View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



April 2017



Organizational Recap – Drawing the Short Straw

Written by , Posted in General

Well, someone has to write about every game and I drew the short straw on this one.

Once the Cubs failed to even get one run across the plate in the first, it appeared that it would be one of those days.

I don’t have a lot of positives to report early on. We all know that Kyle Schwarber will have his limitations in the outfield, however, hitting the cutoff man shouldn’t be one of them. Also, if Jon Lester is finally going to force a runner into a run down, the result can’t be an easy drop at home to give up a run. The Cubs trailed 5-1 after two innings.

As the game crept on, I switched often between the NBA and NHL.

One interesting thing I did catch with the game was Pirates rookie, Gift Ngoepe, getting his first major league hit. As many of you know, Ngoepe is the first player in MLB history born in Africa. It was a pretty big smile after getting that first hit. Here’s a link to a short article from that talks about Ngoepe. I like seeing historic things that happen in the MLB.

Then the Cubs did what they do over the past couple of years, they hung around and hung around. Unfortunately, even with an Anthony Rizzo two-run bomb and a couple of base runners in the ninth, the offense couldn’t do quite enough to overcome Lester’s poor start as the Cubs drop the series finale 6-5.

Ultimately there ended up being some positives as the Cubs showed that they aren’t ever going to be an easy out and will be relentless in trying to come back. I also really liked Carl Edwards Jr.’s inning. The end of game relievers could end up being as imposing as the Royals were in their championship year a couple years ago.

Bottom line, over 162 games, there will be multiple days like this. Keep fighting, stay healthy, and move on to Boston.

Let’s take a look down on the farm and see if anything exciting happened there on Wednesday.

Iowa (AAA): No game, hosts Colorado Springs (Brewers) on Thursday. It will be Schedule Poster Night as well as Mug Club Night.

Tennessee (AA):  Have a day young man. Third baseman Jason Vosler hit three two-run homers to pace the Smokies to an 8-4 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts (Twins). Starter Jen-Ho Tseng gave up three runs over six innings to get the win. The Smokies play on the road against the Mississippi Braves on Thursday.

Myrtle Beach (A):  A quick look at the box score shows nothing overly spectacular by any individual, but the cumulative effect is a 7-3 Pelican victory against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals). The home series continues on Thursday as Thirsty Thursday, Kids Run the Bases, and Player Autograph Session Night are the promotions in Myrtle Beach.

South Bend (a): The wind must have been gusting out in Lansing, MI on Wednesday. The Cubs out-slugged the Lugnuts (Toronto) 14-9. Shortstop and lead-off man, Zack Short, reached base six times and third baseman Vimael Machin hit a homer and drove in five to lead the Cubs to victory. Starter Jose Paulino had a rough outing giving up seven runs (five earned) through four innings. South Bend plays at Fort Wayne (San Diego) on Thursday.

On a personal note, I plan on getting to Chicago for a Cub-Cardinal game in July. Are there better sources of tickets in blocks of 4 or 8 than Stubhub? Better to order tickets now or wait until closer to July?

  • Sherm

    Schwarber’s at bats have been horrible, especially with men on base.

    Baez actually looked a lot better last night. The double to right center was a good sign. Much like Russell, when he starts going with the pitch, he usually heats up.

    Rizzo’s homer was mashed.

    They left what? 38 men on base?

    Not a good outing for Lester. Period. But can ANYONE explain to me why he didn’t try to bunt when Baez led off the second inning with a double? Terrible baseball. Is that on him? Maddon?

    Same as Heyward getting thrown out stealing for the first out of an inning. You’re down 5-1 – you don’t give away outs like that.

    Despite 6 runs against? That was a game they should and could have won.

    No leverage thingy? No Adbert update? No one named Jhonny? WTF? What’s the world coming to?

    • Doug S.

      RISP: 2-12 plus Lester’s early troubles = you know what. Sometime around the 7th I switched from the Pirates feed to Fric and Frac. Almost looked as though the guys would pull it out.

      • Sherm

        I have to admit that I was a little bit surprised that they pinch hit for Jay in the 9th. I get the lefty – righty thing…but Jay has been hitting the ball well, and hitting lefties well, and almost every time he comes up they say that he has ALWAYS hit lefties well. So, why pinch hit there?

      • Eddie Von White

        I wondered that myself but I quit second guessing Maddon a long time ago b/c nothing seems to make sense most of the time.

      • Sherm
    • cap’n realist

      Lose by 1 run after you don’t use the worst hitting pitcher on the planet to move a lead off double to third with a bunt….that’s just bad decision making in the dugout costing a win. The approaches with RISP are still bad. Schwarber tries to pull every pitch he sees into the right field stands. I’ll say it again, the Cubs aren’t winning because of Maddon, they’re winning in spite of him.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Who do you think is a better manager than Maddon?

      • cap’n realist

        John Farrell, A.J. Hinch, Ned Yost, Joe Girardi, Kevin Cash, Bruce Bochy and Clint Hurdle. And Sherm.

      • Dork

        come on Ned Yost? even Ned Yost is Offended

      • cap’n realist

        he’s done a good job with a group of young talented guys….

      • Sherm

        Casey Stengel. Sparky Anderson. Earl Weaver. Billy Martin. Connie Mack. Walter Alston. Oh, you mean NOW?

        Bruce Bochy, Jim Leyland, Terry Francona. Probably Joe Girardi, Mike Scioscia, and some others. Including, Cap’n, of course.

        Maddon is certainly not the worst, but he’s not the best, either. We’ll know a LOT more when we see which, if any, guys stay with the team when they become eligible for free-agency.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I’m talking in terms of coaching the players as well as in-game moves. Girardi I agree with 100%. Tito is think is a bit overrated, and Scioscia is one of the best.

    • Eddie Von White

      No, but Zach’s Shorts reached base 6 times (this is where we need Swanson).

  • Doc Raker

    Ugly game, winnable but ugly like the weather in Pittsburgh.

    The Preds beat St Louis, the 8 seed hasn’t lost yet and look pretty good as do the Oilers. Some great playoff hockey going on right now.

  • Joe Aiello

    Do you think people have inflated expectations for Schwarber given what he’s done on a small sample? Keep in mind that he has less than 1 year of major league at bats. Guys are going to struggle. I like what he brings as a leadoff hitter. If there was a better option, maybe you move him lower, but who is that option? I don’t see someone that much better.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      While I agree with what you are saying, Schwarbs looks as if he is pressing a little bit, and a drop in the order could get him back on track, and then move him back up top.

      • Sherm

        I agree – Jhon Jhay can lead off the games he starts. He’s done it, and he’s had some excellent at bats this season. Hell, any of Almora, Contreras, Baez could do it for a game here and there (despite the free swinging – hey, it is okay for the coaching staff to TALK to them about that, right?) Or Zobrist – whoever. There is no rule that says you have to use the same lineup every night…

      • Yep, I’d be happy with any of these. With the understanding that their role is to get on base. If they can’t get on base at least make the pitcher throw more than one pitch. Be successful, they can lead off again tomorrow. Fail (Baez) we switch to someone else. Love, Coach Liz

      • Adam Peters

        I thought Maddon’s rule was you couldn’t use the same lineup more than twice a month.

      • Doc Raker

        NO bAez at leadoff, what are you nuts- the guy swings at anything

      • Sherm

        I have it on good authority that so far this season? He only swings at pitches out of the zone 48.5% of the time. So, technically? 51.5% of the time he doesn’t swing at just anything.

      • Bryzzo1744

        He’s like a human windmill.

    • cap’n realist

      I’m prepared (see my Bob Hamelin comments from earlier) to deal with the potential eventuality that he’s just not as good as we thought as a hitter. Time and increased sample size will tell on that front. It’s time we all admitted that he’s at least as bad as we thought defensively, if not worse.

      • Eddie Von White

        Agree – he is still a gigantic question mark offensively. Our optimism is admirable, but wishful thinking is not reality…but it can be.

    • Unless you have a true candidate, “he’s the lead off hitter” becomes as ridiculous to me as “he’s the closer.” Even though everyone does it that way, I prefer a more situational approach.

    • Adam Peters

      Everybody has inflated expectations for Schwarber except CAPS. He has his feet firmly on the ground.

      • cap’n realist

        But all the heat tiles burned off on re entry.