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.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.