Ol' Times with Ronny Cedeno / Game #78 Preview
I watched the game intermittently last night, and one of my tune-ins happened in the top of the 7th. The Cubs were leading 3-1 but Pedro Alvarez had connected for a one-out single and then Ryan Doumit ripped a 3-1 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double that moved Alvarez to third. The visitors had the tying runs on base with just one out and roughly 100 pitches into the evening, Ted Lilly looked like he might be out of gas. Len Kasper surmised that this was probably the game's defining moment.
Then Ronny Cedeno stepped into the batter's box.
Cedeno swung at Lilly's very first pitch, a fastball inside, off the plate, and popped out to Starlin Castro. The runners remained planted at second and third.
According to FanGraphs, Cedeno's failed at-bat increased the Cubs' probability of winning by 11.3%, making it the most damaging Pittsburgh at-bat of the night (even more costly than the Ryan Church strikeout which followed). And it was all so Ronny.
Cedeno and his 59 OPS+ are back in the Pirates lineup against Tom Gorzelanny, who is returning to the Cub rotation this afternoon because he's the guy who does NOT have anger management issues.
The offensively-challenged Cubs are sitting Colvin (893 OPS) and Soto (.402 OBP, 862 OPS) in favor of Fukudome (.320 SLG with 1 HR since May 1st) and Hill (586 OPS) because...well, I don't know why.
Buccos vs. Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.41; 1-0, 5.23 all-time vs. Pirates)
Tabata 7, LaRoche 4, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Doumit 2, Alvarez 5, Milledge 9, Cedeno 6, Lincoln 1
Cubs vs. Brad Lincoln (0-2, 6.00; first appearance vs. Cubs)
Fukudome 9, Fontenot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Hill 2, Castro 6, Gorzelanny 1
They've already clinched a minimum winning percentage of .607 for the month, and that's only if they lose the last 2 games. If they win both, they can push that up to .679. So much for "stumbling" in May. When you're winning over 60% of your games, you're doing baseball well.
If the best walk-off hit possible is a solo home run in a zero-zero game--Eloy did it tonight!
(But maybe it's a grand slam when your team is down three? He didn't do that.)
Number eight for Jimenez. His team is 31-17. Yesterday they scored 17 runs against Lansing. Two weeks ago it was 15 runs against the same team. This is a nice team, South Bend. The Cubs must have had a good draft last year.
Tonight the pitchers were Sands, Brooks and Effross.
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
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.