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.
  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of there money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.

  • Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.

    Arietta though.

  • I felt the same way, too, but...

    I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.

  • Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.

  • I meant December.