I-Cubs (Dar)Win Again!
Crafty Chris Rusin worked seven strong innings under the weather, you might say, in pitching the Iowa Cubs to their second straight win over the Albuquerque Isotopes this afternoon at Principal Park. He wasn't sick. He just kept the ball down (to the tune of 11 ground outs) and out of the southerly jet stream blowing toward the fences as the I-Cubs notched consecutive W's for the first time in 2013.
I went to the home opener Friday night strictly to preserve a tradition. The stiff wind that evening was out of the north and made the chilly temps in the high 30's insufferable for long. I lasted only the first third of the game. Today I stayed for 2/3 as I stretch myself with an eye on shorts and t-shirt game conditions.
Half of the infield today was manned by rehabbers. As a gold-gloved I-Cub alum Darwin Barney rated what ovation the smallish crowd today could muster when he came to the plate in the bottom of the 1st. He was followed by Ian Stewart hitting in the 3-hole. When Stewart was announced you could have heard a peanut shell drop.
Barney walked on four straight pitches three AB's in a row before striking out in his fourth trip. All told he saw 17 pitches without putting any in play. He also stole a base. Stewart fanned twice, once looking; once swinging, before realizing his bat was useless and drawing a four-pitch walk of his own with the bases loaded in the 4th to knot the score at one. Brad Nelson followed with a two-run single that was the game's deciding blow.
The other thing of note about the game, other than the mausoleum vibe that persisted throughout, was that it took until the game's 22nd batter with two out in the top of the 3rd before a ball was fouled out of play. Don't ask me why I happened to notice that. There's always something that you just don't see everyday. Friday night it was a wind-blown 65 foot double by I forget who that failed to score a runner from 2nd because it came with only one out. The high pop looked destined for the third baseman's glove off the bat but landed safely and untouched right behind the pitcher's mound. Give whoever hit it credit for hustling.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.