Harry Canary Unmasked
Knowing the end of his reign here is near, I braved the heat and the Zooperstars today and went to Principal Park in search of something to remember Anthony Rizzo by.
Normally I perch behind the plate in the shade of the mezzanine. Today I transplanted myself to the rightfield bleachers where I'd be positioned to fetch long balls aimed in that direction. There's a fountain out there that was spraying those young enough to frolick in it without drawing stares. I was tempted.
Rodrigo Lopez retired the first 11 hitters he faced but a scoreless tie was broken when Round Rock's Brad Nelson connected on his 12th career homer against the I-Cubs in the top of the 6th, this one a granny. Despite that it wasn't Rizzo who hit it, I gave chase out the rightfield gate just to test my route of pursuit. Homers to center at PP are automatically out of there since there are no seats in that area. Sure enough, when I arrived at the scene the ball was waiting for me just shy of the street that runs between the wall and the river. Unfortunately, a couple of young ballhawks who watched me from their seats in right center beat me to the ball when Brett Jackson brought the home team within two with a solo blast to the same area in the bottom of the 7th.
Jackson's day was a synopsis of his scouting report. He drew a walk, stole a base, hit a homer and fanned, among other things. His walk came after getting down in the count 0-2. He doesn't whiff so much because he's a chaser. He just misses a lot of strikes he swings at.
Alas, Rizzo was hitless for the second consecutive game. Today was the first time I've seen him that he didn't hit at least one ball hard. He did draw a walk in his first trip.
Before I segue to the dreaded Zooperstars I should mention that Josh (JV) Vitters hit third today and singled once to extend his modest hitting streak to seven games. Earlier in the year he'd dropped as low as eighth in the lineup. He's been on a steady burn this month but I still ain't buying.
As for the extra-curricular entertainment, the dressing room for those zany inflatables was beneath the section where I was sitting. When I saw Shark McGwire, Mackerel Jordan, Tiger Woodchuck, Harry Canary, et. al changing costumes between innings I felt like a kid watching Bozo have a smoke. They're really just young guys, carneys working the summer circuit. Oh, the disillusionment!
I've got another day off to use up before the fiscal year ends next week so I think I'll cash it on tomorrow's matinee. Will Scrabble Rizzo be in the lineup? All I know for sure is the Zooperstars will still be in town. They're worth the price of admission only because there is none, not counting the last of my discretionary days. I can't imagine that I'll end up wishing I'd gone to the rock pile. Until tomorrow afternoon...
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.