Charting the workloads of Cubs relievers

Charting the workloads of Cubs relievers

Posted by Bruce on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 18:16

It’s Cubs-White Sox week in Chicago. With the Blackhawks going full tilt in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and neither the Cubs nor the lighting it up, the atmosphere seems pretty subdued for the intra-city baseball series. As far as the Cubs go, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Hector Rondon is not available tonight after working in four straight games over the past five days.

Rondon suffered the defeat in last night’s 5-4 loss to the Cardinals. He threw 28 pitches, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 walks while striking out two.

“But he was trying to grind through it and get himself out of it, and we weren’t able to get that groundball that Molina hit up the middle,” Renteria said of Yadier Molina’s tiebreaking single up the middle. “At that point, you’ve got to make sure you’re not going to leave him out there much longer. But I thought he did what he could do for us and he’ll come back and be ready to go.”

As I tweeted last night -- @BruceMiles2112 – Renteria seems to have fallen into the pattern of riding the hot bullpen hand while ignoring the cold hands. Early on, James Russell and Justin Grimm were getting the work while Wesley Wright was not pitching. Nowadays Rondon and Wright are working more while Russell has sat. The Cubs have an eight-man bullpen, so Renteria has to be careful in parceling out innings and appearances. Below, I’ve broken down the usages for several key relievers. You can see for yourself where the concentrated work has come in and when there have been large gaps between games.

Russell

March 31
April 2
April 3 (Three straight games over four days)
April 5
April 8
April 10
April 13
April 18
April 20
April 23
May 3

Pedro Strop

March 31
April 2
April 3 (Three straight over four days)
April 6
April 8
April 9 (Three straight over four days
April 11
April 19
April 21
April 23
April 26
April 27
April 29 (Three straight over four days)
May 3

Grimm

March 31
April 2
April 3
April 5
April 8
April 10
April 16
April 18
April 20
April 22
April 23
April 29
May 2
May 4

Wright
April 2
April 4
April 13 (nine days between appearances)
April 16
April 19
April 20
April 24
April 25
April 30
May 4

Rondon
April 2
April 4
April 6
April 9
April 10
April 11 (Three in a row)
April 16
April 19
April 21
April 23
April 27
April 30
May 2
May 3
May 4 (Four straight games in five days)

Brian Schlitter

April 2
April 3
April 4
April 6
April 8
April 10
April 26
April 30
May 2
May 3

Schlitter is in his second stint with the big club after breaking with the club out of spring training. He was optioned to Class AAA Iowa April 12 and recalled April 26.

We chatted informally with Cubs GM on the field during batting practice. He said outfield prospect Jorge Soler is playing in a game at Arizona today as he rehabs a hamstring injury. Reliever Jose Veras, who is on the DL with an oblique strain, is at Class AA Tennessee and will begin a rehab stint soon, perhaps later this week. Reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, who is recovering from last year’s Tommy John surgery, is “ramping up” his activity in Arizona. There is no timetable on game action for Fujikawa. Pitching prospect C.J. Edwards is working on strength and range-of-motion activities at Tennessee, where he is recovering from right-shoulder fatigue.

From the game notes: Anthony Rizzo enters the game with 56 straight errorless games at first base dating to Sept. 1 of last year. It’s the longest streak for a Cubs first baseman since Derrek Lee went 59 consecutive errorless games from April 7-June 13, 2010. Rizzo also is batting .394 (13-for-33) with 3 homers and 8 RBI against left-handed pitchers. The .394 average is the second highest among NL left-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers. The Giants’ Brandon Crawford leads with a .438 average on 14-for-32 batting.

MINOR-LEAGUE ROUNDUP

Class AAA Iowa lost its fourth straight, 5-1 at Chattanooga. Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch took the loss, falling to 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA. He worked 5 innings, giving up 9 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned while walking none and striking out four.

Josh Vitters (.196) went 1-for-3 with a fifth-inning, solo home run. Lars Anderson and Christian Villanueva each recorded a double. The I-Cubs struck out 10 times at the hands of Nashville pitchers.

Class AA Tennessee lost 6-4 to Chattanooga. Corey Black suffered the loss. He worked 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 6 runs, 5 earned while walking five and striking out four. He fell to 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA.

Rafael Lopez reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with 2 walks and 2 RBI.
Class A Daytona got a walk-off homer from Jeimer Candelario in the bottom of the 12th to beat Lakeland 2-1.

“That felt wonderful,” Candelario told the Daytona Beach News-Journal of an ice-water dousing he received from his teammates. “This felt good … helping your team win. That was cold, but I was able to have some fun with my teammates.”

Felix Pena got no decision as he worked 6 innings of 1-hit shutout ball, walking one and striking out three. He has a 1.29 ERA and has not allowed more than 1 earned run in 6 starts this season.

The Kane County Cougars (A) picked up a 13-3 victory over Burlington. Jacob Hannemann hit a leadoff homer, his second of the year. Paul Blackburn got the win. He worked 6 innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts. Blackburn is 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA.

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