Cruz gains, Bere loses

SportsChicago CubsJason BereJerry ManuelChicago White SoxSammy SosaFred McGriff

Juan Cruz pitched so well and Jason Bere so poorly in Tuesday's doubleheader that Cubs manager Don Baylor is considering going back on his decision to send Cruz to the bullpen.

Baylor had said Cruz would lose his spot in the rotation once Mark Prior was activated for Wednesday's game.

"I have a right to change my mind," Baylor said. "We discussed that a few minutes ago and we'll kick it around again. We'll discuss it with [Bere] also. Whatever decision we make, he's not going to be kept in the dark."

Bere offered a terse response when asked about the possibility.

"No idea," he said.

Cruz earned his first victory against seven defeats in the nightcap, which the Cubs won 4-3 after Sammy Sosa's three-run homer in the sixth inning.

Sosa's clutch hit salvaged a split against Pittsburgh, which entered the game with the worst batting average and fewest runs of any team in baseball.

That wasn't apparent in the opener, however, as the Pirates drubbed the Cubs and Bere in a 12-1 victory. Bere, who gave up six runs in five innings, fell to 1-7 with a 6.80 ERA.

Asked after the first game if Bere was a sure thing to remain in the rotation, Baylor said he didn't know.

"Confidence-wise, he's probably disappointed too," he said.

Bere said his frame of mind had not taken as tough a beating as his ERA.

"I'm still confident," he said. "As far as the numbers, I know they're not pretty. But when I go out there I don't bring any of that with me.

"Prior to today, of my eight starts, three of them were bad and I did my job in the other five. You're supposed to be 5-3 if you do that, but when you struggle, you struggle as a team. … But I feel fine and my stuff's fine."

Bere is in the final year of a two-year contract that pays him $3.4 million this season. He has started all but eight games during his eight-year career and resisted a demotion to the bullpen with the White Sox in 1998.

His agent, Tom Tanzer, eventually threatened Sox manager Jerry Manuel in an effort to get Bere released. The plan worked, and Bere resuscitated his career in Cincinnati.

Now the Cubs have to decide whether to give Cruz a chance to build on his fine performance Tuesday, when he gave up three runs [two earned] in the first before rebounding to throw five shutout innings.

Despite being bothered by a blister, Cruz allowed just one hit over his final five innings.

Cruz likely would have fallen to 0-8 if not for Sosa's three-run blast or the bullpen's superb effort.

Sosa ripped Josh Fogg's 2-1 pitch deep into the bleachers in left-center for his 16th home run and first since May 9.

It was just the Cubs' second three-run homer of the season. Fred McGriff hit the other one May 3.

"I'm very happy for Cruz to get his first win," Sosa said. "After that first inning he was fighting, and that's one of the things I really like about him."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading