Nearly 7 innings of great baseball from the pitching and defense, ruined in 4 batters. That was a debacle deep-fried in a disaster served with a chaser of Cubbery.
20/20 Hindsight: After 6 innings of one run ball, 71 pitches and retiring 14 of 16 since the 2nd inning, Lou lifts Carlos Silva. Silva apparently did have some right shoulder tightness. Fair enough. Lou replaces him with another sinker baller in Justin Berg, who takes 7 pitches to get through the 7th. I think it's safe to say the Reds weren't handling the sinker too good by this point. Lou even double switched Marlon Byrd so the pitcher's spot in the lineup wouldn't come up in the top of the 8th. Naturally, you still must replace Berg because he worked an entire inning. He cannot possbly handle the rigors of sitting on the bench for 10 minutes to face the bottom of the lineup after retiring the Reds 4-5-6 hitters. Not when such bullpen lynchpins like Esmailin Caridad and John Grabow can be called upon. Lou goes with Caridad, working for the third straight day and Caridad takes Gomes 0-2 and then loses him on a walk. He does the same with Ramon Hernandez(hint to Lou that he might not have it tonight) and then him and Ramirez get confused on how to take an out when the other team gives it to you, followed by throwing a pitch up and over the plate when Koyie sets-up low and inside on Drew Stubbs. Game over.
This idea of defined roles in the bullpen is neat and all, when you actually have players worth defining. The Cubs have Marmol to close and 6 other guys. Play the match-ups and ride the hot hand. Nobody in that pen besides Marmol is deserving of the benefit of the doubt or entitled to any set role at the moment.
The Good: Carlos Silva was...um...brilliant! Who expected that? The defense did make some fine plays behind him. Ryan Theriot is off the schnide. Mike Fontenot goes 4/5.
Minor League Watch: Jay Jackson got the start for Iowa and goes 5 innings, but gives up 3 runs on 2 home runs. He does strike out 4. Hoffpauir and Dubois go deep in the 5-2 loss. John Gaub gives up 2 runs in an inning of work. At AA, Tony Campana goes 3/4 with a BB and 2 stolen bases out of the leadoff spot and Brandon Guyer goes 2/4 with 2 SB's. Castro goes 1/5. On the pitching side, Ryan Buchter strikes out the side in his inning of work and Jake Muyco picks up the save as Tennessee wins 5-4. Vitters, LeMahieu and Burke each go 1/4 for Daytona with Vitters making an error and getting picked off. Chris Rusin gets tagged for 6 runs in 4 innings in a 7-0 loss. I don't believe Daytona has an extra base hit yet. Jose Valdez goes 3/4 with 2 SB's, plus getting caught once and getting picked off after going 2/4 on Opening night. Peoria loses 5-4 though, although Jeff Antigua strikes out 5 in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs.
Next Up: Z tries to redeem himself against Aaron Harang.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.