I-Cubs' Summer Begins With Lake Stay
For the first time this season the best farm system in organized baseball comes to town as the suddenly first place Iowa Cubs scoot home from Omaha for a three-game set with the Memphis Redbirds that culminates with a pyrotechnic exclamation of patriotism on Independence Day Eve.
After an 0-6 stumble from the gate and falling to the nadir of nine games below .500 a couple of times during a soggy spring the I-Cubs have warmed and ripened with the coming of summer, playing at a .680 clip over their last 25 games to reach the .500 mark at 42-42.
This series with Memphis sets up as a showdown for the top spot in the PCL’s American North Division, if anyone cares. The visitors will arrive two games behind their hosts. A sweep would result in the teams swapping places in the standings but the chances for it are lessened by the return of uber-prospect Elvis Pres…er, Oscar Taveras to the DL last week after the recurrence of an ankle injury that’s nagged him all year.
Given the recent call-up of Brian Bogusevic and the twin fades of Josh (JV) Vitters and Brett (K) Jackson I suppose Junior Lake ranks as the local top prospect du jour. After 25 Triple A games and an even 100 AB’s Lake is hitting at a promising .320 clip though that rate has slowed to just .230 over his last 10 games. Random or not, the I-Cubs’ summer surge has coincided with Lake’s arrival. So far he’s logged 22 games at the hot corner and three in RF. Most of his eight errors have sprayed from a strong but erratic arm.
Here’s a nugget I panned from the team’s game notes prior to yesterday’s blanking at the hands of Omaha:
Home Total......... 237,255 / 39 dates Average - 6,083
Road Total......... 237,276 / 39 dates Average - 6,084
That’s pretty close. If you pencil out the actual difference between the home/road averages it’s closer to .5 persons per game. I got to thinking that if I were counted every time I visit those averages might reverse. I’m still maybe half the man I used to be. So Wednesday night six of us are going through the turnstiles as paid admissions for the fireworks gala. It figures to be the biggest crowd of the year, what with, you know, first place on the line and all. Sometimes the bush leagues are the place to be.
deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.
Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?
NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.
If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.