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.
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.