Zambrano Leaves Early With Back Injury
The Cubs offense opened up another can of whoop-ass on an opposing pitcher, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Z gave two of those runs back and has been replaced in the bottom of the 4th inning by Jeff Samardzija, who promptly gave up a leadoff double(runner since erased on a sac bunt attempt).
Len mentioned something about back stiffness, I'm sure more details will be forthcoming.
UPDATE: It doesn't appear to be too concerning to Z at least and he plans to make his next start..blames it on being a big guy and possibly the hotel bed.
"As the game was going, it was feeling worse and worse, and I saw my
arm dropping," Zambrano said. "Lou told me something that was right. He
said, 'Before you get injured because of your back, let's get you out
of the game.' I knew my release point was low. It was the best choice
to take me out of the game."
Aramis Ramirez also left the game in the top of the 10th inning. He was hit in the left elbow by a pitch, stayed in and made it to second base and then signaled to the trainers and had to be helped off the field after complaining of dizziness. Lou seemed to indicate he was okay though.
I saw the hit by pitch, but walked away and didn't see Ramirez get removed from the game. I did catch the bottom of the 10th and if you missed it, Lou was forced to put Alfonso Soriano at second base, Jeff Baker at third base and Sam Fuld in left field. Even better, he switched Baker and Soriano when the lefty Jeremy Hermida came up to bat, rightfully figuring that the odds were higher that Hermida would pull the ball to second (Hermida K'd eventually). Either way, some fun water cooler talk as the Cubs nearly blew what should have been a laugher.
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.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?