Cashner Sails Against the Wind
My wife and I went to the I-Cub game tonight with friends. Free general admission for a donation to an organization that provides those in need with the "basic essentials." We got in for a can of shaving cream, a couple bars of soap, a toothbrush and a disposable razor.
It was a beautiful night with a breeze whipping out of the south @ 20-25 mph. A misty spray from the grounds crew hosing down the infield carried all the way to our seats behind the Iowa bullpen down the third baseline. My buddy and I agreed that a slugfest was in store.
I was surprised when Andrew Cashner came out and started throwing long toss. He was supposed to start tomorrow with an extra day of rest as a result of the team's off day earlier in the week. I didn't have a notebook or a pen or anything to make notes with plus I felt sorry for anybody having to pitch in the hitter-friendly conditions.
Well, Iowa won 1-0 in the Madduxian time of 1:52, the team's 11th win in 12 tries! The game proceeded so briskly that an extended intermission was required before the post-game fireworks show could launch - it wasn't dark enough yet!
Cashner retired the first 13 hitters he faced. He left after seven innings, 95 pitches, no walks, seven strikeouts and one hit batsman. He's now won all three of his Triple A starts and sports a glittering ERA of 0.95.
His fastball was at the knees or lower all night and clocking in the mid-90's.
Why did he pitch tonight? Maybe Oneri Fleita can answer that one. I thought I saw him on the field walking toward the team's clubhouse after the game ended. No doubt he was on his way to filing a glowing report on what he'd just seen in Des Moines.
I've seen headshots of Cashner before and watched him throw a couple of innings on TV in spring training. But in person he reminded me some of Jeff Weaver - blonde and lanky; hard-throwing.
In the managerial department the Iowa skipper ran the team out of a possible insurance run that wasn't needed after all when he wheeled Matt Camp around third with one out in the bottom of the 8th to try and score on Jim Adduci's single to center. Camp was out before he could even consider whether or not to slide. Adduci, by the way, made the play of the game when he leaped at the wall to snag a blast with the tying run on base and two outs in the top of the 7th. He also fielded the first hit off Cashner in the 5th when it came off the wall in left-center and held the hitter to a single. Those were the only two hard hit balls by either team all night.
Now I can go to a couple of graduation parties tomorrow afternoon instead of the ballpark. I may have just come from one tonight.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.