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.
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.