If This Was October, The Cubs Would Be Down In The NLDS 1-0, But It’s Not
After an uninspiring finish to the Diamondback series, there was no time to cry in their cappuccinos as the Cubs had a day game on Friday to start a three game home series against the Nationals. If things hold as expected, this is a first round playoff match-up. Kyle Hendricks took the mound for his third start since coming back from the DL.
First Inning Blues?
The Cubs once again gave up some first inning runs, this time a two-run homer to another Cub nemesis, Danny Murphy. Hendricks looked better after that pitch and had a decent game, unfortunately the offense was once again MIA and the best they could do was chase the lead inning after inning.
After a leadoff-single by Jason Heyward, Javy Baez swung three times from his heels striking out and Ian Happ rolled over the first pitch to third base to end the game with a double play.
My question is who would you want up for the Cubs in the ninth inning when they are trailing by two runs? My short list includes Anthony Rizzo, Jon Jay, Ben Zobrist, and Willson Contreras (if he’s not trying to bunt). Can the others improve their contact rates enough to join this list? Time will tell.
Down on the Farm
Baseball America came out with their updated minor league rankings today. While you need a subscription to see the entire list, a little birdie told me that the Cubs are ranked toward the bottom at 28th. Still lots of potentially high ceiling pitchers in the pipeline but following the farm system certainly isn’t as interesting as prior years. With that said, it was a good day on the farm on Friday.
Iowa (51-58) 5, Fresno 4: Victor Caratini hit a solo homer and Dillon Maples earned his second save with two shutout innings.
Tennessee (57-53) 5, Pensacola 4: Duane Underwood threw seven strong innings to pick up his 11th win on the season.
Myrtle Beach (58-53) 6 G1 4 G2, Salem 11 G1 1 G2 : The Pelicans split a double-header against Salem. Not a strong effort by starter Tom Hatch or reliever David Berg in the first game. In the nightcap, Zach Short had two hits including a solo homer and pitchers Kyle Miller and Scott Effross threw seven innings while giving up no earned runs.
South Bend (57-53) 15, Lake County 9: Andruw Monasterio, DJ Wilson, and Aramis Aderman each had three hits to lead South Bend. Aderman hit his first Class A homer.
Eugene (25-21) ??, Spokane ??: Eugene scored seven runs in the fourth inning and leads Spokane 7-3 after four innings. 2017 first round draft pick Alex Lange threw two no-hit innings in his first professional start. Lange struck out three batters, throwing 22 pitches.
The Cubs play the Nationals again on Saturday, this time against former Cub (and 11 other former teams), Edwin Jackson. Jackson wasn’t the most popular Cub (for $37 million reasons) but he served his purpose as an innings eater during the lean times and some say indirectly helped the team to acquire Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ.
While I don’t have strong feelings toward Jackson either way, this is a game where the offense needs to get their groove back.
John Arguello (Cubs Den)
I was a little surprised that no mention was made of the passing of Cubs blogger John Arguello last weekend. Maybe there are some unwritten rules here that no other blogs are to be mentioned but I wasn’t made aware of the rules and want to say a few words about John.
John was a talented writer, though there are many of those in the blog world. What I liked most about John’s writing is that I stumbled upon it during a low point in the Cubs run up to the World Series. When every thing was dark and dreary, even pre-Theo, it was refreshing to learn more about the complete farm system. Once Theo came on-board and laid out the process, John helped keep tabs on all the potential future Cubs that would ultimately culminate into that magical night last November 2nd. He answered any email or tweet that anyone had and was always very professional and courteous in his comments.
For those that don’t know, John was diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago. He vowed to fight the good fight and many of us were excited when he went into remission. However, that remission was short lived as the cancer came back in it’s most aggressive form and John was taken much to early.
While I don’t aspire to be as good of a writer, or as knowledgeable of the Cubs farm system as John was, I hope that I can try to be as good of a person. I will also try to remember how fleeting life can be and to not take anything for granted or put off something that is important to me because you never know how fast the end can come. Godspeed John.