Cherry Pie at HoHoKam
Felix Pie went 3-3 with a bunt single, a double, a triple, and a sac bunt, leading the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers before a capacity crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny Mesa.
The Cubs and Rangers were tied 6-6 entering the bottom of the 9th. Facing Rangers reliever Robinson Tejada, Mark DeRosa struck out swinging and Henry Blanco lined out to short to start the inning, but then Pie smoked a triple into the right-centerfield alley, setting up a chance for Eric Patterson to be the hero. And that he was, as E-Pat lined a game-winning single into center, scoring a hand-clapping Pie from 3rd with the winning run.
Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs today, and had a mediocre outing, laboring through 4.2 IP (90 pitches - only 52 strikes, 3/6 GB/FB). Dempster allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out five, and got his pitch count up to 90 in less than five innings thanks to a couple of high-pitch innings (15-18-24-12-21).
Jon Lieber apparently lost the battle for the #5 slot in the starting rotation, as he worked as a middle reliever out of the bullpen today. Lieber pitched three innings (37 pitches - 26 strikes), allowing only a walk and a two-run homer to Adam Melhuse, while striking out three. After his three innings of work, Lieber went out to the Cubs bullpen and threw another 25-30 pitches.
Meanwhile the Cubs offense followed their six run first inning yesterday with a four-run 1st today. Facing LHP Kason Gabbard, Alfonso Soriano worked a one-out walk, Derrek Lee lined a single to center, and then Aramis Ramirez picked up an RBI on a 5-3 GO. Matt Murton then reached on an infield single to short, before Mark DeRosa clubbed a three-run homer completely out of the stadium to the left of the scoreboard to complete the 1st inning scoring.
With the score tied 4-4, the Cubs added two more runs off Gabbard in the 5th. Felix Pie scorched a double down the RF line, and scored on a line-drive RBI single to center by Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno then stole second, and advanced to third on an overthow, before scoring on a F-8 sac fly to deep center by Alfonso Soriano.
In addition to his perfect day at the plate, Pie also made an outstanding running catch into the right-center alley to end the 7th inning. He definitely seems to be hitting his stride at the plate, on the bases, and in the outfield.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.