Game 144 Thread / Cubs @ Cardinals (1 of 3)
|SP||Ryan Dempster||SP||Kyle Lohse|
|15-6, 2.99, 167 K, 72 BB, 183.2 IP||13-6, 3.76, 106 K, 44 BB, 182 IP|
|LF||Alfonso Soriano||CF||*Skip Schumaker|
|2B||*Mike Fontenot||3B||Troy Glaus|
|1B||Derrek Lee||1B||Albert Pujols|
|3B||Aramis Ramirez||RF||Ryan Ludwick|
|RF||Mark DeRosa||LF||*Rick Ankiel|
|CF||*Jim Edmonds||C||Yadier Molina|
|C||Geovany Soto||2B||#Felipe Lopez|
|SS||Ronny Cedeno||P||Kyle Lohse|
|P||Ryan Dempster||SS||Cesar Izturis|
The Cubs and the Cardinals meet in the first of three at Busch and the first of six matchups between now and the end of the season. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-4, and have won 10 of their last 15 in St. Louis.
Dempster won his only start this year against the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3 in a 6-2 Cub victory in early August. Lohse is 0-1, 6.92 in a pair of starts this season vs. the Cubs, but is otherwise having a fine year, producing more ground balls, yielding fewer long balls, and allowing fewer walks than at virtually any other point in his MLB career.
By Baseball Prospectus's reckoning, the Cubs, 4 1/2 games up on Milwaukee, enter play with an 88.8% likelihood of winning the division, 10.3% chance of winning the Wild Card, and a 99.1% overall likelihood of reaching the post-season. The Cardinals, 9 games back of the Cubs and 4 1/2 behind the Wild Card-leading Brewers, come in at .2% / 4.5% / 4.7%. In other words, deprived of greater glory, Cardinal fans may realize no more significant joy in these last few weeks than seeing their heroes get in the way of a Cubs celebration.
Every time the Cubs and Cards meet and I enter the batting orders, I stumble as I remember to enter the St. Louis pitcher in the eighth spot. That led me to look up a few team season stats. First, what kind of production the Cubs and Cardinals are getting from their respective #8 hitters:
|Cubs 8th-place hitters||.300||.362||.442||804||12||79|
|Cards 8th-place hitters||.196||.247||.292||539||8||51|
Then from the #9 hole:
|Cubs 9th-place hitters||.231||.271||.340||611||10||60|
|Cards 9th-place hitters||.266||.322||.323||645||2||34|
The Cubs' #8 numbers have been helped by the fine season they have received from Reed Johnson. The Cubs #9 numbers reflect an offensively outstanding pitching staff (thank you, Carlos Zambrano!), one that's 105 OPS points better than the next best-hitting group of pitchers, which happens to belong to St. Louis.
And the Cardinals' production from the 9th place? That right there is what you call the handiwork of a former Chicago Cub, one Cesar Izturis.
Rob G: Just a little roster note that Felix Pie and Randy Wells will be joining the team. To make room for Wells on the roster, the Cubs have moved Jon Lieber to the 60-day DL.
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
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.