Cintron Gets Nailed by Line Drive to Face
A day after he drove in the winning run with a PH single in the bottom of the 9th, Alex Cintron apparently escaped serious injury when he was struck in the face by a line-drive off the bat of Mark DeRosa while standing in the on deck circle in the bottom of the 6th inning of this afternoon's game between the Angels and the Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Upon seeing what had happened, DeRosa jumped into the air and then went to his knees with his face buried briefly in his hands.
Cintron lay motionless on his stomach for a couple of minutes before finally rolling over and sitting up, and being helped to his feet by the Cubs training staff. He walked into the clubhouse under his own power, and DeRosa was able to resume his AB, relieved that his teammate was apparently not seriously injured.
I couldn't help but be reminded of the possible career-ending eye injury suffered by Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion last year, an injury that occurred under almost identical circumstances (struck by line drive while standing in on-deck circle)..
As for the game, the Cubs scored three quick runs in the bottom of the 1st off Angels starter Ervin Santana to take a 3-0 lead.
Eric Patterson, who played the entire game in CF (one fly ball, one nice running catch), led off by working an eight-pitch walk. E-Pat then stole second, and came around to score on a double ripped into the LF corner by Alfonso Soriano.
Derrek Lee then lofted a high fly into right-center that resulted in a double, taking advantage of the wind taking the ball to the fence and the centerfielder failing to get a good read on the ball.
Because it looked like the ball would be caught,.Soriano tagged up at 2nd, and was only able to advance to 3rd.
Aramis Ramirez followed with a ground single between short and third into LF that scored Soriano and sent D-Lee to 3rd.
Kosuke Fukudome then hit what looked like a certain DP grounder, but he hustled to beat the throw to first and thus was able to net a FC RBI in the process.
With the Cubs up 3-0, starter Ryan Dempster took the hill in the top of the second, hoping to shut-down the Angels as he did in the top of the first, when he retired the Halos 1-2-3 on just six pitches (two grounders and a fly out). But it sure didn't work out that way.
Casey Kotchman led-off the 2nd with a weak dribbler down the 1st base line. Dempster sort of laziily loitered over to the ball, and then realizing "Oh, shit! I better hurry," he groped for the ball while off-balance, and then threw the ball not to Derrek Lee at 1st base, but rather like a drunken sailor to a surprised Mark DeRosa, who was located somewhere between 1st and 2nd. .
So with a runner at first thanks his own error and no outs, Dempster imploded, allowing six runs on five hits (two doubles, two triples, a home run).
Finally after he had thrown 40 pitches in the inning (that's right, 40 pitches in just 2/3 of an inning), and with Angels runners on 1st and 3rd, Manager Lou Piniella decided Demp had had probably enough work for the day--or at least for the inning, anyway--and replaced him with Michael Wuertz. And Wuertz did what Wuertz does best... stop the bleeding with a strikeout
And then Wuertz and every pitcher who followed pitched great.
Wuertz had four strikeouts in 1.1 IP. Kerry Wood had a 1-2-3 FIVE-pitch 4th inning (making me think Uncle Lou might want to try Woody's first "back-to-back" relief outing tomorrow), Jon Lieber threw four shutout innings (5th through the 8th - 58 pitches, 39 strikes, 6/3 GB/FB), allowing just two hits and a walk,with three K's, and Jose Ascanio worked a shutout 9th and looked OK.
The Cubs were able to score a couple of single runs to make the score closer, one in the 5th on a triple banged off the centerfield hitting background by Derrek Lee followed by a wild pitch, and another in the 6th on a HR over the LF fence by Henry Blanco
But they could get no further, and lost 6-5.
I think the big problem with Dempster as a starter will be pitch counts, not so much the game pitch count (although that, too), but he has already made three starts where he has thrown anywhere from 30-40 pitches in a single inning, and that just isn't going to cut it. And if I remember correctly, throwing too many pitches per inning is one of the main reasons the Cubs decided to move him from the starting rotation to the bullpen (and the closer spot) a month into the 2005 season, wasn't it?
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?