Guest Pitchers Aboard for Hoffpauired Win Streak
Micah Hoffpauir was activated a week ago and the Iowa Cubs haven't lost since. In the last two games alone he's driven in more runs than the pesky redhead has in 23. Yesterday he manned a post in right-field, possibly as a Plan B in the event of a failed Jim Edmonds experiment.
Meanwhile Kevin Hart was 'stretched out' from 67 pitches in his previous start all the way to 68 yesterday; from 3.2 innings all the way to four.
Hart's stuff is overpowering at this level. Yesterday he allowed only two hits [one a windblown, first inning homer] and a walk while whiffing six. Command and efficiency remain the objectives. It took him 51 pitches to get the first six outs, five of which were strikeouts; only 16 to get the next six, only one of which was a 'K'.
I cannot account for the fact that he wasn't allowed to at least start the fifth and build on his previous workload, especially given that he seemed to be finding a groove in the third and fourth.
All told he threw a first pitch stike to nine of the 15 hitters he faced and retired all nine of them.
Pitching coach Mike Mason paid Hart a very brief visit on the mound in the second inning after his 41st pitch. He must have said something like, 'fucq k's' because Hart's work was more to the point afterwards.
Sean Marshall's start on this stand was ordinary and little more than a workout. He threw 63 pitches while going four innings on May 12 and allowed a couple ER's while walking two and striking out three as he converts back from reliever to starter mode.
As for Rich Hill, he's walked five and fanned 13 over the course of 11 innings spanning his two starts for the I-Cubs. Nothing new here; great stuff, poor command, questionable intensity level...
After getting off to a chilly start compared to last year's club which both entertained fans here in Des Moines AND contributed mightily to the success in Chicago, the I-Cubs now seem poised to again play a key organizational role come summer.
Whether that role is as a supplier of trade bait or reinforcements in Chicago remains to be seen.
The word here is that Chicago ordered Hoffpauir's move from 1B to right. Yesterday he made a nice leaping grab to end the second inning when the opposing pitcher was the first to put a ball in play versus Hart.
CRUMBS: The pesky redhead's chronic bout of extra-baselessness finally came to an end on Sunday when he doubled to right after nearly a hundred plate appearances. He followed that with a two-double game on Monday before reverting to singularity in yesterday's 5-2 win [Hoffpauir drove in all five with a three-run homer and a double]...Mike Burns is a 30-year-old journeyman who was 4-9 a year ago for the Pawsox in the Boston system, but he has fanned 34 and walked only six while swinging between the rotation and the bullpen here this year...will be interesting to see if Felix pouts when he comes back in the wake of Edmonds' acquisition; last year when he was sent down he arrived in time to play a night game on the same day he got the bad news...since Hoffpauir joined the team they have outscored opponents 42-15 during their seven-game win streak...MW
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
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).