Here Comes the Wrecking Ball: Cubs 4, Brewers 2

Here Comes the Wrecking Ball: Cubs 4, Brewers 2

So if you knew in advance that batters 1-4 would go a combined 9-for-11 with 2 homers, you’d feel pretty good about the Cubs chances.  And tonight, you’d be right.  Quite a few things to feel good about, despite that the rest of the order took an oh-fer.   We saw back-to-back jacks, a frustrated Brewers starting pitcher, and the 7th straight quality start by a Cubs starter.  Without further introduction, let’s move on to the re-cap.

If You’re Bored Then You’re Boring

So the Javy Danger storyline is not going to go away.  In the first inning, Baez had a great at-bat while working the count, and eventually lined a single to right field.  You gotta like the kid’s ability to take the ball the other way.  Risky/lucky/gray hair inducing baserunning got him to second, and he would eventually score on a Starlin Castro single.  Let’s be honest, though.  We’ve all been waiting for his first homer at Wrigley, and in the third inning Javy accommodated with a bomb on to Waveland.

 Overall, Baez went 2-4 with the single and solo homerun.  Beyond that, he worked a couple of counts to 3-2, and did not strike out for the second straight game.   We’d all like to see an overall better OBP, but aided by a ridiculous .643 SLG%, Baez has a .902 OPS.  He’s kind of a fun one to watch.

 Oh Wada Feeling!

Tsuyoshi Wada is boring in a good sort of way.  He doesn’t strike a ton of guys out.  He doesn’t throw 95mph.  You are not dazzled by his stuff.  However, he has held hitters at bay with excellent command, he moves the ball inside and out, changes speeds, and has a bit of funky deception.  It’s clear why he had so much success with Iowa during the first half of the season.   Furthermore, he does little things well.  He handles the bat pretty effectively, though he didn’t have an opportunity to lay down a bunt tonight.  There’s not a whole lot not to like, except for his age.   At 33, it’s hard to imagine Wada being a part of the long-term plan with the Cubs, but he’s certainly earned the right to start for the last two months of 2014.  The Brewers finally broke through with two outs in the 7th, but it was an impressive start, going 6.2 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits, with 5 strikeouts against only 1 walk.  He did this while also giving an excellent facial expression to a homerun allowed.

Everyday Grimmy got the last out of the 7th as Steve Trout prepared for his unique interpretation of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Neil Ramirez gave up a 2-out double in the 8th, but was able to escape unharmed.  His velocity is down a little bit, so there is some concern about the righty who is fairly fresh off the DL.  Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 9th to close it out.


During my extensive four-minute google search, I could find no relation between Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado and former major league OF Candy Maldonado.  Still, the Candy Curse Saga seems to go on, as the Brewers’ catcher played big tonight.  He threw out Chris Coghlan on a stolen base attempt, doubled, and homered to chase Wada in the 7th.  Candy Maldonado is still a sore subject for me, as his signing was one of the more disappointing Cubs acquisitions during my lifetime (this is saying something).  My once-dormant nervous tick returned this evening with every mention of that last name.

Steve and Other Minor Lakes

I don’t think there are many that would have confidently stated that Junior Lake would put up similar numbers as last year.  That being said, I don’t think I would have predicted that his season end up where it has.  I was surprised that he got the start tonight over Ryan Sweeney, who has seen his average (finally) creep over the .250 mark.  The result was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.   He has become enough of a non-factor that Arne Harris couldn’t be bothered to keep him on the screen these days.

Joaquin Phoenix IS Starlin Castro IN “I’m Still Here”

So Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 12 games with 3 singles (yawn).  I know we all love our prospects, but how many teams have a SS hitting .285 with double-digit homeruns and over 60 RBI? Put me squarely in the Keep Castro corner.  I think that there is value in loyalty to players (as long as they are producing), and there is no doubt in my mind that it is important to fans to have players that they can follow long-term, particularly if they are developed by the organization.

Three Stars of the Game

#3 - Tsuyoshi Wada - Very effective outing to move his record to 2-1

#2 - Starlin Castro - 3-for-4 with an RBI as he continues to rake in August

#1 - Javier Baez - 2-for-4 with the big blast, but improved approach was most encouraging

Hey, two straight wins against a team in playoff position.  I’ll take it.  Multiple Ed takes the mound for the Cubs against Mike “Tears for” Fiers for a chance at a series victory.


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  • Here's hoping that Good Ole' Multiple Ed Jackson can make it 8-straight quality starts for Cubs pitchers,.....

    This team has been getting more and more fun to watch. Fact is - while they are not exciting - Wada and Hendricks are quietly getting the job done. And that's never a bad thing IMO.

    And that Baez shot,.... was worth the wait for Wrigley.

    Onwards,.... Indeed.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Wada is OK. Too many fly balls though. He'll get the job done, but even if he was the same age as Hendricks, he's not nearly as interesting. He's definitely not bad though. Solid.

  • In reply to doogolas:

    Agreed dooglas - Hendricks we should plan to keep around for a while - and Wada will do for the time being. 'Crafty Lefty Veteran' is not a bad label to have to wear.


    Wada deserves to finish out this year in our rotation - he's done fine. He's earned his roster spot - but will find himself in a struggle to hold his rotation spot next year. He was a good find though by the front office off the Orioles MiL scrap-heap.

  • Bonifacio trade is working out to be addition by subtraction - it's great seeing Line Drive Coghlan leading off games.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I didn't specifically mention him today because I don't want to be too repetitive. I really like what he does for this lineup. He works counts, and right now he is just hitting so well. He doesn't have a lot of dingers, but he is slugging close to .500 with that line drive stroke. He DID misplay that ball in the 8th inning tonight to extend a double to a triple, but there's a lot more to be happy about than to complain about.

  • A series win would be sweet!

  • Sinister,

    Just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your first two write-ups. The Den is fortunate to have so many talented writers. Kudos to you!

  • In reply to cme12e:

    Thanks! Much appreciated!

  • In reply to cme12e:

    I feel the same. Can't say it any better than you just did, so I won't even try.


  • Wada has really surprised me, never thought he'd pitch this well. The Baez HR... wow. Definitely worth the wait. Can't wait for Soler.

  • In reply to Ricardo:

    Does he change up the speed of the leg kick a little bit? I didn't notice a substantial difference, but it seemed like he would speed through it a little on the 90 mph heater for strike three. Either way, he really seems to keep hitters off balance out there with pedestrian stuff.

  • Difference between wada and hendricks is that wada gets pounded the 3rd time through the order. He won't go as deep in the game and makes him more like a 5th starter. With the deep bullpen I will take 5 to 6 innings from wada anyday

  • Candy Maldonado. What a blast from the past! I got a little drunk during my first fantasy baseball draft and grabbed him (my first experience of the true pain of drafting players from your favorite team and then watching them fail for real and for fantasy). However, that same day, I also drafted two rookies named Piazza and Chipper Jones (who qualified at SS) in a keeper league.

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    In reply to carmonfanzone:

    It's crazy to me that those two guys were rookies the same year!

  • What a great's great to see this team not fold in the last two months. Great job Sinister..I've missed these recaps, especially since there is plenty to write about in Wrigley of late! I hope there are many more Javy / Rizzo back-to-backs in the future.

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    Wow, mla standard typing thingyis clearly an obtuse thoTe. The 'onwards' needs to end. You can be original while still honoring Felzzy. Tankz en advanch..

  • A nice start tomorrow and Ejax just may find himself on waivers.

  • Good game and thanks for the recap

  • Wish I could have seen Javy's first Wrigley blast. Being in Cali, I'm waiting for them to show it on the MLB channel. Oh well, there will be many more opportunities to see him go yard at Wrigley (and other stadiums).

    Really stoked for 2 in a row over the Brewers. Let's get the third tomorrow!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    It was an impressive blast HefCA - that ball left the park in a huge hurry and landed out on Waveland,..... Welcome to Wrigley Mr. Baez,.... let's see you hit a few hundred more of those in the next decade.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    What you miss on TV is the sound. When Javy makes contact, it has a different "sound signature."

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    As an East-coaster myself - I'm fated to generally only get the TV sound as well.

    Am going to have to look into getting tickets for next year's trip to DC to play the Nats and hopefully will get to experience that sound first hand.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I did get to see it on the highlights. Looked like a low slider that he just spanked. Not sure it was even in the strike zone. That's got to get inside a pitcher's head.

  • Great game.

    Excellent recap.

    I vote to keep the "Onwards..." (although it may soon be time to change the ... to !)

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I think that 'onwards' is fitting for now. As both Gunther and I continue to develop our writing styles, it might eventually go away. However, I think of it as a tribute to Felzz that I will use until the end of the season. Similar to the "Holy Cow" and "Hey Hey" patches worn in '98.

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    In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    I think it's a nice touch to end each article. I vote to keep it for now. Who knew Felzz would start a tradition here?

  • how nice will it be going forward, that STARlin goes 3-4 and stays a secondary story.. Baez making adjustments.. hopefully Jorge is here and a few weeks.. Cubs are too fun right now.. great game by Wada too on National Lefty day.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I love seeing Castro so hot of late. Too bad he was in a slump for a couple weeks, I was really rooting for him to get another 200 hit season. I think a lot of Cub fans (and media) nitpick on him and do not appreciate what we have which is a truly special player. I think he has a good chance to end up in the 3,000 hit club if he stays healthy thru his career and from a shortstop that is something special.

  • I Am Groot!

  • Maybe the best stat of the game is that over his 4 at bats
    Baez saw 22 pitches. We're still waiting on that first walk, but he is working deep into counts and having generally good ABs.

  • In reply to Mjtharp2:

    Maybe the lack of walks has something to do with Bear hitting behind him.

  • Wow. Coghlan. What a nice come back story. Very happy for him.

    So imagine if right now Bryant is at 3B instead of free-fallin-reverting-to-the-norm-Valbuena, and Soler is in RF instead of Sweeney/Ruggiano. Aces!

    I'm surprised attendance at Wrigley hasn't matched the buzz Cubs have created of late.

    Can we now confidently say we ain't losing no 100 games this year? Yes!

    Very glad that after the Mets series we play nothing but playoff contenders. Really looking forward to watching us play major spoiler role - especially to ruin Cards post-season hopes. Ha!

    This is gonna be a lot of fun the rest of the way.

    It's been a long, long time comin'

  • In reply to TTP:

    I married into a Cardinals family, and have friends in St Louis. They are all in complete denial. They have Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras, and we have Baez, Bryant, Soler, Schwarber, and the list goes on!

    Even their trade deadline moves leave me scratching my head. I caught a recent game of John Lackey starting, and he was just awful. My wife threw the remote at the TV. Mozeliak keeps getting hailed as this genius, but I don't know...

  • Hoyer says Baez is "going to be an elite 2nd baseman" - which tells me that's the plan for him. It also appears they are leaving Bryant at 3rd, which would indicate, to me, that next year's lineup might very well be:

    C- Castillo
    1B - Rizzo
    2B - Baez
    3B - Bryant
    SS - Castro
    LF - Coughlan/trade or FA acquisition
    CF - Alcantara
    RF - Soler

    After that, it's anybody's guess, but someone (namely Castro or Russell) will probably be traded. Of course, if Bryant goes to the OF, that changes the whole scenario. Would hate to see any of these guys go, but that's life in the big city. Then there are Schwarber and Almora. Wondering what we're going to do with all these guys makes my head spin.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Well another option would be Olt comes up in Sept and does well. His confidence is growing in AAA. If he continues doing well next year, Bryant could go to LF. Then maybe the year after next year. I could see Schwarber pushing Castillo to be the backup, Almora pushing Alcantara to backup middle IF, and Russel coming up to play SS. This will push Castro to 3B and Olt to playing backup for 3B and 1B. McKinney and Hannemann could be the backup OFs. May not happen this way but I can dream can't I.

  • In reply to John57:

    Olt has a chance to be good. Bryant is considered "special". Bryant will not move off of 3B for Olt. even though Olt may be better defensively. Olt will likely be traded. But until then, he will move, not Bryant.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    But Bryant is not considered "special" in way based on his 3B defensive capabilities. So if Olt hits well and provides better defense at the hot corner, I can certainly see Bryant going to the OF -- especially if in the not too distant future they envision Castro, Russelll and Baez all manning the IF.

  • In reply to TTP:

    They may move Bryant off of 3B for another "special" player, i.e. Russell. But not for Olt. Right now, Olt can not even out produce either half of the Ruggiano/Coghlan LF platoon.

    When he comes up in Sept, he will have 3B everyday. But after that, I think he is dealt. Especially if he has success at the MLB level and rebuilds his trade value. if he doesn't do that, who cares?... He can play 1B in Iowa.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes I agree Bryant is "special" but not for his playing 3B. John has said he will be an average defensive 3B. I have read that in the corner OF spot he will be a Gold Glove caliber OF. Why would you play a guy who is "special" for his elite bat at a position he will be average in while there is a position he will be better?

  • In reply to John57:

    The why John is because it is easier to find other impact bats for the corner OF. Bryant staying at third gives us a higher probability of having one more top bat in our lineup. Really the only way I see him moving to the OF early in his career is if the keep both Russell and Castro, and that is what I'm pulling for. You don't move Bryant for a guy you are not to sure is a MLB hitter.

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    In reply to TTP:

    Didn't Bryant just win best defensive 3B in PCL? I was a bit shocked at first but just tells us how hard Bryant has worked so far. I'm with HoosierDaddy on this one, Olt will end up being traded, imo.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Theo had worked for quite a while to acquire Olt. I don't think he will trade him quickly. It may happen eventually but I don't see it happening soon. Rizzo did not get traded when he failed in the majors in his first couple attempts, why would Olt?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I wrote this last week: The years-of-control delay in bring up Bryant might work to Olt's advantage by giving him get another two month crack in the bigs this September and next April. If over that time he does anything remotely close to what now doing in AAA, he might just seize 3B and Bryant begins in MLB career in the OF. We'll see.

  • Javy's shot was nice and the ball hawkers might half to start lining up on Kenmore. I still think his defining moment, to this point, was the opposite field blast on a down and away pitch, with movement, In Colorado. That requires a special skill.

  • In reply to Ed Beach:

    Ed, I agree! I posted something similar below before I read your comment. I watched the game last night, and his shot onto Waveband appeared to be a low & away curveball. His swing looks so violent, I don't know how the heck he makes contact as well as he does.

  • Love what you are producing, Sinister. The thing that impressed me about Baez was his working the count in the AB that didn't matter. I think he was down 0-2 and then worked his way back up before Coughlan was caught stealing. So, wasted pitches by the Brewers' starter and that gave Javy plenty of opportunity to see his full arsenal by the time he lead off the 3rd with is 3rd AB. As for your column, I strongly encourage you to keep utilizing elements like Everyday Grimmy and Onwards ... beyond this year. It's a tip of the cap to Felzz and at the same time gives you room to spread your wings to develop your own style while sprinkling in personal reflections like the Maldonado nugget. Keep up the great work. It's much appreciated.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Sorry for a couple of typos there ... led instead of lead and his instead of is in line 6. Also, the AB that didn't matter/count was in the 2nd inning. Wish we could edit our posts somehow. :)

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Great point about the Baez AB that spanned two innings and ended in a HR blast. He really looked good in that AB despite starting off by hacking himself into an 0-2 count.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    Thanks much!

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    I really appreciate the kind words. I think that Everyday Grimmy is just part of me now. That's just how well Felzz wrote and captivated his audience. I just hope to keep improving as long as I can keep this up.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    "Everyday Grimmy" is definitely a keeper...I know I personally can never call him anything else now whether I want to or not, it's just the first thing that pops into my head.

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    I kinda think Coghlan is working on keeping his starting position for 2015. He has been a pleasant surprise. I also think he may be able to keep a job with the Cubs beyond 2015 as a 4th or 5th outfielder. We always need a lefty bat off the bench....

  • I think what was most impressive about Baez' homer (most of them so far) was that he hit a low & away curveball onto Waveland. Not a hanger, not a fastball down the pipe, but reached out and knocked the curve out of the park. If I recall, his opposite field homer at Coors was a low/away fastball outside the zone. Unreal.

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    I feel like making a craigslist ad for Edwin Jackson.
    Free to a loving forever home:
    "House-broken, gets along with other underperforming starting pitchers. Neutered and up to date on all vaccinations."

    It seems like a certainty that we end up eating most of his salary and trading him without any return.
    Which is fine. Because every time he takes the mound we're down 4 runs before they finish singing the anthem.

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