View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



April 2017



Organizational Recap – Flashy Leather

Written by , Posted in General


The Cubs brought out their gloves today and played some great defense and Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell crushed solo shots to help lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory and series win over the Dodgers.

Good Things

  • Rizzo hit his 1st HR, a shot that left the bat at 105 MPH and went over 400 feet to get the party started on offense for the Cubs. Rizzo has improved so much overall but also has really hit lefties pretty well over the past 3 seasons after hitting .208 and .189 his first 2 years as a Cub against southpaws.
  • Russell should be arrested for the cruelty he showed to the baseball on his HR, he hit it out 110 MPH and it left the stadium to Waveland for around a 430 foot bomb. It was also his first.
    • I must say, I really like Russell hitting 4th behind Bryant and Rizzo, more so over Zobrist, in fact my perfect lineup my be Schwarber, Zobrist, Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Contreras, Heyward, Pitcher, Almora/Jay
  • This defense that the Cubs run out day in and day out is truly something to behold. As Buster Olney tweeted this Cubs defense just finds ways to get unexpected outs during every game.
    • The OF defense was led by some great catches by Almora to rob the Dodgers of extra bases and Heyward also contributed with a solid effort in the 1st inning. Kyle Schwarber even almost got in on the fun with a juggling catch up against the wall, but he juggled it just enough for it touch the wall and be ruled a double instead. (Video Below)
    • Javy Baez did Javy things  as well, turning a double play on a soft liner that he had to leave his feet for in the 7th inning.
  • Brett Anderson was…um, effective? He scraped through 5 innings of work unscathed, thanks to the defense and also around 4 walks (including one to the pitcher, which is almost unforgivable).
    • It is ok though, he barely has pitched since 2015, his game is getting groundouts and he did that today with 7 groundouts versus only 4 flyouts. Now he just needs to not walk people and he could go a littler deeper.
  • The Pen was mighty today, with Carl Edwards Jr. pitching 2 solid inning as a bounce back from his last 2 walk-no outs recorded outing.
    • In that outing he threw 11 pitches, 3 for strikes, today he rebounded to 20 pitches with 14 for strikes.
  • Koji Uehara pitched another scoreless frame to give him 4.2 scoreless to start the year.
  • Wade Davis worked around a leadoff double but retired the next 3 guys to close out the “W”
    • I’m not huge on using a closer in non-save situations, especially one with questionable health like Davis, but he does need work to keep sharp and it was a low stress environment at least
  • It was a nice luxury to have Matt Szczur to bring into the game in the 8th in LF to give the Cubs probably their best defensive OF with Szczur in LF, Almora in CF, and Heyward in RF.
    • That will undoubtedly be the way many games finish this season and it makes a ton of sense.

Not that Bad of Things

  • Obviously not much to harp on from another series victory and if I have anything to really complain about maybe it would be Schwarber’s baserunning gaffes. He was thrown out stealing in the 1st right before Rizzo went deep and then he decided to try and score from 3rd on a ball that got maybe 15 feet away from the base with the Dodgers backing things up well.
    • He wasn’t clearly out at home, but still not sense in risking the out and injury at this point in the year.
  • Again though, no harm, no foul here, glad he is being aggressive early and looks to be 100% recovered from the ACL.

AAA – Iowa Cubs Won 5 to 2

SP – Aaron Brooks – 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

2B – Ian Happ – 2 for 4, HR, RBI

AA – Tennessee Smokies Won 8 to 7

SP – Jen-Ho Tseng – 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

3B – Andrew Ely – 3 for 4, 2B

A-Adv – Myrtle Beach Pelicans Won 4 to 0

SP – Justin Steele – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

2B – Carlos Sepulveda – 3 for 4, R

A – South Bend Cubs Lost 3 to 2

SP – Dylan Cease – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

DH – Jhonny Pereda – 2 for 4

  • Bryzzo1744

    I agree with you, Zobrist is great in the 2 spot. He’s the perfect batter to be there. Works the count, makes a lot of contact.

  • Brad Lyerla

    I just watched some video of our defense. I am thinking that Almora is one of the best center fielders that I have ever seen. He amazes me.

  • Doug S.

    Happ continuing to tear it up at the plate. 5 HRs and leading the league. Nice insurance for any type of injury.

  • cap’n realist

    Love the idea of Zo in the 2 hole. Switch hitters always seem to do well hitting 2nd. Almora is quickly becoming the everyday CF. I like him a lot more than Jhay out there. What do they do with Happ? I can’t imagine they plan to leave him at AAA to hit 55 songs. Too young and good to trade. Maybe Hoyer can find a sucker for Heyward if he continues to drop bloop hits in there. If only Larry Himes or Jim Hendry were working for another franchise. Hendry considered signing Raker….see yesterday’s comments for the whole story.

    • Sherm

      Hendry just wanted Paul Reiser’s autograph.

      • Eddie Von White

        I look for Joe to make the lineup move soon. He knows how smart we are here. And it appears that Hendry was smarter than CAPS gives him credit for … and dumber. 1) He didn’t sign Raker. 2) He considered signing him.

      • cap’n realist

        Eddie Von Waffle

      • Loved his work with Helen Hunt.

    • Seymour Butts

      Really? You love the idea of Zo in the 2 hole? I don’t even know where to start.

      • cap’n realist


      • Guess Zorb isn’t the only switch hitter.

      • Sherm

        I stared at that sentence for five minutes before deciding to leave it alone. Now, I’m glad I did.

  • Sherm

    Maddon has an embarrassment of riches, so whatever he runs out there will likely work, so he’ll never see the need to make lineup adjustments…but…

    Bryant is not a #2 hitter. (Schwarber is NOT a leadoff hitter, either. And Kyle? Batting first doesn’t make you faster.)

    The team has guys who could hit 4 or 5, but none of them are. I’d prefer to see Rizzo or Schwarber in those spots, and Bryant 3. Zobrist at 2 is fine. I’d be okay with Almora there, too – he’s showing great patience at the plate and a good eye. I know it gets shot down every time I mention it, but Baez COULD lead off. So could Jhay, if he’s playing. In the current configuration, the team is deficient in the middle of the order…get past Rizzo and depending on where Contreras and Russell are (both should be 6 hitters…not 4 or 5…YET.) No true 5, and Maddon KILLS the 7 hitter with the pitcher in the 8 hole. But he’s the genius, not me, so….

    • Adam Peters

      “Batting first doesn’t make you faster.” LOL! 😀 I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s the weeks first Lizzie.

      Speaking of going out on a limb, I’d like to point out that I was pretty much the only one who was excited when Thed signed Uehara. Just sayin’.

      • I still pretty much the only one saying that he should wear Kawasaki’s goggles to the mound.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Your avatar would look cool with those goggles as well, imagine Strop hat, Fontenot hair, Kawasaki goggles, with your triangle mouth and nose. You would have it all!

      • good call, Jerry

      • …hey I look like Sherm

      • …hey I look like Jhon Jhaso

      • Sherm

        More like Lhaso Apso

      • Sherm

        Not even remotely

    • Bryzzo1744

      I’m not against Javy in the leadoff. If he can do what made him the NLCS MVP on a consistent basis. Because right now, ever since the World Series, he has been regressing. Including the WBC.

  • Adam Peters

    I’m starting to believe that Heyward & Almora actually *can* cover enough ground to make up for Schwarbs in left. And that’s pretty sweet.

    • Doug S.

      Almora’s play creates quite a nice-to-have jam for Maddon. With Happ in the wings, is Jay the odd man out?

      • Eddie Von White

        Yes. He is a stop-gap at best.

  • Doc Raker

    Schwarbs needs to understand he isn’t hitting lead off because he is fast but because he can rake and get on base.

    Did anyone hear Garland with Pat and Cooms yesterday. He sounded so hyped up I thought he was on something. I always thought Nuveen was a hand lotion and whatever happened to Seattle Sutton?

    • Sure did.. being able to not listen to the dipshits is’s best feature. Garland is a buffoon.

      • Doc Raker

        A hopped up Buffoon

  • Nate

    Zobrist makes sense for the 2 spot with his skill set. But, as long as Schwarber is leading off, I really like KB’s protection behind him.