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...
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.