A Start and a Stop

 

Hello again from Des Moines, the soggy branch office of the Chicago Cubs National League ballclub.

A bizarre homestand that began last weekend with a flood-delayed game played behind closed doors as a public safety precaution ended last night with the season's largest crowd witnessing the latest episode in the unraveling of Rich Hill.

One night after Sean Marshall required only 87 pitches to get 24 outs, Hill scatter-gunned 45 before he was taken into custody after a mere two-thirds of the first inning.

He hit batters, batters hit him, he walked #'s 29, 30, 31 and 32 in 28 Iowa innings, threw in a wild pickoff throw that seemed almost gratuitous and generally made a[n] [Steve Bl]ass of himself before being ushered to the showers by tepid applause that was as unwarranted here as it would have been at a gallows.

How appropos that the opponent for the Iowa Floods was the New Orleans Hurricane.

The visitors' operatic lineup sparkled with Gustavos and Casanovas and Rauls and Valentinos and Pascuccis.

Understudies to Marshall on Thursday night, they killed Hill in the first act on Friday before the concessionaires had beaten back the first charge of a crowd in excess of 11k.

Marshall apparently won't be here much longer. He's ripe and ready for the call. As for Hill, he's best-suited right now for casting as Nuke Laloosh in a 'Bull Durham' remake.

The anti-climactic pitching note of the evening was the appearance of a young moose named Estrada for the I-Cubs. Recently promoted from Tennessee where his #'s were ordinary, he's listed at 6'8" and 260#. So far in two stints here he's allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings while walking zero and fanning 10. File him under future reference.

Following the good example of their parent club the I-Cubs now hit the road still in first place - high and, more importantly, dry...MW

 

 

Comments

Funny, I was just going to comment on the "Steve Blass Disease" before you mentioned it - perhaps it's time to see a sports psychologist at this point? No one has said anything about a mechanical or physical problem, so what else can the club suggest? It would be a damn shame if he can't work this thing out, we don't need another Rick Ankiel in the makings here.

Have you seen Rich run or swing? His only chance is pitching. The Rink Ankiel analogy definitely only goes as far as the meltdown.

Rich Hill, you say? He's a lefty, correct? When I was a kid, and the Cubs were mediocre to terrible every year (yes, we all share a common history), I focused a lot of my fanboy energy on individual performances. Because, really, what else was there to root for, especially when August rolled around? So it meant something if Madlock was gunning for the league batting title or Sutter was in line for a Cy Young, or Rick Reuschel was going for his 20th win. And I was just a kid. As I got older and more forlorn over the state of the Cubs, I became less enamored of the individual players (they ain't family and they ain't friends) and more concerned about how they were actually helping the team win games. DLee's 2005 was special because his awesomeness was helping the team win more games than it probably should have, but once the team started to swoon (around the time Barrett threw down to third in Philly to allow the winning run to waltz in), I couldn't have cared less if Lee won the Triple Crown. To paraphrase Al (DeNiro) Capone: "Individual performance...eh, it's not so good." Which brings us to Rich Hill. Do I want him to do well? Sure. But only in the context of him helping the big club. Even if he threw 7 shutout innings for Iowa, who cares? (Other than Iowa Cubs fans?) If it meant he got his shit together and yet still crapped his pants in the Bigs, what's the point? Even if he never throws another pitch for the big team, I could care less about the guy. Because if he never makes it back, then that means he's continued his descent into uselessness at the MLB level and he'd only be a drag on the team. Is it a waste of talent? Not really. I mean, either you got it or you don't. I'd feel the same way if it was DLee, Aramis or Zambrano. If you're not helping the team win, adios. Once you've outlived your usefulness, you're dead to me. Get someone else, even if your last name is Sandberg, Williams or Banks. What the Astros did to ensure Biggio got his 3000th hit last season was ludicrous. The guy was an anchor dragging the entire offense down. For all the time and money invested in Hill, he's given the Cubs about 1.5 seasons (if that) of effectiveness. Is his career circling the drain? Hard to say. But I wouldn't stay up nights worrying about it.

It's not like he lost his stuff. Rich Hill is still virtually unhittable. But thanks to meddling with his delivery, he's got no idea where the ball is going anymore.

I suspect the only person staying up nights & worrying about Rich Hill is Rich Hill, if even him...

I don't stay up at night for Hill, but I hate to see the team tinker with the guy and steer him in the wrong direction. If he's that fragile maybe he'll never make it for other reasons in the future. Once the Cubs release the guy, another organization will give him a contract, a baseball, and tell him to throw the ball his way. He'll have another chance in MLB, and either make a career or start selling used cars (he went to Michigan, right?)

He'll have another chance in MLB, and either make a career or start selling used cars (he went to Michigan, right?) *plays Notre Dame Victory March*

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  • Cubster 8 hours 57 min ago (view)

    10 games left w 5.5 game lead over Reds. Normally thats good but this is 2020. 

    seeded at #2 and obviously fluid but as of tonight Cards would miss the playoffs and #7 seed is Giants.

     

  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Prior to this season, MLB clubs were not permitted to option players to a minor league affiliate whose season had concluded. So with the exception of a minor league affiliate competing in its league's post-season playoffs, most minor league clubs concluded play on Labor Day. And even those minor league clubs that continued to play past Labor Day (while participating in league playoffs) would conclude their season by mid-September. 

     

  • crunch 9 hours 15 min ago (view)

    cards lost...and dakota hudson left with "elbow tightness"...and they moved into 3rd place behind CIN.

    good day for people who aren't cards fans.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 56 min ago (view)

    He's part of the two first names crew on our pitching staff. Jason Adam, Jon Lester, Kyle Ryan

     

  • Charlie 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Adam showing a nasty curve ball!

     

  • Charlie 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I hadn't thought about Perez in 10 years, but this bullpen version is absolutely the most fun version.

     

  • crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    when oliver perez retires in 2035, if the cubs don't hire him as pitching coach i'm done with this team.

     

  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    drone over the field delay...

    i f'n hate 2020.

     

  • Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Jake Arrieta to the Phils IL. Might be how his Phillie career ends. Any thoughts that he comes back in 2021 as a closer for someone?

     

  • Cubster 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    yowsa. AZ Phil invokes Della Street. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    a.chafin threw a simulated game and could be activated this weekend. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    MLB is expected to mandate a "bubble" for all MLB players (and members of their families who are traveling with them) beginning at least seven days prior to the start of the ALDS and NLDS (which start the week of October 5th).  

    As far as players are concerned, only players on the club's Post-Season Roster Eligibility List (that is, players on the MLB 40-man roster who are assigned to the club's MLB Club Player Pool and players on the MLB 45-day IL who have not been replaced on the Post-Season Roster Eligibility List) will be allowed in the bubble. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Keep in mind that in addition to recalling Adbert Alzolay next Tuesday to be the 5th starter on 9/22 (at PIT) and 9/27 (at CHW) and probably optioning Ryan Tepera to the Practice Squad to make room for Alzolay on the 28-man roster, - ALL - players on optional assignment to the minors - MUST - be recalled no later than the day after the final game of trhe MLB regular season, so a player could be optioned to the minors on 9/27 and then get recalled the very next day without any restriction.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    It's possible that the Cubs will select the contract of veteran RHRP Pedro Strop before tonight's game. If so, I would say the player most-likely to be dropped from the Cubs 28-man Active List roster (and from the Cubs MLB 40-man roster) to make room for Strop is Rex Brothers. 

     

  • crunch 2 days 5 min ago (view)

    all of this makes too much sense and seems quite 2020 reasonable.  i'm ready.  bring it on.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Just as a point of information, per the macro CoViD-19 agreement between the MLB & MLBPA, if an unsigned post-2020 arbitration-eligible player requests an arb hearing the player's performance in the 2020 season will - NOT - be considered by the arbitration panel. Only the player's performance up through the 2019 season can be considered (which will help somebody like Kris Bryant but hurt somebody like first-time arb-eligible Ian Happ).