Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Remember when Junior Lake was all the rage? Remember when he was recalled from Iowa and set the Cubs world on fire? Things haven’t gone quite as planned for him in his mind, but last night he was back. I say that somewhat in jest, but last night he really was a vital part of what the team did to earn the win. A 2-for-5 day at the plate that included a double, a single, an RBI and a run scored coupled with an assist in the outfield and you’ve got yourself a nice day to introduce yourself to Joe Maddon. When Lake came up and did well, people were massively overvaluing him and what his ceiling was. As a result, when he wasn’t reaching or even coming close to that ceiling, they were disappointed. The fact is, Lake is not a star and never will be a star. In fact, he’s probably not even a starter on most teams in the league. What he can be is an above average player that can come off the bench and play multiple positions. He can provide a spark with the bat as well, but to think he has the talent to be an everyday guy is just silly. For now, enjoy the games like last night and know that is the ceiling.
On the mound last night, that’s about as good as it gets. Seven strong innings from your starter, particularly one of your back end three and then two blemish free innings of pen work from the setup guys and you’re out of there with a win. Those types of games have been non-existent for the Cubs in that last decade or so, and it’s nice to be able to not be worried about losing late in a game. Heck, it’s nice to even be winning late in a game. For Wood, he’s now made four starts. His posted game score for them have been (in order): 41, 76, 50, 68. Up, down, up, down. Overall results are quite pleasing, but I’d like to see a second straight “up” start next time out. I believe in Wood a lot. I was a big advocate this off-season that he needed to be a part of this rotation. I still think 2015 is going to be a significant improvement over 2014 and that he could potentially be part of the rotation in 2016 and beyond. It starts with baby steps and that means putting together another good start next time out to go with this one.
Outside of those things, the other really cool thing about this year is the propensity for the Cubs to steal bases. That strikes me as odd, as the stolen base is seen as one of the more risky endeavors in the SABER community, unless you’re over a 70% success rate or so. Maddon is generally regarded as a statistically minded manager so to see him stealing was a little surprising. That said, the Cubs are now 2nd in MLB with 25 stolen bases on the season, one behind the Astros. They have run at an 80.7% success rate. Keep on running, guys!!!
THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY
1913 – Wearing White Sox uniforms, the Reds are defeated by the Cubs, 7-2, at Chicago’s West Side Park. Cincinnati forgot to pack uniforms and had to don those worn by their opponents’ crosstown rivals.
1983 – After a 7-2 loss to L.A. at Wrigley Field, Cubs manager Lee Elia launches into an obscenity-laced tirade, that will become a much-reported media story on the airwaves and in print for days to come. The Chicago skipper’s rant clearly shows his frustration with the team’s fan base, “the (bleepers) don’t even work. That’s why they’re out at the (bleeping) game. They oughtta go out and get a (bleeping) job and find out what it’s like to go out and earn a (bleeping) living. Eighty-five percent of the (bleeping) world is working. The other 15 come out here. A (bleeping) playground for the (bleepers). Rip them (bleepers)! Rip them (bleeping) (bleepers) like the (bleeping) players!”
1987 – Andre Dawson hits for the cycle in the Cubs’ 8-4 victory over San Francisco at Wrigley Field. The ‘Hawk’, who enjoys a five-hit day, completes the feat with a sixth inning triple, one of only two he will collect for the entire season.
1995 – Unlike yesterday’s Opening Day crowd which was supportive, some of the 28,244 fans at today’s Wrigley Field game show their displeasure with the recent baseball strike by littering the field with souvenir magnetic schedules. The incident, which took place in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Montreal, delayed the contest five minutes.
2005 – In a match up of 300-game winners, Greg Maddux bests Roger Clemens as the Cubs edge the Astros at Minute Maid Park, 3-2. The last such a showdown occurred in 1987 when Angels’ hurler Don Sutton defeated Twins southpaw Steve Carlton.
2007 – Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock dies on impact in an early morning automobile accident when his 2007 Ford Explorer slams into a parked tow truck in the westbound lane of Highway 40 in St. Louis. In respect to the well-liked 29 year-old, the nationally televised game scheduled for tonight against the Cubs is postponed.
2010 – During the Diamondbacks game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, scores of protesters wave signs and chant, “Boycott Arizona! Boycott Arizona!” on the sidewalk outside the ballpark. The demonstration is in response to the state’s recently enacted illegal-immigration law, with organizers hoping the movement will inspire baseball fans to stay away from contests that feature the team from The Grand Canyon State.
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