Cashner Sails Against the Wind
My wife and I went to the I-Cub game tonight with friends. Free general admission for a donation to an organization that provides those in need with the "basic essentials." We got in for a can of shaving cream, a couple bars of soap, a toothbrush and a disposable razor.
It was a beautiful night with a breeze whipping out of the south @ 20-25 mph. A misty spray from the grounds crew hosing down the infield carried all the way to our seats behind the Iowa bullpen down the third baseline. My buddy and I agreed that a slugfest was in store.
I was surprised when Andrew Cashner came out and started throwing long toss. He was supposed to start tomorrow with an extra day of rest as a result of the team's off day earlier in the week. I didn't have a notebook or a pen or anything to make notes with plus I felt sorry for anybody having to pitch in the hitter-friendly conditions.
Well, Iowa won 1-0 in the Madduxian time of 1:52, the team's 11th win in 12 tries! The game proceeded so briskly that an extended intermission was required before the post-game fireworks show could launch - it wasn't dark enough yet!
Cashner retired the first 13 hitters he faced. He left after seven innings, 95 pitches, no walks, seven strikeouts and one hit batsman. He's now won all three of his Triple A starts and sports a glittering ERA of 0.95.
His fastball was at the knees or lower all night and clocking in the mid-90's.
Why did he pitch tonight? Maybe Oneri Fleita can answer that one. I thought I saw him on the field walking toward the team's clubhouse after the game ended. No doubt he was on his way to filing a glowing report on what he'd just seen in Des Moines.
I've seen headshots of Cashner before and watched him throw a couple of innings on TV in spring training. But in person he reminded me some of Jeff Weaver - blonde and lanky; hard-throwing.
In the managerial department the Iowa skipper ran the team out of a possible insurance run that wasn't needed after all when he wheeled Matt Camp around third with one out in the bottom of the 8th to try and score on Jim Adduci's single to center. Camp was out before he could even consider whether or not to slide. Adduci, by the way, made the play of the game when he leaped at the wall to snag a blast with the tying run on base and two outs in the top of the 7th. He also fielded the first hit off Cashner in the 5th when it came off the wall in left-center and held the hitter to a single. Those were the only two hard hit balls by either team all night.
Now I can go to a couple of graduation parties tomorrow afternoon instead of the ballpark. I may have just come from one tonight.
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.