Team Ramirez Tags Russell at Fitch
Aramis Ramirez ripped a towering home run high over the LF fence onto 8th Street and Max Ramirez drilled a liner off the right-centerfield fence and almost took the pitcher's head off with a line drive up the middle, as James Russell was hit hard in a 25-pitch "live" BP session at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
Aram did not take "live" BP last year and did not hit against live pitching yesterday, either, but he looked very comfortable hitting against Ryan Dempster and James Russell today.
And Max Ramirez continued to show off his offensive skills today, battering Russell in a five-pitch AB. A one-time Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospect, the 26-year old Ramirez was acquired off waivers from Boston last month, and he is known as an offensive-first C-1B. Whether he will be able to beat-out Koyie Hill for the #2 catcher job is questionable, because the Cubs pitchers who matter seem to prefer throwing to K. Hill when Geovany Soto is not in the lineup. But if he keeps hitting the ball in Cactus League play as well as he has this week at Fitch Park, it might be tough to keep M. Ramirez off the Opening Day 25-man roster. His best chance to make the team would probably be if Geo's shoulder keeps him from handling a #1 catcher's work-load (at least at the beginning of the season), or if something happens to K. Hill. The other ways M. Ramirez could make the Opening Day roster would be if the Cubs opt to go with just four outfielders (Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Tyler Colvin) and cut both Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez, or if they go with just one back-up infielder (Darwin Barney) and cut Jeff Baker.
Among the other pitchers who threw today, Jeff Samardzija got a lot of ground balls on Field #2 facing Fukudome, Perez, Bryan Lahair, and Brad Snyder, and Carlos Marmol was just plain filthy, with Josh Vitters managing to hammer the one and only ball hit hard off the Cub closer (a line drive). All of the Cubs position players except Koyie Hill had the opportunity to face "live" BP against Cubs pitchers today, although Hill did have a lengthy BP session hitting the offerings of Cub coaches on Field #1 after the "live" BP session had concluded.
It was "picture day" today, so the Cubs wore their home white pinstripe uniforms instead of the blue batting practice tops & grey pants they normally wear at Fitch Park.
Koyie Hill (Looper & Silva)
Chris Robinson (Samardzija & Stevens)
Steve Clevenger (Maine & Rice)
GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Looper & Silva)
GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs Samardzija and Stevens)
GROUP 3 HITTERS (vs Maine & Rice)
Geovany Soto (Dempster & Russell)
Welington Castillo (Marmol & Marshall)
Max Ramirez (Carpenter & Smit)
GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Dempster & Russell)
GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs Marmol & Marshall)
GROUP 3 HITTERS (vs Carpenter & Smit)
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.