TCR Friday Notes
Some quick hits...
- The pleasant news of Arismendy Alcantara staying with the team at least through the All-Star Break and hopefully longer, was a nice boost to the morale. With the break looming, the Cubs don't need to worry about their other 2 starting rotation spots, so Kyle Hendricks was optioned despite the solid start yesterday. Blake Parker will likely be sitting next to him on the train as he was optioned as well, with Zac Rosscup on his way back. Darwin Barney should be back today as well from paternity leave. Alcantara will bat leadoff and play 2b tonight and probably center field tomorrow.
- As for the next wave of youngsters: Baez 1/4 with 2 K's, Bryant 1/3 with a HR, a BB and a K and Arodys Vizcaino gave up for 3 ER in 1.1 IP on 4 H, 0 BB with 2 K's. At AA, Russell got his first 2 hits with the Cubs going 2/5, Soler went 2/4 with a HR and a BB. For Daytona, Vogelbach goes 0/4 with 2 K's, Almora 1/5. For Kane County, Schwarber had a 1/5 day.
Some other performances of note: R. Lopez had a nice day going 4/4 for Iowa and J. Candelario went 3/4 with a HR and 2 2B's for Kane County.
- Wrigley renovations are back in the news and it's hard to muster up the enthusiasm to care what the windbags are spewing to the media at this point. But the landmark commission did approve the Cubs revised plan for up to 7 advertising signs and a smaller left field video board. Allegedly the meeting or the vote was contingent on the Cubs still negotiating with the rooftops in good faith, but sounds like the Cubs are just going to press on, sending out an email last night that they intend to finish the signage and bleachers by Opening Day of next year. Essentially the bleachers will be torn down besides the scoreboard and brick from what I understand.
- Old pal Geovany Soto was picked up for possession of marijuana yesterday, this is not his first go-around with the herb. Clearly a move to the Rockies or Mariners would be best for all involved.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
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.