41/.415, with a 1.038 OPS).
Class AAA Iowa fell 1-0 to New Orleans on a leadoff homer by Josh Rodriguez. Tsuyoshi Wada started for the I-Cubs and worked 8 innings of 3-hit, 1 run ball while walking one and striking out five. He’s 2-1 with an ERA of 0.84. Wada’s 0.56 WHIP leads the Pacific Coast League while his 23 strikeouts and 0.84 ERA are third best.
"He's one of those kind of guys that I hate to face as a hitter, just because he's a guy that can throw three or four pitches just where he wants it," Iowa infielder Logan Watkins told the Des Moines Register. “And if you're not comfortable at the plate or comfortable with the strike zone, he's just going to keep pounding away, and you're never going to get a pitch that you like."
"He's able to throw all his pitches for strikes. He's locating the ball well," catcher Eli Whiteside told the paper. "He's obviously not going to throw the ball by you, and he knows that."
Class AA Tennessee gave up 5 runs in the ninth inning and fell 5-2 to Jackson. Third baseman Kris Bryant went 2-for-4 with his fourth homer. Bryant and teammate Dustin Geiger lead the Southern League in homers. Bryant’s .643 slugging percentage and 1.097 OPS also lead the league.
Pitcher Ivan Pineyro got no decision, working 6.2 innings and giving up 2 hits and no runs. He walked one and struck out eight. Pineyro has a 1.15 ERA.
Class A Daytona had its game against Tampa rained out. They’ll play two today.