Sunday brunch blog: Schierholtz sits; minor league notes
It’s a beautiful Sunday at Wrigley Field, and it was a pretty quiet morning, with all of the media crush over at the United Center for the Blackhawks. As far as Cubs news, manager Rick Renteria said reliever Pedro Strop will head down to Mesa to continue his recovery from the left-groin strain that put him on the disabled list.
The Brewers throw right-hander Marco Estrada against the Cubs and left-hander Travis Wood today. About the most interesting lineup news is that Ryan Kalish has replaced the struggling Nate Schierholtz in right field. Schierholtz, who had a career season last year with 21 home runs, is off to a miserable start this year. He has no homers and a hitting line of .197/.248/.252.
Although Schierholtz did most of his damage last year against right-handed pitchers – and in the first half of the season – he is doing worse against right-handers this year, with a line of .182/.243/.253 compared with a line against lefties of .250/.267/.250. During May, Schierholtz is .159/.283/.227, and at Wrigley Field he’s .119/.182/.119.
“Actually, I think his at-bats have been better, to be quite honest,” Renteria said. “We haven’t had the results we wanted. I think just continuing to give him a little breath. He understands. He’s doing everything he can to get out there and stay in the lineup. The results haven’t been what he wanted, but he’s actually looked a lot better.”
Edwin Jackson’s victory yesterday snapped a six-game losing streak when the Cubs got a quality start. This season in quality-start games, the Cubs are 8-14, and the starters have an ERA of 1.96. When the Cubs don’t get a quality start, they’re 6-13 and the starters have an ERA of 6.59.
From the game notes: The Cubs are 13 games under .500 (14-27) and 12 games out of first place despite a run differential of only minus-5. The Cubs point out that the Yankees and Orioles are tied for first place in the AL East while the Yankees have a minus-5 run differential and the Orioles have a minus-6 run differential. The Cubs have scored 3 or fewer runs in 24 of their 41 games. The Cubs’ Pythagorean record is 20-21.
The Kane County Cougars (A) got a combined no-hitter Saturday from Tyler Skulina and Nathan Dorris in a 3-0 victory over Quad Cities. It was the eighth no-hitter in Cougars history. Skulina worked 7.1 innings, giving up 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. He is 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA. The pitch count getting up over 90 ended Skulina’s game. Kane County’s previous no-hitter came May 18, 2011 at Cedar Rapids as pitchers Sugar Ray Marimon and Chas Byrne combined.
Back up at Class AAA Iowa, the I-Cubs fell 7-6 to Round Rock. Dallas Beeler got no decision, working 5.1 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while walking two and striking out six. Javier Baez hit his fourth homer of the year, a 2-run shot in the first inning.
"Two-run homer, it was great," manager Marty Pevey told the Des Moines Register. "I have no idea (how far it went) ... Once the ball went over the fence, I quit looking."
Arismendy Alcantara reached three times, going 1-for-2 with 2 runs, 2 walks, a double, an RBI and a stolen base.
Class AA Tennessee lost its third straight, 8-3 to Mississippi. Matt Loosen got no decision, working 6 innings and giving up 2 hits and 3 runs while walking four and striking out five. Catcher Charlie Cutler hit his first home run of the season.
Daytona (A) won its fourth straight, holding off Fort Myers 11-9. Tayler Scott worked 4.2 innings, giving up 7 hits and 5 runs. Zeke DeVoss had 3 singles and 3 RBI out of the leadoff hole. Gioskar Amaya had his fifth 3-hit game of the year. Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-3 with 3 runs, a walk and his fourth triple of the year. Dan Vogelbach had 2 doubles and 2 RBI.
Sean Kernan of the Daytona Beach News-Journal has a nice feature on center fielder Albert Almora, who was glad to see his parents in the stands.
A couple of bits:
“My mom and dad are here,” he said in the story. “Can you believe it? 20 days after (prostate) surgery, and he's here watching me. He's my hero.
“I can't put it into words. It makes all this — I don't want to say nothing — but we kind of get upset going 0 for 4, and he's fighting for his life,” the 20-year-old told me. “He was fighting for his life, and he beat it.”