Redbirds Put Cork in I-Cubs' Party Plans

What a strange day at the ballpark. I arrived about 11:30 A.M. in time to see the Iowa Cubs' GM unloading champagne out of the back of his SUV. Special shampoo for the clubhouse showers. I had to leave five hours later for a wedding reception with the potential pennant-clincher still unresolved after 10 innings. Turns out I'd only seen two thirds of the game.

On my way into the ballpark a team official in a championship frame of mind mentioned to me that 18 of the players had been to the clubhouse chapel service that morning. It wasn't clear if he thought that somehow boded well for the game ahead. I asked him if Jeff Samardzija, the appointed starting pitcher, had been there. No, apparently he has neither a prayer nor a clue. What would Touchdown Jesus think?

I watched him closely while he warmed up, something I've not done before so who knows if this time was different than others. But his body language didn't seem to fit the occasion. Granted, pitching for a division title in the PCL pales compared to shaking down the thunder in South Bend, but still. He never worked his way up to throwing hard. A good portion of his pitches were thrown from the stretch. He even took a break for several minutes in the middle before he started throwing from a full windup. He appeared almost indifferent. Then the bell rang and he came undone, as if he were suddenly nervous about what was at stake.

The first pitch of the game was an out. The second batter homered. The third lined a single to left and the fourth blooped one there. The fifth scorched a two-run double down the line whereupon Iowa's false starter uncorked a wild pitch and Memphis had a stunningly quick 4-0 lead. In five or so minutes the Redbirds got as many hits as they would manage in the next few hours. Let's see; on the heels of a five inning, 11 run start earlier in the week in Albuquerque, Samardzija had now been bludgeoned for 15 runs in six innings of work during his team's drive to the finish line.

The unexpected start got even stranger in the bottom of the 1st after Jim Adduci led off with a walk. The wind was blowing briskly toward left but not enough to get Adduci to second safely on his attempted steal. His manager hustled right over to disagree with the umpire's assessment of the situation, but things seemed to quickly defuse and everyone returned to their posts. But Triple A has three man umpiring crews and the managers man the 3rd base coaching box when their team hits. These facts combined to put Sandberg and his new friend in close proximity; too close. After Marquez Smith struck out on the game's next pitch, the two resumed their conversation about Adduci's arrest and the newly crowned manager of the year was excused from further participation. He was accorded a kind of nervous and tepid ovation as he made his way down the leftfield line to the doorway in the wall that leads to the clubhouse.

After his teammates cut their deficit in half thanks to the generosity of Oneli Perez's ill-advised walks and Matt Camp's bases loaded double, Samardzija re-dug their hole even deeper by giving up three more runs in the 3rd. Full disclosure dictates that it be noted his last three innings of work were scoreless ones enabling the I-Cubs to eventually catch up.

Jason Dubois had run-scoring singles in the 3rd and 5th. Bryan LaHair cracked a two-run homer, his 25th, and Brad Snyder's single scored Adduci, who'd stolen 2nd, to finally tie the game in the bottom of the 6th. It was in the midst of this sequence that Memphis skipper Chris Maloney was also tossed by the other base ump for arguing an appeal of a checked swing by Smith. Whereas Sandberg looks like he's still in playing trim, Maloney waddles about as though afflicted with George Brett's disease.

With no managers involved the game settled into a bullpen stalemate until Memphis broke through against Jeff Gray in the 15th. By then Iowa had been reduced to using two pitchers, Mitch Atkins and Jay Jackson, as pinch hitters in the extra innings. Jackson will start today and try to clean up Samradzija's mess. By late afternoon that champagne should be well-iced and ready for popping. Hopefully it won't have to be re-gifted to the Memphis clubhouse.


Oklahoma City Redhawks reliever strikes out two...

Winner of the Memphis-Iowa game plays Oklahoma City and it just might have an added twist to it given the above.

nice catch cubster! i just read an article on prior's comeback attempt in the ny times a few days ago but did not know he'd joined okie city; would be very interested to see him back @ pp after all these years...

I watched him closely while he warmed up, something I've not done before so who knows if this time was different than others.

In other words, after admitting that you have have never really previously watched Samardzija warm up, you are going to go on and attack the guy for not warming up right, even though you have no idea how he normally warms up. other words, Spellcheck looked like he was warming up at half speed, not pitching from the windup, and then shit the bed when the game started.

He's a buster...period. He's not going to be any better than long relief fodder, and to think so is hilarious. He's had 5 minor league seasons...he's just not going to be a starter, so why in the heck do they keep making him one in AAA, then shuffle him back to the bullpen in the majors?

They're clueless?

He has actually had a lot of success this year as a starter, before the last two starts.

Personally, I'd like to never see him again.

Actually, even though he's 5-2 in his last 10 starts, his 5.77 ERA, and 50K's /32 BB's in 57.2 innings isn't lighting it up. # good starts, 2 Ok starts, and 5 bad starts.

He throws too many hittable strikes, and isn't good enough to be wild...which he is.

Samardzija will at best, be a decent bullpen arm. Meh.

As a starter this year he has a 3.96 FIP, with 63 k, 37 bb in 71 innings. Not great, but pretty solid and much better than the numbers that you are throwing out.

Don't get me wrong- I don't care about the guy, and would be perfectly happy if he went away. But he hasn't been awful as a starter this year.

Ok.. So if Samardizja is anywhere near the Cub would be just stupid.....He's decent in AAA...great....yet every attempt in the majors, he's wild and gets rocked. He'll "only" be 26 in 2011...time to fish or cut bait. It this was a 10th round pick..a 15th rounder? Maybe I'd be more positive...not for a guy they threw that sort of money at....

Submitted by Dusty Baylor on Mon, 09/06/2010 - 10:01am. other words, Spellcheck looked like he was warming up at half speed, not pitching from the windup, and then shit the bed when the game started.

He's a buster...period. He's not going to be any better than long relief fodder, and to think so is hilarious. He's had 5 minor league seasons...he's just not going to be a starter, so why in the heck do they keep making him one in AAA, then shuffle him back to the bullpen in the majors?

They're clueless?


DUSTY B: Jeff Samardzija will be out of minor league options next season, and he has a NTC, too, so he can't be traded or even be outrighted to the minors without his permission, and he gets a guaranteed $2.8M for 2011. So Samardzija will essentialy be a "Super Rule 5-Plus" (can't be sent to the minors and can't be traded), such that the only way the Cubs can get rid of him (presuming he does not waive his NTC) would be releasing him, and then they would still be on the hook for his entire $2.8M 2011 salary (minus the MLB minimum $400K salary, presuming he gets signed by another club).

There is a club option that will kick-in post-2011 (it would be a mutual option if Samardzija is eligible for salary-arbitration post-2011, but he won't have enough MLB ST to be arbitration-eligible after next season), at which point he becomes an "auto-renewal" player (as the Cubs will almost certainly decline their $3M club option for 2012). But even then the Cubs won't be able to cut his salary more than 20% for 2012, although if he doesn't show much next season, it is more-likely that he will just get outrighted to the minors post-2011, or possibly non-tendered on 12/12/2011.

But the bottom-line is, there is a slot on the Cubs 2011 25-man roster reserved for The Shark.

Well, the only thing standing between Samardzija and a September callup is an Iowa post season.
If you know what I mean.

yeah, that's what i was trying to say; i can see that you're a real between the lines kind of guy your own self!

Nice article, Mike, I enjoy reading about the kids and the goings on in Iowa.

I love Ryno, and like that he's shown more spark as a manager than as a player, but I have to wonder what the hell he was thinking when he started to re-argue Adduci's out. It's a must-win game, the manager has to keep himself in the game.

Then what were you trying to say? You pretty clearly said that this was the first time you have really watched Samardzija warm up. And then you pretty clearly imply that Sarmardzija didn't warm up properly.

benches Castro for Monday for not running out a double play grounder cause he thought there were 2 outs.

I can only imagine the same rules will apply to Soriano.

...and soto bats 4th today.

it's an odd world i woke up to today.

I endorse that move. I'm willing to cut Castro a lot of slack for being 20, but it almost required willful carelessness to make that dumb of a play.

I'm sure you know this by now, but it wasn't that he didn't run it out (he did), he didn't know how many outs there were, and instead of staying on the bag he started jogging to the dugout. Then he was tagged out.

Prior throws a scoreless inning with 2 K's in his Triple A debut for Texas. Did give up 2 singles and walk though but got out of it.

This won't affect Jeff Samardzija because he has a guaranteed MLB contract with no minor league split, but for guys like Justin Berg, Sam Fuld, Jeff Stevens, et al (players who are likely September call-ups), they will actually make more money by losing today and getting recalled than they will be winning and advancing to the PCL playoffs, because the difference between what they get paid when on an MLB Active List versus when they are on a minor league roster is about $50K per month.

That's probably why Hendry has been downplaying the subject of September call-ups. He doesn't want the Iowa players to think too much about getting up to Chicago, not that they would intentionally throw a game to get the minor league seson over with, but they may not be as focused as they could be if they spend too much time thinking about getting back up to The Show and competing with the ex-Iowa guys who have already been brought up to Chicago (Coleman, Diamond, Hoffpauir, Maine, Mateo, et al).

MiLB Gameday says Mitch Adkins was ejected in the second inning from today's game. He was on the bench, Jay Jackson is the starting pitcher.

Dubois solo hr in the 4th to tie the game at 3.

Bobby Scales and Robinson Chirinos seem to be in on most of the Iowa Cubs scoring so far today. Chirinos drives in Scales to take a 4-3 lead, then Jay Jackson helps make up for his shaky pitching by driving in Chirinos, 5-3 Iowa in the 5th.

Does anybody know if there is some particular reason Casey Coleman has been pushed so quickly through the system? Major League hitters seem to hit him pretty hard. He's not fooling anybody.

He's never gonna fool anyone.

a lot of contact, hopefully a lot of ground balls, seems to be a lot of line drives though.

I would think it's only because they have a need and he's had some minor league success and their other minor league starters are younger, but I agree, he doesn't look like a big league pitcher. I could at least see Thomas Diamond being a mediocre or average middle reliever, but Coleman just doesn't impress me at all.

3-3, bottom 4th

Jay Jackson has 75 pitches thru 4 (very cub-like)
Jason Dubois solo HR in the 4th to tie the score


5-3 Iowa Scales on base from an E5, then Chris Robinson rbi doobie to right! Then Jay Z Jackson (Z for Zambrano?) also hits an rbi double to CF.

DuBois 2nd HR of the game, 6-3

"bye bye baseball" (I-Cub announcer's signature call)

listening on internet radio...

Top 7th, leadoff double by Memphis 2B Descalso, Sandberg takes Jay Jackson out at 102 pitches. Crowd gives Jackson nice ovation.

Justin Berg now in and gives up an RBI single to Craig, run charged to Jackson, now 6-4.
Darwin Barney announced as I-Cub player of the year, Barney celebrates in Chicago going 2-2 with 2 runs scored.

barney will celebrate tonight spreading Lucky Charms cereal all over his bed and tossing coins from his many pots of gold. good times. Z has a new backpack.

Who is this Castro fellow that Barney has taken a job away from?

Justin Berg charged with blown save, 6-6.

rbi single, double, rbi groundout, rbi sac fly, groundout.

we've seen that act in chicago too.

Geo pretends he's a cleanup hitter and puts the Cubs ahead in the bottom 8th, 5-4.

it was neat when he was pretending to do it while we had a 3/4 hitting crew pretending they need to go to AAA.

in typical fashion, I-Cubs bow out

bottom 9th, leadoff double by Chiniros, sac bunt-man on 3rd one out, K (Ty Wright), Sam Fuld walks, Marquis Smith FC 6-4.

Final 7-6 Memphis.

Well. I guess that at least means that Brad Snyder and some pitchers will be in Chicago soon.

"some pitchers will be in Chicago soon."

Atkins and Carpenter came up big in the Memphis series, but Carpenter isn't ready to be called up. Jeff Stevens was fine as closer down the stretch. The rest of the Iowa staff should go home and think about how to do better in AAA next year.

If Samardzija gets a call-up now or any time early next season, I'll join the Hendry bashers.

It's been reported for over a month that Shark face is coming back up in September. I believe Hendry even said so, but don't hold me to that.

might as well...unless traded ninja is 2011 or cut...doubtful on cut...

A month ago, Samardzija looked like he had turned a corner.

I think it sends the wrong message to promote a player for unmeritorious service in a division race.

I-Cubs who earned a promotion would be Snyder, Stevens, Dubois, LaHair, Scales.

Of course, Quade is trying to win every game possible, so there isn't much playing time to spread around. Dubois and LaHair could get some time at first and in left, though.

And as bad as Samardzija has been lately, he's probably not as completely worthless as Jeff Gray.

DuBois isn't coming to Chicago. If the Cubs didn't have Baker and Nady, then he might get a courtesy callup, but that's not the situation.

Calling up Samardzija may not be the perfect action to take in terms of rewarding performance, but the reality is that the contract you sign bears significant consequences. Samardzija signed a contract that predetermines him to receive chances to succeed that he may not deserve. The rest of the I-Cubs didn't sign that contract. It's not fair, but it's what really happened.

wow...and cubbery...

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 6 hours 1 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 8 hours 59 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 9 hours 11 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 9 hours 20 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 9 hours 25 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 9 hours 44 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 10 hours 20 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 10 hours 37 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 10 hours 39 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 10 hours 57 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 11 hours 4 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 12 hours 38 sec ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 12 hours 18 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 12 hours 22 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 13 hours 32 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 14 hours 11 min ago view