Guest Pitchers Aboard for Hoffpauired Win Streak

Micah Hoffpauir was activated a week ago and the Iowa Cubs haven't lost since. In the last two games alone he's driven in more runs than the pesky redhead has in 23. Yesterday he manned a post in right-field, possibly as a Plan B in the event of a failed Jim Edmonds experiment.

Meanwhile Kevin Hart was 'stretched out' from 67 pitches in his previous start all the way to 68 yesterday; from 3.2 innings all the way to four.

Hart's stuff is overpowering at this level. Yesterday he allowed only two hits [one a windblown, first inning homer] and a walk while whiffing six. Command and efficiency remain the objectives. It took him 51 pitches to get the first six outs, five of which were strikeouts; only 16 to get the next six, only one of which was a 'K'.

I cannot account for the fact that he wasn't allowed to at least start the fifth and build on his previous workload, especially given that he seemed to be finding a groove in the third and fourth.

All told he threw a first pitch stike to nine of the 15 hitters he faced and retired all nine of them.

Pitching coach Mike Mason paid Hart a very brief visit on the mound in the second inning after his 41st pitch. He must have said something like, 'fucq k's' because Hart's work was more to the point afterwards.

Sean Marshall's start on this stand was ordinary and little more than a workout. He threw 63 pitches while going four innings on May 12 and allowed a couple ER's while walking two and striking out three as he converts back from reliever to starter mode.

As for Rich Hill, he's walked five and fanned 13 over the course of 11 innings spanning his two starts for the I-Cubs. Nothing new here; great stuff, poor command, questionable intensity level...

After getting off to a chilly start compared to last year's club which both entertained fans here in Des Moines AND contributed mightily to the success in Chicago, the I-Cubs now seem poised to again play a key organizational role come summer.

Whether that role is as a supplier of trade bait or reinforcements in Chicago remains to be seen.

The word here is that Chicago ordered Hoffpauir's move from 1B to right. Yesterday he made a nice leaping grab to end the second inning when the opposing pitcher was the first to put a ball in play versus Hart.

CRUMBS: The pesky redhead's chronic bout of extra-baselessness finally came to an end on Sunday when he doubled to right after nearly a hundred plate appearances. He followed that with a two-double game on Monday before reverting to singularity in yesterday's 5-2 win [Hoffpauir drove in all five with a three-run homer and a double]...Mike Burns is a 30-year-old journeyman who was 4-9 a year ago for the Pawsox in the Boston system, but he has fanned 34 and walked only six while swinging between the rotation and the bullpen here this year...will be interesting to see if Felix pouts when he comes back in the wake of Edmonds' acquisition; last year when he was sent down he arrived in time to play a night game on the same day he got the bad news...since Hoffpauir joined the team they have outscored opponents 42-15 during their seven-game win streak...MW


Interesting that Mike questions Rich Hill's intensity, since I've always thought that of him too. Given his decent stuff, I wonder if he has any trade value left. Between Hart, Marshall and Gallagher, it seems like we have enough SP depth.

Given his decent stuff, I wonder if he has any trade value left.

I am pretty sure that there would be 29 teams interested in trading for Rich Hill.

Marquis is another guy that doesn't display much of a pilot light. When Lilly was struggling he talked openly about not doing his part; Marquis doesn't seem to give a shit, at least not publicly, which of course is his prerogative...

I'd like to hear Pat Hughes describe the 'uniform' of the Cub fan in the photo that has 'nothing to do with the story'...

I'm kinda speechless myself.

Although, you'd better just hope that Muskat doesn't read TCR.

I thought that WAS Carrie Muskat.


That would explain why she still has a job writing for the Cubs.

and then played two innings of defense on it (insert negative comment about Dusty Baker here)...

Arguably the Reds' best hitter this year.

which correlates with the news yesterday that if Edmonds comes in, Pie goes down, and Hoffpauir moves to the on-deck circle for promotion to the bigs.

Past the noon hour on Wed. and still no confirmation on Edmonds.

Maybe this deal is as "imminent" as the Roberts deal....

He hasn't officially cleared waivers yet.

Oh, OK. I only knew his clear date was today. What time will he clear?

I've been to both of Hill's starts now in Des Moines, and the "stuff" that is getting AAA hitters out looks exactly like the "stuff" that got him demoted. Flat and slow.

Except that wasn't really Hill's problem.

His velocity was fine, it was his command and control that was the issue.

I don't recall seeing him throw 92 one time yet this year. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

I don't think his velocity was the same as it was in 2007. It's probably due to him keeping his shoulders flatter through his delivery. That's the way he generated power. He had that long, slow wind with his torso leaning way back towards second base. Now that he's eliminated that, he has to try to generate the same power with a shorter motion, which is difficult.

After research, here's what I found:

Rich Hill did in fact throw 92 this season. He hit 92 3 times, all of those coming in the first inning of his April 18th start against Pittsburgh. He also routinely hit 89 and 90 in the first three innings of that start, which was a rarity for all of his other starts. He sat between 86-88 in all of his other starts, and would occasionally get to 89 a couple of times.

In what I think is definitely a related story, that 4/18 outing was clearly his best - 5IP 1ER 3H 3BB 4K.

I do think those 3-4 mph are a big deal for him. He throws a straight-as-a-string 4 seam fastball. I didn't even look at his piece of shit cutter, because he really hasn't thrown it all that much. If you can't throw that 4 seamer at 90-92 AND locate on the inner part of the plate, you're going to get hammered. Richie didn't do either very much this season. Location being the biggest problem, which I think is directly related to his mechanical change.

Now, for somebody like Z, Marquis, or Dempster, the velocity isn't nearly as important as the movement. Z's succeeding more now at 89-93 than he ever did at 94-96 due to all the movement... just as a point of reference.

A few weeks ago, in a start that lasted five innings, Rich Hill threw

an 84 MPH fastball (it topped out around 88)
an 83 MPH slider
an 82 MPH change

With stuff like that he's got to get his curve over.

I suppose I worded things wrong... everything was flat and he wasn't really changing speeds. You could tell what pitch he was trying to throw, but it all looked the same.

I know none of us will be around but be sure to tell our grand kids to meet up-

probably won't announce it until after the game,CST-S...

Unless something goes terribly wrong, the Cubs are poised to make their first key in-season addition of 2008 tonight when they sign Edmonds a few hours after he clears waivers. They're expected to announce the move after their game tonight, when young center fielder Felix Pie will be returned to Class AAA Iowa.

how does that work with the 40 man?

We have two spots open by my count. 39 listed on the roster with Guzzy on the 60 day.

yeah, what Wes said...

22 pitchers currently and 17 position players...then subtract one for Guzman who' s on the 60-day DL. We can sign Neifi anytime we want. 

"We can sign Neifi anytime we want. "


Edmonds is our Ne!f! for this season.

Rob: did you swap out that previous picture of Edmonds for this one with him wearing a wig and a red inflatable life-vest? this edmonds and daryle ward in the you tube life vest demo (I can't feel my legs)

according to Levine and has already agreed to a 1 year deal at the vet min.

I'm normally not a big fan of booing but I hope Cubs fans' throats burn cardinal red with boos

Apparently Edmonds isnt getting town until 6 and will take it then per Hendry.

I wish we could just watch Felix Pie flail away at balls in the dirt all year. Why do the cubs feel the need to upgrade Cf?

Please show me some sort of evidence this is an upgrade

Pie is faster
Pie plays better defense
Pie somehow has been better on offense this year

Oh wait, he is a gamer and scrappy. He is white after all

pie's a "real" prospect.

lou is not going to play him...and given how lost he is you can't really blame him too much.

pie can either sit around hoping for 200-250ab's...or someone else can come in and let the real prospect get some real work in AAA.

hell, i dunno how pie's lasted so long in the bigs barely working...seems like fuld (though he's not doing flashy at all in AAA) would be brought up if they wanted a guy to get 10ab's a week off the bench and crap weather spot starts.

Sure you ocan blame him.

(Play recording) Pie is getting waaay too sporadic of playing time to develop at all. It's a wonder he can even hold the bat at the right end at this point. Look at the game logs.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.