Running Into Trouble in Des Moines

After losing 5-4 yesterday to their neighbor and nemesis, the Omaha Royals, the Iowa Cubs are languishing in the cellar at 9-14. They are a league worst 1-7 in one-run games and have now dropped nine straight to the Royals.

Thomas Diamond has been one of the bright spots amongst the pitchers. After Sunday’s no-decision he has allowed only 16 hits in 27 innings to the tune of a 1.65 ERA and a .170 BAA.

Right with Diamond has been Jay Jackson. Jackson has surrendered just 19 hits in his 29 IP while walking only seven to go with 20 strikeouts. His ERA stands at 2.48 with a .188 BAA.

The offense has yet to get untracked for more than an occasional game. RBI machine Micah Hoffpauir is hitting below .200 and journeyman Jason Dubois has seen his assault on the club’s career home run record stalled by back spasms that have him doing a stint on the DL. After starting the year one for his first 18, Brad Snyder has gotten hot and was named the PCL Batter of the Week for the stretch from April 19-25.

Ryne Sandberg has been managing somewhat on the aggressive side to try and offset the team’s sluggish start at the plate [until Bryan LaHair‘s 7th inning homer yesterday the team had gone 24 innings between extra base hits], but the team is a poor 17-27 so far in the stolen base department, a figure that may improve now that Sam Fuld has been activated after nursing an injured thumb for most of April. Yesterday, with the team trailing by a run in the bottom of the 9th and Jim Adduci on 2nd after a sacrifice bunt, Sandberg called him to 3rd from his coaching box on a short passed ball with one out. Adduci was out easily.

On the other side of the SB department, Wellington Castillo has nailed five out of the eight who’ve run on him. Last year he led the Southern League by catching 44% of those trying to steal on his watch. Castillo also has four homers.

Attendance so far is running a modest 4% ahead of last year’s pace. If Sandberg is to have much of a positive impact in terms of either the standings or the turnstiles, the stretch between May 20 and July 11 will be telling. Between those dates the weather will warm and the I-Cubs will play 34 of 52 games at home in Des Moines.

Darwin Barney hasn’t done much to block Starlin Castro’s climb up the ladder. 19 of his 22 hits are singles, he’s fanned more than three times as often as he’s walked and his OBP is sub .300.

Frankly, if it’s true that a team reflects the personality of its manager, the I-Cubs to this point have been as collectively vanilla as Sandberg used to be off the field until his acceptance speech at Cooperstown. Usually it’s the players whose development you’re monitoring in the minor leagues, but in this case the manager too is openly auditioning for a ticket to the big leagues.

Too soon to tell in that department.

 

Comments

I wonder how much playing to win - versus how much training Sandberg is trying to do with is players in Iowa. Take a guy who can hit alright for AAA but is going to be asked to bunt more often in the majors comes to the plate in a "bunt or hit" decision area. Does Sandberg solely look at what is going to help the I-Cubs win, or does he have him bunt (or try to steal etc), in hopes of preparing him for what he'll be asked to do in the bigs.

the bunting obsession has followed sandy through all levels so far.

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  • Cards and Pirates lose. I'm OK with that.

    billybucks 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • I'm ready for the end of the Miggy era.

    Newport 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • he juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust got there...1st appearance, injury...yow

    crunch 4 hours 31 min ago view
  • b.matusz it is.

    crunch 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • Oops. Colin Rea leaves the game with injury.

    John Beasley 4 hours 51 min ago view
  • Cubs optioned Justin Grimm to Iowa after the game. No corresponding roster move announced yet, but it could be Brian Matusz. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 53 min ago view
  • Marlins with a quick 4 spot vs Jaime Garcia. Osuna HR the highlight.

    Cubster 5 hours 31 min ago view
  • Brian Matusz, supposedly he has attachments. Hope it's not like an email with a virus attached.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKtNcsXx_y4

    Cubster 5 hours 44 min ago view
  • One thing to remember about Chapman -- he can be magic, but his ERA is higher than Rondon's this year. 100+ mph is fun, but I'd love to see a few more sliders. I think he enjoys the crowd reaction from 103 mph.

    billybucks 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • "Diamondbacks designated RHP Josh Collmenter for assignment."

    aww...he was my 2nd favorite crapballer. his control issues are rather severe at the moment.

    crunch 6 hours 7 min ago view
  • haha

    crunch 6 hours 27 min ago view
  • Wow -- Chapman gives up a hit and everything completely caves in. I think the Cubs went into collective shock.

    Stolen base with the pitcher holding the ball, WP that should have been caught or blocked, then Russell with a 2-out error on a routine play. Cubs handed them 2 runs. Throw in a Fowler bobble and it was a mess.

    Hopefully, that is all out of their system now -- let's get a W tomorrow.

    billybucks 7 hours 36 min ago view
  • First time I've ever seen a base running slump -- he's made some poor decisions recently, but I thought it was a great idea to try to score there -- it's not like Heyward was going to get a 2-out hit against a LHP. Sliding feet-first into home is probably the safe (ugh) way to go, but it's hard to get the foot on the plate.

    billybucks 7 hours 37 min ago view
  • Yup. He got squeezed (twice) on the first walk, but, when you have one-run lead and the other team is trying to make an out -- take the out.

    billybucks 7 hours 53 min ago view
  • Wasn't fun!

    Brick 7 hours 57 min ago view
  • Clearly the Cubs need to clear out the farm and trade for another closer

    Where's Ed Lynch when you need him?

    Eric S 7 hours 59 min ago view