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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  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 3 hours 35 sec ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 3 hours 54 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 4 hours 48 sec ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • 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.

    blockhead25 4 hours 21 min ago view
  • ...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.

    crunch 4 hours 36 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 4 hours 37 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 7 hours 28 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 10 hours 1 min ago view
  • 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.

    chitownmvp01 10 hours 33 min ago view
  • 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.

    chitownmvp01 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 12 hours 32 min ago view
  • I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

    JoePepitone 14 hours 52 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 15 hours 47 min ago view