Coleman & Deep Threat Deep Six Round Rock
The Iowa Cubs swept the Round Rock Express last night behind the strong starting pitching of Casey Coleman in the opener and Jeff Samardzija in the nightcap.
Coleman retired the last 21 men he faced after the first two got hits in going the route [PCL doubleheader games last only seven innings].
Samardzija ran his record to 5-0 with five scoreless innings in game two. It was his second straight start after pitching out of the I-Cub bullpen since his demotion from Chicago in April. His return to the rotation was brought about by the brief promotion of Mitch Atkins who's now been returned to Iowa in exchange for John Grabow.
So now what happens with one of the highest paid players in MiLB? He's thrown 30 innings on this go 'round in Des Moines to the tune of a 1.80 ERA and a sparkling .154 BAA. But he's surrendered more walks than hits [19/16 respectively]. Granted, it's a very limited basis for comparison, but most of his splits are better in his two starts, which span a mere nine innings, than in his 21 IP out of the pen.
There are more intriguing prospects than spots in the rotation right now. Jay Jackson took a no-hitter deep into a recent start. Thomas Diamond has been very solid all year. Coleman has been more good than bad. Atkins is back. Samardzija remains as enigmatic as ever. And then there's reliable old strike-thrower J.R. Mathes and the possibility of a Randy Wells demotion to enable the return of Tom Gorzellany to the Chicago rotation, either as a replacement for a traded Ted Lilly or to showcase himself as a hunk of trade bait.
Speaking of trade prospects, if Derek Lee gets moved, would the Cubs let Micah Hoffpauir man first base for at least the rest of this summer? He's still hitting only .227 but has somehow managed to produce 39 runs while becoming the all-time leading doubler in I-Cub franchise history. Whenever and however Lee departs, I for one vote for the acquisition of a young replacement as opposed to the transfer of Soriano to that post. A hop in receipt of throws from across the infield would cost the Cubs a lot of putouts on bang-bang plays.
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.
Now looming VERY large. Game tied.
That Braves TOOTBLAN trying to stretch a double into a triple is looming very large.