Oh Henry! This stuff is intense!
Who can forget those old time commercials and the candy bars that were promoted by Gilbert Gottfried back in the 90s. His shrill voice is more than enough to make anyone remember those candy bars. But, here in Chicago, the Cubs fans have another reason to remember those candy bars.
During his stint with the team, Henry Rodriguez was a well loved player by the bleacher bums, and well respected. Every time he hit a home run, when he would run back out to his outfield position he would bask in the glow as they showered him with the love and cheers that he had just earned. However, that was not the only thing he would be showered with. Fans would throw the “Oh Henry! bars onto the field as he took his place or the defense.
Sure, fans throwing things on the field is usually frowned upon, unless they are throwing back the opposing teams home run ball, but the team allowed this action to happen without ejecting the fans for breaking the rules. That was one of the small traditions that made the 90s special in a time when there was little to enjoy.
So, why am I bringing up a tradition from 20 years ago?
Last night news broke about the Cubs trading away minor league pitcher Ian Dickson for a pitcher from the Washington Nationals. That pitcher’s name is Henry Rodriguez. While I am sure that he will likely not earn the same adoration and respect that the former Cub named Rodriguez, the name alone is sure to bring back fond memories of a fan favorite from years past.
The new Rodriguez though, will likely be thrown into the Cubs decimated bullpen, possibly sliding into the setup role that was vacated when Kenji Fujikawa went on the disabled list. This will be great news for Cubs fans who never want to see Carlos Marmol pitch in a meaningful moment ever again; at least not for the Cubs.
Rodriguez comes to the Cubs with a blazing 100 MPH fastball, and an fairly impressive 9.3 strike outs per nine innings of work. Sounds impressive right? The problem is he does not have crisp control of that blazing fastball as he gives up 6.1 walks per nine innings. Control has been an issue for Rodriguez his whole career. Hopefully working with the Cubs pitching coaches they will be able to figure out how to improve his control. If you want more good news, he gives up .5 home runs per nine innings and only 7.2 hits per nine innings of work. In other words, if he can figure out his control issues, he isn’t likely to give up many hits.
Some fans may look at those numbers and instantly compare him to Marmol, and those comparisons might be justified if Marmol was able to throw 100 MPH at any point in his career. That, and Marmol has become very hittable these days and offers up home runs at a much higher rate.
Rodriguez will not be joining the Cubs until Friday though, and with Zach Putnam being put on the disabled list this morning, the Cubs needed to add a reliever to hold them over until then. With that, the Cubs have recalled Brooks Raley to fill the middle relief portion of their bullpen. Baring another injury to another reliever, his stay is likely going to be brief, especially with Shawn Camp nearing his return, which could spell the end of Blake Parker’s time on the North Side as well.
Fans have not been happy with the Cubs bullpen at all this year, with the injuries and new addition, maybe, just maybe the Cubs bullpen can start to look like a real major league bullpen. While that is not likely, I that does occur the Cubs can turn their attention to the lack luster hitting.
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