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.

Comments

WTF?!?

Thanks, Mike!

btw, one holdover of the OLD cub way is that all of the i-cubs wear their pants tucked just below the knee; rr's were all pj style...

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

“I think he’s a smarter guy than you’d think form across the field,” Epstein said. “And I don’t mean that the wrong way. You watch him and how energetic and extroverted and fidgety he can be looking at him from across the field, you get a certain impression about him that maybe he’s not always thinking things through. But the reality is that he actually has a method to his madness.

“He knows himself really well and he understands the game really well. He knows how to prepare and I think there is a lot more going on upstairs than people give him credit for.”

Because I'm sure people care a great deal about the going-ons in my life, I went to our Fort Wayne Tincaps opener yesterday evening with my two daughters. Baseball is a great sport and a great tradition.

Also, beer and hot dogs.

Nice! And cheap for you! What affiliation are these Hubcaps?

I have never been to a minor league game I am ashamed to say.

Maybe this year.

Hubcaps... hah. San Diego Padres. Had Matt Bush playing here several years ago. :)

Ha! I was also Midwest League-ing it last night, Lansing Lugnuts v. MSU. It is nice out for only being 39 degrees.

I'm hoping to take my two daughters to the Silverhawks when Peoria comes to town for a three game set.

I think my wife works that weekend, so it would be me versus them to be able to actually watch the game (they'll be 6mo and 21mo by then). Wish me luck

Benadryl.

Yikes. My kids are 5 & 6. They are a bit easier to contain and placate at this age.

Beer and hot dogs will do that.

Mike - Thanks for this!

I was hoping to see your wrap last night as I wanted a 1st person account to read, But I'll take what I can get!

As several have said already, the better show may be where you are living this year.

Good work, Mike! Looking forward to your updates this year with the best AAA team Iowa has had in as long as I can remember.

Also, I'm making my first-ever stop at Principal Park in late July. However, I believe a lot of the talent will be in Chicago by then.

walk, K, HR so far today...

lou pinella doing TV for YES Network vs TB...badly

countdown til he quits on that job...

also, lol sabitha....c.pena grand slam.

Dunn and Pena both starting for my fantasy team. I'm just that awesome. Also, I don't have any actual good 1B.

I take back anything nice I said about The brewers. Seem to think batting Alex Gonzalez 6th is a viable option.

m.rivera fail @NY...this game has been good. screw you winter. go spring.

also, c.pena had a great homecoming with a walkoff hit + grandslam for TB.

Thanks Mike. Excited to see the I-Cubs when they arrive here in Austin/Round Rock next weekend. As a former Des Moines resident, I do really miss Sec Taylor/Principal park located downtown. Driving thru traffic all the way out to the edge of Round Rock suburbia is a real pain.

I heard this today, didn't realize it was an interview from last year. It's a long listen, but it's a pretty awesome interview about the art of catching.

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/06/150059218/behin...

It's also worth mentioning that all the sports radio stations today were talking about football ... during opening weekend in early April! Only NPR had my baseball talk hook-up.

I heard that on the radio, too... it was really good.

AA and AAA Active List roster limits have been increased from 24 to 25 this season, and both Tennessee and Iowa have 13-man pitching staffs.

And, Concepcion has been added to Daytona to make 26.

Can Theo Re-write the MiLB rules?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 7:36pm — Childersb3

And, Concepcion has been added to Daytona to make 26.

Can Theo Re-write the MiLB rules?

=================================

CHILDERS: Immediately after being optioned to Daytona, Gerardo Concepcion was placed on the D-Cubs 7-day DL. He is still at Fitch Park, and he did throw 3.1 IP in an intrasquad game on Wednesday.

So the Cubs could have placed Concepcion on their MLB 60-day DL instead of trying to sneak John Gaub through waivers. Then Concepcion could have spent a month or two at EXST (which he's going to do anyway), then go on a 30-day "minor league rehab" at Daytona, and then be reactivated from the 60-day DL sometime in June or July (or whenever a 40-man roster slot becomes available later in the season).

Remember, placing a player on the 60-day DL doesn't mean the player has an injury that will sideline him for two months. It just means that the player can't be reinstated to an active list for 60 days. If a player is placed on an MLB 15-day DL or minor league 7-day DL with a sprained hangnail, he can be placed on the 60-day DL with the exact same injury.

It will be interesting to see what corresponding roster move is made when Rodrigo Lopez is added to the Cubs 25-man roster (and 40-man roster). There also is the mystery of why the Cubs did not add Lopez to their 40-man roster (and 25-man roster) prior to Opening Day to avoid paying the $100,000 retention bonus that post-2011 Article XX-B free-agents like Lopez get if they are not released by the 5th day prior to Opening Day or added to the MLB 40-man roster by Opening Day.

Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, Blake DeWitt, and Ian Stewart are the only position players presently on the Cubs MLB 25-man roster who have options left and who cannot refuse an optional assignment to the minors, so unless Marlon Byrd gets traded, DeWitt will likely be optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez. And if DeWitt does get optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez, why was DeWit added to the 40-man roster (instead of Lopez) if DeWitt is only on the 25-man roster for one game?

If DeWitt is optioned to Iowa to make room for Lopez on the 25-man roster, who gets dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for Lopez?

Lendy Castillo could get dropped from the 40 (especially if the Cubs work out a trade with the Phillies to keep L. Castillo), but then who replaces L. Castillo on the 25-man roster? Players on the 40-man roster who are optioned to the minors during Spring Training must remain on Optional Assignent for the first 10 days of the MLB regular season unless the player is recalled to replace another player on the 25-man roster who is placed on an inactive list (Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity Leave List, etc), so a pitcher like Scott Maine, Casey Coleman, or Randy Wells cannot be recalled until April 13th unless he replaces a player who is moved to an inactive list.

Bryan LaHair could be placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to last Saturday (meaning he could be reactivated as soon as Sunday April 14th) and go to Mesa and hit in some EXST games next week, and then a pitcher (like Maine, Coleman, Wells, et al) could be recalled, but it sounds like LaHair is ready to return to action tomorrow.

And now, Iowa has 14 pitchers on their roster. Lopez, Caridad, Cruz and Corpas.

At least one of those will go east to CHC. Another will be cut more than likely.

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  • 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?

    QuietMan 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    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.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • 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.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • QuietMan 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 2 hours 54 min ago view
  • 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.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • 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.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?

    The E-Man 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!

    billybucks 12 hours 39 min ago view