I-Cubs Get Thumped by River Cats
Nate Spears and Brad Snyder smacked home runs, but it wasn't enough, as the Sacramento River Cats (the Oakland A's AAA affiliate) scratched out a 10-5 victory over the Iowa Cubs this afternnon at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Spears missed several games after being hit on the hand with a pitch last Saturday, but he returned to the scene of the crime (and the lineup) with a bang today, hitting the first pitch of the game over the RF fence.
The first three I-Cubs pitchers struggled, as Randy Wells and Dumas Garcia had difficulty throwing strikes, while Ken Kadokura was just plain awful (five runs on eight hits--including three doubles and a triple, in just two innings of work), but Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens retired the last six batters they faced, Berg with an easy 1-2-3 nine-pitch 7th (eight strikes and only one ball, resulting in a 6-3, Ks, and P-3), and then Jeff Stevens struck out the side in the 8th.
In Iowa Cubs roster news, hard-throwing 26-year old RHP Rocky Roquet (who has been terrible since reporting to the Iowa Cubs) has been traded to the Oakland A's for a PTBNL (Roquet was an NRI to big league camp), LHP Edward Campusano (another NRI to big league camp who got sentt back to Iowa) has been released (couldn't throw strikes, never really recovered from April 2007 TJS), and OF Richie Robnett (acquired from OAK in the Michael Wuertz trade, and then outrighted off the 40-man roster last week) and IF-OF Matt Camp have been demoted to AA Tennessee. So the Iowa Cubs roster presently stands at 33 (16 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders, and five outfielders), with nine cuts left to make by the end of the week (the AA and AAA regular season roster limits are 24, not 25).
Here is today's abridged box score (Iowa Cubs players only). Randy Wells batted twice (including once after he had already been replaced on the mound) because he is being prepped as a rotation starter for Iowa, and the Cubs wanted him to get a couple of ABs in addition to extending his pitch count up past 50 (he was used as a one-inning reliever in Cactus League games before he was optioned to Iowa from big league camp).
1. Nate Spears, DH #1: 1-3 (HR, 6-3, 4-3, BB - 1 R, 1 RBI)
2. So Taguchi, RF: 0-4 (F-8, F-9, 5-3, 4-6-3 DP)
3. Esteban German, 3B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, BB, 6-3 - 1 R)
4a. Randy Wells, P-DH #2: 0-1 (3-U SH, F-8)
5. Jake Fox, 1B: 0-2 (Kc, HBP, BB, F-8 - 1 R)
6. Brad Snyder, CF: 1-3 (4-3, 3-U, BB, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI)
7. Jason Dubois, LF: 2-4 (1-3, 2B, Ks, 2B - 1 R)
8. Mark Johnson, C: 2-3 (1B, F-8, BB, 2B - 2 RBI)
9. Andres Blanco, SS: 0-4 (P-4, 6-3, 4-3, Kc -1 RBI)
10. Luis Rivas, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-8)
1. Randy Wells - 2.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1 WP, 51 pitches (26 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Ken Kadokura - 2.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 43 pitches (27 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Dumas Garcia - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 46 pitches (22 strikes) , 1/4 GO/FO
4. Justin Berg - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, nine pitches (eight strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Jeff Stevens - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)