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.

He hit batters, batters hit him, he walked #'s 29, 30, 31 and 32 in 28 Iowa innings, threw in a wild pickoff throw that seemed almost gratuitous and generally made a[n] [Steve Bl]ass of himself before being ushered to the showers by tepid applause that was as unwarranted here as it would have been at a gallows.

How appropos that the opponent for the Iowa Floods was the New Orleans Hurricane.

The visitors' operatic lineup sparkled with Gustavos and Casanovas and Rauls and Valentinos and Pascuccis.

Understudies to Marshall on Thursday night, they killed Hill in the first act on Friday before the concessionaires had beaten back the first charge of a crowd in excess of 11k.

Marshall apparently won't be here much longer. He's ripe and ready for the call. As for Hill, he's best-suited right now for casting as Nuke Laloosh in a 'Bull Durham' remake.

The anti-climactic pitching note of the evening was the appearance of a young moose named Estrada for the I-Cubs. Recently promoted from Tennessee where his #'s were ordinary, he's listed at 6'8" and 260#. So far in two stints here he's allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings while walking zero and fanning 10. File him under future reference.

Following the good example of their parent club the I-Cubs now hit the road still in first place - high and, more importantly, dry...MW

 

 

Comments

Funny, I was just going to comment on the "Steve Blass Disease" before you mentioned it - perhaps it's time to see a sports psychologist at this point? No one has said anything about a mechanical or physical problem, so what else can the club suggest? It would be a damn shame if he can't work this thing out, we don't need another Rick Ankiel in the makings here.

Have you seen Rich run or swing? His only chance is pitching. The Rink Ankiel analogy definitely only goes as far as the meltdown.

Rich Hill, you say? He's a lefty, correct?

When I was a kid, and the Cubs were mediocre to terrible every year (yes, we all share a common history), I focused a lot of my fanboy energy on individual performances. Because, really, what else was there to root for, especially when August rolled around? So it meant something if Madlock was gunning for the league batting title or Sutter was in line for a Cy Young, or Rick Reuschel was going for his 20th win. And I was just a kid.

As I got older and more forlorn over the state of the Cubs, I became less enamored of the individual players (they ain't family and they ain't friends) and more concerned about how they were actually helping the team win games. DLee's 2005 was special because his awesomeness was helping the team win more games than it probably should have, but once the team started to swoon (around the time Barrett threw down to third in Philly to allow the winning run to waltz in), I couldn't have cared less if Lee won the Triple Crown. To paraphrase Al (DeNiro) Capone: "Individual performance...eh, it's not so good."

Which brings us to Rich Hill. Do I want him to do well? Sure. But only in the context of him helping the big club. Even if he threw 7 shutout innings for Iowa, who cares? (Other than Iowa Cubs fans?) If it meant he got his shit together and yet still crapped his pants in the Bigs, what's the point? Even if he never throws another pitch for the big team, I could care less about the guy. Because if he never makes it back, then that means he's continued his descent into uselessness at the MLB level and he'd only be a drag on the team. Is it a waste of talent? Not really. I mean, either you got it or you don't.

I'd feel the same way if it was DLee, Aramis or Zambrano. If you're not helping the team win, adios. Once you've outlived your usefulness, you're dead to me. Get someone else, even if your last name is Sandberg, Williams or Banks. What the Astros did to ensure Biggio got his 3000th hit last season was ludicrous. The guy was an anchor dragging the entire offense down.

For all the time and money invested in Hill, he's given the Cubs about 1.5 seasons (if that) of effectiveness. Is his career circling the drain? Hard to say. But I wouldn't stay up nights worrying about it.

It's not like he lost his stuff. Rich Hill is still virtually unhittable. But thanks to meddling with his delivery, he's got no idea where the ball is going anymore.

I suspect the only person staying up nights & worrying about Rich Hill is Rich Hill, if even him...

I don't stay up at night for Hill, but I hate to see the team tinker with the guy and steer him in the wrong direction. If he's that fragile maybe he'll never make it for other reasons in the future.

Once the Cubs release the guy, another organization will give him a contract, a baseball, and tell him to throw the ball his way. He'll have another chance in MLB, and either make a career or start selling used cars (he went to Michigan, right?)

He'll have another chance in MLB, and either make a career or start selling used cars (he went to Michigan, right?)

*plays Notre Dame Victory March*

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  • "Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday that Anthony Rizzo (back) is feeling better and it's "possible" the first baseman could return to the lineup Saturday."

    crunch 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Maddon shore isn't afraid to bat a rookie 4th in the order.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • how many pairs of dice did dusty leave hidden around the park when he left the cubs?

    crunch 3 hours 27 min ago view
  • Line-up shakeup, going all-2015 with pitcher batting 8th, Bryant 2nd

    J-Hey, Bryant 1B, Zobrist, Willson, Coghlan, Baez 3B, Russell, Hendricks, Almora

    Eric S 3 hours 51 min ago view
  • The Cubs are currently down Schwarber, Fowler, Soler, and Rizzo and Montero appear to be day-to-day. Maybe not surprising that they are struggling a bit as they rely more than expected on Baez, Russell, Almora, Contreras, and Szczur to provide offensive value.

    Charlie 6 hours 30 min ago view
  • Joe: "I loved the way we brought it today, man. We'll take this every night and win a lot of ballgames like that. Losing 4 in a row...that's nothin'."

    The E-Man 21 hours 4 min ago view
  • 9 runs in 4 games. Zobrist slumping. Russell having a tough time. Almora not a contact guy. They miss Fowler big time.

    Bring the A-Team back.

    The E-Man 21 hours 9 min ago view
  • poop.

    4 losses in a row for the 1st time this season.

    crunch 21 hours 15 min ago view
  • DRAMA!

    crunch 21 hours 21 min ago view
  • RIP 2016 cubs.

    i'll never forget clayton richard throwing that 1 inning that didn't suck.

    see you guys next season.

    crunch 21 hours 27 min ago view
  • Yeesh. Shut down innings a thing of the past for the Cubbies

    Not the best of nights for Russell - should of nailed Stanton at second on Ross's throw but mishandles it ... so of course Stanton comes around and scores as well

    Eric S 21 hours 29 min ago view
  • Guys, I've decided to focus on the first awesome two and a half months instead of this disastrous end to the season. Remember Arrieta's no-no, Contreras's first-ever-pitch HR, all the amazing defensive gems by Baez?

    We'll get 'em next year!

    Brick 21 hours 29 min ago view
  • David Fuckin Ross!!!

    That Baez almost-out defensive play was bonkers.

    Rob G. 21 hours 59 min ago view
  • 1- brilliant
    2- if miami was a team with decent runners i'd be more scared...or if they get guys on 1st and 2nd with less than 2 outs
    3- yes...he could use a roid re-up

    wow...miami's running game is even weaker than i thought. stolen bases is a lazy way to gauge running quality, but tonight's lineup has 7 SBs on the year and it's only 2 guys. they have 19 total SB and 6 of those are d.gordon...and 6 are ichiro. only 4 guys on the roster all season have successfully stolen a base and 1 is suspended.

    crunch 23 hours 27 min ago view
  • Just brainstorming:
    1) If Cubs are going to play a catcher at 1B, why not just gear him up and call it second home plate and see if they can trick Lester into throwing there every now and again.
    2) Between Lester on the mound, and a catcher at 1B, bunting might be lucrative for the Marlins.
    3) Barry Bonds looks deflated. I mean physically.

    Jackstraw 23 hours 43 min ago view
  • Smokies lineup sure could use the help. Promotions of Candalario and Zagunis to Iowa crippled the offense - McKinney's continued power outage not helping things.

    Eric S 23 hours 45 min ago view