Game 106 Thread / Cubs @ Brewers (1 of 4)...how's that for a good bluff, Rob?
John Winger (Bill Murray): C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin.
Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis): Well I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once.
After a glorious 6-4 win in the opening game of this key Milwaukee series, I wanted to take a minor detour and reflect on my recent travails, aka, life following the Cubs in central Europe including the Czech Republic.
I've been to Europe several times and remember the days before mlb was so accessible on the internet. In Med School, I was in London and Paris "studying" for 6 weeks toward the tail end of my senior year and remember following the 1984 Cubs via newspaper info only. The International Herald Tribune was about my only daily source and the info was usually 48-72 hours old. Their friday edition was actually friday-saturday-sunday, so there would be no scores for 3 days and the monday edition often didn't have any of the sunday results yet. So on my recent vacation just for grins I looked at the "sports section" of the IHT and nothing has changed. MLB Standings and 2-3 day old results with a minimal top news story often about bicycling or tennis.
I needed to travel light on this trip so no laptop computer, just my iPhone set up with an extended data package for what is fairly pricey internet access. I did have the new mlb at-bat application, which is essentially mlb's gameday for cell phones. Apple had just upgraded their software the morning I was leaving for Europe. Given the glitches at Apple that morning with everyone trying to download the new software, I got a bit lucky getting the download completed with 15 minutes to spare. I was panicking an hour before leaving home as the software upgrade wasn't happening and I couldn't go back to the earlier version without losing my phone software. Visions that I might be going back to the days of IHT hell danced in by brain. Fortunately the download completed and I might have been the first Chicagoan to have the iPhone 2.0 software. Alas, no slingbox this trip, which is the ideal way follow from afar if you have wi-fi (but that's another story).
The first hotel we stayed in (Munich) had free wi-fi and computer access in the lobby (but not in the hotel room). Given the time being 7 hours ahead, that first evening in Munich, I was following the Saturday noon start game against the Giants, Rich Harden's debut. As you recall he left with a 7-0 lead and as it was almost 9pm, I headed back to the room to crash with that secure feeling of having a game in the W column. You know the rest but since I was messed up from Jet Lag, I woke up around 3 am, couldn't get back to sleep and went back down to the hotel lobby to check out the other final scores. Two hours later...after trying to sort out what the hell happened, I was finally able to crash. Welcome to the Cubs, Rich Harden. Oh, and in Munich don't miss the Viktualienmarkt, where you can have the popular Frühstück of Weisswurst (white sausage) and sweet mustard (Weisswurstseif), sauerkraut with a pretzel and a Pilsner for breakfast although it was really more of a late night snack, Chicago time.
The trip was planned so I could miss the fewest games during the season, so it was a premeditated act to relinquish the all-star week for this vacation. I did follow some of the mid-season classic, using the gameday feed as Dempster finished the 9th. It was tough to follow much beyond that for it was the wee hours of the early Vienna morning. My Cubbie paranoia had me figuring that it would end about the 12th inning with Marmol blowing the game, permanently ruining his confidence and forcing him to enter the land of Steve Blass disease. Fortunately, Marmol was great in his inning of all-star glory and we get to forever kick Dan Uggla and Brad Lidge around instead. In Vienna, we loved the Leopold Museum and don't miss the pastries although you can get them in Chicago right here.
We were in Prague after the All-Star break and the night games were tougher to follow closely as by now I was adjusting to the time zone and an 8 pm start translated to 3 am in Prague. I did gameday watch the 5 run ninth inning in the game Dempster pitched a complete game shutout to avoid a sweep in Houston. On the last morning on the trip, I awoke about 4 am to catch the last 4 innings of the Randy Johnson vs. Rich Harden game with his almost a no-no. It must have been a very depressing game to watch in real time let alone on a cell phone at 4:30 am in a hotel in the Czech Republic. Ah, Prague. Wonderful city of Bohemian Crystal, Czech deep red garnet jewelry and Smažený sýr (a local cheese dish)...yep, it's just like going to Wisconsin.
See you at Miller Park tuesday night, it's Little Cubster's 23 birthday party! We're rooting for WeissWurst in the sausage race.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.