Today’s game was over in the top of the first when the Padres scored two runs. It doesn’t take much these days to beat the Cubs and Matt Stairs’ double off the ivy proved to be the decisive hit as the Padres won 5-1 over the North Siders. Today’s highlights:
- Top 1st: Coleman starts out shaky but Castillo fires out of the block and cuts down Venable. Coleman looking real shaky now after walking the next two and hitting a batter. Stairs knocks in two with a double off the left field ivy. Headley thrown out 4-2 at the plate two outs, Coleman gets out of the inning.
- Bottom 2nd: Soriano doubles past Gwynn man on second one out. Richard ignores Soriano at second, Soriano steals third with one out (Cubs are last in the league in stolen bases.) Baker doubles to left center 2-1 Padres. Stairs robs Coleman with a diving catch to keep the lead at 2-1.
- Top 3rd: Gonzalez lines a solo to the left field bleachers, 3-1 SD.
The rest of the scoring was icing on the cake as the Pads took a 3-0 advantage in this four game series. The Cubbies took a long look at prospects today – Barney started and led off and went 1-4 for the day. Castro had a walk and a hit; Wellington Castro went 0-3 but had a nice throwout at second catching a decent base stealer in Venable. Coleman looked ineffective again, I’d like to see him finish out the rest of the season in Iowa (where the I-Cubs are embroiled in a playoff race 2.5 games ahead in their division.) Likewise with Diamond and Mateo, who have ERAs of 7.20 and 12:46 respectively. Since the Cubs have nothing to lose why not take another look at Samardzija, Mitch Atkins and a first look at Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who sports a 5-0 record and a 1.97 ERA for Iowa.
One assumes that Micah Hoffpauir will be brought up for yet another cup o’ coffee with the Cubs – Micah has 22 homeruns for Iowa but it’s hard to consider him as a prospect any more. I’m more interested in seeing what Brad Snyder and Bryan LaHair will do when it’s time for September callups. I’m impressed with the young San Diego team – they find ways to score and they don’t beat themselves. This is where I’d like to see the Cubs in 2013; tomorrow the Cubs get a look at 2006 eleventh round draft pick Mat Latos who presently sports a 2.32 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.
In other news it is generally reported that Derrek Lee is on his way to Atlanta for something other than a top prospect. Lee will reportedly accept the trade because it’s evident that the Cubs’ 2010 chances are over and the Braves are in the thick of it. While the Cubs are not likely to get much in return it does save them $3 million in salary which counts for something if you are the general manager or the owner. My best wishes to Derrek on the rest of his career; he is the third-best first baseman the Cubs have had since I began rooting for the team in 1968 (behind Mr. Cub and Mark Grace.) It remains to be seen as to whether or not the Cubs have finished trimming salary, my guess is that they are not.
Update: According to MLB.com the Cubs have received right-handed pitchers Robinson Lopez and Tyrelle Harris and left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Lorick in exchange for Derrek Lee, who will be in uniform for Atlanta when the Braves come to Wrigley on Friday. Lopez is 3-8 with a 4.41 ERA for Class A Rome, he has 70 strikeouts and 43 walks in 92 2/3 innings pitched. Harris appears to be the centerpiece of this trade – the 6’4″ righthander has struck out 60 in 49 2/3 IP and carries a 2.90 ERA with three teams this year. He’s held opposing batters to a .210 batting average. Lefthander Jeffrey Lorick also plays for Single A Rome; despite his 3-6 record he sports a 2.24 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings pitched. In summary, not a bad haul for a player the Cubs had no intention in bringing back for 2011.