Cubs Win Streak Ends at 5
The Cubs five-game win streak doesn't make it to six and and the loss coupled with the Cardinals win over the Dodgers, drops the Cubs back to second place. Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and was nothing short of awful. 5 IP, 9 H, 3 K and 5 ER, 6 total and the error was his own. But at least he didn't walk anyone! With the Cubs catching a huge break when Roy Oswalt left in the second inning with a back injury, the Cubs just needed some decent pitching to stay in this one and they sure didn't get it from Dempster or the bullpen.
Armchair Managing: The Cubs first comeback started in the fourth when Wesley Wright just completely lost it and missed the strike zone on 10 straight pitches and quite a few more before and after as well. He walked the bases loaded on two occasions with a sacrifice fly in-between and with lefty Mike Fontenot in the original lineup with Oswalt starting, Lou went to the bench early and called on Reed Johnson to pinch-hit and he came through with a 2-out, 2-run single. Then a nicely executed double steal put runners on 2nd/3rd but also gave the Astros the opportunity to intentionally walk Koyie Hill and force Lou's hand with Dempster due up. Lou didn't take the bait and let Dempster hit and he naturally struck out. If you're already going for the big inning by pinch-hitting for Fontenot, I think you have to do the same with Dempster there. And if Lou called for the double steal, he basically ended the Cubs inning if he wasn't going to pinch-hit for Dempster, since you know Cooper would walk Hill there. This all leads me to believe that Lou is a terrible chess player. Dempster then rewarded Lou's faith by giving up a 2-run HR in the top of the fifth that gave the Astros a 6-3 lead.
Ramirez's three-run dinger int he bottom of the fifth neutralized the damage though and then the bullpen proceeded to flush the game and first place with it.
Half-Ass Parachat Recap:
- Miggy's 3-run HR in the first
- well it looked like a HR, sac fly instead
- Debating Top 10 defensive plays of the decade
- Was Giambi safe?
- Was Giambi safe?
- laughing at the Astros misfortune with Roy Oswalt
- Valverde with Fulchino is delicious
- Transmission's date with his sister
- Following Buehrle's quest for back-to-back perfectos and congratulations on the new record...now go die!
- "Ryan Dempster is NOT pitching a perfect game" - Ryno
- Finding Trans a date on craigslist
- We wouldn't have to do this if you weren't having dates with your sister.
- I get bored doing the Parachat recap...
- stupid blackout rules, bring Trans back to us
And congratulations to the Angel Fan Wife on being married to me for 8 years...I imagine it's been just as insufferable as being a Cub fan sometime over the last 100. Lots of expectations, but neither of us deliver....
CHILDERS: Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson are probably the Cubs top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80'sslider), but has trouble commanding his stuff.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17, and his fastbball sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason