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.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.