I-Cubs Still Looking for Way Out
Round Rock hasn't had any trouble getting into the jet stream above Principal Park. The Express have belted four homers in two games including a back-to-back pair Friday night off of Casey Coleman that were the difference in the 4-3 contest. But the home team remains homerless, having split the first half of a four-game set to open the season.
RR started southpaw Martin Perez and the only hit he surrendered to an Iowa lefty in six innings of work was Brett Jackson's two-out, opposite field, off-the-wall triple in the fifth that went for naught. Jackson later drew a bases-loaded walk.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh Iowa mounted a threat that brought Anthony Rizzo to the plate with the bases loaded, one out and the score 4-2. Rizzo, facing LH reliever Mike Kirkman, singled to center. With Tony Campana the runner aboard at second the score was sure to be tied, right? Wrong! Instead the crowd was fit to be tied when CF Leonys Martin gunned Campana down at the plate on the play that decided the outcome.
For the second night in a row Campana was in the middle of everything, like a brat at a birthday party. Twice he was thrown out on the bases, having been caught stealing earlier after drawing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first. Later he played a liner perfectly off the wall and turned a sure double into a 7-4 putout with a strong throw. In the middle of the seventh inning sequence he laid down his second bunt hit in as many games.
Wellington Castillo almost got the I-Cubs off and (home) running with a double high off of the center field wall that scored Ty Wright in the fourth but that was it other than the uprising snuffed out by Martin's erasure of Campana.
Coleman was working in the mid-90's and fanned five without walking anyone in his five innings but four of the five hits off of him were doubles or home runs so he remains who we thought he was.
The Iowa bullpen hung up four more zeroes. That's seven in two games. I'm wanting to start calling them the Goose Egg Gang but it's early.
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.