"A" Team Throws "Live" BP at Fitch
Twelve Cubs pitchers (essentially the "B" team -- Mitch Atkins, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Jeff Kennard, Marcos Mateo, J. R. Mathes, Mike Parisi, Blake Parker, David Patton, Vince Perkins, James Russell, and Jeff Stevens) threw their first "live" BP session (25 pitches) at Fitch Park yesterday (six on Field #2 and six on Field #3), and 14 more pitchers (essentially the "A" team) threw their first "live" BP today.
FIELD #2: Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva threw to Darwin Barney, Sam Fuld, Blake Lalli, Bobby Scales, and Brad Snyder, Carlos Marmol and Tom Gorzelanny threw to Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Derrek Lee, and Xavier Nady, and Esmailin Caridad and John Gaub threw to Andres Blanco, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, and Chad Tracy.
FIELD #3: Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells threw to James Adduci, Steve Clevenger, Tyler Colvin, and Bryan Lahair, John Grabow and Sean Marshall threw to Starlin Castro, Kosuke Fukudome, and Alfonso Soriano (this is Aramis Ramirez's group, but he did not hit today), and Justin Berg and Rafael Dolis threw to Koyie Hill, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, and Josh Vitters. Chris Robinson was the catcher on Field #2 and Welington Castillo was the catcher on Field #3, while Geovany Soto and Robinson Chirinos warmed-up pitchers in the bullpen.
Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija threw "live" BP in an early morning session prior to the full-squad workout.
All of the pitchers who threw today looked good, except Rafael Dolis. The 22-year old fireballer was obviously over-throwing and was especially wild, most notably his final pitch, a high/tight fastball that came up under Theriot's chin, causing The Riot to take a nasty spill that resulted in an injured hand that required treatment by the training staff.
Jeff Gray (groin strain), Angel Guzman (knee surgery rehab), and Ted Lilly (shoulder and knee surgery rehab) are not yet able to throw BP, although Gray has been cleared to start throwing off a mound and Guzman is particpating in PFP and pick-off drills while throwing off flat ground only.
Prior to the "live" BP sessions, the pitchers broke-up into two groups for PFP and pick-off drills on Field #1 and Field #4, while infielders took fielding practice on Field #2 ("B" squad" with Lahair at 1B, Barney and Scales at 2B, Castro and Camp at SS, and Vitters at 3B) and Field #3 ("A" squad with Lee and Hoffpauir at 1B, Baker and Blanco at 2B, Theriot and Fontenot at SS, and Ramirez and Tracy at 3B) and the outfielders (Adduci, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, Fuld, Jackson, Millar, Nady, and Soriano) practiced running down fly balls and playing balls off the "Green Monster" (batter's eye) in dead CF.
After the "live" BP sessions, most of the squad reported to Field #3 for agility drills, while the catchers who did not have the opportunity to take "live" BP earlier took their usual end-of-workout BP (with coaches throwing) on Field #2.
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.