Game 61 Thread - Maholm vs. Scherzer
The Cubs are actually an almost reasonable 12-15 at home, so maybe they won't get crushed tonight. But as Cubnut noted on Twitter the other day, the Cubs record in last 22 games that didn't involve the San Diego Padres is 2-20.
Big news the last 2 days out of Cubs camp is the signing of Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler and the firing of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. For Jaramillo, he was obviously done the moment they hired Epstein and Hoyer, but there was never a rush to get rid of him. He was under contract and it was one less thing they had to scramble to replace before spring training. And it didn't hurt anyone giving Jaramillo a test run, check out his ideas, see how well he meshes with the new group and maybe they'd learn a thing or two from each other. It's not what the new group envisions so they've put in their own guy for the time being, James Rowson. He was serving as the current minor league hitting coordinator, a job he held with the Yankees over the last 4 years (6 in total with the Bronx Bombers). Phil Rogers heaped this praise upon him in a tweet.
James Rowson, the minor-league hitting coordinator who is replacing Rudy Jaramillo as the Cubs' hitting coach, had impressed Theo Epstein & Co. with his work on prospects like Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. He's considered excellent in helping hitters improve their plate discipline and learn to "grind out'' at-bats, and benefited from working under Kevin Long with the Yankees.
Nevermind that Baez had one walk in Extended Spring Training (he does have 4 in his very brief time with Peoria though).
As for Soler, it's a minimum 9/$30M deal that could escalate far higher as he'll have the option to go to arbitration each year he's eligibile versus whatever he's guaranteed in his contract. It's certainly not cheap, but the Cubs were desperate to add assets to their talent pool and this was one of the last times they'll be able to simply outbid opponents on prospects. So there were more forces at work here than just, "Is Soler worth that many years and that much money?" Regardless, he'll certainly shoot to the top 3-5 prospects in the system depending on who gets promoted this year and has All-Star potential with big power and a big arm. And the Cubs own his right until he's 29. Hard to complain unless he's a complete wash out.
As for the game, happy to see Campana in there just because if there's ever a team that you want to test their infield defense, the Tigers are that team. Choke up on that bat and put that ball in play Crazy Legs.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.