Back at it here on a rainy Sunday morning at Wrigley. After today, I’ll pick up the team in-person in St. Louis. A lot to get to, including some numbers and even a forfeit by one of the Cubs’ minor-league teams last night. The Cubs are on pace to finish 69-93. Somebody here asked me about the over/under on the 93 losses. Given the schedule, I’ll take the over.
On a personal note, Lou Piniella will fly home after the game to tend to his mother, who was hospitalized. He hopes to rejoin the team during the road trip. Alan Trammell will run the team in San Francisco.
The Cubs got batting practice in, but just before the Reds took the field, the tarp went on. Not that the Reds need the practice or anything like that. Here is today’s Cubs lineup vs. lefty Travis Wood:
Lou says Geovany Soto is better and that he should be able to catch tomorrow night in San Francisco, where Carlos Zambrano is expected to throw 75-80 pitches in his first start since coming back from anger-management treatment.
Lou says he’s sticking with D-Lee at first base. Somebody asked about Tyler Colvin possibly getting some time there.
“Look, we’ve got Nady, and we’ve got Derrek Lee at first,” Lou said. “Look, with Derrek, I can give him a breather from time to time, but he’s going to be playing first base.”
Before we get to the minor-league roundup, I came across this from Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus on Jeff Samardzija:
“I've taken more than my fair share of shots at the Cubs overpaying for Samardzija in 2006, but there's finally some good news on this front. Always in need of a second pitch, he's suddenly added a 88-90 mph cutter to his mix, and according to scouts, it's generating swings and misses. Since moving back to the rotation, Samardzija has a 2.18 ERA in nine starts while limiting Pacific Coast League hitters to a .177 batting average, and there's reason for hope once again _ not far stardom, but at least for a usable big league arm.”
As always, we shall see.
Random Sunday notes: The Cubs have played 39 1-run games this year, most in the majors. Their record in those games is 13-26…We talk a lot of about quality starts here. My TV pal Len Kasper points out the Reds are 44-15 when they get a quality start. The Cubs are 36-31 when they get one. The starters’ ERA in those games is 2.27. When the Cubs don’t get a quality start, the record is 11-32, and the starters ERA is 8.06…The Cubs are 10-for-43 (.233) with runners in scoring position on this homestand.
The most unusual news came out of Class A Boise’s game last night at Everett, where Boise manager Jody Davis pulled his team off the field and forfeited the game after a second rain delay. Davis argued the field was not playable. Thus, a 9-0 forfeit victory for Everett.
Class AAA Iowa got another victory for starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx as the I-Cubs beat Tacoma 7-3. Bibens-Dirkx worked 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs. He’s 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA. At Class AAA and Class AA, he’s 9-3. Micah Hoffpauir extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He’s 26-for-66 (.379) in the streak. Darwin Barney recorded his 14th 3-hit game, going 3-for5. Matt Camp had 3 hits, and Sam Fuld was 2-for-4.
Tennessee (AA) got 6 in the first to beat Huntsville 9-2. Chris Carpenter went 6 innings of 3-hit shutout ball. He upped his record to 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA. Brett Jackson was 2-for-4. His line is .282/.392/.460 with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, 20 walks and 37 strikeouts since his promotion to Double-A. Tony Campana was 2-for-5. He has 130 hits and a line of .332/.388.404 with 18 doubles and 3 triples.
"In the bullpen I was feeling good so I just went out and tried to carry it through the game," Carpenter told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "I had all my pitches and that makes it a lot easier when you can throw three different pitches for strikes."
Daytona (A) lost 4-2 to Jupiter. Lefty Brooks Raley worked 6.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 run. He got a no-decision and is 6-6 with a 4.11 ERA. DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He’s 18-for-43 (.419) in the streak.
At Peoria (A), Brett Wallach worked 3.1 innings, giving up 3 hits and 7 runs (4 earned) while walking four and striking out three as the Chiefs fell 9-8 to Quad Cities. Wallach came over from the Dodgers organization in the Ted Lilly trade.
"He was just around the zone but not in it," manager Casey Kopitzke told the Peoria Journal Star. "The stuff is there it's just a matter of him getting comfortable."
Logan Watkins went 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Jae-Hoon Ha extended his hitting streak to six games, going 2-for-4. He’s 11-for-26 (.423) in the streak.