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…
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.