Bryant Has A Day; Knee Slapping In The Dugout; Maddon Delirious
The Cubs escaped with a win on Friday, 6-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, even after stranding 24 runners on base. The problems still abound each game with hitters coming to the plate and failing to drive in runs. The weaknesses that were not shown last year are definitely coming to the forefront this year. Top of the first has Ben Zobrist leading off and reaching base on a single (just as Joe Maddon claimed that the Cubs really do miss Dexter Fowler). Kris Bryant follows him with a single and both advance on a throwing error by Josh Harrison. Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber all follow with outs to halt the mini rally. Top of the 2nd was really frustrating, and all too often seen, as Victor Caratini walks followed by an Addison Russell single and Eddie Butler reaching base on an throwing error by Josh Bell. Bases juiced, one out, top of the order coming up. Zobrist and Bryant proceed to both strike out to end the inning. Frustration continues. Maybe not for the players (more on that later)…but certainly for the fans.
Kris Bryant, being the View From The Bleachers Player of the Game, carried the Cubs on his shoulders today (minus the strikeout in the 2nd). Bryant finished the game by going 4-5 with a single, triple, and two home runs to account for half the runs and 4 of the 6 RBI’s. The triple came in the bottom of the 4th on a ground ball that escaped the glove of Bell and went into the left field corner. He then cranked two home runs to his next two at-bats…both to the center field area bleachers. Thank you, Kris, for doing your job today.
Eddie Butler started the game and went 4 innings giving up 4 hits, 0 Runs, striking out 1 and walking 3. Right now that is all that we can ask for in a guy who is probably our number 3 starter behind Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. You take that outing all day long from Butler and pray that the bullpen doesn’t implode. Carl Edwards, Jr., Pedro Strop, Koji Uehara, and All-Star Wade Davis finish the game with Strop giving up the lone run to the Pirates. Kyle Hendricks was able to do some tossing in the outfield today and there is no doubt that we need him back. Plus we need to add another starter or two. John Lackey isn’t getting it done anymore (not a shocker to anyone). Would the Cubs release him?
Yes, this occurred on Thursday. But what erks me, other than the Cubs having to use position players to pitch, is the fact that players in the dugout think that this is knee slapping hilarious. I saw a picture posted on twitter with Anthony Rizzo and a couple of other guys on top of the dugout laughing at Jay pitching. Last I checked, getting your teeth kicked in to the Milwaukee Brewers and not wanting to waste your bullpen cause the game was out of hand is nothing to get the belly jiggles going. Its stupid. It sucks. This ranks right up there with helping guys up, slapping them on the backside when they try to break your ankles at second. Or telling jokes when a runner is on first. I stated it two years ago when I questioned who gets mad about the teams performance. I guess not our guys. Weird.
Maddon Being Delirious
Following up the Brewers beat down, Friday a couple of the Cubs beat writers tweeted out statements from Joe Maddon about that monstrosity of a game. A couple of quotes that stuck a nerve were, “there was not a negative moment in that dugout yesterday. We got our butts kicked yesterday, and there’s a way to get your butt kicked properly, and we did that yesterday”. As I stated above, it looked like there wasn’t a negative moment in the dugout with all the smiles and hee haws occurring as Jay was pitching. And…is there ever a way to get your butt kicked properly?!?!? I am a Maddon fan but that statement was just stupid. Joe, you needed to take the training wheels off this team a long time ago. You are enabling the situation now.
Trade Deadline: Players vs. Front Office
It seems to me that there is no common ground when it comes to figuring out if the Cubs should go out and get players through trade to help the team between the players themselves and the front office. Lester and Bryant both admitted the fact that it is always nice to go get players that will help the team and bring in fresh energy to the clubhouse and team. Theo Epstein and Maddon both stated yesterday that the only help that was needed was our own guys doing a better job. News Flash: It is July 8th…the Cubs are at .500…there needs to be some trades occur. If the players needed to get better they probably would have done so in May. My opinion is that we need a veteran catcher, like David Ross, who can come in and catch 2 times a week and also provide direction in the clubhouse. We aren’t going to get it from guys such as Lester and Lackey. They are not wired that way. Jason Heyward was more than likely a one hit wonder (ala Milli Vanilli) in the World Series last year. My take: MAKE THE TRADE.
VFTB fan favorite Adbert Alzolay was promoted to AA. Keep on keeping on Adbert! We are rooting for you!
Alex Lange signs: After scouring through physicals and the last minute decision not to return to LSU, Alex Lange signed with the Cubs on Friday for a signing bonus of $1.925 million. Lange was the 30th pick of the MLB draft and needed to be signed before 4:00 pm CT or he would have returned to LSU for his senior year. Go ahead and bring him up and send Dylan Floro, Justin Grimm, and Hector Rondon down. I’m tired of seeing the same retreads going back and forth between Chicago and Iowa. Baptism by fire never hurt anyone. While they are at it…bring Adbert up too.
The Cubs and Pirates play game 2 of this 3 game set before the All-Star break. Jake Arrieta (8-6, 4.33 ERA) takes the mound for the Cubs against Ivan Nova (8-6, 3.24 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:15 CT at Wrigley Field.
AAA – Iowa Cubs 7 Omaha Storm Chasers 5
SP: David Rollins (ND, 4.23 ERA)- 3 IP, 2 Hits, 0 Runs, 0 BB, 6 K
P: Justin Hancock (W, 1-0, 4.50 ERA)- 2 IP, 2 Hits, 1 Run, 1 BB, 2 K
1B: Chris Dominguez (.327 Avg.)- 3-4, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 1 HR
AA – Chattanooga Lookouts 6 Tennessee Smokies 1
SP: Trevor Clifton (L, 5-5, 3.87 ERA)- 5.2 IP, 7 Hits, 6 Runs, 0 BB, 7 K
3B: Jason Vosler (.272 Avg.)- 1-4, 1 Run, 1 Double
Advanced A – Frederick Keys 8 Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3
SP: Duncan Robinson (L, 0-1, 4.50 ERA)- 4 IP, 6 Hits, 3 Runs, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
RF: Eddie Martinez (.238 Avg.)- 1-4, 1 Run, 1 BB, 2 K
A – South Bend Cubs 11 Dayton Dragons 4
SP: Manuel Rondon (W, 9-2, 4.69 ERA)- 5.2 IP, 4 Hits, 3 Runs, 2 BB, 4 K
SS: Isaac Paredes (.261 Avg.)- 2-4, 3 Runs, 4 RBI, 2 HR
A Short Season – Eugene Emeralds 5 Tri-City Dust Devils 2
SP: Alonso Garcia (W, 2-0, 3.38 ERA)- 5 IP, 3 Hits, 0 Runs, 1 BB, 3 K
1B-C: Gustavo Polanco (.323 Avg.)- 2-4, 1 Run, 1 Triple, 1 RBI
Rookie – DSL Cubs1 7 DSL Pirates 6
SP: Maikel Aguiar (ND, 3.00 ERA)- 3 IP, 2 Hits, 1 Run, 4 BB, 4 K
RF: Albert Hinirio (.274 Avg.)- 2-4, 1 RBI
Rookie: DSL Cubs2 7 DSLRojos 3
SP: Jesus Tejada (W, 2-2, 2.22 ERA)- 7 IP, 5 Hits, 1 Run, 2 BB, 1 K
CF: Alonso Gaitan (.340 Avg.)- 2-4, 1 Run, 1 Triple, 1 RBI