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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Friday, August 04, 2017

A Crucial Time

We are two series into a stretch of five that should tell us a lot about this team.

The just completed series against Milwaukee and Arizona were the first against winning teams since the All Star Break, and the Cubs split the six games. It would have been nice to come out ahead, but the overall picture was not bad. Four of the games were pitchers’ duels with six or fewer total runs, and the Cubs were not blown out in any of them—in fact, there has only been one blowout against the Cubs since the July 9th disaster against Pittsburgh (the 11-4 loss to St. Louis, which featured the dreaded nine-run inning). Both opponents played well overall.

The Cubs will now face their third straight winning team, Washington, followed by six out west, which of course, was the Cubs undoing at the end of May. After the series next weekend in Phoenix, the Cubs will face only two currently winning teams the rest of the season: Milwaukee (7 games) and Tampa Bay (2).

So here’s a fresh clean thread to talk about it!

Andere Richtingen Posted: August 04, 2017 at 10:05 AM | 107 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 14, 2017 at 01:05 AM (#5512576)
Aug. 14:

1913 Cubs trade Ed Reulback to BRK for Eddie Stack and cash
1932 Dizzy Dean, STL, fans 6 in a row (1 shy of the record) in 2-1 win over CHC in 10 innings
1977 Juan Pierre born. He, Hornsby, Molitor only guys w/ 200 H seasons for 3 franchises
1981 MLB debut: Bob Brenly
1996 former 1987 NL MVP Andre Dawson announces he'll retire at the end of the year
2004 last game: Rod Beck
2009 Felix Pie hits for the cycle. It's the 3rd in the month in MLB
2009 CHC 17, PIT 2. Cubs score 10 runs in 2nd inning for 14-0 early lead
2011 Weird one: ATL pitchers fan 18 and walk none, but CHC wins, 6-5. Dan Uggla's 33-game hitting streak comes to an end
2013 Alfonso Soriano becomes 3rd MLB'r w/ 6 RBIs in 2 straight games (Geoff Jenkins, Rusty Greer)

   102. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2017 at 03:40 AM (#5512587)
Today's not up yet. His hardest hit ball on the season is listed as 112 MPH with a 30 degree angle off Anthony Swarzak on July 28 and it went 449. He's had two more of 430+, 2 more of 420+ and I think it was 2 more of 400+. Judge has one listed at 121, Stanton one at 118.7 ... nearly matched by the awesome power of Brad Miller at 118.4.

Then there's Yandy Diaz. Only 48 batted balls but he currently sits tied 7th in avgEV and 4th in FB/LD EV and 4th in %age 95+ ... and has a line of 203/268/219 with 1 double and no HR. Poor kid ain't got no launch angle.

EDIT: found a news report ... says 112.6 and 463 feet. Schwarber has the longest Cub distance at 470 and the highest EV at 116 -- not the same ball, the 116 had a 5.2 degree angle. Nice day for him on April 18 -- EVs of 109, 116, 113, 101 ... this being his cursed season, that was 1 HR and 3 outs. Jimmy Nelson might consider just walking him next time.
   103. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 14, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5512665)
Schwarber has now struck out in his last seven plate appearances. 35 Ks in his last 73 PAs, good for 43%. His HR remains high (8.2%) but again, he is an ugly mess at the plate.

On the plus side, I will take 2 out of 3 in Phoenix on the road as a nice sign. In terms of the "Crucial Time" I defined (15 games, the last series in Milwaukee through this past weekend, three road series and two home series), the Cubs did okay, going 7-8. If you consider a blowout to be losing by five runs or more, that happened once, the Edwards meltdown game against Washington. They scored 70 runs and gave up 62.

Overall I would say that the Cubs certainly didn't make any progress: they lost 0.5 games off their lead, and STL has moved much closer. But it was a period where they could have lost a lot of ground, and that didn't happen. Problems have erupted (Contreras, bullpen issues) but with the schedule ahead what it is, the Cubs are in a good position.
   104. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 14, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5512764)
Today's not up yet. His hardest hit ball on the season is listed as 112 MPH with a 30 degree angle off Anthony Swarzak on July 28 and it went 449.

According to MLB HR tracker it went 457 feet (his longest of the season) at 113.4 mph (second to his HR in Milwaukee you mention, which is listed as 113.7). It was the fifth longest and fifth fastest off the bat HR hit by a Cub this season.

   105. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5512820)
35 Ks in his last 73 PAs

23 in his last 37 AB.
   106. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 14, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5512950)
23 in his last 37 AB.

Clearly, things are not getting better, especially after the last two days.

Regarding the remaining schedule, here is Fangraphs' predicted rest of schedule win percentages (Fangraphs projections mode) for the NL Central, followed by predicted win totals:

Cubs: .604 (89-73)
Cardinals: .535 (85-77)
Brewers: .454 (80-82)
Pirates: .490 (80-82)
Reds: .417 (67-95)

The odds for the Cubs winning the division are at 77.5%, with the Cardinals at 18.7%. While the schedule favors the Cubs, that seems high to me. In season stats to date mode, the Cardinals have a very slight edge (45.3% to 42.5% for Cubs). My gut feeling is to split the difference, and give the Cubs a slight edge.
   107. Meatwad in mourning Posted: August 14, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5513034)
The cubs are about to start a strech of 13straight games against last place teams. This is where they need to make big gains.
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