May 7, 2015 |
CHICAGO - It's not always going to be an oil painting. That's the line Joe Maddon has used since his hire as manager of the Chicago Cubs last October, before the wintry weather made a mess of bleacher reconstruction and various other planned upgrades for 101-year-old Wrigley Field. She's a mess right now, the old girl, with fans forced to use Porta-Pottys and such, but the browned ivy on the walls is beginning to come to life again and with a little imagination, you can see where it's all headed.
April 7, 2015 |
AS THE CUBS were preparing to open the season with a nationally televised game against the Cardinals, the Braves were busy trading the best closer in baseball for a solid but unspectacular pitching prospect and salary relief. We like to talk about rebuilding as if it is something that can be achieved with an instruction manual and some elbow grease. A linear, mechanical process with easily identifiable steps. Yet, as the Phillies prepare to take on the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on one of the most anticlimactic Opening Days in their history, the Cubs and Braves remind us of just how varied the journey can be. Down in Atlanta, general manager John Hart spent the offseason deconstructing a roster that won 94 games in 2012 and 96 games in 2013 and had won at least 86 games five straight seasons.
August 19, 2014 |
MATT SZCZUR, a former baseball and football standout at Villanova, was called up to the Chicago Cubs yesterday. In the game against the Mets, Szczur entered as a pinch-runner in the eighth and remained in the game playing rightfield. He grounded into a fielder's choice in his only at-bat of the Cubs' 2-1 win. Szczur was promoted from the Cubs' Triple A farm team in Iowa, where he was batting .261 with 30 stolen basesand 52 runs scored in 116 games. He is in his fourth full season and fifth overall as a pro after being drafted in the fifth round in 2010 by the Cubs.
August 18, 2014 |
Baseball news from a somewhat unlikely source: Villanova football coach Andy Talley tweeted that former Wildcats star receiver Matt Szczur is being called up from triple-A Iowa to the Chicago Cubs. Besides Talley's tweet, multiple reports Saturday confirmed that the 25-year-old Lower Cape May grad is on his way to the bigs. Szczur, now an outfielder with speed (30 stolen bases with Iowa) and a good glove but weakish bat (.261) could make his major-league debut Sunday against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
July 9, 2014 |
Four lion cubs were born in the Philadelphia Zoo on Thursday, June 26, the zoo announced Monday, making them the first lions born there in nearly two decades. The new cubs will not be available for viewing for about three months. Tajiri, the 4-year-old first-time mother, will remain with then for the duration and be monitored via video cameras. LONeal@phillynews.com 215-854-2619 @LydsONeal
June 17, 2014 |
THE PREVIOUS TIME the Chicago Cubs won a series in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins, now the Phillies' all-time hit king, had 20 games of major league experience. Larry Bowa was capping his first week as the club's manager. Omar Daal was starting games, Jose Mesa closing them. It was all the way back during the home-opening series of the 2001 campaign, a nugget of information perhaps telling regarding both the Phillies' immense success since but also the struggles of 2014. Yesterday afternoon's game, a 3-0 Cubs' victory that gave Chicago claim to the three-game series, marked already the ninth time this season, just 67 games old, the Phillies were held without a run. It was the seventh game in which they were shut out at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
June 16, 2014 |
Phillies righthander David Buchanan not only was proud to see history Saturday, but to be part of it. On the day Jimmy Rollins broke Mike Schmidt's team record with his 2,235th career hit, Buchanan was the winning pitcher in a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Despite allowing three solo home runs, Buchanan went five innings, allowing the three runs on six hits. "We had history, man, and it was an honor," Buchanan said. Buchanan, who is 2-3 with a 5.97 ERA since being recalled from Lehigh Valley on May 24, said Rollins has helped him adjust to the big leagues.
June 15, 2014 |
Jimmy Rollins put himself in the Phillies record books, but his feat couldn't ignite a sagging offense. Rollins ninth-inning, lead-off double to right field gave him 2,234 hits, tying Mike Schmidt's franchise record in the Phillies' 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Rollins hit a 1-0 fastball from Cubs righthander Neil Ramirez for his record-tying hit. "It is something I did want to do at home," Rollins said about the record. "A couple of years ago, I reached 2,000 hits in Cincinnati, and I told my wife I really didn't care where that happened, but when the hits record comes up, I would like it to be at home.
April 8, 2014 |
CHICAGO - Hidden in the 30 starts made by A.J. Burnett last season that produced a career-low 3.30 ERA with Pittsburgh and a $16 million contract from the Phillies was a trend not lost on Cubs manager Rick Renteria. He stuffed his Sunday lineup with seven lefthanded hitters, and the move paid off before Burnett completed an inning of an 8-3 Phillies loss. "I'm used to that," Burnett said. "It's throwing strike one. It doesn't matter if it's a righty or a lefty. " Chicago blasted an erratic Burnett for four first-inning runs to avoid christening Wrigley Field's 100th season with an opponent's sweep.
April 7, 2014 |
CHICAGO - It's early, and the schedule makers and baseball gods have been kind to the Phillies in this first week of the season. And after a 2-0 win Saturday over the Chicago Cubs, they have an air of confidence. The luck showed up in Texas for opening day; instead of Yu Darvish's varied menu of dominant pitches, the Phillies faced a kid named Tanner Scheppers, who had trouble throwing strikes in his first major-league start. The Phils won by scoring two touchdowns on 17 hits.