I didn’t have high expectations for Casey Coleman entering Monday’s game against the division leading Brewers.
But he easily pitched his best game of the year tossing 6 innings of 1 run, 2 hit baseball with a career-high 8 punchouts against a very tough Milwaukee lineup.
It must be a huge confidence booster for the 24-year-old considering he hadn’t won a game with the Cubs in four months and entered Monday’s contest with an unsightly 7.08 ERA.
One solid start doesn’t make a season, but for Coleman, it buys him another start to prove he’s of major league caliber on the mound.
The next obvious step is showing consistency to string together quality starts, which thus far, he’s failed miserably to do so.
I like what I’m seeing from Big Geo, despite his poor offensive numbers.
He’s not only continued to mature from his embarrassing sophomore season in 2009, but he’s maintained his weight, rehabed well from offseason shoulder surgery and been a rock for a pitching staff that lost long-time instructor Larry Rothschild.
–So Mike Quade is showing the Cubs he can bench star players, too.
Fredi Gonzalez, a reported leading candidate for the Cubs manager position, gained much support for his benching of Hanley Ramirez earlier in the season with Florida. Shortly after, however, Gonzalez was fired by the Marlins.
Quade sat Starlin Castro on Monday after the rookie forgot how many outs there were in the seventh inning of Sunday’s awful 18-5 loss against St. Louis.
It’s a fitting punishment for Castro, who needs to learn star players can’t take plays off, no matter the score of the game.
–Castro has been red-hot at the plate since July 10th. He has the most hits (76) and doubles (20) of any other player in baseball during this stretch.
–Geovany Soto, who had the game-winning home run on Monday, has basically flown under the radar this season. But the catcher has posted decent numbers through his 89 starts–.284, 17 HR & 51 RBI. All said, it’s been a nice rebound year for Soto after his debacle of a sophomore season–.218, 11 HR & 37 RBI.
On top of his rededication to staying in shape, Soto has also refined his plate discipline posting an on-base percentage of .398–34-points higher than his ROY season in 2008.
The catcher has smartly got his act together in time to show Jim Hendry he’s worth a multi-year deal this offseason. He’s currently signed through the season for $0.575M.
Not long ago I wrote a post about Geovany Soto’s nice rebound from 2009. Seems no sooner than that post went up that Big Geo started spiraling downward again.
He’s batting .120 in his last 19 games…and posted a .200 mark during the month of May. The catcher’s batting power has dropped quicker than his weight…5 HR, 12 RBI…enough for Lou to bench him in favor of back-up Koyie Hill.
Hill, however, is making a strong case to keep the job. He’s strung together a six-game hitting streak, batting .333 during the stretch, and is slugging over .350 with RISP. Wouldn’t bet a penny Hill keeps pace, he’s a career .218 hitter, but you can’t blame Lou for riding the hot-hand. Not that there’s another option anyway.
Geovany Soto is flying under the radar….rebounding nicely from a horrific sophomore season.
His plate discipline has improved remarkably…leading all of baseball with 4.34 plate appearances per walk.
His 29 total walks are third-best in both leagues…and he’s drawn at least one walk in 28 of his last 30 games with a plate appearance, which is huge considering Soto managed just 50 free passes all of last season!
Not surprisingly, Soto’s OBP is way up, too (.449)…while fanning just 23 times in 98 at-bats.
Behind the plate Soto’s helped guide the starting staff to 27 quality starts…second-best in the N.L. behind St. Louis’ 32…thrown out 21% of runners attempting to steal…and all while committing zero errors!
But somehow, Soto’s rebound year has gone unnoticed…seemingly due to the downward spirals of Aramis, D-Lee and Carlos Zambrano.
Nonetheless, our catcher is finally back…and living up to the lofty expectations set from his Rookie of the Year season in 2008!
Give Big Geo credit for losing the weight this offseason.
He dropped 40lbs, which is no small feat. And of course, the hope is he’s lost his sophomore slump with the extra weight, too.
As a tribute to Soto, here’s what some other Cubs would weigh-in at having lost 40lbs–not that they all should, of course. But if there is a lone exception it’s none other than the round mound of pounds that is Carlos Silva.
Now we know the cause of Geovany Soto’s weight gain: the munchies.
I guess winning the Rookie of the Year Award means you celebrate by smoking a couple of fat ones?
Common mistake for a 26-year old, but am embarrassing mistake for a pro ball player.
Worse, it appears Soto took his sophomore season for granted, got lazy during the offseason, and dated Mary Jane instead of working out.
Not surprisingly, he’s now battling both his weight gain and batting average in year two.
You hope the embarrassment is enough to motivate Soto back to his old form. After all, no one likes having a muddy name.