View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2017



If This Was October, The Cubs Would Be Down In The NLDS 1-0, But It’s Not

Written by , Posted in General

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.

9th 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.

Coming Up

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.


  • Brad Lyerla

    Thanks for saying something about John Arguello. Good sentiments.

  • Sherm

    We don’t have any unwritten rules. Hell, we don’t even follow the written ones.

    I didn’t know John or his writing – I’d never heard of the blog until I read some of the tributes to him on Twitter over the last several days – and now I wish I had. No disrespect intended whatsoever. Sounds like a terrific man who shared the love and passion for baseball and those scruffy little scalawags called the Cubs.

    I’m just not a blog-hopper. VFTB is my blog family.

  • Doc Raker

    Watching bAez swing from the heels on 3 consecutive pitches up and out of the zone is getting old.

    THED: Mr Rickets sir, how should we address the Javy Baez Low Baseball IQ issue?

    MR RICKETS: What low IQ?

    THED: Javy doesn’t have good at bats. He hits a bomb and then strikes out 10 times on pitches not even close to the plate.

    MR RICKETS: Have Len and JD said anything on air about it?

    THED: No sir, they ignore it. But it is getting to the point that even the soccer fans from Europe that know nothing about the game of baseball and are just visiting Wrigley Field are booing Javy, they seem to understand the ……(looks around and whispers) Low Baseball IQ issue.

    MR RICKETS: What has Genius Joe done?

    THED: Nothing, he just stands in the dugout sipping coffee looking befuddled.

    MR RICKETS: Why don’t we say he is young will learn as he matures. We did a good job marketing Schwarbers defenses improvements so i don’t think anyone even noticed his misplays the other day. Mrs Rickets and Donna didn’t even wince when he kicked that ball and gave up a crucial run.

    THED: That’s what we have been saying. Genius Joe said he will be mature in 2019 but Javy seems to be pretty stubborn, it’s like he is programmed this one way. “The term Reptile Brain is being used for him”

    MR RICKETS: I like reptiles, the way they slow down when it is cold is fascinating. We should all slow down in the winter a bit. Donna and her husband have that awesome holiday party, never liked the husband but Donna is a great cook.

    THED: Yes, reptiles are fascinating sir but back to the Baez (whipsers) Low IQ issue.

    MR RICKETS: OK, let’s do this. Don’t explain anything to Len since it’s over his head in the first place and let JD say it is OK for Javy to cut his swing down to make more contact. Have JD say the coaches are working with Javy to make more contact and have better pitch selection.

    THED: OK sir. Just ot be clear. Talk about the coaching.

    MR RICKETS: Yes, talk about the coaching but don’t get frustrated on air. Have JD play along with Len on whatever idiotic topic he is on. Ignore and talk the minimum about the need for improvement. Now if you will excuse me I have tea waiting for me in the sun room with Mrs Rickets and her friend Donna.

    THED: JD- the coaches are working with Javy on pitch selection and making more contact. Leave it at that. Don’t explain anything to Len, let him keep babbling about non sense so the fans don’t get frustrated.

    JD- Yes sir

    • Sherm

      Holy Hell, Raker – that was like reading the missing 18 minutes. Good work!

  • Doug S.

    I’ll admit it. When Lackey dished one up to Harper in the 1st, I didn’t see much good resulting. But as informed by the ‘trouble & strife’, I’m often wrong on calls like that. Good with it today.

    Nice work Doc.

    • Sherm

      I’ll say this for Lackey – he’s 9 – 9 and hasn’t really missed any starts except for the one around the ASG which he might have been skipped anyway. I’d still prefer my “inning eater” go more than 5 innings each time out because it doesn’t help the bullpen to have to pitch so many stressful innings (although much of the stress is self-induced.)

      I couldn’t see the game, since I’m in the Charlotte area and that’s in the Nationals blackout area, because hey, they’re only 6.5 hours FROM here (Nashville is closer) and the game was in Chicago, so it makes TOTAL sense. Plus, I don’t get the DC station they’re on, so there’s that. To quote our fearless, if not somewhat mysteriously absent, leader “MLB is a whore.” I bought the MLB package available from my service provider, and it came with a disclaimer that the Nationals, Braves, Orioles, and I think someone else – are blacked out here. I guess I shouldn’t complain – it could have been every team in the Eastern Time Zone. So…

      I listened on the app – to Pat and Ron. I think this has been mentioned, too, but I’m verifying it: Coomer is very annoying. Very. Very Very. Lackey was “Johnny” for five innings. Strop was “Stropy (rhymes with dopey.) C’mon Coomy, that’s as unprofessional as it gets, and I kept hoping Pat would just slap you once really hard. He didn’t. Or if he did, it wasn’t hard enough to hear it. So, I went to the Nationals radio feed, and they were pretty good. They actually said that the Cubs fleeced the Royals in the Davis for Soler trade. Good point. Len and JD were playing pat-a-cake (probably) and said silly things (most likely.)

      At the day’s end, it was a “W” and once again it was Contreras (who thankfully DIDN’T bunt) and put the game away with a homer. Let’s take two of three from these guys and get back on track.

      • Eddie Von White

        Speaking of annoying – didn’t we learn in math class while studying decimal points that the proper way to say 1.23 is one point two three, not one twenty-three like JD and Len say ALL the freaking time? It is lazy speech and is annoying. Say it right.

      • Doc Raker

        I was forced to watch the Len and JD feed. Both of those guys are so bored by it all. Even when they announce a paid promo they seem so disengaged and bored. They talk slow an deliberate, ver measured, no emotion. You would never know it was August and the Cubs were in first place by 1/2 game and they were playing a potential playoff opponent. Len and JD sure didn’t seem to know any of that.

      • Doug S.

        Should we be thankful they’re not saying a buck twenty three?

      • Eddie Von White

        Actually JD does say that.

      • Doug S.

        Speaking of blackouts…….MLB blacks out all live Giants and A’s games in Guam. I knew BART was pretty extensive, but I don’t recall seeing a Guam station last time there.

      • Sherm

        And all the commissioner can think about, is shaving 30 seconds off of each game

      • Doc Raker

        These blackouts are very Len (synonym for idiotic for you newbies). The thought process that people will not go to the games if the games are broadcast on TV is so William Wertz (William Wertz was the owner of the Blackhawks during their dark years of not being on TV and not being very good)

      • Doug S.

        comment moved to today