Mike Wellman's Archives

On an Off-day in April with the Cubs in 1st Place

The 2016 Chicago Cubs media guide is 384 pages long.

Very little of it has to do with the World Series. Surprise, surprise. In fact, in the T of C, there’s no listing for that topic, though there is one for “World Baseball Classic and Cubs.” There’s even one for “Clark the Cub” on page 218. Who knew that he’s a direct-line descendant of Joa, his “great grandbear,” the team’s original live bear mascot back in the halcyon days of the early 20th century?  Joa was retired to the Lincoln Park Zoo where he…never mind.

Tale of Two Javys

Five innings were enough tonight.

At one point the I-Cubs trailed 5-0 and the Vice-Cardinals from Memphis had all of one hit, that being a single. Rarely is so much made from so little. When Carlos Pimento was excused from further duty he'd thrown 80 pitches in three innings, only 35 of them strikes. I think he walked eight.

The Night the Lights Went on In Bushville

Like an obedient child emulating a revered parent the Iowa Cubs are at work on the installation of a new state-of-the-art HD video board in time for their home opener on April 17th.

At 24x64 or 1,536 square feet the magic screen will pale in comparison to the 42x95, 3990 sq. ft. colossus that’s being erected to tower above Wrigley Field’s left field bleachers and Waveland Avenue. It will be less than half the size but is certainly imposing enough to be viewed, let us say, as a Triple A scale model.

It’s high time for an upgrade. Depending on the vantage point and the mood of the sun the new board’s predecessor could be effectively invisible and in recent years has displayed more marketing and promo filler than, for instance, player stats. Not that that trend’s likely to change.

Speaking of trends at America’s ballparks, you know of course that all of this modern malarkey traces directly back to an event that happened right here in Des Moines, long a baseball hotbed, on May 2, 1930, right?

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Attack of the Soler Powered Headlines

 

Well, he passes the eyeball test with flying colors. Entering the ballpark in the top of the first you know something new has been added to the home team as soon as you fix on the leggy right fielder. Clear from the mezzanine behind home plate you can’t help but notice that pair of long, thick Cuban stogies as he lopes under the game’s first out.

Ho-Hum Bryant Takes #5 Out to Lunch

 

So I packed a PB&J and an apple this morning and planned to take my lunch break at the ballpark. Beautiful day here in Des Moines. It took forever to weave through pregame traffic and get into the lot where I park right next to the main gate. Just in time for the first pitch I slid into a spot and enjoyed the sandwich while I listened to the game on the radio.

Bryant Says Hello & Bye Bye in Des Moines Debut

 

Having waited half a season, I thought as the deluge pounded the car in the Principal Park lot, what’s another hour or so?

When the rain relented and while the grounds crew did its pregame thing I went to check for Superman capes and the like in the Backstop Store. No, the notice of Kris Bryant’s arrival in town had been too short to allow for restocking. Nevertheless, I expect there will be a hastily arranged bobblehead night added to the promo slate ASAP.

I-Cubs' Summer Begins With Lake Stay

For the first time this season the best farm system in organized baseball comes to town as the suddenly first place Iowa Cubs scoot home from Omaha for a three-game set with the Memphis Redbirds that culminates with a pyrotechnic exclamation of patriotism on Independence Day Eve.

Almora v. Buxton: Showdown at High Noon

Here’s a grab bag from recent days in the Iowa bush leagues:

 

*Junior Lake looks like a ballplayer but needs polish. He’s been getting on base a lot but his hits have included a swinging bunt here, a deflected ball there, a well-placed bloop, etc. With the glove his best game was in right field where he made multiple good plays. At 3B he’s made some diving and leaping stops but the arm’s erratic to the tune of five errors in less than a week. Still, he looks the part of a prospect.

Garza's Better Balls Win Battle of the Rehabbers

Matt Garza looked all tuned up and ready to go tonight at Principal Park as he tossed six scoreless innings that required only 75 pitches by my count. Maybe it was the balls. More on those later. He also fielded his one chance with the glove flawlessly.

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  • CRUNCH: It is obvious that you never see the silver lining, are uninterested in the huge preponderence of positives that typically outweigh your nitpick of the post by like a 10:1 margin. You cared not about Lester's 10 K's the last start compared to your contrarian view of his mortal mistake (which didn't matter) of not getting the ball out of his glove. Today you go on about his glove out (which he did last year) and same results. And, you never seem to mention first that he pitched really well - shutout a team with nearly every player batting over .300.

  • i like turtles.

  • "I had a pretty good career before he (Ross) came along..."

    it's like arguing with a moran...

  • *facepalm*

    nevermind. i've seen this film before, it sucked.

  • not sure it could be any better, but he gives up a lot on defense...so who knows? Soler's peripherals and inevitable warm weather makes me think he'll get it going soon. Sadly, the D will still suck.

    Baez at 3B with Bryant in OF is looking more and more like the lineup we'll see in Sept/Oct, but again, who knows? I'm not too overwhelmed by Baez's AB's, still looks to be swinging out his ass, but he seems to be making more contact. But a .385 BABIP will not hold...although he should be launching a few more...but damn that D.

  • Yes! Why clog 'em up?!

    Hopefully Hendricks will hit all his spots tomorrow.

    Or, Joe Ross has a really off night.

  • OMG, he had a tough inning of his own doing!!! If only he walked all those hitters on base instead, we could be spared your delusions of 250 IP and consecutive CY Young awards.

    There's a little going on here, that is being made into a lot by you.

    Didn't WISCGRAD already debunk all this last year, certainly ignored by you, but I believe he went through every instance a runner was on base against Lester and how little it ended up mattering. And unlike you, I do not care to repeat myself ad nauseum.

  • ...yet...it's a thing that would happen if there were less 4-5 out innings...like a certain 30-pitch inning he had a couple starts ago. let's not let "good enough" be a stopping point when it could be better. it's a negative aspect of his game no matter how much melt-in-your-mouth-not-your-hand sugar coating one can pour over it.

    this is a game of maximizing advantages and striving to prevent bad situations...no matter how much you come out on the other side smelling like roses.

  • he's 8th in innings pitched in baseball this year and has thrown over 200 innings in 7 of the last 8 seasons. He finished 21st in MLB in IP, 9th in the NL . Plus, going to your bullpen has a much different meaning in baseball the last few years anyway...

    You're looking for a one percentage increase in performance from a guy already outperforming the league by 25-30%. Might as well ask be asking Anthony Rizzo to steal more bases.

  • In honor of playing Dusty tomorrow he's just clogging the bases.

  • ...or he might have more innings under his belt to be very effective in his starts before going to the pen...among other things.

  • Wilson Contreras today for Iowa: 0-for-0 with 2 runs scored. 4 BB.

  • Ross has a 0.79 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. He has a pretty low K rate but he has a ridiculously low hard hit % and no HRS off him yet.

  • Small man gonna small.

  • Wow.

  • Imagine if Schwarber was healthy.