Miles Activated; Fox Trots to Iowa
As mentioned earlier, Aaron Miles has been activated and slugger Jake Fox has been sent down giving the Cubs the worst bench that has ever been assembled. Okay, tonight's actually isn't so bad with the lefty Wandy Rodriguez on the mound: Fontenot, Hill, Blanco, Fukudome and Hoffpauir. But for the next couple of weeks, assuming the normal starters of Fukudome, Fontenot and let's say Miles at second base, the bench will be: Hill, Johnson, Hoffpauir, Scales and Blanco.
Wittenmyer though says the plan is to give Jake Fox regular at-bats so that they can call him up in 11-12 days so he can sit on the major league bench again when interleague games begin. I suppose he'll DH a bit, but he'll have to fight Hoffpauir for those at-bats and Fox is on the short side of that platoon. Also, don't be too suprised if Lou changes his mind on all of this in a week and a half and realizes he wants to give some regulars a break by DH'ing them and Fox's defensive limitations get him passed over by the Miles, Scales and Blancos of the world.
Lineup for tonight: Soriano, Theriot, Bradley, Lee, Johnson, Soto, Scales, Miles, Zambrano
Bourne, Tejada, Pence, Lee, Berkman, Blum, Kata, Quintero, Wandy.
Also, the Astros have been flipping starters for tomorrow's finale between the originally scheduled Mike Hampton to Roy Oswalt back to Hampton and currently settling on Russ Ortiz. It's like Cecil Cooper wants to get fired.
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.