A PCL Pitchers' Duel!?

It's a shame there weren't more people there to see it because duels of legitimate pitching prospects like the one that played out last night at Principal Park are rare in the homer-happy Pacific Coast League.

 The mundanely named Bud Norris and your own fighting Irishman with Samardzija scrabbled on his mail fought each other to a 2-2 standoff before Round Rock eventually prevailed 7-5.

For his part, Samardzija looked every bit the big leaguer in waiting as he carved his way through the Texans' lineup to the tune of six innings, one walk, five strikeouts, less than six dozen pitches and a lone hit, that unfortunately being a two-run homer by Reggie Abercrombie who would later blast an encore that put his team ahead to stay.

Samardzija offered first pitch strikes to 12 of the 21 hitters he faced and 49 of his mere 71 pitches were strikes.

His inning by inning pitch counts broke down thusly: 11,13,9,9,18, and 11. Abercrombie's homer followed a two-out walk in the 5th.

Samardzija hit more batters [2] than hit him.

The prodigious Jake Fox smote a tying two-run blast beyond the center field wall in the bottom of the sixth to swell his RBI total to 20 already in only 10 games. That finished Norris, Houston's #2 prospect, who appears as tenacious and hard-throwing as his counterpart. Both were throwing in the low to mid 90's and one can imagine them opposing each other in Houston and Chicago before much longer.

Between the 6th and 7th innings I spotted a very high-ranking Chicago Cub official in the seats directly behind home plate and wandered down to see if I might pick a little at his large brain. I introduced myself by name and affiliation.

"After the game," he said, "I'm working right now." as though he were a player and I an autograph hound. I said I didn't mean to interrupt; just thought I could ask a couple quickies between frames.

"Whaddaya wanna ask?" he gasped as his eyes rolled.

"Does Jake Fox have a big league future with this organization? Are other teams interested in him?"

"That's none of your business." the wheeler-dealer said. "Do you expect me to tell you what teams have asked me about him?"

"No," said I. "I just wondered if there's interest in him."

"Jake Fox is a big league hitter." he declared in summation.

Then followed an even briefer, but no less pleasant, discourse about young Mr. Samardzija's progress after which I thanked him for his time and left him to enjoy what remained of what I like to call the "I think my husband's home" race in which contestants scramble to dress themselves in a uniform ASAP and lunge across a finish line in pursuit of a gift certificate for a free oil change.

I hope the high-powered observer enjoyed the 7th inning stretch, by which time Samardzija had showered and I was on my way to a late showing of "State of Play". Russell Crowe also looked very sharp...MW


I just cannot believe that Joey Gathright is more valuable on the Cubs bench than Jake Fox would be.

My thoughts exactly...

Thanks Iowa Mike! Jake Fox is clearly a major-league hitter. This brings up a question: Just how bad is he defensively?

He started his career as a catcher, but presumably shed the tools of ignorance because he was terrible. Even a bad defensive catcher with a good bat gets a major league job.

He has played some LF and RF; I'm sure he's not a good outfielder, but how bad? Are we talking Carlos Lee bad, Adam Dunn bad, or a whole new level of stink?

He's AL trade bait

AZ Phil's spring training reports pretty much summed him up as uncapable of playing any defensive position on the field. What he lacks in skills is only dwarfed by his complete defensive ineptitude. And I'm pretty sure that's how the Cubs think about him as well. Seems like you could hide him at 1b maybe, but he's #3 on that depth chart in this organization.

Well, Big Jake has played errorless ball @ 1B so far, but there was a play in Friday night's game that perhaps spoke to his defensive instincts, or lack thereof. He waited on a slow roller up the line instead of charging it, allowing the ball to eventually carom off the bag. That resulted in what looked like a scramble to recover a fumble between Fox & pitcher Randy Wells - luckily Wells came up w/ the ball & got a toe on the base in time to nip the runner...

Sunday night game again? weird...


TCR alert to see when Cotts gets sent down. Keep watching the "wires" boys.

I was thinking about the Gathright AB yesterday.

There were better LH hitters on the bench, but in Lou's mind, he may have thought that he gives the club a chance on a grounder or IF slow-roller. However, with a swinging K, there was no chance.

I also wondered if a suicide bunt would have had a chance - however, a force at any base with the bags juiced makes this a difficult proposition. It was a terrible AB any way ya slice it.

It is going to be a long season if the starters cannot go deeper. And, Jim Hendry fucked the Cubs with the Demp deal. At the rate he is going, 12 wins will be a long shot.


1. Did you offer the high ranking Cubs official some donuts?
2. Is Jake Fox the White Sam Horn for the new Millennium?

All I offered was my hand in friendship...as for Jake Fox/Sam Horn, yeah, ebony & ivory; the one-syllable sluggers - one punch knocker-outers

Was it obvious who the high ranking official was? or is it a secret?

He sounds like a dick.

Hendry is high ranking. Fleita is a dick.

There's no way it was Hendry. He probably makes one trip a year to Iowa and he wouldn't be sitting alone.

Yeah, the previous comment assumed it was Hendry, but it seemed unlikely to me. Just wanted to make sure there wasn't something obvious I missed. I'll assume Fleita until I hear further, just because he's an ass.

FYI - Hendry is in Iowa.....

Extra innings: Cubs general manager Jim Hendry went to Des Moines on Saturday to watch the Triple-A team for a few days. Don't be surprised if he returns with another relief pitcher.


Yeah, I figured it was Hendry.

I'll shut up now...

hey, Chien-Ming Wang kind of sucks now, huh Joe?

'He' said he would be here to watch 3 games...

Jason Waddell is the lead lefty in the Iowa pen; unscored upon in 4 outings w/ 0 WALKS over a scant 3&1/3...hasn't worked in either of the 2 home games so far, but imagine Hendry would want a look @ him if they were gonna drive back to Chicago together...

Your sense of mystery has failed you.

Hey, Mike. I asked this in a past post, but I think it may have gotten lost in a discussion on Milton Bradley and overreactions, so here I go again:

Nate Spears started at SS the other day. Have you seen him play any SS? How does he look? He sure seems to be a Fontenot Lite (if that's possible), so I would guess that if he's passable at SS that gives him a much better chance of seeing the majors (particularly with the Cubs).

Charlie - Spears has started so far @ 3B, 2B & SS; his path may be as a utility-type spare part...note that he won the 'best hustler' award last year in the Southern League which, assuming it was deserved, makes him my kind o' ballplayer - no surprise that MLB bestows no equivalent award these days...

Have they ever?

I met Fleita at Fitch a couple of years ago and he seemed anything but a "dick".

I know that's you, Oneri. Don't try to trick me.

I've never met him. I just get that impression from him, probably heavily from that post a while back where he was screaming at the players.

He's famous, so I don't have to treat him like real human being.

that "affiliation" thing might be your downfall with the returned attitude...esp. if you weren't talking to a low-level scout who can generally be bought off with a stadium beer or nachos (ha).

over the past few years bloggers have "used" too many scouts for their sources and if you think the Tribune releasing rumors are a sore spot, they can at least be taken care of with a direct call to the reporter with a number already at hand (and a pre-existing relationship).

when/if you get deemed a non-threat or someone that uses their sources in a non-drama-inducing way things generally get better. i got little experience dealing with the high-end talent evaluators, though.

as gruff as some can be you at least got some good stuff outta him.

While I'd also like to pick his brain, I have no problem with him keeping his cards close. It'd be silly to let the rest of the league know what you want to do.

Plus, if he told us exactly what he was going to do, we'd all have to go back to discussing that 3-2 Bradley pitch...

Or conservative v liberal stuff...

Or NFL wide recievers...

Or France! (what happend to Karl anyhow?)

I've got no problem either...there are just nicer ways to let someone know a topic is off limits.

Yeah, I agree.
I ran into Wandstat one time and he was kinda tight lipped, he was very polite about letting me know what was 'probably best not discussed'.

"That's none of your business." the wheeler-dealer said. "Do you expect me to tell you what teams have asked me about him?"

the "wheeler-dealer" comment makes it pretty obvious imo that it was hendry that he met with.


it'd be "Thappth none of *doughnut chomping* your bithness *more doughnut chomping*."

har har sigh...

You're such a size bigot. BIGOT!

Just saw Woody pitching for the Tribe on TBS. K's Posada on three pitches. Sigh -

I wish they coulda worked something out between each other (Hendry/KW).

game postponed...this is f'n bunk.

no game tonight?

Part of a day-night doubleheader on July 12th now.

An excellent decision - it's been raining pretty hard here over the past 4 hours, no need to risk more injuries this early in the season.

So, MB's groin can heal?

could baseball-reference.com cram more useless stuff into their webpage?

if you're like me and highlight stuff to read it better (small black text on a white background...brilliant) then you churn away background processes that aggregate years into a pop-up.

i like the OPTION of being able to do that, but geez...first it's made harder to read then the things i do to read it better are negated.

i'm sure i can block it like those sites that think if i want to highlight text means i need a dictionary or websearch (very very very lame)...but still...

i miss html 3.2...

...and don't get me started on the VERY useless flash-based-only sites. i could care less how "pretty" my internet experience is with someone's brand if i can't find the info i need off their site without clicking through a mountain of pictures and dropdown menus using hover-over technology.

Firefox with Flashblock.

it's not flash driven...it's a script that does it.

i basically blocked all scripts on baseball-reference.com with ABP coming from the problem area...


mainly, im sick of seeing web pages get more bloated without me being able to define how bloated i want my experience.

Have you looked into Greasemonkey? Someone may have already used it to build a script that disables the [highlight text] = [do something annoying] script. If not you may be able to build your own.

Let me know if you want my help. This is a pet peeve of mine as well.

i'm all good..thanks, though.

Cards are just going back home Tuesday, Cubs are still at home. Maybe they'll just play it tomorrow.

Monday's forecast doesn't look a ton better. Blech.

They have already rescheduled it... it will be a double header on 7/12.

Yeah, I see that was already covered in previous comments. My bad.

I was on I-80 and saw Cotts being driven West...

Another day; another homer, double & 2 rbi for Meister Fox...nice outing for Atkins too [finally]

Well, perhaps there will be an in-season trade for a LH relief pitcher to an AL team for Fox?

Exactly--you read my mind. Question is: (a) which team needs a DH, and (b) which team has a decent LH middle reliever they can offer the Cubs in exchange? Off-hand, I can't think of any trade partners that satisfy both (a) and (b) at the same time.

Nate Robertson?

"I think my husband's home" race

Love it! That would be good practice.

Recent comments

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  • Phil, have you heard anything about the condition of Oscar De La Cruz's elbow? Has there been talk of a time table? Is he throwing?

    K Dub 5 hours 18 min ago view
  • i was distracted for most of the game and also missed the first few innings.

    but yeah, any time he makes a good fielding+throwing play on D it's worthy of praise and a trip to pizza hut for a personal pan pizza and $1 worth of songs on the juke box.

    seriously, i'll take it.

    crunch 7 hours 23 min ago view
  • BTW, CRUNCH, Lester made a nice bh pick-up and toss to Bryant. Did you catch it?

    He's been workin' on the D!

    The E-Man 9 hours 19 min ago view
  • j.urias didn't have a good debut...

    2.2ip 5h 4bb 3k...3 r/er...1 wp

    81 pitches. yow.

    crunch 12 hours 3 min ago view
  • Ach - I really only saw it quickly and thought that's where it it. No matter - he crushed it and the video board people did not have to repair the panels from what I saw!

    The E-Man 12 hours 15 min ago view
  • Totally agree with that re Soler, whereas Bryant seems to get the close call (so far) this year.

    Good to see Baez get a couple knocks today - been awhile

    Eric S 12 hours 22 min ago view
  • that works too...there wasnt a good CSN replay...was going off whatever len or jd (dont remember) said.

    crunch 12 hours 27 min ago view
  • I was there. From what I saw it was upper third of the scoreboard

    The E-Man 12 hours 30 min ago view
  • No I have been thinking actually that he seems to lead the Cubs with balls called strikes all year. He really shouldn't be expanding his zone to swing at many of those either because it wouldn't lead to anything good. He's seeing the ball well though so hopefully it'll even out.

    johann 13 hours 28 min ago view
  • So why don't the umps like Soler, or am I just imagining it?

    Rob Richardson 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • Yeah, but he kills lefties.

    billybucks 15 hours 44 min ago view
  • wow...instant hardcore rain.

    rain delay.

    crunch 15 hours 51 min ago view
  • it was massive...hit off the bottom of the LF scoreboard.

    crunch 16 hours 23 min ago view
  • Projected at 461 ft, with a 108 mph exit velocity - longest Cub HR this year by 20 ft (I think Arrieta had the longest?)

    Eric S 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • this team is full of horrible walkup music...rizzo uses 'marky mark and the funky bunch' more than he should...which is any at all.

    d.ross uses alphaville 'forever young' because lulz.

    lastella was using (still might be) 'oh what a night' by the four seasons.

    turrible turrible stuff.

    crunch 16 hours 32 min ago view
  • ROSS #100!

    cubs lead 1-5, bottom 4.

    crunch 16 hours 49 min ago view