Well, we’re back with simCubs manager Brandon Palmer, a peculiar fellow with the awareness that he is only binary code but the ability to conduct himself as if he were meat. Regular reporter Ray Renfield is still overseas dealing with grave matters so I’ll do the interview myself once again, which will allow me to avail myself of his excellent Belgian whiskey and try on some 1s and 0s for myself.
CT — Good day, Brandon, or good night, since this is being “taped” on Thursday night. How are things in the simCubs’ universe?
BP — Evening, Cub Tracks. Here in the Cub Tracks Continuum, we are contemplating the upcoming series with the Reds and starting to make plans for October. It might seem premature, but we have to explore all scenarios in order to perform due diligence.
I’m pleased, I must say, with our front office. Theo and Al and Duane and Jed have provided me with a fine group of e-players, and I’m trying to juggle them and their needs and the team’s needs and make it all a winning formula.
CT — So far so good then. How does the Iowa shuttle figure into this?
BP — Well, I pretty much work with the whole 40-man roster as far as filling the holes and keeping people sharp. My guys know that going to Iowa is a chance to recharge, not a demotion. If you approach that properly, work hard, get results, you’ll be back in Wrigley when there’s an opportunity.
You have to show up. We have 17 pitchers and 23 position players to fit together. All of them can’t play at once.
Albert Almora Jr. is batting fifth in Iowa and mostly playing left field. His average is still down a touch but he’s driven in 14 runs. Steven Souza Jr. is platooning with Brett Phillips, and between them they are batting something like .280 with power. Souza hasn’t hit many home runs but he has double a fair bit, and Phillips is hitting for power and stealing a base or two, plus he’s been playing errorless ball.
These guys can fill a spot when one comes up. Josh Phegley is still hitting ... he’s at .368 this late in the season, with nine homers and 30 RBI or so.
That pushes the guys who are in Chicago to keep performing at a high level. And in turn they’re being pushed from below. Or from the same level — Brennen Davis is doing very well indeed as part-time leadoff man at the Triple-A level and his future looks very bright.
CT — That’s great! So the chains keep on moving...
BP — Yeah. And hey, we’re in first place, and we’re playing the second-place team this weekend. The Reds look a little patchwork, are a little bit of a paper tiger, on paper, with a roster that isn’t exactly prepossessing. But the real thing is a little different, and they can pitch and catch and run and hit the ball for average and power, and are transitioning into a younger and more athletic squad. I’m a little afraid of them.
CT — Afraid of them?
BP — Well, they’re good, and hungry, and we’re in their way. They have really good pitching and clutch performers like Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez. Yeah, I fear them, and respect them. We all do. And we’ll use that fear and respect to play them that much harder so we don’t get embarrassed.
Our guys are all over the leaderboard. Let’s keep it that way.
It’s better than being out there in the world right now, with all the stuff you meat people have going on. And I’ll leave you with that thought. See you next week!