Game 5 Quick Recap - Cashner is King
The Gist: It seems the weekday recaps are gonna be a little harder to get to for me. Andrew Cashner got his first major league start and threw quite well except for a 3rd inning home run to Ryan Roberts. He made it into the 6th on just 72 pitches (43 for strikes) and 10 groundballs to 5 flyballs. Then the bad news...he felt something in his shoulder and left the game with a 4-1 lead and went for an MRI, which we should hear the results tomorrow.
That meant going to the depleted bullpen that was without the services of Marmol and Wood. Samardzija was up first and pitched quite well in the 6th, striking out Kelly Johnson and Justin Upton to end the inning on some nice breaking pitches. Q-Ball tempted fate though by putting Samardzija out there in the 7th and he promptly walked the leadoff man. He did get the next batter on a fielder choice and then after a visit by Q-Ball, walked the next batter to end his day(good pep talk). That meant Marcus Mateo who had nothing going for him as he walked a hitter and gave up a single to allow the first of Samardzija's inherited runs.. In came James Russell, who got the lefty Russ Branyan swinging, but gave up a single up the middle to Willie Bloomquist that tied the game before ending the inning by getting Kelly Johnson out.
The Cubs came back in the 7th to take the lead again with Byrd's third hit of the day(welcome to the 2011 season) plating the lead run and Tyler Colvin walking with the bases loaded for the needed insurance run. Russell came back out in the 8th, with Q-Ball clearly saving John Grabow for possible extras and Sean Marshall for the 9th. He promptly gave up a leadoff single, but that was erased by a 3-6-1 double play started by Colvin and awkawrdly finished by Russell who somehow kept his foot on the bag on the throw back. And then ended the inning striking out Chris Young.
Marshall got in a little trouble in the 9th, giving a run back. But an amazing play by Starlin Castro to nail Xavier Nady on a bouncer that went off Marshall's glove that Castro came in on, barehanded and whipped across on a short hop probably saved the day (replays did show that Nady was safe). Then Marshall ended it by getting Bloomquist swinging for his first save of the season.
Some other notes...
- Fukudome got on base 3 out of 5 times out of the leadoff spot which is great. What wasn't great was him not advancing to third in the first on Byrd's looper down the left field line. The ball was heading toward the left field line which means Fukudome easily could have been standing on 2nd and even slightly past even if he thought there was any chance to catch it and should have been hustling to third the second he could see the catch wasn't going to be made. This isn't a question of speed, but of awareness. And of course Ramirez flies deep to left the next at-bat that would have scored him. Then in the second he got nailed at home on a gapper to left by Castro. That one didn't seem too bad, a lesser leadoff man doesn't get on-base in the first place to get Castro up there and Young did cut it off from getting to the wall and of course the nice relay home.
- Assuming Cashner misses at least one start, with the off day Thursday, the next time a 5th starter is needed is at Houston on Tuesday. My assumption is Casey Coleman would be first in line for a start, meaning a roster move (likely Cashner to the DL, but possibly someone else getting sent down if he's only missing the one start). If the injury ends up being serious, I don't think the Cubs will go back to Carlos Silva, seemed some bridges were burned when he departed. I would of course love for the Cubs to go after the Twins Kevin Slowey, but don't know the asking price (allegedly a reliever that can help now...think Sean Marshall quality) or how Slowey's arm is doing after his injury last year.
Me: "I stepped away from the computer. How did Koyie Hill get on-base? Act of God?
sbwilliams: "He walked on four pitches...so yes."
Cubs go for the sweep today before the day off on Thursday...Armando Galarraga vs. Ryan Dempster.
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
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