Chicago Lelands 9 Pittsburgh Grays 5
On Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates dedicated their annual Negro League Heritage Game to be played against the Chicago Cubs. In a time where the Cubs have not been playing their best baseball, it was nice to see a few throw backs during the game:
- A manager actually got tossed from the game. After Anthony Rizzo‘s joyful jog around the bases, on what was an apparent lead off home run (again!), the umpires for whatever reason decided to get together to talk about it. After their visit they decided that it was best to overturn the call and call the “bomb” a foul ball. This could not have been a challenge call from the Pirate dugout because it was way too close to challenge this early in the game. Joe Maddon came out immediately and confronted crew chief Jeff Kellogg and demanded a replay in New York City. Judging by the video, which was still NOT the right call to be made by the umpires themselves, the ball was just outside the foul pole. NYC confirmed and thus the Maddon ejection. Kudos to the Cubs players for getting in front of Rizzo….or he would have been chunked as well. With replay one does not hardly see the good ol fashioned get in your face, spit flying, belly bumpin, “f” youin, heated arguments anymore. It was fun to watch again and Maddon had the rest of the night off.
- Addison Russell is starting to look a little more like his old self each and every game. Sure, he “only” went 1-5 on Friday night. But he did have a huge 2 RBI double in the top of the ninth which scored Jon Jay and Kyle Schwarber to make it 9-4. It doesn’t take a genius to know that Russell has had other things to deal with this season. Marriage hit the rocks. Momma left. And we all know that if home ain’t right, work ain’t gonna be right either. So it is nice to see that Russell maybe coming around to play as his old, All-Star self. Lord knows the Cubs need him to.
- Tommy La Stella came back to the bigs. With Ben Zobrist landing on the 10 day DL (still weird for me to say..instead of 15), the Cubs decided to call up La Stella to take his roster spot. I will make no bones about this one. I am not a La Stella fan. For all I care, he could have spent the rest of his career down in Iowa. What he did last year with refusing to go to Iowa for assignment really showed me what this guy is about. Himself. Just writing about him now is making my blood pressure rise. Its not that anyone else at Iowa is tearing it up. But anyone else besides La Stella would have pleased me more. Yep, during the game he went 2-4 with one run scored. That’s enough about him.
- It was nice to see an offensive explosion in the top of the 9th. I know that I can’t be the only one who gets his ol dobber down when the Cubs are down in the 9th? And it was again last night as well. It has every right to be down given the fact that we have not been a good team coming back this year. It seemed like we did it most every night last year. No deficit was too hard to overcome in 2016. On Friday night the Cubs showed flashes of last year and pounded out 6 runs in the top of the 9th. After the Cubs got 3 in the first and the Pirates grabbed a 4-3 lead after 6, the 9th started with a double by Jason Heyward. That followed with an RBI double by Willson Contreras. Jon Jay delivered an RBI single to left off of losing pitcher Juan Nicasio (1-3). Rizzo singled to left to score La Stella and Jay before Russell delivered his big hit of the night to score another two runs. It was nice to see. It is what we need to continue happening in order for this team to be successful. That and not falling behind in the first.
- No we don’t have Aroldis Chapman but we do have ourselves a great closer in Wade Davis this year. I know that Davis went through some issues last night in the 9th…but isn’t it great to have a closer that you can count on nightly!! Davis thus far is 2-0, 1.54 ERA with 33 K’s in 23.1 IP. I like that a lot. Imagine where we would be at right now if we had Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm (Ugh), or even Carl Edwards Jr. trying to close out games for us. We have seen that movie before and it is not one that I want to watch again. Having a bona fide closer that you can count on is huge. I believe this is a guy who I would like to sign long term at the end of the year. I know Royals fans felt the same way. By the way….how is Jorge Soler working out?
The Cubs and Pirates square up again on Saturday night in Pittsburgh at 7:15 CT. On again but mostly off again Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.68 ERA) will toe the rubber against Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.83 ERA). The Cubs really need to sweep this series before coming home for 3 games against the San Diego Padres. Miami/Washington/Cincinnati trip looms after that.
Down On The Farm:
AAA: Nashville Sounds 7 Iowa Cubs 1
SP: Zach Hedges (L, 0-1, 10.80 ERA)- 5 IP, 7 hits, 6 ER, 2 walks, 0 K’s.
3B: Jeimer Candelario (.269 Avg.)- 2-4, 1 RBI, 2 doubles
AA: Chattanooga Lookouts 5 Tennessee Smokies 3
SP: James Pugliese (ND, 0.91 ERA)- 3.2 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s
3B: Jason Vosler (.273 Avg.)- 1-2, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 1 HR
Advanced A: Down East Wood Ducks 2 Myrtle Beach Pelicans 0
SP: Michael Rucker (L, 1-1, 1.73 ERA)- 6 IP, 3 Hits, 2 Runs, 1 Earned, 2 BB, 6 K’s
RF: Eloy Jimenez (.284 Avg.)- 1-4, 1 double
A: Lake County Captains 6 South Bend Cubs 5
SP: Dylan Cease (ND, 3.05 ERA)- 2.1 IP, 3 Hits, 2 Runs, 2 BB, 2 K’s
C: Alberto Mineo (.301 Avg.)- 2-4, 2 Runs, 1 RBI