Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

Gallardo’s gem gives Crew win over Cubs

September 13, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — With his command issues worked out, Yovani Gallardo has looked more like a staff ace again over his last two starts. Fortunately for the Brewers, his abilities at the plate haven’t escaped him, either.

With the Brewers’ recent offensive struggles continuing on Sunday afternoon, Gallardo took things into his own hands.

Gallardo delivered his second straight strong start and scored the game’s first run, in the fifth inning, and the Brewers won, 2-0, over the Cubs to avoid the three-game sweep.

“It all starts with locating the fastball,” Gallardo said. “I was able to do that tonight and throw my offspeed for strikes, and everything worked out.”

In tossing seven scoreless innings, Gallardo (12-7) allowed just four hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts. He picked up his first win since Aug. 8, against the Astros, while not allowing a run for the first time since July 22 at Pittsburgh.

Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Gallardo doubled to the gap in right-center field, setting up the Brewers’ best scoring opportunity of the day. Two outs later, left fielder Ryan Braun delivered the run from second base with a double of his own.

Braun’s double snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak for the Brewers. In the eighth, third baseman Casey McGehee added an insurance run with a solo home run, his 21st of the season.

“Our pitchers have really been throwing the ball well for the last couple of weeks, so it’s nice to finally pick somebody up,” Braun said.

After being shut out in the first two games of the series by Cubs starters Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, the Brewers finished the series with just two runs, the first off Casey Coleman, the other off reliever Thomas Diamond.

Before the doubles by Gallardo and Braun, the Brewers had opportunities in the first, second and third innings but could not capitalize. Their biggest chance came in the first, with Corey Hart and Braun on first and third and only one out, but Prince Fielder grounded into an inning-ending double play.

In the second inning, Lorenzo Cain was stranded after a one-out single, and in the third, McGehee grounded into a fielder’s choice, stranding the bases loaded.

“It’s been interesting,” said manager Ken Macha, reverting to his favorite adjective. “Two runs. That’s a little like the San Diego series [from April 29 to May 2]. We scored two runs there and won one out of four. We got two runs here. We played three games, and somebody was shut out in every one of them.”

Coleman was nearly as impressive as Zambrano and Dempster, tossing six strong innings while allowing just the one run in the fifth on five hits with three strikeouts.

Gallardo’s outing was his second straight of seven innings or more and four hits or fewer. The last time he went seven innings without allowing a run was on June 24, when he tossed a five-hit shutout against the Twins.

The performance also was his best since coming off the disabled list on July 22 following an oblique strain, an injury he sustained on July 4. Though he admitted that his success begins with locating his fastball, it was his offspeed stuff made the difference.

“Gallardo’s tough. You have to give him his due,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade. “You don’t want to be behind on him — he’s got a devastating curveball. His breaking ball is very tough. He didn’t make many mistakes, and we didn’t have many opportunities to capitalize on them.”

Before his injury, Gallardo was 8-4 with a 2.58 ERA, allowing 32 earned runs in 111 2/3 innings pitched. Opponents were hitting just .224 against him, as he struck out 122 batters and allowed 48 walks.

In his first eight starts following the injury, he went 3-3 with a 7.23 ERA, allowing 34 earned runs over 42 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .314 with a .875 OPS against him over that stretch, though he recorded 49 strikeouts against just 17 walks.

In his last two starts, he has given up just two runs on eight hits and five walks over 14 innings, for a 1.29 ERA with 10 strikeouts.

According to Macha, though, the change has had more to do with location than any aftereffects of the oblique injury.

One thing that’s remained consistent throughout is Gallardo’s offensive prowess. Entering the game, he was batting .259 with four home runs and eight RBIs. He boosted that average to .268 with his double, one of his many big hits on the season.

“He’s been unbelievable. His whole time in the Major Leagues, he’s really swung the bat well,” Braun said. “I think he deserves the Silver Slugger this year for a pitcher. I’m serious.

“When you have him in the lineup, it’s like having an extra weapon. It’s like having a DH when you’re playing in an American League ballpark. He’s that good. He’s a tough out, he drives the ball and he has good at-bats.”

Clutch hits give Crew enough to get by Cubs

August 4, 2010 Comments off

CHICAGO — A change in approach may have led to the reversal of fortunes for the Brewers over the first two games this week against the Cubs.

“Base hits up the middle,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “I think all the base hits were up the middle that we scored the four runs.

“It’s been nice the last couple nights.”

They didn’t have as many hits to show for it as the previous night, but the Brewers continued to swing hot bats in Tuesday’s 4-3 win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field which clinched the series victory.

Most importantly, the Crew delivered with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-7 in such situations. Milwaukee’s fourth and fifth hitters, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, combined to go 3-for-6 with three RBIs.

The biggest hit of the night, though, belonged to the Brewers’ starting pitcher.

With his hit in the fourth, lefty Chris Narveson put the Brewers up, 3-1, as he delivered a one-out single to center field that scored catcher Jonathan Lucroy from second base.

“That was huge,” Narveson said. “Helping yourself at the plate has always been a big competition here with the pitchers, and it’s proven helpful lately.”

Narveson (9-7) wasn’t as sharp as he might have liked, but like the Brewers’ offense, he came up big in big situations. The lefty went 5 2/3 innings, limiting the Cubs to just one run on six hits while walking one and recording six strikeouts.

Rather than score their runs in bunches as they did Monday with five runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings, the Brewers strung together hits to score one run in the first, third, fourth and seventh innings.

“We kind of scrapped for our runs tonight,” Macha said.

During the Brewers’ previous series in Houston, Macha expressed concern about the team’s hitting approach in back-to-back shutout losses. That prompted him to discuss the matter with hitting coach Dale Sveum.

Based on the early results, Milwaukee’s change in approach seems to have worked. Still, Sveum downplayed the idea of an up-the-middle-specific focus.

“It’s not that big a deal. You guys make way too much out of that,” he told a reporter. “It’s just taking what the pitcher gives you.”

McGehee agreed with Sveum, while noting the much-improved results of late.

“It’s not like we sat down and all decided, ‘We’re going to stay in the middle of the field,'” McGehee said. “But Dale and I talked in the cage about what pitches we’ve been swinging at. It’s something that I’ve been trying to take up to the plate with me, but I don’t know what the other guys have been thinking.

“I think we’ve had a really good approach against [the Cubs] so far this series. For whatever reason, we have been hitting balls the other way pretty consistently.”

While four runs on nine hits doesn’t exactly compare to the 18 runs on 26 hits Milwaukee posted Monday, the Brewers scored at least four runs in consecutive games for the first time since doing so in three straight in a sweep of the Nationals from July 23-25.

For the second straight night, Ryan Braun, Fielder and McGehee came up big for the Crew.

“Those guys are all great hitters,” said Cubs starter Thomas Diamond. “I’m not going to take anything away from those guys. They’re all big league hitters, they’ve got All-Stars. To me, a hitter is a hitter, and all the accolades they get, they deserve and I just need to find a way to get them out.”

In the first, Fielder and McGehee delivered back-to-back two-out singles, with McGehee’s scoring Braun and putting the Brewers on top early. Two innings later, Fielder’s one-out single scored Rickie Weeks from second, making it 2-1 in the Brewers’ favor.

Finally, in the seventh, McGehee drove a liner to center for a sacrifice fly, scoring Weeks from third for the eventual game-winning run. Had it not been for a spectacular catch by All-Star center fielder Marlon Byrd, McGehee may have broken the game open with a one-out, bases-loaded hit.

“[Byrd] goes and gets it just as well as anybody,” McGehee said. “He’s like a free safety out there. You have to work to get one away from him.”

Though the Brewers came out on top, Diamond was impressive.

Despite giving up seven hits in six innings, he struck out 10 batters, becoming the first Cubs pitcher to do so in his Major League debut since Mark Prior on May 22, 2002. Diamond (0-1) struck out three in the first — while also giving up a run on two hits and a walk — and added at least one strikeout in every inning but the fifth.

“I think he’s got a chance to be pretty good,” McGehee said. “He’s deceptive, he’s got a good split or changeup or whatever he wants to call it. He threw enough strikes to make you want to be aggressive, but he also was effectively wild at times.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gallardo returns to form in Brewers romp

August 3, 2010 Comments off

CHICAGO — With the Brewers putting up 26 hits against the Cubs, the offense stole the show in Monday night’s 18-1 win. But right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo was pretty impressive in his own right.

Gallardo went six strong innings in his third outing since coming off the disabled list, giving up just one run on two hits. More impressively, though, Gallardo tied a career high with 12 strikeouts.

“I thought Yo threw the ball pretty well,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “He had good command on his low [outside pitches] in particular.

“He was hitting that little box down there, down and away, with consistency.”

After rolling through six innings, Gallardo was removed after just 95 pitches, due in large part to the Brewers’ 13-1 lead at the time.

Macha noted that the need for some of his relievers to get some work played a part in the decision as well.

“We’ve got to get [LaTroy] Hawkins going again,” said Macha, referring to the veteran right-hander, who has recently returned from a 2 1/2-month stint on the disabled list. “[Trevor] Hoffman and [John] Axford both hadn’t pitched in five days. So we needed to get both those guys in there.”

Gallardo’s outing was particularly impressive, considering the way his previous start — against the Reds — had gone.

Last time out, Gallardo struggled, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

“Every time I help the team win, it’s a pretty good day at the ballpark,” Gallardo said. “Obviously, my last start wasn’t very good. You can’t worry about one [bad] start, we’re all going to have them. You’ve just got to bounce back and keep moving forward.”

At the plate, Gallardo reached base after being hit by a pitch in the third, but finished as the only player in the Brewers’ starting lineup without a hit.

That was just fine with Gallardo.

“I’ll take how the day went today,” he said. “Any time I get up there and get a hit, it’s a bonus. Let the hitters do their job and I’ll do the pitching.”

That formula worked pretty well for the Brewers on Monday.

Pirates beat 7/9

July 9, 2010 Comments off

Pirates continue to struggle away from home

MILWAUKEE — After being swept in Houston, the road woes have continued this week for the Pirates, who have lost 21 of their last 23 away from PNC Park.

For manager John Russell, the trend is hard to figure out.

“It’s tough. I’ve never really seen much like it,” Russell said. “We can’t win on the road. I think it’s got to become a mentality at some point for these guys that they need to rise to the occasion on the road more.”

One thing Russell pointed out was a struggle in two key areas of the game: getting good pitching and scoring runs on the road.

Aside from that, Russell sees more mistakes away from home as well.

“I think on the road, we’ve found ways to kind of beat ourselves more than we do at home,” Russell said. “Especially the road trip when we lost a couple games in Detroit, if we make a couple plays we win. The same way in Oakland.

“Things that we need to do better as a team we don’t do. Part of that is youth, part of it is not making the play.”

Over the last 23 road games, the Pirates’ only wins have come in Chicago, when they took two of three from the Cubs from June 28-30. The club also took two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley Field in May.

Along with the two road series victories in Chicago, the Pirates have won just one other road series this season, April 19-21 in Milwaukee. The series victory snapped a 22-game losing skid for the Pirates at Miller Park.

Outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge have both enjoyed plenty of success against the Brewers in their careers.

Entering Friday’s game, McCutchen had hit safely in 15 of his 17 career games against Milwaukee, going 26-for-75 (.347) with seven doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs. At Miller Park, McCutchen’s average was even better as he owned a 12-for-31 (.387) mark.

Milledge had been even better in Milwaukee, going 20-for-45 (.444) in his last 11 games at Miller Park after going hitless in six at-bats in his first game in Milwaukee.

With that in mind, the Pirates will be looking to add a fourth road series win this weekend.

“We do it in Chicago, we play well there,” Russell said. “So we talked about that. We talked to the players a little bit about that, of the intensity and focus we have when we play in Chicago and trying to get that same focus.”

Reliever Gallagher expected to fill many roles

MILWAUKEE — After joining the club on Thursday in Houston, reliever Sean Gallagher was expected by manager John Russell to be available if needed Friday.

He’ll pitch in a middle-relief role for the club in the short term, though Russell expressed an interest Friday in stretching the right-hander out.

“We’d like to because he has that capability,” Russell said. “He’s got four pitches, he has started before. I think he’s going to be a guy that we could use in that multi-inning role.”

Gallagher was acquired by the Pirates on Wednesday, as they sent cash to the Padres in exchange for the right-hander, who had been designated for assignment by San Diego.

With the move to Pittsburgh comes a bit of familiarity for Gallagher, who began his Major League career with the National League Central rival Chicago Cubs.

Additionally, Gallagher pitched for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League this past offseason, where Pirates first-base coach Carlos Garcia also was the manager. Garcia’s pitching coach on that Magallanes club was Pirates assistant pitching coach Ray Searage.

With that familiarity, Russell and his coaching staff likes the flexibility of Gallagher and what that could bring to the pitching staff.

“At some point, he is going to get stretched out,” Russell said. “That’ll be kind of the value that he brings as a guy that can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen.

“We’ll see how it goes, he could work his way toward the back side a little bit or he gives us an option as a spot starter.”

D’Arnaud added to Eastern League ASG roster

MILWAUKEE — With a spot opening on the roster, the Harrisburg Senators and the Eastern League announced Friday that Double-A Altoona Curve shortstop Chase D’Arnaud was added to the Western Division roster for the Eastern League All-Star Game.

D’Arnaud replaces Richmond infielder Brandon Crawford, who is unable to play and will not be attending the game on July 14 at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, Pa.

With D’Arnaud marking the sixth Curve player selected to the All-Star Game, the Curve have tied the franchise mark for most players chosen in a single year. During the 2006 and ’07 seasons, the Curve also had six representatives.

Along with Harrisburg, the Curve have now tied for the most representatives on the Western Division roster. With seven selections, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern Division led all Eastern league teams.

D’Arnaud, the Pirates’ fourth-round pick out of Pepperdine in 2008, joins teammates Derek Hankins, Rudy Owens, Matt Hague, Josh Harrison and Hector Gimenez as the club’s representatives in the All-Star Game.

Worth noting

The Pirates announced Friday the signing of three more players from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, all right-handed pitchers: 27th-round pick Kevin Kiels, out of Grossmont College; 41st-round pick Bryton Trepagnier, from East St. John High School; and 49th-round selection Logan Pevny of West Milford High School. … Friday marked the seven-year anniversary of the “Randall Simon incident” during the Sausage Race at Miller Park.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers recap 4/24

April 26, 2010 Comments off

Brewers’ bats silent once more vs. Cubs

By Jordan Schelling

Suppan note 4/9

April 13, 2010 Comments off

Suppan set for Game 3 in Chicago

By Jordan Schelling