View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



June 2017



Extended Road Trip Continues in Dramatic Fashion

Written by , Posted in General

What a roller coaster of emotions over the span of an inning and a half in last night’s game. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the all-too-familiar feeling of dread was creeping on as Brian Goodwin and Bryce Harper both collected two-out singles to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.

Next thing you know, Justin Grimm has coaxed a ground ball from Ryan Zimmerman and the Cubs offense is piling on insurance runs to go up 5-0 in the top of the ninth. It was almost like this team was the defending World Series Champions or something!

Then the 2017 bizarro-Cubs returned, with Hector Rondon and Wade Davis allowing three more National runs before a wild pitch from Davis made it a one-run game with runners on second and third with two outs and Ryan Zimmerman at the plate. Then…EXHALE. David struck out Zimmerman, and the Cubs got a much needed win against a quality opponent, albeit one that should’ve required far less gut-wrenching agony.

Harper-to-Cubs Rumors

Honestly, should we even be entertaining these Bryce Harper potentially signing with the Cubs rumors? Last night was the first time the Nationals’ superstar has faced the Cubs since chatter began to swirl that he’s interested in playing for the North Siders when he becomes a free agent after next season.

It’s too early to speculate about this as a realistic possibility, but the mere mention of adding a guy who’s currently hitting .315 with a .420 OBP and 18 home runs before the All-Star break has to get the blood pumping just a little bit.

The Cubs contained him to a certain degree last night, giving up three singles but no extra base hits to the slugger. That’s certainly the last time I want to see him at the plate representing the winning run in the bottom of the ninth this week, I can tell you that.

Schwarber’s AAA Debut and Candelario’ Return to the Bigs

Kyle Schwarber’s much anticipated Iowa Cubs debut didn’t go quite as planned, with strikeouts in his first three at-bats before a single in the eighth inning. Jeimer Candelario’s return to the big league team, however, proved slightly more fruitful, as the promising prospect sharply doubled in his second at-bat of the night and played solid defense.

As there’s no real timetable for Schwarber’s return, it will be interesting to monitor his progress over the next week. If anything, regular at-bats should only help the struggling slugger regain some of the form he enjoyed during the Cubs last two postseason runs. But if the strikeouts and shockingly low batting average continue in the minor leagues, it may be time to get legitimately worried.

Addison Russell, Kyle Hendricks Nagging Injury Issues Continue

If I had to guess, Addison Russell is becoming increasingly ready to leave the 2017 season in the rearview mirror. His latest setback is a pinching pain in the front of his right shoulder this weekend, which the shortstop later said felt better after treatment. Since he had to leave the game Sunday, manager Joe Maddon didn’t start him in last night’s game against the Nationals. Russell did strike out swinging in a sixth-inning pinch hit appearance.

Russell has raised his average from .207 to .232 with multiple extra base hits over the last two weeks, which is a positive sign during a frustrating season. Hopefully this doesn’t derail the progress he has been making in the face of his off-the-field issues.

In other positive news, injured starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks played catch for the second straight day on Sunday without discomfort in the right middle finger that had been bothering him. There’s still no definitive timetable for his return, but I think we can all agree there’s no reason to rush him at this point in the season.

  • Sherm

    That was a game. Didn’t much care for the bottom of the ninth, however.

    Baez is a human web gem – and the play that isn’t getting any airtime is the 6-3 on Trea Turner that no other shortstop in baseball makes. It was somewhat routine, a fairly “medium” grounder to short, and Turner was flat out flying to first. Not only does Baez get him, he didn’t rush the throw…rather he gunned a strike and got the out by a nanosecond. He’s got a cannon for an arm.

    Rondon is a mess. Here’s what I don’t understand – 8th inning. Why hand the ball to Uehara and then Duensing? Why not go directly to Grimm? And then Davis in the 9th? Why stir in the drama of Uehara, Duensing and then Rondon? You play a LOT of games. Many against lesser competition. Save those guys for spots in those games…or when you are out of better options. If you HAVE better options? In a game like that? Use them. MAYBE…maybe, I get using Rondon, or “other” because of the 5 run cushion, but if Davis is warm and ready to go? I’d rather see him pitch an inning and risk his “tiredness” (yeah, that’s dripping with sarcasm) than make him sit twenty minutes while someone else fails to get outs.

    Rizzo’s attempted steal of third. Anyone? So…a) WHY? b) WHY? c) really, WHY? That run ALMOST mattered. Don’t be stupid on the base paths. It’s not an attractive trait.

    Like the Nats broadcast. Santangelo is outstanding. Other guy called LaStella “Zagunis” about four times last night, but I didn’t care because, well, LaStella/Zagunis…who gives a shit?

    I hope the real Jake Arrieta shows up tonight. You know Max will be dealing, and they need to get to him and try to get into that bullpen. Scratch the “real” Arrieta comment. Maybe the real Arrieta is just average. I want the 2015 Arrieta tonight. Don’t try to overthrow. Get ahead of guys and then pitch to weak contact. Probably sounds easier than it is. Go get ’em, Jake – you can do it!

    • cap’n realist

      Watched the Nats broadcast as well. Intelligent baseball commentary. This morning’s highlight package included Len dropping the old ‘2/3 of the planet is covered by water, the other third is covered by Javy Baez’ cliche. I’m neither a tough or violent person, not even slightly, but I’ve gotta say if I was within 10 feet of Len when he said that, I’d have taken a swing.

      Davis’ command looks shaky all of a sudden. I’m sure it has nothing to do with him pitching 2 innings a week. Rondon is DFA material right about now. Why isn’t Edwards pitching the 8th every night?

      • Bryzzo1744

        Smoltz and Costas (mostly Smoltz) were talking about Edwards potential as a future closer. I agree with them. When you have a good closer like Davis, and a shut down reliever like Edwards, you got to use them to shorten the game.

      • Did the exact same thing Cap.. the funny thing is how smugly dipshit #1 dropped that dipshit line.

      • Sherm

        First of all, it’s a quote attributed to the play of Garry Maddox…over 40 years ago, and it makes more sense for a centerfielder than a shortstop. Kasper Tweeted today that he was merely “using” the line, and he mentioned Maddox. I think they credit it to Ralph Kiner, although I think Kiner was quoting a newspaper article when HE said it. Not that it matters, but c’mon Len – if you don’t have something original? Shut the pie hole. What’s next? Holy cow? Goodnight, Gracie? Heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Jhonny Jhay?

        This crossed my mind today as I was walking, and
        Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

        Rolls eyes. Drops mic.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Just learned of a site called Twitlonger from Len, and I found this:
        Hi All, I am revealing today that I kept a daily journal during the
        Cubs’ 2016 season, beginning in early March in spring training. Most of
        it was about my daily routine and little funny things that happened
        along the way. I had a brief daliance with releasing it as a book, but
        have decided not to do it. The journal is a personal keepsake for me and
        maybe a few close friends following the greatest season in Cubs’
        history. However, I was thinking about sending out a few entries I think
        you might enjoy via Twitlonger. Is this something you would find
        interesting? Little vignettes and side stories from my season with the
        Cubs? I will warn you, most of the more fascinating stories have little
        to do with the Cubs or the games. I will gauge the feedback and if it’s
        something people want to see, I will send out a few. Thanks and Happy
        Holidays! Len

      • Doug S.

        “I will warn you, most of the more fascinating stories have little to do with the Cubs or the games.”
        This should be the disclaimer prior to each broadcast.

      • Bryzzo1744

        “For those wondering, the 2/3 water, 1/3 Baez quote referenced line used
        to describe Garry Maddox in the ’70s. Felt like good time to use it” – Lame Len

      • Sherm

        I thought that’s what I said

      • Doc Raker

        I didn’t understand it until CAPS resaid it. Thanks CAPS, things always seem clearer after you resay them

      • Bryzzo1744

        I was just sharing the tweet verbatim

      • Doc Raker

        Oh Doctor!

      • Seymour Butts


      • Doc Raker

        Jerry Coleman dumbass, Padres. Or is that what you have the girls call you as you hand them dollar bill? “Oh Doctor can I have another dollar bill?”

      • Loved him in Diff’rent Strokes

      • cap’n realist

        OH, Eye Chiropractor!

      • Doug S.

        Great. Break out the AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint vs. Baez coverage maps.

  • Doc Raker

    The Nationals TV broadcast is one of the best in baseball. Santangelo is one of the best analyst in the game, him and Mike Krukow (Giants) are the best. I highly recommend tuning into the Nationals broadcast for anyone interested in a broadcast that follows the game and thinks along with the strategy of the game verse listening to Len babble about the Doors Box Set.

  • Really surprised to see Von Butler keep them in the game.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Hard for me to believe it, but I can’t stand to see Bryant come to bat these days. Every one of his at bats is painful for me to watch. Especially with men on base.

  • Buddy

    That 9th inning took 10 years off my life.

  • Doc Raker

    Can we start a concerted effort to Fire Len Kasper! Can we get some PR on this Fire Len Kasper Issue? CAPS professionally made Fire Len Kasper sign didn’t bring us much media attention in San Diego

    • Sherm

      Some “meanie” tried to steal it.

      Kasper and Epstein are “music” buds. He’s not going anywhere for a while.

      • cap’n realist

        John Legend

    • Go figure.

    • Doug S.

      What would your Len walk-away music be?

      • Doc Raker

        Nanana nanana Hey hey hey good bye

  • cap’n realist

    my daughter has

    • Doc Raker

      Shut your Von Trap

    • No worries. You guys who have been here awhile, I know your “voice” no matter what you call yourself. Congratulations to the newest Maria!

    • Eddie Von White

      I like it. So we have two Vons in the VFTB family now.

  • Bryzzo1744

    The Cubs are going to visit trump tomorrow. Why? They already visited Barry.