Veras goes to DL; Lake goes to 'school'
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs’ beleaguered bullpen saw more change today as Jose Veras went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. Brian Schlitter, who opened the season with the big club, was recalled from Class AAA Iowa, meaning the Cubs still have a 13-man pitching staff. Manager Rick Renteria said yesterday that Veras’ oblique was bothering him, so today’s move came as no surprise.
Veras said the oblique starting bother him “a couple of days ago, little by little.” It’s been a rough start to the season for Veras, who lost his job as the closer early on. He is 0-0 with a 15.88 ERA and a WHIP of 2.82. The DL stint also might serve to let Veras clear his mind a little.
“It might, for sure,” Renteria said. “You give yourself maybe a little distance from … obviously, he feels he hasn’t done what he should be doing, so maybe it will clear his mind a little bit. Hopefully he’s feeling physical better and we can move forward.”
The Cubs will send lefty Travis Wood against the Brewers’ Marco Estrada this evening at Miller Park. Junior Lake is out of the lineup after a rough game last night, when he missed a line drive in left field, overthrew the cutoff man, struck out twice and broke his bat over his leg. Renteria said it’s all part of the learning process.
“I think so,” he said. “You have conversations continually. You address issues that occur, and you do it in a classroom-like type setting. You’re talking about it. You go over it. You kind of run through the same scenarios you would with anybody developing as an outfielder. The thought process: ‘What were you thinking? Who was running? Who was on the bases? Who was hitting? What actions do you take should the ball be hit to you?’ So we talked to him about the fatigue factor that occurs when you play in a major-league ballgame. It’s not the physical fatigue. It’s the actual being ready for every potential play that occurs so that you’re thinking it through. Sometimes those are the things we talk about. When you’re talking about focusing on the baseball game, we’re talking about you as an individual knowing what it is you’re supposed to do after every single pitch.”
From the game notes: Wood is tied for third among major-league left-handers (with the Angels C.J. Wilson) with 27 quality starts dating to the beginning of last season. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Phillies’ Cliff Lee lead with 28 apiece. Wood this season has recorded quality starts in 3 of his 4 starts, and in his lone outing in which he did not record a quality start (April 16 at the Yankees), he allowed two runs in 5.2 innings. He began last season with 9-straight quality starts, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to accomplish the feat since Mordecai Brown tossed 11-straight – all complete games – to begin the 1908 season.
Relievers Neil Ramirez and Wesley Wright last night combined to produce 3 shutout innings. It marked the first time since Sept. 28 of last season in St. Louis in which the bullpen went at least 3 without allowing a run. After he allowed 2 runs in 1.1 innings April 4 against the Phillies, Wright has held opponents scoreless in his last 6 games (5.1 IP), walking none, striking out five and limiting the opponent to a .200 average (4-for-20).
The Cubs are hitting just .211 (69-for-327) on the road, 40 points lower than their .251 home average (107-for-426). Cubs pitching has produced a 3.74 road ERA (35 ER/84.1 IP), lower than their 4.00 ERA (52 ER/117.0 IP) at home.
Class AAA Iowa won its fourth straight, beating Colorado Springs 9-2. Lefty Chris Rusin was the winner as he worked 7 innings and gave up 7 hits and 1 run while walking one and striking out six. He is 1-3 with a 4.76 ERA. Lars Anderson was 2-for-2 with a double and 2 RBI. Arismendy Alcantara drove in 2 with a pinch-hit triple in the eighth. Matt Szczur reached three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk and 1 batted in.
Class AA Tennessee was routed 15-1 by Huntsville. Matt Loosen took the loss, going 6.1 innings and giving up 5 hits and 3 runs. He is 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA. Kris Bryant extended a hit streak to a season-high eight games, going 1-for-2 with a run, a walk and a double. Bryant is batting .364 (12-for-33) during the streak.
Daytona (A) won for the fifth time in six games, beating Brevard County 6-3. Felix Pena worked 3 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned. Pena was taken out of the game in the fourth inning because of what the Cubs described as shoulder discomfort.
Bijan Rademacher extended a hit streak to nine games with a solo homer in the ninth. He is 11-for-33 in the streak. Dan Vogelbach followed up his 4-for-4 Thursday with a 3-for-4 game.
The Kane County Cougars (A) scored 5 in the first and beat Wisconsin 8-4. The Cougars enter today with the best record in the Midwest League (15-6). Daury Torrez got the win, working 6.1 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while walking none and striking out seven. He is 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA.
Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert had 3 hits each. Daniel Canela and Will Remillard both knocked in 3 runs.