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.
I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.
Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.
I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.