At Least Carlos Marmol Got Some Work
The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.
Why the Cubs Lost: Sean Marshall spotted the Dodgers a five spot in the first and the Cubs never mounted much of a rally. Marshall didn't get particularly hit hard until Mark Loretta doubled in the third and fourth runs. In Lou's in-game interview he said he noticed Marshall wasn't throwing his curveball and sent Rothschild out there to tell Marshall as much and if Pitch F/x data on Gameday is accurate, it took Marshall 22 pitches before throwing arguably his best pitch. He managed to survive to the fifth inning but ended up with 4.2 IP and 7 ER, 8 total and his ticket firmly punched to the bullpen once Rich Harden returns.
The offense managed a little more than nothing against Eric Milton. John Miller - desperate to keep people tuned in to ESPN after the top of the first - was quick to point out that Eric Milton is something like the active leader in giving up home runs, but the Cubs didn't manage even one and will enter June just a game over .500.
It Wasn't All Bad: Just most of it...
Reed Johnson had three hits and kept up his hot-hitting and Soriano reached base twice in-between 2 strikeouts.
Jason Waddell struck out the first two lefties he faced (okay, one was Eric Milton) and worked a scoreless inning.The bullpen remained unscored upon since Monday for a streak of 15.1 IP (if my math is right) although Jose Ascanio gave up an inherited run on a stolen base by Matt Kemp with a seven-run lead that let James Loney score from third. With a 6-run lead in the seventh inning, Russell Martin also stole a base.
In the top of the 8th, Carlos Marmol drilled Brad Ausmus of all people. I guess that was to retaliate. I'm not sure that really sends the intended message other than, "if you embarrass us, we'll go after your inconsequential back-up catcher".
Sometimes You Just Get Beat: Reed led off the second with a double on a ball Matt Kemp laid out for and missed. A nice hustle play. The scrap was on full display as he advanced to third on a deep fly to left field and ran on Juan Pierre's arm. Then a short fly out to right that Jamie Hoffmann had to dive for and Johnson decided to run. With Fontenot due up next and then the pitcher(although probably a pinch-hitter), it was probably the right decision as they'd probably work around Fontenot, plus with Hoffman laying out to make the catch, you have to think he'd have problems getting on his feet and making an accurate throw, but that is exactly what he did, nailing Johnson easily.
Armchair Managing: In the top of the first with runners on second and third and one out and the eight place hitter up in Hoffmann, Lou decided to bring in the infield and pitch to him, rather than the intentional walk to face a pitcher that hasn't played in two years. Hoffman hit a long fly to center to score the final run of the inning. I think you have to walk him there and try to get the K or double play ball from the pitcher.
I also think you shouldn't let the team bat around in the first.
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.