View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2017



Say Goodbye to California (Mercifully)

Written by , Posted in General

It’s 10:30 AM cst on Wednesday as I begin this post. I’m going to take a stab at predicting what will happen in about four hours as the Cubs face Madison Bumgarner and the Giants in the rubber game of the three game series. According to, this will be Bumgarner’s 13th start against the Cubs in his career and he has performed as expected against them in the past (and even better when the games are in SF). With this said, I say that MadBum goes 7 innings and strikes out ten while giving up two runs (one unearned).

Jon Jay has a .379 batting average against Bumgarner so I would anticipate he will be the catalyst for the Cub offense. Other guys with decent stats include Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras (small sample size). Obviously for the Cubs to win this game some where around 3-2, they are going to have to play great defense and scratch out a run against the bullpen. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening, and I’m predicting that the Giants win 4-2. I’ll be back in a few hours to see how accurate my predictions were and if I can be pleasantly surprised.


I’m back and going to do some “live” blogging to capture some of my thoughts in real-time. First thing that I notice is that my prediction of Jay as the catalyst probably won’t happen since he isn’t in the lineup. I guess I wouldn’t be a good manager since I look at stats and stuff. Hanging Schwarber out to dry as a hitter vs. Bumgarner makes me want to increase my strikeout prediction to 12. Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward also get the day off (or at least don’t have to face Bumgarner).

I’m watching the Cubs feed with the sound off so that Len doesn’t pollute my head with random thoughts. If I miss any earth-shattering banter (like why Jay isn’t playing) please update me in the comments section.

Zobrist with a leadoff hit followed up by a one out hit from Bryant brings Contreras up with a chance to make my prediction paragraph come true early. Unfortunately Willson chased a high fastball to strike out and Ian Happ followed suit with a strikeout. Kyle Hendricks to take the hill and it already feels like the Cubs are chasing a run. Hendricks looks sharp and strikes out two as well.

Hendricks gets too much of the plate in the bottom of the 2nd with two out and the Giants grab a 1-0 lead with back-to-back singles. Madison “Babe Ruth” Bumgardner, strikes out to end the threat.

Does anyone else want to smack Mark Wahlberg in the head for the stupid AT&T commercial that appears EVERY half inning? I get that you have four kids and need to make that bank (a rumored $10MM) but shouldn’t the Funky Bunch still be paying you enough royalties that you don’t have to scrape by with commercials?


Albert! Almora hits a laser beam into the left field stands to tie the game (maybe if Jay was batting leadoff it would be a two run homer).

Oh goody, there’s Wahlberg again. Did you guys know about his nefarious past? You can read about it at Wiki.

Leadoff walk to Denard Span and he steals second against Alex Avila. Avila looks like he has a more accurate arm than Miguel Montero, but he is slow to get out of his stance and into a throwing position. Like the previous inning, two men reach base but Hendricks works out of it.

The bottom of the lineup threatens to get to Hendricks again as the first two get on in the bottom of the fourth. Mike Montgomery starts to warm. A Chris Bosio visit proves effective and Hendricks gets out of the inning unscathed.


The fifth inning is here and it’s a pretty good pitching duel (as predicted).

whimper  The Cubs went down in the fifth without a whimper. Hendricks got the first two outs and then allowed a seeing-eye single to Buster Posey. Since it’s Hendricks, Joe Maddon had the quick hook and in comes Montgomery. I thought Hendricks threw really well and I would have given him another batter. All this does is give me a bonus chance to see my buddy Wahlberg. Monty gets Pablo Sandoval to foul out to Contreras (who is playing first base today by the way).

Another hit for Almora to start the sixth, let’s see if the Cubs can capitalize. With one out, Contreras gave the ball a ride to deep right but Hunter Pence runs it down. Happ then grounds out on the first pitch to end the threat. Although it’s still tied, it feels like the Cubs are chasing a run again. Pence leads off the bottom half of the inning.

I’ve always liked Pence. There was a player on my daughter’s softball team that had many of his mannerisms as a 13 year old, I liked calling her Hunter. This was back when the Giants were winning World Series so it was definitely a compliment. Pence draws a walk and trouble is brewing. No trouble here. A fly ball followed by a double play grounder and we’re headed to the 7th still tied at 1-1.


Schwarber beats out an infield hit against the shift bringing up Jon Jay! Stats show that he is hitting .379 as a pinch hitter this year, the exact same as his career average against Bumgarner – the perfect storm! Well, that was anticlimactic. Ground ball to second on the first pitch, my day is ruined.

Since Jay let me down, Monty is out and Brian Duensing is in the game. Let’s hope he continues his strong streak. A ground ball that gets by Happ and a bloop that drops in shallow right and the Giants have two men on again. Another weak dribbler through the left side against the shift and the Cubs trail 2-1. Here comes Pedro Strop to try to contain this mess. One pitch, two outs. Great job by Strop getting the double play grounder.


A couple left-handed “weapons” on the bench still as Bumgarner comes out of the game. Hopefully Maddon told the team before the inning that there would be no vests on the way to Arizona unless they come back and get the win.

Base hit by Zobrist and Rizzo comes off the bench and strikes out. Kris Bryant flies out to the warning track in right field and the pressure falls to Contreras. I fully expect a two-run homer and a glorious bat flip. Instead I get a weak ground ball that Sandoval skillfully fields like it was 2011 and Contreras tweaks a hamstring on the way to first. The season just got more depressing.

Pence with a solo shot in the 8th, Giants lead 3-1.


Happ, Baez, and Schwarber go down without a fight in the ninth. Sam Dyson has apparently remembered how to pitch again and the Giants can thank the Rangers for the free asset. Cubs lose 3-1.

While my predictions weren’t dead on, they were certainly in the ballpark of being accurate. To me, the Cubs are missing that “surprise me” feel that they had last season. I remember numerous times when I was pleasantly shocked/surprised with the good things last year, this year, not so much. I want that feeling back. Take a day off tomorrow, get to Arizona, and start surprising me please.

Down on the Farm

Iowa (55-59) 7, Sacramento 3: Mark Zaguinis hit his 13th homer and Victor Caratini went 2-3 with two doubles in probably his last game at Iowa this season as he will most likely be needed in Chicago to replace Contreras.

Tennessee (60-54): No game

Myrtle Beach (59-56) 2, Potomac 3: Another uninspiring outing from last year’s first round pick, Thomas Hatch. Five innings pitched, three runs allowed with six strikeouts and two walks. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of 2B Trent Giambrone before but here he was hitting his 12th homer of the year in the loss. Keep it up Trent.

South Bend (58-56): No game

Eugene (27-25) 1, Boise 7 (6th inning): Alex Lange’s second start wasn’t nearly as good as his first. In 1 2/3 innings he gave up four runs (three earned) and didn’t strike out anyone.

Coming Up

Day off on Thursday. The Cubs will put their vests back on and head to Arizona for a weekend series starting Friday evening.

  • Sherm

    My predictions for the rest of the season. The pitching will be good, but not good enough. Too many first inning runs. Shitty hitting in situations that call for intelligence and a seemingly sub-zero batting average with RISP. Or should that simply be RIP, since this season is dying slowly.

    Nice job on the prediction and re-cap. Didn’t see the game. Didn’t need to. Getting to the point where I don’t even want to.

    Almora needs to play. He’d be a good hitter if he got to play more.

    Hendricks must hate playing for Maddon.

    Was driving from Atlanta to Charlotte and listened to some. Coomer made me want to jerk the wheel a few times.

    I call Pence Ichabod. I’d never call a little girl Hunter Pence.

    I didn’t see every photo of the Easy Rider trip, but the ones I did see? Don’t know if I noticed Lester, Arrieta, Davis in any of them…could it be possible that some guys are NOT happy with the shenanigans and dress up parties and 7th grade slumber party mentality and would prefer to be professionals and win?

    Contreras is done for a while. Saw the replay. Not good. Maddon said injuries like that can “galvanize” a team. What does that even mean, really? Literally, it can mean “shock them into action.” If LOSING didn’t do that, why would this? They just got LESS talented. It also means to be coated with a protective layer of zinc, so that could be what he meant.

    I heard they are off today, and my first thought was that they’ve been off all season.

    Coffee, schmoffee…

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Maddon needs to make up a slogan like Win it for Willy, it worked in Texas, Remember the Alamo!

    • Eddie Von White

      This year sure is a let down. At least when the Cubs were losing six or seven years ago, or six or seven decades ago, we always anticipated they were going to get better. Now they’re just bad and getting worse.

      • Sherm

        It’s quote time (why not?) Three of my favorites on this subject:

        1. Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. – Calvin Coolidge

        2. One of the saddest things in life is wasted talent. – Thomas Monson

        3. Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. – John Wooden

        To me, this team has forgotten, or is forgetting the core values in these quotes. Winning is great, but be grateful. Self-congratulations, regardless of how far you hit the ball when you are LOSING by four runs is shameful. They’re sloppy. There is very little consistency – many of the young guys don’t get to play enough, are taken out just when they start to get hot, and rarely do they get to settle in to a position long enough to really adjust and get comfortable. I blame management primarily because that’s always where it starts. Watching a team this talented play so poorly and struggle for a playoff spot in a division they should be running away with (again) is disappointing.

      • Brad Lyerla

        “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

        I love this and it fits our situation.

        I would add that mental fatigue is a real issue with these guys. It is very difficult to sustain a 100% supreme effort for three seasons in a row. For most of these guys, it began in ’15 and continued through ’16 without a meaningful break.

      • Seymour Butts

        “Losing is a disease” – Bernard Malamud

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Can it be Cured?

      • Bob Ubriaco

        I’m thinking of “the buck stops here” by Harry Truman. It is time that Maddon starts to be held accountable for his handling of the pitching, and everyone seems to agree on poor Hendricks, as well as more of his questionable tactics and lineup changes. After all the Harry Potter references last week, I realize that I am an old man in this group, but really an “Easy Rider” theme road trip? Doesn’t he remember how the movie ended?

      • Oh no, Bob, I’m sure you’re not old around here. Most of us are closer to AARP than Harry.

    • Doc Raker

      A galvanizing moment, Maddon loves moments.

    • Doug S.

      No kidding on the Hendricks hating playing for Maddon comment. Was wondering how long he’d stay in yesterday and knew it wouldn’t be for long. It wasn’t. This – to the MLB 2016 ERA leader and 2nd in WHIP.

  • Junior Von White

    Sadly, my first reaction after Contreras tweaked his hammy was “Dang it! Now I won’t see if Maddon is stupid enough to put Schwarber, Zobrist, and Contreras in the outfield!” Quite pathetic, I know.

    Looks like WIlly will be out for a while. Len and JD said “Wow, isn’t it great our wonderful management traded for a veteran catcher?!?” I said “Why on earth does Joe Maddon play our catcher every single day? Sure, this injury could’ve happened to anyone at anytime, but playing every single day (even at 1B or OF) doesn’t help his overall health. That’s why the Avila trade was made. Besides that, I thought we were so loaded with talent that we can afford to let good players get extra rest (like contreras) to ensure that they don’t get tired from playing everyday.”

    And again, three catchers taking the field (Avila, Contreras, Schwarber).

    Why was Happ at 2B and Zobrist in OF instead of the other way around?

    Why did Rizzo PH for Almora, the only guy who was hitting the ball? Almora was 2-3 with a home run. C’mon Joe, this is getting ridiculous.

    Maddon also continued his 2016 idea of resting a large of the everyday players, playing regular guys in weird positions, and putting together a weird conglomerate of a lineup when Hendricks pitches. Hendricks gets a quick hook, an unusual lineup, and no respect. I’m guessing he takes the first train out of Chicago and becomes the next Greg Maddux somewhere else.

    I wonder if Rick Renteria looks at the Box Score, shakes his head in disgust, and wonders what could have been.

    • Doc Raker

      You just don’t understand Genius Joe. Genius Joe has said that he didn’t like Happ’s defense at 2b, that he isn’t a major league second baseman. I am beginning to see what he meant, Happ has missed several ground balls that should of been fielded. But Maddon is a genius and puts the better outfield, Happ, at second and the lower outfielder who is the better second baseman, Zo, in the outfield.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I don’t think even Dusty is that stupid

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      The Zobrist, Happ observation was the first one I made when I looked at the line-up before the game.

    • Michael S.

      Why was Contreras at 1B and Schwarber in the OF? Surely the other way around would at least be *marginally* better, if you insist on both of em on the field and not catching at the same time.

      • Bryzzo1744

        It’s the 3 catchers in the game lineup. Here’s an even better idea. Schwarber at 1B, Contreras at 3B, and Bryant in the OF.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I do not think you want to weaken two infield positions when Hendricks is pitching.

      • Bryzzo1744

        But Joe Maddon loves it. That’s why Happ plays 2B and Zobrist OF even though as already stated it’s better to swap them.

      • Junior Von White

        Normal people would not want to do that, but Joe has been playing “screw the Kyle” for the last 2 seasons for some odd reason.

      • Junior Von White

        I agree. Also, would it not be better for Schwarbers trade potential if he could put up a couple of decent games at 1B? Right now he is a position-less player.

  • Doc Raker

    MLB is pimping nick name jerseys.

    MLB marketing headquarters:
    MARKETING GUY #1-“I got an idea, let’s make jersey’s with nick names. Fans will love them and but them up.”
    MARKETING GUY #2- “Brilliant! We can have the broadcasters call the players by their nick names for a month or two prior to realizing them.”
    MARKETING GUY #1- “Brilliant! Send out a memo to all the clubs.”
    MEMO- “To all MLB broadcast teams. Color analysts are to call all the players by their nick names until further notice.”
    PAT HUGHES- “Cooms, you got a directive from headquarters.”
    COOMS- “Mrs Rickets and Donna invited us for tea?”
    PAT HUGHES- “No, MLB headquarters, not Cubs headquarters. Donna and her husband are at a Bunko tournament anyways”
    COOMS- “They want me in on the extra inning meeting? I heard that got some lunatic that wants to go sudden death after the 12t inning. Where do they find these people?”
    PAT HUGHES- “No, they want you to only use the players nick names for now on. MLB is going to be marketing nick name jerseys.”
    COOMS- “Nick name jerseys, what kind of idiot would buy those.”
    PAT HUGHES- “Maybe the same idiots that want extra innings to be a minimum of 12 innings and then sudden death.”
    COOMS- “Lester doesn’t have a nick name, do I have to give him one? Lessy, JL, Little League since he can’t throw to first base.”
    PAT HUGHES- “Probably won’t go over well. Remember, it has to fit on the back of a jersey”
    COOMS- “I will have to think about that.”
    MARKETING GUY #1- “Send out a form to the broadcast teams and have them submit a list nick names for each player. Then get with graphics and have them design something funky, not ugly like the Backs uni’s but something a little crazy.”
    MARKETING GUY #2- “Yes, we will market ‘Crazy Nick Name Jerseys’, suckers…I mean fans everywhere will pony up.”

    • Bryzzo1744

      Greatest jersey nickname ever will forever be He Hate Me

      • Doug S.

        Closely followed by He ThrowGarbargeAt Me

      • Doug wins today

    • Michael S.

      All I wanna know is if these jerseys entitle the teams to pizza and juice boxes after the game.