Game 5 Quick Recap - Cashner is King
The Gist: It seems the weekday recaps are gonna be a little harder to get to for me. Andrew Cashner got his first major league start and threw quite well except for a 3rd inning home run to Ryan Roberts. He made it into the 6th on just 72 pitches (43 for strikes) and 10 groundballs to 5 flyballs. Then the bad news...he felt something in his shoulder and left the game with a 4-1 lead and went for an MRI, which we should hear the results tomorrow.
That meant going to the depleted bullpen that was without the services of Marmol and Wood. Samardzija was up first and pitched quite well in the 6th, striking out Kelly Johnson and Justin Upton to end the inning on some nice breaking pitches. Q-Ball tempted fate though by putting Samardzija out there in the 7th and he promptly walked the leadoff man. He did get the next batter on a fielder choice and then after a visit by Q-Ball, walked the next batter to end his day(good pep talk). That meant Marcus Mateo who had nothing going for him as he walked a hitter and gave up a single to allow the first of Samardzija's inherited runs.. In came James Russell, who got the lefty Russ Branyan swinging, but gave up a single up the middle to Willie Bloomquist that tied the game before ending the inning by getting Kelly Johnson out.
The Cubs came back in the 7th to take the lead again with Byrd's third hit of the day(welcome to the 2011 season) plating the lead run and Tyler Colvin walking with the bases loaded for the needed insurance run. Russell came back out in the 8th, with Q-Ball clearly saving John Grabow for possible extras and Sean Marshall for the 9th. He promptly gave up a leadoff single, but that was erased by a 3-6-1 double play started by Colvin and awkawrdly finished by Russell who somehow kept his foot on the bag on the throw back. And then ended the inning striking out Chris Young.
Marshall got in a little trouble in the 9th, giving a run back. But an amazing play by Starlin Castro to nail Xavier Nady on a bouncer that went off Marshall's glove that Castro came in on, barehanded and whipped across on a short hop probably saved the day (replays did show that Nady was safe). Then Marshall ended it by getting Bloomquist swinging for his first save of the season.
Some other notes...
- Fukudome got on base 3 out of 5 times out of the leadoff spot which is great. What wasn't great was him not advancing to third in the first on Byrd's looper down the left field line. The ball was heading toward the left field line which means Fukudome easily could have been standing on 2nd and even slightly past even if he thought there was any chance to catch it and should have been hustling to third the second he could see the catch wasn't going to be made. This isn't a question of speed, but of awareness. And of course Ramirez flies deep to left the next at-bat that would have scored him. Then in the second he got nailed at home on a gapper to left by Castro. That one didn't seem too bad, a lesser leadoff man doesn't get on-base in the first place to get Castro up there and Young did cut it off from getting to the wall and of course the nice relay home.
- Assuming Cashner misses at least one start, with the off day Thursday, the next time a 5th starter is needed is at Houston on Tuesday. My assumption is Casey Coleman would be first in line for a start, meaning a roster move (likely Cashner to the DL, but possibly someone else getting sent down if he's only missing the one start). If the injury ends up being serious, I don't think the Cubs will go back to Carlos Silva, seemed some bridges were burned when he departed. I would of course love for the Cubs to go after the Twins Kevin Slowey, but don't know the asking price (allegedly a reliever that can help now...think Sean Marshall quality) or how Slowey's arm is doing after his injury last year.
Me: "I stepped away from the computer. How did Koyie Hill get on-base? Act of God?
sbwilliams: "He walked on four pitches...so yes."
Cubs go for the sweep today before the day off on Thursday...Armando Galarraga vs. Ryan Dempster.
AL pitcher hits a home run for a 1-0 lead. There goes perspective
Here are the ERAs for the last five starting pitchers:
At what point does the manager note it's not the "other pitcher"?
And why does he start Montero in the middle of a downturn?
Some perspective (mostly for my own benefit): Dan Straily beat MadBum 2-1 today as the Reds took 2 of 3 in SF. Giants are 2-9 since the break and their lead over LA is down to 2.5 games. So, yeah...baseball. It'll drive ya nuts.
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup