PITTSBURGH _ No batting practice this evening because of huge rains late in the afternoon. The news of the day is that D-Lee is a lineup scratch with a tight right hamstring. Jeff Baker plays right field and Xavier Nady, who had 4 hits last night, plays first base and bats cleanup. The lineup:
About last night, Lou said he wasn’t going out there in the eighth to take Lilly out and that Ted didn’t talk him out of it. Ted then gave up the eventual game-winning homer to Neil Walker, a Pittsburgh boy.
“He was throwing the ball well,” Lou said. “If we wanted to, we could have had Marshall or Cashner or Stevens or whomever. Low pitch count. Switch hitter up at home plate. The ballpark’s huge to left field. It’s smaller to right field. I never dreamed home run, never even gave it a thought.
“You know what? I’m going to tell you what I’m going to start doing. I’m going to start sending the pitching coach out there so nothing’s perceived my way. That’s the easiest thing to do. But I don’t think that. I’m not here to protect myself. I’m here to try to help this team win baseball games. He didn’t talk me into staying in the ballgame. If I wanted to take him out of the ballgame, I’d have had him out before I crossed the white line. The perception to me is immaterial. The outcome is more important than the perception, believe me. I can live with perceptions. The outcomes bother me a little more, especially when we lose.”
In other news, Lou says he, the coaches and the trainers are going fishing tomorrow in the Gulf of Mexico off Houston.
“We’ve got a boat that’s going to take us out at 8 in the morning and have time to relax a little bit and get our minds off baseball for a day.”
Had a chance to talk on a teleconference today with scouting director Tim Wilken about the upcoming draft. We’ll have stories about that upcoming in the next few days. Tim talks proudly about Tyler Colvin, his first pick in 2006 and one he took some heat over. For Tyler’s part, he still calls Tim “Mr. Wilken.” Tim said he saw the way the ball jumped off Tyler’s bat at Clemson and that he felt Tyler would grow physically as a pro. There’s a long way to go, but so far, so good.
Jay Jackson did another nice job for Class AAA Iowa last night in a 3-2 win at Round Rock. Jay didn't get a decision, but he worked 6 innings, giving up 7 hits and 2 runs while walking none and striking out four. He's 3-3 with a 2.28 ERA. He'll be here soon enough. Jeff Samardzija (4-0) pitched 2 perfect innings, and Park Ridge's Brian Schlitter earned his sixth save. Micah Hoffpauir hit his sixth homer, and Evergreen Park guy Jim Adduci hit his first.
Class AA Tennessee beat Birmingham 3-0. The big story there continues to be pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx, a reclamation project who is making the Cubs take notice. He worked 7 innings, giving up 1 hit to run his record to 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA. At Class A Peoria last year, he was 7-2 with a 2.04 ERA. He's resurrected his career after elbow problems, and the Cubs plucked him out of independent ball in Canada last year. He retired the last 13 batters he faced.
Daytona (A) lost 4-1 to Charlotte. Third baseman Ryan Flaherty, a Tim Wilken pick in the second round of the 2008 draft, extended his hitting streak to 14 games. During the streak, he's 22-for-56 (.393) with 12 runs, 8 walks, 6 doubles, 1 homer and 8 RBI. For the season, Flaherty is at .359/.429/.533 for an OPS of .961. DJ LeMahieu, a second-rounder last year out of LSU, has a nine-game hitting streak, having gone 16-for-40 (.400).
Brett Jackson, last year's No. 1 pick, out of Cal, is in a bit of a slump, having gone 2-for-20 in six games. His line is .278/.404/.403 with a team-leading 34 walks. He has 44 strikeouts, but he's far and away the team leader in walks.
Down at Peoria, the Chiefs fell 6-5 in 10 innings to South Bend. Second baseman Logan Watkins was 2-for-4 with 2 walks and his seventh stolen base. First baseman Justin Bour, whom we've talked about in the past here, had 3 hits and has hit safely in four of five games.