Cubs Hoyer: We should be better than our record
It’s the second of May, but the Cubs will be playing their first game of the new month after going 9-17 in April, or 1 game worse than last season. They’ll send lefty Travis Wood to the mound this afternoon against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who is 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA.
“Obviously, the record is disappointing,” said general manager Jed Hoyer, who made a pregame appearance on the field. “One thing we haven’t done a good job of is three consecutive years we’ve kind of fallen on our face right out of the gate in April. It’s really been kind of Groundhog Day. It’s been closer issues in April. It’s been bullpen woes. Over the years, we’ve had a better run differential and lost a lot of 1-run games early. That’s been really frustrating. We should be better than our record. But ultimately, you are what you.”
"I think individually there have been some good performances. It’s nice to see Rizzo and Castro and Bonifacio doing well. Pitching wise, our starters have been solid. A lot of our bullpen arms have been throwing well. There have been some good individual performances. We’ve struggled to win enough games.”
For those of you into such things, the Cubs’ expected, or Pythagorean, record based on their minus-9 run differential is 12-14.
Speaking of stats, we pointed out in our newspaper story today that the Cardinals are hitting .226 as a team with runners in scoring position. Last year, it was .330, which was both crazy. No, the Cardinals haven’t lost any “clutch” ability. All the difference show is how random and non-repeatable that stat is. By the end of the year, it’s likely the St. Louis average with RISP will move upward.
Jake Arrieta makes his first start of the season tomorrow in the 12:05 game as he comes off the DL after rehabbing a shoulder ailment that he had since the beginning of spring training.
“Jake’s going to want to pound the strike zone,” said manager Rick Renteria. “He’s going to want to throw a lot of strikes. He’s going to try to work efficiently, just like every pitcher, staying down in the zone, mixing his secondary pitches.”
From the game notes: Anthony Rizzo on Wednesday in Cincinnati homered in his first at-bat then walked in his next 4 plate appearances. He is the first Cub with 4 walks in a game since Carlos Pena, September 4, 2011, vs. Pittsburgh. Rizzo is the first Cub with a homer and 4 walks in a game since Hee-Seop Choi, April 16, 2003 vs. Cincinnati …Cubs pitchers have had just 1 save opportunity in the team’s last 16 games dating to April 12. The team’s 6 save opportunities are fewest in the majors … Welington Castillo’s 4 home runs are tied for fourth most among NL catchers with St. Louis’ Yadier Molina. Atlanta’s Evan Gattis leads with 7. Castillo has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, batting .351 (13-for-37) in that stretch.
Since moving to the No. 4 spot of the lineup, April 25, Starlin Castro is hitting .450 (9-for-20) with 2 doubles, 2 homers and 5 RBI in five games. Castro this season is hitting .308 (32-for-104) with doubles, 4 homers and 14 RBI. He had a .277 batting average heading into May of last season. His 14 RBI s far are tied for fifth most among major-league shortstops.
Class AAA Iowa split a doubleheader Thursday with Omaha, winning 1-0 and losing 8-6. In Game 1, Tsuyoshi Wada got the win, as he pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 hits while walking one and striking out eight. He is 4-1 with an 0.57 ERA.
"It's definitely the best season for me since I moved to the United States," Wada told the Des Moines Register through a translator.
"He's pitching outstanding," Iowa manager Marty Pevey told the paper.
Class AA Tennessee got 5 runs in the ninth for a 7-2 win at Chattanooga. Matt Loosen got the win with 5 innings of 3-hit, 1-run ball. He walked one and struck out eight in improving to 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA. Rafael Lopez extended a hit streak to eight games by going 3-for-4.
Class A Daytona was rained out. They’ll play two with Clearwater today. The Kane County Cougars (A) committed 4 errors in a 5-2 loss at Cedar Rapids. Daury Torrez took the loss. He pitched 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs, 2 earned. He fell to 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA. Cael Brockmeyer was 2-for-3 for the Cougars.