Updates on Beatings, Byrd and Berg
Lineups for Cubs @ Diamondbacks...
Cubs vs. Ian Kennedy
Fukudome 9, Theriot 4, Byrd 8, Colvin 7, Nady 3, Ramirez 5, Castro 6, Soto 2, Gorzelanny 1
D-backs vs. Tom Gorzelanny
Young 8, Johnson 4, Upton 9, Montero 2, Reynolds 5, LaRoche 3, Drew 6, Gillespie 7, Kennedy 1
The dramatic high point of my Independence Day was seeing a little kid take a dump in our community pool.
Speaking of the Cubs...
— Sunday's 14-3 loss marked not just the Cubs' second defeat to the Reds by 11 or more runs in the course of their four-game series, it was the Cubs' third such shellacking in their past nine home games. (You may have forgotten this doozy from a couple weeks back.)
Not sure what other point to make about this except personally, I'm pretty numb to the whole business. The 14-3's no longer bother me any more than the 3-1's or 2-0's.
Acceptance is the last of the Seven Stages of Grief, right?
— For the second consecutive year, the Cubs placed just one player on the NL All-Star team. Last year it was Ted Lilly; this year it's Marlon Byrd, a first-time All-Star whose performance this season (.309/.355/.482) has been one of the Cubs' few bright spots.
Alfonso Soriano, who was voted onto the team by the fans in '08 and named as an extra in '07, finished 11th among NL outfielders this time around with a little over 865,000 votes. That meant Soriano collected about 40% as many votes as the Dodgers' Andre Ethier, who came up third in the fan tally for an outfield spot behind Ryan Braun and Jason Heyward.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) tweets that the Cubs are "talking Lilly deal" and hoping to re-sign the lefty as a free agent at year's end. Gammons also says that the Cubs are "marketing" Derrek Lee.
Marketing a .227-hitting, 34-year-old first baseman can't be easy, but we do have the "Easiest GM To Make A Deal With" in our corner.
— Aramis Ramirez was out of the Cubs lineup Saturday and Sunday because of recurrent problems with his left thumb and swelling in "the meat portion of his left hand," according to the manager.
Since his return from the DL nine days ago, Ramirez had gone 7-for-30 and at one point, had raised his average to .180. That's the highest it's been since he was hitting .200 (3-for-15) following the fourth game of the season on April 9th.
(UPDATE: Per batting orders posted above, Ramirez is in Monday's starting lineup.)
— Wittenmyer tweets that the Cubs have recalled Justin Berg and re-demoted Jeff Stevens, who gave up three hits, three walks and four runs in yesterday's bloodbath without retiring a hitter.
— The Cubs open a three-game series in Arizona Phil territory on Monday afternoon, with Tom Gorzelanny opposing Ian Kennedy. As Bleed Cubbie Blue put it so succinctly a little while ago, "Cubs' awful offense to face Diamondbacks' putrid pitching. Something's gotta give."
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.