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Friday, October 13, 2017

Five minute Los Angeles Dodgers Preview

First, let’s start by reminiscing. 

Wonderful.

OK, on to this year.  As everyone knows, for the majority of the season, the Dodgers were far and away the best team in baseball, just like the were Cubs last year.  There were comparisons and accolades, and then the Dodgers really stumbled down the stretch.  They still finished with the best record in baseball, but only fourth in run differential. 

There are some big differences between this year and last year’s team.  The biggest is Cody Bellinger, who had an all-time rookie season that was completely overshadowed by Aaron Judge.  He’s a pretty notable upgrade on Adrian Sore Loser Gonzalez.  Another notable one is the addition of Yu Darvish.  He’s only pitched against the Cubs once (though there are guys who’ve faced him more), but he has the type of stuff that could give the Cubs lineup fits.  On paper, he’s better than any of the non-Kershaw pitchers the Cubs faced last season, and he should get 2 starts.  Third, the Dodgers had careers years out of a number of players, starting with a great getting even better (Kenley Jansen), an already good player turning into a borderline MVP candidate (Justin Turner), and total scrap heap rehab types (Chris Taylor and Brandon Morrow).  In other words, they won’t be starting a washed up backup catcher at cleanup in a 2-2 series this time around. 

Last year, as a team, they were very suspect against left handed pitching.  They’ve fixed that, even though some of their big bats are lefties.  Puig had a bounceback year, which also helps that issue.  Just like the NLDS, the Cubs are the rightful underdog, but I also have plenty of confidence that the Cubs can win a series.  The rotation and bullpen are both a mess right now, but even with that I’m not mentally conceding game 1 against Kershaw.  The Cubs hit him hard to close out last year’s series, and carried it over this year.  I don’t believe in just happy to be here, even after last year.

Cubs in 6

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:35 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5553059)
Couple of thoughts about the rotation/roster.

1. Quintana should be fine to start game 1 without any pitch restrictions. I'm excited to see him in this series. Lester probably is the answer for game 2; it's short rest, but it wasn't a full start last time out. He's really the only option, unless you want Lackey in the rotation and I don't.
2. Hector Rondon needs to be on the roster, I don't care for who. If Lackey doesn't pitch in game 4 or 5 (I don't even think he warmed up either day) in the NLDS, I can't imagine a scenario (save Arrieta being hurt and can't be rostered) were you'd want him on the roster ahead of Rondon. If they wouldn't consider Wilson for a single key AB last series (not that I blame them), he shouldn't be on the roster. One of them will make it, but both shouldn't ahead of Rondon.
3. I think having Martin allowed Joe to sub in and out more freely among the OFs, which I think worked (even though Martin still took 2 key ABs). Avila didn't have a single PH appearance. If Joe is too scared to use Avila because of emergency catcher situations, then he should think long and hard about taking Rivera, maybe at Martin's expense. After this series it might be crazy to suggest 10 pitchers (so dropping Lacking and Wilson, adding Rondon and Rivera), but you never know.
   2. Greg Pope Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5553069)
Reposting from Nats thread:

I think some people are exaggerating the problems with the Cubs pitching staff (not necessarily in this thread - this is just following on the discussion of the starting rotation here). Quintana is fine for Game 1. Lester should be fine for Game 2 - he basically threw 55 pitches on a throw day. And then you're back on track: Hendricks in Game 3 on 4-days' rest, Arrieta in Game 4, and Quintana/Lester/Hendricks to close things out with Arrieta available in long-relief as necessary. I'd keep Lackey on the roster just in case we need some length out of the bullpen, especially this weekend.

As for the bullpen, the only guy who pitched excessively in Game 5 was Davis - which is, in fact, precisely WHY Davis pitched excessively, because nobody else threw more than an inning.

There's no chance Justin Wilson makes the NLCS roster, right? Because if Joe didn't trust him in Game 5 - when he needed to get 5 innings out of his bullpen and went to a lefty mid-inning three times - he's wasting a roster spot. To be clear, I think Joe was right not to trust him (I actually think Joe managed that series pretty well overall, including Game 5), but if he wasn't going to appear in that game, then he's not serving any purpose. If his role was to potentially eat some innings in a 10-1 blowout (either way), then (a) isn't that what Lackey is around for, and (b) wouldn't a guy like Rob Zastryzny, who started much of the year, be better in that role anyway?

I'd probably try to give Edwards the weekend off, rest his arm, collect his thoughts, and maybe ease him back in Chicago. Bring Rondon on the roster (in place of Wilson) and have him slide into the righty setup role with Strop.

Ideally, 7 innings out of Quintana on Saturday and at least 6 out of Lester on Sunday would be great. And hopefully, playoff Clayton Kershaw and the Cubs' bats show up and we can give the bullpen some decent-sized leads to protect.


I'd sign off on Kiko's plan. I'm a little less confident in Lester's ability to come back though. Arrieta was throwing on regular (or extended?) rest, so you're just bringing him back on short rest. Lester pitched on short rest Wednesday and now again on Sunday? I guess it depends on whether Maddon and Bosio think that Lester's game 4 was more throw day or more starting pitcher.
   3. McCoy Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5553076)
I hope good Bryant shows up to this series because he sucked at the plate during this last one. I'd like to say the same about Baez but that's just Javy being Javy.

I hope our middle infield does a better job defensively because the Cubs aren't going to be able to keep giving the other team that many chances offensively.
   4. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5553082)
The thing that strikes me is how this is an almost perfect rematch of last season's NLCS with the same teams but in opposite roles. The team with home-field advantage spent a chunk of the season playing at an historically great level and ended up losing only 58 games all season. The other team had 12 fewer regular-season wins and won a grueling NLDS series, winning Game 5 in Washington in a game where their closer had to get seven outs and they had to use a top left-handed starter in relief.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5553086)
A couple of other assorted, hungover thoughts on last night's game:

I can't believe Maddon let Davis go that last inning, and even more I can't believe Davis did it. Thinking back, I think I agree with just about all of Maddon's pitching changes, but still think he missed a chance on a double switch for either Strop/Montgomery - though they both didn't pitch well enough to stay in longer than they did.

I have confidence CJ will straighten out, and the Cubs need him to. I expect Bryant to have a big series - he was a mess this one. It was nice seeing Contreras and Russell have some better ABs, but Baez is lost. They need his defense, but he could maybe use a game off.
   6. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5553094)
Arrieta was throwing on regular (or extended?) rest


Arrieta was throwing on extended rest, but he's still building up arm strength (I assume he was on a quasi-pitch count in Game 4 - hence, Lester's appearance). I can see a case for flipping Arrieta and Lester - I like Hendricks in the Game 3/7 spot on regular rest regardless. The Game 2 starter will get an extra day of rest before Game 6 because of the two travel days.

Another option - much more outside-the-box - would be to have Arrieta and Lester do another tandem outing in Game 2, have Lackey start Game 4, and choose your Game 6 starter at the time (if necessary).

I think I still go Quintana-Lester-Hendricks-Arrieta.

Oh, and thanks for bringing that comment of mine over here to the right thread, Greg.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 13, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5553426)
Someone on the Cubs flight from DC to LA got sick and they landed in Albuquerque and were stuck there 5ish hours cause they had to wait for a new pilot. They're there now, but I'm guessing everyone is sleeping.
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 13, 2017 at 05:43 PM (#5553501)
Better make sure they make a left turn at Alberquerque.
   9. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 13, 2017 at 05:47 PM (#5553508)
Concur with Kiko's rotation and that's pretty much what I expect to see. Beyond that, why think about the details?
   10. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5553523)
It's really hard to imagine how they won this series. The Cubs struck out more than WAS (52 vs 41) and walked less (18 vs 25). They had 2 HRs, WAS had 6. WAS stole 3 bases, the Cubs 2. WAS had more hits (30 vs 27). The Cubs committed more errors (7 vs 5). Washington's team OPS was 80 points higher than the Cubs'.

I hope good Bryant shows up to this series because he sucked at the plate during this last one. I'd like to say the same about Baez but that's just Javy being Javy.

I hope the good team shows up. Looking at the stats, they had only two players who hit over .235 in the series - Almora went 2-for-6, and Jay went 3-for-11. And only 2 HRs from the entire team. If you had told me that they would steal as many bases in the series as they hit HRs, I would have imagined them running wild.

They went through stretches like this in 2017, and always found their way out of it. Here's hoping they can steal a game in LA and get the bats turned around.

   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:02 PM (#5553524)
I'm pretty happy just to be here, everything from here is gravy. I won't be feeling that way if this series sits 2-2 but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

Mainly what we need is for the offense to wake up. The pitching's a bit of a shambles and none of us can point to any relievers that might get us from innings 6 to 8. So let's just score lots of runs. Or at least lots of runs in at least 4 games. I don't know how we scored 9 runs in that game, I'm not sure we had more than three well-hit balls (Schwarber's rocket, Russell's double, Bryant's double).

Lackey pretty much has to be on the roster. He probably should start one of the first two games (so G1 seems the most sensible) but even if not, it's best to have him available if either of the first two starters doesn't have it. I agree with Rondon instead of Wilson. I'd probably prefer Martin over Rivera but am fine either way. Heck, given the state of the staff at the moment, I'm fine with Wilson (or some arm) over either of those guys.

I think somebody just needs to pull Javy aside and say "you're embarrassing yourself, make them throw you a strike." Not make a big deal of it, not work on it in the batting cage, just "you're better than this."

Not much to say on the Dodgers. If their starters show up we're in big trouble. If Jansen isn't forced into multiple innings a few times, we're in trouble. The rest of their pen doesn't scare me. Offensively, they look like the Cubs with a better hitting OF. I didn't see enough to really judge their defense but seems like it should be a bit shaky (but Rfield loves them) -- did see Bellinger make two very nice plays in the DBacks series.

Overall team performance is not always a good guide for the playoffs where playing time is more focused but FWIW, using the league WAA table:

Dodgers were 6 wins better overall. About half of that is pitching, all starters as the bullpens came out even. Unfortunately between limited contributions from Kershaw and Darvis and the Cubs 2nd half bullpen woes, those probably both understate the pitching gap substantially.

That leaves them 3 wins better on position players. By WAA, the Cubs were better at C, 1B (but probably not much now) and CF; 3B was a draw. But none of the gaps are particularly big except at SS and LF (Schwarber's first half and Zo still killing us on a season-wide basis).

On the season, 2-4 with a -11 run differential. Of course we were 3-4 with a -11 differential against the Nats and won 3 of 5 despite being out-scored by 3. We had them at Wrigley early and won 2 of 3 pretty close games then went out to LA in late May and got stomped (followed by going to San Diego and getting stomped -- those were dark days).
   12. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5553589)
I can't believe Maddon let Davis go that last inning, and even more I can't believe Davis did it.

It's like you don't remember Game Seven from last year.

I'm pretty happy just to be here, everything from here is gravy. I won't be feeling that way if this series sits 2-2 but for now I'm just enjoying the ride.

Mainly what we need is for the offense to wake up.


CONCUR.

It's really hard to imagine how they won this series. The Cubs struck out more than WAS (52 vs 41) and walked less (18 vs 25). They had 2 HRs, WAS had 6. WAS stole 3 bases, the Cubs 2. WAS had more hits (30 vs 27). The Cubs committed more errors (7 vs 5). Washington's team OPS was 80 points higher than the Cubs'.

Yesterday, they were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They had no homers. They scored 9 runs.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:07 PM (#5553615)
On Joe's managing in that series. I can't say I'm a fan but I understand it. Only the omnipotent cosmic force knows what the optimal usage yesterday would have been but I've got to believe our chances were higher relying on Quintana for at least another 2-3 outs rather than relying on Davis for 7. But as folks say, we've got to expect this out of Maddon now. I was surprised and a bit pleased that he stuck with Hendricks as long as he did although letting him bat in the 4th was pretty questionable. As I noted the other day, I was expecting a Hendricks/Quintana double to get us through 6-7 but Joe didn't obviously.

There's of course the Zobrist fascination but he's doing well enough so far. Continuing a theme from last year, Joe would prefer to PH for the other OF in a crucial situation rather than saving the PH for Heyward which, annoyingly, seems to regularly bring up Heyward in key situations. Personally I'll take Almora vs a RHP than Heyward against anything right now. And Heyward/Baez back-to-back is just killing us, not that there's a better choice necessarily. I still don't know what I'd do with the OF so I'm not particularly critical here.

On his playoff reliever usage, I think I'm starting to figure out the tactical plan. First is to get out of this inning alive -- who knows maybe we'll break it open in the next half-inning. This does produce games like yesterday where we've plowed through 5 relievers with 7 outs to go and god only knows what we do if it goes extras (see also that game last year vs. Giants when that happened and Maddon had little choice but to hang Monty out to dry for several extra innings). Along those same lines there's the corollary of "if I'm gonna bring the guy in, I should do it now" and the very similar "if I'm gonna pull the current guy if he doesn't get this batter, how about I pull him now and get this batter." Those go a fair way to why he pulled Hendricks in G7 last year -- Hendricks was still cruising IMO but he'd have gotten pulled if he lost Kipnis so with Lester ready, bring in the leftie. (I think this was also Lester's 2nd time warming so use him or lose him.)

On Hendricks ... one reason he's the Cubs' best pitcher is that he pretty much never sucks. This year his worst game score was a 38. Last year it was a 41, in his rookie year it was a 40. In his 99 career starts, he's got only 8 with a GS < 40, 7 in 2015 and non worse than 19. Lester had 8 under 40 this year alone, including three worse than 19. You can hide a lot of sub-par pitching in a GS of 40-45 but Hendricks has basically never had a disaster start yet. And even yesterday, he pulled his GS up to a 34, his first postseason start below 40. He doesn't rack up big GS games very often, mainly because he doesn't K a ton and Joe pulls him a bit early, but he almost always gets through 4-5 without the game getting too far out of hand.

Over the last two years, he's 3rd in MLB in ERA+ (200+ IP) and 8th in bWAA (basically only outside the tip-top tier despite the limited innings). Further, since coming back from the injury, Hendricks had 7 QS in those 11 starts and threw 19 innings, 3 runs in the 4 non-QS (last tune up start and 3 times pulled early, twice when he'd already thrown 90+ pitches so perfectly justifiable).

OK, I've killed enough time, the next 4.5-hour marathon baseball game is about to start.
   14. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:39 PM (#5553624)
And Heyward/Baez back-to-back is just killing us, not that there's a better choice necessarily. I still don't know what I'd do with the OF so I'm not particularly critical here.

I get that Heyward is great with the glove. But I don't know that I can take 5 more years of terrible ABs. That glove is not going to hold up forever, and then he's what? Post-30 Andruw Jones?

And he was markedly better this year than last year - his OPS went up 85 points on the season. This is the improved version of Jason Heyward.

Baez I think is still salvageable - he's young, and he will calm down as he gets older. But Heyward... it's hard to imagine it's going to be any better than what we saw this year. And he's now 7-for-60 with the Cubs in the post-season, with no HRs and 1 RBI. 16 strikeouts and 3 walks. A cumulative line of .117/.185/.167 in 20 games.

(I looked it up - his one RBI came on a ground out to 2nd base with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no one out.)

He doesn't work counts, he doesn't get on base, and he doesn't drive in runs. He's a complete zero at the plate. At what point do we start putting him on the bench for Almora or Happ, and bringing him in at the 6th or 7th inning for defense?
   15. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:57 PM (#5553728)
Last year, as a team, they were very suspect against left handed pitching. They’ve fixed that, even though some of their big bats are lefties. Puig had a bounceback year, which also helps that issue.
Puig vs. LHP in 2017: 183/317/275/592, in 120 at-bats.

Rather, the two big lefty bats in the lineup have more than held their own against LHP.
Seager: 325/389/527/916
Bellinger: 271/335/568/903 (His 12 HRs were the most by any LHB vs. LHP.)
In fact, only Turner and Kiké Hernandez did better than them against southpaws.
   16. Greg Pope Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:35 PM (#5553756)
So, Rotoworld doesn't cite a source, but they're saying that Maddon says that game 1 is between Quintana and Lackey. But then says game 2 is definitely Lester, according to Maddon.

Seems odd to think that Quintana wouldn't pitch this weekend.
   17. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 14, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5553820)
was anyone lucky enough to get LCS tickets? I am assuming I wasnt picked in the lotto since I havnt seen any thing in my email.
   18. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5553852)
Quintana is going today, Lester tomorrow. Rondon on the roster, Wilson off.

Biggest news is seager off the roster for the dodgers because of a back injury. That's a HUGE break.
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 14, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5553855)
Looks like it's Quintana tonight, which I think is good news.

If I had to pick a lineup against Kershaw:

Almora (CF), Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Russell, Baez, Jay (LF), Heyward (RF), Quintana.

Move Baez up in the order because what the hell, and he has had some success against Kershaw unlike most of the rest. Platoon splits are kind of meaningless against Kershaw (you're screwed from either side of the plate) so I favor Jay's defense in LF over Zobrist batting from the right side.
   20. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5553876)
Am I the only one who hadn't realized Seager was injured? From my perspective, that one was completely out of the blue, and, as Moses says, "a HUGE break" for the Cubs. The rotation and roster moves on the Cubs' side are exactly what I expected and exactly what I wanted.
   21. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5553877)
Platoon splits are kind of meaningless against Kershaw ... so I favor Jay's defense in LF over Zobrist batting from the right side.


Actually platoon splits would favor Jay anyway. Zobrist was hopeless from the right side this season (OPS of .553 vs. .737 batting lefty) and Jay has basically had no platoon split over his career (OPS of .748 vs. LHP, .751 vs. RHP in 2017; .746 vs. .712 for his career - the latter difference is entirely SLG - career he's a .289/.354 BA/OBP vs. RHP and .288/.359 vs. LHP).
   22. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5553879)
I don't know about lineup, but the outfield I think I'd like to see tonight is Jay - Almora - Happ. Probably Jay leading off - he's the closest thing we have to a guy best suited to leading off (good OBP, no power, so you don't lose anything by having him bat mostly with the bases empty).
   23. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5553881)
Copying myself from the game thread:

Cubs Game 1 lineup:

Jay RF
Bryant 3B
Rizzo 1B
Contreras C
Almora CF
Russell SS
Schwarber LF
Baez 2B
Quintana P

Going with Schwarber vs. the LHP. Interesting - and bold - choice. Personally, I'm glad to see Heyward out of there.
   24. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 14, 2017 at 04:50 PM (#5553888)
Did Happ piss on Joe's Cherios or something?
   25. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 14, 2017 at 05:30 PM (#5553915)
Three of the Dodgers' starters are left-handed, so I guess if you want Schwarber in the lineup you have to start him against a lefty. I can see the rationale for removing Heyward, but the difference in defense more than makes up for that, IMO.
   26. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 14, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5553917)
Yeah, it seems that Happ is kind of written off -- I'm kind of assuming there's something wrong with him.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: October 14, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5554073)
I don't get why Happ isn't getting time either. He hit well against both LHP and RHP ... better against RHP but easily better than any of our LHB vs RHP. He doesn't have a big H/R split, he finished the year strong. Rfield puts him average on defense. I can't see any reason to start Schwarber over Happ vs LHP.

Heyward this year did have some stretches where he looked like StL Heyward at least. But at the moment, he's certainly back to ugly Heyward. (Esp in Sept when he hit 263/364/434.) But he did make that fly ball down the line look easy in G5.
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5554339)
I really do hope we see Happ today, somewhere. Zobrist is probably back, too, so those 2 for Schwarber and Baez, but not sure who will be where.

Lester has to go 7 or so today. They can win without it, but it'll be easier.
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5554360)
How off has GB-heavy Mike Montgomery been this postseason? In October he's allowed 14 balls in play. Two were on the ground. One was a bunt.
   30. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:47 PM (#5554361)
Heyward in for schwarber, otherwise same lineup as last night, with Jay to lf.

I understand Baez staying in against another lefty, but I think I'd rather see Happ.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:07 PM (#5554412)
I'd rather see Happ in the OF in place of one of the lefties but Joe works (successfully!) in mysterious ways.

Lester has to go 7 or so today.

In the usual sense that our starter has to do well so we can avoid the bullpen for sure. But Monty was the only "important" reliever who pitched yesterday, everybody else has had two days off now with another day off tomorrow so they're as rested as we could hope for. Depending on score, I expect Joe to get up to his usual shenanigans at the first sign of serious trouble on the 3rd time through/100 pitches. But Lester has always been the starter he trusts the most.
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2017 at 09:00 PM (#5554490)
He's not going 7. But it's not about bullpen rest, it's about bullpen ineffectiveness.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:57 AM (#5554782)
So "In the usual sense that our starter has to do well so we can avoid the bullpen." But this is true of every SP we throw out there in the playoffs this year and was true certainly in the WS last year. Hardly seems worth mentioning that the Cubs' pen stinks.

Lester didn't want to challenge their hitters which is understandable but guarantees an early exit ... of course the relievers did fine until Lackey. I suppose that makes this loss even tougher -- the pen did its job, the offense didn't, Maddon didn't.

In five games at Dodgers Stadium this year, the Cubs have been outscored 27-7. We only scored 7 runs in 3 games at Wrigley this year but did win two. Those 6 earlier games were in May.

I see no Davis was discussed widely in the omnichatter. Doubling that questionable decision is that it was the two toughest RHB in the Dodgers lineup and that Lackey had never pitched on consecutive days in his life (which doesn't mean it wouldn't work). It went against my brilliant #13 in not emphasizing getting out of this inning alive.
   34. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5554797)
The Dodgers are pretty good.

Gutsy performance from Lester last night -- he had no fastball to speak of, and did the best he could with what he had, with a pretty good outcome.

It's easy to look at three runs in two games and be critical of the offense, but you have to give the Dodgers pitching a lot of credit. Yes, the middle of the order has done nothing, which is killing us, but they have a pretty tough opposition. The Dodger pitchers are exploiting weaknesses with surgical precision.

If the Cubs can stay in the game into the later innings like they did in these first two games, they still have a shot at this. They've now seen every reliever but Stripling: Jansen, Morrow and Watson twice, and Fields, Cingrani and Maeda once each.

Of course this works both ways, but last year they eventually figured some of these guys out. The Cubs are a Game 3 win away from being down 1-2 with two home and two road games remaining, just like they were last year. At the same time, this version of the Dodgers is pretty significantly better than that team was.

   35. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:16 AM (#5554810)
I see no Davis was discussed widely in the omnichatter.

That was a tough one. What the Cubs needed there was a grounder, and neither Lackey nor Davis are suited for that. Are you going to bring in Montgomery again, against the right-handers? I can see trying to sneak Lackey in and squeeze out five outs, and being on the road save the ace for the time-being. Once Lackey walked Taylor, and brought Turner up, it was immediately evident how tenuous the situation was. Obviously in hindsight they should have used Davis first, but it's not exactly a conventional move and it may have turned out just as badly. Davis has coughed up a few ninth inning homers in the last few weeks.

On the NLCS roster, Lackey has to be a real reliever, which means coming in to pitch in consecutive days. The Cubs have no one better to fill that role on the roster.
   36. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:20 AM (#5554813)
The problem is that they didn't really hit against the Nats either (granted, good pitching, yada).... Even the game 5 outburst was much more of a "huh. how about that. that was weird. Ooh good break!" outburst.

Time is running short for someone, ANYONE, never mind multiple someones to start hitting.

I'm trying to maintain some optimism, but just glancing at the postseason batting lines.... individually, collectively, in chunks, whatever is a damn sober cup of sorrow.
   37. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5554816)
Looking at the numbers for a bit ..... and I find myself feeling strangely better about the bullpen. Oh, it's been bad lately, but much to my own surprise I think it's got a chance to be much better going forward.

In the first half of the year, the bullpen was the club's strength. Man, that was a long time ago. In the back half of the year, the regressed considerably. However, the main culprits are guys not on the NLCS roster: Grimm (6.85 ERA after the All-Star break) and Uehara (6.75 likewise), Felix Pena (5.89 in garbage time) and everyone's favorite Justin Wilson (5.09 ERA, with over a walk per inning and over a hit per inning).

The guys on the NLCS roster? (all numbers after the ASG)
2.63 ERA for Pedro Strop (over a K per inning with a 1.134 WHIP and only one homer)
2.66 ERA for Brian Duensing (not many Ks but 1.225 WHIP and only one homer)
2.83 ERA for Wade Davis (36 Ks in 28 IP and 1.291 WHIP and five (!!) homers)
2.95 ERA for Mike Montgomery (1.016 WHIP and a homer every 10 IP) Though a lot of that is as a starter. His ERA just out of the bullpen was 2.49 after the ASG.
3.77 ERA for Carl Edwards (31 IP - with 44 Ks, 13 H .... and 19 BB and two homers)

Now, Rondon was bad (4.76 ERA with 7 HR in 22.2). Lackey was actually decent in the second half (3.75 ERA with a 1.208 WHIP - though a homer every six innings).

The key guy it seems to me is Carl Edwards. If he can pitch like he did yesterday and less like that trainwreck he was vs. the Nats. He's had his death spots in the regular season and came out of them. In his last 11 outings in the regular season, he allowed 2 hits and 3 walks in 9.2 IP with a 0.00 ERA. If yesterday's outing (combined with today's rest) does mean he's returning to form, that gives the Cubs three pretty solid middle relievers - Edwards, Strop, and Duensing - to get you to Davis.

It would also be nice for Mike Montgomery to return to pull out of whatever the hell crud he's fallen into.

I dunno. Maybe it's just me looking at the numbers too much. But it's nice to realize that they are capable of doing a lot better than they have lately.

Sure would be nice to have the starters go seven or more innings in an outing. That would really help things out a lot. There are some games I get why Maddon has a quick hook, but he's really overdoing it. His starter pitchers have thrown 90 or fewer pitches in four of the seven games.
   38. spycake Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5554831)
That was a tough one. What the Cubs needed there was a grounder, and neither Lackey nor Davis are suited for that

You mean IBB Farmer to bring up Taylor? Otherwise, by the time Lackey came in, there were two outs, so it didn't really matter much whether the next batter hit it on the ground or in the air as long as the Cubs could get an out from it.
   39. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5554844)
The problem is that they didn't really hit against the Nats either (granted, good pitching, yada).... Even the game 5 outburst was much more of a "huh. how about that. that was weird. Ooh good break!" outburst.

Time is running short for someone, ANYONE, never mind multiple someones to start hitting.

I'm trying to maintain some optimism, but just glancing at the postseason batting lines.... individually, collectively, in chunks, whatever is a damn sober cup of sorrow.


Yeah, this is kind of my feeling as well. It's not just that they're not scoring. They look terrible at the plate. I was shouting at the screen to stop swinging at nose-high fastballs, and they kept doing it. If the Cubs hitters had come to the plate against Jansen without bats and just stood there, they'd have worked themselves into 2-1 and 3-0 counts just watching the pitches go by. Instead, they swung at everything.

(And then the Cub relievers come in, and it's ball after ball that aren't even close. I gave up counting how many pitches our bullpen threw in the dirt last night. The Lackey one was the worst - stepped off twice, then a mound conference to figure it out, then proceeded to throw it straight into the ground on 3-2.)

They're not only not scoring, they're not getting scoring chances. No hits against the Dodger bullpen in 7+ innings in 2 games, and it's not like they battered the starters. They're not drawing walks, they're not working the count, they're just going up there and swinging at every pitch they see. These are the bad Cubs from the first half of this year, the ones I hoped I'd never have to see again.

I can't imagine things are going to go better at Wrigley, and it's hard to expect the pitchers to be perfect. They held the Dodgers to 1 run in 8.2 innings last night - that should be good enough to win, even if it was ugly in doing it.
   40. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5554851)
I debated putting up a new blog post to discuss last night, but there's enough places with ongoing discussion that I decided against it.

A lot of people rightfully jumped on Maddon's saving Davis for a save situation comment. Maddon usually chooses his words very carefully, so I have to try and dismiss my first notion of it just being him to cover for his players. Seeing his expanded comment that Davis was only available for one inning does give it a little context, and I can at least follow the thought process up to a point.

He probably didn't want to use Davis in the 9th against 7-8-9 in the order, and it only took Duensing 10 pitches to get through the 8th so it was a fair gamble that Duensing could keep going; I'd also presume that since the pitcher's spot would be due up 2nd in the 10th, the plan in a perfect scenario would have been PH for Duensing and using Davis in the 10th for the heart of the lineup regardless of whether the Cubs scored or not (this is at odds with what Joe actually said, but it's the only way I can justify the thought process all the way through). Once Duensing walked Puig on 4 pitches, he needed to have a backup plan and he didn't. Lackey was the only guy warming at that point; Davis was warming during the Cubs part of the 9th, so perhaps he was warm but I can also see how Joe didn't want to warm him up again unless he was absolutely going to use him then. Rondon is probably the guy that should have been ready to come in and face righties with anyone on, but giving up the homer to Taylor in G1 probably made Joe dislike that option.

If Lackey is in the pen, then that has to mean the Cubs are treating him like any reliever. One thing Joe has very clearly been outstanding on throughout his Cubs tenure is doing his best in putting guys in position to succeed (I think that's something he's said over and over); one of the earlier examples of that is starting Schwarber in RF in the WC game in PNC, which he was comfortable doing since he'd tried him in RF a few times towards the end of the year in anticipation of that. The fact that Lackey has never pitched back to back days is something that the Cubs couldn't have experimented with since he was in the rotation all year, and something that Joe had to have discussed with Lackey when they crafted the roster (or at least going into last night). It's just that with him coming in and facing 1-2-3 in the order, with a runner on, after pitching the day before, well, it really seemed like it had very little to no chance of working, as we all saw. I don't really have a huge problem with how he used the pen throughout the game up to that point - maybe CJ could have gone another inning, maybe Strop could have too, but those are things we on the outside really don't know what the Cubs think their limits are.

If Davis was ready and came in for Duensing with 2 outs, could they have gotten another inning out of him, or because they Cubs were limiting him to 1 inning did it mean they wouldn't have considered it (the sitting and warming back up between innings is the part that I'd guess they're trying to avoid)? So while at the time in the chatter I absolutely blasted Joe for the decision, I think I can sort of see how he got there. I still think it was a mistake, though maybe not as horrible as I initially thought.

Now, I think he could have chosen to start the 9th with Lackey instead of going to Duensing for a 2nd inning, and that would have made more sense. He should have PH either Happ or Schwarber for Almora against Jansen in the 9th, then Lackey goes into that spot of the order and can go a few innings. But I understand the Duensing gamble at least.

Now, going back to my earlier poiut about putting players in position to succeed, maybe my biggest problem with Maddon last night was not PHing for Almora against either Morrow or Jansen. I am not saying that I'm consigning Almora to platoon player already, but basically down the entire stretch of the season, Joe lifted Almora for a PH against bullpen righties. He did that in NLCS too. Why did he choose last night to not do that (he also let Almora hit against Maeda in G1)? Why is Happ nailed to the bench? How has Avila not gotten a single PH opportunity? How can Schwarber not PH at all in a game like last night?

Of course, the biggest problem right now is that Charlie Culberson is outhitting Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras this series. Not sure what Joe can do about that.
   41. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5554852)
Yeah, this is kind of my feeling as well. It's not just that they're not scoring. They look terrible at the plate. I was shouting at the screen to stop swinging at nose-high fastballs, and they kept doing it. If the Cubs hitters had come to the plate against Jansen without bats and just stood there, they'd have worked themselves into 2-1 and 3-0 counts just watching the pitches go by. Instead, they swung at everything.


The Janssen experience was definitely not enjoyable.

Subjective bias, I'm sure -- but against Strasburg in particular, I was quite willing to cut the bats some slack. They were getting dissected and it was almost futile to do anything except guess and hack. Trying to work the count meant quickly finding yourself in an 0-2 hole.

Against the Dodgers, I cut them less slack because -- as much as you can give the Dodger pitching credit for "if it ain't broke..." -- the Cubs hitters look almost uniformly awful, undisciplined, and clueless. Maybe some of that - even most of that - is "pressing too much", but doesn't change the fact that most of the lineup has gone hacktastically bad.
   42. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5554909)
It's worth noting the Dodgers shut out the Cubs in three of their six regular season matchups.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:10 PM (#5554934)
The Dodgers bullpen has tossed a remarkably efficient 89 pitches in eight shutout innings. Compare that to the Cubs relievers who have worked just seven innings, but given up six runs and thrown 140 pitches.


source

All the mid-inning pitching changes can be annoying, but the luxury that Roberts and the Dodgers have is that they have enough arms with different stuff that they appear to have decided that certain pitchers are going to face certain batters, almost regardless of the game score. I'd guess Darvish doesn't go more than 5 in game 3 either, even if he hasn't give up any runs (ok, he will pitch the 6th if he's faced the minimum).

I think it's an advantage they have because of how much more rested they are more than anything. Thinking a bit more about Dag's post 37, if you take out Jansen and Davis (both are clearly the best on either team, and Jansen is superior to Davis at this point), would you really prefer Morrow/Fields/Taylor/Cingrani to Edwards/Strop/Duensing/Montgomery? Morrow had the best year of those 8, but who would have thought that possible coming into the year (and/or would it really be surprising if he just wasn't dominant in the playoffs)? We've slagged on Lackey a ton as well, but wouldn't you kind of expect him and Maeda to have similarish results in the pen?

The Dodgers right now seem to have a clearer plan for approaching relief pitching than the Cubs, but it really might just be execution that's been better for the Dodgers (or the general ineffectiveness of the Cubs' bats, chicken or egg).

Game 3 will probably be the first time since the playoffs started that the Cubs pen will be as close to full rest as possible (even Lackey only threw 8 pitches yesterday). So will the Dodgers pen though. Maybe now that the Cubs have a couple of games seeing how the RP are going to match up will give them a chance to better prepare for specific matchups. Maddon should probably more aggressively chase some hitting matchups - he 100% cannot have another game with no PA for Happ/Schwarber/Avila.

Hendricks should be rested, and he pitches great against the Dodgers. Scratch out a little offense and the series could turn around quickly.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:58 PM (#5555340)
Last night in a nutshell: For a game that came down to a single swing in the bottom of the 9th ... Cubs 174 pitches, Dodgers 118. Also Cub pitchers 9 BB vs Dodgers 1.

In G1, 158 vs 127. They also threw 178 in NLDS G5 and 189 in G4. That's 699 pitches in 5 days. Ouch.

On the NLCS roster, Lackey has to be a real reliever, which means coming in to pitch in consecutive days.

Not so sure about this. Lackey should be the guy you turn to for an inning plus, most likely in relief of Lester/Quintana (to turn batters around) ... or is just the guy with the last pitcher spot on the roster because somebody has to be. It shouldn't be in the plan to use him on consecutive days except in desperation.

I obviously have no idea who's hurting or tired and Bosio/Maddon are much better at evaluating stuff and effectiveness. But Rondon only faced two batters -- gave up the HR to Taylor but also K'd Turner ... then got pulled for Monty who gave up a single and a walk in that inning (took him 24 pitches to get out of it) followed by a HR, double and infield single the next. I never know what to make of Rondon -- the peripherals are still there except for HR -- but he finished the season well (just a handful of innings) and that was I think just the 3rd hit he's given up in his last 9 innings.

There's no Cub reliever I want to see in the game when it's on the line other than Davis but we have no choice. We can't keep throwing guys out there for 8 pitches on platoon advantages if it's always gonna force us to put somebody out there for 40 or force us to use Lackey in a short relief spot. (By the way, Lackey threw 30 pitches in G1, that would normally give a reliever the next day off.

Batting Almora -- I debated that in real time with myself. First, given how poorly the offense is doing, Almora has at least been a guy putting decent wood on the ball. Second, it's unlikely a PH is gonna drive in Rizzo from first. Third, it leaves Joe with the easy double-switch in the 9th so he was at least preparing for a move to Lackey. I'm not saying it was the right move, just that it had some positives to it. If you do PH, use Schwarber, stays in LF, Jay to CF then you double-switch with Schwarber.

I don't understand why Happ isn't starting against LHP at least. Whether it's over Heyward or Jay I'm reasonably agnostic ... although given the overall offensive struggles, I sit Heyward to help my chances of sparking the offense.

On pitcher usage, I remain of the opinion that since our SPs are easily our best pitchers, we can't avoid 3rd time through effects, avoiding pitches 90-105, platoon disadvantages. Which also means they need to stop nibbling so much. We need 25-27 batters out of them.

The pen numbers in #37 are better than I expected. Certainly Strop is one reliever we should be seeing more of. But relying on relievers to cover 4 innings a game makes it highly likely at least one of them is having an off night. And even at those nice ERAs, 4 innings a night means one run -- which would be better than what we'd expect milking another inning out of the starter then 3 relief innings but isn't zero and we keep putting them into spots where it needs to be zero (the fault of the offense). I would guess they are also pitching back-to-back more often and they seem to have inherited the starters' nibbling tendencies -- of course they're giving up big hits when they don't nibble.

All that said, the Dodgers seem to be following pretty much the same pitching strategy. Their relievers are executing and the Cubs are swinging at everything which makes things a lot easier. As I think somebody mentioned, they've gotten 8 innings out of 79 pitches ... Hill gave them just 5 innings in 79 pitches and Kershaw 5 in 87. The Cub pen used 79 pitches just to get through the last 3 innings of G1. Last night it was 71 to get through 3.1 innings.

Obviously that goes back too -- 110 pitches for 5 innings in G5 (incl Quintana); 99 for 5 innings in G4 (incl 55 from Lester). That's 359 in 5 days, 292 from the usual relievers. We've got to start throwing strikes.

Anyway, I'm having flashbacks to the 2015 NLCS. I think I'll just watch that montage above for a while.
   45. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:05 PM (#5555347)
Not so sure about this. Lackey should be the guy you turn to for an inning plus, most likely in relief of Lester/Quintana (to turn batters around) ... or is just the guy with the last pitcher spot on the roster because somebody has to be. It shouldn't be in the plan to use him on consecutive days except in desperation.


Agree. Surely there are proper relievers who can come in, put out a fire and get 3 outs on the Cubs staff? You use Lackey when you need multiple innings. He's the guy you bring in the 5th when the game is 5-4 and you are going to need someone to get you to the 7th or 8th. Or he's the guy you bring in the 12th and say, well the game is yours if you have to go 5 innings, then so be it.
   46. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:57 AM (#5555572)
Not so sure about this. Lackey should be the guy you turn to for an inning plus, most likely in relief of Lester/Quintana (to turn batters around) ... or is just the guy with the last pitcher spot on the roster because somebody has to be. It shouldn't be in the plan to use him on consecutive days except in desperation.

If you're going to use him for an inning that isn't too high stress, he has to be available the next day. He's low on the depth charts for short stints, so if you find yourself in a situation where you need him, it's also a situation where you have to go beyond conventional use.

This reflects your broader point: starters racking up high pitch counts combined with Joe's quick hook, forcing overuse of the bullpen, putting you into a situation where you have John Lackey pitching to Justin Turner with the winning runner at second in the ninth inning.
   47. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5556138)
I'm all for trying something new with the Cubs lineup tonight (wind blowing out!) and then I see the lineup

Zobrist 2b
Schwarber
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Jay
Russell
Heyward

Ben Zobrist is going to be the death of me! Then again, he's hitting lefty at home, and has seen Darvish before, so maybe? Still, I think no Happ is a mistake (though it is good to have Heyward in the OF when the other guys are Jay and Schwarber).

BTW, wind has been blowing out all day so far.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5556145)
Happ really never should have slept with Maddon's wife.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: October 17, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5556324)
I was going to say mildly surprising but even that's probably too strong but ... just last week, Joe said (or TV said Joe said) that he feels he always has to start Javy when Hendricks pitches. Obviously understandable yanking Javy given his funk. The only real difference between Javy and Heyward this postseason is that Heyward is making weak contact rather than no contact. Still, agree that Heyward is almost necessary with Schwarber/Jay.

Anyway, if the Cubs can cut the number of eye-level fastballs they swing at tonight to, ohh, 10, we should do at least a little better.
   50. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5556819)
You know that feeling when you're waiting and waiting for a bus or a train, and then it dawns on you that it just isn't going to show up, because it's a holiday or the line is shut down for construction?

That's how I feel right now about the Cubs offense.
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5556822)
I think we knew coming into the playoff the bullpen was a question mark, and it's been worse than we could have imagined. The rotation was a bit of a question mark, but mostly due to health, and I think it's been fine; it could have been better were they able to go deeper in games and limit reliever appearances. There were some people - I wouldn't include myself - that were concerned about the up and down nature of the offense and/or how the Cubs hit against the pitching from the playoff teams; I'm pretty sure this offensive ineptitude is even worse than those people expected. While big picture, I think most of us have been happy with Maddon, he's made plenty of odd or less than ideal in game tactical moves and so his performance in these playoffs were always going to be under the microscope; while I have defended or tried to defend various decision here and there, there have just been too many that's it's hard, if not impossible, to say that he's be a positive these playoffs. The one area where I don't think anyone really expected the Cubs to struggle was defense, and I think the Cubs have had by far their worst two defensive weeks of the season.

I'm still not ready to look back at this season or look forward to the offseason. Maybe the Cubs win a game or two, maybe they fold up shop tonight. I don't know. But this is still not the way I expected this to go down.
   52. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 18, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5556957)
This is the worst Cub baseball I can remember in recent memory, at least in the last 3 years. No offense, no bullpen, mostly middling starting pitching. The batters swing at everything, and the pitchers start every count behind 2-0.

The Cubs have struck out 32 times and walked 4 times in the first 3 games. The Dodgers have struck out 21 times and walked 17 times.

There were some horrible games in the first half of this year, but these 3 games have been truly depressing. It's like everyone on the team forgot how to play all at once.
   53. McCoy Posted: October 18, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5556975)
I can't blame maddon for much when the position players can't hit or field, the starting pitches make 30 pitches per inning and the relievers can't get anybody out. You got that going on and any managerial moves are simply shuffling deck chairs on the titanic
   54. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 18, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5556998)
I agree, my point just was that basically there isn't a real bright spot here, that the Cubs in almost every way imaginable or even unimaginable have underperformed or disappointed.

Let me contradict myself, there has been at least one bright spot: Quintana. He's been pretty good.
   55. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5557044)
This is the worst Cub baseball I can remember in recent memory, at least in the last 3 years. No offense, no bullpen, mostly middling starting pitching.

Well, last 2.5 years. They were some brutal stretches in the first half of 2015. Remember them getting no-hitter by Cole Hamels one day and then putting David Ross on the mound the next day?

And I'm not sure this is even the worst of this year. They went 0-6 on a road trip to LA and the freakin' Padres.

Yesterday was the first loss that really hurt. I half-expected them to lose both in LA. They were gassed. They're bullpen was shot. Quintana had to face off against Kershaw. Lester had a big 55-pitch relief outing in Game 4, so I wasn't surprised to see him have trouble in LA.

But last night? I expected better from Hendricks. The bullpen should've been in better shape. Remember my optimism about the bullpen in post #37? They sure are trying to make me look stupid. For all the talk in Cubs nation about how bad Edwards has been in the postseason, Montgomery really seems to have left his talent in September. Joe Maddon thought he left Justin Wilson off his NLCS roster only to find out that his entire bullpen is one big Justin Wilson. And the offense is pressing.

The Dodgers have struck out 21 times and walked 17 times.

18 walks and 20 Ks.

The signature moment of the NLCS so far? Ian Happ finally gets some playing time - and immediately misplays a ball upon arrival.

Tonight: This could be Jake Arrieta's last stand in a Cubs uniform.
   56. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5557051)
Well, last 2.5 years. They were some brutal stretches in the first half of 2015.

Yes, and the 2015 LCS was no picnic either, though the Cubs played better in the pre-LCS postseason in 2015 than they did this year.
   57. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:29 PM (#5557052)
Happ really never should have slept with Maddon's wife.

Oh, there was little if any sleeping involved.
   58. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:33 PM (#5557058)
In all its glory:

Cubs relievers this postseason: 30 appearances, 23 IP, 24 H, 21 R (20 ER), 23 BB, 24 K, 6 HR, 7.83 ERA, 10/22 IR scored
Cubs starters this postseason: 8 appearances, 40 IP, 28 H, 14 R (11 ER), 20 BB, 37 K, 5 HR, 2.48 ERA

Cubs hitters in NLCS: .160/.202/.266 (.468 OPS)
Cubs hitters in NLDS: .180/.285/.280 (.565 OPS)

There's not much to say beyond that.
   59. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 18, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5557188)
Almora/Schwarber/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Russell/Baez/Jay(RF). If that's the lineup they go down with, I'm ok with it. Maybe would still prefer Happ to Jay, but so be it.
   60. Voodoo Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:39 AM (#5557874)
Crossposted from the chatter:

Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure this is the first time ever that the Cubs have won a playoff game (non-WS) that they faced elimination.
   61. Voodoo Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:40 AM (#5557877)
1984 LCS G5
1989 LCS G5
1998 LDS G3
2003 LCS G7
2007 LDS G3
2008 LDS G3
ooooooh i just realized missed the WC game 2015, so that's not true, I'm wrong!)
(but I'll continue)
2015 LDS G4
   62. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:46 AM (#5557880)
Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure this is the first time ever that the Cubs have won a playoff game (non-WS) that they faced elimination.


On the other had, it's the fifth straight win they have had (couting the WS) facing elimination.
   63. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:48 AM (#5557882)
.
   64. Voodoo Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:49 AM (#5557883)
Yeah, I missed two ... 2015 and a week ago ...

Point being, before this era-of-Cubs, they folded when they faced elimination (small sample size haha) and they also folded when the other team faced elimination (well 84 and 03)
   65. Walt Davis Posted: October 19, 2017 at 01:48 AM (#5557892)
The Cubs pen had one of its shortest outings of the postseason, needing to cover only 7 outs -- and it still took 50 pitches (23 balls). But tonight's outing was a relatively economical 161 pitches. No complaints, they held on but 15 runs tomorrow would be a good idea. If Davis was only good for 1 inning on 2 days rest after 44 pitches, god only knows when we'll see him again after 48.

Cubs relievers this postseason: 30 appearances, 23 IP, 24 H, 21 R (20 ER), 23 BB, 24 K, 6 HR, 7.83 ERA, 10/22 IR scored

And although technically charged as a UER to Hendricks, the RBI walk to Darvish pushes that one over to the pen in a just world.

Also Cubs today had 5 hits and 0 walks vs. giving up 4 hits and 8 walks. That puts our walks given back in front of our H+BB produced at 26 to 24. And our offensive K/BB at 43/4 -- just unpossible.

I can't blame maddon for much when the position players can't hit or field, the starting pitches make 30 pitches per inning and the relievers can't get anybody out. You got that going on and any managerial moves are simply shuffling deck chairs on the titanic

More agree than disagree but the Cubs have mostly hung in every game and so there were crucial moments when Joe's had decisions to make and they've almost all backfired. I know, it still comes down to every reliever he uses immediately getting into further trouble but it's not like the Cubs are down 5-0 after 5 each game.

G1: Maybe he lets Quintana go another inning. Then maybe it's Strop in the 7th for Kike, Forsythe, Barnes (and Puig) ... surely some PH in there. Then maybe it's Edwards in the 8th for Culberson, Morrow, Taylor (Turner) ... again clearly some PH in there. Maybe then we're 2-2 in the 9th instead of 3-2 after 6 and 5-2 after 7. Maybe not, heck probably not still 2-2 but a reasonable chance it's just 3-2.

G2: I'm not entirely convinced we shouldn't have started Lackey one of the first two games, just because 55 pitches was a long relief outing for Lester in G4. But obviously I can't complain about being 1-1 going to bottom 9th. I can complain that it wasn't Davis on the mound. That said, somebody here noted that Davis would probably have to be used if he warmed up and hoping to get through with Duensing was reasonable and therefore it's not realistic to have Davis warming as the inning starts in case Duensing gets into trouble. That said, Contreras is gonna eat up 10 minutes in mound trips so there's always time to get a reliever ready.

G3: OK, that one's not on Joe.

G4: I'm glad he stuck with Jake as long as he did, mainly wish he'd stick with Q and Hendricks too. I'm grateful that we'll find out whether Davis's 48 pitches bites us in the butt tomorrow but (unless I missed it) I still don't understand why you wouldn't have Edwards/Strop and Monty/Wilson warming up if we get to 55 pitches and men on base. "It's your game" is one thing; "It's your game even if you need another 30 pitches to get through 5 batters, waling the bases loaded with two outs" is something else entirely.

It's amazing the Cubs even still have a chance and that 3 of the games were close after 20 hits, 7 runs and a 43/4 K/BB and surrending 26 walks and throwing 160-180 pitches a game ... but those three games were close and Joe's made questionable decisions in each.

Anyway, we lived for another day. Let's score lots early and let Quintana pitch efficiently so we can remove him after 6 on 50-60 pitches and he might be available in relief for G7. But I was happy to be here when it started and after down 3-0, I'm happy to still be here. It's all gravy until a game 7.

   66. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 19, 2017 at 07:26 AM (#5557901)
With the exception of Arrieta going deep into the seventh (I think Maddon handled it right this time), the rest of the Cubs postseason problems were in evidence last night: The bullpen (well, Davis) a bit leaky, and offense consisting of three solo homers and a couple of singles. Dodgers saw 161 pitches, Cubs 115.

I'm glad they won a game, and the last time we had today's matchup the Cubs were competitive: as long as the bassackwards stumbling is in a somewhat forward direction, I am all for it.
   67. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 19, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5557976)
Yep, both of you. Even with the win, there wasn't really a lot to like about how it happened for the Cubs. The defense was better, but still could have been even better (both Arrieta and Contreras making inaccurate throws to 2nd that could have been double plays). The Cubs had some hard hits - including the homers - but didn't create any sort of rally or make the other pitchers work that hard. Arrieta was great, but his control was just spotty enough that he wasn't super efficient; Davis also got caught nibbling too much.

We're now up to 9 games of this offensive slump (I'm gonna include that WSH G5 because of the nuttiness), and last night was the first game these playoffs the Cubs won in a game they homered. Weather today looks similar to last night, so we're probably going to see more homers from both teams. Quintana is fully rested, tonight would be a great time for another masterpiece from him. Cubs only got 2 off Kershaw last time, but that was probably the game with the best ABs for the Cubs this series. Here's hoping for a few doubles, and maybe some baserunners for the Cubs homers. Win tonight, and you never know.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 19, 2017 at 11:05 AM (#5558016)
Hey, you lived to play tonight. That's really all you can ask.

I'm rooting for the Cubs now, because I want more baseball. And a longer NLCS helps the Yankees if they advance ;-)
   69. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 19, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5558023)
I also meant to say that while it's pretty questionable for Joe to have started Schwarber against Wood, and put him in the 2 hole, I can kinda see what Joe was thinking and could see how superficially you'd like Schwarber's chances against Wood's stuff (only superficially from my perspective, cause I'm sure the Cubs know exactly). Schwarber also got the start in game 1 against Kershaw, so we could see that again tonight.
   70. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5558102)
In defense of Schwarber against a lefty (less so against Kershaw in game 1) --

I do still think he's having some of the best PAs of anyone. He's just got the one HR to show for it -- but he's hit a few balls hard and has worked the counts as well as anyone. It seems like he's seeing the ball as well as anyone (non-last night Baez class).
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:43 PM (#5558114)
In defense of Schwarber against a lefty (less so against Kershaw in game 1) --

I do still think he's having some of the best PAs of anyone. He's just got the one HR to show for it -- but he's hit a few balls hard and has worked the counts as well as anyone. It seems like he's seeing the ball as well as anyone (non-last night Baez class).


It's interesting that Kershaw, for his career, doesn't have much of a split. LHB 188/243/308 .245 wOBA, RHB 206/266/306 .255 wOBA. And this season, a lot of his HR problems were against LHB: 7 in 35 IP, vs. 16 in 140 IP vs. RHB.

So, it's not crazy to start a LHB with power tonight.
   72. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 19, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5558169)
Schwarber has only one HR, but also hit the laser that was a foot short of a HR in NLDS game 5. Too bad it was a single.

   73. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 20, 2017 at 09:48 AM (#5558834)
Still am pretty disappointed the morning after. Perspective (3 straight NLCS) hasn't set in yet, though I'm trying. I guess by next week I'll be in full offseason mode.
   74. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 20, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5558892)
Honestly, perspective set in for me by at least the fourth inning. The Dodgers were just the better team and there's no shame in being the second-best team and a top 4 team for three straight seasons with a wide-open window for competitiveness in front of you. I'm very glad the Cubs won a game in the series and it would have been nice for the Cubs to have been more competitive and gotten the series back to Los Angeles (always sucks to lose a series at home and have to watch the other team celebrating on your field). But, at the end of the day, a series loss is a series loss, and the Dodgers were simply the better team.

Should be a really interesting off-season. The Cubs are in great shape going forward but have a few very big issues that they need to address (starting pitcher(s), closer). I'm looking forward to seeing how they go about addressing those.

And I'm rooting for the Dodgers to sweep whoever they face in the World Series, leaving the Cubs as the only team to have beaten them in a postseason game, giving us a claim as the second-best team in MLB.
   75. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 20, 2017 at 10:44 AM (#5558896)
The Cubs are in great shape going forward but have a few very big issues that they need to address (starting pitcher(s), closer).

And if they really feel like tackling all the big things, add "how to gracefully edge Heyward and probably Zobrist out of the lineup."
   76. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 20, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5558922)

Should be a really interesting off-season. The Cubs are in great shape going forward but have a few very big issues that they need to address (starting pitcher(s), closer). I'm looking forward to seeing how they go about addressing those.


Their 2018 commitments, per Cots, total $94.1 million. The MLB Trade Rumors tracker sets their arb awards at $34.9 million. The opening day payroll this year was $172 million.

My guess is that Martin and Rondon are non-tendered this offseason ($11.1 million projected arb between them). So if the Cubs don't increase the 2018 payroll they have about $54 million to spend this offseason on filling holes and the pre-arb parts of the roster. Scooping up two starting pitchers and a closer may require shopping in the Bret Anderson aisle once again this offseason (unless they are willing to trade some real contributors). I'm trying to temper my expectations for what this offseason will bring.
   77. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 20, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5558930)
I think I'm going to spend the weekend moping... and probably doing what I used to do to cope with the end of a Cubs season -- replaying the team in OOTP. I haven't really played OOTP18 much (OOTP17 either) the last couple years -- sort of defeats the purpose of a fantasy world digital championship when the real thing was so close and then a reality.

It's going to be something of a new OOTP experience - prior versions, I used to just consistently tank the first year play-through, get rid of the big contracts, hoard prospects, then win 5 straight titles with a smorgasbord of every other team's top prospects.... It will be different "defending" a title -- and fortunately, I already know what went wrong :-)

A totally revamped bullpen, seeing if I can foist off Montero rather than just eating the contract, finally having to face up to the Arrieta extension decision, not even bothering with the Brett Anderson experience. Actually playing Happ in the playoffs. Trying to figure out some way to get Quintana/a Quintana without sacrificing Eloy and Cease (not that I disagree with the deal as it went down)....
   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 20, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5558948)
I can see Thed being aggressive this offseason, similar to 2015. That doesn't mean another Heyward level contract, but I can see a Zobrist/Lackey level deal or 2 (I said in the chatter, I'd have to be ok if Wade Davis got a Melancon-esque deal - it's not a priority or something I'm *hoping* they do, but I wouldn't immediately hate it). Rather than Brett Anderson, maybe the next Jason Hammel contract (they keep talking about Alex Cobb). Maybe there's a trade we're not considering (mostly because we don't really want to give up any of the young position guys). I could also see a completely quiet offseason with targeting a huge 2018 FA class.

The pipedream best case is Otani and Davrish/Jake, then filler (a few Duensing types, a true CF version of Jay to spot Almora).

The bullpen is the key - how they can find/create their Morrow - would any of Butler, Mills, Zaztryzny be a type that might be better as a full time reliever; is there something they can do with Maples or any other in house options - because the Hendry mode of retail MR isn't the way to go. But there really isn't a way to know in the offseason if they've really rebuilt the bullpen to be good enough or not.

I'll put up a new post early next week and try to hash out these thoughts a little more.
   79. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 20, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5558966)
And if they really feel like tackling all the big things, add "how to gracefully edge Heyward and probably Zobrist out of the lineup."

I wonder if there's any market out there for Heyward at all. Even if they ate half of the salary and got nothing but a C prospect back, just to get out from under the contract would be worth it.

I know his glove is great (though I question the accuracy of the metrics - some of them have him on pace to be the greatest defensive right fielder of the last 65 years), but I cannot spend 6 more years watching him ground out weakly to second.
   80. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 20, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5558970)
WPA scores for the NLCS:

(for pitchers, adding their offensive and pitching WPAs together):

In bunches of five to make it easier to read:

+0.256 - Jake Arrieta
+0.205 - Brian Duensing
+0.153 - Wade Davis
+0.152 - Javy Baez
+0.139 - Carl Edwards

+0.110 - Pedro Strop
+0.045 - Jon Lester
+0.010 - Alex Avila
-0.005 - Leonys Martin
-0.008 - Kyle Schwarber

-0.020 - Tommy LaStella
-0.020 - Ian Happ
-0.046 - Albert Alomra
-0.065 - Jason Heyward
-0.113 - Addison Russell

-0.143 - Mike Montgomery
-0.162 - Ben Zobrist
-0.165 - Willson Contreras
-0.170 - Anthony Rizzo
-0.210 - Kyle Hendricks

-0.210 - Hector Rondon
-0.255 - Jose Quintana
-0.267 - Jon Jay
-0.279 - Kris Bryant
-0.427 - John Lackey
   81. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 20, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5558971)
That works out to:

-1.158 WPA for position players
-0.164 WPA for starting pitchers
-0.173 WPA for the bullpen
   82. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 20, 2017 at 01:21 PM (#5559035)
Not Cub news per se -- but Dusty Baker reportedly out in DC....
   83. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 20, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5559110)
(I said in the chatter, I'd have to be ok if Wade Davis got a Melancon-esque deal - it's not a priority or something I'm *hoping* they do, but I wouldn't immediately hate it).

Are there any real free agent alternatives beyond Davis and Holland? Given the rest of the bullpen and minor league situation I think the Cubs are kind of forced to sign an elite reliever here.
   84. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 20, 2017 at 03:13 PM (#5559151)
Is David Robertson's deal up or does he have another year?

Pre-season - I was pretty much thinking the plan would be/should be to let Edwards do a year of apprenticeship under Davis, pocket the pick, and let Carl take over in 2018.

Obviously, that can no longer really be the plan.... unless one wants to just ride a sort of Armando Benitez/Carlos Marmol roller coaster to see if it can last a couple years.

I think I might still defend that idea should the Cubs go that route -- but plan A might just have be extending Davis.
   85. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 20, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5559160)
Are there any real free agent alternatives beyond Davis and Holland? Given the rest of the bullpen and minor league situation I think the Cubs are kind of forced to sign an elite reliever here.

Damn, I really hope they don't approach the bullpen like that. "Forced to sign" seems like the mindset of the Hendry years -- you grab at something and sign it because you believe you need it, regardless of whether/not what's available really fits your needs.

And I really don't want them to spend big money on a reliever who last year had essentially the same FIP as Brian Duensing. In the last two months of the year, Davis allowed 5 homers and surrendered 11 walks in 22.2 IP. He only allowed 7 runs, but he's not a guy I trust. Well, not at a big price anyway.

If you need an elite reliever, and one isn't available, overpaying someone like they're an elite reliever isn't a great move. I'd much rather they just focus on the overall quality of the bullpen and add the best depth to it as possible. Then see who shakes out as their best option at closer. For now, I'd be fine giving Strop the closer's spot to start the year off. He rather quietly had a great season for the team last year.

Let's see if Edward and/or Wilson can get back into form. And add as much depth as you can with other arms.
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 20, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5559171)
Is David Robertson's deal up or does he have another year?

One more year.

You could probably get Betances cheap. Please. Please get Betances off the Yankees.
   87. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 20, 2017 at 03:48 PM (#5559175)
You could probably get Betances cheap. Please. Please get Betances off the Yankees.


I actually would not be opposed to that idea...
   88. Walt Davis Posted: October 20, 2017 at 09:07 PM (#5559313)
#79 ... well somebody's got to be the best RF of the last 65 years. Heyward is really damn good out there. And don't forget that "best RF of the last X years" really translates to "above-average CF playing RF." By dWAR (a counting stat), Heyward is 4th for 2013-17, behind Kiermaier, Cain and Juan Lagares (really?) in about the same PT as Cain and about 1.5 seasons more PT than Kiermaier or Lagares. Given the PT edge, he's not really rated any better than Pillar, Inciarte, Dyson, Betts, Marisnick or Leonys Martin. That all sounds perfectly reasonable doesn't it?

Another thing to keep in mind is that DRS is fairly new. Historical Rfield is based on TZ estimates while the last 10+ years are DRS. We shouldn't compare, for example, Clemente to modern RFs based on Rfield or dWAR, we should compare them on the common measure TZ. I've never seen any particular "bias" between TZ and Rfield -- usually pretty close, sometimes a big difference but that can be positive or negative (which is what we expect if I understand how TZ is calculated). In Heyward's case, his TZ is just 23 runs less than his DRS -- that's still already nearly 2/3 of the way to Clemente which we might not like to believe but it is further away than his DRS is.

Era differences (esp Ks, also FB rates) make direct comparisons pretty much impossible but Clemente had a career RF/9 of 2.13 while Heyward's is 2.15 so far. RF of course is not a great measure but it's a place to start -- Heyward is making as many plays as Clemente in a league where the K-rate must be about 50% higher. Those 5 years of dWAR comp I did was Heyward's age 23-27 seasons ... for Clemente, that's 1958-62. He had a couple of not very good TZ years in that span but still is ranked 6th in dWAR (with much less dWAR), well behind Mays, Piersall and Flood, noticeably behind Kaline, the same as Virdon and the young Willie Davis is really beating them all on a rate basis but has only 1100 PA at this point in his career.

His best 5-year run was 1965-69 or 1968-72. In that first period, he's 2nd to Blair in dWAR, ahead of Agee, Yaz and Davis. In the latter period, he's a distant 2nd to Blair and noticeably ahead of Davis in 3rd ... with still a much lower dWAR than Heyward in both periods.

Viewed in that way, assuming we consider Clemente the best of all-time, Heyward's relative ranking is pretty similar. He's not as good as the best CF of his day, is ranked fairly similarly to the other top corner OF of his day (Kaline, Yaz vs. Betts). I don't know what Heyward's dWAR would look like relative to his contemporaries if we substituted TZ for Rfield for everybody.

Seeing as how the physics of catching in-play fly balls hasn't changed much in 65 years :-), unless we can document park dimension changes (we can, I'm far too lazy) and distributional changes (we probably can't but I assume today's OFs have to worry more about deep FBs but still wanting to catch bloopers), I'm not sure there's any reason to think Heyward has an easier job than Clemente -- except with the reduction in BIP, he should have fewer chances. But basically I see no reason to think an OF's job today is easier and I don't see any reason to be surprised that the modern guy who's best at it might have training/technological advantages relative to Clemente to be better in an absolute sense. In particular, I don't see any good reason why the best at it today should be worse than the best of the past, at least in any obvious way.
   89. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 20, 2017 at 09:07 PM (#5559314)
If you need an elite reliever, and one isn't available, overpaying someone like they're an elite reliever isn't a great move. I'd much rather they just focus on the overall quality of the bullpen and add the best depth to it as possible. Then see who shakes out as their best option at closer. For now, I'd be fine giving Strop the closer's spot to start the year off. He rather quietly had a great season for the team last year.

I can't disagree, however, the TheoJed Cubs seem to prefer the single, elite reliever at the back end.

And the Cubs are not in a position to fill things out with a trade if they throw a bunch at the wall and nothing sticks.
   90. Voodoo Posted: October 21, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5559525)
Chris Bosio reportedly fired.

That's a surprise.
   91. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 21, 2017 at 03:04 PM (#5559566)
Clearly, it was ill-advised of Bosio to instruct his relievers not to throw strikes this postseason.
   92. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 21, 2017 at 06:12 PM (#5559625)
I don't know why the Cubs fired Bosio and I am guessing we never really will. Not once this season did I think, "If only Chris Bosio did his job better, the Cubs pitching would be as good as it was in 2016," and in fact, I don't recall hearing anyone make that complaint.

I am guessing there was a "not seeing eye to eye thing" with people within the organization? Who knows. I predict he lands on his feet. Hopefully not in St. Louis.
   93. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 21, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5559630)
I don't know why the Cubs fired Bosio and I am guessing we never really will.


I thought I read it reported somewhere as the Cubs "failed to exercise their option on Bosio" which is a slightly different thing, although mostly a semantic distinction without a difference. I assume the Cubs have a specific replacement in mind. The two options I've seen suggested are Mike Maddux, who was just let go by the Nationals, and Jim Hickey, who was Maddon's pitching coach in Tampa. I'm not sure what Hickey had been doing in the meantime, but it could simply be that Maddon always wanted Hickey and this is his first opportunity to get him since he got here.

None of which is intended to be a defense of this move. I'm with Andere, I don't recall ever thinking or hearing anybody else express the opinion that the Cubs' pitching coaching was a problem.
   94. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 21, 2017 at 07:21 PM (#5559666)
I've heard that St. Louis is interviewing Hickey.
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 21, 2017 at 07:31 PM (#5559672)
I hope San Diego hires him so we can have a "Padres Get Hickey" headline.
   96. Walt Davis Posted: October 21, 2017 at 10:43 PM (#5559903)
Bosio let go? WTF. And with an exercisable option no less. We aren't anywhere near close enough to have any real idea but if he had anything to do with the miracle of Arrieta, the transformation of Hendricks first into a solid starter and now one of the 20-30 best SPs, you'd be a fool to let him go. It's certainly hard to believe that the next pitching coach will get better performance or do a better job of developing guys. If he did have anything to do with the apparent strategy of uber-nibbling then that needed fixing but seems that would be pretty easy. Maybe it was his idea to sign Edwin Jackson. :-)

Anyway, having thanked Jake, Rondon and Jay in the chatter if that was their last game with us, obviously tons of thanks to Bosio who seemed very good at his job.
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5560309)
Also posted this in the Bosio thread, but in case it dies:

An Athletic piece on Bosio, if you have a subscription.

Epstein mentioned that the bullpen was 30th out of 30 in walk rate in a radio interview Thursday, before Thursday’s Game 5 and again on Friday. Epstein pointed out that they were the only team in baseball above 10 percent (they were at 10.6 percent) in unintentional walk rate.

Epstein admitted they had the third-best bullpen ERA, but said they “did it in a way we’re not really comfortable” with. Anyone who watched the bullpen walk batters late in close games understands what Epstein means.

Brian Duensing, Hector Rondon and Koji Uehara were the only Cubs relievers to pitch at least 10 innings and post a walk rate below 10 percent. That’s not all on Bosio, of course, but clearly the front office believed there was something in his methods that wasn’t working or that they disagreed with.

That Epstein mentions coaches as a way to get better and then transitions into talking about exit meetings could just be a coincidence. But it’s clear the Cubs were unhappy with the way Bosio was handling certain things. There are those who believe that Bosio was too rigid with the way he handled pitchers who arrived mid-season and stubborn when given suggestions on how to handle situations differently. While his dismissal feels sudden, these frustrations have been simmering over the years and apparently finally came to a boil. Justin Wilson’s struggles were highly disappointing to the team and many believe that wasn’t a scouting failure, but rather a pitcher ending up in the doghouse and quickly losing confidence.


That piece would seem to suggest it wasn't just Maddon. I also don't think it's scapegoating, but perhaps the team looking around and feeling like they were falling behind. The bullpen also pretty much fell apart end of last year/playoffs, so perhaps they think it's something they're doing in prepping/whatever that is contributing to that.
   98. Walt Davis Posted: October 23, 2017 at 05:01 PM (#5560587)
What I dislike in #97 is that Bosio has been there for years. If the walks were his fault, that should have been a problem for the past 5 years. If mishandling mid-season acquisitions was a problem, that would have been evident for a long time (and make us wonder how he pulled off the Jake miracle). This sounds like finding reasons to do something you want to do rather than justification ... or it's "sure, you've done a great job for 5 years, but you made some mistakes this year, you're out."

Theo really shouldn't be detailing what was wrong with his ex-employees to the media. On the positive side, they kept this tension under wraps well during the season. It may have been evident to the players but seems not to the media and I don't think any of us saw this coming. Joe still sent Bosio out for the first meeting with the pitcher ... he probably should have told Bosio to stop telling the pitchers to walk this batter though. :-)
   99. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 23, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5560604)
Joe still sent Bosio out for the first meeting with the pitcher

You mean the first after Willson's dozen or so.
   100. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 23, 2017 at 05:22 PM (#5560609)
Theo really shouldn't be detailing what was wrong with his ex-employees to the media.

To be clear, I don't think that's what was happening. The piece takes quotes from Theo from before the firing/non-retention and tries to see how they fit the story. Seems like informed speculation to me.

If the Cubs hire Jim Hickey, it would seem that Maddon just prefers him (and/or so does the FO, or they're deferring to Maddon). Since Bosio pre-dates Maddon, it may have just never been a fit but the 2015/2016 results were so good Joe/FO couldn't justify not retaining Bosio. Perhaps this year's performance plus any tensions or disagreements that have lingered/added up just pushed it over the edge. Again, looking at the history of the Dodgers pen vs the guys in the Cubs may also make the team wonder where things went wrong.

It's hard to really know from the outside how much credit/whatever to give any of the coaches. FWIW, just about everyone with the Cubs has mostly talked about letting Jake be Jake as the biggest reason, so I dunno; I'd hope (assume) that internally the team has a much better (and accurate) way of crediting or dinging what the various coaches do. I'm hesitant to say this was a good move, but I also can't/won't say it was bad and just have to trust/hope/pray they know what they're doing. I mentioned it a couple of times during the NLCS, but the Dodgers hitters seemed to have a much better idea/plan on how to attack Cubs pitchers, so is that a credit to the Dodgers prep or the Cubs prep?
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