After enduring trade rumors around the deadline in July, which
Schierholtz handed deftly, the Cubs had the 30-year-old
righty-throwing, lefty-hitting outfielder penciled in their everyday
lineup. But that production has evaporated and left the Cubs'
outfield as one of the worst offensive units in the majors.
"I think his at-bats have actually been better, to be quite honest,"
manager Rick Renteria said of Schierholtz. "We haven't had the
results that we wanted, but I think just continue to kind of give
him a little breath."
Seven Cubs outfielders hit a combined six home runs this season --
five by Junior Lake alone. Schierholtz's lack of home runs have been
particularly surprising. Schierholtz hit a career-high 21 home runs
last season, nearly doubling his career total (45), and finished
with a career-high 68 RBIs.
"I think those are things that happen through the course of a
season," Renteria said. "I don't think he's going to come out here
and try to do the same things he did last year. I think he just
wants to go out there, have good at-bats, put the barrel on the
Renteria opted to start Ryan Kalish, also a left-handed hitter, in
right field Sunday against the Brewers instead of Schierholtz.
Schierholtz in homerless through his first 36 games -- 141 plate
appearances -- with 13 RBIs.
"(Schierholtz) understands he's doing everything he can to get out
there and stay in the lineup," Renteria said. "The results haven't
been what he wanted, but he's actually looked a lot better."
MLB Team Report - Chicago Cubs - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won two
NEXT: Tuesday -- Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka, 6-0, 2.17 ERA) at
Cubs (RHP Jason Hammel, 4-2, 3.06 ERA)
--3B Mike Olt hasn't had a problem hitting impressive home runs this
season. Olt hit his ninth homer of the season Sunday against the
Brewers despite not a ton of regular starts. Sunday was only Olt's
26th start of the season. Yet if Olt had more at-bats to qualify, he
would average the most homers per at-bat. Olt is currently averaging
a home run every 11.1 at-bats. That would be tops the majors for
at-bats per home run ahead of Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki (11.3), White
Sox's Jose Abreu (11.5) and Orioles' Nelson Cruz (13.3). "I've
gotten some good pitches to hit," Olt said. "As long as I'm doing
that I'm happy. The home runs are coming in bunches. Hopefully I can
keep it going."
--1B Anthony Rizzo is learning to adapt to the way defenses are
playing him. With some defenses playing the left-handed hitting
Rizzo as a pull hitter, which creates tons of space on the left side
of the field, Rizzo is making a more conscious effort to take
advantage. Rizzo hasn't been afraid to lay down a bunt towards the
vacated third base spot when the shift is in effect. It's allowed
him to collect some easy hits and force the defense to play him more
straight up. Rizzo's baseball instincts have impressed Renteria.
--OF Nate Schierholtz was given the day off Sunday against the
Brewers. Even though, on paper, the left-handed hitting Schierholtz
would match up well against Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada, he
has struggled mightily at the plate this season. Schierhotlz hasn't
hit a home run in 141 plate appearances this season after hitting a
career-high 21 homers last season. The Cubs need Schierholtz to
start hitting for power because the offense hasn't been getting much
production collectively from the outfielders. As long as his hitting
funk doesn't start frustrating Schierholtz to the point where it
impacts him at the plate, the power should start coming as the
season progresses and the weather warms.
--RHP Pedro Strop (left groin strain) is headed to Mesa, Arizona, to
continue rehabbing from his injury. Strop went on the disabled list
on May 7. Strop's absence hurt the bullpen's late-inning depth.
Strop seemed poised to contend to be the Cubs' long-term closer
option, though right-hander Hector Rondon has thrived in those
opportunities. Still, Strop possesses a fastball that when he can
command it for a strike it is nearly unhittable. But after a stellar
performance last year after he was acquired in a package deal with
the Baltimore Orioles, Strop hasn't been able to replicate that
success. He has posted an ugly 4.97 ERA, 1.50 WHIP with a 15/8 K/BB
ratio through 15 appearances this season. Strop needs to bounce back
once he's healthy.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We only get to do this once every five days so I
guess it's kind of a lot of getting built up, ready to go and try to
leave everything out on the field. It's been working pretty well so
far." -- Cubs LHP Travis Wood, after a 4-2 win over Milwaukee on
[to top of second column]
MLB Team Report - Chicago Cubs - ROSTER REPORT
--LHP Zac Rosscup (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled
list May 14.
--RHP Pedro Strop (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled
list May 7.
--OF Ryan Sweeney (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day
disabled list May 3.
--RF Justin Ruggiano (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day
disabled list April 24.
--RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (Tommy John surgery in June 2013) went on the
15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21, and he was transferred
to the 60-day DL on May 3. The Cubs hope he can return to major
league action sometime during the summer.
--RHP James McDonald (right shoulder inflammation) went on the
60-day disabled list March 30. There is no timetable for his return.
RHP Jeff Samardzija
LHP Travis Wood
RHP Edwin Jackson
RHP Jason Hammel
RHP Jake Arrieta
RHP Hector Rondon
RHP Jose Veras
LHP James Russell
LHP Wesley Wright
RHP Justin Grimm
RHP Neil Ramirez
RHP Brian Schlitter
RHP Carlos Villanueva
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Darwin Barney
SS Starlin Castro
3B Mike Olt
INF Luis Valbuena
LF Junior Lake
CF Emilio Bonifacio
RF Nate Schierholtz
OF Ryan Kalish
OF Chris Coghlan
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