Okay…back to baseball on the field…
The young Cubs hitters will face one of their toughest challenges yet. Matt Harvey throws hard and he throws strikes. They may have to pounce on those precious few mistakes he may or may not make,
Here is today’s lineup and broadcast info…
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 13, 2015
- Here is something crazy: The Cubs current hitters are batting .355/.400/.484 vs. Harvey though there are only 31 total ABs and only one individual Cub (Dexter Fowler) has more than 5 PAs. Something tells me those numbers aren’t going to last all that long.
- Starlin Castro in the 4th spot today. That shows a lot of confidence in the kid vs, one of the more talented players in baseball. But in case you haven’t been watching, Castro has some very quick hands. He, can turn around anybody’s fastball and we saw him do that against Syndegaard yesterday.
- Seems like Curtis Granderson must have hit the Orioles pretty well as a Yankee. He has had good success against Jason Hammel over 17 ABs, hitting 2 HRs and posting a .421 OBP. There is a lot of pressure on Hammel to pitch well tonight as runs may be hard to come by.
- Matt Harvey is effective up and in as well as low and a way, so I am looking forward to the match-up with Kris Bryant as Harvey will likely try to tie him up a little inside. But Bryant has the discipline to lay off those pitches and hopefully force Harvey to catch too much of the plate. Bryant has had success with up and in — and inside in general — as long as it is in the strike zone. He has also shown the ability to take outside pitches to RF with authority. If Harvey is precise with his location, he can get Bryant out — but if he misses, even by a little, Bryant should give him some trouble. We can say the same for Jorge Soler, who certainly has the hand speed to get inside and drive the ball, though Harvey may have more success with Soler because he is not as good low and away.
- Anthony Rizzo, of course, is another interesting match-up. Harvey has been tough on left-handers but he has allowed them to hit with some power (.178 ISO), so Rizzo will have to wait for a mistake — and we know he is pretty patient. All in all, this is going to be a tough test for the Cubs young hitters, but there is enough talent and good approaches there that they should be able to take advantage of his mistakes. That said, Harvey has very good command and we shouldn’t expect him to make many mistakes at all tonight.
- Tony Andracki takes a look at the Cubs by the numbers through the first 1/5 of the season.
- Carrie Muskat tweets that Jon Lester has some serious respect for Jake Arrieta, calling him an ace.
- Tsuyoshi Wada is starting for Iowa Thursday per Tommy Birch. Thus endeth the speculation. For now. Pitching coach Mike Cather said that the Cubs wanted him to work a bit more on the side with his FB command.
MLB Draft Notes
Keith Law said today that the Cubs are focusing on a new name, a 5’9″ left-handed hitting CF’er named Andrew Benintendi. Now before you think Benintendi is the second coming of Doug Dascenzo, he is actually one of the better power hitters in college (look at those forearms in the video below). He is hitting .412/.507/.580 with 17 HRs and 20 stolen bases. He has also shown a good eye, walking in 16% of his PAs this year. He has struck out just 11.5% of the time. He has a 60 grade speed tool and projects as an above average hitter.
He gets mixed reviews on his tools, with some liking him a lot but some publications, like Baseball America, have him pegged more as a second rounder. If his height takes him down to #9 with those tools and numbers, then maybe that can be a blessing in disguise for the Cubs. It could be an attempt to underslot, but we should bear in mind that Benintendi is a draft-eligible sophomore, meaning he can return for two more years, so he has some leverage of his own.
Support Cubs Blogs
Like yesterday, not really a blog, but Cubs Strike Zone — @CubsUmp on Twitter, provides a nice service to Cubs fans, They track balls and strikes during Cubs games and report whether the call hurts or helps the Cubs. As you might imagine, it has leaned more toward “hurt the Cubs” so far this season.
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