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 know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.

  • most likely cost sharing + the league is short on players anyway. not many teams are chipping in on 'advanced instructional.'