I-Cubs, Samardzija Break Even

For the Iowa Cubs the final tally is six dozen up, six dozen down. For Jeff Samardzija it's half a dozen of each after today's season finale at Principal Park in Des Moines.

The team finished with an even split of their gross of games in 2009 after their struggling pitching prospect lost to Albuquerque this afternoon to even his personal slate in what's been an up and down season in more ways than the win/loss ledger.

The last game of the year was clipping along at the ultimate getaway day pace through four innings. The 1st frame required only seven minutes. Both teams scored little league runs in the 4th. Albuquerque broke through in the top when Samardzija bounced a wild pitch that ended up on the concourse behind the box seats. Iowa tied it in the bottom when Matt Camp drew a walk, stole his 18th base in 21 tries and came all the way around on wild throws to both 2nd and 3rd.

In the top of the 5th Samardzija labored [lower case] and finally broke down in the face of the Isotopes' daunting lineup. The Dodgers' top affiliate parades a statistical juggernaut to the plate one through six in the persons of Tony Abreu, Xavier Paul, Blake DeWitt, Mitch Jones, Hector Luna and Dee Brown. Iowa's depleted squad looked like a high school team taking on professional athletes. 

A two-run double by Paul and a two-run homer by Jones finished Samardzija's day and season after he got in trouble with a walk and a squibber between the plate and the mound that he threw away down the right field line. I watched him trudge dejectedly from the dugout to the showers after the bottom of the 5th before I left too. He may as well have walked backwards because that's the direction his career seemed to go in 2009.

Both the organization and Samardzija himself must be wondering what exactly is in store for him in 2010 and beyond. Can he be a big league pitcher or not and, if so, is he a starter or short reliever?

The big question for me personally is whether or not his next manager might be Ryne Sandberg. As a Des Moinesian I'm banking on Ryno climbing the farm system ladder to Triple A after taking Tennessee to the Double A playoffs this year. Next year he'll replace Bobby Dickerson here before returning to Wrigley Field in 2011.

As of this afternoon his chances look better than Samardzija's.

Comments

I don't understand why Lou doesn't play Fuld in left and hit him leadoff-the Bobby Scales thing doesn't make sense to me...another option of course is center with Fox in left. Fukudome looks tired.

I'm of the belief that Samardzija is feeling the effects of being stretched out. I think he'll be in the rotation next year.

I'd also like to see Colvin this September.

Every time I see Fox tracking flies in left field, I am always surprised to see there's no martini glass in his hand.

Bobby Scales in left is probably an organizational soldier showcase type of thing, but with Lou as manager, who knows?

Fuld was out today with an injury, fwiw

If Harden goes [probable] the spot will be JS's for the taking if the decision is made to stop yo-yoing him from rotation to bullpen...

Samardzija's status as the anointed one may be up for revision pretty soon.

This wasn't mentioned in TCR and may be news to many, but Jay Jackson started for Iowa on Sunday. He gave up 1 run in 6 innings, and was the winning pitcher--no small feat, since it was the I-Cubs' only win in their final eight games.

The promotion to AAA was a good move by the Cubs, giving Jackson something besides his earlier demotion to think about during the offseason. The move puts Jackson in direct competition with Samardzija.

Also in the starting picture at Iowa next season will be Cashner, Papelbon, Chen and Carpenter.

It's hard to realize that Jackson was only drafted last year. Who's the anointed one now?

Revision of ironic monikers is strictly prohibited in snark bylaws.

why not gorzelanny? no sandy koufax, but does have some mlb success on his resume.

At this point I'd like to see Jake get a shot at center. I need comedy now more than real baseball.

At this point I'd like to see Jake get a shot at center
---
Jello shots...Short center...and a 16" softball.

Let's just do the Jello shots and forget about all that other stuff. Maybe we could add the Marlins' cheerleaders to the formula.

are the Marlins cheerleaders bringing the jello shots? I can get behind this idea.

From all accounts of writers, including Levine, JS will be best suited as a regular starter where he can develop. But that means lumps and all.

The problem is with two pitches, he is gonna have many more lumps than success.

I have been saying this since last season, but I fail to see why this boy was given a $10MM signing bonus.

It just is one more idiotic thing Hendry has done to balance out his good shit.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090907&c...

Free Agent-to be, Jose Valverde mentions that the Cubs need a closer...

"This is a good team and a good city, too. The thing is I have to have the season over first and check out what happens. There are other teams, too, that need closers other than Houston, like Chicago [Cubs]. I have to check the market and see what happens."

Well that's presumptuous.

But yea, we'll need a closer.

Is Marmol going somewhere?

We traded for a 'closer' last offseason, why would we need one this offseason?

He's a free agent.

I know. It was sarcasm...

A win.

Yay.

As Lou has mentioned, the Cubs need a solid muti-purpose utility man. Rather than go sign one, I'd nominate Ryan Theriot. He's the next Mark DeRosa (minus all those bothersome homeuns)...

they tried Theriot in the outfield in 2007, it was ugly, plus he doesn't have the arm for SS, he's not gonna have it for 3B or RF.

 

the Cubs need a solid muti-purpose utility man
---
I knew when Yosh Kawano retired, he would be tough to replace

The Rays just traded Scott Kazmir. Are they a carcass waiting to be picked clean? If so, wouldn't Ben Zobrist be available? Isn't he arb-eligible?

Just a thought. . .

hardly, Kazmir had an ERA north of five and a multi-year deal they could get out of...the move didn't hurt them one bit.

 

No NL pitcher has more wins than Lilly since the start of the 2007 season (43). (I believe Wainwright has as many. Haren was in Oakland in 2007, so I guess he doesn't count.)

I think Lilly is Exhibit A for Why Larry Rothschild Is the Cubs' Best Pitching Coach of My Lifetime.

whether or not ryno (not the tcr reader...um hi, guy) makes it up through the system quickly or not he's doing a lot to shed his "my teammates walked all over me while i put my tail between my legs and ran away" image from the 80s/90s.

that along with the whole fan-love thing and successful record should make him a cubs manager one day.

he's putting the work in. can't complain. i hope he's not a 3-4+ million payroll drain when he hits here, though.

I wonder if "The Real Neal" would object to me using "The Real Ryno"?

Not at all. Originally I posted as "Neal" but then someone else was using that name. I tried again later to switch to "Neal" but then miraculously that guy came back, so I gave up. I sort of like the pun, Bill Maher association aside.

We were going to name the band 'The Originals', but that name was taken, so we became 'The New Originals'.

Or were the changes entirely Derrek's idea?

"Scrap It"

In spring training, Lee said former hitting coach Gerald Perry told him not to even say the words "home run." He changed his swing but after a poor April went back to his old ways.

"I approached Gerald with the changes and we worked on those in the spring, but I just never got comfortable with them," Lee said. "I finally said 'scrap it' and went back to what I was used to doing.

"Piniella said he won't play Alfonso Soriano (knee) until the training staff tells him Soriano is better. ... "

-Paul Sullivan in today's Trib

Kevin Hart vs Zambrano on Wed.

Wittenmeyer, sun-times on aches and pains...

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/17578...

Outfielder Sam Fuld on Sunday aggravated a minor wrist injury he suffered making that face-banging catch in Los Angeles two weeks ago and is limited for now to playing defense. He did it in the seventh inning Sunday, chasing down Dan Murphy's triple.

The tight hamstring that forced Andres Blanco out of Sunday's game in the seventh inning will probably sideline him for at least another day or two, manager Lou Piniella said.

Left fielder Alfonso Soriano still was not ready to start running again on his achy left knee, but Piniella said he still plans to get him back in the lineup at some point this month.

''There's no timetable, and there's no hurry,'' Piniella said.

Donnie Veal activated from the 15 day DL

...hopefully we'll see him tonight (meaning they need to use a long reliever)

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

Sullivan on 2010 speculations... seems wrong/bordering on dumb on several counts. Guzman is decent for the 8th inning but too injury prone to be a starter. He's found his niche. Chone Figgins, doubt they can get him and if they do, who does he replace? Baker or Fukudome/Bradley? His proposed lineup doesn't look like much speed is being added other than a bit from Figgins nor does it have power in the 5 hole. Wrongway Phil Rogers probably gave him those dumb ideas.
-----
If the Cubs let Harden go, sticking Angel Guzman into the rotation is a viable option. They can re-sign John Grabow and make him the full-time set-up man for Marmol. Whether they sign free agent Chone Figgins will be interesting to see, since the only available position for him would be at second base, where Baker is performing well.

Manager Lou Piniella has always liked Figgins, but a bidding war with the White Sox could get out of control, and others will join in as well.

The key may be Bradley, who is hitting .346 in the No. 2 hole, with a .448 on-base percentage, and .294 in the second-half with a .400 OBP. If he wasn't so visibly upset all the time, Cubs fans would probably be satisifed with those numbers from a No. 2 hitter.

A lineup of Figgins, Bradley, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soriano, Soto and Theriot would give Piniella the speed he wants at the top of the lineup and power in the Nos. 3-4-5 slots.

aside from a trade...or nixing the baker/fontenot/miles crew...i dunno where they can upgrade. the lineup seems set.

i keep fearing the cubs dumping 10+m into a guy that will throw 50-70 innings a year in a closer.

should be an interesting offseason if hendry/etc. decide the lineup needs a shakeup.

Good point crunch. I do like how Baker has hit since coming to the Cubs.
Can he do it for a whole season? Who knows?

Agreed...if Marmol performs decently as closer, use that money elsewhere...it's just not clear where that will be, barring any trades.

It's always dangerous to do this but here's what Jeff Baker has done in his last 500 AB's:

.266 .321 .474 .795

85R, 31doubles, 5triples, 21HR, 81RBI, 139strikeouts, 6SB, 0CS

Mark DeRosa 2009 (493 AB's)

.260 .331 .445 .777

70R, 18doubles, 0triples, 21HR, 69RBI, 103strikeouts, 1SB, 2CS

Baker played 1st, 2nd, 3rd, LF and RF for Colorado.
He hit well playing 2nd and the outfield. Had a bad time at the plate when playing 1st. But that's a lot of strikeouts in 500 AB's. Alfonso Soriano currently leads the Cubs with 118 in 477 AB's.

I've been pleased with Jeff Baker so far. He's even built like Mark DeRosa, just a bit younger. I've learned to appreciate Baker.

Still the Cubs don't need a good Jeff Baker, they need Soriano to mash like Soriano usually does for 3 months.

Navigator- you'd better research his last 500 PA's instead of AB's before people have an apoplectic fit...

I understand your angst! :^)

Just looking at those numbers you would guess that Baker has had some (Coors inspired?) luck, because if you hit the same HR's and strike out the more over the same period of at bats - without further getting into batted ball components - you would expect that you should have a lower, not higher batting average, which would then downgrade the OBP and slugging as well.

This far into it though, Baker has certainly shown two things:

1. That he's a reasonable approximation of DeRosa (though his defense at 2nd is a little more shaky)
2. Having DeRosa on the 2009 Cubs team, wouldn't have made a whole lotta differnce.

2nd base is about the only place we can upgrade.

You got some interesting options like Orlando Hudson, Akinoro Iwamura, and maybe even Freddy Sanchez.

I would like the Cubs to take a look at Placido Polanco. He isn't going to light up a box score night after night but he is about as steady a glove at 2nd base in baseball and is a legit .300 hitter.

You could probably add Orlando Cabrera at SS for a slight upgrade. He comes with all the shiny awards but i don't think he is worth it for the slight upgrade in defense and his offense would be below Theriots. Basically paying about 4 million more to get a player you already have on your roster.

Jack Wilson could be brought in for 3-5 million or hell even way less than that. I don't think his new team is gonna pick up that 8 million option. Massive upgrade on defense, offense below Theriot. He is about the only person out of the free agent class i would take over Theriot, pair him with Polanco and suddenly the Cubs have a pretty good up the middle defense. You could probably add those 2 players for 10 million or less and it would go a long ways to help this team.

Bullpen wise i would wait and see what Atlanta does with Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano and pounce on the one they don't sign and make them Marmols setup guy. I would really like Rafael Soriano though.

Rotation if Harden is traded i would like Randy Wolf to fill his spot. Basically replace one constantly injured guy with another, but you get prospects on top of it! And Wolf has been the unsung hero of the Dodgers staff this year.

Do i think all of that can be done? Fuck no. The Cubs might do one move, but i don't think it will involve any of those players. I think we just might get Chone Figgins to play who knows where for 10+ million and it won't really help our club like adding a Polanco and Wilson.

The Placido Polanco idea is great great great. He's a guy that works a pitcher and does something productive nearly every at-bat, even if it's just taking some pitches and making the pitcher earn the out. He's a contact hitter you can bring up to bat when the Cubs have someone on base. How many times this year have we ripped our hair out because we get a runner to 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs and strand them there?

On that note I really like the idea of Polanco or some similar contact hitter.

I like Polanco as a buy-reasonable option. Of course, only the bidding will tell whether buy-reasonable is really an option.

He's not having a particularly good season, but he's only 33 and he is still a very strong defender. I'm not as on board the "contact hitter" wagon, but if he can put up a .340 or better OBP, that's good enough with his defense.

Of course, giving Polanco a multi-year contract negates the possibility of getting a strong SS and moving Theriot back to 2nd.

Also, I want to see what Fontenot can do with a starting job! *sigh*

I am not sure about Polanco working pitchers. He is around 3.50 pitches seen per plate appearance. Anything near 4.00 and above is what i consider a guy working a pitcher. Bradley for example.

However he knows how to handle a bat, very low strikeout rate (in the 30-40 range) but low walks (30 or so at best). So he isn't an OBP threat. He just knows how to hit a ball at the right times in games as shown by his last 3 year average of .339 BA with RISP.

Not familiar with his bunting skills but I seem to remember him as an adept bunter.

I wanted him 4 years ago when Philly was making room for Chase Utley.

I don't know if either of those guys is going to upgrade what we have. Theriot's probably a better offensive threat than Wilson, and about equally offensively and defensively to Polanco. I wouldn't go crazy if we signed one of them, but I definitely wouldn't think "Well, that's going to put us over the top."

The simple truth is, unless there's a unexpected budget increase next year, we're looking at a slightly re-tooled bullpen, a similar rotation, and counting on a lot more from Soriano, Bradley, Ramirez, Soto and whoever mans 2nd base. Swapping in Polanco or Wilson for Baker/Fontenot/Miles may get us 1 to 3 wins, but it may only waste $4 million in payroll we could have spent on a reliable 8th or 9th inning man.

One real key to the off-season for me, is to see how well Marmol and the rest of the '10 bullpen candidates do the rest of the way.

Polanco and Wilson are exceptional fielders at their position and are among the best in the game. To say Polanco is equal to Theriot offensively and defensively is just plain wrong.

Orlando Hudson used to be the gold standard of defense at 2nd base. But it looks like he is losing a step or two .I am not a huge fan of range factor but Hudson was putting up 5.80 seasons with some 5.40 ones. But the last 3 years its been dropping, 4.90, 4.80, 4.77 this year.

Polanco has consistently stayed in the low 5.00+ and has one of the most accurate inf arms in baseball. Fontenot is at 4.59. And what we have seen from Theriot at 2nd base is around a 4.21.

At the SS position Theriot has a about an even 4.00 RF. Jack Wilson has a about a 4.80 for his career at SS. Orlando Cabrera is around 4.30.

So both guys would dramatically improve the defense at the very least. There is no instant player we can sign this season to put us over the top, we have to count on Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, and Bradley to provide all the offense. Thats what we are stuck with, but passing over good players that can help this team now because you want to sign the big sexy mega free agent just isn't going to happen and its not very realistic.

Wilson and Polanco would be an awesome middle infield. And Theriot I also like the idea of Theriot pinch-hitting in key situations late in the game. Make it happen.

I like the idea of Arod and Utley in our middle infield!

Where are we going to get the money for those two guys? Theriot is going to be getting an arbitration raise as well.

Well, I was under the impression that there was more to defense than RF (I hope you're actually using RF/9 by the way), but Polanco's numbers do look better than I would have thought. He's always impressed me as a guy with mediocre range, who was steady handed.

"Thats what we are stuck with, but passing over good players that can help this team now because you want to sign the big sexy mega free agent just isn't going to happen and its not very realistic."

Signing both those guys isn't very realistic, either.

"I have been saying this since last season, but I fail to see why this boy was given a $10MM signing bonus."

I was under the impression that he basically told any potential MLB teams that were planning on drafting him that he might be more interested in playing WR in pro football, unless the price was right. Hope he doesn't turn out to be another version of that Michigan QB (whose name I can't remember) who did the same thing to the Yankees, then washed out and went to the Cowboys to wash out again under Jerry Jones.

The immortal Drew Henson...

The first thing I do is put Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella in a room and tell them in order to be good examples for fatass Geo Soto and lazyass Carlos Zambrano they both have to go on a diet and workout at the gym if they want to keep their jobs.

Next I rehire Henry Blanco part time, not to catch but to make sure Fatsoto gets back on and stays on his diet.

After that I ask Z how he would like to be my new 8th inning setup man. Or maybe he wants to get his belly in shape.

Then I take a trip down to bankruptcy court and file a termination of Alfonso Soriano's contract as the cornerstone of the Cubs Chapter 11 reorganization. "Your honor this guy has got to be at least 40 years old."

Next, I take Jeff Samarshmallow to the side and encourage him to start talking to NFL franchises.

Then I use all my persuasive skills, i.e. money, to encourage Kosuke Fukudome's hitting coach to visit more often.

And I help Kevin Gregg pack. Season's over Kevin! Call a cab. Give him a few freebies on his way out.

Then I squash Aaron Miles like a bug.
That felt good.

Then I'm done for the first day.

Lets panic about Zambrano when he posts atleast one season with an ERA above 5.00, hell 4.00 first.

Everyone is so dramatic about Z and he isnt even close to having a horrible season yet.

My thoughts:

1. Jeff Baker is not good enough defensively to play second every day.

2. Despite having solid OBP, both Fukudome and Bradley lack both speed (stolen bases) and power. One needs to go. Ideally Bradley but I think they'll get more for Fukie.

3. I would approach the Marlins about Hanley Ramirez. Be prepared to trade Cashner or Vitters and then some...

4. Paul Sullivan is delusional if he thinks Guzman will move to the rotation.

1) If Baker hits like he has, he's worth trying at 2B. I'll take decent glove there..don't need a GG guy who hits .240 with zero power.

2) Neither Bradley or Fukie are going anywhere with their salaries

3) I think we should also approach the Phillies for Utley, the Red Sox for Pedroia, and the Giants for Lincecum

4) Agreed. Guzman to the rotation....ugh.

Paul Sullivan is a drunk, actually. Have you ever seen him at the games over the past decade? Wobbly doesn't beging to describe it.

"begin"

"edit"

; )

Paul Sullivan is a drunk, actually
---
so was Harry but at least when he said stupid ass stuff it was entertaining:

"Aw, how could he (Jorge Orta) lose the ball in the sun, he's from Mexico."

"Booze, broads, and bullshit. If you got all that, what else do you need?"

EI has evidently decided they're not gonna show me the cubs game tonight.

this year has been a real adventure with whomever flips the switches over there.

-edit- ah, rain delay...they havent updated their screen yet.

small sample size, but M.Bradley is 1 for his last 1.

if this trend continues into next year he could have a 500 hit season.

awesome!!!!

PITT can't field for shit. They've had a shot at 4 outs in this inning if you count the slick as hell bradley bunt single.

0 outs, men on 1/2, 2-0 cubs

6-0 cubs, 0 outs.

this is pure reverse cubbery.

...also

why the hell is bobby scales getting this much play time? he just got a gift single on a bad call by the ump on an amazing throw from cedeno.

and scales brainfarts freezing on 2nd on a running play.

cubs up by 7 so who cares...still...scales putting his piece of 'duh' in fundamentals.

Bradley out after making the last out in the 7 run first inning...Hoffpauir to RF

Len/Bob speculate on an injury...my guess is he looked at Soriano and turned into a pillar of salt

Are the Cubs still playing? I thought the season was over...

len/bob said Bradley left due to "tightness in his legs"

rubbing hammy...now that's the MB we've expected.

So 118 games for Yahtzee this year. Not sure we could expect much more than that since he has been over 100 games only 3 times in his career.

So 118 games for Yahtzee this year.

Bradley is done for the year? Since when?

Don't let facts and reason get in the way of your Bradley hate Manny.

Gonna go out on a limb and suggest Manny meant "to this point," as this new injury doesn't seem season-ending.

Carlos Torres lasts 0.2 IP, 5 runs, 2 HR vs Oakland

remind me, how did we make him look like Cy Young last thursday?

I suspected this would happen...looks like Reed Johnson is out for the year.

...and all they had to do was ask which friggin' bone was broken instead of accepting being told that he has a broken bone in his foot. Dumb-ass reporters. If it's his navicular that's broken, it isn't a 3-4 week injury. It's over 5 weeks now and he still can't run.
---
http://thecubreporter.com/2009/09/07/i-cubs-samard...

PITTSBURGH -- Reed Johnson's fractured left foot has not healed completely and it's doubtful he will return this season.

Johnson has been on the disabled list since July 30 after fouling a ball off the top of his left foot July 29 against Houston.

"Talked to Reed last night, and he still can't run," manager Lou Piniella said. "This season is slip-sliding away for us. There's no place to send him for rehab, and he still can't put weight on it and run."

With only 25 games remaining, the chances of Johnson returning this year are slim. Because Johnson is a free agent, he may have played his last game as a Cub.

"and all they had to do was ask which friggin' bone was broken instead of accepting being told that he has a broken bone in his foot."

I feel your pain. Reporters are still stuck in "the foot bone's connected to the... ankle bone -- the ankle bone's connected to the... leg bone" land.

~yelling~ "He's got a broken foot! What the hell else is there to know?"

That goes in the same category of uselessly vague medical descriptions as "broken back" and "slipped disc." Saints preserve us!

If Reed Johnson can just kill off Aaron Miles and assume the 2nd year of that contract he can stay.

When they knew Reed wasn't coming back a trade to Oakland for Scott Hairston and Adam Kennedy would have been prudent.

This team needed an unselfish veteran off the bench to push the other guys.

So, does this mean that Sammy Fuld turns into Reed Johnson for 2010?

Reed now has the back thing, and foot...

With Bradley, Fukudome and Soriano as your starting outfield, you want a good fourth outfielder. With Bradley, Fukudome and Soriano as your starting outfield, you can't afford a good fourth outfielder. I wonder what the Orioles would want for Felix Pie, I hear he can play a bit.

well if they can sign Chone Figgins, i'm guessing he becomes Fuku's platoon partner and fuld could be a 5th outfielder...

otherwise, they'll probably still want a righty compliment for Fuku and I'm all for bringing Reed back in that capacity, depending on the FA market is for guys that can only hit lefties and play average defense across the outfield with bad facial hair.

Submitted by Rob G. on Tue, 09/08/2009 - 11:34pm.
well if they can sign Chone Figgins, i'm guessing he becomes Fuku's platoon partner and fuld could be a 5th outfielder...

otherwise, they'll probably still want a righty compliment for Fuku and I'm all for bringing Reed back in that capacity, depending on the FA market is for guys that can only hit lefties and play average defense across the outfield with bad facial hair.

===================================================

ROB G: With the Cubs projected 2010 payroll already at $135M (and that's with Harden, Gregg, Grabow, R. Johnson leaving), I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs go after OF Rajai Davis (OAK) as a CF platoon mate for Kosuke Fukudome.

Davis will be eligible for arbitration post-2009 as a "Super Two," the A's know the Cubs farm system as well (or maybe even better than) the Cubs do, and Hendry has proven that he is more than willing to trade prospects for the player he wants, even if he ends up overpaying to get him.

Besides being able to platoon with Fuku, Davis would add the speed upgrade that Uncle Lou has been obsessing over lately.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • 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. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • 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).  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 36 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 7 hours 4 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 7 hours 5 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 16 hours 46 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 19 hours 44 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 19 hours 56 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 20 hours 5 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 20 hours 11 min ago view
  • 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...

    crunch 20 hours 29 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 21 hours 5 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 21 hours 23 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 21 hours 24 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 21 hours 42 min ago view