Mike Wellman's Archives

Round and Round Goes Rizzo

Coming into tonight's action Anthony Rizzo trailed Omaha's Will Myers (Double A and Triple A combined) by eight for the top spot in all of minor league baseball in total bases. So he homered twice and doubled to briefly wrest the lead away before Myers homered off of Jeff Beliveau to break a 7-7 tie in the top of the 9th and give the Storm Chasers a hard fought win in a series opener at Principal Park.

Where's Banks When You Need Him?

 

Baseball here, baseball there; baseball, baseball everywhere…

Friday night I got home from work as quick as I’m able, changed outfits and headed to the ballpark, arriving in the second inning of game one as the I-Cubs dug into the first of four games with the Nashville Sounds in barely 24 hours.

Professor Pentland and the Homer's Odyssey

Jeff Pentland played with Reggie Jackson and has tutored Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp, to name-drop just a few. He has advanced degrees in biomechanics. His playing days were on both sides of the chessboard; pitcher and hitter. What he doesn't know about the art/science of hitting may not be worth knowing.

No wonder the Dodgers fired him as their hitting coach last year.

It's not like there wasn't a precedent. But gurus like Pentland are never out of work any longer than they care to be. This year he signed on with the Seattle Mariners (again) as the hitting coach for their Triple A affiliate, Tacoma of the Pacific Çoast League. The Rainiers hit only .235 in April but this month they're banging away at a better than .300 clip and carrying a 13-game homer streak as Pentland settles in. He stepped away from the batting cage while the Rainiers are in Des Moines taking on the Iowa Cubs and talked with TCR.

Rizzo Shoots & Scores!

Glad tidings from breezy Principal Park where the I-Cubs climbed all over the Tacoma Rainiers and snapped a four-game skid with an 18-8 slapstick win this afternoon. Anthony (Ratso) Rizzo (who else?) paced Iowa with a record-tying performance in support of Chris Volstad's first outing for the team.

Wind Clocked at 20; I-Cubs Clock a Trio

Waiting for the game to begin tonight I noticed that the pitchers would be throwing into a stiff breeze. A couple young scouts, I thought, sat down a couple rows in front of me to chart the game, one of them armed with a jugs gun. I sauntered down to ask them how the scoreboard speedometer compared to their readings since the last time I checked it was thought to generally register a couple mph slower than actual velocity. No, the gunslinger told me, the scoreboard readings run pretty true. In fact, he said, he doesn't really use the gun when he's charting; he just goes by the scoreboard numbers. Only then did I realize the "scout" was Randy Wells.

Toiling for the P-Cubs

Dear Randy -

You could do a lot worse.

I bet you didn't know that Forbes Magazine ranked Des Moines the #1 city in America for young professionals. And you gotta be the only one around here pulling down $2.7M per annum. You should get out more and explore. That's probably advice you're not used to getting but since you may be here for a while...

Zephyrs' Montz Drills Wells Deep

There was a big, bad moon rising tonight over Principal Park about the time New Orleans' Luke Montz boomed a Randy Wells s(t)inker through the teeth of the brisk zephyr blowing in off the Des Moines River to break a 1-1 tie and launch the visitors to a 7-3 series-evening win.

Promotion of the Roster Snatchers

Slowly, the infiltration has begun.

Marlon Byrd’s banishment from the nest cleared the way for Tony Campana’s
temporary custody of the roster spot reserved for Brett Jackson. If Soriano’s
reinvention as a singles hitter who doesn’t even manage many of those goes on,
how long might it be until LaHair takes his team-leading [no, it’s not saying
much] slugging totals to the outfield and defers to Raker Rizzo, the scourge of
PCL pitchers, at first base? We shall see.

In the meantime, today at Principal Park the Cubs-in waiting
wrapped up a four-game set with their Cardinal counterparts from Memphis, dropping a 4-0 yawner in front of a sun splashed crowd that couldn't have cared less. On
the mound for the Redbirds was their prized pitching prospect, Shelby Miller.
Miller’s stumbled a bit out of the PCL gate so far but remains highly touted [#8 prospect in baseball per BA last time I looked] and eagerly awaited in St. Lou as shadows lengthen on the careers of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

I-Cubs Still Looking for Way Out

Round Rock hasn't had any trouble getting into the jet stream above Principal Park. The Express have belted four homers in two games including a back-to-back pair Friday night off of Casey Coleman that were the difference in the 4-3 contest. But the home team remains homerless, having split the first half of a four-game set to open the season.

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  • Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.

    He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.

    chitownmvp01 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.

    I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 39 min ago view
  • Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.

    The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.

    Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 16 hours 44 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 17 hours 27 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 17 hours 38 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 17 hours 45 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 17 hours 48 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 17 hours 59 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 18 hours 5 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 18 hours 20 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 18 hours 21 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 21 hours 12 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 23 hours 45 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 1 day 17 min ago view