Back upstairs after our meeting with Lou. I also had a chance to see farm director Oneri Fleita. More with Oneri in a bit. You saw the lineup earlier, but here it is again:
On Hill starting again over Soto, Lou explained it as matchup against Reds righty Bronson Arroyo: "Right-handers are hitting .185 off of him for the year. So we threw some left-hand hitting in there, and see what it does."
Jeff Baker started yesterday at second base over Ryan Theriot. Today, it's Fontenot.
"We've been playing all three, hoping somebody gets hot," Lou said.
Cubs pitching has been pretty good all year. Here's a good one:
Major League Team ERA leaders since May 15
1) Cubs -- 3.32 (Team record since May 15: 19-24)
2) Padres -- 3.52 (24-20)
3) Braves -- 3.60 (29-15)
4) Dodgers -- 3.62 (25-18)
5) Cardinals -- 3.69 (22-21)
That's a real waste. And bullpen guys like Marshall and Marmol have to be given the leeway to give up a run every now and then.
Lou said that maybe the hitters ought to back off a little on the work instead of "pounding and pounding away." He also spoke up for hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and the rest of the staff.
"Rudy's had a lot of success," he said. "The coaches that I have here are all excellent coaches. I endorse every one of them. These guys are professional. They care. They're available. And they want what's best for the player. Sometimes, it's almost better to back off a little bit and let ability take over."
Stop the presses, or whatever it is blogs have. Brett Jackson didn't get a hit yesterday as Class AA Tennesse was blanked 6-0 by West Tenn.
"We're going to dock him a day," Oneri said.
Speaking of Tennessee, the Smokies have nine Southern League all-stars. Iowa has two.
“We feel good about the organization,” Oneri said. “That’s proof. They’re voted on by your peers, other coaches. It’s nice to know that they think as highly of our players as we do.”
Blake Lalli extended his hitting streak to five games for Tennessee, and converted outfielder Luke Sommer pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball, striking out two. Starter Hung-Wen Chen gave up 10 hits in 4 innings and got the loss. He’s 8-6 with a 2.96 ERA.
Up at Iowa, the I-Cubs lost 6-3 to Omaha. J.R. Mathes got a no-decision, working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs. Bryan LaHair went 2-for-2 with 2 walks, and Micah Hoffpauir picked up his team-leading 51st RBI.
Peoria (A) beat Kane County 4-2. DH Justin Bour hit his team-leading eighth homer.
There is other news. This year’s No. 1 pick, pitcher Hayden Simpson, has been ill with a virus, so he’s been set back from his early work. We’ll keep in touch with Oneri about that.