TCR Friday Notes
You know it's been a long offseason when you're actually looking forward to the results of a bunting competition.
- So Ryan Braun won his appeal to overturn a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testerone levels. Many are claiming he's only been exonerated because of a technicality as Braun won his appeal because the "chain-of-custody" was not followed, a fancy way of saying the tester did not make Fed Ex in time and stored the urine sample in his home. There are conflicting reports on where it was stored, some saying a fridge at the tester's house, another a tupperware container on his desk for two days*. Regardless, the real winner here is due process. Clearly the standards agreed upon were not followed and a neutral arbitrator ruled accordingly. Whether he actually took anything or not will have to be decided in the court of opinion, but I'll say his 2011 numbers aren't anything out of the ordinary for a 27 year old that was already third in the MVP vote in 2008.
- Dale Sveum says that David DeJesus will likely bat leadoff to start spring training with Bryan LaHair batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has an outside shot at the cleanup spot. He's still filling out the rest, buy my guess would be a lineup of: DeJesus, Castro, Soriano, LaHair, Soto, Stewart, Byrd, Barney.
- Sveum also goes into great detail on what he means by hustle. He's already giving Soriano a pass for gawking at home runs if you had any notions of him cracking down on that.
- Speaking of lack of hustle, Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano were the last ones to report to camp.
- Sickels came out with his top 120 prospects, Jackson at #27, Rizzo #37, Baez at #109 (believe he's predetermined that Baez will not be a SS already and adjusted accordingly). Jonathon Mayo on his blog put together an average ranking of "the big 4" prospect lists (himself, Keith Law, Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein). Rizzo comes in at 48.75 average, Jackson 49.50 and Baez at 71. Their actually ranking on that list though - since others move around as well - is Rizzo at #38, Jackson at #40 and Baez at #69.
- Former Cub Josh Donaldson is working out a little at third base while also vying for the backup catcher job with the A's.
Enjoy the weekend!!!
*misread that bit, ESPN article just says tupperware container, nothing about a desk. There was some discrepancy about whether it was in a fridge or a basement though or maybe a fridge in the basement...whateves...FREEDOM!!!
**I swear they keep changing the article because now it mentions the desk again.
Sources told Munson that the collector left Braun's sample on a desk in a Tupperware container and left it there for two days.
I give up.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.