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.
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
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.