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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Five minute Washington National Preview

You’ll definitely find better previews elsewhere (and feel free to link them here), but as is now tradition I will type up a quick preview based solely on my limited exposure to the Nats this year and their bb-ref page.

Starting with the lineup, what jumps out at you is how balanced it is.  They have a great offense - 3rd in NL in BA, 5th in OBP, and 1st in SLG - led by a couple of huge bats.  The middle of the lineup - Harper, Rendon, Murphy, Zimmerman - in whatever order is about as impressive as they come.  All 4 hit over .300 and slugged over .500.  There are some weak spots - Wieters, Werth - but the bench is also pretty solid.  The Cubs ended up outscoring the Nats on the season, but not by much.  The biggest concern is Harper’s health, as he’s only had a few ABs since coming back from that nasty looking injury in August.  Unlike last year, the Cubs can’t just decide to not pitch to Harper.

The rotation is another strength, though Scherzer’s health is now a concern.  I’m now seeing he’s hoping to go in game 3, but like Arrieta, he’s got a hamstring issue and those can be quite touchy.  Strasburg was amazing down the stretch, and Gio Gonzalez had a career year.  The bullpen was a mess early in the year, but after adding Doolittle, Madson, and Kintzler midseason, it’s been a strength. 

Nats won the season series 4-3, but it was close.  The last game of the year was Edwards awful blowup, which cost the Cubs the season series.  The other memorable game was the Montero one; I do expect Turner to run every chance he gets still, but he just won’t be as successful. 

On paper, it’s a really close matchup.  I know some people here are a bit twitchy about the matchup, but I’m feeling relatively confident.  There’s plenty of questions about both sides that’ll need to be answered.  The one thing that honestly makes me feel the best is that we’re going against Dusty.  I mentioned it elsewhere, but the Nats have done a pretty good job of making the roster fairly Dusty-proof.  I’m still optimistic we’ll get a few of those patented Dusty decisions - leaving in the starter a few batters too long, not PH for for a big name in a key spot (I’m thinking Werth here) - that help turn a close game in the Cubs favor.  If the Cubs steal game 1, I can also see there being a ton of pressure to bring back Strasburg on short rest (I’m assuming he gets game 1 in this scenario) which should help the Cubs out.

Cubs in 5

Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 182 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5544261)
An interesting tidbit in Carrie Muskat's notes from yesterday:

• Pitchers Rob Zastryzny and Jen-Ho Tseng took part in Tuesday's workout as the Cubs' batters worked on their bunting. Relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Hector Rondon also faced batters.


Worth noting that Zastryzny was on the roster for part of the 2016 post-season, but did not play. Anyway it looks like a long bullpen guy is being considered.
   2. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5544279)
Zastryzny also pitched a lot better down the stretch in 2016, and I remember a bit of a push for him to be on the roster. Enough so, that I was surprised he didn't see more chances during the year, even though he was much worse in AAA.

Could be Arrieta is worse off than they're letting on too, which would put Lackey in the rotation.
   3. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5544297)
I know nothing about the how or the why, but Fangraphs has the Cubs as slight underdogs against the Nationals in the NLDS, by a 52/48 margin. That translates roughly in gambling odds to Nationals at 5:6 and Cubs even money. I'm as comfortable with that as I was with the Cubs being favored 57/43, as they were a couple of weeks ago. There is no extreme favorite here.

The Cubs did not put up the jaw-dropping defensive numbers they did last year, but they ended up leading MLB in Defensive Runs (DEF) for the second straight year. Note that the Nationals were not far behind, in sixth place.

One common gambling notion is that a strong September portends well for a team in the post-season. In Sep-Oct, the Cubs were 19-10, Nationals 16-13.
   4. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5544300)
Could be Arrieta is worse off than they're letting on too, which would put Lackey in the rotation.

That is what I read in the tea leaves. Maddon downplays it a bit, but the change from simulated game to bullpen session suggests that things are not moving along as quickly as one might hope. I'm more or less assuming no Arrieta in the NLDS, with a chance of an appearance of some kind in Game 5.
   5. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5544312)
I would like to borrow a cup of that confidence --

Finally sans the back monkey, I will say that I don't feel nearly as nervous about this post-drought playoff period - but neither am I very confidant going much further into October.

What DOES make me feel better about our chances is that I think this team is a lot more like it's far better 2nd half record than the disappointing 1st half. However, even with the Ws piling up after the break - it still feels like this team never really hit its stride. They'd go on little runs where they'd just club teams to death, occasionally get some stellar pitching, or the bullpen would go lockdown for a week... but it never felt like all those things clicked at once.

The optimist in me says that there's more than enough talent such that it shouldn't come as a surprise if this team suddenly starts clicking across the board... I just wish the health were better.

I expect Quintana and Hendricks to be fine - which, of course - would be enough to get by the Nats.... but I have a sneaking suspicion that the series will ultimately come down to one of the non-Quintana/Hendricks starters either shining or flailing. If we can get a sterling start and a W out of Lester/Lackey/Jake - I think Cubs in 5... If whichever of the 3 ends up crapping the bed, Nats in 5.

   6. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5544316)
Maddon downplays it a bit, but the change from simulated game to bullpen session suggests that things are not moving along as quickly as one might hope. I'm more or less assuming no Arrieta in the NLDS, with a chance of an appearance of some kind in Game 5.


The weather is pretty shitty here today, which was the supposed reason they gave for the change. But yeah, it's hard not to read that as a bad thing.

OTOH, considering Scherzer got an MRI, I bet he's in the exact same boat as Jake, with maybe even the exact same injury. Obviously the Nats want to keep that as quiet as possible, but there's probably an equal chance for Max not appearing in the DS as there is for Jake.

If Scherzer can't pitch, all of a sudden there doesn't seem to be a huge gap in the rotations. Gio Gonzalez's FIP was a full run worse than his ERA, and he's the type of pitcher I feel like the Cubs should hit (he was good against them this year), but if Scherzer can't pitch, who else starts for the Nats after Strasburg/Gio/Roark*? Edwin Jackson? Or is it a 3 man rotation with Stras going on short rest and Gio in game 5? I'll take that.

*Another guy I'd expect the Cubs to pound (they didn't; btw, I didn't realize he was an Illini).
   7. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5544323)
I think the Nats would miss Scherzer a lot more than the Cubs would miss Jake.
   8. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5544346)
Absolutely.
   9. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5544416)
Hendricks, lester, q and jake for the rotation.
   10. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5544421)
Perfect, I agree with that order.
   11. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5544464)
I might flip Lester and Q, but I presume Lester's veteraniness is thought to play better in a hostile stadium.

Anyway - I'm glad to see Hendricks getting the game 1 start. I think he's clearly the ace of the staff and as we saw last October, dude's got the prototypical ice in the veins.
   12. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5544465)
However, even with the Ws piling up after the break - it still feels like this team never really hit its stride.

The Cubs went 49-25 in the second half (.662 win percentage). Not once did they lose more than three games in a row during that time, and they outscored their opponents 423-296. That's what a stride looks like.
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5544475)
but if Scherzer can't pitch, who else starts for the Nats after Strasburg/Gio/Roark*? Edwin Jackson? Or is it a 3 man rotation with Stras going on short rest and Gio in game 5? I'll take that.

Strasburg has never started a game with less than four days rest in his major league career.

   14. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5544476)
I might flip Lester and Q, but I presume Lester's veteraniness is thought to play better in a hostile stadium.

I wouldn't flip them because:
-this way Quintana gets his first playoff experience at home; that's saying the same thing as you, but wording it my way makes more sense, I think.
-you're not pitching Lester/Arrieta back to back days, in case either have any sort of injury issues. You kind of have to have the bullpen as fresh as possible for their starts, so spread them out a little to make it easier. If for any reason Arrieta can't go, you have to have Lackey ready for it; he can still appear in game 2 and start in Game 4 but not games 3 and 4.
-if necessary, you can have both Hendricks and Lester on at least normal rest for game 5.
   15. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5544477)
The Cubs went 49-25 in the second half (.662 win percentage). Not once did they lose more than three games in a row during that time, and they outscored their opponents 423-296. That's what a stride looks like.

Yep. Did last year's regular season spoil us so much?
   16. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5544478)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 8m8 minutes ago

Cubs have claimed RHP Luke Farrell off waivers from CIN & DFA'd Felix Peña. Luke is son of RSox manager John & bro of Cubs area scout Shane


Well, I guess we know at least one person not being considered for the playoff roster. Like I harped on way too much, Pena wasn't good.
   17. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5544484)
Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat 1h1 hour ago

#Cubs will announce roster on Friday. Still discussion on whether to carry 11 or 12 pitchers
   18. Bote Man Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:12 PM (#5544569)
I'll join the fray FWIW. I don't have the analytical chops that most of you have, but I follow a few smarties who follow the Nationals.

I can highly recommend Harper Gordek's Nationals blog. He's a corporate number cruncher who roots for the Yankees, but chose the Nationals to apply his analytical talents. His writing style can sometimes be hard to parse, but there's some cold-blooded analysis there.

Everyone was all a-twitter today over what Max would do. He threw on flat ground, did some crow hops, but Dusty said he's waiting until tomorrow to see how Max feels before deciding the rotation. No surprise there, but now Nats fans are getting nervous.

Gio was impressive for the first two-thirds of the season, but has pitched progressively worse in his last handful of starts. Like everybody else he's probably just getting tired. He has always been a head case so it's anybody's guess if he will be able to focus on success in the playoffs. Gio did carry that near no-hitter into the late innings in Miami on a day which was very emotional for him because it was the birthday anniversary of his good friend José Fernandez; this is one reason that I suspect he will start Game 2 at home where he can feed off the home crowd. Dusty often puts his players in their best position to succeed.

So my Nats rotation goes: Game 1 = Strasburg, game 2 = Gio, game 3 = Max with Edwin Jackson or Roark on hot standby if it becomes a bullpen game early, game 4+ = I have no idea. Oliver Pérez can be a lefty long man if needed, plus whomever else is least worst in the pen going along for the ride. Shawn Kelley is done with elbow problems.

If they include Victor Robles on the playoff roster (doubtful), then Lester will have two terrors on the basepaths to shut down: Robles and Trea Turner. Robles might be faster than Turner. That should be entertaining to watch, at least for Nats fans.

Werth tipped his cap before his final at bat Sunday and will be on the roster as will Bryce, but don't know how effective either will be at this point. Stephen Drew came off the DL the other day, although he has to be ice cold after having sat for so long so I hope he's not included. Brian Goodwin is still on the DL I believe, but he would be a good bench guy if able to play.

Matt Wieters is a black hole on offense and is not much of a catcher, so don't expect much from him. Lobaton is even worse on offense, but is the pacifier that makes Gio pitch well so he's starting that game, at least. The rest of the usual suspects need no introduction.

This is the first post-season in which I actually have a pretty good feeling about the Nationals' chances all the way through.
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:51 PM (#5544587)
Happy to have you, Bote and look forward to seeing you in Omnichatter. I think the Nats are in a decent position to do the thing that every team wants to do with HFA in a 5-game series: head to the road up 2-0. But even that is overthinking it.
   20. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:57 PM (#5544588)
Thanks for popping in, and I definitely am interested in the view from the other side.

Having said that, the more and more I read today, the more confident I'm feeling. Something about the 2 best players on the Nats being questionable healthwise might be the biggest reason, but even things like this from that blog Bote links:

First the Nats "slump"* is a half a season long. They were first in the NL by a lot with a .811 OPS in the first half. They were 8th in the NL with a .744 in the 2nd half. It was 5th in July (.802), 10th in August (.724), and 11th in September (.712). Sorry but Dusty hasn't been rolling out AAA lineups for 2 and a half months.

The Nats were crushing on offense until the injuries happened. Even losing Trea and Werth, they were able to keep chugging along. Maybe they weren't at the same level as before that - where they were running away with the scoring lead, but they were a solid offensive squad. Look at the July OPS. I can tell you the scoring in August through the 12th was 4.5 runs per game, still an average value for this crazy year. But they Bryce went down and things changed and they've never gotten back. The bats have come back in body but only one has come back in performance.


Right now, the Cubs are probably the better offensive team (if Heyward*/Zobrist start every game, maybe it's closer than it should be). If the Nats are without Scherzer - or if he's not 100% - even with Strasburg as the best pitcher and Arrieta as a huge question mark, the Cubs rotation is deeper/more reliable. Bullpens are bullpens, and both are very questionable in the gooey middle. Even if Maddon suffered permanent brain damage during last year's World Series, I still trust him more than Dusty to make some of those moves along the margins that could swing the series.

*SSS alert, Heyward has actually hit both Strasburg (.405/.463/.595 in 35PAs) and Scherzer (.364/.417/.455 in 11PAs) well, surprisingly.

But it's baseball. So none of that really matters or is predictive or how things will or won't go. #### happens.
   21. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 04, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5544598)
However, even with the Ws piling up after the break - it still feels like this team never really hit its stride.

They went 14-3.

Then they dropped 6 out of 8.

Then they went 16-6.

Then they dropped 6 out of 8 again.

Then they went 15-4. (And that includes losing the last game of the season when they didn't care).

They didn't hit their stride? They hit it repeatedly.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:00 PM (#5544749)
They didn't hit their stride? They hit it repeatedly.

Yeah, but it was 6 steps forward, two steps back. :-)

It's possibly more that the Cards got hot and the Brewers wouldn't go away, then swept that series at Wrigley. Of course other than the Brewers series, the Cubs couldn't do much about that.

The 14-3 stretch was of course huge and they went from 5.5 back to 2.5 ahead. I'll admit at that point while obviously they wouldn't keep winning 14 of 17, I did expect them to end up winning the division pretty easily.

The 2-6 stretch could have been a lot worse and they lost just 1 game in the standings. Still, I'm nervous again.

Then 16-6 but picked up only 3 games (up 4.5). Would have liked more but I'm feeling really good.

Then 2-6 including the Milw sweep and suddenly it's down to 2 games again over both the Brewers and Cards. Now I'm extra nervous, if either gets hot we could be in trouble.

Then we ran away, including 6 of 7 vs the Cards and 3 of 4 vs the Brewers.

Not that I'm complaining, the last day of real nail-biting was probably the 14th but there was a certain disconnect between the outstanding record and the yo-yo-ing divisional lead. It would be fair to say that my problem was more that I considered Milw and StL to be "true 500" teams but they (esp the Cards) didn't play like that. But I still can't believe they got swept by the Brewers. Even just winning 1 of 3 at home would have left them 4 up.

   23. Walt Davis Posted: October 04, 2017 at 11:56 PM (#5544819)
Being as objective as I can, I do think the Nats are the better team, perhaps moreso in a short series. The Scherzer question mark evens things up a lot though. A lot of the Cubs overall quality comes from their depth but that usually isn't much of an advantage in a 5-game series. There's still mixing and matching of course which will likely help the Cubs more than the Nats and lots of playoff series have been turned by a key pinch hit. Basically, on a game-by-game basis, Harper, Murphy, Rendon, Zimmerman plus 4 guys is a lot scarier than Bryant, Rizzo and 10 guys (see below for Contreras).

Some possible keys to the series:

1. SPs obviously, for both teams. I'd probably go H then Q but the point about L and A back-to-back (or L and L if A can't go) putting strain on the bullpen is a good one.

2. Edwards and Rondon/Strop/Monty vs Madson and Kintzler. It's not much to pin my hopes on but Rondon over his last 9 innings has 12 Ks, no BB, 4 H, 0 runs. Even with a DL stint in there (I think, he went 14 days without pitching), he looked like classic Rondon. Edwards we know is unhittable when he can find the zone, Strop always puts up solid numbers but I'm always nervous, etc. But Madson's had his ups and downs Kintzler doesn't strike people out so they're far from guarantees. I suspect at least 2 games will be won/lost in the 6-8th innings.

3. Schwarber/Russell/Contreras: are we gonna get their 1st half bats or their 2nd half bats? Nothing wrong with 1st half Contreras but 2nd half was a beast. Bryant, Rizzo, 2nd half WC and 9 guys evens up the "scary" score a lot.

4. Cubs OF in general: I'm not sure who I'd play here except Schwarber definitely starts vs RHP at home (and probably on the road) and definitely not vs LHP. I guess I would always talk myself into Heyward vs RHP too. None of them are genuinely good, none except maybe Zobrist are genuinely bad. Should we emphasize offense, defense, balance or handedness? I would have liked to see Joe give Almora more PT vs RHP over the last 2-3 weeks (only 5 starts in the last 15 games) to find out if that mini-streak might be a new Almora who could start all/most of the playoffs ... I'll assume Joe has already answered that no.

Almora in Sept (I assume still mainly vs LHP): 347/347/653 in 50 PA.
   24. McCoy Posted: October 05, 2017 at 07:13 AM (#5544868)
Cubs in 4.

I've bet my buddy Lou malnati's vs ben's chili bowl the cubs win.
   25. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:43 AM (#5544945)
A small tidbit: Doolittle went and eloped the other day and has been tweeting all about it. Based on how Bryce went haywire after his engagement and marriage to his high school sweetheart, Doolittle just became a giant question mark to me. Sitting around and doing a few drills over 5 days can change a lot of things, too.
   26. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5544953)
It's not much to pin my hopes on but Rondon over his last 9 innings has 12 Ks, no BB, 4 H, 0 runs. Even with a DL stint in there (I think, he went 14 days without pitching), he looked like classic Rondon.

It was September and expanded rosters, so he didn't officially go on the DL, but I'm sure he would have earlier in the year (same with Koji, he's not on the DL but hasn't pitched since 9/2). Rondon's stuff has looked amazing since his earlier DL trip - more life on the fastball, more break - so it would be great to have him as another option in high leverage spots. I assume he'll get some chances there.

Not that I'm complaining, the last day of real nail-biting was probably the 14th but there was a certain disconnect between the outstanding record and the yo-yo-ing divisional lead. It would be fair to say that my problem was more that I considered Milw and StL to be "true 500" teams but they (esp the Cards) didn't play like that. But I still can't believe they got swept by the Brewers. Even just winning 1 of 3 at home would have left them 4 up.

Not to pick on you, but this is what I mean about maybe we were spoiled last year. It doesn't seem like this is that crazy of a stretch run in terms of the lead; they went from 5.5 down at the break and won by 6 which would be a 20+ game cushion over a full season. Yeah, that series sucked, but there wasn't anything fundamentally worrying about it besides they lost all 3.
   27. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5544958)
Cubs OF in general: I'm not sure who I'd play here except Schwarber definitely starts vs RHP at home (and probably on the road) and definitely not vs LHP. I guess I would always talk myself into Heyward vs RHP too. None of them are genuinely good, none except maybe Zobrist are genuinely bad. Should we emphasize offense, defense, balance or handedness? I would have liked to see Joe give Almora more PT vs RHP over the last 2-3 weeks (only 5 starts in the last 15 games) to find out if that mini-streak might be a new Almora who could start all/most of the playoffs ... I'll assume Joe has already answered that no.

This is the big question for me. I've been assuming Joe wouldn't bench Zobrist, but I'm having a hard time for justifying starting him in LF over Schwarber against Strasburg/Scherzer. Maybe you start Zo at 2b against one of them depending on the Cubs P (IOW, Baez is playing when Lester pitches for sure). With Jay in CF - and I'm positive he will be in CF and hitting leadoff (he'll be in LF and hitting leadoff against Gio; Almora in CF and Zobrist or Happ will be in RF that game), having Heyward in RF defense in kinda necessary. Totally agree on Almora, and he was hitting down the stretch when Jay wasn't and Joe didn't play him enough.

Hell, play Almora instead of Heyward honestly. I'd been pushing for him instead of Jay, but Almora in CF/Jay if RF is probably fine.
   28. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5545015)
same with Koji, he's not on the DL but hasn't pitched since 9/2

Man, I'd almost forgotten he even existed.
   29. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 05, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5545045)
Koji, July 14-onward:
G: 16
IP: 13.1
H: 16
BB: 2
K: 18
HR: 6
ERA: 6.75
   30. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 12:20 PM (#5545052)
Yeah, his main injury might be suckage due to being old as ####. But I do think he's had some knee infection problem or something too.
   31. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5545175)
Chelsea Janes‏ @chelsea_janes 2h2 hours ago

Stephen Strasburg will start Game 1. Max or Gio in Game 2 depending on Scherzer bullpen today. If Scherzer doesn't pitch 2, will pitch 3.

Chelsea Janes‏ @chelsea_janes 2h2 hours ago

Scherzer is out and playing catch, but not in full uniform. I've never seen him throw a pen without it, but maybe today is the day.

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes 2h2 hours ago

Scherzer played catch with his teammates, but looks done for now. Perhaps no bullpen today, after all.

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes 1h1 hour ago

Have heard Nats current plan is to have Gio go Game 2, Scherzer 3, but that nothing is set until it has to be.

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes 30m30 minutes ago

Sense with Scherzer is that he is ok, but didn't want to push him or have him at less than 100%. Could maybe throw in relief in Game 5.


More as this develops...
   32. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5545180)
Cubs hype video for the series; gotta love there's a clip of a WSH CS and a Cubs SB.

Full season recap video; best part is the Lester pick off including McCarver.
   33. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:06 PM (#5545205)
Those Chelsea Janes tweets look like they were from yesterday, or else she simply retweeted them verbatim.

Anyway, it's Strasburg in Game 1.

Then I say Gio in Game 2 for numerous reasons, not the least of which is:

James O'Hara @nextyeardc

Gio home/road splits 2017:
Home: 91.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.84 FIP, .290 wOBA against
Away: 109.2 IP, 3.12 ERA, 4.01 FIP, .274 wOBA against

Since joining the Nats:
Home: 521 IP, 3.20 ERA, 3.07 FIP, .287 wOBA against
Away: 586.2 IP, 3.76 ERA, 3.58 FIP, .298 wOBA against

Strasburg career:
Home: 597.1 IP, 2.86 ERA, 2.76 FIP, .267 wOBA against
Away: 502.1 IP, 3.31 ERA, 2.90 FIP, .283 wOBA against

Scherzer as a National:
Home: 309 IP, 3.09 ERA, 2.93 FIP, .264 wOBA against
Away: 348.2 IP, 2.48 ERA, 3.01 FIP, .253 wOBA against

All of which to say, if you have a key road game Scherzer is your guy. He doesn't benefit from Nats Park much like Strasburg and Gio do.
   34. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:11 PM (#5545212)
Recommended Nats Twitter accounts to follow:

James O'Hara @nextyeardc

Jacob Rasch @serious_jammage

David Proctor @DaProc

Harper Gordek @harpergordek

Ground Rule Trouble @GRTrouble

They're partisan, but thoughtful and don't take themselves too seriously.

I'll let you find Needham on your own, I would never do that to you intentionally.
   35. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5545222)
Those Chelsea Janes tweets look like they were from yesterday, or else she simply retweeted them verbatim.

Yesterday they said nothing, today they actually confirmed Strasburg. And Gio did throw bullpen today and Max didn't (but was supposed to). Most of the stuff was speculation today and more concrete today, best I can see.
   36. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5545251)
Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes
Gio Gonzalez is throwing in the bullpen.

A bullpen today would put Gio on schedule for Saturday.


Nailed it!
   37. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5545276)
My reading of the situation - probably tinted of course - is that I have no idea how they can be so confident Scherzer will be fine to throw in game 3 if they're not comfortable with him throwing in game 2. It's also hard to say it's a good sign when they say he'll throw in the bullpen today and then change their minds. Maybe more precisely, if they're positive he'll throw in game 3 there's no guarantee he'll be healthy and not at risk of tweaking something or being ineffective because he's not 100%.

Now, if they'd really rather have Gio start game 2 and Max game 3 for the home/road reasons listed in 33, that's one thing - and something I'd say is silly/dumb; for one, none of those splits are that extreme, and two, Max is so clearly the superior pitcher, plus he'd be so much fresher for relief work in game 4 if he threw in game 2 instead of 3.

...So, I'm still feeling that Max is worse off than they're letting on. Which is also how I feel about Arrieta and how the Cubs are planning for him in game 4/slash contingency planning with Lackey.
   38. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5545468)
Random things from Keith Law's chat, not about this year:

Craig: Is Adbert Alzolay the Cubs top prospect? Can he scratch his way onto the big league team as early as next summer?

Keith Law: Top pitching prospect and yes.

Andy: Dillon Maples had this breakout season. Does he regress, keep improving, or what? How does one predict this?

Keith Law: You don’t. You just enjoy it. And I think this is very legit – the stuff matches up with the numbers.
   39. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 05:04 PM (#5545473)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 12m12 minutes ago

Maddon: might be one lineup adjustment from Scherzer to Strasburg. "This is the time for simplicity."
   40. Bote Man Posted: October 05, 2017 at 05:44 PM (#5545504)
Jorge Castillo @jorgecastillo
Victor Robles will be on the Nationals' NLDS roster, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

::Jon Lester head splodes dot gif::
   41. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 05, 2017 at 05:57 PM (#5545516)
::Jon Lester head splodes dot gif::

Facts over narrative. Old article, but the point remains.

Arrieta is much easier to run on, though Contreras is pretty good back there (especially at the pickoffs). Also, Kyle Hendricks picks off guys all the time.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: October 05, 2017 at 07:54 PM (#5545566)
Not to pick on you, but this is what I mean about maybe we were spoiled last year.

You say that like it's a bad thing. :-)

Anyway yes, I'm spoiled. As I said, once we took that lead, I assumed we'd settle in as a 570-600 team from that point because I thought that's how good we were. But re-reading Dag's post, I see why I was more skittish than maybe I should have been. After the big run to take the division lead:

2-6
16-6
2-6

Obviously 16-6 looks great but add those up and it's 20-18 from Aug 1 to Sept 10 and a half-game shaved off the lead over the Brewers and 3.5 off the lead over the Cards. That's not the record of a team closing out a division in style or an excellent team finally playing to its level, that's the record of a team struggling to make it over the line. (Records don't always reflect reality of course.) Cubs obviously in the driver's seat but if any one of those teams got hot, they were gonna win it. Of course it was the Cubs that got hot and they then went 15-4 and I was not highly stressed at any point in the last 2 weeks except maybe the start of the 4-games in Milw. Two nearly stress-free weeks in late Sept is all you can really ask from a winning team.

Looking back at it, the Brewers did their best. They also had 19 left after their sweep. They went 10-5 against everybody but the Cubs ... Cubs went 12-3 against everybody but the Brewers so still in awesome shape. If the Brewers had swept the Cubs in Milw (unlikely obviously) and everything else stayed the same, they tie for the division. Overall, the teams played 10 times after the break and split them.

Anyway, all moot at this point.
   43. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:53 AM (#5545823)
Oct. 6:

1882 first post-season NL-AA matchup: Cin beats Chicago 4-0
1945 Billy Sianis & his billy goat ejected from Wrigely Field during Game 4 - curse of the Billy Goat
1984 NLCS Game 4: The Steve Garvey Game

   44. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:09 AM (#5545871)
Roster released. 14 hitters/11 pitchers. Martin is the last "bat". Lackey and Wilson on, Rondon off. Wonder if that's an injury reason, has to be.

EDIT: Nothing has been said by any of the writers I've seen yet to imply it is an injury. I'm very uncertain about this decision. I'm pretty sure I'd want Rondon over both Lackey and Wilson.
   45. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5545888)
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Joe Blanton doesn't make the Nats roster.

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes 2m2 minutes ago

Nats make it official. They have no long man on the roster, four lefties in the pen. Romero makes it, Blanton does not.


Shhh, no one tell Dusty Rizzo doesn't have a platoon split (well, a very small one in BA, but not really).
   46. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5545925)
Martin is an interesting choice. I'm skeptical of the general value of a pinch-runner / defensive outfielder even in a short series. But, at least Martin is a legitimately good baserunner and defensive outfielder. I'm okay with this one.

My guess is that Lackey is on the roster as insurance in case Arrieta can't go in Game 4. And/or Maddon was too scared of him to tell him he didn't make the roster. Either way, I'm generally fine with this one.

I would definitely prefer Rondon over Wilson, but I'm sure they kept Wilson because he's left-handed and so are Harper and Murphy. But the idea of Justin Wilson coming into the game to face Bryce Harper with the bases loaded and two out with the Cubs nursing a one-run lead in the seventh inning is terrifying. I would much prefer seeing (a healthy) Hector Rondon in that situation, platoon advantage be damned.
   47. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:44 AM (#5545943)
I'm skeptical of the general value of a pinch-runner / defensive outfielder even in a short series. But, at least Martin is a legitimately good baserunner and defensive outfielder. I'm okay with this one.

The Cubs have to be leading late to fully take advantage of Martin on the roster. Since Schwarber is a bad defender (and honestly, Zobrist isn't a plus out there either), Jay isn't really a CF, and Heyward can't hit, it gives Maddon much more freedom to PH for Heyward late. It probably makes it easier to chase more matchups knowing there's always another defender available.

I don't know that I'd expect him to PR a ton (say maybe Schwarber walks in a late PA or he runs for Avila after a PH reach), but if needed, it's nice to have that option and not worry you're burning a PH option.

I would definitely prefer Rondon over Wilson, but I'm sure they kept Wilson because he's left-handed and so are Harper and Murphy. But the idea of Justin Wilson coming into the game to face Bryce Harper with the bases loaded and two out with the Cubs nursing a one-run lead in the seventh inning is terrifying. I would much prefer seeing (a healthy) Hector Rondon in that situation, platoon advantage be damned.

Yep. 10000% agree.

   48. Bote Man Posted: October 06, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5546075)
Joe Peta on ESPN:

How to bet Cubs-Nationals NLDS
Finally, to my eye the crown jewel of MLB's Elite 8 round, and the only one I see going 5 games. Cubs/Nats preview.


Have not read. Notify Downtown Bookie.
   49. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 06, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5546120)
Greetings from the shores of the Potomac.
   50. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5546122)
Cubs lineup:

Zobrist (RF)
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Schwarber
Russell
Heyward (CF)
Baez

Kinda surprised - honestly, pleasantly so - that Jay isn't starting and leading off. Zobrist still hasn't been good (.648OPS in Sept/Oct; also .638OPS on road). It's been a while since Heyward started in CF - looks like 8/29 in Pitt, before that 8/27, then 5/29; only other time he's appeared since those is the last game of the year, when he started in RF and moved over after substitutions started) - but I think I'm ok with it. I might rather have seen Happ in RF than Zo, but then "who's the leadoff hitter" is the question that everyone will ask.

Hopefully Schwarber gets in at least 3 ABs before he's PH for (hopefully that means a lefty reliever is in after the Cubs have run Strasburg) with Almora and the defense realigning.
   51. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 03:30 PM (#5546123)
What's the weather like? It's quite fall-like here in Chicago, cool, overcast and off and on rain all day (nothing really heavy though).
   52. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 06, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5546148)
Low-80s, somewhat humid, no chance of rain as per the forecast. Should be in the 70s the whole game. This will be a shorts and t-shirt game for me.
   53. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5546170)
Chelsea Janes‏ @chelsea_janes 2m2 minutes ago

Game 3 will be 4:08 Eastern or 5:38 eastern, depending on ALDS situation


So the later one only if both ALDS are sweeps, I'd guess. Which is possible...

EDIT: Correct.

Game 4: 5:38 eastern; Game 5 either 5:38 eastern (if LA/ARI also have game 5) or 7:08pm (if LA/ARI over).

These earlier starts are great for my son, less so for me.
   54. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 06, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5546193)
Nats make it official....four lefties in the pen.

Oh joy.
   55. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 04:45 PM (#5546196)
I can guarantee you all the games will end before midnight local though.
   56. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 06, 2017 at 05:09 PM (#5546224)
I can guarantee you all the games will end before midnight local though.

I *so* wish I could fully believe that deep in my heart, Moses.
   57. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5546228)
Look at those start times again. They'll still go 5 hours each, at least.
   58. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 06, 2017 at 05:53 PM (#5546266)
I repeat my previous comment.
   59. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:10 PM (#5546750)
Over before 10pm, in what might be the latest start time of the series.

Also, Hendricks is the ####### man.
   60. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:50 PM (#5546771)
That was quite satisfactory. The crowd was unlike most Cubs road crowds: there was a pretty strong concentration of blue shirts on the first level behind the visitor's dugout, but where I was sitting, (next level up), not so much. This was my first game at Nationals Park, and it's pretty nice. It's fairly small and has an intimate feel. Anyway, being pretty much the only Cubs hat around, it was awkward. But a good kind of awkward.
   61. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:01 AM (#5546785)
All hail Kyle. What a great game he pitchdd.
   62. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:19 AM (#5546788)
I'll be honest, I've been drinking; but, I see a sweep developing here.

I don't know if Lester will be great or not, but the Cubs are going to absolutely batter Gonzalez Saturday. Scherzer isn't going to be 100% in game 3, and that's all the window the Cubs need.
   63. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:43 AM (#5546791)
It's a weekend, and I'm too busy to write a full recap, so....

Strasburg was awesome. Cubs game plan appeared to be attack him early in the count, because he's not throwing balls. For 5+ innings, it didn't work. Then a ball that would have gone foul, an error, and the door was open. Bryant and Rizzo made it count; obviously Bryant's RISP "issues" this year were a fluke - and a bit of a running joke here - but it was still a good AB by him and it held up.

I was very pleasantly surprised that Joe let Kyle pitch the 7th; it was the right move but it also wasn't something Joe would have done even a month ago. Maybe it's also a byproduct of not being totally confident in any of the middle relief options, but considering it was the bottom of the order it was absolutely the right move. I mentioned in the game chatter, but Joe's mistake tonight was letting Martin take an AB with 2 out/2 out, even up 3. The only reason he's on the roster is so that you can avoid that situation; Almora's still on the bench for defense and Happ/LaStella/Avila are there to hit.

The defense was fantastic tonight, Bryant's error notwithstanding. They have to keep this infield going, but I expect Almora in CF tomorrow against the lefty Gonzalez; I'll predict the line now as Jay(LF)/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Zobrist(RF)/Russell/Almora/Baez; that's almost as good of a defensive lineup as the Cubs can run out there; maybe even we see Heyward still in LF instead of Zo and just move everyone up and put Heyward 7. I'm fine with either option honestly.

I expect an ok start from Lester, say 6 innings 4 runs, but I do expect the Cubs to run Gio before the 5th and to pretty much lead wire to wire.

10 wins to go.
   64. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:46 AM (#5546794)
Put this in the chatter, but just for completeness:

Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 3h3 hours ago

Lowest career postseason ERA
(min 7 GS)
0.95 Koufax
1.06 Mathewson
1.58 G Earnshaw
1.83 W Hoyt
1.89 Gibson
1.98 HENDRICKS
1.98 F Valenzuela

Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 3h3 hours ago

innings, respectively
57.0, 101.2, 62.2, 83.2, 81.0, 41.0 (Hendricks), 63.2
   65. McCoy Posted: October 07, 2017 at 07:51 AM (#5546803)
Andere, did you have a dog from Ben's?
   66. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 07, 2017 at 08:23 AM (#5546804)
I did not. Is that a thing one should do?

Last night I ate at a place in Alexandria at the ferry -- pretty good food, nice bar, excellent bartenders, and other games on the TVs. I will be tempted to follow that same plan today. So at the game I did not get out of my seat once. Also, while I thought it was a nice park, it seems difficult to get from Point A to Point B.
   67. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 07, 2017 at 08:30 AM (#5546805)
The thing about last night's game: for the first five innings, both Strasburg and Hendricks were Strasburging and Hendricksing almost perfectly. Of course, those two game plans could not be more different, and watching Strasburg mow down one hitter after another it kind of felt like the Cubs were getting whupped. And certainly, the fans around me were acting like the Nationals were doing just that, at the same time moaning about their hard luck against Hendricks. I just kept reminding myself that it was indeed a tie game, and repeating to myself the Hendricksene Creed: "I believe in junk pitches, and great defense behind me..."
   68. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 10:04 AM (#5546809)
After sobering up, I'm now wondering if Contreras hit Zimmerman in the back on purpose in order to draw that call. He's got great aim, had time, and with Zimmerman in the infield could have easily taken a step to the side. I guess that would have been more risky. I can't recall seeing a highlight showing his reaction, did he immediately ask for the call? Baez did as he was backing up the throw but Rizzo looked annoyed as if he didn't realize the call was coming.

Doesn't matter, just curious.
   69. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 07, 2017 at 10:07 AM (#5546811)
After sobering up, I'm now wondering if Contreras hit Zimmerman in the back on purpose in order to draw that call.


That was my thought.
   70. JH (in DC) Posted: October 07, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5546813)
I did not. Is that a thing one should do?

Last night I ate at a place in Alexandria at the ferry -- pretty good food, nice bar, excellent bartenders, and other games on the TVs. I will be tempted to follow that same plan today. So at the game I did not get out of my seat once. Also, while I thought it was a nice park, it seems difficult to get from Point A to Point B.


If you're going to do Ben's, do the real one in DC. The stand at the ballpark is a decent facsimile, but the point of Ben's is the ambience of its original U Street location.

And I can think of eight places you might have gone within two blocks of the Alexandria waterfront, so I'm glad you found one of the good ones. (Based on the description, I'm assuming Blackwall Hitch?)
   71. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 07, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5546820)
Vola's. Blackwall Hitch looked nice too. I am open to suggestions, but something at the dock is very convenient since I am taking the ferry.

After sobering up, I'm now wondering if Contreras hit Zimmerman in the back on purpose in order to draw that call.

He might have. I only saw it live and have not seen a replay, but it seemed to me that he hesitated before throwing, and then the actual throw did not have the mustard on it you would expect if he were just flat out trying to make the play.
   72. Bote Man Posted: October 07, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5546824)
Strasburg was never better, so of course the Natinals offense had already checked out to go to off-season activities. I saw Rendon, Werth, and Zimmerman (maybe others) watch an unhealthy number of pitches right down South Capitol Street, never even moving the bat off their shoulders. I mean center-center meatballs, and they just stared blankly at them. Then they'd flail helplessly at junk down and away, especially Harper. I guess that's the nature of throwing "too slow to hit".

So they wasted an absolute gem from Strasburg. As a result I'm leaving my handle as-is since the SWEEP will now be the Nationals getting swept out of the NLDS. Gio will be OK, but if Rendon bobbles the ball again Gio will probably have one of his patented tantrums and just lose it on the mound, then it's downhill from there.

With the Nats going to Chicago down 0-2, Max will don his Superman uni and press himself to the point of re-aggravating his hamstring injury, then the season will be over regardless of outcome.

I think I'm gonna sort my sock drawer today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Baseball sucks.
   73. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5546830)
Watch out, Bote - you're just asking for a scolding from Moses. Or does it only apply to Cubs fans?
   74. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 07, 2017 at 12:40 PM (#5546831)
If you're going to do Ben's, do the real one in DC. The stand at the ballpark is a decent facsimile, but the point of Ben's is the ambience of its original U Street location.

And that ambience now pales compared to when Ben's clientele consisted largely of pool hustlers and other assorted local characters, and performers at the Howard theater and U Street jazz clubs. This was when Ben's ran radio spots in a phony Mexican accent telling people to come by "after ball game, after boolfight". They didn't need murals and presidential visits then for people to know who they were.
   75. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5546843)
Bote's welcome to piss his pants all he wants here.
   76. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5546856)
After being unhittable, I think Strasburg's fastball lost some zip in the sixth.

And again: it was Kyle Hendricks Hendricksing. He is good at it.
   77. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:37 PM (#5546857)
Cubs lineup:

Almora/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Russell/Zobrist(RF)/Baez/Happ(LF)/Lester

I think this might be Almora's first leadoff appearance. We got Happ. I'm a little surprised no Jay, after the way Joe kept penciling him in most of the 2nd half I just assumed he was starting damn near every playoff game. Zobrist really bad against lefties this year, and on the road, and yeah, it's wearing on me.
   78. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5546859)
im surprised happ is batting 8th.
   79. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5546863)
For Baez's sake, I'm kinda glad he's not in front of the pitcher again. He still shouldn't see many strikes, but I do wonder sometimes if it makes some of his bad tendencies come out.

Happ is better hitting lefty than righty, and Baez against LHP is better than Happ against LHP, but then there's Zobrist in front of both of them, so...
   80. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 07, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5546866)
I am confident that Zobrist will redeem himself tonight.

I am also glad to be able to type that without having to look at someone straight in the eye.
   81. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 07, 2017 at 04:02 PM (#5546897)
MLBN just played a replay, and on the Zimmerman play I don't think willson was trying to him Zim. He had a somewhat clearish lane to Rizzo but missed. Right as the ball hits the runner, willson drops his head and looks dejected.
   82. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 08, 2017 at 01:24 AM (#5547118)
Well the pen was bound to blow a game this post season, lets hope it was only one. Still have faith that they will win this. Expect a q 7 inning performance monday.
   83. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 08, 2017 at 02:44 AM (#5547122)
I'd like to see Strop in the 8th from now on. He's on a roll lately, and he has more poise and experience than Edwards.
   84. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 08, 2017 at 12:13 PM (#5547154)
Well the pen was bound to blow a game this post season, lets hope it was only one. Still have faith that they will win this. Expect a q 7 inning performance monday.

That's kind of how I look at it. Last night with Edwards, I thought OK, time for a curveball, and he threw a curveball. A very, very terrible excuse for a curveball. Same as whatever the pitch was Montgomery threw. Two terrible pitches to good hitters, who both cashed in. We've seen games like that followed by brilliance many times this year.

I felt good for the Nats fans at the game, who have not had a lot to cheer about in October. When things got interesting in the eighth, it got pretty loud.

Zobrist hit the nice line drive single last night, but overall has been a negative, hitting first and sixth in the order. While they haven't done anything yet either, I would really prefer to see that action go to Baez and/or Happ. I'm okay watching the Nationals waste a fairly prime spot on an old broken down player, but I'd prefer that the Cubs take advantage of it rather than fall into the same pattern.
   85. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 08, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5547172)
Yeah, I'm gonna be disappointed to see zobrist on the lineup tomorrow. I also trust strop way way less than CJ, CJ will be fine.

If I'm going to second guess anything right now, it's putting Wilson on the roster ahead of rondon. If Wilson isn't coming in during any of those spots - I'm not saying he should, he was still awful - why is he on the team?
   86. Voodoo Posted: October 08, 2017 at 02:32 PM (#5547186)
I found yesterday's loss very difficult to swallow. Lester was very good and admittedly I was feeling pretty confident about a 2-0 lead. I wasn't surprised when Harper tied it up, but the meltdown that followed was the real problem.
   87. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 08, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5547226)
I will either be off monday or tuesday this week, cant decide if I want to spend the money and time to go to a first round game.
   88. Bote Man Posted: October 08, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5547254)
The only way the Nats won that game last night was by capitalizing on mistake pitches. Neither Harper nor Zimmerman have looked particularly impressive in these first two games so I was thoroughly surprised when Bryce mashed that hanging curveball to smithereens; he has not looked 100% in the field nor at the plate since returning.

Zimmerman's home run barely squeaked out courtesy of the wind blowing out to LF and LCF; so iffy was it that Charlie Slowes called it off the bat as a routine fly ball, Zobrist going back and under it and then, "IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE, GOODBYE!" Charlie was as surprised as everyone was that it went out, in fact on TV it looked like he caught it, but it landed amongst the shrubberies between the wall and the railing at the base of the seating area.

Going to Chicago with question marks surrounding Scherzer and I think Roark starting Game 4 it still looks like the Cubs are the better team. I will be pleasantly surprised if the Nats make it a series, but I don't hold out much hope based on what little they've shown thus far.
   89. Walt Davis Posted: October 09, 2017 at 01:35 AM (#5547443)
Zimmerman's home run barely squeaked out courtesy of the wind blowing out to LF and LCF

Sure but Contreras's HR doesn't make it out on a normal night either and Rizzo's barely made it out.

Obviously if you'd guaranteed me we'd leave DC 1-1, I'd have been pretty happy a couple of days ago. But if you'd guaranteed me a win in game 1 and a 3-1 lead i the 8th of game 2, I'd have recognized that you were just setting me up for disappointment. Anyway, 1-1 with Scherzer coming is far from ideal but I'll take what I can get.

Hendricks was positively Madduxian except for the 3 walks which is at least 4 more than Maddux would have given up. I guess that makes him Glavinian. :-)
   90. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:49 AM (#5547474)
Sure but Contreras's HR doesn't make it out on a normal night either and Rizzo's barely made it out.

With Contreras' HR, I thought there was no way it would make it out with the launch angle, but once it reached its apex, it was pretty clear it was going to clear the wall. With Zimmerman's, I thought Zobrist would catch it at the wall and was fooled until it landed. The ball was definitely carrying well to LF, but none of the HRs hit by either team were cheap.

Here's hoping for a good start from Quintana tonight.
   91. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 09, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5547513)
My unofficial ranking of the HRs from most wind-aided to least, based on how the OF reacted and tracked the ball
1. Zimmerman - also cleared the wall by the least of any; Yao Ming in LF would have caught it.
2. Contreras - Werth almost started in first, then started drifting sideways
3. Rendon
4. Rizzo - first one I'm sure would have gotten out without any wind
963. Harper - that was going out in Wrigley with the wind fulling blowing in even at tornado strength

---

Since it's not an elimination game, it's not truly a must win for either team, but whichever team wins today is going to feel much, much better about tomorrow's game. If the Nats lose, they're going with Tanner Roark, and that can't feel good. If the Cubs lose, there's a ton of uncertainty about Arrieta's health, and not a ton of faith in Lackey as the backup plan.

It's a pretty nice day here in Chicago - supposed to get up to 80, doesn't look like any rain. Tomorrow is a lot more dicey weather wise. I expect Quintana to pitch well, but the first inning could be a trap; if he gets by that, I feel good about him. I'm not sure what to expect from Scherzer, going by Arrieta, Jake pitched pretty well his first time out and terribly the 2nd, so that doesn't help. Cubs need to find a way to run up his pitch count and force him out early.

A few writers on twitter have said Joe's talked about today's lineup being very lefty heavy, to the point of saying LaStella might start at 2nd. I'd rather the Cubs bench Zobrist over Baez, but I can live with both. With that being said, I'll guess today's lineup goes Jay(CF)/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/LaStella/Schwarber/Russell/Heyward.
   92. Charles S. hopes his opening day is b4 opening day Posted: October 09, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5547541)
I just can't see him benching Baez today. It looks as if the wind will be blowing in off the lake making defense a priority. I'd like to see a line-up of Jay/KB/Rizzo/Willson/Schwarber/Russell/Hayward/Mago/Q. I know what I said about defense, but I like Schwarber as a lottery ticket 3 times through the order against Scherzer. Just hoping that Scherzer's hammy gives him a little less drive on his pitches.

After the off-day yesterday, I have confidence in CJ, but for whatever reason, he seems to struggle with command when he goes two days in a row.
   93. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 09, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5547607)
Actual lineup:

Jay/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Zobrist(2b)/Schwarber/Heyward/Russell/Quintana

I do not understand Zobrist's bulletproofness. Awful.
   94. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 09, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5547620)

I do not understand Zobrist's bulletproofness. Awful.


Baez hasn't covered himself in glory at the plate so far and does look to be pressing a bit. I don't understand why not La Stella, though.
   95. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 09, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5547623)
Oh, I agree Scherzer is probably a really tough matchup for Javy, and Javy really hasn't done anything this series yet. It's worth playing him for his defense alone, IMO, but yeah, if you're benching him, it should be for LaStella (or even Happ).

There's nothing in Zobrist's numbers this year to show he's either not hurt or just old/bad now. He was awful in the first half, he's been awful since he's come back from his injury, he was awful in September. He's better at home and better hitting lefty, but that's only cause he's been so bad on the road/righty. He's not driving the ball at all, it looks like he's rolling over on everything.
   96. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 09, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5547633)
I do not understand Zobrist's bulletproofness. Awful.

I can see playing him, but batting fifth? Come on. Getting the lefty hitters in is a good idea.

I think Maddon is thinking about this game.
   97. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 09, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5547634)
Too bad that's from last year (and TLS also homered off Max, so...). He's just been a different, much worse, player this year. Joe should recognize this.
   98. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 09, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5547636)
I agree, and would also prefer to see Zobrist playing a secondary role to Happ or La Stella in this instance. It's just what I think Maddon is thinking.
   99. Meatwad in mourning Posted: October 09, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5547672)
Decided to splurge. Ill be in sec 302 10th row of the lf bleachers. First time in em.
   100. Optimistic Moses Taylor, optimist Posted: October 09, 2017 at 02:22 PM (#5547749)
Have fun. Don't get kicked out.
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