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Out in the cold

Out in the cold

The only thing colder than the frigid 30 degree weather was the Cub bats as Wandy "Koufax" Rodriguez shut down the North side nine 3-0. The Cubs could manage only 2 hits off Rodriguez over 6 and 2/3rds. Something named Tony Watson would shut the door on a bases loaded threat in the 7th, hold them down in the 8th and turn it over to the "Huh? What? I'm the closer? I mean I'm the closer!!!!" Jason Grilli, who naturally mowed down the Cubs as if he were Kent Tekulve reborn. Cubs are now 1-1 and I have the hankerin for a hot chocolate. There's panic n the streets of London so let's hang the DJ...

A Mighty Edwin

Edwin Jackson summed up his entire checkered career tonight. Started out strong, striking out the side in the first inning. And he cruised through the first three. But then the fourth came around and the dominance went on a union mandated break. A Garrett Jones single followed by an Andrew McCutchen double keyed a 29 pitch 2 run inning (aided by a Castro error) that would shorten Edwin jackson's night.5 innings 3 hits, 2 runs walked 1 while striking out 5. Not bad But could have been better. Rondon, Bowden, Camp, and Takahashi looked very cold while only allowing 1 run over the remaining three.

 

Rowson first.

So it's only two games and nobody should really draw any conclusions about anything. But that's 19 K's over the first two games. Rudy Jaramillo is gone right? James Rowson was kept I assume in part because of his work with young hitters. And last year the motto was that he was brought in without the benefit of getting to work with the hitters. Well, that excuse doesn't exist. Maybe this thing fades rather quickly. But it sure looks a lot like last year so far.

 

I can't find the Lillibridge.

Ironically, there were two classic examples of what at-bats should look like under this new regime. In the 7th. After Anthony Rizzo got on first getting hit by a pitch ( and making every Cub fan's heart leap into their throat.) Soriano immediately went down 0-2 but battled off the next six pitches before singling a single to left. Another HBP and Brent Lillibridge came up with the bases loaded. He would work a perfect 10 pitch at-bat before going all Marcel Maceau and looking at strike 3. That's the type of at bat you like to see. But you need to make those types of at bats work for you. Aggravating.

 

So 1-1. That's fine. And I'm glad the game is over. I was cold just watching it. Travis Wood takes on James MacDonald in the rubber match before shuffling off to Atlanta. And thankfully MacDonald is a righty, so we don't have to see this lineup again. Onwards

 

 

Boxscore.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Cold, Cubs, edwin jackson, James

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  • There will be more games like this, I hope not to many

  • I know. And me too.

  • Entertaining write up, nonetheless !

  • Thank you sir.

  • I think that's actually 24 K's in 2 games, which is pretty scary... A .131 batting average... Not to mention 0 for 13 with RISP... I thought Sveum wanted to focus on situational hitting... Worse part is that most of that 0 for 13 have been K's... I'd take a 1 pitch sac fly over Lillibridge's 10 pitch K.

    Hopefully we get to McDonald tomorrow and the good Tr Wood shows up.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Over the long run, those long at-bats will be helpful. They just didn't turn out tonight. Also, I think it's important to distinguish between the performance of the guys who are part of the future and those who are just killing time. So far, Team Future (Castillo, Castro & Rizzo) is hitting .250 (5/20) with two doubles and a homer. It's The Expendables who are really stinking up the joint. We may not be able to deal them for much value, but they seem intent on trying to improve our prospects for the 2014 draft.

  • In reply to Taft:

    True true and I'm not saying I'm against the long ab's, I'm just saying that in that particular situation where Lilli K'd, I would trade that 10-pitch AB for a 1 pitch sac fly... You can say that it was a good ab, but a bases loaded 1 out strikeout is just a bad result regardless of the battle.

  • In reply to Caps:

    A couple of thoughts in response:

    1) All a hitter can control is the swings he takes, but you can't expect him to be able to put the ball exactly where he wants. Lillibridge in that at bat had two 2-strike foul balls, one that missed being a bases-clearing double by a few feet, and one that curved just foul of being a grand slam. It doesn't count on the board, but it's admirable nonetheless that he could do that after being down 0-2 against Rodriguez, who had a filthy curve working this evening.

    2) Running up Rodriguez' pitch count at that point in the evening was important. Sori's long at bat and Lillibridge's put Wandy over 100 pitches, and he had entered that inning with about 73 pitches or so. That's important, especially at this time of the year when pitchers have only been going 90 pitches or so. Especially important because Rodriguez had been nearly unhittable and the Pirates' bullpen is not that great. Lillibridge's at bat happened with one out, and Rodriguez was clearly on his last legs after it was over. There was no telling who Pittsburgh would bring in, but chances were good it would be someone pretty hittable (although it didn't work out).

    Lillibridge did a good job. It just didn't work out the Cubs' way this time.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    nicely done.

  • In reply to Caps:

    This.

    10 pitch AB's are nice and all but if the guy doesn't walk or bean you at some point you have to hit a Fair Ball.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    That's what I'm saying, it was a great ab, but we need results too... So, even though the ab was great, I would prefer to see him hit the ball fair and drive in at least a run, even if it is a 1st pitch ab... I think most players will tell you they would trade a 10 pitch strikeout for a 1 pitch rbi result in that situation.

  • Anyone knows how the exhibition game in Daytona went? I can't find any updates.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I checked too, but nothing on the Daytona Cubs site. It could have been rained out; there was steady rain throughout NE Florida. And....Heavy storms for today and this evening may wash out the Opener.
    Patience.

  • So not that it matters but I was watching the replay of Rizzo getting " plunked" in the 7th and I think that performance deserves an Oscar! He went down like it hit his head and my heart stopped,then during the replay they said it hit his upper arm. Anyone else hink it cracked off the bat. Anyway to get on base though ill take it

  • In reply to Drew85:

    It hit his bat, which made it look much worse than it was.
    Grazed his arm first.so HBP was the correct call.

    When I first saw it I thought it hit him right on the "C" on his helmet.

  • Great recap sir Felzz, always enjoyable.

    Wandy Rodriguez owns the Cubs. I'm pretty sure he has the pink slip to prove said ownership too. They just can't do anything off of him or any other soft tossing lefty actually. That seems to be the Cubs' achilles heel. And watching the righty dominant lineup is downright annoying. I just wish the cubs had players who could hit right and lefty both well so we wouldn't be subject to the stacked righty lineup. I wish Logan Watkins was playing with the ML team instead of Gonzalez.

  • In reply to jamespk:

    Why are they not giving Logan Watkins a shot? With Barney out a few more days its the perfect opportunity for both team/FO and the kid

  • In reply to jamespk:

    Thank you James. Nice comments.

    And love the pink slip line.

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    I know it's injury induced but Lillibridge in the line up sucks!!!

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Barney might not have been much better in that situation though.

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    I think it's a little early to be getting on the coaching staff. Jaramillo's firing was as much about his philosophy versus the front office's philosophy as much as it was anything else. The two just didn't mesh. This may be year 2 of the new regime, but this is still a team without a whole lot of young impact talent at the major league level. Take Rizzo and Castro out of the equation, and every position player on this team is a role player. .Yes, it was frustrating to watch them load the bases with one out and not get any runs in, but it shouldn't be surprising. To paraphrase Denny Greene, "The Cubs are who we thought they were."

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And we let 'em off the hook!

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    In reply to Eddie:

    There is nothing to hook them for yet. When it's time for us peasants to storm the castle with pitchforks, I'll be there with you, but it was the second game of year two of a new regime. It's a little early for that don't you think.

  • I'm not on the coaching staff as much as setting a higher bar of expectations. When Rowson was made hitting coach, permanent hitting coach that is, it can be assumed that he's much more in tune with the FO' philosophy. Well. then I want to see it.

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    In reply to felzz:

    I don't think it's fair to judge him until he has something to work with besides Rizzo and Castro. Most of the Cubs roster pretty much are who we thought they were, and we know this because they have track records, which prove it. I'm far more concerned with how Castro, Castillo and Rizzo progress than any of the other hitters on this team.

    That's how I'm going to judge Sveum and Rowson in regards to this offense, and as the front office gives the coaching staff more young talent to work with, I'm going to scrutinize them more and more, but I've seen enough baseball to know that veterans are like leopards. They don't change their spots, at least not often.

    Is it possible to bring in a veteran from outside the organization and have a light switch suddenly come on to the point that the guy goes from role player to perennial all-star? Yes, it is possible, and it has happened, but it's rare.

    Those kinds of stories always involve a player who always had that kind of talent, and something about the new coaching staff or change of scenery finally brought it out of them, but there isn't anyone like that on the Cubs' roster. We know who most of these guys are, and they're not those kinds of players.

  • If this is the FO office philosophy of hitting then it should be assumed that the FO is bringing in veterans and journeymen that play that style of ball. In short there should be a more general shift towards working the count and drawing out at bats. And yet the Cubs hitters as a whole continue to slice a hole in the o-zone and we can count the number of quality at-bats on one industry machine mangled hand.....

    Again. two games. But the bar should be set higher.

  • In reply to felzz:

    But you can't scapegoat Rowson for Lillibridge's bat, or for any of the the New Replacements. Rowson has had what, 6 weeks to work with them at most? Besides, I hate scapegoating.
    You can say, as you did, that the FO could bring in vets who play in our desired style. Even so, one foul ball that straightens out makes the whole 2-game Weltanschauung analysis false.
    Coulda won, but then we coulda lost Monday. It evens out.

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    In reply to felzz:

    Yes, they are bringing in hitters who fit that philosophy, but it's not like the guys they're bringing in are all-star caliber hitters who fit that philosophy. It's also not like any all-star caliber players who fit the philosophy have been available, and even if they had been, this front office would've only gone after them had they fit the long term plan.

    The guys here now are place holders until the farm system produces something better. These guys are quality bench players on playoff caliber teams. They're only starters on bad teams, which the Cubs are. When the Cubs' system starts producing more Rizzo's and Castro's, you'll start seeing more clutch hitting. When "the talent" arrives, if they're still not getting it done as a team, then you can start looking at the coaching staff.

    I'm not setting the bar very high for this team. I am setting it higher for certain players, and over the course of the season, I'll judge this coaching staff by those certain players progress. So in closing, if Castro doesn't draw 100 walks this season, then I'll be ready to fire the coaching staff.

  • These two games illustrate exactly what I expected to see from the Cubs the team this year.

    Good starting pitching - an excellent outing from Shark and all things considered a decent start from Jackson (only 2 runs scored on him,... would take that any day of the week).

    Marmol aside,... very good relief pitching overall. Only 1 run given up in two games.

    With the exception of the issues of having Lillibridge in at 2B instead of Barney - with the expected drop off in defensive prowess - the defense has been sound.

    This is a team that is going to struggle to score runs all year long. A strikeout rate like we have seen the first two games is only going to make that worse.

    It's hard to score runs when you can't get guys on base,.... and when in those rare instances when you do get guys on base the hitters can't make solid contact.

    Gonna be a long season,... but figured that anyway.

  • Let's brace ourselves: Things are liable to get worse before they get better. For instance, the bottom of the batting order is no more deflating than the bottom of the rotation, which is waiting in the wings. (Given Villanueva's superior track record in day games, I was kinda hoping he'd get the start today. Instead he's going to be on the bump for Saturday night's opener in Atlanta.)

    And there's not much hope in the months to come. Barney's return won't be much of an offensive boost, and when DeJesus gets dealt, we may face the nauseating prospect of Sweeney batting leadoff against righties. A future of Stewart at 3B may prove to be no better than a present with Valbuena. Given how the FO prefers to give prospects a lot of time in Iowa, we're not likely to see Watkins at 2B or Jackson in CF before July, if then. And that timetable is even further away for the first wave of 3B prospects, Vitters and Lake. Finally, even if we manage to clear out the vets at the end of July, then we'll have two months of over-their-head rookies playing for pride in the dwindling days of a lost season. Pass the Prozac.

  • It's frustrating to witness, but we knew that we would struggle to score runs. We knew the bottom of our line-up and all replacement players would struggle offensively. Not anything to get too worked up over. We needed every single star to align just right for us to be .500 at the deadline. For me, that went out the window with the Garza/Baker & Stewart injuries.

    Always enjoy your colorful commentary Felz. I think you hit the nail on the head with E-Jax. There will be lots of games like this one. Then there will be times when he has more than one hiccup in a game. Other times, when there is none. If our line-up can generate 2 or 3 runs for him, he's got the stuff to be a 15+ game winner for us. Which if he's slotted in the 3 or 4 spot, that's a killer rotation. We're just not there yet.

    I'm happy to be at .500 after two games...

  • For those who think that the season is over because we lost our first game: Joe Posnanski has come up with the 2013 Post-Season Awards. It's hilarious. And Samardzija's on it.
    http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/51414872

  • Under the headline on the front page of ESPNChicago:

    Newcomers were billed to provide the Cubs with a deep corps this season. It's been a very different picture in the early going.

    I guess it was too much to hope that the media would have the restraint to not taunt the team by throwing optimistic spring ball quotes back in their faces. There was no hype about how Lillibridge, Valbuena and Gonzalez were going to tear up the NL from the bottom of the order. The idea was that they all had a decent spring and on a rebuilding team there was nothing to lose by giving them a chance to invigorate their careers. This narrative about how "Epstein and Hoyer have not shown a Midas tough with the Cubs" is just so wrongheaded. It would sure be nice if the media would take less jaundiced view of the FO's mission, so that fans and management can get on the same page. Otherwise, the boobirds are liable to migrate to Wrigley ahead of schedule.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Agreed. There's another article there by Jesse Rogers (whom I think less and less of) about how the Cubs need to demote Marmol NOW. He reasons that past Marmol struggles when coupled with his poor spring training and 1st game are enough evidence that he's totally lost "it." He also argues that we should simply ignore his solid 2nd half of last season... presumably because it doesn't fit Rogers' own narrative about what a bum Marmol is.

    Now, I'm not much of a Marmol fan myself and think that the Cubs should move on sooner rather than later. But I also get that there is more value in trying to build *some* value (even if it's small) for him rather than winning 78 games as opposed to 74.

    Honestly, I think it would behoove most of the Cubs beat reporters to read this blog. John, Felzz, and Tom outline each move (or non-move) and how it fits into the plan so well that all these other guys just sound totally misinformed and, as Taft put it, "wrongheaded."

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    My guess is that Jesse Rogers, Paul Sullivan, et al, are being willfully ignorant. The idea is to provoke Cub fans into responding with Facebook posts and Tweets, which are the only metrics they have with which to demonstrate their relevance to skeptical advertisers. You have informed fans calling them idiots, you have idiotic fans calling them geniuses; whatever the case, they're getting those precious clickity clicks. And all it costs them is their integrity and authority as the paper of record!

    It's an extremely cynical, short-sighted strategy, because it's just going to drive readers toward sites like this one that actually don't treat them like morons. But these mainstream media types are so worried about the next quarter's earnings, they can't see the long game.

  • If you take away the games being played in AZ, FL, and CA, there aren't a whole lot of runs being scored anywhere right now. It's fricking cold out there, right now! Give the Cubbies a little more time before saying their offense stinks.

    But I would like to see Lillibridge and Valbuena to be less stink-worthy with the lumber. Peww!! Yep, I know, just broke the rule I mentioned in the previous paragraph. But there is bad hitting, and then there are those two. To coin a new Cubbie phrase, a 'Lillibuena' at-bat is one that is not worth seeing.

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