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.
Very nice. I saw him in Lansing in May. I'm still stunned that he hit a 400-foot foul ball onto Larch Street ... which is going the other way for a right-handed batter. It was perhaps the most amazing swing I've ever seen a minor league player take. I should also mention that it was about 40 degrees out at the time. Not that it's evidence of anything per se, but I feel his plate approach is way more advanced than Soler was at this stage in his development and that the comparisons aren't really fair to Jimenez. 50/50 chance I'll go to Midland tonight for the low-A debut of Oscar de la Cruz.
Eloy Jimenez grand slam tonight. Hoping Soler power returns and gets hot but future looks bright in the outfield regardless.
Finished the night 4-5, with two doubles - 32(!) on the season - along with the grand slam. Sick
Meanwhile, out West:
SF is 2-11 since the break, lead over LA is down to one game, and they are running out Cain and Peavy this weekend against the Nats. Challenging times by the Bay.
Thanks for the updates Phil. Too bad about Frazier.
The Cubs have released RHRP Scott Frazier (2013 7th round dfraft pick - Pepperdine).
A Cubs pitching coach told me in Spring Training 2014 that he thought Frazier had the best pure stuff in the organization. Absolutely electric fastball & breaking ball combo. Other pitchers would gather behind the screen just to watch him throw "live" BP. That's how amazing he was.
Got a chance to see Diamondbacks RHSP Zack Greinke (15-day DL - strained oblique) throw a rehab start at Sloan Park Friday night. Four of the first seven AZL Cubs hitters singled and the Cubs did score an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then Greinke got serious and struck out five in a row.
ZACK GREINKE: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 4/0 GO/AO, 49 pitches (34 strikes)
Have fun - It may be good for Arrieta to be facing a team that doesn't know him as well as the NL teams. A nice shutout would do wonders for his confidence. He is confident in public but baseball is hard and he could use a boost, I'm sure.
Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.
Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
Hope they can sustain it.
Don't sell yourself short, Judge.
I love this team.
Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.
Hey! I remember this team!
The key for Heyward's offense: get early leads. Heard a stat on Mike & Mike on the way to work that his avg/power much better this year when the Cubs have the lead. And true to form he gets the two run dinger with Cubs winning 3-0 ...
I'm sorry - I was probably not looking at the correct line, or spot, or...who knows!
I could blame it on the weed, but I stopped smoking many years ago.
Fortunately, I can rely on the rest of you sober and astute folks to bring the correct info forth.
Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.
Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.
I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....