April 2011

4/30 Minor League roundup

Marquez Smith belted a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to lift Iowa to a 4-3 win over Omaha on Friday. Ramon Ortiz posted his first quality start for the Iowa tem, striking out five.

On Thursday, J.R. Mathes gave up six runs on 10 hits over four innings in Iowa’s 7-0 loss to Omaha. Brad Snyder had two hits for his fourth multi-hit game of the season.

* Ryan Flaherty hit his sixth home run to power n 18-hit attack and lead Tennessee to a 10-6 win over Carolina. Steve Clevenger had three hits, including a game-tying RBI triple in the seventh.

On Thursday, Alberto Cabrera gave up five runs — two earned — on seven hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 8-5 win over Carolina. The Smokies won despite committing four errors. Steve Clevenger had four hits and three RBIs.

* On Friday, Justin Bour hit his third home run of the series to lift Daytona to an 8-2 victory over Tampa. Lefty Zac Rosscup didn’t give up a hit until there were two outs in the fifth and went six innings for the win.

Brett Wallach gave up three runs — one earned — on five hits over five innings in Daytona’s 9-5 win Thursday over Tampa. Jake Optiz, David Macias and Bour each homered. Macias homered, doubled and drove in two runs.

* Cam Greathouse struck out seven and gave up six runs — four earned — on four hits over five innings in Peoria’s 7-2 loss Friday to Beloit. Greg Rohan is two RBIs shy of Travis Hanson’s April club record of 26 set in 2003.

On Thursday, Elliot Soto had two hits and two RBIs but it wasn’t enough as Peoria lost, 4-3, to Beloit.

— Carrie Muskat

4/30 April numbers

With his two-homer game Friday against the D-Backs, Alfonso Soriano now has nine home runs, the most by a Cubs player for the month of April. And there is still one game to go this month. The previous April home run mark was eight, shared by three players and done four times.

1958: Lee Walls, 8 HR
2000 & 2002: Sammy Sosa, 8 HR
2008: Derrek Lee, 8 HR

* Starlin Castro has 38 hits, tied for third most all-time by a Cubs player in April.

April Hits Leaders
1996: Mark Grace, 42 hits
2008: Derrek Lee, 39
2007: Derrek Lee, 38
2011: Starlin Castro, 38

* Kosuke Fukudome has a .418 batting average, which ranks second all-time among Cubs hitters for the month of April (minimum 50 plate appearances):

2005: Derrek Lee, .419
2011: Kosuke Fukudome, .418
2007: Derrek Lee, .392
1952: Frank Baumholtz, .389
1982: Gary Woods, .388

* Matt Garza enters Saturday’s game against the D-Backs with a chance to set the team record for most strikeouts in April. Here are the leaders:

2001: Kerry Wood, 46
2003: Kerry Wood, 43
1969: Fergie Jenkins, 42
2004: Kerry Wood, 42
2011: Matt Garza, 41

— Carrie Muskat

4/29 Cubs bleacher promotion


Want one of the “PASS10N” t-shirts created to honor Ron Santo? The Cubs and partner Bud Light are introducing the Bud Light Bleacher Series for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday home games. Fans will receive a Cubs T-shirt at each Monday home game for the rest of the season, starting May 30 when the team plays host to the Astros. The first shirt will be the “PASS10N” t-shirt created by Cubs catcher Koyie Hill.

Beginning May 10, all Tuesday home games will feature Bud Light or Budweiser products at specific concessions stands in the bleachers for $3. Starting May 11, fans sitting in the Bud Light Bleachers for Wednesday home games can buy Vienna Beef Hot Dogs for $1. The Bud Light Bleacher Series is exclusive to ticket holders in the Bud Light Bleachers. Want a ticket? go to Cubs.com or call the Cubs Ticket Office at 773-404-4242.

— Carrie Muskat

4/28 Minor League report

Rob Whitenack threw six scoreless innings but did not get the win as Tennessee lost, 2-1, to Jacksonville. The Suns scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth. This was Whitenack’s first start for the Double-A team. In four games at Class A Daytona this year, he was 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA.

Evan Crawford had three hits and two stolen bases and Justin Bour homered but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost to Tampa, 8-6, in 11 innings. The loss snapped the Cubs’ winning streak at six games.

Matt Szczur had three hits to extend his hitting streak to six games and help Peoria beat Clinton, 7-2. Robinson Lopez picked up the win in relief, striking out one in four innings.

Iowa had the day off Wednesday and opens a four-game series at Omaha Thursday.

— Carrie Muskat

4/28 Mother’s day special for Soriano

The Alfonso Soriano Family Foundation is teaming up with the Cubs to create awareness and generate support on Mother’s Day at Wrigley Field.  The Foundation will host the day in honor of Alfonso’s mom, Andrea, who passed away earlier this year, to support a project very dear to her, Mirqueya’s DayCare. It’s a school for children in need in Soriano’s homeland, the Dominican Republic.
“I am pleased to be able to honor the memory of my mother in this special way,” Alfonso said. “My mom was everything for me, and this is the perfect way, and day, to honor her.”
As a part of the day, fans interested in supporting the cause can purchase tickets to the game and a post-game reception in the United Club at Wrigley Field.  A ticket package is $400 for a family (up to four people), and includes the reception and a game ticket. Cubs ticket holders can attend for $75 each. For $250, an individual can receive the VIP treatment package, which includes a premium game ticket, the reception in the United Club, and a special on field VIP meet and greet pregame with Alfonso.  Attendees at the post game event will have the opportunity to meet Alfonso, and all mothers in attendance will receive a special gift from the ASFF.  Tickets can be purchased at www.asff.org.
Volunteers will be on hand at each gate to collect donations, as well as distribute informational materials about the Alfonso Soriano Family Foundation and Mirqueya’s Daycare. Funds collected at the game will benefit both children at the school in the Dominican Republic and the Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) in the Chicago area. Mothers and their children from CAWC will be treated to a special pre-game meet and greet with Alfonso Soriano on Mothers’ Day.
The Alfonso Soriano Family Foundation is dedicated to protecting all children by helping to create strong families through support of Mirqueya’s Daycare in the Dominican Republic. Mirqueya’s Day Care was started by Mirqueya Guzman in her native city of Quisqueya in the Dominican Republic. She provides assistance to Quisqueya’s most impoverished children through education, nutrition, and spiritual guidance. Alfonso and his late mother, Andrea, supported Mirqueya’s efforts by donating toys and school supplies to the children each January for the past few years. Alfonso will continue the legacy he and his mother started in her honor through the foundation.
— Carrie Muskat

4/27 Baker in the No. 3 hole

Jeff Baker was inserted into the No. 3 spot in the lineup Wednesday, weather permitting. So far, the Cubs’ No. 3 hitters are .245 and have driven in six runs.

“I don’t care where I hit,” Baker said. “One through eight — as long as it’s not nine and the pitcher is hitting in front of me, I don’t care. I’m just happy to be playing.”

He has batted third before, including two games last season when he went 4-for-6. In Baker’s career, he’s 8-for-19 in nine games in the No. 3 hole with one home run and three RBIs. His background as a backup has helped him adjust. So far, Baker has hit first, fourth and fifth for the Cubs in the first month.

“I think it affects guys who are playing every day more, mentally where you are in the lineup,” Baker said. “When you’re coming off the bench, you don’t care where you’re hitting.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/27 Minor League report

Jay Jackson gave up one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings in Iowa’s 4-3 loss to Memphis. Jackson did not get a decision. He also went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Lou Montanez extended his hitting streak to five games and Bryan LaHair had two hits, his sixth multi-hit game of the year. Jackson threw 89 pitches, 50 for strikes. He could be a candidate for the Cubs rotation. Chicago needs a fifth starter Sunday unless James Russell gets another start.

Trey McNutt gave up one run on seven hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 6-1 win over Jacksonville. He struck out four. Matt Spencer had four hits and two RBIs and Ryan Flaherty hd three hits and scored two runs.

Daytona had Tuesday off and opens a three-game series against Tampa on Wednesday.

Austin Kirk gave up one run on four hits over six innings in Peoria’s 10-1 win over Clinton. Kirk struck out six. Greg Rohan had three hits and Matt Szczur had two hits, extending his hitting streak to five games.

— Carrie Muskat

4/27 Cubs optimistic lineup

There’s a 100 percent chance of rain Wednesday at Wrigley Field, but Mike Quade has posted his lineup and he has Jeff Baker at second base and batting third. Do a rain dance to get this one in. This is the Rockies’ only trip to Chicago. Here’s the lineup:

RF Fukudome

SS Castro

2B Baker

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

CF Byrd

LF Colvin

C Hill

P Coleman

Baker is batting .500 (8-for-16) with two runs, two doubles and three RBIs in his four-game hitting streak. He has a .409 average with four doubles, a homer, nine RBIs and five multi-hit efforts in 14 games this year. This will be Baker’s fifth start at second and first in the No. 3 hole.

The Cubs do need to get something going in the three-hole. Marlon Byrd and Starlin Castro have hit there so far and are a combined .245 with six RBIs.

— Carrie Muskat

4/26 Extra bases

The toughest decision these days for Cubs manager Mike Quade is trying to get Jeff Baker in the lineup. Baker started at first on Tuesday. “His versatility makes a huge difference,” Quade said of Baker, who has started at first, third and secon. “He’s swinging the bat so well.”

* It took Quade a little time to calm down after Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Rockies. “You get mad — so what are you going to do about it?” he said. “Getting mad doesn’t help.”

* Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, both on the disabled list, threw on flat ground Tuesday. They are scheduled to be examined by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Wednesday. Cashner is sidelined with a strained right rotator cuff, Wells has a strained right forearm. There’s no time table for their return.

* Kosuke Fukudome is the fifth Cubs leadoff man since 1986 to have five hits in a game, joining Ryan Theriot (April 25, 2010); Alfonso Soriano (May 17, 2008; June 4, 2007); Tom Goodwin (July 21, 2003); and Davey Lopes (April 20, 1986).

— Carrie Muskat

4/26 Cubs lineup

Jeff Baker is starting at first and Reed Johnson in right field Tuesday night for the Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series against the Rockies, who are starting lefty Jorge De La Rosa. Baker is batting .400 overall and .455 against lefties. And Starlin Castro is back in the leadoff spot. He’s 2-for-17 in the No. 3 hole, and 23-for-46 (.500) in the leadoff spot. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

CF Byrd

3B Ramirez

1B Baker

C Soto

LF Soriano

RF Johnson

P Russell

— Carrie Muskat