Ninja Jae-Kuk Ryu's Cardinals!
A nice night for the Golden Boy last night as he throws 5.2 shutout innings against the fading Cardinals to further deter their playoffs hopes. Samardzija did give up six hits and four walks against just one strikeout, so he was constantly working out trouble, but he got 8 groundballs and two timely(as if they are never not timely for a pitcher) double plays by Pedro Feliz to help the cause.
Mike Quade and Geovany Soto came away impressed.
"To me -- and I haven't seen him since Spring Training -- he did a lot of damage with his soft game," Quade said. "He threw some good splits, some good sliders. ... He did a good job against a nice club. It's a real good start."
"He looks more aggressive, throws with more conviction and isn't afraid to baby it in the zone," Soto said.
Ninja says he worked on his offspeed pitches while down in Iowa and mastered picking up groupies for a hopeful 2011 run around Wrigleyville.
"Being down there all year, you get a lot of opportunities to throw [offspeed pitches]," he said. "It's not live or die situations all the time. Not only that but [catcher Geovany Soto] calling pitches [Monday], he showed confidence in me to throw those pitches. A lot of times that's what it takes -- throw it two or three times in a row and that gets it going for the rest of the game."
He'll throw again Saturday against the Marlns and the Cubs say Ninja will be considered for a starting spot no matter how he fares the rest of the season.
In draft pick news, the Cubs slightly improved play has them at the 8th spot right now and in danger of catching the Brewers for the 9th spot as they're just 3.5 behind them with 18 to play.
10 pts for catching the title reference.
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?