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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Home Sweet Home

Time for a new post, just for the hell of it.  It’s too early to do a Good, Bad, Ugly thing, so I’m gonna try this one on for size.

Encouraging
-Gotta start with the bullpen.  Sure, there’s luck involved, but that’s bullpens for you.  None of the pitchers have proved worthless yet, and several guys have already shown they have a chance to exceed our modest expectations for them (Wilson, Butler).
-Russell.  I keep talking about him, and it’s too early to read anything in the numbers, but he has walked more than struck out so far (8 vs. 7), which is amazing even if he gets it close to 2:1 K/BB for the year.  The power hasn’t shown up yet, but he’s driven the ball to the gaps and he’s not swinging for the fences all the time (he’ll take a big hack when the count allows for it, but he’ll adjust, unlike Baez).
-Bryant.  He also has walked more than he struck out, but I kinda expected that.  Just putting him in here since he looks to be taking that next step, and honestly he hasn’t really looked that locked in to me yet (even when he got on base 5 times the other night, he had a number of swing& misses that he normally doesn’t when he’s in a real hot streak).
-Contreras.  He’s adjusted after a rough start, but he’s mostly here since he appears to have settled down behind the plate.  For entertainment purposes, I wish he’d flaunt the mound visit rule, but he hasn’t yet and it hasn’t made him worse defensively, IMO.
-Zobrist.  I think his start has highlighted how messed up his wrist really was last year, he looks like the same guy from 2016 again.
-LaStella.  I guess if Baez continues to struggle some might call for him to get more regular playing time, but it’s also pretty awesome to have a weapon like him off the bench.
-The rotation.  I guess everyone’s had one good and one bad start (Chatwood did both in his one), but the thing to watch will be pitch counts this year.  No one has been super efficient with their pitches - even in the good starts, everyone had an inning or two where they really struggled to put guys away.

Worrying
-Rizzo.  He’s going on the DL now (and they’ve called up Efren Navarro), so maybe his early struggles are due to the back issue.  But back issues are never a good thing, and the fact that they didn’t think he’d miss more than 1 game initially to him now going to the DL is somewhat concerning.
-Schwarber.  I’m not ready to admit he is who he is, but he is.  Well, I guess half his strikeouts have come in the last 3 games, so maybe he’s just a guy who looks worse when he’s going bad.  But he’s just going bad too often.
-Happ.  Yeah, he’s had a couple of encouraging ABs, but that K rate (17 in 28ABs) is just unplayable.  Almora isn’t exactly lighting it up either, but I guess you have to give them both chances (plus Schwarber) to bust out of their slumps, they’ll just look worse with Rizzo out.
-Baez.  He is what he is, and it’s easier to take with him due to the defense and baserunning than the other guys.  But he’s had so many ABs where he’s been so, so lost.


Still don’t want to talk about it
-Heyward.  I mentioned in the game chatter, but he misplayed pop flies on both Saturday and Sunday into doubles.  Maybe it’s just more obvious when he messes up because he usually doesn’t, but he wasn’t in the sun for either (IIRC) and he looked silly.  If he’s also not hitting (he’s not hitting), just ugh.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 10, 2018 at 10:46 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 10, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5650744)
No idea why they added Navarro to the 40man and called him up, I think he had a good spring, but there's no upside there. Guess he's just a guy that can be on the bench for emergencies.
   2. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 10, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5650808)
Zobrist getting the start at 1b again. I'm fine with him playing there until Rizzo gets back, though Caratini was a little better defensively there than I expected.
   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 10, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5650809)
Athletic on the pen's numbers:

But if there's one unit manager Joe Maddon and company would love to see continue on its current path, it's the bullpen. A group that came in with the most questions after a rough 2017 has been utterly dominant through nine games. Cubs relievers are striking out 27.6 percent of the batters they face, fifth-best in baseball, and when they do allow balls in play, the defense is doing its job. The bullpen is allowing a .247 BABIP, aided by a 30.1 percent soft-hit rate, an MLB-best for relievers. Opponents are batting just .170 against the Cubs' 'pen, which has posted a 0.99 WHIP and most importantly, suppressed runs by posting a 0.94 ERA.

A lot of these numbers will go in the other direction, it’s just the reality of baseball and bullpens. The Cubs relievers aren’t going to allow zero home runs all season long and deliver a 90 percent LOB%. But there are so many bright spots, it’s hard not for them to step on the mound with a load of confidence and feed off each other’s strong performances.
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 11, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5651363)
Nice that Chatwood made progress on cutting down his walks (1BB, 7Ks), but the hits and runs to come down.

Is it just me, or is any Happ AB that doesn't end in a K feel like a success? How long can the Cubs run out a lineup with Happ/Schwarber/Heyward and still score runs?
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 12, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5652116)
In another attempt to get a conversation going here, let's talk about Javy. 4 HRs in the his last 2 games, and this ridiculous slash line: .229/.372/.714. That OBP is buoyed by 4 IBB (2 unintentional ones), but only 10Ks in 35ABs. He had an extremely entertaining game last night; here's a post I made in the chatter:

Javy took first on a K (terrible pitch, but he was off running before the swing was over), got to 2nd on a grounder to first (bell didn't feel cleanly, but was clearly rushing), stole 3rd, and just scored on grounder to 2nd with a drawn in infield.

Earlier today, he swung so hard on a 3-0 pitch he fell over, then next pitch went 400+ to rcf. Dude is something else.


On his 2nd HR, he did a similar thing - swung super hard on 2-0 and he rubbed his shoulder/arm like he hurt in swinging, then drove the next pitch almost off the scoreboard.

I'll repeat I've been pretty impressed with Caratini at first - he's going to have to catch a game sooner or later (maybe today?) so Willson doesn't wear out, but he's also putting up pretty good ABs.
   6. Charles S. is a big fan of Outerbridge Horsey Posted: April 12, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5652191)
Line-up is out for today. Caratini is behind the plate. Makes sense. Day game after a night game and Hendricks would seem to be the easiest to catch in the rotation. I wouldn't expect Victor to catch anyone but him or Q on a regular basis.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 12, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5652262)
Right, they've said Willson will always catch Lester and Darvish.

---

I was going to complain about last night when they pulled Almora for Happ late (and not sit someone like Zobrist), but I guess they were saying Almora was sick.
   8. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 12, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5652301)
Oh, something else I saw on twitter. Not only does Bryant have more BB than Ks (8, 7), he has more XBH (8) than Ks. That would be a randomly cool thing for him to keep up.

Let's not talk about how bad Lester looked again, even if it really was only one really bad inning.
   9. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 12, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5652364)
I completely agree on Bryant - well, maybe mostly (he can sometimes be streaky... but I suppose most hitters have their periods of hotness and coldness).

Obviously, I think most of us would be quite happy if 2016 Bryant was perhaps "peak Bryant" - and he just maintained that level... but it's fun to think that we can still dream - and even have some good evidence to back it up - he still hasn't reached "peak Bryant" yet.

He continues to cut those K rates by anything approaching the same rate he's done thus far? While the BBs continue to rise? He could be Pujolsian levels of awesome.

I think he's a top 10 player, of course - but I expect no one would really consider him the running to be battling Trout in discussions of "BEST" player... but what if he does?
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5653076)
Bryant playing 1b, and hitting 3rd today (LaStella playing 3b and hitting 2nd).
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 13, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5653157)
zonk (or anyone), any thoughts on this guy that FG mentions off and on in the Fringe Prospects Report:

Zack Short, SS, Chicago NL (Profile)
Few batters in the minors last year managed to avoid both the whiff and the ground ball the way Short did. He finished among the High-A leaders in both categories after having done basically the same thing earlier in the season at Low-A. It’s the same offensive skill set possessed by Ian Kinsler and Daniel Murphy profile and Justin Turner profile — and, perhaps most notably, Cardinal infielder Matt Carpenter. Combined with defensive skills that have allowed him to make basically all his professional starts at shortstop, Short is a candidate to contribute on both sides of the ball.

So far, Short has replicated his success from last year, if not necessarily his process. In 30 plate appearances with Double-A Tennessee, he’s recorded a .261/.433/.478 line and 170 wRC+, placing him among the league’s leaders. He’s also basically doubled his swinging-strike rate, though, and struck out in two-fifths of his plate appearances.

It’s likely his success on contact regresses, but it’s also likely he begins making more contact. If he approximates his production from last season, he’ll already have considerably exceeded the typical outcome for a 17th-round pick.
   12. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5653308)
zonk (or anyone), any thoughts on this guy that FG mentions off and on in the Fringe Prospects Report:


Yeah, he's a bit of a comer -- if the power spike (to the extent it constitutes a spike) last year is real (and as noted in the snip, the early returns say it might be) -- he could be useful, whereas he felt like mere IF org fodder coming into 2017.

Can't recall where - probably BCB or maybe BA - but I remember reading a short bit on him last year that he's one of the FO brass's favorite "character guys", as in he's a real hard worker, smart player, and all-around 'good guy' to have in the system.

I could see him maybe having a nifty little Jose Hernandez type run as a super utility guy - with better BB rates but perhaps a bit less power.

While the regime has obviously hit pay dirt on a lot of top picks, would be nice to see some later round gems step forward... Short's as good a pick as any to be that sort.
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 13, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5653431)
Cool, thanks.

---

Christopher Kamka @ckamka 6m6 minutes ago

Yu Darvish with #Cubs
Mar. 31 102 pitches, 9 swings & misses
Apr. 7 94 pitches, 14 swings & misses
Today 105 pitches, 6 swings & misses
   14. John DiFool2 Posted: April 14, 2018 at 11:34 PM (#5654028)
Nice little rally.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5654495)
Regarding Saturday's game, I listened to the early innings at the gym, and just as I was walking home the Braves took the 9-1 lead. I then got busy at home and we had people over, so I missed the fun part. Although it's always a fun thing to open up the MLB app after the fact and find out about a miracle comeback.

I assume they are going to try to get tonight's game in, despite a forecast temperature of 36F, with a 10-15 mph wind.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5654499)
It's snowing now, so we'll see. It's the Cards, so it's easier to schedule a makeup/double-header. The way it looks now I'll be surprised if it happens, though the cynical part of me will just assume they'll try and cancel it later after they've let people in and sold a bunch of concessions.
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5654504)
On Saturday's game, I was flipping back and forth between the Cubs and the NBA/NHL playoffs. There was a break in those games (either they all were over or halftime), so I got to watch the frustrating 7th when it looked like they blew their chance to get a lot closer, and got to enjoy the 8th in all it's obscene glory.

---

No new post today, but a couple of thoughts:

1. Bryant is hitting .352/.493/.611 with a wRC+ of 199 and I still don't think he's really had a "hot" streak yet. He's the main reason the Cubs offense hasn't completely tanked.
2. Zobrist and Contreras are other reasons.
3. Almora looks like he should be playing more than Happ at this point.
4. After liking Russell's start, he's been not good lately. The K% is way down, the BB% is way up, but no power at all.
5. I'm not worried about the rotation yet, but I'm worried I'm going to be worried about it soon.
6. Still happy with the pen, but Wilson is scary.
   18. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5654513)
Baez has one of the most ridiculous stat lines I have ever seen. But it's early, and it's a certainty other players have had similarl or more ridiculous lines in small sample sizes*. 9 hits, 8 of them for extra bases. He's batting .191, but with a 133 OPS+ and is leading the team in R and RBI.

Frank Fernandez

*In 1971 with the Cubs, Fernandez hit .171 with a 142 OPS+. 4 HR and 17 walks in 58 PA, good for a .414 OBP and .488 SLP. For his career, he batted .199 with a 114 OPS+.
   19. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5654564)
Is Rizzo going to be in the lineup tonight if there is a game?
   20. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5654599)
Maybe. They said they would plan for him to be off the DL for today, but also could wait a day or two depending on the weather.
   21. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5654606)
Thanks for the info. Maybe it's just my Mets fandom coming into play here, but that seems weird that at the end of a 10 day precautionary DL stint, there is still ambiguity. Hopefully the weather is all that it is.
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5654651)
Game called off, so it doesn't matter.

To clarify a little, Rizzo said he was fine and ready to go, but it sounded like the Cubs would rather err on the side of caution so it doesn't become a bigger thing than it is. There hasn't been anything official from anyone though.
   23. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5654653)
Looking forward to his return! Love to watch him play.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5654657)
3. Almora looks like he should be playing more than Happ at this point.
I have to think this will start happening, and would have already if Almora hadn't been sick last week. On Saturday Len and JD were saying how he had to convince Joe that he was well enough to play.
   25. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5654700)
I have to think this will start happening, and would have already if Almora hadn't been sick last week. On Saturday Len and JD were saying how he had to convince Joe that he was well enough to play.


I might have missed one, but I don't think the Cubs have ever had all of Happ, Schwarber, Bryant, Baez, and Almora in the starting lineup, which would be pretty cool, 5 straight #1 (for the team that is) picks. The most likely arrangement would be an AL game on the road with Schwarber at DH, but even not then. They had one game last year with the other 4, but Jay as DH. They had one game with 3 in the OF, but either Bryant or Baez was out. A couple games with Happ, Baez, and Bryant in the IF, but only Schwarbs or Almora in the OF.
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5654702)
Interesting. It could happen this year, as you mention, in a game where Schwarber is the DH, since at least for now Happ is only an OF.

---

I have to think this will start happening, and would have already if Almora hadn't been sick last week.

Yes, I agree. Almora was pulled first in the comeback game when it was still a laugher, and I'm guessing the illness is the reason why. The Cubs did put out a lineup for yesterday's game before it was cancelled, and it had neither Almora or Happ (Heyward in CF). At some point, Heyward should start drawing shorter sticks on PT.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5654705)
At some point, Heyward should start drawing shorter sticks on PT.
Well yeah, but "some point" was around May 2017.
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5654707)
Does it say something good about Almora that he apparently was trying to talk his way into playing in freezing, rainy weather after being sick for a week, or does it say that he's kind of batsh*t crazy?
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5654756)
The answer to both questions is yes.
   30. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5654788)
I might have missed one, but I don't think the Cubs have ever had all of Happ, Schwarber, Bryant, Baez, and Almora in the starting lineup, which would be pretty cool, 5 straight #1 (for the team that is) picks.


While not Cubs picks - Russell and Heyward were also first rounders. I think Ryan Flaherty is a FA, they could sign him... Tyler Colvin is also jobless. Move Schwarbs to catcher for a game and the Cubs could field a whole lineup of 1st rounders!

Since I know you all love my OOTP stories -

They were part of my regular 2018 lineup (Almora in CF, Happ in RF following the Heyward shed) and only Baez failed to make the 2019 ASG. Alas, I just broke the band up -- for reasons quite my comprehension (El Mago doesn't translate well into OOTP), the Dodgers were willing to trade me Kenley Jansen for Baez... After trading their ace closer to me for Baez, the Dodgers then inexplicably left Baez in AAA all year, where his mood - which wasn't good after losing his job (I brought Jason Kipnis home to win a ring with his favorite team growing up and also hit paydirt on rule 5 draftee Forrest Wall from Colorado) - has not improved.

Now in the 2019/2020 offseason - back-to-back titles with 100 win/best record in baseball seasons in the bank.

Bryant (10/~300 mil), Contreras (7/150), Russell (5/90) locked up longterm. Trying to decide on whether to buy out the rest of Happ's arbitration and a few FA years (he's turned into a legit power threat - 41 HRs last year, hitting 280/360/550). Schwarber just finally pulled a Thome - hitting 51 HRs in 2019 - but I'm probably gonna let him walk after 2020 and pocket the pick (EDIT: Oops, check that - after 2021). Likely that one or both of Quintana or Hendricks walks after 2020, too - can't afford to keep both... but I've also got several SPs pounding on the door (Alex Lange is a top 20 prospect now... Brendon Little and another 2017 draftee, Jeremiah Estrada, are both close behind) so I may just let both walk, as Darvish has held up well.

The only downside/annoyance at the moment is that I just had three guys accept QOs that I was hoping would not... I figured Kipnis would walk - he didn't (I mean, 3.5 WAR and he's only 32, WTF?!?!). I also fulfilled my longtime fantasy of adding Julio Teheran, but he was mainly a 4th/5th innings eater... unfortunately, he ALSO accepted. Finally, I had signed Trevor Rosenthal in the 2018-2019 offseason with the idea of making him my closer before the Jansen trade - but he was lights out in a setup role and ######## about not closing, so I thought he'd walk, too... Now, I'm stuck with 45 million dollars for three guys I don't really want anymore.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5655154)
I can't believe I'm going to comment on your ####### OTP team, but...

Bryant (10/~300 mil), Contreras (7/150), Russell (5/90)

Yes, Probably fair, not worth it yet. Well, in the real world anyway.

FWIW (so not a whole lot), Heyman seems to think the Cubs have a better shot at Machado this offseason than Harper. Szym did some ZIPS forecasts for their deals and came up with 8/$300mil for Machado (as a SS, slightly less as a 3b - 8/$268) and 8/$258 for Harper. I'm guessing in reality both sign longer deals, but with various opt outs and what not included.
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5655158)
More dumb #### to talk about while waiting for actual games again, ESPN is doing a top 100 player in 2018 for rank for pageviews, and they have 51-100 up today and includes the following Cubs (or ex-Cubs):

62. Lester
65. Arrieta
68. Hendricks
74. Contreras
75. Quintana

I think that's a bit too low for Contreras, and I'd literally completely reverse the order of those SPs (Q, Hendricks, Jake, Lester). That means Darvish, Rizzo, and Bryant will be in the top 50.

I...don't know why I clicked on this or posted it. Moving on...

   33. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5655170)
I can't believe I'm going to comment on your ####### OTP team, but...


...my fake team is far less frustrating and delivering the juggernaut goods?

It's OK... based on one guy loudly saying something like "COME ON!" every time I give up a run during in-game managing, I think most of my fans have a love/hate relationship to us.

But - you wouldn't give Bryant 10/300?

Technically, I was a bit glib - it's more like 10/280 - the deal tops out at 29.75 mil for the last 8 years, the first two are arb buyouts (19 mil and 25 mil)... though, various ASG/MVP bonuses could push it closer to 30-31 mil. He's got an opt-out after year 6.

You wouldn't give Bryant that sort of deal? I would.
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 17, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5655175)
ESPN is doing a top 100 player in 2018 for rank for pageviews, and they have 51-100 up today
Do you have to click through a 50-page slideshow to see them all?
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5655182)
But - you wouldn't give Bryant 10/300?

He got the yes, Contreras the probably fair, and Russell the not yet.

Do you have to click through a 50-page slideshow to see them all?

No. Thankfully.
   36. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 17, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5655183)
Do you have to click through a 50-page slideshow to see them all?


That's so last year.

Now, it's a 50 different autoplay video bracketed by loud ads where the mute button is non-responsive.

Count your blessings. I understand the IT folks at ESPN are looking at future such lists that swap your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp. Also, every 10 seconds, it stabs your balls.... and tells you about my OOTP team.
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5655352)
Daren Willman @darenw 24m24 minutes ago

Batters with highest swing & miss % (Min 50 swings)
Drew Robinson 48.7%
Jorge Alfaro 44.1%
Ryan McMahon 43.8%
Paul DeJong 43.6%
Ian Happ 43.2%

Complete list:


Baez only at 31st, with 35.14% (right in front of Harper), Schwarber at 33.33%, and Contreras at 29.91%. Guess who's last on the Cubs*?

Daren Willman @darenw 5h5 hours ago

Highest swing & miss % (min 50 swings)
Edwin Diaz 50.7%
Tommy Kahnle 47.6%
Carl Edwards Jr 47.5%
Shohei Ohtani 47.3%
Pedro Araujo 46.8%
Adam Ottavino 46.3%

Complete list:


This might be ominous for the starting rotation, if you filter by the Cubs.

*Well, 2nd to last; TLS is last at 15.38%. Heyward at 15.79%, so he just ####### sucks.
   38. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 17, 2018 at 02:59 PM (#5655360)
*Well, 2nd to last; TLS is last at 15.38%. Heyward at 15.79%, so he just ####### sucks.


Huh... You almost have to think that Heyward would benefit from MORE swing and misses. No, not because it would reduce his weak grounders to 2B that can become DPs - but because he ought to just guess more and take real hit it to the moon rips.
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 02:59 PM (#5655361)
   40. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 17, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5655364)
Huh... You almost have to think that Heyward would benefit from MORE swing and misses. No, not because it would reduce his weak grounders to 2B that can become DPs - but because he ought to just guess more and take real hit it to the moon rips.

I have been pounding the table for this for two years now. The dude isn't punishing mistakes.
   41. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 17, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5655369)
Rizzo back. Zobrist leading off in RF, Heyward in CF (maybe Almora still sick?).
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5655565)
So, maybe here is better than Omnichatter this evening?
   43. Howie Menckel Posted: April 17, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5655580)
per 30
Flaherty is hitting an unsustainable .364 so far as the Braves' starting 3B.
sure, they'd listen if the Cubs called!
   44. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 07:22 AM (#5655790)
Cubs suck.
   45. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5655816)
At this rate, you guys are going to begging for OOTP updates by the end of May just so there's something to talk about besides this stupid team.

I'll bet whatever dumbass was all hot for Tyler Chatwood this past winter feels really stupid now. At least, I hope he does. Whoever that moron is should never speculate, prognosticate, or otherwise comment on the merits of pitchers ever again.
   46. McCoy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5655818)
I tried getting into OOTP but it looks like they've add so many bells and whistles that it is a bit daunting to start the game. You expect me to read manuals?! I got to the point where I replaced Theo and Mr Ricketts tells me he wants to resign Justin Wilson and I find that Wilson wants something like 5 years and 100 million dollars and I just stopped there. Haven't gone back.
   47. Meatwad Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5655839)
Todays game has already been moved to tomorrow.
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5655840)
Beyond all the standard reasons to be annoyed/worried/concerned/whatever about this team and the fact that the problems from last year seem to be the same problems this year, is the fact that this could very well be the same team the Cubs roll out there - with a minor change here or there - for the next 3 years. Yeah, they could splurge on a big name, but there's something about the same team, same problems that can be depressing.

Of course, being the natural optimist that I am, it also is pretty easy to look at this team and see how they can - and will - get better this year. Every single SP is going to pitch better and over half the lineup will hit better (Rizzo is 3 for 31 for ##### sake). Maybe the bullpen can't get better, but even with yesterday they've still been a bright spot.

Besides, how ####### fun is Baez right now? Yeah, he's going to slump again but his .235/.339/.667 line is so silly, it's hard not to enjoy (2 singles, 2 triples, 3 doubles, and 5 HRs).

---

I really am sick of the Heyward experiment. Mostly because Joe isn't treating him like the terrible offensive option he is. The 8th inning last night was a real low point for Joe, IMO. 8th inning, man on first, no outs. When the Cards brought in the lefty Lyons to face Heyward, Almora should have hit for him immediately. Instead, Joe lets Heyward hit, Heyward promptly pops weakly to first; Joe then sends up Almora to PH for the P spot, and Matheny brings in a righty and Joe pulls Almora for TLS. Now, I get they were a little short handed since Zobrist probably wasn't available, but that entire sequence - plus then putting Bryant in RF for the 9th when he hasn't played there in a while - was just brutal and pretty obviously mismanaged at the time.
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5655841)
Todays game has already been moved to tomorrow.

It's not bad now, but is supposed to be wet later. Tomorrow looks like the temp jumps to 50, so seems like a pretty easy decision.
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5655846)
Alzolay joining the AAA rotation this week. Will be interesting to watch him this year.
   51. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5655848)
Duane Underwood is unscored upon - no BBs, just 5 hits - in his first 8 AAA innings... so there's also that.
   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 18, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5655853)
For the rest of ESPN's top 100, Darvish is 43, Rizzo 21, and Bryant 12.

This sort of list is impossible, and almost always guaranteed to be bad.
   53. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 18, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5655916)
After Chatwood’s rough outing, the Cubs starters have walked 12.7 percent of the batters they’ve faced, worst in the big leagues. The Cubs' starting rotation is 12th in the National League in innings pitched per start, averaging a little over five frames each time out.

Along with the starters struggling, the offense’s inability to drive in runners when they get on base is a continuation of an issue that plagued the team, especially early, last season. After a 1-for-6 night on Tuesday, the Cubs are 28th in baseball with a .191 batting average with runners in scoring position and they entered the evening with a 27.4 percent soft-contact rate in those situations, second to only the Chicago White Sox for highest in the game. Their 176 plate appearances with runners in scoring position is third-highest in the NL.


Can only get better, right?
   54. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 18, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5656037)
I miss Bosio.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5656054)
At least Hickey gets to the damn mound quicker.
   56. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 19, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5656369)
   57. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5656393)
At least Hickey gets to the damn mound quicker.


Yet, reducing the walk has not reduced the walks.
   58. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5656403)
Crazy lineup mixup day!

Almora
Baez
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras
Schwarber
Russell
Heyward
Lester

Surprised he's doing this against a righty.
   59. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 19, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5656513)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 14m14 minutes ago

Zobrist would have batted leadoff had he been fully healthy, Maddon said. Feels Almora Jr. a good matchup vs. RHP, might see less of Happ in leadoff spot.
   60. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 19, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5656747)
After today's 1 for 4, and Heyward's unexpected HR, Russell is now OPSing below Heyward (.640 to .669). I really thought Russell looked great early, and he's still even on Ks/BBs, but the power has completely disappeared and he's not really driving the ball at all - his outs are weak.

Baez's crazy line continues, adding a 3b and 1b to up himself to .250/.344/.679. Rizzo had as many hits today as he had all season up to today (3).

Lester was better - but not great; his control was pretty good but it really seemed like he was walking a pretty close line to getting hit hard. The defense was once again incredibly shaky - Baez had 2 errors but it should have been 3 (he threw away a potential DP in the first that should have ended the inning, but it was a throw to third after he caught a line drive).

The Cubs have yet to get further than 1 game away from .500 this year in either direction.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 21, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5657469)
That's it for Adbert Alzolay in his Triple-A debut. Final line: 6 innings, 2 hits, 1 run (earned), 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. #Cubs #MiLB


His first start in AAA went well, I'd say.

....

Javy up to .290/.371/.742, that's with starting 1 for 15, and his babip is only .286 (career .330). He won't his at this level all year, but I'm about ready to say he's gonna have a career year this year.

Schwarber is being overshadowed, but he's up to .283/.406/.566. Almora is hitting, Bryant is quietly still mashing at .333/.471/.561. Let's get Rizzo going and maybe this whole inconsistency thing goes away some.

Zobrist is going to the DL but they haven't announced the move yet who's coming up.
   62. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5657493)
Javy up to .290/.371/.742, that's with starting 1 for 15, and his babip is only .286 (career .330). He won't his at this level all year, but I'm about ready to say he's gonna have a career year this year.


.362/.434/.936 since then. As cartoonish as that 1.370 OPS is, it would be only the 4th best of Barry Bonds's career.
   63. K-BAR, J-BAR (trhn) Posted: April 21, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5657520)
This season's 70 PAs have raised Javy's career OPS+ 5 points from 90 to 95. He has 1337 PAs in his career.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 21, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5657522)
Huh. I would not have guessed that Javy is still a below average offensive player for his career. In addition to his brutal debut, his lack of walks really hurts him.
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 21, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5657534)
Cross posted from chatter, but Cubs have already been shut out 3 times and have 2 other losses where they've only scored 1, yet they're first in the NL in runs/g, obp, slg and ops.
   66. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 21, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5657537)
Huh. I would not have guessed that Javy is still a below average offensive player for his career. In addition to his brutal debut, his lack of walks really hurts him.


Well yes, his brutal debut. minus 2014, he's at 104 OPS+.

I recall lots of conversation about his future after 2014, and none of it good. Lots of claims that it was evidence that he would never be a major league hitter. Now, this season so far is a small sample size, and it's far too premature to assume he's now an elite hitter, but since 2014 he has had seasonal OPS+ of 102, 94, and 101.
   67. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: April 21, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5657618)
Bote up for zobrist. Cool. And starting at 3rd, with Bryant in RF.

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