Guest Pitchers Aboard for Hoffpauired Win Streak
Micah Hoffpauir was activated a week ago and the Iowa Cubs haven't lost since. In the last two games alone he's driven in more runs than the pesky redhead has in 23. Yesterday he manned a post in right-field, possibly as a Plan B in the event of a failed Jim Edmonds experiment.
Meanwhile Kevin Hart was 'stretched out' from 67 pitches in his previous start all the way to 68 yesterday; from 3.2 innings all the way to four.
Hart's stuff is overpowering at this level. Yesterday he allowed only two hits [one a windblown, first inning homer] and a walk while whiffing six. Command and efficiency remain the objectives. It took him 51 pitches to get the first six outs, five of which were strikeouts; only 16 to get the next six, only one of which was a 'K'.
I cannot account for the fact that he wasn't allowed to at least start the fifth and build on his previous workload, especially given that he seemed to be finding a groove in the third and fourth.
All told he threw a first pitch stike to nine of the 15 hitters he faced and retired all nine of them.
Pitching coach Mike Mason paid Hart a very brief visit on the mound in the second inning after his 41st pitch. He must have said something like, 'fucq k's' because Hart's work was more to the point afterwards.
Sean Marshall's start on this stand was ordinary and little more than a workout. He threw 63 pitches while going four innings on May 12 and allowed a couple ER's while walking two and striking out three as he converts back from reliever to starter mode.
As for Rich Hill, he's walked five and fanned 13 over the course of 11 innings spanning his two starts for the I-Cubs. Nothing new here; great stuff, poor command, questionable intensity level...
After getting off to a chilly start compared to last year's club which both entertained fans here in Des Moines AND contributed mightily to the success in Chicago, the I-Cubs now seem poised to again play a key organizational role come summer.
Whether that role is as a supplier of trade bait or reinforcements in Chicago remains to be seen.
The word here is that Chicago ordered Hoffpauir's move from 1B to right. Yesterday he made a nice leaping grab to end the second inning when the opposing pitcher was the first to put a ball in play versus Hart.
CRUMBS: The pesky redhead's chronic bout of extra-baselessness finally came to an end on Sunday when he doubled to right after nearly a hundred plate appearances. He followed that with a two-double game on Monday before reverting to singularity in yesterday's 5-2 win [Hoffpauir drove in all five with a three-run homer and a double]...Mike Burns is a 30-year-old journeyman who was 4-9 a year ago for the Pawsox in the Boston system, but he has fanned 34 and walked only six while swinging between the rotation and the bullpen here this year...will be interesting to see if Felix pouts when he comes back in the wake of Edmonds' acquisition; last year when he was sent down he arrived in time to play a night game on the same day he got the bad news...since Hoffpauir joined the team they have outscored opponents 42-15 during their seven-game win streak...MW
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
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.