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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Game 2 Feelings

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

Things I liked, enjoyed, or that gave me hope
1. Schwarber, Schwarber, Schwarber.  Is this real?  Were I a neutral fan, I might start thinking this storyline is getting pounded into the ground.  But it’s just so damn incredible.  The entire postgame show was about whether or not he should play LF Friday, and how the Cubs are a different team with him.  Yes, they are, but they were still really, really ####### good without him.  Personally, as a fan, I say #### it, play him.  The rational side of me says it’s crazy.  He’s not going to be good out there, but it’s hard to target LF.  The Indians supposedly are planning on starting Santana in LF, and that’s not exactly going to be a picnic for them.  So I say, let’s go crazy. 
2. Arrieta.  Effectively wild.  It helped that tonight’s zone was more favorable for both pitchers, but I think Jake benefited more (I will confirm whether I’m imagining that or not tomorrow).
3. Montgomery.  Hold your horses on giving him a rotation spot, but he was just incredible yet again.  I think if that’s the way the Cubs choose to go…who ####### cares, let’s talk about that in a month.  Maybe his curveball isn’t exactly Rich Hill’s, as Smoltz said, but it was unhittable tonight.
4. Zobrist.  Again, man, what a difference for the lineup when he’s making contact like that.  He’s not a traditional cleanup hitter, and in a world with Schwarber healthy all year, he probably never gets the chance.  But it just works.
5. Rizzo.  He fouled off a ridiculous number of pitches (ed. note to self: put in this number tomorrow), and he’s absolutely clobbered the ball (multiple balls were 105mph+ that went foul).  He’s hitting several homeruns back in Wrigley.
Win Bonus: Russell.  Maybe Smoltz exaggerated about one little thing clicking for, but he didn’t look like the same hitter tonight as last night.  Maybe that’s just the dropoff in pitcher quality, but he looked good again.

Things I didn’t like, didn’t enjoy, or that worried me
1. 13 LOB, after 9 LOB last night.  Good news, they’re getting guys on.  Bad news, they keep leaving the bases loaded.  Got enough tonight, but let’s not have another game where we are ruing too many missed chances, especially missed chances to put the game away.
2. Arrieta.  Wild, but effective.  I think he really benefitted from the generous zone, and was kind of lucky to get out of the game relatively unscathed.  Were I an Indians fan, I’d be talking about hitting the ball hard off him and looking forward to the next time he pitches (similar to our comments about Kershaw after game 2).  He was lucky Maddon pulled him when he did.
3. Fowler.  He got a hit late, but he’s really looked lost these games.  4 strikeouts in 9ABs, and not close on a bunch of pitches (he looked late on some hittable fastballs both nights). 
4. RF.  It’d be nice if the Cubs didn’t feel any extra pressure to force Schwarber into the lineup.  But the Cubs have gotten nothing offensively from Heyward, Soler, Coghlan or Almora.  If one of them were just slightly below useful at the plate, it’d be a lot easier to stick to the Schwarber DH/PH plan. 
5. I love, love Contreras.  He doesn’t need to try and break any of Yadi’s mound visit records though.  Maybe it really just is his youth/inexperience that causes him and the pitchers to seem to be on different pages as often as they are, maybe I can see why certain veterans prefer throwing to other guys.  On the other hand:

3 more.

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 26, 2016 at 11:37 PM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2016 at 09:27 AM (#5335775)
Feelings. Nothing more than. FEELINGS.

The strike zone wasn't all that generous.

I agree that Maddon pulled him at the right time.
   2. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: October 27, 2016 at 09:33 AM (#5335781)
This. Is. So. Awesome. Kyle! and Ben! and Anthony! and Mike (Montgomery)! Gah. So pleased.

That said, I wouldn't start Schwarber tomorrow in the outfield.
   3. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:10 AM (#5335803)
Cheapest tickets for any game over $2,500 now. Unfortunately can't justify that, even with the expected drop over the next 28 hours. I keep telling myself game 6 of NLCS was more of an experience than a single WS game absent a clincher.
   4. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:21 AM (#5335810)
   5. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:25 AM (#5335811)
I want Schwarber out there in LF, but the problem is the best way to mask him is to have Fowler and Heyward in CF and RF respectively, which then means somebody actually productive gets sent to the bench. It's kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul to shore up the rest of the OF defense if you wind up benching Russell for Zobrist in the IF. Gah, screw it, go Cubs 1999 "power lineup" of Rodriguez-Sosa-Hill. Schwarber-Fowler-Zobrist.
   6. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:30 AM (#5335817)
I really am torn, and I'm not sure there's a right opinion. Yes, you want to think about the odds of him reinjuring himself, and if he does what that does to offseason plans. OTOH, it's the Cubs first World Series in whenever, and there's no guarantee they'll be back. But if he ruins his knee, that lessens the chances of the Cubs coming back. If you let him play, you can't really tell him not to go 100%; I think it was ARod who said you tell him to stand on the warning track and don't dive. I think that's all you can really do.

I don't know how you keep him out of the game. I also don't know how you get comfortable with him playing.
   7. Lassus Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:31 AM (#5335819)
I want Schwarber out there in LF

I don't even mean this as snark, but would he really be any better than he was for the series against the Mets? Because he was very very very bad out there in that series. Comparable to Murphy bad.
   8. Cabbage Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:32 AM (#5335820)
5. I love, love Contreras.  He doesn’t need to try and break any of Yadi’s mound visit records though.  Maybe it really just is his youth/inexperience that causes him and the pitchers to seem to be on different pages as often as they are, maybe I can see why certain veterans prefer throwing to other guys.  On the other hand:


Contreras seems to move around a lot behind the plate. I'm going to make a point to watch this over the next few games, but it seems like he's not always setting up the best targets. His glove waives around more than Montero or Ross.
   9. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:36 AM (#5335825)
On cloud nine. Overslept this morning because I could not fall asleep last night... and today is supposed to be my one productive workday!

Also kicking myself that I didn't jump on an SRO yesterday -- fitful sleep I did get was filled with dreams of finding a cheap seat on SH...

I'm so happy for Schwarber... just a dynamite comeback.

I'm all for making Friday the Kyle and Kyle show... as long Joe and company make clear to Kyle that he is NOT to run into any walls, other fielders, etc. The big problem is that Hendricks' spray charts show the flies he gives up due tend to be more to the leftside of the OF than the RS.

My issue is less injury related and more "the chances are fairly good he makes a mistake"... IDK.

Trusted the team this far, I'll trust them to make the right call.
   10. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:37 AM (#5335826)
I don't even mean this as snark, but would he really be any better than he was for the series against the Mets? Because he was very very very bad out there in that series. Comparable to Murphy bad.

As we all said at the time*, he had a bad series defensively in the NLCS. He wasn't good during the regular season, but he's wasn't complete disaster bad. I wouldn't expect absolute disaster, but it's on the table and the Cubs have to be comfortable with that tradeoff.

In all honestly, the Indians playing Santana in LF is at least as risky.

*Most people didn't believe us, and to this day, how he looked then has overshadowed his merely below average defense the rest of the season.
   11. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:38 AM (#5335827)
The big problem is that Hendricks' spray charts show the flies he gives up due tend to be more to the leftside of the OF than the RS.

Schwarber started in RF in Pittsburgh last year for the WC game. Maybe Joe just puts him over there?

Trusted the team this far, I'll trust them to make the right call.

Exactly.
   12. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:44 AM (#5335831)
Also, one other note that is a little more on the wistful/sad side, but watching these Cubs play so well and have so much fun doing it...I find myself wishing that Ron Santo were alive to see this. Ernie at least saw some of the team the last couple of years, but every time I put on the radio, I can't but help to think that no one would be enjoying this more than Ronnie. That man seriously loved the Cubs and, frankly, taught me to love the Cubs, and it is such a shame that he's not around to see this city embrace this team in this way (and such a fun team to watch!!).

I am really looking forward to tomorrow :D
   13. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:45 AM (#5335834)
I want Schwarber's bat in the lineup, but I also wonder if the tradeoff defensively is worth it. Moses is right that he wasn't THAT bad before the NLCS last year, but he still wasn't exactly good. And even if he can play, he'll almost certainly be limited. So now you're playing a defensively-challenged OF who probably can't even play up to his normal level. At what point does that even out the expected advantage of having him hit?

That said:
Trusted the team this far, I'll trust them to make the right call.

I feel the same way. It's not as though Maddon and the Cubs' braintrust isn't thinking of the same issues, and they're smarter than I am. If they don't think it's worth it, he won't be in the lineup, and that will be that.
   14. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:59 AM (#5335847)
I suppose the big question - again, trusting Joe and company's judgment - is what you think of the matchups. Against the soft-tossing Tomlin, that seems like maybe it's a suboptimal matchup and given you gotta replace him defensively, maybe you'd prefer the cloaked Schwarbird available lategame against Miller or Allen. Given Kluber in game 4 - and the fact that Schwarbs really hit him as good as anyone - it might be game 4 where you take the chance?

Friday also has a chance of rain - whereas Saturday is supposed to be downright balmy... Up to them, but knowing only what I and we all know -- my gut says hold him back to PH Friday and if you win, see if he can light up Kluber early on Saturday.

I want his bat against Cleveland's best pitchers -- and Tomlin ain't one of them.... Kluber is.
   15. Textbook Editor Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:01 AM (#5335848)
Is Schwarber Luzinski-bad? Because that's my benchmark for a bad LF. If he is positioned right, catches the easy flies, and lets anything to his left be played by Fowler (like Luzinski did with Maddox), then I think it can work if you start Hayward in RF.

Would it depend at all on which way the wind was blowing (out to RF or out to LF)?
   16. Cabbage Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:07 AM (#5335856)
Is BTF looking odd for anyone else? First it wouldn't let me post comments in Gonfalon, now it is telling me I can edit all of your comments.
   17. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:09 AM (#5335858)
I had the same issues Cabbage. I had to post in another thread to get into here, and had the edit issue last night.
   18. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:11 AM (#5335861)
Prior to last year's NLCS, no - he wasn't Luzinski bad... However, over the last calendar year + a couple weeks, his total OF track record is Luzinski bad.

One other thing on Friday's matchup --

Given that Tomlin can barely touch 90 (if that) -- it's probably as good a Heyward matchup as he can get. The rocket he hit last night was the hardest I've seen him hit a ball in... months. Since the other options - and I think it's a given that either Heyward or Almora have to start if you do play Schwarbs - haven't done anything either, I'm hoping that heyward can actually get at least one warm 2016 feeling and it comes tomorrow night.
   19. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:12 AM (#5335862)
Is BTF looking odd for anyone else? First it wouldn't let me post comments in Gonfalon, now it is telling me I can edit all of your comments.


It's been offering these weird edit close options (haven't tried either one) on everyone's posts on occasion recently, but it seems to disappear if you click out and then back in.

   20. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:12 AM (#5335864)
Gonfalon posting is always wonky for me...
   21. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:13 AM (#5335865)
Schwarber isn't nearly as bad as he showed against the Mets. UZR/150 (YMMV) grades out at -1.5 for his career. Granted the injury may drop him to near Dunn levels, but the alternatives are Heyward, Coghlan, or Soler(who in his own right is pretty bad in the OF)
   22. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:14 AM (#5335866)
I was tempted to try the edit and add a "You know, I miss Joey B" to someone's post... but I don't know the baseball god's opinion on mirth, so I didn't.
   23. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:17 AM (#5335868)
Schwarber isn't nearly as bad as he showed against the Mets. UZR/150 (YMMV) grades out at -1.5 for his career. Granted the injury may drop him to near Dunn levels, but the alternatives are Heyward, Coghlan, or Soler(who in his own right is pretty bad in the OF)


If Schwarbs were to start in the OF -- then I think Heyward has to fill the other spot. Fowler is going to need to cheat for him and you're gonna want Heyward to pick up the slack. I suppose you could use Almora for the same thing, but I don't see any way a Schwarber OF doesn't also include either Heyward or Almora.

   24. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:17 AM (#5335869)
Here's a random question I've always wanted to ask: 'Gonfalon" - what does it mean?

I've been hanging around here for a dozen years or longer, off and on, and I feel pretty conversant in Primer history, but that one has always escaped me.
   25. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:18 AM (#5335870)
I really don't want them rushing Schwarber into the field.

Yes, he's been GREAT so far and it's a big charge for the team but ..... c'mon. Let's take a deep breath. Even great hitters ain't gonna get on base multiple times a day every day.

Keep in mind: not only is he coming of a bad knee -- but after all this rain the last few days, the grass is gotta be pretty dang soft out there in left, right? A guy coming off a bad knee returning to action on soft grass in the OF sounds like a bad combination.

I think people are only looking a the upside and not at the downside at rushing him back.

Also, if you put him in left, then does that effect the rest of the OF? Does that mean Fowler shades to left a lot more, and if so do you put Heyward in RF? Because then where do you put Zobrist? Or do you put Schwarber at first and Rizzo in left? I dunno if Rizzo can play left at all - but I don't think Schwarber can right now either.

I mean, the lineup will already have Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Fowler, Zobrist, Russell, Baez.

The entire postgame show was about whether or not he should play LF Friday, and how the Cubs are a different team with him.

I don't buy that. Oh, they're a better team, but ..... they scored 808 runs without him, 2nd in the NL (behind only the Rockies).
   26. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:20 AM (#5335871)
Is Schwarber Luzinski-bad? Because that's my benchmark for a bad LF. If he is positioned right, catches the easy flies, and lets anything to his left be played by Fowler (like Luzinski did with Maddox), then I think it can work if you start Hayward in RF.


But I don't think it makes any sense to start Heyward in RF. The only reason you even consider starting Schwarber in the OF is because Heyward's lack of a bat has created a hole in the Cubs' lineup. Which means, the only way it makes sense is to go with a Schwarber-Fowler-Zobrist OF. Otherwise, the trade-up from either Zobrist or Russell to Schwarber on offense is much less than the defensive hit.

Zobrist is fine, if nothing special, and can play either corner, so put him where you expect more balls to be hit. But that's still a fairly iffy OF. Schwarber hasn't played the OF in 5 months and while he's a born hitter who can fall out of bed and recognize strikes and hit line drives, he's not a born fielder in the same way. Not to mention, his risk of re-injury has to be much greater in the field than on the bases (if only because he'll be in the field more).

If it was me, give him one high-leverage plate appearance per game in Games 3, 4, and 5, and be happy you get that. That said, Soler is the next-best option in the OF, probably, and he's no great shakes in the field either (and hasn't hit much in the postseason). So, if Schwarber ends up starting in LF, I trust that the Cubs' brain trust thought through everything and made a rational, informed decision.
   27. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:20 AM (#5335872)
Here's a random question I've always wanted to ask: 'Gonfalon" - what does it mean?

These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."


EDIT: the word itself is used in the poem as a synonym for "pennant."
   28. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:21 AM (#5335873)
Here's a random question I've always wanted to ask: 'Gonfalon" - what does it mean?

Comes from the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance poem. I think.
   29. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:22 AM (#5335875)
I don't buy that. Oh, they're a better team, but ..... they scored 808 runs without him, 2nd in the NL (behind only the Rockies).

Yeah, the "different team" stuff is overstated. They got shut out in Game 1 with him there, after all.

This seems like a pretty routine dilemma in the World Series - a team wondering how much of a defensive hit they're willing to take to get their DH into the lineup in NL games. It's just that usually it's an AL team that has to worry about it.
   30. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:23 AM (#5335876)
Literally, a gonfalon is a banner.
   31. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:24 AM (#5335878)
If Schwarbs were to start in the OF -- then I think Heyward has to fill the other spot. Fowler is going to need to cheat for him and you're gonna want Heyward to pick up the slack. I suppose you could use Almora for the same thing, but I don't see any way a Schwarber OF doesn't also include either Heyward or Almora.

That's what I was wondering, too. And that means either you bench Zobrist or you stick Zobrist at second and bench Baez. And really, the overall defensive/offensive difference between the Schwarber lineup and the one without him..... how great would that be?
   32. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:24 AM (#5335879)
#27 and 28, thanks. Probably should have known that!
   33. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:25 AM (#5335880)
It probably should be noted - he has not technically been cleared to play the field... Now - I can't imagine there's a big gap between being cleared to run the bases and then not being cleared to play the field, but then, there's also certainly a reason that a doctor would make such a distinction. The surgeon in question who cleared Schwarbs is the Cowboy's team physician, I believe, so he's got no horse in this race.
   34. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:29 AM (#5335883)
Oops, yeah... I forgot about Zobrist - who really is swinging the bat better than anyone right now.

Maybe the Cubs could do with some subterfuge? Maddon strategically puts his thumb over the 10th lineup spot, play another OF dressed in green camoflage, and since it's a home game -- we all promise to keep really, really, really quiet and see if anyone notices?

I am steadfastly anti-DH... but it is... odd when one's principles collide so irreconcilably with the prevailing situation.
   35. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:32 AM (#5335886)
That's what I was wondering, too. And that means either you bench Zobrist or you stick Zobrist at second and bench Baez. And really, the overall defensive/offensive difference between the Schwarber lineup and the one without him..... how great would that be?

Benching Zobrist and Baez are non-starters, IMO. That means the question should be is the Schwarber/Fowler/Zobrist OF better enough offensively to offset the defensive decline from a Zobrist/Fowler/Heyward (or Almora) OF? I think there's really no reason to consider starting Soler and not Schwarber - unless the doctors just say Schwarber absolutely 100% shouldn't play OF - or probably even Coghlan.

I *think* the non-Schwarber offense should be more than enough to damage Tomlin, with having the Schwarber PH in your back pocket. I also *think* you just have to put your best offense out there to start, hope you take the lead, and then play shut down defense. I *think* those two thoughts contradict, but I'm not being paid to do this.
   36. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:35 AM (#5335890)
Can't Schwarber catch?
   37. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM (#5335892)
Can't Schwarber catch?

That's the last place they want to put a guy coming back quickly from major knee surgery.
   38. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:38 AM (#5335893)
   39. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:38 AM (#5335894)
Can't Schwarber catch?

hahahahahahahahahaha

This is an act, right? You're putting us on? Good one.


That's the last place they want to put a guy coming back quickly from major knee surgery.


And in case he's being serious, hell ####### no. He hasn't caught in months, and there's absolutely no way you ask him to do that after not having caught most of the pitching staff ever before. Besides, Contreras does have the best slash line on the team, so how exactly is that helping us?
   40. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:43 AM (#5335898)
I am surprised how seriously people are treating the Schwarber in the OF possibility.
   41. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:45 AM (#5335900)
I am surprised how seriously people are treating the Schwarber in the OF possibility.

Schwarber, Maddon, and at least Hoyer all had the chance to rule it out definitely last night. They didn't. So if they're at least treating it seriously, so do we.
   42. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:46 AM (#5335903)
Can't Schwarber play SS? The Cubs should have never traded Castro!
   43. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:51 AM (#5335908)
And in case he's being serious, hell ####### no. He hasn't caught in months, and there's absolutely no way you ask him to do that after not having caught most of the pitching staff ever before. Besides, Contreras does have the best slash line on the team, so how exactly is that helping us?

Schwarber behind the plate would free up Contreras to play LF. I'm not convinced Contreras is a better C anyway, maybe in the throwing department. I thought his knee was repaired in a way that would allow him to bend his legs in a crouch, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Remember the new rules have eliminated the collision at the plate, so it might be the safest place for him out there.
   44. Cabbage Posted: October 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM (#5335918)
#40, exactly.

I'm totally fine with us simply having a brilliant pinch-hitter. He'll get an AB in every home game, and that's life. It's not like the rest of the team can't hit. I am moderately optimistic about getting after Tomlin and short-rest Kluber.

Honestly, how often does short rest work? Surely fangraphs or someone has a historic rundown, so that I don't have to expend any effort to find the answer.
   45. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 12:12 PM (#5335930)
[40]And people were surprised how seriously people were treating the Schwarber on the roster possibility.
   46. Weeks T. Olive Posted: October 27, 2016 at 12:42 PM (#5335951)
I wonder if Maddon would get creative and find a way to get Schwarber an AB in the first inning a la LaRussa/McGwire to guarantee a matchup against the righty starters, rather than a later game PH situation against Miller or other LHP.
   47. Brian C Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:10 PM (#5335976)
As long as we're comparing Cubs catchers, I'm not convinced that Schwarber is a better hitter than Federowicz. Maybe in the power department.
   48. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:14 PM (#5335980)
I wonder if Maddon would get creative and find a way to get Schwarber an AB in the first inning a la LaRussa/McGwire to guarantee a matchup against the righty starters, rather than a later game PH situation against Miller or other LHP.


That doesn't work if you are the home team.
   49. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:23 PM (#5335986)
If it was me, give him one high-leverage plate appearance per game in Games 3, 4, and 5, and be happy you get that. That said, Soler is the next-best option in the OF, probably, and he's no great shakes in the field either (and hasn't hit much in the postseason). So, if Schwarber ends up starting in LF, I trust that the Cubs' brain trust thought through everything and made a rational, informed decision.

Cosigned completely.
   50. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:24 PM (#5335988)
That's the last place they want to put a guy coming back quickly from major knee surgery.

Yes, but woe unto he who underestimates the value of a 4th catcher...
   51. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:25 PM (#5335991)
Can't Schwarber play SS? The Cubs should have never traded Castro!

Oh, right--Mumphrey's the clown who thinks Castro's better than Russell. Never mind.
   52. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 01:45 PM (#5336003)
   53. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 02:23 PM (#5336035)
[40]And people were surprised how seriously people were treating the Schwarber on the roster possibility.

Yes. Me among them. In this case, I've actually seen him run.

It is kind of surprising how the Cubs sort of bent over backwards to get Schwarber into the lineup. Strictly from a projection standpoint one would assume the value difference between Schwarber and, say, Soler in the DH spot would be small enough that you wouldn't risk the disaster of Schwarber being unprepared or unable to run the bases or re-injuring himself. The Cubs must have a higher opinion of his ability than the raw stats (which are good but no better than Willson Contreras who has spent half the postseason watching in the dugout) would merit by themselves.
   54. Weeks T. Olive Posted: October 27, 2016 at 02:25 PM (#5336036)
That doesn't work if you are the home team.


Ha, yeah, that's a problem ...
   55. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 02:29 PM (#5336037)
Gold Glove Finalists announced (3 for each position). Arrieta (Grienke, Wainwright), Rizzo (Goldschmidt, Meyers), Russell (Crawford, Galvis), and Heyward (CarGo, Markakis) nominated.

No Javy. Which is not a surprise, but well, he will be nominated next year at 2b you'd guess.
   56. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 02:32 PM (#5336039)
No Jon Lester?
   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 27, 2016 at 02:36 PM (#5336041)
Heyward (CarGo, Markakis) nominated.

So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.
   58. Textbook Editor Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:02 PM (#5336048)
My attempt at a post got eaten... here's the main thought:

Why not risk Schwarber for 3 innings in LF? Bat him #1, 2, or 3 and you likely would get him 2 ABs against a RHP, then swap him out for Zobrist or whoever else you want batting that high up.

The problem with waiting for a high-leverage AB is that it's entirely possible that such an AB would come in the 5th inning or later, and if it was THAT high-leverage, you can bet that Francona would have Miller come in to face Schwarber... And the BB aside, that's not a matchup, at this time, I would think favors the Cubs.

So you treat Innings 1-2-3 as "high-leverage" innings: you want to get him 2 ABs against a RHP and get runs up early, then sub him out for defense if you really feel like he can't play the OF for a full 9 innings.

Of course, the other option is to go with Schwarber-Fowler-Zobrist in the OF. With the wind supposedly set to blow out Friday maybe that's not the best option, though... Are any Cubs SP more GB than FB throwers? Maybe you pair a LF start for Schwarber with your most GB SP...
   59. Dan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:17 PM (#5336055)
From the Yahoo article on Schwarber:

His makeup, which drew the be-all, end-all of makeup comparisons for Cubs president Theo Epstein: Dustin Pedroia.


Well, Pedroia once said something about being a freak who heals quickly like a lizard, so it could be an appropriate comparison...

Why not risk Schwarber for 3 innings in LF? Bat him #1, 2, or 3 and you likely would get him 2 ABs against a RHP, then swap him out for Zobrist or whoever else you want batting that high up.


Zobrist definitely wouldn't be the guy you'd pull, but this could make sense. Bat him 2nd, Swap Bryant to 4th, move Zobrist to 5th and the lineup works fine.

Honestly Schwarber reminds me more of a cornfed white midwest David Ortiz (vs the original rice and beans-fed Dominican version) than Pedroia...
   60. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:18 PM (#5336058)
the other option is to go with Schwarber-Fowler-Zobrist in the OF


This is the only option. Ben Zobrist has a higher batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage than Kyle Schwarber does in the World Series. If playing Schwarber in the outfield means you have to also play Heyward there to protect him, then it's not worth it.

you can bet that Francona would have Miller come in to face Schwarber... And the BB aside, that's not a matchup, at this time, I would think favors the Cubs.


Miller's going to come into these games at some point regardless. Of the guys for whom you'd realistically pinch hit Schwarber - which is basically, the pitcher (i.e., you'd pick Schwarber over the rest of the guys on the bench), the third outfielder (Soler? Heyward?), and maybe Addison Russell, do you really think they're likely to do better than Schwarber against Miller even w/ the platoon advantage?
   61. Dan Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:30 PM (#5336067)
do you really think they're likely to do better than Schwarber against Miller even w/ the platoon advantage?


As great as Schwarber's approach is, last year against LHP he hit .143/.213/.268 for a 31 wRC+. And he struck out at a 44.3% rate agasiint ALL LHP, never mind Miller's quality.

The flip side is that he killed RHP even more than his overall line suggests (.278/.396/.557 | 161 wRC+)
   62. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:32 PM (#5336068)
I think I'm gonna stick with my earlier thought --

Against Tomlin, I just can't see an early inning PA constituting "high leverage". Saw elsewhere that the "big three" for the Indians (Kluber, Miller, and Allen) have pitched some ungodly portion of Indians postseason innings (something like 58%, which can't be right) and have something like an 0.36 ERA in those innings.

IF - and it's an IF - you're going to give Schwarber time in LF, I think game 4 is the only logical place I would start him.

The story is great and all, but as delirium recedes and more rational thoughts enter my head -- I'm more firmly in the realm of this being a pretty darn good lineup, even without Schwarber. With Russ back to having good PAs last night, Rizzo clearly locked in, et al -- only whoever play RF is a weak spot right now. That's a plenty good enough lineup.

He's my key bat off the bench in game 3 - and I don't care what Tito does with pitching changes, once I send him up - he's hitting, period.

Game 4 MAYBE I'd be convinced to start him in the OF... probably depends on what happens in game 3 (not just the W/L, but also whether the offense needs a boost or not). Of course, Lackey is the game 4 SP and Lackey is nearly a 60/40 Flyball/groundball pitcher.

Not backing off the trust angle, but more and more, I find myself leaning towards the idea that it was great he contributed as a DH in Cleveland. If we can't sweep at home, he's back in the lineup thereafter.... but for now? I'll probably keep the Schwarbird cloaked until I need him.
   63. Weeks T. Olive Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:32 PM (#5336069)
Bat him 2nd, Swap Bryant to 4th, move Zobrist to 5th and the lineup works fine.


Then after his 2nd AB you end up with something like Fowler-Heyward/Almora-Rizzo-Bryant in the lineup for the rest of the game? That's fine if the Cubs are ahead I guess; if they're behind ... no thanks.
   64. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:37 PM (#5336076)
Saw elsewhere that the "big three" for the Indians (Kluber, Miller, and Allen) have pitched some ungodly portion of Indians postseason innings (something like 58%, which can't be right)


If that stat was compiled after Game 1, at that point, Kluber had started 4 of the Indians' 9 playoff games, because of days off between series. Although even there, 58% sounds a little high.

EDIT: I checked and, yes, through Game 1 of the World Series Kluber, Miller, and Allen had pitched 46.2 out of 80 innings for the Indians, which is 58.3%. They pitched 14 of 27 innings in the ALDS, 23.2 out of 44 in the ALCS, and all of Game 1 of the World Series - and none of Game 2, so the number's lower now, of course.
   65. Weeks T. Olive Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:42 PM (#5336079)
If that stat was compiled after Game 1, at that point, Kluber had started 4 of the Indians' 9 playoff games, because of days off between series. Although even there, 58% sounds a little high.


Actually, I think that's right - as of Game 1, Kluber, Miller, and Allen combined for 46 2/3 IP in the postseason. Indians played 3 in the DS, 5 in the CS, and 1 in the WS to that point.
   66. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:47 PM (#5336080)
The problem with waiting for a high-leverage AB is that it's entirely possible that such an AB would come in the 5th inning or later, and if it was THAT high-leverage, you can bet that Francona would have Miller come in to face Schwarber... And the BB aside, that's not a matchup, at this time, I would think favors the Cubs.


There's also the possibility of a post-Miller AB against Allen, which would likely be very high leverage.

   67. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:47 PM (#5336081)
Then after his 2nd AB you end up with something like Fowler-Heyward/Almora-Rizzo-Bryant in the lineup for the rest of the game? That's fine if the Cubs are ahead I guess; if they're behind ... no thanks.


I'm actually warming up to the idea of Schwarber in the OF - if the doctors really think he's unlikely to re-injure himself and he's good enough to be merely bad and not dreadful. But, if you do it, (a) it only makes sense w/ an OF of Zobrist-Fowler-Schwarber (be that L-C-R or R-C-L), and (b) go all-in. Certainly, Heyward should come in for defense in the late innings (as should Almora, for that matter, for Zobrist), and if baserunning is likely to matter in the 7th or later, go ahead and pinch run for Schwarber. But trying to gimmick the system to get a second AB out of him seems too cute for a World Series game.
   68. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:54 PM (#5336088)
I have talked myself into being in favor and being against Schwarber in the OF about 20 times since last night. I literally can't think about it anymore, because I immediately disagree with whatever I'm thinking.

Even if Pops/Cabbage are wrong, I'm jealous that they're not wasting time overthinking this.
   69. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:57 PM (#5336092)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 4m4 minutes ago
Maddon: "The deeper you are in the game, the less you're aware of time."


He's taunting you now, Elroy.
   70. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:59 PM (#5336094)
Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi
Joe Maddon indicated that, if Kyle Schwarber is medically cleared, he's leaning toward the option of having him start in outfield. @MLB


So he's either putting pressure on them to clear him here, or he's trying to duck taking heat if Schwarber doesn't start.
   71. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 03:59 PM (#5336095)
Who knows - I think the Cubs have a workout happening right about now - but most of the chatter I'm reading today seems to be saying that he's not gonna play the OF.

Yeah, yeah, 3 shutouts in the playoffs (but against Kershaw/KLuber/Hill... it's not like Kenta Maeda or Trevor Bauer shut 'em down)... but -

Rizzo is now locked in. The postseason slump is a distant, fading memory that almost seems like a year ago.

Bryant has been solid - and sometimes more than solid - all postseason. He's fine.

Zobrist is smoking hot right now.

Baez' bad habits showed up last night, but he's still a guy that can really do some damage

Contreras took an ohfer (with a BB) last night, but he's still been hitting well all postseason.

Russell had a really good night and while game 1, he didn't look good, those back-to-back two-run HR games in the LCS make me feel and confidant with him

Fowler is really the only guy that's never gotten it going or shown consistent hotness, but he'll be fine.

The last spot/RF is mulligan.

Even sans Schwarber, this is not lineup that should worry us.

   72. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:00 PM (#5336097)
Maddon: "The deeper you are in the game, the less you're aware of time."

He's taunting you now, Elroy.

See, I knew it was personal at some level. I wonder if it was in response to a question about the atrocious pace of play.
   73. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:06 PM (#5336105)
Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi
Joe Maddon indicated that, if Kyle Schwarber is medically cleared, he's leaning toward the option of having him start in outfield. @MLB


Clearly, twitter needs some sort of weighting algorithm so I can figure out which of the blizzard tweets I should pay most attention to...
   74. Ardo Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:14 PM (#5336113)
I don't want Schwarber anywhere near the outfield. Quit while you're ahead - it was a calculated risk to DH him and playing the field is a bridge too far.

I trust Joe to get him high-leverage plate appearances against Cleveland's right-handed relievers. Miller is the only lefty in their pen, which limits Francona's options.

Keep it simple by putting Heyward in right field for Games 3-5, batting 8th, with the plan of PH Soler/DR Almora if necessary.
   75. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:24 PM (#5336123)
Bruce Levine ‏@MLBBruceLevine 11m11 minutes ago Chicago, IL
Schwarber out for BP. Maddon said he takes fly balls he is likely to play


Bruce is borderline illiterate, so who knows exactly what this means. But
Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 12m12 minutes ago
#Cubs Schwarber loosening up. He's got a glove
   76. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:27 PM (#5336129)
This fills me with dread.
   77. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:42 PM (#5336151)
I probably should stop with these real time updates.

Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 3m3 minutes ago
Schwarber heading to the outfield with a glove accompanied by Mike Borzello and Davey Martinez


Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 4m4 minutes ago
Schwarber headed to OF. Maddon said that would probably mean they'll try to put him in the lineup tomorrow.
   78. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:51 PM (#5336160)
I know nothing of medical science, much less the intricacies of various ligaments/knees/whatever... but honestly, it's not the chance of injury that concerns me as much as it is a not-very-good-to-begin-with OFer, whose last big stage defensive play in the OF was forgettable, essentially shagging a few flies and being inserted.

I remain trusting but I honestly think I lean towards the idea of something very bad happening defensively over this lineup's need for some oomph.
   79. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:54 PM (#5336162)
Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 2m2 minutes ago
Schwarber has left the field. Did not take fly balls. Team officials expected to address status later.


So they're ####### with us?
   80. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 04:55 PM (#5336166)
Well hopefully he didn't have to return from the experiment on a cart.
   81. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:04 PM (#5336171)
So they're ####### with us?


Wouldn't you at this point? Laughing at the wild speculation on Twitter (and perhaps here if they know about this place) is probably helping to keep the team loose.
   82. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:09 PM (#5336176)
Chicago Cubs ‏@Cubs 2m2 minutes ago
Kyle Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the field, according to Theo Epstein.


Done and done.
   83. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:10 PM (#5336178)
####### with us could well be it... but -

While it's supposed to warm up tomorrow, ought to be noted that it's decidedly still cold today -- and still a bit damp from the rain yesterday.

If someone on the team pulled the plug and basically said "you know, this is really just not a good idea" - I could see that, too.
   84. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:11 PM (#5336182)
Theo Epstein on Kyle Schwarber's role in the next 3 games: "Getting ready to take the most important at-bat of the game (as a pinch hitter)"

Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago
Theo: "we're all disappointed." But trust doctor's judgment

Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 3m3 minutes ago
Theo: "we have to look out for Kyle's best interests."
   85. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:12 PM (#5336183)
For the best.

It's a good bat to have available, but there's plenty of firepower to get this done without him getting 3-4 PAs.

Let's sweep it up this weekend and he's always there in case we have to go back to Cleveland.

At least that's one less thing to obsessively obsess over tomorrow.
   86. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:12 PM (#5336184)
The moment when he comes up the on deck circle though, that's going to be cool.
   87. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:13 PM (#5336186)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 27s28 seconds ago
Theo: Kyle "pushed back" but understands Dr.'sdecision. "The story is it's absolutely remarkable what he did ... I'm in awe of what he did."
   88. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:16 PM (#5336190)
The moment when he comes to the on deck circle though, that's going to be cool.


I'm looking forward to participating in the standing ovation in Game 4 when he steps to the plate. And the curtain call afterward.

And, having thought through the possibilities, if Schwarber's not available, I'm warming up to the idea of just letting Heyward keep his starting position. Coghlan and Soler had their shots and neither one of them took it (I guess Soler walked, which is something; but Heyward's managed to mostly maintain the plate discipline).
   89. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:21 PM (#5336196)
Agree on Heyward. He starts game 3 for me... Again - Tomlin is a soft tosser and it's the fastball that Heyward is hopeless against.

Look, if Roberto friggin Perez can jack two homers...

It's never too late for him to turn it around so long as there's still baseball left to play. The chances are awfully slim that happens, but there are other ways he can/should contribute and the success of this offense should not depend on one guy who hasn't done squat all year.

Go with the glove.
   90. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2016 at 05:26 PM (#5336203)
It is going to be epic when Schwarber steps onto the field for his PH appearance in game 3.
   91. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2016 at 07:58 PM (#5336311)
I'm happy to have Schwarber as a PH. While his appearance at the plate livens everyone, it would be a real bummer watching him botch an OF play, or worse, be carried off the field again.
   92. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 27, 2016 at 08:01 PM (#5336316)
It is going to be epic when Schwarber steps onto the field for his PH appearance in game 3.

His last hit at Wrigley? The Shwarb-board bomb to right.
   93. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: October 27, 2016 at 09:11 PM (#5336345)
Nope. He hit a hr in the NLCS at Wrigley.
   94. Weeks T. Olive Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:09 PM (#5336364)
   95. zonk Posted: October 27, 2016 at 10:52 PM (#5336379)
I'm just going to leave this here.


That is one of the greatest things in the history of things.

Like most everyone, I've had a few teams I've loved... clubhouses that characters, pranksters, standup veterans, intense competitors, etc - but I honestly have to say that I'm glad it's this group of guys that got here and I really, really hope its this group of guys that wins it, this weekend if only because Rossy at minimum (and perhaps Dex) won't be a part of it next year. They're just so easy to root for -- and maybe it's just the existence of social media, but it almost feels more like being a part of it than I can recall from past iterations. Ryne Sandberg was supposedly a master of the hotfoot (lighting a teammates shoes on fire while he's in them), but you never really heard about that until years later. This time around, is there anyone who doesn't know Rizzo really is kind of a fun goof? That Bryant is well aware of his matinee idolism, but refuses to take it too seriously? Fowler as the sparkplug who does says just the right thing at the right time? Baez is an absolute ball of fun energy?

I'm really glad it's these guys.

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