And Down the Stretch They Come!

The newly named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, Iowa's Ryne Sandberg, must be assembling his lineups at this point like Mr. Phelps uesd to put together his teams on Mission Impossible. The Phelps character would listen to the tape describing his task, should he choose to accept it, and toss 8x10 glossies on the table of the available personnel best suited to accomplish it.

Last night Sandberg was without Sam Fuld due to an injured foot in addition to all the horsepower already summoned to Chicago. His starting pitcher was Chris Carpenter, a touted prospect yet to throw well since his promotion to Triple A. The opponent was the Memphis Redbirds who arrived in town deadlocked with Sandberg's club for the top spot in the PCL American North. This weekend's games are the last four of the regular season.

Iowa scrounged a gutsy 4-2 win to nudge a game in front with three to play.

The I-Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first by bouncing three singles, the last of them by Jason Dubois, through the left side of the Memphis infield.

Carpenter, who was throwing 95+ in each of his six innings, got in a spot not of his own making after striking out the first batter he faced in the top of the 2nd. A grounder up the middle that Matt Camp couldn't field but Darwin Barney would have was scored a hit. It was an error. The next batter drooled one down the 3rd baseline; another hit that didn't deserve to be. A passed ball put runners at second and third. Carpenter was visibly rattled. A walk loaded the bases. But the kid got out of it when he induced a broken bat 1-2-3 double play. The first inning too had ended with a shattered bat grounder.

The game settled into a riveting pitching duel. Only the weenie race between innings broke the tension. That and Cubbie Bear, the apparently lovable team mascot. The crowd seemed more entertained by them than the game.

In the top of the 6th a tiring Carpenter walked Tyler Greene leading off on four pitches. With one out Allen Craig tripled high off the wall in left-center to tie the game and then scored the lead run on a sacrifice fly to right on which Brad Snyder made a sparkling catch. Craig's triple was the only true hit that Carpenter surrendered in his six innings.

The I-Cubs scrapped back to tie the game in the bottom of the 6th. Bobby Scales coaxed a walk with two down and nothing doing from Memphis starter Brandon Dickson. Chris Robinson managed an infield hit. Then both Camp and Ty Wright, pinch-hitting for Carpenter, walked after getting down 0-2 in the count. Dickson was yanked at this point and Jim Adduci flew out to leave the bases loaded. Of the seven hits Dickson allowed, six were well-placed bouncing singles.

After recent call-up Luke Sommer blanked Memphis in the top of the 7th Snyder came to the plate for Iowa with one out and nobody on in the bottom. Dickson had fanned him three times. But this time Snyder poled a towering blast out of the park off of Matt Scherer that RF Craig never took a step toward.

An insurance run in the 8th and a two-walk Jeff Stevens save later and the plucky I-Cubs had drawn first blood in the series.

Mitch Atkins goes for Iowa tonight. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled for Sunday and Jay Jackson on Labor Day in the finale. The I-Cubs need to win two of the remaining three to overcome a Memphis tie-breaker advantage and advance to the PCL playoffs.

So far so good. 


thanks Mike.

Bobby Scales for MVP, (most veteran player).

per muskie tweet...

#cubs lineup for sat is rf fuke, ss castro, cf byrd, 3b ramy, 1b nady, lf colvin, c soto, 2b dewitt, p zambrano

Soriano sits after his 3 run HR

Wasn't S was bummped down order to #7 yesterday.

mlbtr has a post up about Theriot possibly being non-tendered after the season.

Anyone who listens to Dodgers games knows one thing---they absolutely love Ryan Theriot. So, nontendering him would be strange.

Actually... non-tendering Theriot would make think that the Dodgers actually have a little bit of sense.

They love him. They can't believe how good (they apparently think) he is. They gush about him ... so the rumor makes absolutely no friicking sense.

so is paying him over $4M for him next year...

Who is "they?" Is "they" the Dodgers management? Or is "they" the Dodgers announcers?

They love his scrappyness.

Hendry: "Ryno, have you thought of the possibility of Cubs fans turning on you if you are not successful as a manager of the Cubs?"

*Choose his answer:

a) "No I haven't thought about it, since failure is not part of my make-up."
b) "Do you mean like they have against you, Jim?"
c) "Yes, I have thought about it, and I believe Cubs fans will never turn on me."
d) "I have something I could say about you and ownership that you don't want me to reveal."

*now add your own


e) "Bunt."

bob tells his "sit me or trade me" story for the 1000th time this it april yet?

never heard it

can't remember the dude...some guy who was a career bench player who hated to take over for injuries long term because it exposed how much he sucked at the plate over the long haul. supposedly told management "bench me or trade me."

usually laughter by len follows...

You could be talking about Koyie Hill.

Z may never be "100% back" but it seems he's back...

via ye olde world o roto intern slave labor number crunchers Z has a 1.98 era over his last 6 starts since his "comeback."

Notre Dame is blowing out Purdue 13-3 at the half, despite Purdue sneaking Drew Brees into the game.

Cashner needs to stop giving up runs


seems to be getting killed on his 96.2 mph straight fastball. Billy Koch syndrome.

-6.4 wFB
0.1 wSL
1.0 wCH

w - The prefix "w" infront of any of the pitch types denotes runs above average.

my god...tony gwynn...he just keeps getting bigger every year.

this was taken early 2010, evidently.

this one in May 2010...

Adduci single, Snyder walk and Dubois 2 run double.

Atkins 1 hit, 4K's thru 3 innings

2-0, good guys

edit: now 2-1 on solo HR. Radio broadcast says Atkins gives up HR's time to time as he's a fly ball pitcher...Ronnie woulda just said, Jeez.

edit 2: CRAP. lead blown, now 3-2 error by Marquis Smith and 2 run hit with bases loaded past LaHair.

here's the audio link, just scroll down to the Iowa Cubs (listen) button:

FREE BOBBY SCALES...3 run blast by Scales after Dubois single and LaHair walk, 5-4 I-Cubs bottom 6th


Justin Berg tosses a zero in the top of 7th

Brad Snyder two run double in the bottom after an Adduci single and Marquis Smith walk

Memphis pitching change with one out in the bottom 7th.

and Mr. Let Freedom ring, Bobby Scales singles to drive in Snyder, 8-4 I-Cubs lead

converted catcher, Jake Muyco's 8th... F7, K, F8. One more at bat for Memphis.

Jeff Gray wraps the game up, final 8-5, Mitch Atkins gets the win (8-3).

I-Cubs must win one of their next two games to win the American North of the PCL.

Conversely, Memphis must win both of the remaining games.

Shark gets a chance to pitch a clincher tomorrow.

Winner plays Oklahoma City Redhawks (Rangers), series would start in Iowa on Wednesday if the Cubs clinch (otherwise it starts in Memphis)

and Bobby Scales gets the postgame radio interview.

thanks for the rundown

And one more factor, Reed Johnson is a scrappy magnet

Z has 6 more anger mgt classes but apparently he handled Castro's goof on the double steal without a meltdown...

''It motivated me, and it was good when he said, 'Get the next ball,''' a thankful Castro said.

Zambrano has done that for the last month, going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last six starts.

Castro, 20, is the first Cubs rookie to have six consecutive multihit games since Don Johnson did it in 1944.

Don Johnson?

Recent comments

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  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.