5/12/2014 8:30 P.M. ET
Hammel: Wins not a good gauge of performance
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija is winless in eight starts but ranks second in the Major Leagues with a 1.45 ERA. His teammate, Jason Hammel, says pitchers don't look at the record to judge someone's performance.
"Wins and losses are unfair," Hammel said Monday. "You have no control over wins and losses. Say you pitch well and lose, 1-0. You deserved a win. Sometimes you give up eight runs and your team scores nine, and you should probably lose that game.
"I honestly think WHIP, out of all the pitcher-type things, WHIP is the most important one," Hammel said. "If you're constantly having runners on base, you're not doing your job."
WHIP is walks plus hits per innings pitched, and Hammel didn't pick that statistic because he ranks fourth in the Majors in that category. The right-hander didn't know where he was on the stats chart.
"I just know that after a while, you figure out -- if you don't let them on base, you don't have to deal with them," he said.
The Cubs headed into Monday's game with 21 quality starts this season, but only six individual wins from starters in those games. The team record in the 21 games is 7-14. Is a quality start -- three earned runs or fewer over six innings -- a good gauge regarding a pitcher's performance?
"Quality start -- I've never paid attention to," Hammel said. "You can notch something in the column about quality starts, but if you're just shooting for six innings, you're not trying to do your job."
Bryant named Southern League Hitter of Week
ST. LOUIS -- Kris Bryant had a good week last week. Javier Baez, not so much. It's all part of their development.
On Monday, Bryant -- the Cubs' No. 2 prospect -- was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week after batting .464. He scored 12 runs, hit a double, belted four homers and drove in 14 runs. Bryant also posted his first multihomer game as well and set single-game highs in runs (four) and RBIs (six).
"Those are all great things to build on," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday. "Obviously, he's having a lot of positive outcomes from his performances between the lines. It's something to add to his resume.
"All these guys, as they chip away and gain more and more experience in the Minor Leagues and continue to develop their skills playing on an everyday basis there, it brings them closer to where everybody ultimately expects them to be down the road," Renteria said. "Even when they get here at some point, whenever that is, it's all still a learning experience, as we can tell from a lot of the guys we have now."
Baez didn't have as good a week. He batted .158 (3-for-19) with seven strikeouts. The Cubs' No. 1 prospect, Baez was batting .151 in 25 games at Triple-A Iowa with three homers, one double and 38 strikeouts. Renteria said he heard that the shortstop got off to a slow start last season as well.
"It could be the consequences of getting to Triple-A and pitchers seeing him and seeing what he can do and trying to work him a little bit, which is really important for his development because he has to grow some patience," Renteria said. "Those are positive things for us right now at this point, because patience is one of the things he'll have to have. Once they see him get the barrel on the ball, they'll likely not to want to give him anything to hit. He's got to draw them into the web so to speak."
Renteria said Baez is facing Major League-quality pitching in the Minors.
"He's going to face guys who have been up and down, been in the big leagues, have an idea, read swings, know the tendencies a hitter might have, how anxious they might get, what they want to do, and take advantage of it," Renteria said. "That's why he has to also understand they know what they're doing and make an adjustment. It's a little game in the game."
Bryant wasn't the only Cubs Minor Leaguer to be honored Monday. Iowa's Chris Rusin, who threw a no-hitter last week, was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week. Rusin's no-hitter Wednesday was the PCL's first since 2009, and 145th all time.
The lefty walked two and struck out three in his 118-pitch outing. He held New Orleans to three baserunners on the day and retired 17 in a row at one point.
Cubs being patient with struggling Schierholtz
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs are doing what they can to help Nate Schierholtz find his groove.
Last season, Schierholtz set career highs in home runs (21), RBIs (68) and at-bats (462), but this season, the outfielder was batting .195 with no homers and 12 RBIs entering Monday.
"Nate's still trying to find his groove," manager Rick Renteria said Monday. "For him, he needs to know that we still think he's going to click it and turn it around. He feels good. He's been working and feels a little more comfortable. As you all know, Nate is really reserved. He has a smile on his face, so that's a good sign."
Schierholtz delivered a two-run double on Sunday against the Braves, and he was 3-for-11 in his previous five games before Monday.
"When we put him in the lineup, he'll give you a good at-bat," Renteria said. "Maybe the results haven't been what we would like, but he still gives a good at-bat. You're still comfortable with him in the box."
What's interesting is the left-handed-hitting Schierholtz is defying tradition, and batting better against southpaws (.269) than righties (.172).
Wrigley to celebrate 1930s on next homestand
ST. LOUIS -- Wrigley Field will celebrate the 1930s during the next Cubs homestand, and the landmark marquee will return to its original green color with gold trim.
The festivities are part of Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary party.
On Wednesday, the Cubs and Benjamin Moore will begin painting the marquee to match its mid 1930s color scheme. The sign, located at Clark and Addison streets, was installed in 1934.
The Cubs worked with Harboe Architects and Wiss, Janney, Elsnter Associates, Inc. to research the marquee's color scheme from the era, which included removing layers of paint and primer to expose the first layer of enamel. Samples were then color-matched by Benjamin Moore to determine the Mallard Green and French Quarter Gold paints that will be used.
Benjamin Moore will provide limited-edition Cubs/Benjamin Moore T-shirts for up to 1,000 fans who want to view the painting event Wednesday. Guests will be invited to paint a large-scale baseball bat-themed mural on site.
The Cubs play host to the Yankees for two games May 20-21, and on May 20, they will honor retiring shortstop Derek Jeter in pregame ceremonies.
On Sunday, the Cubs will wear throwback uniforms from 1937, the year when Wrigley Field's scoreboard was installed and the ivy was planted on the newly constructed bleacher wall. The '37 jersey features a zip-up front and the uniform marks the first year the team switched from a navy blue to a royal blue color.
The visiting Brewers will wear 1937-inspired retro uniforms as well.
On Friday, the Cubs will give bobblehead's of Babe Ruth's "called shot," which happened against Charlie Root in the 1932 World Series, to the first 10,000 fans.
Ruth's 97-year-old daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, will deliver a ceremonial first pitch and lead the seventh-inning stretch with her son, Tom Stevens, on Friday.
Tickets for both the Brewers and Yankees series are available at www.cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).
Veras notches win in Minor League rehab outing
ST. LOUIS -- Jose Veras, on the disabled list since April 26 with a left oblique strain, picked up the win in relief in a Minor League rehab outing for Double-A Tennessee on Sunday. How soon Veras returns to the Cubs is still to be determined.
The right-hander has given up one hit and struck out three over 3 2/3 innings in three outings with the Minor League team.
"I'm sure he's anxious and feeling good," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
The Cubs wanted Veras to pitch at least two innings Sunday, but he was lifted after throwing 32 pitches (18 for strikes).
Outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney, both rehabbing hamstring strains, were continuing to make progress. Ruggiano, who injured his left hamstring on April 23, is hitting off a batting tee and rehabbing at the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz. Renteria said Ruggiano could be close to beginning a rehab assignment.
Sweeney, who strained his right hamstring on May 2, is doing his rehab in Chicago.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.