Running Into Trouble in Des Moines

After losing 5-4 yesterday to their neighbor and nemesis, the Omaha Royals, the Iowa Cubs are languishing in the cellar at 9-14. They are a league worst 1-7 in one-run games and have now dropped nine straight to the Royals.

Thomas Diamond has been one of the bright spots amongst the pitchers. After Sunday’s no-decision he has allowed only 16 hits in 27 innings to the tune of a 1.65 ERA and a .170 BAA.

Right with Diamond has been Jay Jackson. Jackson has surrendered just 19 hits in his 29 IP while walking only seven to go with 20 strikeouts. His ERA stands at 2.48 with a .188 BAA.

The offense has yet to get untracked for more than an occasional game. RBI machine Micah Hoffpauir is hitting below .200 and journeyman Jason Dubois has seen his assault on the club’s career home run record stalled by back spasms that have him doing a stint on the DL. After starting the year one for his first 18, Brad Snyder has gotten hot and was named the PCL Batter of the Week for the stretch from April 19-25.

Ryne Sandberg has been managing somewhat on the aggressive side to try and offset the team’s sluggish start at the plate [until Bryan LaHair‘s 7th inning homer yesterday the team had gone 24 innings between extra base hits], but the team is a poor 17-27 so far in the stolen base department, a figure that may improve now that Sam Fuld has been activated after nursing an injured thumb for most of April. Yesterday, with the team trailing by a run in the bottom of the 9th and Jim Adduci on 2nd after a sacrifice bunt, Sandberg called him to 3rd from his coaching box on a short passed ball with one out. Adduci was out easily.

On the other side of the SB department, Wellington Castillo has nailed five out of the eight who’ve run on him. Last year he led the Southern League by catching 44% of those trying to steal on his watch. Castillo also has four homers.

Attendance so far is running a modest 4% ahead of last year’s pace. If Sandberg is to have much of a positive impact in terms of either the standings or the turnstiles, the stretch between May 20 and July 11 will be telling. Between those dates the weather will warm and the I-Cubs will play 34 of 52 games at home in Des Moines.

Darwin Barney hasn’t done much to block Starlin Castro’s climb up the ladder. 19 of his 22 hits are singles, he’s fanned more than three times as often as he’s walked and his OBP is sub .300.

Frankly, if it’s true that a team reflects the personality of its manager, the I-Cubs to this point have been as collectively vanilla as Sandberg used to be off the field until his acceptance speech at Cooperstown. Usually it’s the players whose development you’re monitoring in the minor leagues, but in this case the manager too is openly auditioning for a ticket to the big leagues.

Too soon to tell in that department.

 

Comments

I wonder how much playing to win - versus how much training Sandberg is trying to do with is players in Iowa. Take a guy who can hit alright for AAA but is going to be asked to bunt more often in the majors comes to the plate in a "bunt or hit" decision area. Does Sandberg solely look at what is going to help the I-Cubs win, or does he have him bunt (or try to steal etc), in hopes of preparing him for what he'll be asked to do in the bigs.

the bunting obsession has followed sandy through all levels so far.

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  • I am glad Joe is managing this team and not Old and Blue!

    Hagsag 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • Baez had Maddon's ass last night. I didn't hear the reason for taking Contreras out last night but whatever game management thingy it was, you don't take out your second hottest hitter. Or is he third? Anyway, you don't take him out. The guy can probably play anywhere in the field, anyway. Did anybody see that nice catch in left he made? I don't think he got a late start on that, just tracked it damn well for a catcher.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • Per Fangraphs...

    Bryant took over NL lead in WAR after yesterday's effort. 3.9. Rizzo's at 2.8 and 8th in the league. Rizzo actually with better offensive numbers (161 wRC+ versus 146 for Bryant), but Bryant gets a good bump because of defense and position(s) played.

    Fowler with a 2.8 WAR as well (9th), Zobrist with a 2.7 (14th).

    M. Carpenter leads NL with 163 wRC+ just ahead of Rizzo who is 2nd.

    Rob G. 10 hours 4 min ago view
  • Amen

    jacos 11 hours 42 min ago view
  • @jonahkeri Joe Maddon living out Joe Maddon fanfic IRL tonight

    Rob G. 12 hours 2 min ago view
  • yes. I was at the Sean Marshall game in LF. Lou Piniella was managing. StL won 4-2, so I guess it didn't help but it was zany. Soriano/Reed Johnson and Marshall were the LF's.

    http://m.mlb.com/news/article/5854550/

    7-12-09

    http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?id=290712316

    On a 6 degrees of separation note: Cubs got Travis Wood in the trade that sent Sean Marshall to Cincy.

    Cubster 12 hours 12 min ago view
  • Make that 1-7, 4 RBI.

    billybucks 12 hours 12 min ago view
  • i like how strop played LF with his "crooked cap" look...that's not just for the mound.

    crunch 12 hours 24 min ago view
  • let baez pitch the 15th, he earned it.

    crunch 12 hours 35 min ago view
  • Forget the save, finally Javier!!

    cubbies.4ever 12 hours 35 min ago view
  • Can a pitcher get more than one hold in a game? Or a Win and a save?

    cubbies.4ever 12 hours 38 min ago view
  • Didn't they do this sort of thing with Sean Marshall years back? Sticking him in LF to save him to face others, but without a pitcher replacing him in LF.

    cubbies.4ever 12 hours 47 min ago view
  • This is the most beautiful thing ever.

    Transmission 12 hours 51 min ago view
  • all i wanna know is...when's d.ross gonna pitch?

    crunch 12 hours 55 min ago view
  • Maddon is over-managing the shit out of this game.

    Rob G. 12 hours 57 min ago view
  • yeah. ...or not...

    i was a bit more confused why the guy who gave up a HR to votto last night was facing him with 2 men on.

    ...now that wood is coming in to pitch the following inning, the whole thing gets weirder. so like, okay.

    crunch 12 hours 57 min ago view