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July 2017

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The Cubs Go Streaking!

Written by , Posted in General

After a little 9th inning drama, the Cubs find themselves mired in…a 4-game winning streak?  That’s only their 3rd all year, and first since a 5-game streak to start the month of June against the Cardinals and Marlins.  When we were all a few years younger, with less gray hair, and not ready to fire people.  Evidently, the All-Star break (for everyone but Wade Davis) did something good for these guys, as they’re 4-0 out of the break, and have scored 31 runs in those four games.

In last night’s game, we got a look at the Good Jon Lester, who managed to get through 7 innings (that’s two 7-inning outings in a row for the starters), allowing only one run–a 3rd inning run resulting from Javy Baez deciding to play target practice with an iPad in the 1st base dugout.  However, in the 5th, the Cubs managed to get a couple runs of their own across against Braves starter Julio Teheran thanks to a renewed understanding of stringing hits and walks together.  They would load the bases later in the inning, before Kyle Schwarber was victimized by 1B Freddie Freeman on a ball down the line (Freeman would do the same to Zobrist to end the 6th, altogether saving probably 4 runs).  Freeman would find himself victimized by Schwarber on defense in the bottom of the 6th, with a nice running grab in foul territory that sent him butt over breakfast into the stands.

Rizzo would add a solo homer in the 7th, his 3rd straight game with a long ball, and the first Cub to homer in Atlanta’s shiny new ballpark.  In the 8th, it looked like they would get something going again when Ian Happ knocked a ball to left, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.  Without that, Javy Baez’s double later in the inning (which was also probably ill-advised) likely gives them runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, rather than a runner on 2nd with 2 out; Addison Russell‘s subsequent double would have driven in two, instead of 1, and made the score (then) 5-1 instead of 4-1.

Wade Davis saved the game, but not without surrendering 3 singles (with a run-scoring wild pitch mixed in for good measure), ultimately loading the bases with the score 4-3 after an intentional walk to Matt Adams, and an unintentional one to Gatorade abuser Sean Rodriguez.  Ultimately, the Cubs got the 3rd out, and the W, and that’s about all that matters for right now.

Lester Isn’t A Statue!

Turns out, Jon Lester isn’t just a statue that has a set motion for pitching!  In the 3rd, he knocked a long double, but it wasn’t in that play that he showed us just how well his legs could work if he’s so inclined.  In the 6th, after a 2-out walk, he ended up being credited with a steal of 2nd (I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the play, so I don’t know how legitimate of a steal it actually was) before Zobrist grounded out to end the inning.  Even if it wasn’t a legit stolen bag, it does show…he is capable of moving.  I mean, he has more career stolen bases than home runs!  Now, if only he could do some of that, you know, when the ball is in play 15 feet from him, instead of glaring at Rizzo for having to run 60 feet to get it himself.

Roster Moves Incoming…

With John Lackey to be activated for today’s game against the Braves, and Kyle Hendricks being activated probably during the weekend series against St. Louis, naturally there will be some changes to the roster.  All indications are that Lackey stays in the rotation–and home plate umpires across MLB rejoiced!–and I would hope that Montgomery stays around as a long man in the bullpen.  So, two guys are ultimately going to have to move.  If I had to guess–and this is really just a guess–Justin Grimm probably heads back to Iowa today, and Eddie Butler goes back when Hendricks gets activated.   That way, Butler can stay around as a long man while Montgomery makes one more start, and the Cubs still maintain an 8-man bullpen, if my abacus is working correctly.

A Look Ahead

So far, the Cubs have had a pretty soft landing coming out of the break, decimating the Orioles and getting the Braves shortly thereafter.  After the off-day Thursday, though, comes what looks to be a rather important 10-game stretch that includes 3 games at home against the Cardinals, a 4-game home-and-home set against the White Sox, capped by 3 at Miller Park against the Brewers.  The bookends of that block are important for obvious reasons–those are the teams right behind and right ahead of the Cubs in the standings, respectively; you don’t want the Cards to gain any ground, nor the Brewers to get further away.  The games against the Sox though are 4 games against a weak opponent (that the Cubs just weakened further with the Quintana acquisition, who is on schedule to start the last game of that series) that the other teams in the division will not play.  Their interleague schedule instead would have a few more games against better competition.

This will be a briefer look at the Cubs’ farm teams today:

Double-A: Tennessee vs Mobile (W, 3-2)

Kyle Hendricks made his 2nd rehab start at Tennessee, and managed to turn in…5 perfect innings.  Duane Underwood took over to start the 6th, and the game stayed perfect until 1 out in the 9th; unfortunately, though, Mobile would end up scoring two in the frame to tie the game.  In the Smokies’ 9th, though, Cael Brockmeyer singled in Daniel Spignola with 2 out for the walkoff.  Not quite a perfect finish, but, good enough.

 

  • Doc Raker

    Lackey should go to the bullpen. Shem, you tell him

    The Braves broadcast was good, very complimentary to Lester and the Cubs. I will take Chip over Len any day. I liked Chip when he broadcast the Cubs. One thing for Chip, he gets excited when exciting baseball happens. Len doesn’t know what exciting baseball is.

    • Michael S.

      Bullpen, or into the sunset with his jewelry…one of the two.

      He sure tried to make curling sound exciting last night. I’ve got more tolerance for Len than most here, but I about hit my limit last night.

    • Karen Hirsh

      You are so right on all fronts altho maybe we could trade Lackey? I don’t know about his contract. Now I always listen to the other teams broadcasters. I am still down on Schwarber. If he is still around, then let him be the DH during White Sox series although his hitting is below par.

      • Doc Raker

        Karen- Sign my petition, Fire Len Kasper

        I don’t think Schwarbs is going anywhere and he is the obvious DH when facing a right handed pitcher in an AL ballpark. Did you see Schwarbs make that catch into the stands, he stops and changes directions like a cruise ship hence he has ended up in the stands a few times. Schwarbs the Love Boat.

  • cap’n realist

    Maddon tried to blow that one. Just an awful decision to walk the lead run when the Braves still had speed on their bench. Better to be lucky than good, I guess.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I’m getting tired of Maddon pulling a Homer to win. It’s not good for my blood pressure

    • Brad Lyerla

      I am glad that the internet did not exist when Zimmer was managing. None of us would have survived the Cap’n’s analysis of Zimm’s goofy manuevering with his bull pen or his pitch calling. My sides hurt just thinking about it.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        How about the bases loaded suicide squeeze?

      • Brad Lyerla

        One for the ages . . .

  • Bryzzo1744

    The stolen base was legit. Lester caught the defense napping.

    • He caught Flowers having an arm like Miggy. Hey, you guys remember Miggy?

      • Doug S.

        He’s with the Jays. All Jays games are on here coast to coast.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        I haven’t seen many Jays games or box scores as late, are they using him on a regular basis?

      • Doug S.

        No – Russell Martin’s still the guy, but Miggy sees the light of day every so often.

      • Bartz

        Hasn’t got a hit in 5 games. 0-15.

      • Sounds about right.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Miggy who?

      • Bryzzo1744

        No one was holding him on first and even after he broke for 2B no one was covering the bag.

  • Fun game.. the end gave me an opportunity to enjoy a few extra light beers and talk shit with the peanut gallery. Davis was overthrowing.. Contreras must be under orders to stay behind the plate, because he really should have taken a trip out to slow things down.

    • cap’n realist

      Davis has a death grip on that deuce of late. If there was a pitching coach around, it’s a pretty easy fix.

  • Seymour Butts

    Excellent usage of the ellipsis Michael.

    • Doug S.

      Seymour – the in-house authority on grammar, punctuation and correct procedure for folding dollar bills.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        What does folding dollar bills have to do with grammar? Never mind! I probably do not want to know the answer.

      • Michael S.

        What does dodging wrenches have to do with dodging balls?

      • Bryzzo1744

        That’s a bold move, Cotton!

  • Brad Lyerla

    Starting to get interesting again . . .

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    So the question is who do you want to pitch against the Cardinals Lester or Hendricks?

    • Michael S.

      Depends, do we get good Lester or 10-run first Lester? If the latter, I’ll take Hendricks. Or Jon Jay.

    • Eddie Von White

      Hendricks

  • Michael S.

    Damn, I was wrong. Butler went down today.

    This is why I’m not in the prognostication biz.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Our old friend Vogelbach had to take a nearly $700 Uber to get to a game:
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20097988/seattle-mariners-minor-leaguers-take-683-uber-game

  • Doc Raker

    I am a little disappointed that when I sat down to do my morning business on Wednesday there was no new post regarding the Cubs 5 game winning streak. So I decided to do my own, minus the cool graphics and such.

    CUBS Win 5 in a Row!

    The Cubs are at their best when the starting pitching doesn’t let the opposing team score many runs and part of our line up gets hot with the sticks. Contreras and Baez have been red hot since the break and Joe the genius has wrote their names in the line up every game since the all star break. The Cubs have won 50 games in the second half of the last two seasons and I am starting to get the feeling that they can do that again. ironically the top of the line up has been pretty cold during this win streak with most of the offensive damage being done with the 4-9 hitters. When and if the top of the line up gets hot it has the opportunity to extend this hot streak. I don’t understand Genius Joe’s love affair with Zo in the 1 hole when you have JJ and Happy sitting on the bench. The Genius of pinch hitting JJ with no outs and the bases loaded with a lefty on the mound and with Happy available on the bench escaped me also. Rizzo is reminding me more and more of a numbers gatherer, every home run he has hit since the all star break has been meaningless, late in the game with the Cubs holding a large lead. I would like to see Bryant and Rizzo joining the party and get some meaningful hits.

    Quick turn around today and I am hoping the red hot Contreras can stay in the line up, maybe play him in the outfield and catch the Great Santini. I hope to see Schwarbs, JJ , Almora and Happy in the line up also since they got some rest last night. Let Bryant or Rizzo take the day off, they haven’t been hitting lately.

    #FireLenKasper

    Questions anyone? Class dismissed.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Rizzo’s HR on Monday was not meaningless. We won by 1 run. We needed every run we got.

      • Doc Raker

        At the time of Mondays Rizzo home run the Cubs were winning by 4 runs and the Braves bullpen was grooving pitches as bullpens do in 4 run games. I am going by memory but I will also assume it wasn’t the Braves closer that was grooving pitches in the 9th inning also. In general Bryant and Rizzo have not been catalyst or run producers during this wins break. Bryant got a big home run early in game 2 in Baltimore but other than that Rizzo has been gathering numbers with big leads and Bryant has been a bit soft. The rakers have been Contreras, Baez, Schwarbs, Russell, Almora and Happy.

        My point is you can not expect all of the line up to get hot at the same time, the fact that the Cubs can be carried by different guys throughout the season is a strength of theirs.

        Your down to a C for this class as of now.

      • Bryzzo1744

        My college GPA was 2.5 and I’m proud of it. I’ve never been asked once what my GPA in college was.

      • tINSURANCECOLLEGE

      • Doug S.
      • Dork

        The assumption is that if you don’t list it on your resume it wasn’t very good

      • Bryzzo1744

        That’s a bunch of hooey.

        Sample job interview:
        Candidate 1
        Interviewer: You had a 3.9 GPA in college? Do you know the process for registering a car in MA?
        Applicant: No.
        Interviewer: We’ll keep your application on file.

        Candidate 2:
        Interviewer: You had a 2.5 GPA in college? Do you know the process for registering a car in MA?
        Applicant: Yes I do and I know how to use the MA registry inside out and how to use it to my advantage when trying to make a sale or save an account
        Interviewer: Welcome aboard.

      • Dork

        Maybe it goes that way or maybe the person not listing there gpa never even gets to the interview.

      • Bryzzo1744

        That person with the 2.5 GPA has prior insurance experience and has friends at the company vouching for him.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I’m 6 years removed from college. My work experience is more important than my 2.5 GPA

      • I ask my colleagues daily about their college GPAs.. we’re required to. Same goes for interview candidates, directors, clients, and contractors. I’m surprised it is so loose in the insurance field.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Bill Gates doesn’t have a college degree and he’s the richest man in the world. Marin Zuckerburg doesn’t have a degree. Steve Jobs didn’t either.

      • All three had 2.5s from Computer College.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Monday: Caps what was your college GPA? 2.5
        Tuesday: Caps what was your college GPA? I told you yesterday 2.5
        Wednesday: Caps what was your college GPA? I told you the last 2 days. Still 2.5
        Thursday: What was your college GPA, Caps? Do you have Alzheimer’s? I told you the last 3 days 2.5. I’m not telling you again
        Friday: Caps what was your college GPA? POW!!!!

      • Seymour Butts

        What’s a GPA?

      • Eddie Von White

        You still haven’t been asked what your college GPA was.

      • Touché EVW. (He won’t get it.)

      • The over under is 2.49

    • Excellent article Doc! Wonderful insight! Unlike Len you’re happy to point out both the good and the bad and the confusing without apology. And unlike Caps I will not simply look for ways to say you’re wrong.

    • Seymour Butts

      Business is good?

      • Doc Raker

        Soft, flowing freely and aromatic if you must know.

    • Doug S.

      Great article Doc.
      A little surprised you didn’t make CAPS stay after class.

  • Braves roster is really bizarre.. it is Freeman and a bunch of random cast-offs from around the league.

  • Bryzzo1744

    What happened to Bryant? Why did he leave after the first inning?

    • Seymour Butts

      Finger sprain trying to steal 3rd.

    • Doc Raker

      Finger ouchy

  • Doug S.

    Montgomery HR!!!!!

  • Bryzzo1744

    The Cubs are back to playing screw the closer. Baez with a 3-run HR

    • Michael S.

      Koji’s doing his best to give Wade the save chance again though.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Pedro Strop played the role of Smokey the Bear with the twin kill. Screw the closer is still on

      • Joe Aiello

        Smokey the Bear was all about fire prevention. He didn’t put them out. Get it straight.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        That’s CAPS 2.5 GPA at work. If he had studied harder he might have realized it.

  • Seymour Butts

    The sandwich is tasting quite a bit better this week. (smileyface icon).

  • Kyle

    Apparently Russell likes Knuckle balls.

    • Apparently Javy likes shoulder-high 95 MPH burners.