Whole bunch of stuff to get to today. Saw GM Jim Hendry this morning and then had to hear of rumors he’d been fired. Turns out a radio “report” to that effect was absolutely false. Too much of the business has turned into that, though. On more fun notes, one of Chicago’s Inside Pitch’s very own, Charlieboy, is out here today, and I had a chance to meet with him for a few minutes. That’s three bloggers within a week’s time.
On to business. The Cubs face Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner today:
The Cubs are third in the NL in OBP and fourth in slugging. But they’re 11th in runs scored and dead last in walks. Somebody on the previous blog mentioned that the Cardinals threw only 104 pitches yesterday. Cubs pitchers threw 169. Wednesday, the Cubs threw 162, and the Cards threw 149.
I asked manager Mike Quade if his team was making pitchers work hard enough.
“I know Rudy emphasizes that a lot,” Q said, referring to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. “I think we probably are. When you run the on-base percentage, we’re creating a lot of opportunities. We really are. We just haven’t cashed in on as many. Whether it’s thinking about lineups or strategies, whether we want to play hit-and-run and try to do some things to create, I go nuts, but I think we’re creating plenty. We just haven’t had the final piece of the puzzle as far as putting runs on the board. But we’ve got guys on the bases all day long. We get 9, 10 hits a night. If I get in the way of that, we’ll end up with 6 hits and not scoring and then I’ll feel bad. The people in the middle of the order are going to have to drive runs in, that’s all.
“Our on-base, our slugging, you look at our numbers. I’m a numbers guy and I say, ‘If we keep doing what we’re doing and these numbers keep saying our on-base and our slugging are good, that should result in better run production.’”
The Cubs are hitting .227 with runners in scoring position and 226 with the bases loaded.
Aramis Ramirez is in the Dominican Republic tending to a family matter. He should be back in time for Saturday’s 6:10 game. Q was asked if he’d consider moving Ramirez up to third.
“That’s not out of the question," he said. "So much of what we do here is a combination of what guys can handle. If one guy moves out of one spot, who goes into the other spot? Nothing is off the table. I look at everything. I still think that given the guys in front of him who have been getting on base, he’s in the right spot to drive in runs because the on-base percentage from 1, 2 and 3 have been fabulous. And if we move him, who slides into that 4-hole to give you consistent RBI at-bats there. I haven’t had Castro ninth yet, but I’ve thought about every combination I could think about and nothing is ever off the table if I feel like there’s a different mix.”
Before we get to quick minor-league report, the still-here Jim Hendry said that Tennessee’s Brett Jackson is “fine.” Hendry said Jackson has a strained ligament in his left pinkie, the result of diving back into the bag the other night. He’s on the 7-day DL at Tennessee, but Hendry said Jackson really doesn’t need that much time.
At Peoria, Matt Szczur has left the club for a good reason: He’s graduating from Villanova this weekend.
Class AAA Iowa split a pair with Colorado Springs, losing 11-5 and winning 11-10. Jay Jackson gave up 9 hits and 5 runs over 5 innings in the opener. In the second game, Austin Bibens-Dirkx went 4 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs. Brad Snyder, Lou Montanez and Brian LaHair all homered in Game 2. It was LaHair’s ninth
Tennessee beat Huntsville 7-5. Rob Whitenack improved to 3-0 at Double-A with a 3.13 ERA. He worked 6 innings, giving up 9 hits and 3 runs while walking one and striking out two. Matt Spencer homered. DJ LeMahieu extended a hitting streak to 13 games. Ryan Flaherty extended his streak to five games. Rafael Dolis earned his first save, working 2 innings.
Class A Daytona beat Jupiter 6-2 in 11 innings. Jeffrey Lorick, who came over from Atlanta in the Derrek Lee trade, worked 5 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 unearned run. He got a no-decision and is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA.
Peoria (A) beat Burlington 6-2. Dallas Beeler worked 3 shutout innings. Pierre LePage was 2-for-4 with a walk.