It’s a big mulitimedia day for yours truly today. Many thanks to Len Kasper for having me as a guest blogger on WGN-TV’s Stats Sunday blog. Today, we talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: the quality start. I’ll be going on the Channel 9 pregame show to talk more about that with Len, so tune in if you get a chance.
Also, thanks to Daily Herald teammates Barry Rozner and Matt Spiegel for having me on their great Hit and Run baseball show this morning on WSCR radio, the Score, in Chicago.
Today is the finale between the Cubs and Cardinals. It’s slightly warmer here at Wrigley, and there’s a crosswind from the southeast, blowing from the right-field foul pole to the left-field foul pole.
It looks like Justin Germano will start tomorrow night’s series opener against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Germano, obtained recently from the Red Sox, was a starter most of the year at Class AAA Pawtucket. There aren’t too many “crafty” right-handers, but that’s how manager Dale Sveum described Germano.
“He’s not going to light up a radar gun or anything,” Sveum said. “But he’s got great arm speed on all his offpseed pitches. He’ll change speeds on a slow curveball, anywhere from 68- to 75-78-mph curveball, changeup. Sinks the ball. Keeps the ball down. Just kind of crafty, as much as anything, but has command of four pitches.”
Paul Maholm enters today having strung together five straight starts of at least 6 innings pitched with 1 or no runs allowed. Further research by the Cubs and research historian Ed Hartig shows that Maholm is one of just two Cubs left-handed starters since 1900 to deliver 5 straight starts of at least 6 innings with 1 or fewer runs. He joins Rube Kroh, who accomplished the feat in 1909. Maholm is 5-0 with an 0.96 ERA (4 ER in 37.1 IP) in his last 5 starts dating to June 29. The five-game winning streak is a career high.
Luis Valbuena continues to start at third base despite a hitting line of .202/.250/.345. There has not been much thought to bringing up Josh Vitters from Class AAA Iowa, according to Sveum.
“He’s swinging the bat as good as anybody down there if not in all of Triple-A,” Dale said. “He’s been hot for a good month, six weeks. Right now, there’s nothing on the table to think about or anything like that. Obviously, after this trade deadline, there will probably be a lot more talks and all that stuff between the front office and myself about adds and subtractions and things like that too.”
Vitters has a hitting line of 303/.356/.510 for an OPS of .867. He has 15 homers, 63 RBI, 28 walks and 71 strikeouts in 386 at-bats. He also has 20 errors, and I asked Sveum about Vitters’ defense.
“Nothing really seems to have gotten worse or gotten better,” Dale said. “We need to still keep an eye on that and see where he is defensively.”
Brett Jackson hit his 15th homer for Class AAA Iowa, which fell 2-1 at New Orleans. Brooks Raley took the loss, working 6 innings and giving up6 hits and 2 runs while walking four and striking out eight. He’s 4-7 with a 3.20 ERA. Jackson is at .257/.338/.486 with 15 homers, 45 RBI, 43 walks and 148 strikeouts. Adrian Cardenas extended a hit streak to 11 games by going 1-for-4.
Tennessee (AA) got a grand slam from first baseman Justin Bour but fell 8-5 at Jacksonville. Bour has 11 homers. He had 5 RBI, giving him 83. Nick Struck started and took the loss, pitching 4 innings and giving up 7 hits and 4 runs. He’s 11-10 with a 3.71 ERA.
Daytona (A) got a 3-run homer from Roni Torreyes but fell 9-7 to Bradenton. Lefty Kyler Burke, a converted outfielder got no decision, working 5 innings and giving up 8 hits and 7 runs, 5 earned.
Peoria (A) lost to Beloit 10-4. Starling Peralta took the loss, pitching 5 innings and giving up 5 hits and 5 runs, 4 earned. He’s 3-6 with a 3.20 ERA.
Boise (A) beat Tri-City 1-0. Tayler Scott got the win, pitching 5 innings and giving up 4 hits while walking three and striking out four. He’s 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA. Hayden Simpson (2.88 ERA) picked up his third hold, working 3 innings of 1-hit ball, striking out one. Simpson seems to be putting it together as a reliever in Boise after the top pick from 2010 struggled after suffering from health problems right after being drafted.
And, believe it or not, Arizona (Rookie) was rained out.