Happy Father's Day to all BCB dads, including mine. I'll have my son with me at the game today.
If the Cubs win today and the Brewers and Cardinals lose, the Cubs will have the fewest losses in the NL Central. Further, if the Phillies also lose, only the Dodgers will have fewer losses in the entire National League. This bodes well for contention not only for the division title, but for the wild card (current leader: the Brewers).
Much as I thought the firing of Gerald Perry and hiring of Von Joshua was window dressing and an attempt to show the Cubs were "doing something, anything" about the hitting slump -- Bruce Miles talked to Joshua recently and maybe there IS something to changing the approach:
"We like to work the count and make the pitcher work," Von said. "But as we all know, you get some of these guys like (Cliff) Lee or some of these guys get ahead, if they throw strike one, a fastball strike one, it’s bad if you pop it up. It’s great if you square it up. You only get three strikes.
"It’s a twofold. You like to see them work the count, but if they groove that fastball, square it up. A lot of guys will say, ‘It was on the outer third of the plate.’ Well, square it up to the opposite field and try and go the other way. It’s still the fastball. I cannot stand to see guys take a fastball for a strike."
It sounds a little scary, almost Dusty Baker-like, to be too overaggressive. On the other hand, Joshua has been on the job less than a week and you can already see guys doing this, and at the same time, most of the Cubs have been having better at-bats. Whatever it is, let's hope it continues.And if you missed this on Baseball Tonight last night, Mike emailed me this:
This is the first time that there have been three consecutive walkoffs by anyone since 1998, and the first time for the Cubs since 1946.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Randy Wells||0-3||7||7||0||0||0||0||42.1||38||13||12||2||10||32||2.55||1.13|
|2009 - Jeremy Sowers||1-4||7||6||0||0||0||0||35.0||36||21||20||4||17||17||5.14||1.51|
Jeremy Sowers is a soft-tossing lefty -- the Cubs usually have trouble with guys like this (think of him as a poor man's Doug Davis). However, Sowers has a 5.14 ERA this year, which matches his career ERA, and has walked 17 in 35 innings. He has never faced the Cubs, and the handful of Cubs (Reed Johnson, Milton Bradley and Andres Blanco) who faced him in their AL time are a combined 0-for-8 against him. So the bottom line is -- who knows?
Randy Wells is coming off his worst start to date as a major leaguer. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to that, especially against a good-hitting team like the Indians. He has never faced them nor anyone on their current roster.
Cable only today in Cleveland (STO) and Chicago (CSN). For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.