MILWAUKEE _ We’ll take a look at some startling stats while wondering if Major League Baseball will slap the Cubs on the wrist if indeed they have talked with the Kane County Cougars about a change in Midwest League affiliations, thus jumping the gun on what’s allowed under the rules.
On to the business of the day. I’m sure you remember those halcyon days of 2008, when the Cubs won the NL Central. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? We used to harp in those days how the Cubs led the NL in walks, on-base percentage and runs scored that year. Taking a look at the handy stats pack teams hand out every day in major-league ballparks, we see that the Cubs enter today dead last in OBP (.298), walks (304), runs scored (455) and hits (983).
At the other end, the St. Louis Cardinals lead the NL in OBP (.340) and runs (593) while the Atlanta Braves lead in walks (434).
Yes, Theo and his merry bunch have their work cut out for themselves in improving the Cubs’ offensive approach from the bottom of the minor-league system up. The offensive numbers on this current road trip are pretty anemic:
Darwin Barney: 3-for-19
Starlin Castro 6-for-24
Steve Clevenger: 1-for-9
Brett Jackson: 3-for-19
Bryan LaHair: 1-for-8
Joe Mather: 1-for-8
Anthony Rizzo: 5-for-21 and no homer since Aug. 5
Alfonso Soriano: 5-for-19
Josh Vitters: 2-for-12
“It’s very difficult to do it with youth because that comes with at-bats and all that,” said manager Dale Sveum. “But there’s obviously some issues that we’ve got to address and get better at getting on base and seeing pitches and working the count because if you’re not doing that and you’re not throwing out slugging percentage, you go through nights like last night, where you’re just not going to score runs. It’s just too difficult to string something together if you’re not mixing in walks and if you’re not getting into the middle of people’s bullpens.”
Depending on the game goes today, we’ll have a lot more on the subject for our “take” in tomorrow’s paper and online later tonight.
After an off-day tomorrow, the Cubs welcome in the Rockies to kick off a long homestand. Jeff Samardzija, Brooks Raley and Chris Volstad will pitch for the Cubs over the weekend. Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and Jhoulys Chacin go for the Rox. We hope to visit with ex-Cubs Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu over the weekend. Pomeranz will be the first lefty the Cubs will have after going 14 straight against righties, including Yovani Gallardo today.
Alfonso Soriano gets a two-day breather as he’s not starting today, coupled with Thursday’s off-day. Lineup:
Hope you caught the Daily Herald’s coverage of the impending shift of the Cubs’ Midwest League affiliate from Peoria to Kane County. The Cubs remain tight-lipped as they face possible heavy fines for talking about such a move. Kevin Capie of the Peoria Journal Star also mentioned the Cub might not be out of the woods as far as possible discipline goes:
“The Major League rules, which govern the business of baseball, stipulate a $500,000 fine for major league teams and a $100,000 fine for minor league teams that publicly discuss future re-affiliation agreements,” Capie wrote. “If the report (of the move) is correct that the Cubs and Cougars are close to an agreement, however, the two organizations still would have violated Rule 56 of the rules.
“Either the parent club or affiliate must present written notification either to the office of the commissioner or the president of Minor League Baseball at the conclusion of the season. Negotiations outside of the existing relationship cannot begin until Sept. 16. This is to protect the existing relationships through the season. The Chiefs have only a seven-game homestand, starting Saturday, remaining this season at O'Brien Field. The Chiefs close the season at Kane County….”
We’ll see what develops.
Yesterday, the Chiefs beat Wisconsin 4-2. Jeffry Antigua worked 5.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned, while walking one and striking out five. He got a no-decision and is 1-2 with a 1.91 ERA. Jorge Soler was 3-for-4.
Back up at Class AAA Iowa, veteran Seth McClung got the win, working 7 innings of 6-hit shutout ball in a 2-0 win over Memphis. Blake Parker earned his sixth save.
Tennessee (AA) fell 3-1 in 13 to Chattanooga. Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch got no decision, working 5 innings and giving up 5 hits and no runs. He walked three and struck out four. Jokisch is 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA.
Daytona (A) again was rained out because of “a torrential pour down,” according to the Cubs’ minor-league report.
According to the Daytona site: “The rainout continues this menacing and frustrating trend of Daytona Cubs game being affected by weather. Over the last 13 games, Daytona has been delayed twice, postponed five times, played two doubleheaders and canceled four games (all at home), with just two of the 13 played as regularly scheduled nine-inning contests.”
Boise beat Yakima 7-4 with 4 in the first. Pierce Johnson started and worked 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 3 runs. Gioskar Amaya hit his seventh homer, leading off the game. It was his seventh as Amaya finished 3-for-4. Stephen Bruno extended a hit streak to 12 games, going 1-for-3.
Mesa (Rookie) split with the Mariners, losing 4-1 and winning 7-6. Duane Underwood worked 3 hitless and scoreless innings. That’s a season high for the recent draftee. Trevor Gretzky was 2-for-3. In Game 2, Trey Lang pitched 1 inning. Shawon Dunston Jr. was 2-for-3.