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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

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 04, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 182 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 09, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5547750)
Oh, and if the Nats shift is as extreme as the last few games, Schwarber really needs to lay down a bunt to the 3rd base line.
   102. Voodoo Posted: October 09, 2017 at 07:46 PM (#5548368)
I'm so ####### giddy after this win. I feel like this win will/should go down as one of the bigger W!s in Cubs history, not necessarily matching anything that occurred last year, but one that "normal teams" (i.e. ones that didn't carry the monkey we got off our backs last year) enjoy and celebrate forever.

I also asked to leave work early today and got to the neighborhood bar right after the Nats had taken a 1-0 and the Cubs were still being no-hit. So my exuberance may be partially explained by the four "whiskey gingers" that I've downed since then...
   103. Voodoo Posted: October 09, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5548375)
Also cross-posted from the game chatter:

Also, I just gotta note that I love me some Albert Almora. A Bill James quote resonates in my mind when I watch him play: 100% ballplayer 0% bullshit.
   104. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:15 PM (#5548391)
Apparently the strategy against the Nationals is to let the starting pitcher no-hit you for 5-6 innings, then score just enough.

I wonder how many postseason games there have been with a final winning team line score of 2 runs, 4 hits, 4 errors. Probably not many.
   105. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:50 PM (#5548418)
1 bad inning from a sweep, and the nats probably don't feel too much differently.

Some questionable decisions by Joe, but zobrist did come through. I'll take it, and feel pretty confident about roark tomorrow.
   106. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 06:43 AM (#5548557)
I was wondering what Rizzo was screaming as he was coming off the field yesterday. Apparently, "Respect me!"
   107. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 07:40 AM (#5548569)
Today's forecast is terrible, calling for more or less steady rain in Chicago all afternoon and into the night.

I am guessing a postponement until tomorrow would mean the Nats swap Strasburg for Roark.
   108. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 10, 2017 at 08:57 AM (#5548598)
I can't believe I'm saying it with the four errors and once atrocious (Heyward) and another bad (Rizzo, but he's forgiven) baserunning incident --

But it feels like both teams have played a really sharp series. Yesterday - even with Schwarber's Moreland impersonation that led to a run - it feels like a couple of sterling plays more or less evened out the errors.

The intertube's accuweather hourly forecast says there's window at 7 PM and another at 11 PM.... Can Kyle go on short rest? He only needs about 90 minutes to get a game in.
   109. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5548631)
I'm curious what MLB's preference for today is. I'm assuming they'd want to have a game today, since it's the only one scheduled, and there's already one on the schedule for tomorrow.

They said yesterday they were keeping the 4:30pm start time cause they thought that gave them the best chance, but it looks like it going to still be raining then (it hasn't started yet, but it will well before then).
   110. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:44 AM (#5548688)
Forecast is putting the rain off a bit, but not enough. Right now the radar doesn't look bad but we have 5+ hours before start time.
   111. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5548696)
Yeah, they should really be starting the game around now.

I got back and forth, but I think we see the same lineup as yesterday. Roark has even bigger splits L vs R than Scherzer. I don't think Joe would bench Schwarber because of yesterday's miscue - in fact, I bet he wants him to have a chance to redeem himself. I'd like to have Baez in for defense, so I also might not be too upset if the OF was Jay/Heyward/Zobrist instead of Schwarber. I have accepted the back that Zobrist will play, and that he did indeed somewhat redeem himself with his bat and glove.

I brought it up in the chatter, and it didn't matter, but I did think it was odd that Zobrist was in LF in the 9th instead of either Martin or Jay.
   112. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5548698)
I was wondering what Rizzo was screaming as he was coming off the field yesterday. Apparently, "Respect me!"

I can't even tell if this is serious or not. If it is, that's one of the dumbest things I've heard in quite a while.
   113. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5548704)
It's serious. After the game, Rizzo said he was surprised they pitched to him with a base open. He also appears to be carrying a minor grudge from them pitching to him in game 1 in a similar circumstance.

Athletes are weird, but whatever works.
   114. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5548711)
After the game, Rizzo said he was surprised they pitched to him with a base open.

Yeah, I heard that, but I thought Rizzo was smarter than that sort of athlete mookery. I mean, first of all, it's not like you slammed a double into the gap to drive in the run - you hit a blooper that arguably should have been caught and then TOOTBLANned to end the inning. And moreover, what, you want to encourage them to walk you in key situations from now on?
   115. TomH Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5548718)
rain rain come today
game 4 back another day
Strasburg with Cubs bats will play
Scherzer relief in clincher, hey!

   116. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:27 AM (#5548733)
Yeah, I heard that, but I thought Rizzo was smarter than that sort of athlete mookery. I mean, first of all, it's not like you slammed a double into the gap to drive in the run - you hit a blooper that arguably should have been caught and then TOOTBLANned to end the inning. And moreover, what, you want to encourage them to walk you in key situations from now on?

You can't apply logic to heat of the moment things like that.
   117. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5548758)
You can't apply logic to heat of the moment things like that.

Sure, but still, Rizzo just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would react that way even in the heat of the moment. That seems more like Harper's kind of thing. Followed by a hair flip, of course.
   118. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:49 PM (#5548835)
As Moses said, whatever works. If that motivates Rizzo in those situations, then I'm glad he's that kind of mook and I wouldn't want to idealize him as a different person.
   119. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5548842)
   120. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5548849)
He was DFA'd a few days ago, surprised anyone thought he was worth acquiring even for maybe cash to be named.
   121. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5548850)
Lineup for the likely to be postponed game (though it's not raining yet):

Jay/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Zobrist(RF)/Schwarber/Russell/Baez

I'll take it, I guess. At least it's not both Zobrist and Heyward in there.
   122. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5549005)
Patrick Mooney‏ @MooneyNBCS 8m8 minutes ago

Joe Maddon says Jake Arrieta will pitch Game 4, whenever it is, weather permitting, with Kyle Hendricks on track for Game 5 if necessary.


I'm fine with this. I wonder what happens if they start the game and there's a long delay - Lackey or Montgomery when it resumes?
   123. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5549143)
I'm guessing Dusty Baker is less likely to stick with the original plan if the game is postponed.
   124. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5549158)
Yes, a delay let's them start strasburg in game 4 and Gonzalez game 5.
   125. Meatwad Posted: October 10, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5549167)
I hope they are able to get it in tonight and tbehe cubs win it. Dont want the nats rotation reset and dont want see the cubs burn a starter in game 5
   126. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 10, 2017 at 06:21 PM (#5549203)
Game postponed. Massive break for the Nationals.

But I still feel good about the prospects.
   127. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 06:27 PM (#5549208)
Cubs have to beat Strasburg again, but my gut says he won't pitch as well this time (a pattern the Cubs repeated a few times last offseason). I also am pretty confident in the Cubs confidence in Arrieta's health, cause they could also move up Hendricks/Lester if they wanted.

Worst case, Hendricks/Gonazalez in game 5 isn't the worst matchup for the Cubs, but here's hoping it won't come to it.
   128. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5549227)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 2m2 minutes ago

Dusty says they're sticking with Roark tomorrow.


Oh boy. I know game 4 is an elimination game, so you can't really plan everything for game 5, but Strasburg/Gonzalez is WAY better than Roark/Strasburg. If they lose game 4 with Strasbury healthy and ready to go, Dusty might as well plan his retirement. If they still win tomorrow...
   129. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5549529)
Roark is a pretty good pitcher and has had success against the Cubs the last few years (3-0 in four starts, 3.13 ERA -- 5 HR (2 each from Bryant and Rizzo, one from Baez)). Really just one bad game (this one, where he gave up three home runs -- note that the Cubs lost anyway). So facing him isn't a cakewalk. I'll still take it, with a chance at ending the series in Chicago, over Strasburg.
   130. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 11, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5549576)
Oh, I'm not counting my chickens yet. Roark does seem to have an every other year thing going, but he's still clearly a step down from Strasburg, which like you is the part that gives me a little more confidence.

It really does behoove the Cubs to end it today and not have to worry about facing Strasburg again.
   131. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 11, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5549588)
Oct. 11:

1900 Rube Waddell, PIT, fans 12 in 2-1 win over CHC. That's the high for the year in the NL
1906 World Series Game 3: CWS 3, CHC 0. CG SHO 2-hitter by Ed Walsh. Sox only had 4 hits themselves
1908 World Series Game 2: Cubs 6, Tigers 1. No score until the bottom of the 8th. Really
1948 Cubs sell Russ Meyer to Phillies for $20,000
2016 NLDS Game 4: CHC 6, SFG 5. CHC score 4 runs (off of 5 pitchers) in the 9th for stunning comeback to take the series



And because he's in town -- today's the 70th b-day for longtime Washington sportswriter Thomas Boswell.
   132. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5550599)
I really like the pitching matchup, no matter who starts for the nats. I'm not crazy that we have to hold our breaths the entire time the bullpen is in, so here's hoping the bats show up and make it a laugher early.

I want to see schwarber, I don't want to overreact but I really would rather not see Jay at leadoff, and preferably one of heyward or zobrist also sits.
   133. Walt Davis Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:47 PM (#5550638)
Ugh.

I assume Joe's plan for G5 now is for Hendricks to get through the first 18-20 batters then, depending on where the score and pitch count are, switching to Quintana when Harper/Murphy are coming around for the 3rd time. I suspect we'll see Strop in the Edwards spot; maybe Lackey. I won't be shocked to see Lester in a key LOOGy spot.
   134. Bote Man Posted: October 11, 2017 at 09:38 PM (#5550701)
Not too shabby a pitching performance for a pu$$y. I'm still decompressing.

I need to rearrange my schedule for tomorrow in order to ensure that I can catch tomorrow's game. I'm not sure I will make it out alive.
   135. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:46 AM (#5550992)
I want to see schwarber, I don't want to overreact but I really would rather not see Jay at leadoff, and preferably one of heyward or zobrist also sits.

I want a strong defense on the field with Hendricks pitching, so I would lean toward starting Heyward. I really don't know what your problem is with Jay as a leadoff hitter: he gets on base and he's fast. His 2017 numbers are based on way too small a sample to take seriously. For his entire career, he is fine at leadoff compared to his overall performance (.711 OPS at leadoff, .746 overall).

That said, I would go with Almora leading off and starting in CF. Good to have his righty bat, and I think he's a better CFer than Jay.

I would not start Schwarber against a LHP in an elimination game. Sorry.

I'd go with Almora in CF, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Happ playing LF, Russell, Heyward in RF, Baez, Hendricks. Possibly swapping Baez and Russell, but that's minor. And of course Zobrist should not start, but if Maddon insists, in place of Heyward in RF, and batting no higher than seventh.

   136. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:58 AM (#5550997)
Cosign Andere's lineup.
   137. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5551020)
I like that lineup as well and it addresses all of my concerns; my comments are were heat of the moment, gut feeling stuff. If they do start Gonzalez, absolutely agree Schwarber shouldn't start. As of this morning, the Nats still haven't said who's starting.

The Jay at leadoff thing is one of those situations where it feels just as bad as the numbers look. Enough so that I find myself trying to think of reasons why it's that way - and I can't think of any. So yeah, it's probably a fluke - just like Bryant's RISP stuff this year.

Of course, none of that matters if basically the entire lineup continues to not hit.
   138. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 12, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5551054)
Nobody's hitting - except maybe Rizzo, true - and I do not think Zo should start.... but if Zo does start over Heyward in RF, I think it's at least moderately defensible in that Zo shitty NLDS is one of the less shitty performances at the plate.
   139. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5551082)
I assume Joe's plan for G5 now is for Hendricks to get through the first 18-20 batters then, depending on where the score and pitch count are, switching to Quintana when Harper/Murphy are coming around for the 3rd time.

If he switches to Quintana who, exactly, would start a potential LCS game 1? Arrieta went 4 and Lester 3.1 yesterday, so I assume they're out; they'd be on 2 days rest for the opener, Q and Hendricks on 1.

If this is Q's side day anyway, and he throws a limited number of pitches, I suppose that might still work, but I can't imagine why that'd be plan A. (And if you're limiting Q thusly tonight, what's the point of using him at all, particularly since he's been prone to first-inning hiccups. If that pattern repeats itself, you're probably pitching yourself out of a good chance to win tonight, but if OTOH he pitches much beyond an inning, he probably isn't available Saturday. Yes, I'm aware the Cubs need to win today and then think about Saturday, but this seems sub-optimal, and I'll be surprised if I see it.)
   140. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5551085)
I'd predict a lineup very similar to the one Maddon put up against Gonzalez last time, when Zobrist hit sixth.

Assuming it is Gonzalez, I just hope the Cubs remember that he led the league in walks.
   141. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5551093)
If he switches to Quintana who, exactly, would start a potential LCS game 1?

I'll give you a hint: He has the face of both ends of a horse.
   142. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5551111)
If you need Quintana tonight you use him, and hold your breath with Lackey in Game 1 of the NLCS. Against Kershaw on the road, why not? Not to be taken very seriously: Lackey is 6-5 lifetime with a 2.15 ERA against the Dodgers, and a 3.38 ERA in Dodger Stadium. He pitched one good game against the Dodgers this season (Cubs lost) and one bad one.

I don't think Quintana should be brought in unless the very existence of that Game 1 for the Cubs is in significant jeopardy. Maddon will probably be a lot more liberal about that than I would.
   143. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:25 AM (#5551118)
I don't think Quintana should be brought in unless the very existence of that Game 1 for the Cubs is in significant jeopardy. Maddon will probably be a lot more liberal about that than I would.

Co-signed as to both parts.
   144. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5551135)
I'll give you a hint: He has the face of both ends of a horse.

Yeah, I'll repeat my question.

EDIT: Lackey might not actually be terrible in a Dodger Stadium night game, not that I particularly relish the thought. His big vulnerability's the home run ball, which might be mitigated some in that environment.
   145. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5551138)
Co-signed as to both parts.

Agreed. Q's a good pitcher, but he's ill-suited to LOOGY work it seems to me, and I don't think having him available as a break-glass option justifies a quick hook for Hendricks.
   146. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5551140)
I'm guessing Maddon has no set plan regarding Hendricks, but despite letting him go 7 on Friday and generally letting him exceed 100 pitches in his last several starts, I think he will be (rightfully) watching this. As one should when you have a pitcher facing the same team twice in six days.
   147. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5551142)
Agreed. Q's a good pitcher, but he's ill-suited to LOOGY work it seems to me, and I don't think having him available as a break-glass option justifies a quick hook for Hendricks.

I know Joe's been somewhat better about letting Hendricks pitch lately, but I've just got a bad feeling that he's going to revert back to Game 7 last year and decide before the game that Hendricks is coming out after a certain batter, no matter what and come hell or high water, ain't no mountain high enough, etc. The more I think about it, the more I dislike the trend of managers making iron-clad in-game decisions before the game actually happens.
   148. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5551146)
You worry about the NLCS when you get there. Quintana can go an inning today and still start game 1 on Saturday.
   149. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5551150)
Montgomery and Strop are both fresh. Duensing and Davis are freshish. Edwards may need to not pitch, though I'd still at least consider him as a ROOGY in the right situation. Lackey is fresh. Wilson could be a LOOGY.

I hope Joe gives Kyle the same leash he got in game one, because none of that above is inspiring to me.
   150. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5551153)
Also cosign on Q.

I certainly wouldn't be worried about the NLCS if I needed/wanted to use him -- but I certainly wouldn't gameplan/PLAN to use him.

If the game situation makes sense to use him, by all means... but something like Hendricks for 5 then Quintana for 3 (whatever) is to be avoided.

It would be swell if the Cubs just rang Gio's clock early, Hendricks cruises, and it's just a few innings of mop-up work for whomever in an 8-1 Cubs win.
   151. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:54 AM (#5551158)
I know Joe's been somewhat better about letting Hendricks pitch lately, but I've just got a bad feeling that he's going to revert back to Game 7 last year and decide before the game that Hendricks is coming out after a certain batter, no matter what and come hell or high water, ain't no mountain high enough, etc.

That was with Lester available, and he already blew that wad.

Quintana can go an inning today and still start game 1 on Saturday.

True, but I think there are few circumstances where bringing Quintana in for a short stint are warranted. If you have to bring someone in in the 4th or 5th, then you would like them to go a few innings. Later in the game, despite the bullpen problems we've seen, Quintana is not such an attractive option. Do I trust Jose Quintana, who hasn't made a relief appearance since his rookie year, over, say, Mike Montgomery? Or John Lackey? Who actually did appear in relief the last day of the regular season, for the first time in four years, and coughed up a couple of hits and a run? I dunno.
   152. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:10 PM (#5551181)
It would be swell if the Cubs just rang Gio's clock early, Hendricks cruises, and it's just a few innings of mop-up work for whomever in an 8-1 Cubs win.

Yep.

I certainly wouldn't be worried about the NLCS if I needed/wanted to use him -- but I certainly wouldn't gameplan/PLAN to use him.

I think you'd have to plan to use him if you're going to consider it; as a starter without (recent?) bullpen experience is you can't decide in game he's an option. They need to decide before the game with him.

True, but I think there are few circumstances where bringing Quintana in for a short stint are warranted. If you have to bring someone in in the 4th or 5th, then you would like them to go a few innings. Later in the game, despite the bullpen problems we've seen, Quintana is not such an attractive option. Do I trust Jose Quintana, who hasn't made a relief appearance since his rookie year, over, say, Mike Montgomery? Or John Lackey? Who actually did appear in relief the last day of the regular season, for the first time in four years, and coughed up a couple of hits and a run? I dunno.

Totally agree here. That's why Kyle has to go 9.
   153. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5551343)
I don't know who's article it is, but the main headline on the trib website right now is titled "Cubs’ key to Game 5: Tackle Joe Maddon if he tries to remove Kyle Hendricks".
   154. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 02:16 PM (#5551348)
I don't know who's article it is, but the main headline on the trib website right now is titled "Cubs’ key to Game 5: Tackle Joe Maddon if he tries to remove Kyle Hendricks".

No truth to the rumor that I was recruited to write the related article.
   155. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5551435)
I'd go with Almora in CF, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Happ playing LF, Russell, Heyward in RF, Baez, Hendricks.

Since it's officially Gio, here was game 2's lineup:

Almora
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Russell
Zobrist
Baez
Happ

Happ was better against lefties than righties (.863OPS vs .769), so I'm ok with leaving him 8th. Even though Baez hasn't done anything this series, there's a part of me that still likes him not hitting directly in front of the pitcher (who knows if there's even an ounce of evidence for this*, but if feels like he might see a pitch or two more to hit/in the zone when the pitcher isn't behind him). If Heyward is going to play for defense - and I honestly think he should**, he can hit 7th and put Happ between Russell/Baez just for when Dusty starts the reliever brigade.

*Baez actually hit much better 8th this year (.883) than 6th (.777) or 7th (.657), some of which is buoyed by the 10 IBB he saw in the 8 spot. So my theory may be even more bullshitty than usual.
**I agree with everyone who says defense in important, but I also rather have Zobrist as a PH option, though I'll be shocked if Joe doesn't start him in an elimination game - and he probably starts instead of Happ.

   156. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5551475)
Copied from the chatter, but I do like reading later how wrong I am:

Cubs lineup: Jay(LF)/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Almora/Russell/Heyward/Baez.

So Joe isn't going full platoon by starting Jay/Heyward. Schwarber probably hits for Almora vs. Scherzer (maybe Roark, but there's defensive considerations there). I agree with Heyward starting for defense purposes (Zobrist is pretty useless against lefties this year anyway).

I know it's just a sample size issue, but I can't get over how Jay has been worse this year hitting leadoff than in any other situation.

If the big bats hit though, most of my concerns are lessened.
   157. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:06 PM (#5551480)
I'd flip Baez and Heyward, but otherwise I like that lineup.
   158. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5551508)
That's about as strong a defensive lineup as the Cubs can field, so that's good, again, with Hendricks pitching and getting a fair amount of contact.
   159. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5551511)
That's about as strong a defensive lineup as the Cubs can field, so that's good, again, with Hendricks pitching and getting a fair amount of contact.

Concur.

Half an hour to quitting time, 3.5 hours to game time. Pedal to the metal.
   160. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 12, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5551575)
Typing as I'm thinking, so I don't know how this'll turn out.

One of the theories I've had and that I've seen bounced around here is that it's fairly obvious whether CJ has "it" or not early in his appearances. That would mean I would guess his walks (and lesser so, hits) are bunched in appearances. So looking at this season:

He pitching 66.1 innings in 73 games (excluding postseason for now). Of those 73, 34 were clean (no hits or walks), and his 38 walks happened in 28 games (9 games with more than 1 walk). His 29 hits happened in 22 games (only 6 games with more than 1 hit). His 6 HRs game in games when he allowed 6 walks and 9 total hits (so 3 non-HR hits). He had 21 games with only 1 hit or walk (no HR in those games). So that's 45 of 73 appearances with 0 or 1 bb/h allowed, and 28 with 2 or more h/BB.

In the postseason, he has pitched in 4 games. 2 games were clean (3 total Ks), and he had one game with 2h/1bb (1 HR) and one game with 2 bbs/no outs or hits.

Ok, there's no real conclusion to draw here. Nothing to see...
   161. Brian C Posted: October 13, 2017 at 12:57 AM (#5552912)
Three straight years in the NLCS. Let's just all remember how utterly implausible that would have sounded to us not that many years ago.
   162. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:08 AM (#5552937)
5 Minute NLCS Preview:

How the hell did we make it? Who do we play?
   163. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:31 AM (#5552950)
So, what are the chances of a rainout or two in LA?
   164. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:34 AM (#5552952)
Feels like gravy here on out. Everybody wants more - me too - but feel,lucky to advance and feel like "at least we defended deeper than round one.
   165. Brian C Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:35 AM (#5552953)
Word from the TBS postgame is that Quintana is indeed the most likely starter in Game 1. Pedro seems to think that makes sense, so I don't feel too skittish about it.
   166. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:01 AM (#5552968)
So, what are the chances of a rainout or two in LA?

Low, but a smokeout is possible.
   167. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:23 AM (#5552978)
Feels like gravy here on out. Everybody wants more - me too - but feel,lucky to advance and feel like "at least we defended deeper than round one.

That's just what lots of Yankees fans are feeling. Time for an 85th anniversary replay of Babe Ruth's called shot, with Judge in the role of the Bambino.
   168. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:55 AM (#5552984)
Three straight years in the NLCS. Let's just all remember how utterly implausible that would have sounded to us not that many years ago.


It would have sounded plausible as long as you assumed we lost all three times. That we'd have a World Series victory in there would not have sounded plausible.
   169. McCoy Posted: October 13, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5552997)
3 NLCS appearances and only one WS appearance? What are we, the Braves?

Anyway, I remember Rob Neyer's old book Baseball Dynasties and if the Cubs win it all this year would they have made a chapter in that book? In this day and age?
   170. Greg Pope Posted: October 13, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5553003)
Word from the TBS postgame is that Quintana is indeed the most likely starter in Game 1. Pedro seems to think that makes sense, so I don't feel too skittish about it.

Quintana has to pitch one of the 2 weekend games, and will still get a second start. If he pitches game 1 then he's available for game 5 which is probably the best.

The question is the other weekend pitcher. Lackey, or Arrieta on short rest? Arrieta didn't throw a lot of innings on Wednesday, but I think was over 90 pitches.
   171. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:06 AM (#5553022)
The question is the other weekend pitcher. Lackey, or Arrieta on short rest? Arrieta didn't throw a lot of innings on Wednesday, but I think was over 90 pitches.


I would think Lester ahead of Arrieta. He threw 55 pitches on Wed. Plus, that would guarantee our 2 lefties 4 total statrs should it come to that.
   172. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:18 AM (#5553032)
I would think Lester ahead of Arrieta. He threw 55 pitches on Wed. Plus, that would guarantee our 2 lefties 4 total statrs should it come to that.


Unfortunately, this iteration of the Dodgers doesn't have nearly the same problem with lefties that last year's iteration did
   173. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:21 AM (#5553035)
Yeah, I was just looking at that.
   174. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5553039)
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.
   175. Greg Pope Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5553064)
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.
   176. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5553073)
Is there a reason that the Edit tool is appearing below everyone's comment here? First time I've ever seen that.

Not that it works. I just tried changing Kiko's last comment from "Quintana on Saturday and....Lester on Sunday" to "Three-Fingered Brown on Saturday and....Fergie on Sunday", but alas, no luck.

EDIT: And now those other "Edit" tools are gone. Damn, that idea had real possibilities.
   177. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:25 AM (#5554794)
Resetting login.
   178. JC in DC Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:07 PM (#5555080)
Jolly Old: I sent you an email over a month ago via your BBTF account. Perhaps that's out of date? You can use mine to reach out to me. I had a quick question.
   179. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 18, 2017 at 12:59 PM (#5557030)
Once again, to reset my login.
   180. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5557068)
JC,

Just saw your note above and I sent you an email. Never saw anything from you in my inbox.
   181. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 18, 2017 at 08:58 PM (#5557449)
I am pretty sure Primer Mail is now nonfunctional.
   182. Meatwad Posted: October 19, 2017 at 12:32 AM (#5557872)
also why are two yankees fans using th cubs blog to communicate?
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