Game 11 Recap - Cue the Banjo Music
The Gist: The odds were pretty low heading into the game that the Cubs could win it with the Astros best pitcher going and the Cubs going with a guy on a 45-50 pitch count limit. At least they didn't waste our time making it suspenseful. It started with the first batter for the Astros with Michael Bourne taking advantage of the lefty making his first major league start. Knowing that he's going to be falling off to the third base side of the mound and probably just worried about throwing strikes with that pitch count limit, Bourne executed a perfect bunt to the first basemen that Russell had no chance to get to the base in time. And then they did the exact same thing with the next batter. Give 'em some props for the smart baseball.
Then the little league defense, starting with Soriano's muffing a single and Barney missing a tag that gave the Astros another run. The Cubs made three errors on the night and really four although they gave Quintero a triple instead of Reed Johnson an error late in the game. Samardzija was asked to pitch three innings and he got his first four batters, but ran into trouble in the 4th giving up two runs. He got in more trouble in the 5th before Jeff Stevens bailed him out. I feel that whatever the team needs out of Samardzija, he'll always deliver one less. You need two innings out of him, he'll give you one good, one bad. You need two outs, he'll get you one. Anyway, Stevens, Marcus Mateo (struck out the side), Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd were about the only bright spots in the game.
Z vs. Wandy in the rubber match on Wednesday. The Cubs have an off day on Thursday so Q-Ball can probably push the bullpen a little tomorrow if needed with only Samardzija being unavailable. I wouldn't be too surprised if Russell or Stevens gets sent down in the next two days for a bullpen arm. The team won't need another 5th starter until Tuesday, April 19th next and I suppose I could see Ramon Ortiz getting that nod.
|Hitter Results for April 12|
|Pitcher Results for April 12|
- Albuquerque 18, Iowa 3 (In case anyone thought that T. Diamond was a better idea than Russell: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR)
- Daytona 5, Clearwater 1 (R. Whitenack with 6 IP, 1 H, 1 unearned run, 0 BB, 12 K)
- Peoria 8, Burlington 5
Tennessee had the night off.
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?