Game #35 Preview: Marlins (16-17) @ Cubs (14-20)
Losers of seven of their last eight games and four in a row, the Cubs try to salvage the finale of the three-game series with the Marlins.
From my office window, I see lots of clouds, fog, and in the alley behind Mr. Beef, a couple guys who look like they're ready to start throwing punches. Forecast says there's a 70% chance of rain by 3pm. I foresee a nearly 100% probability that I'll be disgusted by the second inning.
Pitchers: Chris Volstad (3-2, 4.12) vs. Carlos Silva (3-0, 3.50)
Volstad has racked up four ND's against the Cubs but has pitched pretty well each time out. Silva, making his sixth start as a Cub, got rocked pretty hard last Friday in Cincinnati, though he was the beneficiary of that offensive explosion on Starlin Castro's debut night and collected a victory for his five-inning, ten-hit, four-run effort. Also noteworthy (?): Silva mentioned having shoulder discomfort following the game. Perhaps all of those pins that Carlos Zambrano has been sticking in his Carlos Silva voodoo doll are finally taking hold.
Good history: Silva is new meat to most of the Florida hitters, but against Volstad, Mike Fontenot is 4/11 with a home run and The Man Who Used To Be Aramis Ramirez (not in today's starting lineup) is 4/8 with a HR.
Bad history: Kosuke Fukudome has gone 1/10 against Volstad, while Alfonso Soriano is 0/9 with 4 K's and Derrek Lee, who stroked a pair of doubles last night, is 2/11 with 4 K's.
As mentioned, A-Ram, down to .159 after last night's oh-fer, is sitting, with Jeff Baker, hitting just .220 himself, starting at third. Also, Castro is hitting in the second spot in place of Theriot, who is resting with "a tight hammy, not considered serious" according to Wittenmyer.
Fish: Coghlan 7, Sanchez 3, H. Ramirez 7, Cantu 5, Uggla 4, Paulino 2, Ross 8, Carroll 9, Volstad 1.
Cubs: Fukudome 9, Castro 6, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Soto 2, Soriano 7, Fontenot 4, Baker 5, Silva 1.
Good thing the Cubs have 4 left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
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.
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).
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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.