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...
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.