Mooney: Silva tries to block out the negatives

Mooney: Silva tries to block out the negatives

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Posted 6:27 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. Publicly the Cubs are giving Carlos Silva the benefit of the doubt, because hes a veteran and once pitched well enough to get a 48 million contract.

But there are also reasons to be skeptical, from the health problems that sidelined Silva last season to the mental issues that led to a dugout explosion this spring. Not to mention how good the Cubs feel about some of their other internal candidates for the rotation.

READ: Time running out in Cubs rotation battle

Before leaving for two split-squad games in Las Vegas, Mike Quade said that Silva could win a job win one or two quality outings. The manager also mentioned that just pitching again would be good for Silvas state of mind.

Silva wanted to take away the positives from Saturdays 7-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in front of 10,327 fans at HoHoKam Park. He stretched out to five innings, but gave up four runs, and cant stress over his job security anymore.

Theyre going to make the decision, Silva said. Im not going to keep worrying about that. Im just going to keep working on what I have to do to get better, because thats the only way (Im) going to win a spot in the rotation.

Silva focused on the beginning two scoreless innings against a lineup that included Edgar Renteria, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen and Jonny Gomes. He also didnt walk any of the 19 batters he faced.

But on a warm afternoon, two changeups flew out of HoHoKam Park. Chris Heisey drilled one off the left-field scoreboard, while Jeremy Hermida lifted one over the wall in right-center field.

On Saturday Silva cut his ERA from 29.70 to 16.20. Hes banking on three more starts to make a more favorable impression before the Cubs make final decisions. Catcher Geovany Soto is pleased with the progress hes seen.

His productions going forward, Soto said. You can see hes working. His offspeed stuffs pretty good, his fastball command is getting better. So I think today was a plus.

The Cubs havent written off Silva, who lasted only 3 13 innings combined in his first two appearances. He found himself so amped up that he was overthrowing, losing some of the natural sink to his ball.

Hes a guy that wants to do great every time, Soto said. Sometimes you got to pick your spot and calm him down, but for the most part (he stayed relaxed).

Silva still thinks of himself as the guy who began last year 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA.

Exactly, no doubt, man, I know I can pitch, Silva said. I know what I can do. (The) first two games (were hard), but you can learn a lot from that, too. I take things maybe harder than everybody else here.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs bash three homers in come-from-behind win over Red Sox

Cubs bash three homers in come-from-behind win over Red Sox

BOSTON — The Chicago Cubs adjusted quickly to Steven Wright's knuckleball.

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer, and Miguel Montero had a solo shot off Wright, helping the Cubs rebound from a series-opening loss with a 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

"I thought we did a nice job. It's just awkward hitting against the knuckleball," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "There is no real training ground for it. You don't necessarily get a guy out there throwing a knuckleball in BP."

All the Cubs faced Wright for the first time.

After collecting just one single in the first three innings, Rizzo's homer started Chicago's comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Montero's shot tied it in the seventh.

"It's just hard. You really don't know what to look for," Montero said before joking "I told the umpire I'm going to close my eyes and swing hard in case I hit it."

Ben Zobrist added a solo homer, and Kris Bryant had two hits and scored twice for Chicago, backing a decent start by former Red Sox righty John Lackey.

Lackey (2-3) gave up four runs in six innings, snapping his string of losses in three straight starts. He was part of Boston's 2013 World Series title team.

Lackey said he texted former teammate Dustin Pedroia on the way to the ballpark.

Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi had solo homers for the Red Sox, who have the majors' fewest homers. Boston's streak of nine straight interleague wins in Fenway Park was snapped.

Wright (1-3) gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

"I think with the exception of the 0-2 slow knuckleball that Steven threw to Rizzo, this was his best knuckleball that he's had to date," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Wright has given up nine homers after allowing only 12 last season.

"I felt a lot better today overall," he said. "The one pitch I wish I could get back was that 0-2 pitch to Rizzo. I was trying to get it a little bit more in front of the plate and it kind of stood up a little bit and he made me pay."

Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

With summer-like temperatures for the second straight day and a marquee matchup with the defending champs, there was added buzz around the ballpark hours before the game.

Mixed in the fans flocking around Fenway were numerous Cubs fans wearing jerseys - many with "Sandberg," ''Bryant" or "Rizzo" on the back. There was a loud "Let's Go Cubbies!" in the ninth, and that was followed by some large "W'' flags after the Cubs won - a staple in Wrigley Field.

The Cubs overcame a 4-2 deficit with a run in the sixth inning and three in a seventh that was highlighted by two errors on one play.

Zobrist's run-scoring grounder sliced it to 4-3. Montero homered leading off the seventh against Wright before Kyle Schwarber's RBI single pushed them ahead.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts threw the ball away for an error on Rizzo's fielder's choice, allowing Schwarber to score. First baseman Mitch Moreland retrieved and fired it into left field.

Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI single made it 1-0 in the second.

Benintendi had a sacrifice fly and Ramirez belted his homer over the Green Monster seats completely out of Fenway, a shot estimated at 469 feet, in the third.

Bryant opened the fourth with a hard single and Rizzo followed with his drive to the back of Chicago's bullpen.

Benintendi hit his homer over Boston's bullpen.

Jake Arrieta gives up five runs in first, Cubs fall in series-opener with Red Sox

Jake Arrieta gives up five runs in first, Cubs fall in series-opener with Red Sox

BOSTON — Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Jake Arrieta during a five-run first inning, and the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the Cubs 5-4 on Friday night.

Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez drove in a run each.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. in the early innings before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.

Arrieta logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.