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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Game 2 Feelings

Late night thoughts, as I wait for the NyQuil to kick in.

Things I liked, enjoyed, or that gave me hope
1. Schwarber, Schwarber, Schwarber.  Is this real?  Were I a neutral fan, I might start thinking this storyline is getting pounded into the ground.  But it’s just so damn incredible.  The entire postgame show was about whether or not he should play LF Friday, and how the Cubs are a different team with him.  Yes, they are, but they were still really, really ####### good without him.  ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 26, 2016 at 11:37 PM | 92 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, world series

Game 1 Feelings

There’s plenty of analysis and overanalysis out there for everyone to find.  Rather than writing a long post in one of the threads, I figured I’d just throw all my thoughts up here and see what sticks.

Things I liked, enjoyed, or that gave me hope
1. Schwarber, Schwarber, Schwarber.  I kind of forgot how good of an eye he had, so there was something to like from each of his at-bats.  He only swung at 2 pitches out of the zone (I think), and even more impressively he hung in against Miller ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 26, 2016 at 10:17 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, world series

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bring on the outsourced 5 minute Indians preview

I haven’t had time to write one of these up yet, but Walt posted this in a comment on the last thread.  I’ll just post what he wrote, and give any of my thoughts in the comments.

I’ve paid very little attention to this team all year but here goes:

Offense is better than the overall numbers look—the overall numbers are dragged down by a mostly terrible bench but the starters are pretty good and they cleaned up one weakness getting Guyer to mash LHP. There’s no stud batter but everybody is a ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 24, 2016 at 10:15 AM | 91 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, ohmygodistillaminshock, world series

Sunday, October 23, 2016

NL pennant thread

Hell yeah. Whooo.

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 23, 2016 at 01:35 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, nlcs, pennant

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Long Wait

No, not THAT one.  I’m talking about the long wait until 7:08pm tomorrow.  These waits with the offday in between are just so, so long.  I already spend so much overthinking things, now I have another 24 or so hours to question and re-question everything I think I’ve convinced myself to think to feel. 

Anyhow, the Cubs are in position to clinch the pennant at home.  It’s a big moment, and as much as I try, it’s impossible to ignore history.  Luckily, history doesn’t really matter; or it ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 21, 2016 at 10:24 AM | 119 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, nlcs, playoffs

Friday, October 14, 2016

Bring on the five minute Dodgers preview

I don’t have a lot of time today to write any sort of detailed preview.  Besides, there’ll be plenty of those everywhere else.  It’s been quite an exciting playoffs so far, but I wouldn’t complain if the Cubs were able to take care of business a little more quietly this series.  So borrowing a format I used earlier…

Reasons for Optimism (all the same, but with thoughts slightly tweaked as applicable):

1. Pitching and defense.  Just like last time, the Cubs have an advantage here.  The Kershaw ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 14, 2016 at 01:06 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, dodgers, nlcs, playoffs

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

NLDS Winner Thread

Just wanted to get something up. Probably will write more tomorrow.

All I’ll say is have some faith in this team. Don’t get discouraged or give up so easy. They’re good, and it’s never over.

Hell, they’re really ####### good.

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 12, 2016 at 12:58 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, nlcs, nlds, playoffs

Monday, October 10, 2016

Gut check Monday

Rather that doing any sort of write, I thought I’d list out a bunch of things I like, or didn’t like, or felt, after the first 2 games; plus how I feel about tonight’s game.

Things to like:
1. Javy.  It really speaks to how far he’s come all the ways he’s making an impact.  Sure, I’d love for him to run out of the box sprinting every time (more on that late), but he’s been exactly what the Cubs needed at the bottom of the lineup.  He hasn’t even had to do too much defensively yet, but the ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 10, 2016 at 09:49 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, giants, playoffs

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Bring on the Giants

This will be a very unorganized preview, but I wanted to get something up to talk about here.  I’m sure there’ll be plenty of previews to read.  Most will say something along the lines of the Cubs are the better team on paper, but it’s an even year and the Giants and a proven October winner.  Since I don’t believe in that - or curses/jinxes - but realize anything can happen in a short series, I’ll say the Cubs are clearly the better team on paper but the Giants will be a tough match (and a ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 06, 2016 at 11:01 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, giants, playoffs, previews

Monday, October 03, 2016

Five minute non-specific opponent playoff preview

I’ll write a little more after the NL WC game on Wednesday, once we know who the Cubs are playing (quick thought - I don’t have a preference; both the Mets and Giants have obvious strengths and ways they could beat the Cubs, and also plenty of weaknesses and reasons the Cubs can beat them).  In the meantime, here’s some quick thoughts about how things are looking.  First though, 103 wins.  Wow.  I hope we can fully appreciate how great this season way, regardless of how this month turns out.  ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 03, 2016 at 05:14 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fear, Worry, and Overthinking

Since the Cubs actually cliched, and even well before that when it was inevitable, I found it easy to push a bunch of minor concerns out of my mind.  Usually a quick “Yeah, but that won’t matter until October” was enough to mentally move on.  Now that the playoffs are just a (long, long) week away, the doubts have started creeping back in.  So, in the remaining 8 days until the Cubs play their next meaningful game, here are the things that worry me.

1. This:

We interrupt your regularly ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: September 29, 2016 at 10:41 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, playoffs

Monday, September 19, 2016

Projected Playoff Roster

We’ve talked about this off and on in so many different threads and chatters, figured it was time to create a dedicated thread now that the Cubs have clinched.  I’ll put any new predictions in the comments.  But this is what I’m guessing will be the roster, not what I want it to be.


I think we’re going to see Baez start at either 3b (for Lester’s start, with Bryant in LF) or 2b (the other guys, with Zobrist in LF) for the ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: September 19, 2016 at 03:53 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, playoffs, roster battles

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Just Enjoy It

WIth the end of the season fast approaching, there’s going to be plenty of stressful moments and opportunities for second guessing.  Whether the Cubs keep winning in October or not, I’ve found now is really a good time to just sit back and enjoy what we’ve seen over the last few years.  Obviously the title would be the ultimate, but I am at the point where I wouldn’t want to change places with any other fandom. 

Sometimes it’s just fun to step back and consider the numbers.  It’s only ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: September 06, 2016 at 11:10 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Is that good?

Can he move into 2nd by the end of the year?

What the FIP?

The Cubs pitching has been statistically extreme in some interesting ways.

First, let’s look at FIP.  FIP (“fielding independent pitching”) attempts to capture a pitcher’s performance, in a term similar to ERA, that does not depend on the fickle fate of balls hit in play. As a team, the Cubs have greatly outperformed their team FIP, posting a 3.13 team ERA (best in MLB), compared to 3.80 FIP (fourth in MLB).  I believe the last time a team finished the season with a higher difference was 2002, ...

Andere Richtingen Posted: August 24, 2016 at 01:50 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Related News: babip, chicago cubs, fip

Friday, August 05, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

I haven’t had a lot of specific things to write, and we’ve gotten our fair share of threads lately, but I still thought I’d put up a new open post and people can take it whatever direction they’d like.

Some random assorted thoughts…

- How about Javy Baez?  His defense has been even better than I could have imagined.  He’ll make the occasional error, either on a play he tries to force or where someone isn’t expecting him to make the throw, but I could only imagine what his defensive numbers ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: August 05, 2016 at 10:54 AM | 104 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, javy baez, jorge soler

Thursday, July 21, 2016

4-2, 5QS

After yesterday’s win, the Cubs are 4-2 after the break and saw their starters give them Quality Starts in 5 of those games with the 6th being Lackey’s 8IP, 4ER start.  The last Quality Start before the break was June 30th, meaning we had 10 straight games where the starter failed to qualify for a Quality Start (the Cubs went 2-8 over that stretch).  Whatever the Cubs did to get them back on track seems to be working. 

Bryant and Rizzo are the top two in the NL in WAR among position players.  ...

Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 21, 2016 at 10:25 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Direction with Andere Richtingen

This post comes from another long time poster, Andere Richtingen, who can’t seem to locate his keys to the blog.

The Cubs hit a bit of a rough spot the last three weeks, going 6-15.  On June 19th, the team hit its apex so far for the season, completing a three-game sweep of the Pirates at Wrigley. They led the division by 12.5 games, an achievement the team hadn’t made since 1929, and had a record of 47-20.  That sweep completed a 15-6 stretch, after which things fell apart.  Really fell ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: July 13, 2016 at 11:08 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Midseason Prospect Check-in

Rather that just look up a bunch of stats for guys that I really haven’t seen at all, I’ll just link to the excellent write-up from Cubs Den on the first half for the Cubs prospects. 

At the same time, we want to give credit to those players who have made a breakthrough early in 2016.  I’ve had the good fortune to see all of these players since February, so I know that the breakthrough seasons of Eloy Jimenez, Bryan Hudson, and Trevor Clifton —or those of sleepers like PJ Higgins, Jesus ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: June 30, 2016 at 02:24 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, prospects

Monday, June 27, 2016

Slumping and Busting

Last week the Cubs went 1-6, and saw both the pitching and the hitting drop.  They gave up 5.29 runs per game but only scored 3 runs per game.  It can be hard to win when nearly everyone slumps at the same time.  As a indicator of how good they had been, they went 1-6 and are still up 9 games.

Random musings:

The depth has continued to be excellent.  While Almora has hit poorly recently, Baez, Szczur, and Ross have all hit well.  Coghlan has hit decently since he was acquired, and Contreras ...

Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: June 27, 2016 at 11:18 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Finally, part 2

Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 15s15 seconds ago
#Cubs put Clayton Richard (blister) on DL and option Adam Warren to Iowa with intent to stretch him out to make start before All-Star break.

Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 3m3 minutes ago
RHP Spencer Patton recalled. LHP Gerardo Concepcion also called up for big-league debut.

The bullpen is all of a sudden very young and inexperienced.  Here’s hoping at least one of these guys (this includes Edwards) really stands out and can stay on the ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: June 21, 2016 at 05:27 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Thursday, June 16, 2016


The Cubs have finally made one of the more obvious and inevitable moves with their roster this season.  No, not that one, the other one.  Tim Federowicz isn’t on the team anymore.  He’s been replaced as the third catcher by Willson Contreras, arguably the Cubs best prospect.  Contreras had absolutely dominated AAA this year, hitting .350/.439/.591, with only 32Ks in 239PAs.  His bat appears the be the real deal.  The only thing that was holding him back was the Cubs’ belief that he needed more ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: June 16, 2016 at 01:12 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, prospects, willson contreras

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Off Day Musings

Just a quick post about a couple of things on my mind lately.

Addison Russell

On May 14th, Addison Russell was hitting .263/.375/.447 and was looking like he was on his way to a legit breakout season.  He was in the middle of an amazing hot streak, going .323/.447/.597 over his previous 17 games.  However, since that game, he’s hit .184/.225/.211 with 30Ks in 76PAs.  His season K% is now only down slightly to 30% after 31.3% last year.  It’s not so much the slump that concerns me, but the ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: June 09, 2016 at 05:18 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Related News: addison russell, cubs

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


For those who didn’t see it last night, Soler left the game in the 3rd inning after a single.  He pulled up rounding first; earlier in the game he’d made a great defensive play on a running/jumping catch at the wall.  Jorge has a history of hamstring problems, and is getting an MRI today.  Rumors are that if Jorge has to go on the DL, Almora would get the call.  I would hope that means he’s coming up to play - and preferably CF, even though I really don’t expect that - and not just watch ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: June 07, 2016 at 10:24 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, jorge soler

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Prospect Update

I don’t actively follow the minor leagues, and haven’t seen any of these guys plays this year yet.  But I thought it would be interesting to look at how the top prospects for the Cubs have been doing so far this year, and also to talk about which ones the Cubs should keep and which are possible trade bait.  As for what the Cubs should trade for, feel free to add your suggestions or packages you think it would take to get these guys. 

I’ve been banging the drum for some time for a young, cost ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 31, 2016 at 03:37 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs, minor leagues, prospects

Monday, May 23, 2016

Regression and Perspective

I tend to think that sometimes “regression” is used too broadly when talking about a really good or really bad team.  I know that it has a very specific meaning in statistics and projections, but part of my mind always goes to the non-statistical definition: “a return to a former or less developed state.”  That’s probably a poor way of saying that we really shouldn’t be surprised that the Cubs have started looking downright mortal.  For the season, the Cubs are down to 5.5 runs/g (6.2 in April, ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 23, 2016 at 04:34 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Related News: cubs

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Roster Construction

I tend to be quite forgiving of most moves that Maddon or the Cubs make these days.  I mean, in some sense they’ve earned that benefit of the doubt, and it’s nice feeling comfortable that there appears to be an underlying reason for everything they do even if it doesn’t appear obvious or isn’t fully explained publicly.  However, the Cubs appear to be doing a less-than-perfect job of maximizing their 25 man roster.

The most obvious culprit is currently rostering 3 catchers.  I partially ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 19, 2016 at 07:00 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Related News: bullpens, cubs, joe maddon

Monday, May 16, 2016

This and That

Some assorted thoughts about the last week, in no particular order.

Addison Russell

Wow, does he look good right now.  His season line is up to .263/.375/.447, and his K% is down from over 28% last year to just under 20%.  His walk rate has jumped from 8% to 14%.  He’s really been driving the ball lately, and driving it to RF.  He actually had a bad April (.214/.341/.343) but has really been on fire in May (.341/.431/.614).  During his spring training power surge, I predicted 20HRs for him ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 16, 2016 at 06:27 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Related News: addison russell, cubs, jason heyward, jorge soler

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Screw the Closer

I’ve seen a couple of joking references to this on Twitter during various games, so I found it pretty amusing the Cubs actively talk about it:

Chicago Cubs hitters really mean no offense to their closer, Hector Rondon. They simply want to add on runs and win baseball games without a nail-biting ninth inning. In that vein, they play a game catcher David Ross brought to the team.

“When you’re on the bench and you’re up three runs, two runs, whatever, we have a game we call Screw the Closer,” ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 10, 2016 at 12:10 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Related News: closers, cubs

Friday, May 06, 2016


There’s a million different ways to talk about how dominant Arrieta has been recently:

Christopher Kamka ‏@ckamka May 3
Jake Arrieta’s last 26 regular season starts:
0 Runs allowed: 14
1 Run allowed:    6
2+ Runs allowed: 6

Christopher Kamka ‏@ckamka May 3
Jake Arrieta ERA (regular season):
1.62 in 2015-16
0.85 in last 26 starts
0.55 in last 18 starts
1.46 on road in 2015-16
0.84 in 2016

Most of them usually include some sort of “since X”, with X being sometime last year.  That ...

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 06, 2016 at 10:15 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Related News: bob gibson, cubs, cy young, jake arrieta

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