Round and Round Goes Rizzo
Coming into tonight's action Anthony Rizzo trailed Omaha's Will Myers (Double A and Triple A combined) by eight for the top spot in all of minor league baseball in total bases. So he homered twice and doubled to briefly wrest the lead away before Myers homered off of Jeff Beliveau to break a 7-7 tie in the top of the 9th and give the Storm Chasers a hard fought win in a series opener at Principal Park.
The I-Cubs climbed out of two four-run holes dug for them by punching bag Jay Jackson who faced 24 batters and threw 88 pitches in his three+ innings of hard labor.
By the way, all of Rizzo's demolition was inflicted upon left-handed pitching. The discrepancy that marked his splits early in the year has narrowed considerably. He's now hitting well above .300 against southpaws too.
Geo Soto caught half of the game to ease into his rehab stint. He went hitless but was nicked by a pitch in one at-bat and also reached on an error ahead of Rizzo's 22nd homer in the 5th. Rizzo has homered four times in two days. His double came on a 3-0 pitch. In between roundtrippers he struck out swinging on an off-speed pitch in the 3rd. His second homer came on that same pitch after he took a fastball inside.
Ty'Relle Harris tossed three+ frames of hitless relief while Iowa fought back to tie the score.
Josh Vitters had two hits and started an inning-ending 5-4-3 with a diving stop that was the most sparkling defensive play I've seen him make. Having said that, I'll eat my notepad if he ever amounts to anything at the big league level. He just ain't got the look.
Brett Jackson played left to Dave Sappelt's center tonight and was allowed to stay in the two hole despite the lefty starter. He managed a bunt single in five trips and fanned twice more.
Poor (Jay) Jackson. Inasmuch as the game was versus an AL affiliate he didn't even get to bat, something he probably enjoys more than pitching these days and is probably better at.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "thet 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.