Game 3 Recap - Garza Discovers What Being a Cub Is Like
The Good: Let's start with Matt Garza's first start as a Cub. It wasn't perfection, frankly it was odd. The Pirates knocked 12 hits off him, all 12 being of the single variety and a handful of the pure 'effin luck variety including a check swing hit and run and jammed dribbler through the right side. Garza matched those 12 hits with 12 strikeouts though on 0 walks and threw 80 of his 106 pitches for strikes. I'm feeling confident the earned runs will look a lot beter if he can maintain that strikeout to walk ratio the rest of the year. Honestly it was a pretty epic start, if not for the seeing eye singles and some bad defense, most notably Ramirez botching a double play with a bad throw.
While the infield defense was a hot mess today, the outfield did a good job cutting off a few gap hits and keeping them singles and then of course Tyler Colvin's big throw in the top of the 8th and the face tag by Soto to preserve the Cubs lead.
Offensively, the Cubs got their first home run of the season by Soriano and Starlin Castro had himself another good day at the plate with three hits, two of them triples and a walk out of the leadoff spot. Carlos Pena looked like he had a grand slam that the wind kept in the park and got on-base with a walk and almost a bunt single to beat the shift if not for a great throw by Pedro Alvarez.
The Bad: The fan getting thrown out for obviously accidently knocking over his beer on Pena's double. Garza getting a little too much of the plate at times with 2 outs and 2 strikes. The infield defense, especially in the 9th. We know Marmol's going to get himself in trouble, but Castro had no good reason to try and make that throw that let the winning run score. And let's not forget Marlon Byrd still batting third and ending the game on a double play with the tying run at third base.
The Armchair Managing: Start with the lineup and Barney hitting second and Colvin hitting 8th. End with Reed Johnson leading off the 9th against Hanrahan instead of going to Fukudome. I was also a little surprised to see Garza come out for the 7th, but he was still hitting mid 90's and had just struck out the side, so I can't fault that decision too much.
H_Vaughn: " Harry would love that backward it's atabat"
Diamondbacks come into town...Barry Enright vs. Randy Wells
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?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.