Cubs Win Second in a Row
The Cubs take a nail-biter from the Reds to open their series, winning their second road game in a row.
Why the Cubs Won: Well, Joey Votto is on the disabled list, that probably helped a lot. The Reds offense wasn't much before that and Votto has killed the Cubs in his brief career. Zambrano looked good though, no-hitting the Reds through four and a third. He got into a bit of trouble in that fifth inning with runners on the corners and one out, but got Micah Owings swinging and Jerry Hairston Jr. to fly out to end the threat. Z finished with 6.2 IP and runners on first and second before giving way to Angel Guzman who got the hold when Johnny Gomes grounded out to Ryan Theriot for the force.
That set-up Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg for the eight and ninth and they did their job - I suppose - although it certainly wasn't pretty. After a leadoff walk to Hairston Jr. and ground out by Chris Dickerson, Marmol left a fastball over the plate to Brandon Phillips that was ripped to left center. The scorer graciously awarded a triple to Phillips although Alfonso Soriano probably should have been able to cut it off in the gap. Phillips did a bit of showboating, stopping his slide short of third base, jumping up and clapping his hands together and then slowly taking the final step to third base as Soriano's throw was way off the mark. Now only up 2-1 with the tying run on third and less than two outs, Marmol got Lance Nix to pop up before walking Ramon Hernandez. He got the hold though by making Jay Bruce look silly on a few sliders before finally grounding out.
Kevin Gregg then got the benefit of facing the bottom of the order and retired the first two Reds before finally throwing one too many sliders to pinch hitter Ryan Hanigan who singled to center. After going down 3-0 on Hairston Jr., the count worked back to 3-2 and Hairston Jr. chased strike three but for the second time in a week, Gregg fell victim to the dropped third strike. Koyie "Three-Finger" Hill lazily tried to back-hand the ball instead of moving his body to try and block it and with the runner going, the Reds had runners on the corners. Two pitches later though, Chris Dickerson mercifully popped up to third base to end the game.
The Cubs worked Micah Owings to over 30 pitches in the first including three walks one of the bases loaded variety to force in the first run of the game. The only other offense for the Cubs was by big Z himself who struck out his first time at-bat from the left side. He switched to the right side in his second at-bat and launched one out to center field. It's unclear whether there was an injury or he'd just been talking to Andres Blanco.
Armchair Managing: Lou pretty much played this one by the book, although I'm not sure why he didn't just pinch-hit with Reed Johnson for Micah Hoffpauir in the top of the 8th with lefty Arthur Rhodes pitching. Hoffpauir was removed in the bottom half of the inning for defensive purposes as is and Marmol wasn't going to go two innings tonight.
Cubs face rookie lefty Mike Maloney tomorrow and Bronson Arroyo on Sunday, thus missing Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and the injured Edinson Volquez on top of Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion being on the disabled list. It feels like a good time for a sweep.
*checks pulse again*
Who are you? Andy Rooney?
Colbert has our backs
K-DUB: I get a chance to see the other MLB clubs Player Development operations out here and I have talked to scouts and other baseball people about it, and I can tell you that the Cubs Player Development program has gone from being almost a joke to one of THE best.
how did ej martinez go from asking for $10m, to supposedly mulling over $7m offers, to eventually signing for $3m?
...and what happened with him and the giants a few days ago?
Its not official until AZ Phil adds him to the Cubs Depth Chart!
Just freakin love it!
From Keith Law:
This from a Kiley McDaniel chat a couple weeks ago...
"Comment From Wrenzie
Who has more ceiling between Yusniel Diaz or Eddy Julio Martinez?
Kiley McDaniel: Martinez. I have Eddy (20 years old) as a 65 runner with a 55 arm and 50 raw power that profiles as an everyday CF that could be above average depending on if the bat is a 45 or a 55. I have Yusniel (19) as a 60 runner with a 55 arm and 40 raw power that can be an everyday guy if he hits enough (50 or 55)."
"Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
Arizona Phil 7 hours 23 min ago"
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.