Game #66 Preview: A's (33-34) @ Cubs (29-36)

Though it sounds like Jim Hendry truly couldn't care less, it's the first day of the Ari Kaplan Era at Wrigley Field. As for the game on the field, mlb.com reports that Randy Wells is looking at today's start against the A's as hitting the reset button on his thus far rocky season.

The irony, of course, is that Wells's employers might not be able to overlook the past quite as easily: since the beginning of May, the righty is 0-5, 6.47. His first-inning troubles have been especially ugly. In 13 Wells starts this year, opponents are hitting .357 against him in the opening inning and Wells's first-inning ERA is a Grabow-esque 11.25. (Stats from Baseball-Reference.com.)

Coleman & Deep Threat Deep Six Round Rock

The Iowa Cubs swept the Round Rock Express last night behind the strong starting pitching of Casey Coleman in the opener and Jeff Samardzija in the nightcap.

Coleman retired the last 21 men he faced after the first two got hits in going the route [PCL doubleheader games last only seven innings].

Samardzija ran his record to 5-0 with five scoreless innings in game two. It was his second straight start after pitching out of the I-Cub bullpen since his demotion from Chicago in April. His return to the rotation was brought about by the brief promotion of Mitch Atkins who's now been returned to Iowa in exchange for John Grabow.

Game #64 Preview: A's @ Cubs

The A's make their second-ever visit to Wrigley Field—the Cubs are the only National League never to have played in Oakland—having been swept this past weekend in San Francisco.

The weather forecast is not promising, with Weather.com saying there is a 100% chance of precipitation through the shank of the evening. Is there a rainout-forced doubleheader in these teams' immediate future? If there's anything better than interleague play, it's an interleague doubleheader made necessary by the screwy MLB schedule...which became infinitely screwier when MLB adopted interleague play.

Here Come the Hawks, the Mighty... Boise Hawks!

6/15 UPDATE: BOISE OPENING DAY ROSTER HAS BEEN RELEASED (see COMMENT #11 below)


Arismendy Alcantara singled, doubled, and tripled, stole a base, drove-in three runs, and scored two more, Richard Jones and Wes Darvill had three hits a piece, and Alvaro Ramirez clubbed a two-run HR, but it wasn’t enough, as Kyung-Min Na had three hits, stole two bases, and scored twice, and Xavier Batista had three RBI, leading the upstart AZL Cubs (Mesa Cubs) to a 9-7 victory over the Boise Hawks at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning. The game was a pre-planned eleven-inning contest.

This was the final tune-up for the Hawks, who will fly from Phoenix to Boise tomorrow morning. Their first game will be Friday night at Yakima.

Game #63 recap: Cubs 1, White Sox 0, Lilly Almost

Addendum: In cycling through Cub no-hit history, ESPN's Jon Miller mentioned that the Cubs have not been on the short end of a no-hitter since Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against the Cubs back in 1965. That was the game that saw Cub loser Bob Hendley allow the Dodgers just one hit. Joe Morgan intoned that he heard the ninth inning of that game on the radio as he and his Houston Astro teammates drove into the city from the L.A. airport; they were scheduled to play the Dodgers the next night. Morgan said he specifically remembered Koufax striking out Ernie Banks in the 9th to preserve the perfect game. Would it surprise you to know that Morgan was wrong? Nope. Didn't surprise me either.

 


 

The Cubs held on to beat the White Sox, 1-0, Sunday night at Wrigley Field. The game saw Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd locked up in a double no-hit duel until Alfonso Soriano collected the game's first hit, a double inside the leftfield line with two out in the Cubs seventh. Chad Tracy then followed with a sharp ground-ball single that plated Soriano with the game's only run.

The Opposable, Not Disposable Thumb

 

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner, eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum...

Just to take our minds off the train wreck that the 2010 season has become, I'm going to tangent into just what made Aramis Ramirez so miserable this year. His left thumb injury (diagnosed as a deep bone bruise) may or not have been related to his season long slump or it just may have prevented him from coming out of it as the weather warmed up. He's been 'missing', even when present for most of 2010 which is somewhat different than his absence last season, starting on May 9th, 2009 from what happened at a similar point in the season, when he dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball on May 8th in Milwaukee.

From a Gordon Wittenmeyer, Sun-Times article:

Ramirez, mired in a two-month slump, first hurt the hand on a swing-and-miss May 9 in Cincinnati. When it got worse two weeks later, the Cubs considered putting him on the DL, ''but I didn't want to do it because I thought I was good enough to play,'' said Ramirez, who got a cortisone shot instead. Manipulating his bat handle to take pressure off the top of the left hand also didn't work because it was uncomfortable, he said.

''This is the right time to do it. This is the right thing to do,'' he said.

He'll be eligible to return June 23 in Seattle, but a return then is anything but certain considering the down time that'll require before he is even allowed to resume normal baseball activities.

Supposedly, his injury was a deep bone bruise. I have not read any reports about an injured ligament. He has tried to play through the soreness but his thumb kept getting re-traumatized from his attempts at hitting. He didn't want to go on the DL until it was clear he couldn't shake the injury.

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  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 58 min 54 sec ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 1 hour 46 min ago view
  • 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 3 hours 10 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 3 hours 11 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 3 hours 17 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 3 hours 21 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 25 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 3 hours 33 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 3 hours 35 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 3 hours 41 min ago view
  • QuietMan 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 4 hours 8 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 4 hours 47 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 5 hours 31 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 5 hours 42 min ago view