I went to the birthday party yesterday and at the party, they had just recently purchased MLB 15 The Show on PS4. I’m not much of a video game player anymore, but this game looked really really good. We played a home run derby with 8 of us and I went to the finals with Bryce Harper only to come one home run short and lose to Miguel Cabrera. If you haven’t checked out video games lately, you’ll be amazed at how deep they are graphically. Now, on to what you need to know.
One Game Away From A Sweep
After a crappy series against the Phillies and a less than pretty series win against the Rockies, I was about ready to jump off the wagon for this season. After all, a four game series against the Brewers, a team that seemed to have our number early this year, didn’t bode well, but we’ve come out and roughed them up in the first three games of the series.
Yesterday it was Kyle Hendricks on the mound, so you never know what you’re going to get. We got good Hendricks. He went seven strong and only allowed a single run. I’m not sure what to make of Hendricks. He has the ability to pitch better than a 4th or 5th starter, but doesn’t seem to be able to put it together on a consistent basis to be counted on as more of a back end guy. I like him a lot, but I’m not sure I believe in him. It will be interesting to see what happens with him in the future and if he’s part of the core of this rotation or if he’s moved as a piece to get better.
Anthony Rizzo hit a home run again last night, which gave him a home run in each of his last four games. In case you’re wondering, the record is eight in a row, owned by Dale Long (1956) and Don Mattingly (1987). I remember the buzz around Mattingly going for it, and I wasn’t even a big sports fan at that point, as I was just nine years old. It would be pretty cool to see Rizzo get close.
If you missed the game, you should also check out the catch Jorge Soler made in the 9th inning to rob a home run.
Did We Find Our Closer?
I ask that completely in jest because of how fickle baseball and Joe Maddon can be when it comes to the closer. One thing I think we know right now is that Jason Motte is probably not the guy. He was given the opportunity last night and got pulled before he even had a chance to cough up the lead completely. Instead, Joe went to his new toy, Tommy Hunter who came in an uncorked a 99 mph heater to start and was notching the save before you could even finish writing his name down in the scorebook.
Right now, I think Hunter and Hector Rondon are probably the leaders in the club house for the role, and if you go to the post-season, ideally you’d want that defined if for no other reason than guys like to know how to prepare themselves mentally. I subscribe to using the best guy for the job at hand, regardless of inning, but that’s not how baseball is played right now.
Getting the Sweep is Going to Be Tough
While the Cubs made a trade to help anchor the end of the rotation by bringing in Dan Haren, he isn’t available to pitch today because of rest. As a result, we put the sweep hopes on Clayton Richard, who was recently demoted to AAA. He’ll be called up before today’s game, but it will be interesting to see what happens to make room for him. Currently the pitching staff is at 13 guys, which is far too many. You can’t in good conscience go to 14, can you? No one on the staff can simply be optioned with out some sort of difficulty. All have enough service time to make it difficult, so you would have to think that since Richard is a temporary player on this roster, the Cubs would either have to go through the process of potentially losing a guy (looking at you, Travis Wood), or they can designate Taylor Teagarden for assignment and go with the 2 catcher concept again, then DFA Richard after his start and recall someone like Matt Szczur for some outfield depth.
Could Another Bat Be On the Way?
If a report from the Sun Times is to be believed, the Cubs may have interest in acquiring Chase Utley this month for a late run. While I can see the upside of bringing someone like that in (veteran presence that has been there before and done it successfully), I would rather take my chances with Javier Baez at second down the stretch. I have a feeling Utley’s issues were bigger than just the leg injury. I think father time has caught up.
Down on the Farm
Speaking of Baez, last night he went 3-for-6 with a double and five RBI. Granted, he did strike out in the three at bats that didn’t produce a hit, but I’d gladly take that production. Since coming back to Iowa this year, he’s hitting .313 / .389 / .558 with 10 HR’s and 10 doubles in just 163 at bats. He’s going to be here sooner than later, so Starlin Castro better be watching his back.
Bonus Things To Know
- SB Nation’s Minor League Ball had a breakdown grading “All” the trades at the deadline. The problem? They didn’t break down the Hunter deal which is, in my opinion, just as important as the Haren trade.
- Miguel Montero will begin a rehab assignment with AA today and could be back in action with the big club very soon.
- Mike Baxter, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, has cleared waivers and been assigned to Iowa.
THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY
1932 – Cubs GM Bill Veeck, Sr. announces Charlie Grimm will take over for Rogers Hornsby, who was fired today as the skipper of the second-place club. The popular ‘Jolly Cholly’, who inherits the job in part due in part to his predecessor’s indebtness to his players to cover gambling debts, starts by winning 20 of 25 games as the team’s player manager, will lead the team to National League pennant this season.