Organizational Recap – Lost Opportunities, Hendricks, and Miggy
The Cubs dropped the opener of a three game series to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. This is my second post of the season and the Cubs are 0-2 on games that I am recapping. Here’s to a win next week!
After falling behind the Pirates in the 6th, the Cubs had great opportunities to cash in with some runs in both the 8th and the 9th innings. The Pirates have been struggling this year with work out of the bullpen. They currently sit 6th highest in relief ERA in the majors at 5.94. With that being said, the Cubs could not muster a run across the plate to get any closer. The 8th looked really promising with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both getting on base to start the inning. Ben Zobrist, who normally does a great job of putting the ball in play, stuck out swinging and Addison Russell followed with an fly out to center field. Jason Heyward (who screams at every pop out now…kinda like I do in slow pitch softball league games) followed with great hustle play to beat the throw to first to load the bases for Willson Contreras (batting for Miguel Montero who I will talk about shortly). Contreras dribbles a weak ground ball to third to force the third out to end the inning.
Bottom of the ninth didn’t start out well as Albert Almora and Javier Baez both had not so good at bats against Pirates closer Tony Watson. The big three followed (Kyle Schwarber, Bryant, and Rizzo) with all three reaching base to bring up Zobrist again to try to redeem himself from his strike out in the 8th. Zobrist grounded out to the shortstop to end the game. Last year it seemed like the Cubs won these type of games. I know its still early…but they really need to capitalize on these opportunities…especially against a struggling bullpen like the Pirates.
A couple of things did not help Kyle Hendricks. One, he was keeping the ball up in the strike zone way too much. When he does this it really puts him in a bad spot because he does not have the over powering stuff that will baffle the hitters. When he is playing with fire up in the strike zone, it sets him back a few years to when he first started with the Cubs and I was a nervous mess the whole game. Kyle, keep the ball down in the zone for heavens sake!
Andy Fletcher wasn’t helping out Hendricks during the game as well. Fletcher, who was the home plate umpire, was not giving Hendricks the low strike zone pitch nor was he giving him the strikes on either side of the plate. If Kyle doesn’t get those calls during the game then he has no choice but to put them in the hitters zone. You just hope that if he pounds the zone on either side of the plate consistently during the game, then he will eventually get those calls. But with Hendricks working the top half of the zone all day, Fletcher was squeezing the zone and didn’t ever give Kyle those corner plate opportunities.
Out to Pasture
Enough of Montero already. There is a reason that he did not see the field last post season and he is giving reason right now that he still should not see the field. Yes, I know, the only other catcher we have right now is Schwarber. I am sure that Miguel is a great guy. I don’t really know what he brings to the clubhouse outside of being a veteran. He has 11 at bats this season and none of his contacts on the ball have looked good through the first couple of weeks of the season. He can’t hit, he definitely can’t throw anyone out trying to steal, and we know that he is not going to be the one that can provide great depth for Willson. Give it another month (which amounts to a few more starts), cut the cord, and go ahead and call up Victor Caratini. Caratini can at least give some productive at bats. He has a ways to go with his defense…but let him catch Hendricks and see what he can do. Miggy’s time has come and gone. No reason to play him now.
AAA – Iowa Cubs Lost 11 to 1 (NO HITTER)
SP – Jake Buchanan – 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
AA – Tennessee Smokies Lost 10 to 2
SP – Trevor Clifton – 5 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
3B – Jason Vosler – 2 for 2, SB
A-Adv – Myrtle Beach Pelicans Lost 5 to 2
SP – Oscar De La Cruz – 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
3B – Matt Rose – 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI
A – South Bend Cubs Won 6 to 4
SP – Manuel Rondon – 4 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
1B – Wladimir Galindo – 3 for 5, 2B, RBI