Mike Wellman's Archives

Release the Hounds! Friday Night Foxhunt...

Ahh, opening night at the ballpark. The aromas of the stadium grills. The energy of the gathering crowd. The intense greenness of the diamond. The excitement in the PA announcer's voice. The flowers in the restrooms!?

Even the national anthem singer last night at Principal Park in Des Moines couldn't wait to get the Iowa Cubs' home season started. She zipped through a snappy rendition in a minute or so and away we went.

Alas, once the game was put in the hands of professional ballplayers it ground nearly to a halt right out of the blocks.

TCR Correspondent Coverboy

Since season's bitterly abrupt end I have been busy putting finishing touches on my first book, Far From the Trees: The Troubled Sons of an American Neighborhood. If nothing else the gang hereabouts should like the cover design. You can check that out without even buying the book, though it goes without saying that I hope you do both.

Will Cubs Eat Their Young in September?

Today's double-barreled day off for the Chicago and Iowa Cubs seems like a good time to assess how the two teams' fortunes intertwine as their respective seasons round third.

Like their parents the Iowa Cubs enjoy a five game bulge over their nearest divisional pursuers [the Cardinal proteges in Memphis]. Since the PCL regular season ends on Labor Day [Monday, September 1], the I-Cubs are only a couple dozen games away from a likely playoff spot. That likelihood makes the annual speculation about September call-ups a little less idle than in most years.

His Name Spelled Backwards is 'Ffej'

When the golden boy took the mound yesterday he must have felt right at home, what with the golden dome of the Iowa statehouse beyond the center-field wall and the Notre Dame fight song blaring over the PA system conjuring flashbacks of his alma mater.

Six innings and 101 pitches later Jeff Samardzija left having made another tentative promise on his well-financed junket through the bush leagues to the big-time.

He surrendered only one run despite walking six and recorded his first AAA win in his second start at that level.

A Start and a Stop

 

Hello again from Des Moines, the soggy branch office of the Chicago Cubs National League ballclub.

A bizarre homestand that began last weekend with a flood-delayed game played behind closed doors as a public safety precaution ended last night with the season's largest crowd witnessing the latest episode in the unraveling of Rich Hill.

One night after Sean Marshall required only 87 pitches to get 24 outs, Hill scatter-gunned 45 before he was taken into custody after a mere two-thirds of the first inning.

Guest Pitchers Aboard for Hoffpauired Win Streak

Micah Hoffpauir was activated a week ago and the Iowa Cubs haven't lost since. In the last two games alone he's driven in more runs than the pesky redhead has in 23. Yesterday he manned a post in right-field, possibly as a Plan B in the event of a failed Jim Edmonds experiment.

Meanwhile Kevin Hart was 'stretched out' from 67 pitches in his previous start all the way to 68 yesterday; from 3.2 innings all the way to four.

Hill Climbing in the Flatlands

Expecting to see the enigmatic Rich Hill make a not so triumphant return to the scene of some of his finest professional work, I headed to the ballpark last night planning to call it a night whenever he did.

He only lasted five innings but I stayed for a sixth when it was assigned to Scott Eyre.

The battery in the starting lineup was Hill squared, and after three innings it was hard to say whose arm was more impressive, the left of Rich or the right of Koyie. At that point Rich had fanned three but Koyie had thrown out a man stealing and picked another off of second.

For the record, Rich Hill allowed seven hits and two runs while walking one and striking out five on the night. I had him for 47 strikes among his 78 pitches, but left with other less quantifiable impressions of his work.

Hill's misses weren't close. The 'balls' he threw were so flagrant that the batter was rarely tempted by them.

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How Does Gallagher Spell Relief? W-A-L-K-I-N-G...

I delayed my end-of-homestand post for a day so I could see how Sean Gallagher followed up on his brilliant outing from last week.

The results? Mixed.

Gallagher retired the first ten Fresno hitters he faced. He entered the sixth having surrendered only one run and retired the first two routinely before an infield single dripped from the faucet. A stolen base followed, then an intentional walk, then an accidental walk and Gallagher called it a night, leaving the bases loaded and the water running for Carmen Pignatiello.

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Gallagher's Dirty Dozen

The season here in Des Moines has had a hard time getting started this year. Bad weather, bad team and bad schedule; you're out!

Yesterday was an exception.

Sean Gallagher served up a tasty lunch in a nooner matinee at Principal Park on one of the very few days so far when the elements didn't cross-up the schedule makers.

After seven innings Gallagher had thrown 86 pitches, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts. All 12 K's were swinging, most of them on a nasty breaking ball.

His pitch counts by inning were as follows: 11, 13,13, 14, 16, 9 and 10.

They trotted him back out for the eighth, the only frame when he failed to fan anybody. He walked the leadoff man, erased him on a DP grounder, gave up a base hit and called it a day after 101 mostly carveaceous, to coin a word, pitches.

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  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • bryant 2nd HR of the night for a 2 run lead in the 10th? sure, why not. awesome.

    crunch 4 hours 41 min ago view
  • gawd...jansen's thrown 5 pitches in the past 5 minutes.

    wild pitch (and a K, boo) with heyward advancing! 1 out, heyward on 3rd.

    HEYWARD SCORES ON A 2nd WILD PITCH! TIE!

    crunch 4 hours 56 min ago view
  • leadoff double (heyward!) top of the 9th...RALLY!

    crunch 5 hours 3 min ago view
  • carlos ruiz is still coming up to "in the air tonight" by phil 'are you kidding me' collins in LA.

    many years ago before phil collins it was a soulja boy song.

    dude has odd taste in music. at least it's not yanni...i guess.

    crunch 5 hours 13 min ago view
  • Funniest skybox ever

    jacos 5 hours 54 min ago view
  • that was some joke ass official scoring giving him a double. either way, seager's on 2nd and soler's play in the OF is still sketchy.

    crunch 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • Schwarber is worse right?

    jacos 6 hours 7 min ago view
  • Seager with the two out double *cough* to left field in the bottom of the fourth. If Soler just plays that bunny hop off his nuts, it's a single - certainly no double.

    Eric S 6 hours 23 min ago view
  • rizzo is tired of SD/LA night games...yet another towering one that died on the warning track.

    crunch 7 hours 4 min ago view
  • jacos 7 hours 15 min ago view
  • Monty dropped a two strike curve on AGon

    Holy shit!

    jacos 7 hours 32 min ago view
  • See I told you they were up to no good

    http://thebiglead.com/2016/08/26/video-ben-zobrist...

    jacos 7 hours 33 min ago view
  • My guy Addy

    jacos 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • jacos 7 hours 54 min ago view
  • been like that everytime I've been there too including Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium. Cubs travel well. It was pretty loud for Angels/Cubs this year and decent for Dodgers/Cubs but Dodger fans definitely turn out better than the Padre fans.

    Rob G. 11 hours 28 min ago view