Cashner Right On the Money at Fitch
Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner (TCU) made his professional debut today, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL A's 6-5 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3.
Cashner got the start and threw one inning, allowing one broken-bat opposite field single and one unearned run (the runner who reached base on the single came around to score on a stolen base, a passed ball, and an opposite field sac fly).
Cashner mixed a high-octane heater and biting slider in his one inning of work, striking out the first hitter he faced (looking) on an unhittable slider that crossed the outside corner, and the last hitter in the inning (swinging) on high heat. None of the A's hitters could get around on his pitches. They were behind on every swing.
All in all and probably not too surprisingly, I would say Cashner acquitted himself quite well in his pro debut (to say the least), and he is probably not too long for Fitch Park. He should be in Boise in very short order.
He looks to be every bit as good as advertised. He reminds me somewhat of Max Scherzer, although Scherzer is more advanced at this point. .
Offensively, the AZL Cubs juggernaut continued their offensive onslaught, as John Contreras, Nelson Perez, and Sean Hoorelbeke slammed back-to-back-to back solo home runs in the bottom of the 2nd, giving the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish.
In their next ABs, both Contreras and Perez were plunked in the back with pitches (apparently A's starter Anvioris Ramirez was none too pleased about the AZL Cubs three long flies the first time up) Fortunately the Cubs pitchers kept their cool and did not retaliate (at least not today...).
And so why do I call the AZL Cubs lineup a :"juggernaut"? I don't know. Maybe it's because Hoorelbeke, Perez, Contreras, and fellow AZL Cub Jericho Jones are now 1-2-3-4 in the AZL in OPS, Perez, Contreras, Hoorelbeke, and Jones are 1-2-3-4 in SLG %, Jones (hitting .409) and Hoorelbeke (hitting .403) are 1-2 in the AZL in BA, Perez and Contreras are tied for the AZL lead in HR with eight, Hoorelebeke is tied for 3rd with five, and Jones is tied for 5th with four, Perez and Contreras are 1-2 in RBI (Perez has 30 in 24 games played and Contreras has 25 in 23 games), Contreras leads the AZL in runs scored with 27, and Perez leads the AZL in triples with eight (in just 24 games!) and fellow AZL Cub Junior Lake is tied for 3rd in triples with four.
As a team, the AZL Cubs lead the league in HR with 30 (the second best team has 15 HR), BA, SLG, OPS, runs scored, and hits, and the team is second in the league in doubles, triples, and OBP.
Other than that, the AZL Cubs offense just plain sucks.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
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.