5/11/2014 6:57 P.M. ET
Renteria not thinking of batting pitcher eighth
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Despite entering Sunday with a .227 team batting average, a .296 on-base percentage and six losses in their past seven games, the Cubs do not plan on making any radical changes like, say, batting the pitcher eighth.
"I don't know what it would take, but I'm not thinking about it right now at all," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, inspired in part by former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, has done it in six consecutive games, including all three contests in this weekend's series against the Cubs at Turner Field.
Atlanta is 3-2 since the change and averaging only 2.2 runs per game.
"It kind of works out," Renteria said. "There's chances where the numbers, I have to look at it more closely, but I know that the thinking is you get your best opportunity to do what he's got to do."
A shakeup could perhaps help out Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, who man the middle of Chicago's lineup. Nineteen first baseman had more at-bats with runners in scoring position entering Sunday than Anthony Rizzo's 29.
Castro, meanwhile, was batting .200 (7-for-35) with runners in scoring position and would likely see that clip improve with more chances to bring runners home.
Also, should Renteria eventually decide to try it, he has a couple of pitchers who swing the bat pretty well given the usual output from the position. Travis Wood is batting .213 (16-for-75) with four homers and 12 RBIs since the beginning of last season.
Edwin Jackson batted .241 (21-for-87) from 2011-12 before tailing off in recent years with an .075 (5-for-67) clip since joining the Cubs in '13. He went 1-for-2 with a single in Sunday's 5-2 loss to Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Jeff Samardzija has struck out 40 times in his past 80 at-bats, and Jason Hammel, who spent three seasons with the Rockies, has hit only .136 (11-for-81) in 50 career games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Schierholtz close to mom despite long distance
ATLANTA -- When Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz stepped to the plate carrying a pink bat on Mother's Day, he thought of his early days of batting practice when his mother, Karen, threw him pitches that helped him begin his path to the Majors.
"She'd be out in the yard throwing Wiffle balls and tennis balls," Schierholtz said before hitting a two-run double with a pink bat in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Braves. "One time I hit her with a line drive with a baseball, so I felt bad about that, but she was always there to work with us."
As Schierholtz learned baseball, so did his mother. Karen, originally from England, did not become familiar with the game until Schierholtz first took interest. Schierholtz appreciates not only his mother's support of his baseball career, but her commitment to giving her children a happy childhood.
"My mom raised four kids and worked her life for us, so I have a lot to be thankful for today," Schierholtz said.
Schierholtz Skyped with Karen, who now lives in Hong Kong with Schierholtz's stepfather, Saturday night to squeeze in some face time before Mother's Day ended in Asia. He plans to make his first trip to Hong Kong and visit her this offseason.
Until then, Karen keeps up with Schierholtz by watching her son play, even though the first pitch has a tendency to come at odd hours.
"They can watch games there even though the time difference, it's a bit rough," Schierholtz said. "It's 13 hours, so it's usually two or three in the morning when we play our games."
Karen will watch Schierholtz face Braves starter Aaron Harang on Mother's Day. Schierholtz entered Sunday batting .250 (3-for-12) with two RBIs in his career against Harang, but he claims to have an even better lifetime batting average against his mother.
When describing his mother's scouting report, Schierholtz laughed and said, "Batting practice pitcher."
Jackson's homecoming bittersweet
ATLANTA -- Cubs starter Edwin Jackson did not receive much run support in a 5-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field, but he had plenty of supporters.
Jackson, who was born while his father, Edwin Sr., was stationed in Germany as a military cook, moved to Columbus, Ga., when he was eight years old. A few of Jackson's loved ones made the short trip to Atlanta to watch him pitch Sunday.
"It feels good to come home and have some of the family and friends who don't really get to see you play all the time," Jackson said.
Johnson put on a good show for his fans, giving up only three runs in six strong innings. Although he took the loss, the outing marked the right-hander's third quality start in his past four outings.
Jackson also notched a base hit and finished 1-for-2. Had he not smacked a line drive right at Braves left fielder Ryan Doumit in the fifth, he might have achieved his fifth career multihit game and first since Sept. 4, 2012.
"Just perfect placement on their part," Jackson said. "Just trying to go up there and hit something hard and help yourself out a little bit, but that's the game."
Although Jackson was disappointed that he could not get the victory in front of his hometown supporters, he feels they likely enjoyed themselves otherwise.
"They had some pretty good seats," Jackson said with a laugh. "I don't think there can be too many complaints today. I unfortunately wasn't able to come out and get a win, but life goes on. Just continue to battle, continue to work."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.