Reds rally for three runs in eighth inning to beat Cubs 4-2
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com August 11, 2012 8:54PM
Chicago Cubs Vs Cincinnati Reds. 8Th-Inning- Chicago Cubs No.40 James Russell gave up three runs in the 8Th-inning. August 11, 2012. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:28AM
The Cubs are looking at the last two months of the 2012 season as a head start for 2013.
‘‘The way our season has gone, you have to look at it as an opportunity to look at the kids and see where they are against major-league play,’’ director of player
development Jason McLeod said Saturday. ‘‘In a season
like this, at least this is an opportunity to see what they can do.’’
McLeod addressed changes in his department that included the promotion of director of amateur scouting Tim Wilken to special assistant to president Theo
Epstein and the hiring of Jaron Madison from the San Diego Padres to take Wilken’s former post.
But he also spoke about the players who now make up the core of manager Dale Sveum’s lineups, a group he was watching in the minors only a few months ago. Even Anthony Rizzo, probably the most major-league-ready of the Cubs’ prospects, has gone through adjustments.
‘‘I sometimes watch him and think, ‘Ooh, Dale, do you have to play him against this pitcher?’ ’’ McLeod said with a smile.
But position players Rizzo,
Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Adrian Cardenas and pitchers Brooks Raley, Jeff Beliveau, Alberto Cabrera are in the fire now.
Their lesson Saturday was watching the pennant-contending Cincinnati Reds strike late in the game to rally for a 4-2 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
After left-hander Travis Wood held his former team to one run in seven innings, the Reds scored three times against lefty James Russell (5-1) in the eighth to hand him his first loss.
‘‘Shawn Camp [who had worked the last two days] and Russell have been our guys in the late innings,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘Unfortunately, some ground balls found holes.’’
Russell gave up five hits in the eighth, as many as Wood allowed during his stint.
‘‘I’m upset about the way it ended up, but I executed some good pitches,’’ Russell said. ‘‘My body feels great, and there’s no sign of me getting dragged down [with the second-highest inning total among Cubs relievers at 522/3].
‘‘If you want to be that guy they turn to in the eighth or ninth, you’ll have to face some righties. They’re
human and can make outs, but sometimes it doesn’t fare that way.’’
Russell has been one of the bright spots for the Cubs this season. He is in only his third season and became the primary lefty in the bullpen after the Cubs traded Sean Marshall to the Reds during the offseason for Wood.
Wood, 25, also is in only his third season. He has shown steady progress
since being recalled from Class AAA Iowa in late May.
‘‘As a whole, I’ve progressed,’’ Wood said after equaling his career high with eight strikeouts. ‘‘I’ve had good and bad games, but that’s baseball. Each start, you try to show them what you’ve got.
‘‘We’re a younger team, but we’ll win some games.’’
Wood certainly is being counted on for the rotation next season.
‘‘He had a great outing,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘To step up like that against that right-handed lineup and his former team, he pitched as well as he possibly could. His command on both sides of the plate was incredible. He
actually threw a few balls at 94 mph. He was pumped to face his old team.
‘‘He’s had a few tough games where the wind was howling out, but he’s pitched pretty darn good since he’s been back up.’’