Back at it with a full blog, and we’ll get to today’s Cubs lineup and some rotation juggling. By now you’ve probably read that Ryne Sandberg has been named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year. The Des Moines Register had the story first, and we’ll keep the link:
The I-Cubs, the big Cubs' Class AAA affiliate, meet Memphis this weekend in a first-place showdown. They're tied for the division lead. The I-Cubs must win three out of four to make the playoffs, as Memphis owns the tiebreakers. While you're at it, check out today's column by me on how it might behoove the Cubs to hire from within:
The Cubs have tried the "big-name" route with Baylor, Baker and Piniella. All have been overwhelmed, to varying degrees, by Chicago. That won't happen with Sandberg, and Quade knows the deal here, too.
While we’re on Managers of the Year, Tennessee’s Bill Dancy won that honor in the Southern League. The Smokies are headed to the postseason.
GM Jim Hendry is back from Albuquerque, where he did indeed meet with Ryne Sandberg, even if it wasn’t a formal “interview.” You get bet they weren’t at lunch discussing the lovely weather in New Mexico.
“The system’s had a real good year, not just from win-loss point of view but also for the development part,” Jim said this morning on the field. “It’s been a very good year in the system from top to bottom, and Oneri (Fleita) and his staff deserve a lot of credit.”
Jim praised both of his in-house candidates, Sandberg and current manager Mike Quade.
“I think the guys are playing well,” Jim said. “I missed a few games, obviously, being on the road. Saw a few on television. I think the guys are playing hard. I think Mike’s done a real nice job of getting everybody involved and giving people chances and putting people in spots we’d like them to be in so we can see what we got by the end of the year. It’s a combination. It’s not an easy job when you take over with five or six weeks left, and I think he’s off to a real good start. He’s handled himself at the highest level on and off the field.”
Lineup against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the Mets:
Soto is back in there, but the Cubs also officially called up catcher Welington Castillo from Iowa. Q was happy to have Soto against Dickey.
“There were several knuckleballers in the PCL,” said Q, who managed at Iowa. “He (Soto) went to an all-star game that year, and the International League starter was a knuckleballer. I can’t remember who the skipper was of the all-star game, but I was begging him. I said, ‘Hit him third. He has had good success against the knuckleballers.’”
The Cubs have tweaked their rotation. After Wells today, it’ll be Carlos Zambrano tomorrow and Ryan Dempster Sunday. From there, the Cubs can go with either Casey Coleman or Carlos Silva, with Silva probably getting the nod on Labor Day. Despite some ugly numbers in Kane County the other night in his rehab start, the Cubs said Silva threw well. A spy told me the radar gun read 91 mph on the fastball.
“Not a lot of great contact against him,” Mike said of Silva. “I guess he gave up a home run on a changeup. The velocities were good.
“Before rehabs were in vogue, I was managing in Macon, Ga., in the Sally League. Early-80s, mid-80s. We had a rehab guy. It was very unusual to come down and pitch for us. He pitched for us and didn’t get out of the third inning. He threw a 1-hit shutout in his next start in the big leagues. Knock on wood, I would love to tell that story again in five days.”
From the handy-dandy game notes: Castro is 71-for-200 (.355) at Wrigley Field this year. He has 72 hits since July 10 to lead the major leagues. He also has 19 doubles since that time, also leading the majors…Fukudome is 26-for-64 (406) since Aug. 3. His OBP is .506 in that span, with an OPS of 1.225.
Here are two interesting hitting lines:
.255/.313/.503 with 19 homers and 50 RBI
.260/.318/.507 with 21 homers and 69 RBI
The top player is Tyler Colvin. The second is Alfonso Soriano.
Iowa fell 13-3 at Albuquerque, with Austin Bibens-Dirkx working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 5 runs. Albuquerque scored 8 runs over the final three innings. Brad Snyder hit his 24th homer, and Marquez Smith extended his hitting streak to five games. He’s 9-for-21 in the streak.
Tennessee lost 6-2 to Jacksonville. Rafael Dolis took the loss, going 5.2 innings and giving up 8 hits and 4 runs. He’s 5-4 with a 4.07 ERA. Catcher Robinson Chirinos, and outfielders Tony Campana and Brandon Guyer were named to the postseason all-star team. Chirinos now is with Iowa.
Daytona (A) won its third straight, beating Clearwater 5-4. Nick Struck got the victory, working 5.1 innings and giving up 5 hits and 3 runs. Rebel Ridling DJ LeMahieu each homered.
Peoria (A) was eliminated from playoff contention, losing 5-3 to Kane County in a rain-shortened game. Logan Watkins hit his first homer.
Boise beat Spokane 1-0. Brent Ebinger got the win, working 5 innings of 2-hit shutout ball. He’s 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA.
Enjoy it all, and keep it here all day.