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.
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.