The Cubs lost game one last night. No big deal, no reason to panic and think that the world is coming to end. Remember the last series? The Cubs lost game one and came back and won. Yeah, that series. Patience, Cub fans, patience. The NLCS isn’t won or lost in the first game. With Jake Arrieta going tonight, I like our chances of coming out of New York with a split. Which as the road team, that is ideal. Thinking about the bigger picture, sometimes, helps to soothe the soul.
It’s time for 10 things I think, our monthly feature of a few random thoughts, or at least 10 of them, about some things that are happening at the major-league level and also at the minor-league level in the Cubs organization.
Major League Things
1. I have come to peace with game one already. Matt Harvey is good. Sometimes in this game, you just have to tip your cap and move on. The Cubs had chances in the sixth inning and beyond and did not get it done. But here’s what they did do: In game 5, Harvey will pitch again on Thursday. I think the Cubs will be much more ready for him than they were last night. Starting in the sixth inning last night, the Cubs began hitting the ball hard off of Harvey. Most of the time, though, it was right at someone. Their loss last night could set them up for a win on Thursday against Harvey.
2. I think the bullpen is going to play a much larger role in games three and four of the NLCS. With Jake Arrieta going today, that saves the bullpen and allows them to almost get two days of rest they will definitely need on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I think my wife is in love with Trevor Cahill. She just loves his sinker and two seam fastball and how they both just drop off the plate. Hector Rondon is going to take a little more convincing for her, while Travis Wood and Clayton Richard are not. Justin Grimm has looked filthy with rest.
3. Kyle Schwarber is a beast. I can only imagine what he is going to do over a full season next year. He has punished the baseball in the post season doing things that only Mickey Mantle and Miguel Cabrera have done (4HRs before the age of 23). Wow! Sometimes I think what he could more powerful in the 3 spot rather than Bryant, but Joe Maddon loves to keep that alternating righty/lefty thing going, which is probably for the best.
4. I miss Addison Russell after one game of the NLCS. Javy Baez did great things in the NLDS, but I think he is meant to play to some other position this post season. However, he did make a slick play that resulted in a double play last night. I still think he Javy’s bat will be a difference at some point here in the next week. It is just too potent.
5. This team has had different heroes throughout the post season. One night it could be Soler, the next night Schwarber or Castro or Baez. What really drives this team, though, is when Bryant and Rizzo get on base. It is really is simple. They tend to make the offense, and they should, from the 3 and 4 positions. Look for them to figure out how the Mets are pitching them and adjust in games 2-4 just like the two sluggers did in the Cardinals series.
Minor League Things
6. No sooner that it was announced that Eddy Julio Martinez signed with the Cubs that the Giants struck a second claim that they also thought they signed him. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Cubs paperwork appears to all be in order while the Giants does not:
According to sources, Martinez signed the term sheet for the Cubs on Oct. 8 and filed it for approval by the Commissioner’s Office one day later. The Giants submitted paperwork claiming a deal with Martinez the day after they came to terms. However, representatives for Martinez claim the player did not sign a term sheet for the Giants or the sworn statement that says a Cuban player is in compliance with Section 515.05 of Cuban Assets Control Regulations in order to sign with a Major League team.
Martinez is represented in the Dominican Republic by trainers Aldo Marrero and Amauris Nina. He is represented in the United States by Beverly Hills Sports Council. It was Marrero and Nina who made the deal with the Cubs. It was BHSC that made the deal with the Giants.
I don’t think the Eddy Julio Martinez signing will be the last international free-agent the Cubs are going to sign this winter. I think there are several more Cubans out there just that the Cubs could sign. They range from 16 to 21 years old and are a combination of pitchers and outfielders. Last year at this time, Theo went out and signed several young players from Mexico who worked out well including Carlos Sepulveda. This looks like it could be a post on its own after the season is complete.
7. The Arizona Fall League began on Wednesday. Jeimer Candelario is just destroying the league. He went 3-5 in his first game and yesterday, he went 5-5 with two home runs. Going into Saturday’s game, he was 8-10 with an astounding OPS of 2.618!!! Willson Contreras has gone 3 for 12 and Mark Zagunis is 0-4 so far. Pierce Johnson, Corey Black, and Rob Zastryzny have not fared well in their first outings while David Garner went one inning with 2 BBs and 2 Ks and did not allow a run.
8. Minor League instructs ended last Friday (the 9th) and most players packed up and headed home while a few more were still hanging around and playing games with the Angels mixed squad. Their games ended yesterday, the 16th. Chesny Young and Victor Caratini both lead the Cubs hitters on the team. Young hit .375 in 8 games while Caratini hit .273 with 1 HR and 7 RBIs in 13 games. On the pitching side, Duane Underwood struggled with a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings. On the other hand, Tyler Skulina had a 3.00 ERA in just 12 innings. In relief, Stephen Perakslis has a 1.29 ERA in 7 innings with 4 Ks. (Stats compiled by Arizona Phil)
9. When I begin to start to think about the off-season plans for this website, usually one of the highlights for me is doing the minor league team profiles. I’ve already started thinking in my head about them. The Tennessee Smokies profile is going to be the profile to read for several reasons. One is three quarters of the players won back to back championships at Kane County and Myrtle Beach. The second reason will be that the biggest jump in talent in the minors is from High A to AA. With the amount of pitching that will be going from Myrtle Beach to Tennessee, it will be interesting to see how they do. The adaptation of pitchers Duane Underwood, Tyler Skulina, Paul Blackburn, Jen-Ho Tseng, Daury Torrez, Johnathan Martinez, and Brad Markey will be keys to the development of starting pitching in the organization.
10. In addition to feeling good about what is happening in Chicago, I get a little giddy thinking about what could happen in South Bend in 2016. The Cubs could have two of their top international free-agent signing in Eddy Julio Martinez and Eloy Jimenez playing alongside Donnie Dewees in what is easily the best outfield in the Cubs’ system. I just I don’t know how to describe it other than to say every day would be the 4th of July for South Bend. There could be fireworks with homeruns, stolen bases, diving catches, and screaming line drives. Broadcaster Darin Pritchett is going to have his hands full describing the action in South Bend.
Initially, when the Cubs regular season ended, I was going to do a series of profiles on each position in the organization as it pertains to depth and potential. The playoffs have postponed that analysis. All those posts are done just waiting to be posted. Once the big league club season is over, they will see the light of day. You will also be able to see them online at Cubs Insider, too.