The Range of Scales & Other Things
And we thought his range was limited! Sayonara, Bobby, and thanks for the memories.
Again yesterday the Iowa Cubs had a worthy replacement for recently departed fan favorite Bobby Scales in the person of Darwin Barney. Barney, braced for impact by the contraption adorning his injured knee, logged six more full-tilt innings and pronounced himself ready to return to Chicago. He leaves behind a sizzling team that’s now won seven straight. I suppose trappings await to offset the change in barometric pressure he’ll notice as he segues from one clubhouse to the other.
Not far behind him on the road to full recovery will be Marlon Byrd who walked, doubled, homered and made a terrific gap-plugging, running catch that should have resulted in a double play except the first baseman at the other end, Tyler Colvin, failed to catch an accurate relay. No matter, the I-Cubs still advanced to 2-0 when Colvin mans that post.
The Iowa lineup started Byrd, Barney, Colvin. Apparently one of the perks that traveled with the first two to Des Moines was the prerogative to wear their pant legs at their shoetops, pajama style. Colvin, here rehabbing a swing and a psyche instead of a body part, tucks his just beneath the kneecaps like all the Cub farmhands do. Is that how he sees himself or how he is seen?
Barney intrigues me. After reaching on a fielder’s choice in his first at-bat he was doubled off on Colvin’s liner to short despite that he wouldn’t have advanced past 2nd even had the ball landed safely. So where was he off to in such a hurry? In less than three full innings his uniform was clay-caked from multiple dives and slides and as he stood on 3rd awaiting deliverance home he looked down and realized that his blouse had come untucked, something he quickly corrected before trotting home with one of the 10 runs the I-Cubs put up in support of Casey Coleman. No one would accuse Barney of mailing in his rehab assignment, but not all of his instincts are as endearing as his obvious zest for ballplaying.
Speaking of Coleman, he was efficient if not dazzling throughout his seven inning stint. Of his 86 pitches 62 were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 28 hitters he faced. I am also glad to report that his only walk came in his last inning of work and that he turned in two fine defensive plays off the mound, once starting a slick 1-6-3 DP and later rounding out a 3-4-1 that caromed from the chest of Colvin to the gloves of first Barney, then the hustling pitcher.
The shortstop yesterday was Marwin Gonzalez, recently promoted from Tennessee where he was hitting .301. Besides looking fluid defensively he stroked three hits and may bear closer inspection.
Colvin could use more work at 1st. Besides the bobbled relay and the ball he ricocheted to Barney he also short-stretched a slightly elevated pivot throw from Barney that cost Coleman an inning-ending DP. I did see him make a fine running catch in the right field corner Friday night as an outfielder and his bat is warming in concert with the weather. His 32 hits have amounted to 65 total bases, 19 of them being more than mere singles.
The other name that bears mentioning here is Scott Maine. Each of his last two outings have lasted three innings and both of them merit adjectives like dominant and overpowering. Combined they have totaled but two hits allowed against 13 strikeouts. I mean, he may be no John Grabow, but – yeah…