After hearing that news, Garza’s teammate, Scott Feldman, showed him the standard the Cubs staff has set this season by once again delivering a dominating performance. This time it was the Mets who Feldman stymied, as he tossed 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball, scattering seven hits, while striking out six and walking only one on the day.
“It’s hard to imagine how good he’s been these last five starts,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Feldman. “The last four have been unbelievable. The low stress and the length he’s given, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot of opportunity for the other team to score, other than solo homers. Yeah, it’s been impressive.”
CHICAGO -- A quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 8-2 win over the New York Mets on Saturday at Wrigley Field.
How it happened: Through three innings, the Cubs managed only one hit off Mets starter Jeremy Hefner. However, they broke through in the fourth with four runs, the big blow coming on a two-out, two-run double off the bat of pitcher Scott Feldman. Feldman was brilliant once again on the mound as well. He tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, giving up seven hits, while striking out six and walking only one. Feldman lowered his ERA to 2.19 on the season. Anthony Rizzo hit his 10th home run of the season in the fifth to extend the Cubs lead to 5-0 and Nate Schierholtz also homered in the eighth.
What it means: The Cubs have won five of seven games and with their win on Saturday, they've set themselves up for a chance to win three consecutive series for the first time this season.
Outside the box: Rizzo's home run was his fourth against a lefty this season. He's hitting .327/.393/.574 on the season against southpaws. With no strikeouts on the day, he extended his streak to 40 plate appearances without a strikeout. Feldman tossed the Cubs 26th quality start of the season, tied for third most in the NL. Cubs pitchers have a 1.93 ERA in those 26 starts.
Up next: The red-hot Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03) takes on Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13) as the Cubs look to take the series from the Mets at 1:20 p.m. on Sunday at Wrigley Field.
"I'm excited and happy I don't have to rehab again," Garza said. "This actually means something, so I can't wait. It's been 10 months in the making, I'm excited to get back out there."
An elbow injury sidelined Garza last July, and while rehabbing this spring, he suffered a lat strain and has been on the disabled list since the start of the season. Tuesday will mark his first start since July 21, 2012.
Read the entire story.
The Cubs had the potential tying run on second base with one out in the eighth inning when David DeJesus hit a line drive single to former Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd in right. Darwin Barney hesitated a bit and then took off around third base with Bell's blessings toward home plate. Byrd's throw was a perfect strike to catcher John Buck, who tagged Barney out three feet from the plate.
”Obviously it is disappointing. It turned out it wasn't a very close play," Bell said. "I just watched the replay again and it wasn't close. As a third base coach you always want to make the right decision. and that clearly wasn't the right decision."
Bell is in his first year of coaching third base for the Cubs after an 12-year major league career and four years as a coach and manager in the minor leagues.
”Obviously he would be the first one to tell you he would like to have that back," manager Dale Sveum said. "I have been in that situation before and sometimes you push the envelope to on a guy who doesn't have that good of arm. We know (Byrd's track record), so those things happen."
Byrd had gone in as a pinch-hitter in the top of the inning and stayed on in right field. The scouting report has Byrd with a strong but erratic arm from mid- range, according to a baseball scout.
"When you are scouting and doing all that (preparation) coming into a series, you know what arms to push and what arms you can't push," Sveum said.
Jackson pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in 2013 before being lifted after allowing a go-ahead single to Mets starter and winner Matt Harvey as New York held on for a 3-2 win. Jackson is 1-6 in eight starts in Wrigley with an ERA above 8.00.
How it happened: Edwin Jackson gave up the go-ahead single to pitcher Matt Harvey in the seventh with two outs and a man on second. Scoring came early for both teams as the Cubs had three consecutive hits and an error to tally twice in the bottom of the first. Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano all reached with Rizzo scoring on a bad throw by Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. David Wright gave the Mets a shot-lived lead with a solo home run in the top of the inning. Daniel Murphy tied the game in the fourth with a solo shot as well. Harvey wasn't sharp early but settled down to pitch 7 1/3 innings while Jackson wasn't bad either but made a bad pitch to Harvey when he really needed to make a good one.
What it means: The Cubs have actually battled well against some of the best pitchers in the National League lately but not much happened after the first inning on Friday and two runs proved not to be enough. On the positive side, Jackson seems to be slowly recovering from a bad start to the season. He kept the Cubs in the game against one of the better pitchers in the league as his fastball showed movement keeping the Mets off-balance. Still, he continues to come up just short in dropping to 1-6 on the year.
Key play: With one out and the heart of the Cubs lineup coming up in the eighth, third-base coach David Bell sent Darwin Barney home from second on a base hit to right by David DeJesus. Former Cub Marlon Byrd nailed Barney at the plate easily with a perfect throw.
Outside the box: Rizzo went four at-bats without striking out extending a streak to 35. That ties J.J Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles for longest active streak.
What's next: The three-game series continues on Saturday when Scott Feldman faces Jeremy Hefner at 12:05 p.m. CT.
"With all the day games it is hard to get in any extra work," said Byrd, whose New York Mets opened a series at Wrigley Field on Friday. "The only way to hit is walking across the field into the right field cage and hit before BP or on a rainy day. In every other ballpark you can hit in a cage by your own dugout before during and after games."
Manager Dale Sveum hopes the Camp of last season shows up.
"You just keeping sending a guy out there and hopefully the slider comes back and the command comes back," Sveum said before the Cubs played the New York Mets on Friday.
Camp is 1-1 with a 7.31 ERA in 19 games. He's allowed 3 of 10 inherited runners to score which is about his career average. According to ESPN Stats and Information, his velocity on his fastball and slider have slightly decreased from a season ago when his ERA for the season was 3.59. Only five relievers in baseball have a slower average fastball this season than Camp's 86.1 mph. Opposing hitters are batting .593 in at-bats that end with a fastball and that's second-worst in all of baseball. That figure was .357 last year. His 12.94 hits per nine innings pitched ranks 123rd out of 144 relievers in the National League.
Sveum isn't sure of the reasons behind his drop-off but knows Camp's 80 appearances last season -- which led the league -- could be affecting him now.
"That's the crapshoot of bullpens," he said. "You do that (pitch them a lot) and they might have an off month or off couple of months and then the arm comes back. That's obviously a proven fact over the years but then there are plenty of guys that do it and have a great year the next year too. There's no rhyme or reason to all that but it's definitely a factor."
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza has declared himself ready for a return to the Cubs rotation, but manager Dale Sveum isn't ready to declare him back just yet.
Garza, who is recovering from a lat injury, needed 75 pitches to get through six shutout innings for Triple-A Iowa on Thursday night, striking out six and walking none. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
"We'll see how he does when he comes in," Sveum said Friday. "Then we'll talk about it (Saturday) morning after his side and see where we are."
Garza told the Des Moines Register he's ready for the big leagues.
"I don't need another one here," Garza said Thursday. "They might differ on opinion, but I think all in all, it comes down to what I want and the way I feel. The organization -- they're going to make the call at the end of the day but I think we're going to collaborate and come to some sort of compromise."
Keith Law's mock draft
We've now reached the final four. Or, if you prefer, we've reached the league championship series.
Either way, the Battle of the Uniforms is now in the home stretch (or as a malapropism-prone boss of mine once liked to say, "the home run stretch"). In the American League, the Orioles are facing the Yankees, and the National League crown has come down to the Cubs and the Cards.
The seedings, done by Jim Caple and myself, have largely proven accurate. Three of the final four teams were seeded either No. 1 or No. 2 in their respective leagues, which means our uni assessments are largely in line with yours. The lone outlier is Baltimore, which was seeded 13th but upset the top-seeded Tigers.
I'll admit it: I was kind of hoping for a rogue uniform design to make it to the semifinals, just to make things interesting. The Diamondbacks, say, or the Marlins. And I was seriously rooting for the A's to upset the Yanks (they came thisclose). In the end, though, the classic designs have won. And that makes sense: The classics are classic for a reason.
The cool thing about the Battle of the Unis is that several on-field rivalries have been echoed at the ballot box. Wednesday we had the Yankees just eking out a victory of the Red Sox (whose fans were no doubt chanting "Yankees suck!" as they clicked on the Sox icon), and now we have a classic National League matchup, as Chicago and St. Louis face off for Senior Circuit supremacy.
So who's going to advance to the uniform World Series? You folks get to decide that. But I'll say this: I'm voting for the teams with the feathers.
LCS-round polls close at 9 a.m. ET Friday, and the championship round begins shortly thereafter.
Mobile users: To vote, click here.
When a guy like Anthony Rizzo gets new paper how long does he have to buy for?
DeJesus: I told him in the shower the other day -- yes, in the shower -- 'You're going to be expected to buy a lot now. Even though you're young, money talks.'
What's the best insult by an opposing fan?
DeJesus: Um, I can't think of too many except for one I've heard many times. 'I don't believe in Jesus.' I hear that a lot in opposing cities.
After your wife, who's a celebrity crush?
DeJesus: I've always been an Adriana Lima fan. The Victoria Secret's model. She'd be alright.
If you're in a terrible slump, like 0-for-20, would your wife know it by your demeanor?
DeJesus: No, no way. My wife will say it to this day, when I struggled in Oakland I never brought it home. I don't think that's my job to bring my work home. I want when I get home, my family to rely on me to be their rock.
Your career high in home runs and batting average with a full season of at-bats is 13 and .307. Would you rather hit 30 home runs or hit .350 just once?
DeJesus: I'd probably go 30 home runs just because I've never done it so it's got to be a fun feeling to feel what these guys (points to Rizzo) do sometimes.
After night games, whiskey, vodka, beer, iced tea?
DeJesus: How about a good Cabernet? I've graduated. I like a good wine.
Samardzija notched his first victory since opening day, going eight strong innings. His second career home run gave his team an early cushion to work with. Samardzija hit the first pitch he saw from Rockies starter Jon Garland out to center with Darwin Barney on base. The 407-foot shot was his first homer since Sept. 23, 2009.
“I needed to slow down around the bases and enjoy it a little bit,” Samardzija said. “It is a funny game. Sometimes that ball goes into the basket, sometimes it doesn’t.”
CHICAGO -- Here is a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 6-3 victory Wednesday in the rubber game of the three-game series with the Colorado Rockies.
How it happened: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija finally picked up his second win of the season, going eight strong innings. Samardzija allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven on 105 pitches. Samardzija also helped himself by hitting his second career homer in the second inning with Darwin Barney on base. He had to sweat out the win in the ninth, when the Cubs gave up one run and let the tying run reach the plate. Kevin Gregg's two-out error allowed Nolan Arenado to reach and then Josh Rutledge drove home Troy Tulowitzki with a single. Gregg got pinch hitter Wilin Rosario to fly out to center, where David DeJesus made the catch on his knees to end the threat. Rockies starter Jon Garland, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Cubs in 1997, surrendered a leadoff home run in the first inning to DeJesus. It was the second leadoff home run for DeJesus this season and the 14th of his career. Rutledge got the Rockies on the board when he singled home Todd Helton in the second. Samardzjia retired eleven straight before pinch hitter Reid Brignac hit a home run to lead off the sixth. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs a cushion in the seventh with RBI singles.
What it means: Samardzjia had not won a game since opening day. He was 0-5 with two no-decisions since April 7. The Cubs have won 6 of their last 9 contests.
Outside the box: Third baseman Luis Valbuena returned to the lineup after missing three games due to a sprained finger. … Matt Garza will throw what may be his last rehab start on Thursday. The pitcher and the Cubs front office will consult to determine where he pitches next in a Friday meeting. … Former Cubs All-Star Carlos Zambrano signed a minor league contract with Philadelphia Tuesday. Zambrano was not offered a professional contract over the winter after completing his contract with Florida in 2012.
Up next: The Cubs enjoy an off day before the New York Mets come to town. On Friday Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (1-5, 6.02 ERA) will face Mets right-hander Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.44) in the first of a three-game set.
After struggling earlier in the season, Marmol has pitched well as of late, making 10 straight scoreless appearances before giving up a home run on May 13 to the Rockies’ Josh Rutledge.
The veteran pitcher has had to adapt to several roles asked of him by manager Dale Sveum, including being a set-up man for closer Kevin Gregg.
“It is not an easy thing,” Marmol said. “I can handle it. I will pitch wherever (they want me).”