An Early Sunday Rainout, so it's TIME TO RANT
They called the sunday (almost) finale of the Giants series early enough that a fan from Kenosha driving to Wrigley didn't have to get much past the Illinois border before turning around and calling a sports talk show to say thanks for the game cancellation update. Postponing the game early was the right thing to do. Playing last night in similar weather was not. I guess a national Fox broadcast causes funny decisions to be made.
Today's rainout has been rescheduled as a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, June 28th. It's a quirky schedule that has the Giants coming to Wrigley Field twice this year otherwise they would have lost a scheduled day off to make up this game.
I need to vent some frustration and reflect on the week just past...
Without a sunday Cubs game, I have time to rant. Sure, yesterday's game was played on nearly unplayable conditions...but watching just gave me more credence to the running TCR commentary on Koyie Hill having blackmailing evidence on Hendry and Quade to keep his roster spot. He can't throw out runners anymore, he doesn't call a good game and now add to the list he can't think and field at the same time. Hopefully he wasn't chewing gum as his excuse. What's not to like when he gets the majority of playing time over prospect Wellington Castillo (Piniella redux) when Soto goes down.
I really feel it is 'brain-dead' decisions like keeping Koyie Hill on their 25-man roster (let alone moving him into a starting role with Geo on the DL) that takes my enthusiasm for being a Cubs fan and crushes it like a bug crawling on your picnic table. Using a convenient roster move instead of being concerned for Castillo's development as their 'top catching prospect' is just more visible evidence that inmates are running this asylum.
Back to last night's game when Koyie Hill makes a dumbass decision on the field.
On Murph and Fred's Sunday morning show (ESPN, AM 1000), Murph's latest rant from Saturday's night game is the throwing error by Hill that lead to the second run. Two outs and bases loaded, Cody Ross hits a squibber between the plate and the pitcher that Hill goes out and makes a tough (and wild) throw to try to get the batter. It would have been a lot easier to have Davis come in and get the force out at home for the 3rd out, considering the man on third was the pitcher. Not a thinking player's move but given the talent of the baseline coaching staff (Bob Dernier and Ivan DeJesus), Koyie may have just earned a lifetime management position (tallest midget argument).
This team is a good watch if you like to watch Cub catchers muffing good throws from the OF or conversely, see Cub runners getting thrown out at the plate. Wavin' Wendell Kim, how we miss those glory days.
My own rant is from earlier in the week, involved Tuesday's game (click on the Cubs game and play-by-play) vs StL The Cubs lost 6-4 after tying it at 4 in the 7th.
The Cards got a run in the first and the Cubs come back to score two before the Soriano almost hits into a triple play, grounder to third, force at second. That quiets a big inning but this one base at a time, singles hitting team ( Fukudome walk, Barney single, Byrd single, Ramirez single, Soriano DP, Pena single, Castro walk, and...) still manages to load the bases again. We find out Soto who started and played the top of the first, had injured his groin and can't bat in the bottom of the inning.
Bags loaded, two outs and Koyie Hill comes up. I was yelling for a pinch hitter since Hill wasn't actually in the game yet but I've yet to see Quade out manage the opposing manager (even a LaRussa substitute manager). The first inning rbi makes as much of difference as a 7-8th inning pinch hit rbi can. Hill quietly pops out to the third baseman on the first pitch 88 mph cutter (barf).
Fortunately, it's a long season and the pitching could get more interesting in a good way with Davis showing his slow but crafty lefty stuff. Cashner and Wells are soon back in minor league rehab stints and should upgrade the pitching.
The really bad and almost hopeless feeling I get is from this offense. Outside of the Barney, Castro combo the remainder of the team has shown horrible hitting skills especially with runners in scoring position. Soriano is worth watching about 10% of the time, clearly he's better with the bases empty and the remaining 90% is painful both at bat and in the field. The team other than Soto, Pena and Fukudome can't take a walk (worse than 1 walk for 30 at bats for Soriano, Castro, Barney and Byrd) but rbi hitters taking walks seem to load the bases for Koyie Hill. Pena's bat may be waking up a bit but we're talking a wakup call to become a .240 hitter in a perfect world?
I can't wait until Soriano (4 friggin' more years), ARam, Pena and Byrd move on. Time to break out Washington Irving's, Rip Van Winkle, if I have to keep watching more of this. Wake me up in 4 years when Soriano's GONE. Bringing up some kid hitters for the rbi spots of the lineup and watching them struggle has to be better than this. Rebel Yell Ridling, I'm waiting on you.
To quote Ronnie up in heaven...Jeez. I'm up for reading more ranting, so just dig in.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
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!!!!!!