Cubs stung by home losses, especially to Brewers
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org August 4, 2013 10:32PM
Updated: August 4, 2013 10:37PM
The Cubs are one of three major-league teams with more road victories (26) than home victories (23). They already have three more road wins than they did all of last season, but they have six fewer home wins than they did last season after 56 home games.
‘‘Those losses to Milwaukee were tough,’’ manager Dale Sveum said after a 1-7 homestand that started with losing two of three to the division-worst Brewers. ‘‘The Dodgers are obviously the hottest team in baseball [now with 14 straight road victories], and not scoring runs, we knew it would be tough against them. But those tough losses against Milwaukee to start the homestand after such a good road trip [6-4] was hard to swallow.’’
Players admit losing at home is a bigger letdown because it hurts fans.
‘‘We get the fans’ support, and coming from other teams, we know they come out here and it’s a special thing,’’ starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva said. ‘‘We feel them behind us.’’
Class AAA infielder Logan Watkins arrived Sunday to take the roster spot of Luis Valbuena, who went on the disabled list with a strained right oblique. Watkins, 23, was the organization’s minor-league player of the year in 2012 after hitting .281 with 93 runs scored, 20 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 52 RBI at Class AA Tennessee. He was hitting .243 with 18 doubles, seven triples, eight homers and 26 RBI at Iowa, playing mostly second base.
Watkins started Sunday at second beside Iowa teammate Donnie Murphy at shortstop. Murphy, 30, was recalled Saturday after Julio Borbon was designated for assignment.
Sveum had planned early in the week to rest both Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro on Sunday to give them two days off with no game scheduled Monday.
‘‘We figured it was a good day to get them in together, and they’ve been playing together all year long,’’ Sveum said of the newcomers.
‘‘Fortunately,’’ Watkins said, ‘‘I was in big-league spring training, so I know some of the guys.’’
He also was familiar with the first major-league pitcher he faced, the Dodgers’ Stephen Fife, who was activated from the disabled list Sunday.
‘‘I actually faced him in my first Triple A game,’’ Watkins said.
Fife replaced scheduled starter Zack Greinke, who was moved back to Monday to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cubs will use the day off Monday to adjust the rotation so that left-handers Travis Wood and Chris Rusin aren’t making back-to-back appearances.
Edwin Jackson will start Tuesday’s opener in Philadelphia. Wood will follow on his normal day, and Jeff Samardzija will pitch Thursday on his normal day. Rusin will pitch Friday in St. Louis, followed by Villanueva.