Attack of the Soler Powered Headlines
Well, he passes the eyeball test with flying colors. Entering the ballpark in the top of the first you know something new has been added to the home team as soon as you fix on the leggy right fielder. Clear from the mezzanine behind home plate you can’t help but notice that pair of long, thick Cuban stogies as he lopes under the game’s first out.
The lineup now has some real heart to it, what with serial sluggers hitting third, fourth and fifth.
Baez fanned meekly to end the 1st. Bryant reached on an error leading off the 2nd and swiped a base (two in effect since the surprised, belated throw ended up in the outfield and advanced Bryant to 3rd) while all attentions were on the new kid in town hitting behind him. Soler had to be anxious but he never swung before walking on a pitch that nearly beaned him. Next time up, though, he followed Bryant’s single with one of his own, guided right back up the middle on the first pitch he saw. Then later he would accept another base on balls when he passed on a close 3-2 pitch. He appears to have what used to be known as “a good eye” before it was euphemized into “command of the zone.”
By their third turns Baez must have been chomping to reclaim some spotlight. So he launched an OMG moonshot over and out of the playing premises into the leftfield parking lot. There was some wind behind the blast but still it was something to behold. Maybe a better barometer of his prodigious power was the double he swatted on Wednesday afternoon when he took an outside pitch off the base of the wall in center, sans breeze. The crack of the bat registered somewhere between a literally cracked bat and the thunderous boom of last night’s homer. It was kind of a brittle sound like the taking of a small bite; the peep of a popup. And it went off the base of the wall in dead center.
Suddenly the club that’s been trailing the PCL in hitting most of the summer looks the most dangerous on paper. Don’t forget that Mike (all or nothing at all) Olt has also been stirred into the mix. Last night he laced a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double and got to soak up some cheers from a nice-sized crowd for the first time in what must have felt like a mighty long time. And in another at-bat he bounced a, wait for it…single (gasp)! He also botched a play defensively at first base but that hardly matters.
It was a good night at the ballpark quite apart from all of those goings-on. The breeze felt refreshing and carried an almost narcotic aroma mixed from grilling sausage and popping popcorn. If you listened close you could hear the pwoosh of beer vendors popping open their merchandise. By the middle innings when the sun was calling it a day the field and sky looked through naked eyes the way they do through sunglasses at midday. It was one of those nights when I fell into trances between innings. Except when the t-shirt bazooka fired a round straight at me. I caught it, banded up like a cowboy’s bedroll. I figured it was probably something from a realtor or insurance agent; probably in a medium or a large so I didn’t even bother to unroll it until I got home. It was fun just to be one of the few among nearly 10,000 to actually win something for free! The fact that it turned out to be a genuine I-Cub t-shirt, size XXL, made it almost hard to fall asleep, even way past regular lights-out; even sporting that brand new pajama top. But I managed, with visions of back-to-back-to-back soaring in my head.
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
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