May 2015

#Cubs prospect Schwarber hits 2 HRs

Kyle Schwarber hit two home runs and drove in three runs to back Tayler Scott and lead Tennessee to a 7-3 in over Mobile Saturday night. It was Schwarber’s second two-homer game, and his 11th and 12th homers of the season. His first homer in the third gave the Smokies a 3-2 lead. After Mobile tied the game, Schwarber smacked a two-run homer in the fifth.

#Cubs shortstop Lennie Merullo passed away at age 98

Lennie Merullo, who played for the Cubs for seven seasons, passed away Saturday at the age of 98. He was the oldest living Cubs player.

“We were saddened to hear the news our oldest living Cub Lennie Merullo passed away earlier today,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “While I have experienced many joys as owner of this great franchise, one of the most memorable was meeting Lennie last season. When the Cubs last appeared in a World Series in 1945, Lennie was a 28-year-old shortstop. Nearly 70 years later, he brought the same youthful spirit and excitement, as he threw out the first pitch and led the entire ballpark in singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,’ joined by family and friends.

“If there was any doubt Wrigley Field does make dreams come true, you could look into Lennie’s eyes beaming with joy as he visited his beloved ballpark for what would be the last time,” Ricketts said. “He told everyone he would never forget that day. To his family, friends and loved ones, our organization will never forget him.”

Merullo batted .240 with the Cubs from 1941-47.

#Cubs vs Royals ppd because of rain

Saturday’s game between the Cubs and Royals was postponed because of the weather. The game will be made up Sept 28 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.

On Sunday, Tsuyoshi Wada will start for the Cubs in the abbreviated series finale against the Royals. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.

Sept. 28 was an off day for both teams. The Royals begin a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox on Sept. 29, while the game will extend the last homestand of the season one day. Instead of playing, the Cubs posed for a photo in their Blackhawks sweaters. (Credit Bruce Miles/Daily Herald with photo)

hawks

#Cubs to wear throwback uniforms vs Royals

Today marks the 100th anniversary of when the defending champion Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League hosted the Kansas City Packers in a game at Clark and Addison streets. The ballpark at that time was known as Weeghman Park. Tonight, the Cubs and Royals will wear throwback jerseys to commemorate the occasion.

The first 10,000 fans at the game will receive a Chicago Whales Replica Throwback Jersey presented by Benjamin Moore. The Royals will wear throwback Kansas City Federal League uniforms, while the bases used during the game will feature Weeghman Park commemorative base jewels.

* After scoring five runs during their season-high four-game losing skid, the Royals snapped that streak with an 8-4 win Friday in the series opener. The Cubs have lost four of their last five games.

* The Cubs bullpen has posted a 4.96 ERA dating back to May 3. In his last 13 appearances, Pedro Strop has allowed 12 runs – 10 earned – over 11 2/3 innings for a 7.71 ERA.

* Tsuyoshi Wada will start for the Cubs. In his first two starts, Wada has allowed three earned runs over 10 innings while striking out 15. Wada replaced Travis Wood in the Cubs’ rotation earlier this month.

* Wada better be careful. Only the Blue Jays (.314) have a higher AVG vs. LHP than the Royals (.293) this year.

* Addison Russell is 6-for-12 with three doubles and a homer over his last three games.

* Over his last 19 games, Kris Bryant is slashing .300/.378/.643 with seven HR, 19 RBI.

* Over his last seven games, Jorge Soler is 9-for-26 AB (.346) with four doubles and a homer.

#Cubs Minor League report: Black, Underwood, Balaguert

Friday’s games

Dallas Beeler gave up nine runs on five hits and three walks over 2 1/3 innings in Iowa’s 14-2 loss to El Paso. Arismendy Alcantara had three hits and one RBI. Matt Szczur had a hit, and now is 15-for-45 (.333) in 14 May games.

Corey Black gave up one run on three hits and struck out six over five innings in Tennessee’s 10-8 win over Mobile. Wilson Contreras had two hits, including a home run, and two RBI. Kyle Schwarber also had two hits, including a double, and one RBI. Billy McKinney had two hits and two RBI while Anthony Giansanti had two hits and three RBIs.

Duane Underwood posted a quality start, giving up two runs over six innings, but took the loss in Myrtle Beach’s 2-0 loss to Carolina. The Pelicans totaled four hits, all singles. It was Underwood’s fourth quality start of the season.

Yasiel Balaguert had two hits, including a home run, in South Bend’s 6-5 come from behind win over Lake County. Jake Stinnett started and gave up five runs over five innings. Gleyber Torres had two hits and three RBI.

Ex #Cubs manager Sveum returns to Wrigley Field

Dale Sveum was back at Wrigley Field for the first time since he was dismissed as Cubs manager after the 2013 season, and said it didn’t really feel weird. After all, he feels he’s spent more time at the ballpark as a visiting player or coach than as a manager.

Now in his second season as the Royals hitting coach, Sveum is coming off a trip to the World Series last year with the American League champions. It was a wild ride.

“The run we had in Boston [in 2004] will always be the No. 1 thing as far as career,” Sveum said, “but coaching last year, and the way it all happened and the Wild Card game I think was one of the greatest games played in baseball history and I think catapulted us to do bigger things. The bottom line is you came up short and it’s bitter sweet. It was fun.”

In that Wild Card game, the Royals rallied to score two runs in the 12th for a 9-8 win.

Sveum, 51, was aware of the renovation plans for Wrigley Field during his two-year tenure as manager, but hadn’t seen the work until Friday. He didn’t blame the facilities for his team’s shortcomings.

“When you’re a hitter and the wind is blowing out like this, it doesn’t matter how little that clubhouse is,” Sveum said. “It’s a nice place to play.”

The Royals had a large contingent of fans at Wrigley to cheer for their team.

“We built something last year to where we have a huge following that hasn’t happened in Kansas City in a long time,” Sveum said. “The atmosphere in our ballpark now is off the charts.”

But would he like to manage again?

“Of course, sure you do,” Sveum said. “It’s not something you put on the back burner. It’s something I enjoy doing and enjoyed it. I’m obviously not holding my breath. I see where things are going in the game and how people are getting hired. It’s a little different than it was 10, 15 years ago. I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I still have a uniform on and that’s all I care about.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs dress code: shorts and sport coat

The Cubs’ upcoming road trip to Miami and Washington will be their first one involving a “dress code” for the players and staff. When they board the charter on Sunday, they must wear a sport coat with shorts or chinos. If players opt to wear sandals, their toe nails must be painted. Also, shorts and chinos are acceptable on the entire trip.

Catcher David Ross planned on getting a pedicure, courtesy of his daughter.

“That way, dad gets to wear flip flops,” Ross said. “I can get off the plane and go right to the pool.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs extra bases: Hammel, CJ, Blackhawks & Lake

* The Cubs have switched their starting pitchers for the remaining two games against the Royals to give Jason Hammel one extra day to heal a cracked fingernail on his right hand.

Hammel was originally scheduled to start on Saturday in the second game of the three-game Interleague series but instead will flip with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada. Hammel now will start Sunday in the series finale.

“It’s nothing awful,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Hammel. “We’d thought we’d buy an extra day.”

* The Cubs players and coaching staff plan on wearing their Blackhawks jerseys on Saturday, and may wear them during batting practice to show support for the NHL team, which is playing Game 7 on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks. Maddon wasn’t sure if the jerseys were conducive to hitting, but said they’d try.

“I’m working on whether or not it’s a functional piece of clothing where you can actually throw and hit,” Maddon said. “I know you can shoot a hockey puck and fight in these things, but I don’t know if you can swing a baseball bat.”

Cubs reliever James Russell is a huge Blackhawks fan. He’s counting on the fans who sit near the bullpen to keep him up to date.

“You can always make friends with people in the stands, especially close to the bullpen who can look up the score,” he said. “You come in, go to the bathroom, take a quick peek.”

* Carl Edwards Jr., ranked No. 2 among MLB.com’s list of top Cubs prospects, was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa. Edwards has been used strictly in relief this season at Tennessee, and will continue that role with the Iowa team. In 13 games, he has a 2.66 ERA, and has struck out 36 over 23 2/3 innings.

* Junior Lake started in left field Friday, and has impressed Maddon so far. The Cubs manager admitted he’d heard some things about the outfielder, including that he would “swing at the rosin bag.”

“Now I’m watching this guy run the bases, play defense, his at-bats, his power, I don’t know what’s there not to like,” Maddon said. “Junior’s proven that he’s made some adjustments which is not easy to do at this particular point in his development. I think it’s outstanding. He’s got a clue on the field. He does some really smart things out there.”

In 10 games, Lake was batting .259.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Minor League report

Thursday’s games

Matt Szczur hit a walk-off home in the ninth to lift Iowa to a 3-2 victory over Reno. It was Szczur’s third home run of the season. Donn Roach gae up two runs over seven innings, striking out two. He’s now 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA.

Frankt Batista gave up three runs over five innings in Tennessee’s 3-0 loss to Mobile. Bijan Rademacher, activated from the DL earlier in the day, had a hit and walked once.

Victor Caratini had three hits and Pin-Chieh Chen drove in two runs to back Jonathan Martinez, who gave up three runs over five innings in Myrtle Beach’s 5-3 win over Carolina in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Daury Torrez gave up three runs over five innings and struck out six for the win. Carlos Penalver and Kevin Brown each had two hits.

South Bend lost, 5-4, to Dayton despite home runs from Yasiel Balaguert and Andrew Ely. Balaguert finished with four hits and one rBI. Ely also had four hits, including two doubles, and two RBI. Ryan Williams started and gave up four runs over eight innings but did not get a decision.

#Cubs lineup vs Royals for Fri 5/29

Jake Arrieta takes the mound on Friday when the Cubs play host to the Royals at Wrigley Field to kick  off an Interleague series. It’s Kansas City’s first trip to Wrigley since July 2001. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro SS

Montero C

Soler RF

Lake LF

Arrieta P

Russell 2B

* Cubs batters lead the Majors in strikeouts (451), while Royals batters have struck out the fewest times (259).

* This is Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum’s first time back at Wrigley since he was dismissed as manager of the Cubs after the 2013 season.

* Over their four-game losing streak, the Royals have been outscored 29-5

( The Cubs have lost four of their last six games, and have scored eight runs in those four contests.

* Friday’s starter, Edinson Volquez, has been the Royals best. He’s won each of his last two starts, defeating the Yankees 6-0 and then beat the Cards 3-2. In those two starts, he allowed two runs in 13 innings (1.38 ERA). Volquez is 7-0, 2.90 ERA lifetime vs. the Cubs. That’s over 11 games (10 starts) and 59 innings.

* Arrieta has posted quality starts in his last three outings, but wasn’t happy with his last start vs. the D-backs when
he gave up three earned runs over six innings in a 9-6 win. Arrieta is 11-5 with a 2.12 ERA in 23 career starts at Wrigley. . He’s allowed one run or fewer in seven of his last nine home starts.

* Starlin Castro had two hits on Wednesday, but he’s had a rough month. In his last 28 games, he’s batting .218 (24-110 AB), with a .250 OBP and .273 SLG. He has one home run, scored seven runs and has struck out 25 times.

* In Kris Bryant’s last 18 games,  he has seven home runs, 18 RBIs and a .636 slugging percentage.

* The Royals bullpen has a 1.84 ERA in 152 IP, best ERA in baseball. The Cubs bullpen has a 4.07 ERA in 137 IP, and the ERA ranks 22nd in baseball.