I-Cub Jabs Outpoint Round Rock Roundhousers
Tuesday night I endured a local school board meeting. It comes with the territory of my day job. I sat glassy-eyed in the gallery, my mind drifting ahead 48 hours at which point I would be sitting in the stands on Opening Night at Principal Park, cracking open peanut shells instead of stifling yawns.
After work on Wednesday I went to the ballpark to collect my media credential. The I-Cubs were starting to assemble on the field for an informal meet-the-public workout. It was nice out and the diamond sparkled under the hoses and mowers of the grounds crew. It was technicolored and I wanted to hang around but couldn’t.
Then yesterday at lunchtime I parked beneath a flowering crab apple tree to enjoy a sandwich while I listened to the pregame goings-on at Wrigley Field. It was another nice day and a breeze blew a flurry of petals through my downed window like ticker tape about the time Keith Moreland and Dale Sveum were laboring through their interview like a junior high couple at their first dance. They’ll, you know, get, you know, better as the season unfolds. Perhaps their Cubs will too.
As for the ones here in Des Moines…
Last night was a great one for baseball and the I-Cubs played accordingly.
After falling behind early they raced ahead, literally, in the middle innings by which time a full moon was hanging over the park like a fat, hit-me slider.
Wells allowed but two hits in his six frames and both were homers. At one point the game was tied at three and Rolling, I mean Round Rock had landed their two uppercuts while Iowa had jabbed eight singles. I had Wells for first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 22 hitters he faced and a 9:3 GO/FO ratio. In the first inning every ball put in play went to Adrian Cardenas at 2B who had seven assists all told.
Other first impressions of what appears to be, pending call-ups, demotions, etc. a hustling team as per the New & Improved Cub Way:
*Brett Jackson - Made a slick diving catch in center. Fanned on three pitches his first trip before walking on four his second. Later beat out an infield hit and lined a single on a 3-0 pitch. Also stole a base.
*Anthony Rizzo - Singled twice, drove in a run, stole a base and looked very smooth defensively.
*Tony Campana – He looks like a little leaguer and races around the diamond like it was little league-sized. Had to fly to work at the last minute yesterday and never stopped flying all night. Had a bunt single, a stolen base and even muscled up for a sac fly to center, though that poke would not have been deep enough to score anyone other than Dave Sappelt who looks like a black Campana with muscles. In other words, he too is tiny. But the play of the game happened with Campana on second and two out in the fourth. Jackson bounced one to third and while he was beating it out Campana wheeled around third without hesitation and scored rather easily.
*Wellington Castillo – Kept getting in the way of things. Twice hit by pitches, cited for catcher’s interference and also threw out a base stealer who had a great jump on Wells.
*The bullpen – Manny Corpas looked strong in two scoreless innings and Scott Maine fanned two while notching the save.
The only base-running gaffe happened when Josh Vitters belly-flopped around second while going first to third on a single and was erased. Had he not stumbled he would have made it.
Edgar Gonzalez hit third and DH’d for the I-Cubs. Apparently he’s the brother of Adrian. The other notable name of the night was Mark Hamburger, RR’s starting pitcher. I’ll just leave that one to your own imaginations.
Vitters hit eighth, ahead of shortstop Matt Tolbert who also tried to bunt for a hit and was nipped on a close play. In one of his AB’s Jackson too attempted to lay one down in a non-sacrifice situation but fouled it off.
I’m planning to go back tonight. Coleman’s slated to pitch.
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
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.
I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.
Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.
The Cubs are stronger defensively than most of the teams they play. In order to capitalize on that, they have to a) put the ball in play and b) run the bases aggressively.
That said, Cabrera has a strong, accurate arm, as witnessed by his 97 outfield assists over 12 seasons--mostly left field but also a lot of center. Bryant is rarely thrown out, but I guess you have to know who's throwing the ball.