View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



August 2017



Can Lackey Be Put Out To Pasture Yet?

Written by , Posted in General

I missed most of the middle of this game, so let’s start at the end, with an…interesting bottom of the 9th (that probably shouldn’t have been necessary).  Which shouldn’t have happened, but…2017 Cubs.

Good start, Javy Baez starts it off with a double, Jon Jay draws a walk while trying to bunt Baez to 3rd, and then you have the Ben Zobrist at bat.  Takes a ball off the shin, but wait! He offered at it?  I disagree, Zobrist looked confused, and Joe Maddon came charging out like he wanted to take a bite out of someone’s jugular–and that was his night.  On the broadcast, they kept saying he was after Chris Conroy (who was the 1B Umpire) for the call, which…I can’t recall a base umpire making an offer/no offer call on a bunt in the past, I’ll leave it at that.  In any case, Joe had a point, and it was nice to see him out there with a bit of vim and vigor for once.  I imagine he’s going to end up getting a nice letter from the league office telling him to take a night off soon, though, as he pulled himself back toward Conroy off another umpire’s shoulder.

Going back to the start, our favorite horse-faced starter started the night out looking…awful.  First inning run, baserunners all over the place…the Reds only having 1 run through the first two innings really belongs to the defensive efforts of Anthony Rizzo and…Kyle Schwarber (2nd outfield assist in 3 games)??  And Alex Avila, who was on the receiving end of throws to nab runners at home.   The offense got things going quick in the first, plating 4 runs on a Rizzo grand slam on the 10th pitch of the game.  So, really, somehow, Lackey just wasn’t the worst starting pitcher in this game, and did somehow manage to get through six.  The rough starts are going to catch up with the team sooner or later though, when he puts them in a hole too deep to climb out of.  He needs to be somewhere other than starting for the Cubs.

Lackey also stole a base, and got erased when Zobrist walked later, which I suppose is the universe correcting itself to the proper result of a pitcher trying to steal a base.

That’s about all I’ve got for the game itself; like I said, I missed most of what happened in between; but some interesting stuff around baseball:

Umpires Taking Heat

Outside the call against the Cubs in this game that we’ve already discussed, this year seems to be just horrible for umpires–even ones not named Joe West.  Angel Hernandez, in particular, drew the ire of the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler after giving him a quick toss because of his questionable strike zone.  Kinsler didn’t hold back in an interview, which is honestly something we need more of (though the very real risk of being fined tends to make most guys hold their tongues), saying Hernandez needed to ‘re-evaluate his career choices’.  Umpires shouldn’t be household names, and the fact that a lot of people know who Angel Hernandez is (and usually roll their eyes) is a sign that he probably should take Kinsler’s advice, rather than suing the league for discrimination because Joe Torre is holding him back because of some grudge.  The problem is, you objectively suck, Angel, and you’re not the only one.

Aaron Judge Sets a Record

Remember Aaron Judge, Yankees rookie that looked like he was going to be a one-man wrecking crew in the AL East all year long?  The hype on him seems to have cooled down, but I noticed tonight that he seems to have set a record this year:  most consecutive games with a strikeout (33).  Ouch. Not the sort of thing you want to put on your resume, but he presumably has been fairly productive otherwise despite that, as he’s still getting in the lineup.

Oh the previous holder of that dubious record?  He was a Chicago player.  Adam Dunn, for the White Sox in 2012.


  • Ben

    Joe definitely dropped a few f bombs before being ejected lol

    • Sherm

      Maddon’s ejection and those F-Bombs were brought to you by Binny’s Beverage Depot. If you want to get pie-eyed and swear like a madman? Binny’s is your place to buy the booze. Binny’s will proudly donate $100 for the ejection and $20 per F-Bomb to the Naperville AA.

      Here’s the conversation between John Lackey and Brandon Hyde before the stolen base:

      Hyde: The aren’t paying attention. Steal second base.
      Lackey: What?
      Hyde: You can do it. Steal second base.
      Lackey: I have no idea what you mean.
      Hyde: Run to the big sugar cube over there.
      Lackey takes off.

      I listened to the last inning on the At Bat app. Coomer kept calling Davis “Wad-o” (pronounced Way-Dough) and said he got the ball from Riz and that’s because of great PFP. (Which he explained later is pitcher’s fielding practice.) I had a mini-stroke trying to get my head around that, and missed a few batters, I guess, and then Baez was on second when I regained consciousness. Zobrist got hit or didn’t and then Coomer told me that KB did a great piece of hitting by laying off the pitch that led to Javy’s scoring run. Javy, by the way, showed great instincts and speed. I saw the play on ESPN later, and saw that even Alfonso Soriano doesn’t swing at that pitch (probably) and honestly? CAPS could have scored from third on that. It was not a great play by any Cub – it was a shitty pitch. Period. End of game. Why not say that?

      Rizzo has been on fire ever since being called out by Karen Hirsch. Karen, if you are there? Call out Happ, Heyward, Zobrist and Avila, next, please.

      • SouthCarolinaCubFan1991

        Ah, a fellow radio listener I presume (Binny’s joke)…….I gotta nice little chortle out of that.

      • Think anyone has moved their business to the Village of Bedford Park yet?

      • Eddie Von White

        “Big sugar cube over there” – priceless!

        Javy wouldn’t have even swung at that pitch. I didn’t hear Coomer’s Way-Dough or Play Dough or Riz or PFP or DDT or OMG or BFD – so thanks for the relay. I was wondering if Bryant was feeling some mixed emotions about the wild pitch. Sure it was the winning, walk off run, but he had nothing to do with it. I think he was just happy the team won.

      • cap’n realist

        After the pathetic Almora at bat, I kinda figured the only way the Cubs would win was if the Reds beat themselves. They didn’t disappoint.

      • Ben

        Binnys might go broke if that happened sherm lol

      • On fire Sherm.. ‘Coomy’ got comfortable at some point last season and went full-blown doofus

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Let’s hope he is not too comfortable, I do not want to see him in his jammies.

      • Seymour Butts

        Some Brennaman had a great call of the wild pitch. A dejected voice saying” and the Cubs just won.” Or something like that.
        Second walk off wild pitch loss for the Reds this week. Maybe they need some “try not to suck” T shirts.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Of course they would need to be sponsored by Binnys. That would also give an explanation for losing like that.

  • Junior Von White

    I too liked seeing maddon get fired up. That is something a manager needs to do for his players-step up and defend them against horrible calls-and joe did it very well last night.

    • Kyle

      Why are we saying it was a horrible call? The rule is, that if you swing at a pitch that hits you, it’s a strike. He was bunting and didn’t pull the bat back, which is the same as a swing.

      • Eddie Von White

        He was jumping back to avoid getting hit. He did not put the bat out there to bunt.

      • Kyle

        He had squared around to bunt before the pitch came. And then just didn’t pull bat back as he was trying to dodge the pitch, as would happen to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the call, I was just saying technically, based on the written rule, it was correct.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        And technically a broken clock is right twice a day, but it is still broken.

      • cap’n realist

        Zobrist had rotated himself committing to the bunt, then was in a precarious spot when the pitch was thrown at his back knee. It was self preservation that he ignored where the bat was and flailed to get out of the way. Technically the umpire may have been right, but that’s not a call you see made at the major league level very often. I didn’t think Maddon argued vehemently enough. This Cub team needed a full Lou Piniella Chernobyl-job. What Maddon did wouldn’t have even caused for evacuation of non-essential personnel from the core. Some yelling and a bunch of f bombs. He needed to kick some dirt, rain bats on the field, and Zambrano a Gatorade dispenser for effect. Just one more thing that disappoints me about the Cub manager.

      • Junior Von White

        Perhaps, but maddon is not known for getting fired up, thus an explosion like last night may have the same effect as a piniella type explosion simply because it is out of character for maddon.

        Either way, I like seeing a manager stick up for his players against the umpiring crew when questionable calls are made. I’m not a big Maddon fan, but I will give him credit for that.

      • Bryzzo1744

        He should pull the bases out of the ground and tell the umpire to get his eyes checked also.

      • Chances are good he set his teacup down abruptly upon his tea saucer.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        But did he break the saucer?

      • Junior Von White

        I think it was a horrible call. But let’s say for a minute that it wasn’t; I still like the fact that joe went out and made himself look like an idiot on Zobrist’s behalf. Maddon’s player just got hit and the umps are forcing to stand in the box and take another, and that’s not ok.

        On the flip side, imagine being a player and you just got hit on a questionable call and your manager says “oh well, rules are rules. don’t put the bat out next time.” I would not want to play for that guy, and every time a bad call is made I’d feel the need to defend myself to the ump and the manager. Just one more mental hurdle to deal with. So I say good job on this one Joe.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      At least the umpire in our game was technically correct, did any see what happened in the Red Sox Game, Matheny was ejected because the umpire blinked. It was hilarious.

      • Michael S.

        Didn’t catch that one, but there was one game where the HP ump tossed the Jays pitcher, catcher and manager in about a minute, want to say a week or two ago, on a pretty bad call.

  • Doc Raker

    I have very little faith in this bullpen, Rondon, Rodny, Rodo, Rooddo or whatever they call him needs to go out to pasture with Mr Ed. Gold Coast Bank gets no strike out play with Rodo but don’t worry SchwAAArbs makes up for it. SchwAAArber strikes out but you won’t strike out with Gold Coast Bank

    • Sherm

      I call him Rondon’t when he is coming in…and Rondidn’t when he is leaving.

      • Doug S.

        I’d rather call him a Cardinal.

      • Laugh out loud funny Doug.

  • Seymour Butts

    For all the tooth gnashing Lackey induces, I believe the Cubs have won his last 6 starts. He would have won all 6 himself if not for the bullpen implosion last night. Hard to blame him.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I agree he has pitched well recently, but he is such a likable fellow, that we all want to see him traded or something.

    • cap’n realist

      he was bad last night….the Reds were just worse. He loaded the bases in the first and wriggled off the hook when the bottom of the AA Reds order came up. He then put the first 2 hitters in the 2nd on base before the garbage Reds got themselves out again. Lackey is no longer what I would consider to be effective. He’s been lucky. We should check the babips.

      • Seymour Butts

        A Lucky Lackey with a check mark in the win column trumps a talented loser with a less woeful countenance.

      • I call him Lame Lackey.