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Sunday

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July 2017

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COMMENTS

For Starters, Lester’s Efficiency Calms Us All

Written by , Posted in General

I love the randomness of Twitter. The breaking news from Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal is nice and addicting. The obscure facts that surface, though, are the great free agents of knowledge I love to acquire about the Chicago Cubs.

Yesterday, my favorite was a tweet that read, “On this date 20 years ago, Greg Maddux threw a 76-pitch complete game.” It seems that kind of pitching is a lost art … so, especially with the way the Cubs pitching performed in the first half of the season, it was great to watch pitching dominate again between Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester.

Lester took perfection into the sixth inning before yielding a two-out single to – go figure – Wainwright, who only allowed two hits himself at that point in the ballgame. Lester continued an impressive stretch of Cubs starting pitching performances in the second half of the season by throwing 8 strong innings in a 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Saturday.

Lester looked last-year dominant, striking out 10 and only needed 97 pitches to do it. A tip of the cap to him, too, pitching in honor of his recently-passed uncle.

Now back to Maddux’s 76-pitch masterpiece 20 years ago. It was weird to see a Cubs starter pitching in the eighth inning, let alone in a conservative game pitch-count-wise. With the Cubs 7-1 to begin the second half, Cubs fans are starting to allow their appetites to come back with cautious optimism related to the rotation.

This leads to the next question that we all need to ponder – is what the Cubs have in terms of starting pitching enough to a second parade down Michigan Avenue? I believe they do – particularly with a rested Kyle Hendricks and the addition Quintana. I look at the rest of the year like I did when the Cubs were down 3-1 last year in the World Series.

The Cubs have vets Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta going. I like those odds, especially now that they are only 1 game back in the division. Which leads to the next rumor …

Yu Darvish

Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register said that Rangers had scouts at the Iowa Cubs game (which is normal). Similar to Ryan Huff’s piece on Darvish yesterday, hand me the petition to sign because I do not want him. It sounds like the Rangers think they can deal Darvish and then sign him back next year, all while looting a team of solid prospects (such as Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis or Victor Caratini).

I also am not thrilled about hearing Jonathan Lucroy to the Cubs either as a complement to Willson Contreras.

No thanks. I really think that with the addition of Quintana, the Cubs should make pitching moves elsewhere. Which leads to the next rumor …

The Cubs Bullpen

A.J. Ramos or Zach Britton. Yes, please. Give the Cubs someone to single-handedly stabilize the eighth inning. I truly do believe (and have always believed) Carl Edwards Jr. should be the eighth-inning guy, but if the Cubs can land someone like Ramos or Britton or Justin Wilson or Brad Hand, that could bump Edwards to the seventh inning and take Hector Rondon or Justin Grimm out of the picture.

It’s all about shortening games. The Yankees are going to try to always get to David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman in the seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. I would, too. I hope the Cubs can rival a trio like that, but it will likely cost them.

Two walks by Wade Davis likely made people uncomfortable on Saturday before closing out his 19th save. I’d feel more secure if we had better pieces around Davis. I think the Cubs will make a move here, likely better than the Joe Smith bullpen move they pulled the trigger on last year at the deadline. I think it may be a bigger name, too. How about a package with Wilson and Alex Avila coming to Wrigley?

Brewers Look a Little Drunk

The Brewers were leading 8-1 on Saturday. Then the Phillies tied the game at 8-8 before the Brewers pulled it out, 9-8. Sounds like the Cubs first game off break against the Orioles. Though, for Milwaukee, this was more of showing off a continued struggle to survive that has been obvious the past 8 games.

The Brew Crew are likely to be active in trade talks over the next week, for a starting pitcher and a veteran bat (like Ian Kinsler). They need to do something to mix it up. You can’t help but think Cinderella’s shoes have been returned to DSW.

I truly think it will be Cubs/Pirates down the stretch, and I like the Cubs’ odds in that one. For laughs, check out the hashtag, #BrewersLose.

On Deck

The Cubs are going for their third straight series win with a Sunday night victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley. Quintana vs. Michael Wacha – sign me up for this one. I can’t wait for this rubber match.

Quintana’s 12-K Cubs debut made every fan sign off on the trade after some skepticism, and Wacha has been untouchable in his last four starts. Should be a memorable one.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: WSCR Radio 670 The Score

Triple A – Iowa Cubs 5, Oklahoma City Dodgers 1

SP – Jen-Ho Tseng W (3-0), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

RF – Mark Zagunis 3-4, R

C – Taylor Davis 2-4, 2B, RBI

LF – Jemile Weeks 1-5, R, HR, RBI

PH – Ozzie Martinez 1-1, R, HR, RBI

 

Double A – Tennessee Smokies and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

Rained Out Saturday – Doubleheader Scheduled Today

 

Single A Advanced – Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2, Down East Wood Ducks 0

SP – Michael Rucker W (3-2), 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K

DH – Zack Short 1-3, RBI

RF – Robert Garcia 2-3

LF – Eddy Martinez 1-4, 2B

 

Single A – Beloit Snappers 6, South Bend Cubs 3

SP – Carson Sands L (0-2), 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K

3B – Isaac Paredes 1-4, 2B

RF – Chris Pieters 1-3, 2B, 2 R

LF – Luis Ayala 1-3, RBI

  • Doug S.

    Sports bar patron watching soccer (hint) noticed the score in my game during the 7th and commented that it must be boring. As I was paying up I told him – not even close. A one crummy block walk home to hear the game and see the end and it’s 0-2 when I get in. What? Grrrrr……….but got to see the boys rally and win. Beautiful.

    • Dork

      Yeah they needed that – I have no idea how KB was able to score from first – pretty impressive base running

      • Doug S.

        Fowler’s throw looked good. Great hustle by KB and a little help from Yady.

      • Doc Raker

        You must of been watching the Len and JD feed. Pat and Cooms clearly explained that Pham in left field didn’t see the ball and didn’t move making it a long run for Fowler allowing KB to score from first because as KB said in his post game interview, “I’m pretty fast.”

        I was listening to Pat and Coom’s in the car and then came into the house and turned on Len. Pat was so excited and said, “I love this atmosphere at Wrigley, I wish everyone could be here to experience it.” I get pumped up listening to such excitement from Wrigleyville, especially Cubs Cards and expecially when Pat is excited also. When I turned on Len he sounded like it was just another boring baseball game he was contracted to broadcast, Len said, “Cub fans are squirming in their seats with every pitch” in a very monotone bored voice. Which I took to mean- “Cub fans” as in ‘not me, these silly Cub fans that care so much about this baseball team.’ Len isn’t a fan so I take those statements to be mocking of fans that do care. “hey, I am just here doing a job- these people that live and die with this team are beneath me.’

      • Doug S.

        Last 2 days Sportsnet aired the live game, but it was the Cardinals feed. I wonder if they had a choice?

      • Doc Raker

        Probably, wise choice. Even the Cardinal broadcasters were excited during and after the game. They were bummed they lost but reported, ‘an incredible game and atmosphere here at Wrigley Field for Cards Cubs.” #FireLenKasper

      • Bryzzo1744

        I thought the Saturday game was FS1? I didn’t get it on my MLB tv package

      • Brad Lyerla

        I caught only the last two innings and only on the radio. Pat’s call was a thing of beauty. In summarizing the Bryant scoring play, Pat even said: I love to watch Bryant run the bases.

        By the way, ever notice that Coombs always calls players by their nick name or first name? Sounds amateurish to me.

      • I’ve noticed that Brad. I don’t like it either. I don’t know if I’d describe it as amateurish as much as annoying, especially the nicknames. I think the nicknames are good for a celebratory statement i.e. “Schwarbs hit that one a country mile!” But I didn’t need to hear over and over again how “Miggy” didn’t get the runner stealing second. And as you know that was quite often!

      • Brad Lyerla

        Good thoughts, Lizzie. The one I dislike most is KB.

      • Doc Raker

        I do remember that call from Pat, and he calls it with sincere excitement.

  • Doc Raker

    Both starters dominant through 7 and 2/3rds innings and 2 strikes.

    Lester was 1-2 on DeJong with 2 outs in the eight inning, he had only given up 1 hit up until then, when DeJong went yard on a good backdoor cutter. Then Grichuk goes back to back, 2-0 Cards just like that after 7 and 2/3rds and 2 strikes of dominance.

    Wainwright was 1-2 on Zo with 2 outs in the 8th inning, he had only given up 3 hits up until then, when Zo doubles to score JJ for the Cubs first run. The Cubs score 2 more with a bloop single from KB to score Zo and a Rizzo bloop single scoring KB from 1st base on a 3-2 count with Cards left fielder standing still like a statue allowing the ‘pretty fast’ KB to score from first. All runs being scored with 2 outs.

    Both teams score their first run with 2 outs on a 1-2 count in the 8th inning. Only Cubs Cards in Wrigleyville. Excitement in Wrigleyville for all except for Len who had tickets for Linard Skinard, the Tribute Band later Saturday night.

  • cap’n realist

    I don’t get the calming effect from Lester. Efficient or not, EVERY baserunner is a danger scenario with him on the mound. Every bunt, every comebacker, every ground ball to first base. That’s neither calming nor efficient. One thing I like is that he pounds the strike zone, something the bullpen needs work on. Early count strikes are lacking of late with Edwards and Davis, and have ALWAYS been lacking with Strop and Rondon. With a lead late in the game, most hitters are taking a strike anyway…why not just throw one?

  • Oh no is it Jessica night?

    • Doug S.

      Bingo. Maybe we’re too harsh. Let’s not forget she played softball (or something) which makes her about as qualified as Michael Phelps, only he’s kind of busy.

      • Hm. That begs an interesting question … Who would call a better baseball game, Jessica Mendoza or Michael Phelps?

      • Bryzzo1744

        Phelps ???

      • Doug S.

        Team Phelps up with Len and brace for the cheesy fish/swim songs references.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’d rather listen to amateurish Cooms.

      • You read my mind, EVW, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

      • Sherm

        Well, if she’s there for color commentary, the differences between fastpitch softball and baseball are great – but the game theory is for the most part similar. The understanding of the game – baseball – is picked up from watching, talking, and loving baseball. My daughter played VERY high level fastpitch (years of travel ball, full ride to an ACC college, started at 3B, etc.) and I guarantee you that her knowledge of BASEBALL exceeds Mendoza’s tenfold because she grew up playing softball and watching baseball. And talking baseball. And understanding baseball. I’m pretty sure Eddie Von Baseball’s daughter has the same insight and love for the game. Mendoza MAY love the game, but she lacks the insight, or at least the ability to share insight, in the broadcast situation.

        For God’s sake, she didn’t know who Dante Bichette was. Or Mel Allen. Or this week in baseball. It’s her job to know. We, the audience? Not our job. So they need to explain it to us just in case some of us don’t know. They should not have to explain it to her.

        I watched the Cub feed yesterday (the Lester/Wainright game) and during one at bat, Len beings to offer that the place is packed…a pitch is thrown and JD begins to talk about the pitch selection – he liked it, and was explaining why. When he took a breath, Len continued on with “I see some empty seats, but those are probably just people who went to get hot dogs.” I don’t know if it frustrated JD, but it did me. He not only didn’t acknowledge the “baseball” comment from his broadcast partner…I don’t think he even HEARD it. I’m convinced, much like with Mendoza, that he’s a wonderful person, but not a very good baseball broadcaster, and that’s unfortunate because I feel Cub fans deserve better.

      • Doc Raker

        #CubNationDeservesBetter
        #FireLenKasper

      • Eddie Von White

        Thanks for the Katie reference. Yes, she is totally educated in the game. We would talk about the game we were watching on TV before she could talk – (same with Von Jr.). I wish ESPN would give her an interview. I had to mute the TV when Mendoza started analyzing Rizzo’s swing off the batting T and telling us how well he could hit to the opposite field off the T. Really? Four year olds can do that.

      • Sherm

        With Bryant on second and none out – Rizzo flies to left. She complimented him on the great at bat for “going the other way.” Really? That’s a move the runner situation. And, for a guy who seems to love grounding INTO the shift? That should have been an easy one for him. Anything BUT a great at bat. Boone was silent. What could he say? I feel bad for him sometimes because he does have an innate understanding of the game…

      • Eddie Von White

        At least he has enough sense to be quiet in those situations. I bet his mind is racing with not so flattering thoughts and he is laughing hilariously inside.

      • Doug S.

        You can bet the FO will correct that hot dog statement quickly.
        “……………..just people who went to get a delicious Wrigley Dog”

  • Doc Raker

    Baez struck out twice on a total of 7 pitches, none of which were in the strike zone

    • Bryzzo1744

      Joe said the final product will be ready in 2019