Coleman & Deep Threat Deep Six Round Rock
The Iowa Cubs swept the Round Rock Express last night behind the strong starting pitching of Casey Coleman in the opener and Jeff Samardzija in the nightcap.
Coleman retired the last 21 men he faced after the first two got hits in going the route [PCL doubleheader games last only seven innings].
Samardzija ran his record to 5-0 with five scoreless innings in game two. It was his second straight start after pitching out of the I-Cub bullpen since his demotion from Chicago in April. His return to the rotation was brought about by the brief promotion of Mitch Atkins who's now been returned to Iowa in exchange for John Grabow.
So now what happens with one of the highest paid players in MiLB? He's thrown 30 innings on this go 'round in Des Moines to the tune of a 1.80 ERA and a sparkling .154 BAA. But he's surrendered more walks than hits [19/16 respectively]. Granted, it's a very limited basis for comparison, but most of his splits are better in his two starts, which span a mere nine innings, than in his 21 IP out of the pen.
There are more intriguing prospects than spots in the rotation right now. Jay Jackson took a no-hitter deep into a recent start. Thomas Diamond has been very solid all year. Coleman has been more good than bad. Atkins is back. Samardzija remains as enigmatic as ever. And then there's reliable old strike-thrower J.R. Mathes and the possibility of a Randy Wells demotion to enable the return of Tom Gorzellany to the Chicago rotation, either as a replacement for a traded Ted Lilly or to showcase himself as a hunk of trade bait.
Speaking of trade prospects, if Derek Lee gets moved, would the Cubs let Micah Hoffpauir man first base for at least the rest of this summer? He's still hitting only .227 but has somehow managed to produce 39 runs while becoming the all-time leading doubler in I-Cub franchise history. Whenever and however Lee departs, I for one vote for the acquisition of a young replacement as opposed to the transfer of Soriano to that post. A hop in receipt of throws from across the infield would cost the Cubs a lot of putouts on bang-bang plays.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "thet never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.