View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



April 2017



Organizational Recap – Cubs get bling, blanked, *bleeps* from strong Lackey outing

Written by , Posted in General


Maybe it was the 214 diamonds that blinded the Cubs hitters. No, wait. That credit goes to Brandon McCarthy. It seems the Cubs offense has picked up where it left off in the 2016 MLB playoffs – going through stretches of silence before clicking in when needed and finding a groove.

On banner night Monday, some late heroics (and only 2 runs) saved the night, and on ring night, the only thing brilliant in Wrigley were the 5.5 karat monstrosities that will reside on the Cubs’ ring fingers.

As previously shown in the 2016 NLCS against the Dodgers (Cubs went 21 consecutive innings without scoring a run) and the World Series against the Indians (two total runs in three losses), a lull has come over the bats as they mustered only five base hits off McCarthy, Ross Stripling and Kenley Jansen.

Honestly, they seemed flat – especially Kyle Schwarber who struck out three times.

“Old” Lackey Pitches a Gem on Ring Night

Curses! What a waste of a Lackey-of-old outing. It looked like he was 26 again, as he struck out 10 over six strong innings. He had some serious movement on his pitches and allowed only the leadoff home run to Josh Toles. These are performances the Cubs have to take advantage of (or face the wrath of a profanity-laced tired from Lackey). He came here for the jewelry … more jewelry.

Can Mike Montgomery pitch in a game that doesn’t leave sweat stains under the armpits of Cubs fans? After a good seventh frame, Montgomery loaded the bases in the eighth only to induce a nice Russell-to-Zobrist-to Rizzo double play. It didn’t have all that jazz that Javy spins, but it was adequate. My thought is that Montgomery is settling into a long relief role after everyone dubbed him starter No. 5. He had high expectations entering this year and has now been handed a different role.

Hector Rondon is going to be sore after covering the plate in the eighth, when a run scored on several gaffes by the Cubs defense. Hopefully, rest and ice can avoid a DL stint.

On Deck

In the rubber match today, the Cubs (5-3) face the Dodgers (5-4) with Brett Anderson dueling Hyun-Jin Ryu in a 1:20 p.m. game on Comcast SportsNet TV and Radio 670 The Score.

AAA – Iowa Cubs 18, New Orleans Baby Cakes 5

SP – Alec Mills W (2-0), 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 K

3B – Jeimer Candelario 4-4, 3 (2B), 5 RBI

2B – Ian Happ 2-5, HR, 3 RBI

RF – Chesny Young 2-4, 3 R, 2 RBI

LF – Mark Zagunis 2-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI

1B – Taylor Davis 2-5, HR, 3 RBI

Recap: Mills looked strong, perhaps establishing himself as the strongest rotation MLB-ready option in the farm system. He kept the ball down and his pitch count low. Candelario and Happ are going to be fun to watch, especially if Jeimer keeps compiled 5-RBI games (his third of the year). Footnote: Rough night for Rob Zastryzny – 5 ER in 2.2 innings pitched.

AA – Mississippi Braves 6, Tennessee Smokies 2

SP – Zach Hedges L (0-2), 5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

2B – David Bote 2-3, RBI

C – Ian Rice 1-4, R, 2B

Advanced A – Buies Creek Astros 5, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1

SP – Thomas Hatch L (0-1), 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB 5 K

C – Tyler Alamo 2-4, 2B

LF – Daniel Spingola 1-4, RBI, R

Recap: Hatch pitched well until a three-run fifth inning, all the damage coming with two outs. Baseball America reports he sat a 92-93 miles per hour and topped 94 with his fastball. Sounds like he had a nasty slider going tonight. Better nights on the horizon for the Cubs’ top 2016 pick.

Low A – South Bend Cubs 4, Fort Wayne TinCaps 2

SP – Tyson Miller ND, 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

3B – Wladimir Galindo 2-4, RBI, R

  • Dork

    They should have gotten a live chicken- or is that just in Cleveland or is that just for Cleveland

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Those rings were so big that the Cubs could not get their bats around to hit.

  • Adam Peters

    Jim, it’s interesting that you bust on Montgomery for loading the bases in the 8th and omit the fact that there were Dodgers all over the bases the first few innings when Lackey was in there. He got pissed when his first pitch wasn’t called a strike, and then gave up the HR 2 pitches later. Then he loaded the bases before wriggling off the hook. I like his fire, but he loses his shit when things don’t go his way way too often. He threw a similar tantrum after Baez’s HR in the 2015 NLDS.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I agree with you on his tantrums, but that first pitch should have never been called a ball. He had at least 2 dozen pitches called strikes last night that were closer to being a ball than that first pitch.

      • Eddie Von White

        Maybe so. But he shouldn’t be throwing tantrums out there. Who does he think he is – Jon Lester?

      • Adam Peters

        You’re right. I meant to make a note that it *was* a strike, but forgot.

    • Sherm

      Relief pitchers don’t have the luxury of “padded” innings as starters do. Montgomery cannot let that happen or he will not last long as a bullpen go to. Starters are notorious for pitching through early jams, and it is somewhat proverbial in baseball that “if you don’t get to him early…”

      I don’t know that he “wriggled off the hook.” Considering that he flat blew away three guys around a walk to Pederson, he appeared in total control despite the baserunners.

      I thought Lackey was flat out dealing last night. It’s as good as I’ve seen him in years. The pitch Tholes hit was not a strike…the little guy just got the bat on the ball and drove it. Props to him. I don’t think that upset Lackey – but that first pitch did and he let the umpire know it. Here’s my take: Why shouldn’t he let the ump know it? This is his livelihood, and that’s a pitch he needs to win. For the rest of the game, he got that pitch more often than not. I don’t think his “tantrum” had anything to do with the home run, but everything to do with his plan for the next several innings. The first couple innings of every game is the pitcher and ump getting to know each other – and I have no issue with a fiery guy being proactive about it.

      Lackey deserved the win last night. He lost only because the offense was not good. They had no plan and it showed…well, other than swing hard at everything and hope for the best. Schwarber had awful at-bats. He’s expanding his zone with two strikes which is exactly the opposite of what he should be doing. Zobrist again failed, in my opinion, in the 4 spot because, hey…he’s NOT a 4 hitter, and in a game when some small ball would have helped, everyone is swinging from the heels. Except Contreras’ first at bat, which was brilliant, and more guys should have been looking to do that to a) get on base, and b) bust the shift.

      One more rant and I’m done – and I wasn’t going to even post anything today…but here goes. Rizzo MUST knock down that bad throw from Contreras. It was a bad throw, but a first baseman should NEVER allow a ball to get past him unless it’s over him. I realize they’d still lose 1 – 0, and it’s not “important” but he has to stop that ball. Doesn’t have to catch it…has to STOP it. Cannot let it go where it went. Maybe a few less commercial shoots and a few more practice sessions, and he can do it. But every first baseman tells their infielders…just keep it down. I can’t stop it if it’s too high, but I can stop anything on the ground. He has to aggressively attack that low ball, and not just swipe at it while falling away from it. Practice, practice, practice.

      • Adam Peters

        Yeah, Lackey’s a veteran and a very successful one at that, so i guess I should trust he knows what he’s doing as far as dealing with the umps. Watching him I just have a hard time believing that the way he goes about it is productive, but again he’s the veteran pro.

        I’m hoping all the outside noise will die down now that the banner and ring ceremonies are done. Hopefully Rossy loses on DWTS soon so that goofiness is in the past too. I’m all for everyone having fun and being loose, but there seems to be a little too much jocularity around the Cubs these days. Maybe if they fall a little farther behind the REDS it will wake some of them up.

      • Bartz

        Yes. I realize that we’re only 8 games in, but I hope that the team can start
        focusing on 2017. Things like street signs, hitting balls into a river, or pretending to be a mannequin can all be done in the offseason. Had five months to celebrate, let’s get the eyes back on the prize!

    • Jim Cogdal

      Fair point, Adam. My bust on Montgomery for loading the bases in the eighth was more toward the tension I now have whenever Monty enters the game. He got out of the jam he made wonderfully, he’s just giving me a little more heartburn with my Lou Malnati’s than I expected before the season.

  • Buddy

    The Cubs have lost one in a row! This is unacceptable! Start firing people! Start benching people! Start panicking and otherwise freaking out…unless they win today.

    • Sherm

      I’m benching CAPS until further notice

      • Doug S.

        CAPS is taking it out on the Gatorade cooler.

      • Bryzzo1744

        And telling the umpire to get his eyes checked

      • Sherm

        Oh no. Is he talking to it?

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Yes, He is telling it to get his eyes checked.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I think you need to get your eyes checked too

      • Doc Raker

        Every one should get their eyes checked……in Long Beach CA

      • Doug S.


    • Mark_from_Toronto

      Who can we trade? Who is available? This can’t go on, we have to do something in order catch 1st place Reds!

  • Doc Raker

    Small ball wins that game. Lackey got hit hard in the first two innings and then settled down and dealt. He had 50 pitches after 2 innings, I thought he would only get through 4 innings but he was dealing in innings 3-6 only allowing 1 base runner.

    Rizzo needs to catch Contreras’s throw in the 9th. Rizzo gets gold gloves or platinum gloves (best defender in the league out of all positions- I don’t think so) for climbing the tarp and catching foul balls but he needs to stop retreating on balls that bounce in front of him, he needs to attack those balls. He was in horrible position and his footwork was atrocious on the Contreras throw. Like I said in the offseason, Rizzo is not a gold glover, minimizing errors from bad throws is a 1st baseman’s top priority and Rizzo could be better at that and on in-between hops on ground balls.

    Can we lay down some bunts to move runners along and score a run on days in which Wrigley plays like the grand canyon? Especially on the shift, we could be 8-0 if we have bunted against the shift.

  • Eddie Von White

    When I woke up this morning I had it in my mind that today was Thursday. What am I missing?

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Maybe Lizzie does not want to post after the Cubs lose.

      • Bryzzo1744

        We posted the same thing at the same time!

    • Bryzzo1744

      GirlieView. The cycle of it is always 1 day before I get paid.

    • It has to go in the afternoon now that there’s real baseball to talk about. I think 3:00. Unless I screwed up the time zones. Then 2:00. Or 4:00. Or maybe 1:00.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Lousy time zones. I was actually looking at the settings on my computer for time zones, and they have a special setting just for Indiana. I also noticed that I can have my computer automatically detect where I am and I no longer need to adjust the time zone on my laptop when I travel.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    At work today they asked in a survey who is your favorite of the running sausages, the hot dog is in 5th, trailing the other four by a wide margin. Proving once again nobody likes a hot dog.

    • Adam Peters

      When the Cubs were in Milwaukee Hot Dog was undefeated on the season. Not sure of his record at present.

      On a quasi-related note, the National’s Racing Presidents were here in Charlottesville for the UVA game on Sunday. Tom won, of course. Home field advantage.