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.
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.
Now looming VERY large. Game tied.
That Braves TOOTBLAN trying to stretch a double into a triple is looming very large.
Phil, do you know if Victorino has an opt out date approaching? Thanks.