Tagged: Javier Baez

Afternoon Delight: No Reason to Fear Astronomical Expectations

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I’ve been on this Earth for 33 years, and for the better part of my time here I have been a Cubs fan, so disappointment comes with the territory.  With that disappointment comes hope that is usually misguided, and a catch phrase of “wait till next year” drives that misguided optimism year after year.  The National narrative doesn’t help things with a constant “don’t worry, the Cubs will screw it up because they’re the Cubs” refrain.  That repetitive opinion starts to creep into our subconscious; maybe all those experts are right, nothing good ever happens.  It was even evident last year during what I can say was honestly the most enjoyable baseball season of my life, there was doubt.  A daily rollercoaster of emotions based on whether or not the Cubs won.  What did the Giants do?  Look out for the Nationals, they’re getting hot.  The Diamondbacks are making a run; did you see the schedule down the stretch?  Its typical pennant race behavior which I totally get, but something about last year changed my views on hope, it made me realize something important and fun… it’s real.

I got into a number of discussions last year on the inter-webs about this very thing and it was startling how many people, good baseball people, hoped that other teams would take care of the Cubs’ business for them.  In the past I would be right there with them, but the leadership group of this organization, the players, and their overall attitude towards winning, and competing made it very clear to me that I no longer had to worry about that.  This Cubs team was going to leave everything on the field and for the most part the opponent couldn’t keep up.  It was never more obvious than during that four game series against the Giants at home.  We all thought that Hector Rondon and a rare bout of wildness was going to derail the game, and the season, it was over.  Then it wasn’t, Rondon wiggled off the hook, and the Cubs pounded the Giants right out of the wild card lead into an October without playoff baseball.

A postseason of Cardinals’ devil magic followed.  2016 was full of horrible losses to the Cardinals, it was impossible to ignore those losses heading into the NLDS.  The reason for most losses was the dreaded Cardinals’ devil magic because it was more fun to talk about that then talk about how the Cardinals made their own breaks or came up with a clutch hit or two.  Things went wrong in Game One for the Cubs as worries of the unbreakable Cardinals, and the “too young to be here” Cubs were coming to fruition.  Then Javier Baez massacred a mistake from John Lackey en route to Dingerpalooza 2015 taking place at Wrigley…. Hello NLCS!

I would say that a large number of people converted over to less fatalistic thinking as the season came to a close against the Mets.  The Cubs were getting beat by the Mets because the Mets were a good team, and the Cubs couldn’t get out of their own way.  I was pretty excited to see a lot of fans recognize what was going on; it wasn’t the Cubs blowing an opportunity as only the Cubs could do.  It was the Cubs just losing a game and losing a series in the infancy of their window of opportunity to win a World Series.

So now the Cubs are on the brink of starting the 2016 season with the highest expectations possible.  The organization identified needs heading into the off-season and sent a powerful message to this fan base and the rest of baseball that they are not going anywhere by bringing in Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey.  The players have clearly bought into what Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer are selling.  I suppose it’s okay that some fans are still overcome with worry when they see the Cubs as World Series favorites.  I’m just glad that the players taking the field are embracing it, and ready to win a World Series, not because of any curse or because of the losing History, but because they expect to.

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Javier Baez with the Exclamation Point (VIDEO)

I’m enjoying Javier Baez right now, refined (as much as possible, I think) approach, better setup at the plate, but still squaring the baseball up.  Baez had three hits today, also drew a walk with the bases loaded, and one of those hits left the ballpark.  It was an 0-2 mistake, and Baez just mashed it.

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Javier Baez is Destroying the Baseball (VIDEO)

Baez Dinger

Another two homer night for Javier Baez as he is knocking down the door to the Major Leagues once again.  Baez has played in 32 games with Iowa this season, and is hitting .325 with seven home runs, and 26 RBI’s.  Not to mention his K rate is now at 27.5% which is way more playable, he’s getting really close to coming back up.

 

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Riding the Bus: May 6, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Recaps)

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WEDNESDAY • MAY 6, 2015

South Bend 5-7 Final

Full Box Score

South Bend really couldn’t get much going earlier this afternoon as they dropped a 4-3 decision to Great Lakes.  Leading 2-1 after five, the Cubs gave up single runs in the sixth, seventh, and ninth.

At the Plate:

  • Charcer Burks is having a great 2015, he was 3-for-4 with two stolen bases, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .341 on the season.
  • Jesse Hodges was solid, he went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.
  • David Bote was good again today, he went 1-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Cael Brockmeyer, and Giokar Amaya each had one hit in the loss, Amaya added an RBI, and a walk.

On the Mound:

  • Erick Leal got the start, and was solid, he worked 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • David Garner doesn’t usually give up anything, he did today, he worked 1.1 innings, giving up one run on one hit while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Tommy Thorpe was hung with the loss, he tossed two innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out two.

 

Myrtle Beach 5-6 Final

Full Box Score

A rough start to the double header last night as the Pelicans saw an early 4-1 lead turn into a 5-4 loss at the hands of Salem.

At the Plate:

  • Mark Zagunis did his job by getting on base in this one, he was 0-for-2 with two walks, and a run scored.
  • Wes Darvill had a similar night, he was 0-for-1 with two walks, and a run scored.
  • Jeimer Candelario was solid, he went 2-for-3 with a double, and a run scored.
  • Victor Caratini was most of the offense, he went 2-for-3 with his third double of the year, and two RBI’s.

On the Mound:

  • Daury Torrez got the start and worked deep into this one before picking up the loss.  Torrez worked 6.1 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on eight hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • James Pugliese was stuck with a blown save as he could not get out of Torrez’s trouble, he tossed two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit while walking one.

Myrtle Beach 5-6 Final (2)

Full Box Score

The Pelicans got back on track in game two as the bullpen shut the door on Salem late in a 4-2 victory.

At the Plate:

  • Mark Zagunis had another solid game, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Wes Darvill came up big in game two, he was 2-for-4 with his first dinger of the year, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Billy McKinney was locked in, he went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Jacob Rogers, and Carlos Penalver each had one hit in the game two victory.

On the Mound:

  • Tayler Scott got the start and was solid, he worked three innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Zach Cates was awesome out of the pen, and picked up his first win of the season.  He tossed two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Jasvir Rakkar continued his domination at the end of games, he worked two scoreless/hitless innings to pick up his fourth save of the year.

Tennessee Smokies 5-6 Final

Full Box Score

The Smokies needed late magic in this one as they lost a 1-0 lead in the 6th but struck for one in the seventh to take game one, 2-1.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Frank Batista got the start, and was stellar, he worked six innings, giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • P.J. Francescon has been awesome all year, he worked a scoreless inning to pick up his third save.

Tennessee Smokies 5-6 Final (2)

Full Box Score

 Sweep!  It took the whole game, but it was worth it as the Smokies scored four times in the seventh (last) inning to sweep the double header with a 4-1 game two victory.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Andres Santiago got the start, and was good.  He worked 4.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Gerardo Concepcion was solid in is AA debut, he worked two-thirds of an inning, allowing nothing.
  • C.J. Edwards was outstanding, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out the side to pick up his first win of the season.
  • Michael Jensen tossed a scoreless inning to pick up his first save of the season.

Iowa Cubs 5-6 Final

Full Box Score

Tough matchup for the Cubs in this one as they were completely shutdown by Kendall Graveman of Nashville.  The Cubs were only able to scratch out five hits in the shutout loss.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Dallas Beeler got the start, and was roughed up, he worked four innings, giving up five runs on nine hits, while walking two.
  • Michael Wagner was pretty good out of the pen, he worked three innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out one.
  • Joe Ortiz worked a scoreless inning late to keep the Cubs in it, sort of.

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Riding the Bus: May 4, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

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MONDAY • MAY 4, 2015

Iowa Cubs 5-4 Final

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Not much offense in this one as the Cubs and Sounds combined for three runs on just thirteen hits.  The right team had more as the Cubs were able to tightrope their way to a 2-1 victory on the road.

At the Plate:

  • Arismendy Alcantara is heating up, he was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Matt Szczur showed off his power, he was 1-for-2 with two walks, a dinger, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Javier Baez had another good night, he was 1-for-2 with a walk, and stolen base.
  • Taylor Davis was solid, he went 2-for-4, he’s now hitting .333 on the season.
  • Mike Baxter and John Andreoli each had one hit in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch got the start and was outstanding, he worked six innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Brian Schlitter was good out of the pen tonight, he worked a scoreless inning while giving up one hit, and striking out one.
  • Justin Grimm is working his way back, hooray.  He worked a scoreless inning, surrendering one hit while walking one, and striking out two.
  • James Russell is also doing some good things, he worked a scoreless inning as well to pick up his third save of the season.

Tennessee Smokies 5-4 Final

Full Box Score

 A long one early this afternoon saw the Smokies comeback then blow a lead late in a tough loss.  The Smokies only gave up six hits in thirteen innings, unfortunately that was just enough for Birmingham.

At the Plate:

  • Pin-Chieh Chen was seeing the ball well today, and that’s an understatement.  Chen was 2-for-2 with FIVE walks, a dinger, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  That’s right, he reached base SEVEN times.
  • Willson Contreras was solid, he went 3-for-5 with a walk, and two doubles.
  • Stephen Bruno has been really good, he was 2-for-6, he’s now hitting .293 on the season.
  • Ryan Dent had a good game from the nine spot, he was 1-for-5 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored.

On the Mound:

  • Felix Pena got the start and struggled with his command, he tossed 5.2 innings, giving up two runs on just two hits while walking five, and striking out four.
  • Fernando Cruz bounced back today, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, surrendering just one base hit.
  • Michael Jensen was also really good, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three.
  • Stephen Perakslis was brilliant, and I thought he was going to get the win, he worked three scoreless innings, surrendering zero hits while striking out three.
  • Zach Cates picked up the blown save, and loss, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on one hit while walking one, and striking out one.

Myrtle Beach 5-4 Final

 Final Box Score

Things got a little out of hand in this one as Myrtle Beach fell behind early before racing in front late.  Trailing 2-0, the Pelicans charged ahead with six runs in the fourth inning to take a 7-6 lead.  The Pelicans didn’t stop there as they finished the night with fourteen runs, and seventeen hits.

At the Plate:

  • Mark Zagunis was 2-for-6 with two doubles, and two runs scored.
  • Wes Darvill was 1-for-3 with two walks, a triple, three RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Billy Mckinney was 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Jacob Rogers was 3-for-5 with a dinger, four RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-6 with a double, and a run scored.
  • Kevin Brown was 3-for-5 with a double, and a run scored.
  • Daniel Lockhart was 2-for-5 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Carlos Penalver was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI’s, a walk, and two runs scored.
  • Alberto Mineo was 0-for-3 but walked twice, and scored three runs.

On the Mound:

  • Jen-Ho Tseng got the start was oddly erratic, he worked three innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while walking two.
  • Josh Conway was touched up as well, he worked one inning, giving up three runs on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Michael Heesch was outstanding, and he picked up the win.  Heesch worked three scoreless innings, surrendering two hits while striking out three.
  • Jasvir Rakkar was solid once again, he worked two scoreless innings to notch his third save of the year.

South Bend 5-4 Final

Full Box Score

 Two quick runs from Great Lakes was the extent of the scoring in this one as South Bend could not get anything going in a 2-0 loss.

At the Plate:

  • Charcer Burks continued his hot 2015, he was 1-for-4 with a stolen base, he’s now hitting .313 on the season.
  • Chesny Young is also swinging it, he went 1-for-4 in the loss.
  • Jason Volser, Justin Marra, and Rashad Crawford all finished the day with one hit.

On the Mound:

  •  Jake Stinnett wasn’t too bad, he worked five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Francisco Carrillo was dominant, he worked three scoreless innings, surrendering one hit while striking out one.
  • Tyler Ihrig was also good, he worked a scoreless inning to keep the Cubs in it late.

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