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Thursday, August 31, 2017

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Should I just start every post from now on with a Javy play?  Ok.

First off, without looking, who’s 3rd on the Cubs in RBI?  Rizzo is first, Contreras is still 2nd.

If anyone missed it, yesterday it sounds like Russell had a setback in his rehab after 1 game in AAA, so he’s back in Chicago getting looked at.  That doesn’t sound good at all, especially since they were pretty vague about the initial timeline.  Zobrist played SS in the 9th yesterday, otherwise Javy’s been there every other inning since Russell got hurt.  The Cubs don’t have another SS on the 40 man roster, and really no one in AAA that makes sense to call up.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs tried to add someone before the trade deadline, just as a backup plan in September.  It’d probably be a Rene Rivera type - not someone like him physically, but a guy who’s been around and isn’t a threat to make any sort of postseason roster.

Lester’s simulated games have gone well, and he’s now scheduled to start Saturday against the Braves.  Montgomery is also still scheduled for his next start on Sunday, so that means at least one time through the Cubs will use 6 starters.  There was a recent thread about it, but for the record, I’m fine with this, as I actually think Monty has been pretty good in the rotation lately and is just as good a bet to have a good start as either Lackey or Quintana right now.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 11:15 AM | 142 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 12:40 PM (#5524089)
Last night Jay made 2 catches in CF I didn't think he had in him. I hadn't been impressed with his CF defense, but last night at least, he looked adequate (maybe a real CF makes those catches easier than he did, I dunno).
   2. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5524100)
Also:

Their 270 runs scored during the second half is easily tops in baseball, their 75 home runs are first in the NL and their 118 wRC+ also leads the Senior Circuit since the All-Star break. The bats were inconsistent early on this year, but now the Cubs are averaging 5.7 runs per game, third in the NL, putting them on pace for 821 runs on the year, 13 more than last season.


Most of that was done without Contreras - who when he went down was arguably the Cubs' best bat - and with virtually nothing from Russell, Zobrist, and Heyward. Kind of amazing in a way.
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5524115)
The Cubs have the best run differential in MLB since the All-Star Game: +90. But most of it has come in four games.

Anyone know when the last time the Cubs scored at least 15 runs in a game four times in one month was? Has to be a while.
   4. Ardo Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:01 PM (#5524116)
The Pirates series was fun, but the feast-or-famine nature of this year's offense can be exposed by playoff pitching.

Theo and co. have many decisions to make for the rest of Bryzzo's prime - most importantly, getting optimal trade value for Russell. Their patience with the Schwarbino seems to be working out; a "Greg Luzinski v.2" career has value.

My ideal 2018 position player roster:

Contreras, Caratini
Rizzo, Happ, Baez, Bryant, La Stella, glove-first SS backup
Schwarber-Almora-Heyward as everyday starters, trying hard to bring back Jay as the 4th OF
Zobrist in a super-utility/5th OF/favorable match-up role

I won't even try to guess what the pitching staff will look like ;)
---
   5. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5524118)
Anyone know when the last time the Cubs scored at least 15 runs in a game four times in one month was? Has to be a while.

Last time they did it four times in a SEASON? 2003.
   6. Ardo Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5524120)
Anyone know when the last time the Cubs scored at least 15 runs in a game four times in one month was? Has to be a while.
Not since the high-offense watershed season of 1930.

The last major league team to do so at all was the 1985 New York Mets (in July).
   7. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5524124)
Anyone know when the last time the Cubs scored at least 15 runs in a game four times in one month was? Has to be a while.


They did it in June, 1930. If they did it since, it was a team that scored fewer than 750 runs on the season.
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:12 PM (#5524128)
Almost did it in Sept. 1935: three times.
   9. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5524131)
June 1930: last time they did it.

They scored 215 runs that month.
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5524156)
The Pirates series was fun, but the feast-or-famine nature of this year's offense can be exposed by playoff pitching.

It might not be as consistently pretty as last year, but I'm not going to take it that far. The Cubs last year did get shut out 4 times combined in the NLCS and WS. It's still notable if the Cubs do end up scoring more this year than last.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 01:53 PM (#5524164)
Theo and co. have many decisions to make for the rest of Bryzzo's prime - most importantly, getting optimal trade value for Russell. Their patience with the Schwarbino seems to be working out; a "Greg Luzinski v.2" career has value.

We - and I'm including myself here - tend have a recency problem with all these young players. Javy had a good month, but it was unimaginable just a month ago to even imply Russell was so easily replaceable. He probably has the most trade value of any of the young guys, so if the Cubs really felt that could live with Javy's up and down, inconsistent offense (and sometimes defense) as the everyday SS, I could eventually buy into the idea of moving Russell if you're getting an absolute stud SP back (like Archer). However, I think can't help but feel that Russell has a ceiling much higher than Javy at his best, and that there's plenty of value in his much more consistent level of play.

I've been about as a big of a Schwarber defender here as anyone - including his defensive adequacy - but I think the big decision really is about him, and not Russell. If Happ is really going to have this much power - at least equal to Schwarber - Schwarber is by far the most expendable. Happ as a fulltime LF would be an upgrade on the current Schwarber experience (I'm also pretty sure I'd rather Happ be an OF - I'm even ok if they work him into a fulltime CF - than an infielder); a Happ/Almora/Heyward would have the potential to be one of the better defensive OF in baseball; Russell/Baez in the middle would also be the best middle IF. That main group: Rizzo/Bryant/Russell/Baez/Happ/Almora/Heyward is also pretty perfectly complimented by Zobrist, and Jay/LaStella types. Obviously you're not getting the same return for Schwarber as you would from Russell, but I'm ok with that.
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5524188)
Just worth mentioning, Bryant BB%; K%:
2015: 11.8; 30.6
2016: 10.7; 22.0
2017: 14.8; 18.8

When these stupid RISP/Clutch fluke numbers straighten out...
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 31, 2017 at 02:20 PM (#5524190)
EDIT: Nevermind after reading the full post.
   14. slothinator Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:00 PM (#5524385)
I won't even try to guess what the pitching staff will look like ;)


Well, since we're just guessing...

The rotation seems pretty set - Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, FA, and Montgomery. The FA market looks pretty thin; only Cobb and Estrada really look decent. Maybe there's a trade to be made to get a "legit #2" and bump Hendricks to #4.

As for the bullpen, who knows. I figure Rondon, Strop, and Wilson are locks. Grimm and Zastryzny will probably be there. I could see the team spending money or making a trade for a "proven closer", and then filling the holes with random FA and seeing who comes out of spring training.
   15. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5524418)
At what point do you think about making a serious offer to bring Arietta back? He's looked a lot more like ace Arietta from 2015/early 2016 lately.

Or if he continues to pitch this way through the end of the season (and then the playoffs and WS), will someone throw up a ridiculous offer (say 6 years/$210 million) that the Cubs won't be willing to match?
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:33 PM (#5524429)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 1h1 hour ago

Triple-A Iowa reliever Dillon Maples will be among the Cubs' Sept. 1 promotions, according to source


Maples has pitched at 3 levels this year
A+: 31IP, 44/15 K/BB, 2.01ERA
AA: 13.2IP, 28/11 K/BB, 3.29ERA
AAA: 18.1IP, 28/11 K/BB (not a copy/paste error), 1.96ERA.

He's 25, and a former 14th round pick of the Cubs in 2011. That K rate is something else, but so is the walk rate. He really hasn't shown up in prospect lists I've seen.

A blurb from Cubs Den from throughout the year:
And as important as depth at shortstop and catcher is, the one player among all mentioned in this piece, that can have the most significant impact on the Cubs playoff outlook is Dillon Maples. The club simply has to make room to add the Iowa closer no matter the cost, even if it means losing another reliever. Dillon Maples is pitching that well right now. His pure stuff is second to none among all Cubs pitching prospects, including starters such as Jose Albertos and Oscar De La Cruz. The righty has always possessed the ability to spin a good curveball, even going all the way back to his high school days. But in the second half of last season Maples also began throwing a slider and it has quickly become his go to pitch and gives him three legitimate plus (or better) offerings along with the curve and a devastating 98 MPH sinker. His command and control will falter on occasion, much as we have seen with C.J. Edwards this year, but even when he is not at this best he can still be effective.


He could be interesting, and maybe a decent shot to make a postseason roster over someone like Grimm.

   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5524432)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 44m44 minutes ago

Russell had MRI on foot. Won't hear results right away, but look for Cubs to callup INF Mike Freeman tomorrow to backup Javy at shortstop
   18. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5524436)
Adam McCalvy @AdamMcCalvy 22m22 minutes ago

Brewers feuding behind the scenes with Cubs again, this time over next week's game time change. Details to come.


Cubs moved next Friday's game from the afternoon to a night game; Brewers obviously still sore over that rainout earlier.
   19. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 31, 2017 at 05:47 PM (#5524439)
a Happ/Almora/Heyward would have the potential to be one of the better defensive OF in baseball; Russell/Baez in the middle would also be the best middle IF

Adding in Rizzo, Bryant and Contreras makes that a truly outstanding defensive team. But if you're constructing a roster with an eye toward the playoffs then Kyle still has an important place on the team as a bat only guy.

At what point do you think about making a serious offer to bring Arietta back? He's looked a lot more like ace Arietta from 2015/early 2016 lately.

I have little confidence in Arrieta's long term effectiveness but I think they will have to make a serious run at him. I expect Darvish to remain a Dodger and I want nothing to do with Cueto on the off chance he opts out. If the Cubs are filling the number 5 rotation spot with Montgomery and a gaggle of mediocrity then getting a top-tier(ish) FA for the other rotation spot is increasingly important.
   20. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 06:06 PM (#5524448)
But if you're constructing a roster with an eye toward the playoffs then Kyle still has an important place on the team as a bat only guy.

I know you don't mean exclusively World Series DH, but Jay and LaStella are very good PH options, and so would Zobrist in a scenario where he's not starting. Maybe this falls apart in a world where Heyward continues to hit like Quintana. Schwarber's power is nice, but he's more likely to strike out than anything else.

Of course, in a perfect world, I don't think the Cubs need to move anyone and can find enough playing time for everyone. I just reckon that even if the Cubs resign Arrieta or sign Darvish, trading for another decent starter isn't out of the question.

---

As for Darvish, while money really isn't an object for the Dodgers and they have plenty of money coming off the books, I actually think I'll be shocked if they sign him. They still have a ton of arms under contract, including young guys - Kershaw, Kazmir, Hill, McCarthy, Ryu, Wood, Urias (Beuhler is #17 prospect per BA, etc) that even though almost all of them are injury prone (and some are FA after next year), I feel like spending big on Darish wouldn't seem to be a high priority. I'd bet they just let him go after the season.
   21. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 31, 2017 at 07:21 PM (#5524482)
Maples is interesting, and I am totally supportive of calling him up tomorrow, but sheesh.
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 08:21 PM (#5524504)
Bob Nightengale:
The #Astros have the top prospects, but aren't offering them for #Tigers Verlander. The #Cubs willing to pay the money, but thin farm system


Hmmm
   23. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 31, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5524523)
If the Cubs can get Verlander for a couple of B/C prospects, not including the better recent draftees, I am okay with that. I don't know what the Tigers intend to do in 2018 but I would be surprised if they would accept that, even if it's all they can get. In terms of 2017, we are talking about six starts before the off-season. I guess that's worth more to the Cubs than it is to the Astros.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 09:17 PM (#5524544)
I said before, I think it's still much more likely he's moved in the off-season.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 09:47 PM (#5524570)
Cubs have been engaged last 24 hrs w/Det. regarding Justin Verlander. Confirmed he would approve deal here. Source says price still too high


From David Kaplan. More smoke...
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 31, 2017 at 11:25 PM (#5524628)
MRI revealed reaggravation of plantar faciatis for Addison Russell. Neighborhood of three weeks before he returns.


Ugh.
   27. Meatwad Posted: August 31, 2017 at 11:26 PM (#5524629)
Lots of surprising trades today, upton maybin and phillips all on the move, if only this was 2012
   28. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 31, 2017 at 11:40 PM (#5524632)
Paul Sullivan @PWSullivan
Addison [Russell] out around 3 more weeks after aggravating foot injury.
   29. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 01, 2017 at 08:55 AM (#5524718)
Verlander to the Astros for three minor leaguers (Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron) and a PTBNL or cash considerations.

I am not sure the Cubs have the equivalent of that package in their system right now, and even if they did, I wouldn't want to give it up. I think the deal makes more sense for the Astros.
   30. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 01, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5524724)
And Leonys Martin? I guess it's harmless with the expanded roster.
   31. Charles S. hopes his opening day is b4 opening day Posted: September 01, 2017 at 10:22 AM (#5524791)
If they're bringing up Freeman and Martin, that would mean two guys need to go from the 40-man. Are they ready to give up on Underwood?
   32. Brian C Posted: September 01, 2017 at 10:43 AM (#5524817)
Seth Frankoff and Jacob Hannemann look like obvious candidates to me. If Hannemann was ever going to get called up, it probably would have been before they traded for Leonys Martin.
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 01, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5524982)
Caratini, too.

---

Justin Wilson has looked much, much better lately. Maddon's been easing him back in lower leverage situations, but that's very nice to see.
   34. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 01, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5524991)
Sahadev Sharma‏Verified account @sahadevsharma 36m36 minutes ago

Right-handed pitchers Seth Frankoff and Jose Rosario DFA'd to make room for Mike Freeman and Dillon Maples on the 40-man roster.
   35. Meatwad Posted: September 01, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5525029)
martin was dfa'd earlier this year and took the assignment to AAA so he is not on the 40 man roster for the cubs.
   36. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 01, 2017 at 06:13 PM (#5525178)
Sept. 1:

1900 Cubs release Roger Bresnahan
1902 MLB debut: Johnny Evers. He's at SS, Tinker at 3B. Chance at 1B
1906 umps for STL-Cubs game have food poisoning so 1 player from each team chosen. Cubs win 14th straght
1907 Ed Reulbach, CHC enters 9th up 2-0 then gives up 8 straight hits & 7 runs
1939 Gabby Hartnett sets MLB record by catching his 1,722th game, breaking old Ray Schalk record
1958 All 16 MLB teams play in a doubleheader. This is almost certainly the last time that's ever happened
1962 Cuno Barragan, CHC, homers in 1st AB. His only MLB HR
1967 1st of 4 straight doubleheaders for CHC
1971 Fergie Jenkins HRs 2x in one game. Cubs beat Expos 5-2. His line: 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
1975 Bob Gibson Day in STL, beat CHC 6-3
1980 MLB debut: Lee Smith
1987 Billy Hatcher, HOU, ejected for using a cokred bat in 3-2 loss to CHC
2015 For the first time, the Cubs starting inield is 1B Anthony Rizzo, 2B Javier Baez, SS Addison Russell, and 3B Kris Bryant

   37. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 01, 2017 at 08:10 PM (#5525196)
   38. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 02, 2017 at 09:59 AM (#5525321)
Sept. 2:

1850 Albert Spalding born
1893 last game: King Kelly
1907 last game: Jack Taylor, the CG king
1920 Chicago Herald & Examiner rpeort 8/31 Cubs-Phils game fixed - $50th bet on Phillies to win
1929 81,000 watch morning-afternoon DH between Cubs, StL
1932 Cuyler hits his 5th HR in 6 games as Cubs win 13th in a row
1932 1,000 hits: Gabby Hartnett. 1,067 games
1941 last game: Charlie Root
1950 Phil Cavaretta, CHC, single ends Ewell Blackwell, CIN, no-hitter. Only hit in 5-1 win. 10 Ks
1951 Ken Raffensberger near-no-hitter. Only hit: 3rd inning scratch single by Eddie Miksis on ball possibly would've roll foul. CIN 7, CHC 0
1954 Russ Meyer, BRK, wins 16th straight decision over CHC, streak giong back to 1950
1955 Ernie Banks bcums 1st SS to hit 40 HRs in year
1957 Hank Aaron ties his all-time high for runs (4) & RBIs (6) in a game. Only time he ever does that. 3-for-6 w/a 2B. MIL 23, CHC 10
1965 MLB debut: Dick Selma
1965 400 homers: Ernie Banks
1969 Ron Santo does his last heel click ever.
1972 Milt Pappas almost throws perfect game. Ends up with no-hitter. Complained about it until the day he died. CHC 8, SDP 0
1981 MLB debut: Ryne Sandberg
1982 Jason Hammel born
1986 Hou 8, Chi 7 (18). Suspended for darkness after 14, finished on 9/3. Both teams got 1 in 9th, and 3 in 17th (!!) 53 players used, rcord
2002 Kerry Wood, CHC, fans 4 MIL in one inning, in 17-4 game I attended
2003 Sammy Sosa HR in bottom of the 15th: his latest one ever. Walk-off HR
2008 MLB debut: Dexter Fowler
2013 MIA 4, CHC 3 - thanks to a 3-run HR by pitcher Henderson Alvarez

   39. Brian C Posted: September 02, 2017 at 05:26 PM (#5525394)
Martin was added to the roster today and Jack Leathersich DFA'd. I'm a little surprised the Cubs would DFA a lefty who's struck out 15 hitters per 9 innings in his minor league career. Frankly I'm surprised he's not in the Cubs' pen right now.
   40. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 02, 2017 at 05:31 PM (#5525397)
I'm a little surprised the Cubs would DFA a lefty who's struck out 15 hitters per 9 innings in his minor league career. Frankly I'm surprised he's not in the Cubs' pen right now.


He can't be worse than Felix Pena.
   41. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 02, 2017 at 07:05 PM (#5525447)
Martin was added to the roster today and Jack Leathersich DFA'd. I'm a little surprised the Cubs would DFA a lefty who's struck out 15 hitters per 9 innings in his minor league career.

...and also has walked over five batters per nine innings. And he's 26.

Look, I'm sure there are organizations that have room for Leathersich on their 40-man roster. And when he lands on one, I will not be shocked to see him emerge as a successful pitcher on a major league team. This happens. It could even happen in the Cubs organization. But the question is: who gets DFA'd in his place? As I see it, the Cubs roster doesn't seem to be short on pitchers who throw hard, get a lot of strikeouts, and walk way too many batters.

He can't be worse than Felix Pena.

I don't know how Maddon feels about Leathersitch versus Peña, but we got a sense about how he feels about Peña in today's game. I'm guessing the result was not regret or anger about the Cubs DFAing Leathersich.
   42. Brian C Posted: September 02, 2017 at 11:54 PM (#5525500)
But the question is: who gets DFA'd in his place?

Well, as I said above, Jacob Hannemann seems like a good candidate, since a world in which he is a major league player is a world where you don't need Leonys Martin.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: September 03, 2017 at 01:23 AM (#5525518)
Back to #3: But the Cubs have the record to match that run differential, however it was obtained ...

post-break

LAD 31-12 .721, 3.23 ERA, 194 RS, 147 RA
CHC 31-15 .674, 3.67 ERA, 278 RS, 182 RA
WSN 29-17 .630, 3.30 ERA, 218 RS, 162 RA

#1 in RS by more than a run per game, #3 in RA, #1 in differential. Of course the schedule has helped a lot.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 03, 2017 at 09:14 AM (#5525526)
Well, as I said above, Jacob Hannemann seems like a good candidate, since a world in which he is a major league player is a world where you don't need Leonys Martin.

That may be true, but I believe the Cubs had 23 pitchers on the 40-man roster, which is a lot. Apparently the Cubs wanted a CF defensive specialist on the expanded ML roster, so they picked up Martin, and took another pitcher off the roster instead of Hannemann. We are talking about freely interchangeable, replacement-value players: nothing to see here.

#1 in RS by more than a run per game, #3 in RA, #1 in differential. Of course the schedule has helped a lot.

If you call a 5+ run differential a blowout, the Cubs are 14-3 (+85 runs) in those games since the ASB. Before the ASB, 9-14 in blowouts, and an overall run differential of zero.

   45. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 03, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5525531)
It's also a good time to acknowledge just how well the Cubs have been doing. Their opponents since the ASB have a .471 win percentage, based on their weighted current records. The Cubs kept that to a .320 win percentage. Remaining opponents have a .484 weighted expected win percentage based on their current records.

I'll tell you, it doesn't really fell like I've been watching a team playing .680 ball for the last seven weeks, and actually underperforming their Pythag by >1 win.
   46. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 03, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5525552)
Sept. 3:

1925 Bill Veeck Sr replaces Rabbit Maranville as Cubs manager after only 8 weeks. Final straw: he dumped spittoon's contents on napping player
1963 Ron Santo, CHC, has three errors in an inning at 3B. SFG 16, CHC 3
1967 Luis Gonzalez born
1970 Billy Williams consecutive game streak ends at 1,117. He says he's pooped
1971 Phillip K. Wrigley buys newspaper ad to give Leo Durocher a vote of conficdence, criticizing Cubs' "anti-Leo" faction
1986 MLB debut: Greg Maddux (as a pinch runner)


   47. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: September 03, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5525681)
I had no recollection of Maddux debuting as a pinch runner. Cool.

I do recall Kyle Schwarber debuting as a late inning defensive replacement behind the plate...
   48. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 04, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5525827)
Sept. 4:

1885 Jim McCormick, CHI, wins his 14th straight game
1891 in response to reporters who say he's too old, Anson plays a gmae in false white beard, goes 0-for-3
1902 Alex Hardy for CHC hurls shutout in his debut, first "modern" pitcher to do that. CHC 1, BRK 0
1908 PIT 1, CHC 0 (10). Johnn Evers tells ump Hank O'Day the trailing runner out at 2nd, but O'Day left the field - but he won't for the Merkle game
1916 last game: Christy Mathewson & Mordecai Brown both. CIN 10, CHC 8
1918 rain out in World Series opener
1927 STL-CHC game at Wrigley: Pete Alexander tries to climb into stands to go after a heckler. Bill Klem & players restrain him
1927 Cubs purchase Art Nehf from Reds
1930 Rogers Hornsby returns to CHC lineup following Memorial Day broken ankle
1965 MLB debut: Ken Holtzman
1967 Ernie Banks hits the 4th/last walkoff HR (off Don Sutton). Solo shot in top of 11th, game tied 1-1. CHC-LAD. Sutton now 0-7 vs CHC
2002 Cubs trade Bill Mueller to SFG
2010 TEX signs Mark Prior
2011 1,000 games: Joe Maddon: 507-493

   49. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 05, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5526146)
1967 Ernie Banks hits the 4th/last walkoff HR (off Don Sutton). Solo shot in top of 11th, game tied 1-1. CHC-LAD. Sutton now 0-7 vs CHC...

...which was extended to 0-12 into 1969. After that: 18-8.
   50. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 05, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5526161)
I had no recollection of Maddux debuting as a pinch runner. Cool.

The game was suspended due to darkness the day before, in the 15th inning with the score tied 4-4. The next day before the main event, the Astros got three runs off Dave Gumpert in the 17th, and then the Cubs tied it up on a Keith Moreland HR in the bottom of the inning. Maddux was then brought into pinch run, but the Cubs did not score any more. On the mound, Maddux promptly gave up a HR to Billy Hatcher in the bottom of the 18th for the loss.

My guess at the time was that the Cubs were mostly relieved it was over.
   51. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 05, 2017 at 12:34 PM (#5526208)
Sept. 5:

1918 World Series Game 1: BOX 1, CHC 0. Only 11 hits. Both Ruth & Vaughn go the distance
1931 Hack Wilson, CHC, bad day. In Hornsby's doghouse, left on bench while a pitcher was put in the outfield. Hack punches 2 reporters on train ride, and is suspended the rest of year
1954 in 2nd gm of doubleheader, Hank Aaron's left ankle snaps. Out for rest of the year. (MIL trailed 7-1, but came back to win 9-7 vs CHC)
1960 Candy Maldonado born
1964 Ernie Banks, CHC, belts HR & 2B in same inning. Vs. STL
1969 Billy Williams gets 4 hits: 2 2B & 2 HR. Teammates: 0 hits. PIT 9, CHC 2. Pit P Steve Blass: 4 hits - includes 3-run HR
1978 CHC-MTL use 45 players in 9-inning game. MTL 10, CHC 8
1987 Ryne Sandberg hits 3 doubles in one gmae
1992 Billy Herman dies
2008 last game: Jon Lieber

   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 05, 2017 at 09:59 PM (#5526695)
#Cubs haven't revealed MRI results yet, but either way, Joe Maddon says Jake Arrieta's next start will likely be pushed back.


Hmm.

Willson Contreras will begin rehab assignment on Thursday with advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach.


Some good news at least.
   53. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 05, 2017 at 10:20 PM (#5526713)
Arrieta has a Grade 1 right hamstring strain. He says 7-10 days, miss 1, maybe 2 starts. Montgomery will go Saturday, Hendricks Sunday
   54. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 06, 2017 at 08:58 AM (#5526889)
The Cubs bullpen now has a 5.29 ERA in the second half. In 156.2 IP: 86 BB and 168K, with 27 HR. I believe that baseball fans generally over-estimate the low points that go along with the natural ebb and flow of bullpen performance, but this is really terrible. Last night's loss was really about failing to score more than three runs against Steven Brault, but handing a one-run lead to this bullpen is a scary proposition every time.
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 06, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5526975)
Totally agree, especially about blaming the offense. The top 2nd half offense should score more than 4 runs in 3 games. On paper, Davis has been mostly fine. He's been doing a lot of that not lock down closer thing where it's almost like he's pitching to the score bullshit, so he definitely "feels" unreliable. Edwards has these blowups, and they're almost impossible to predict - well, walking the first guy on 4 pitches is usually a bad sign but he's so, so hard to hit*, that even then him giving up a bunch of hits in a row is still out of character for him. He's the guy that really should be taking the ball in that spot last night**. The Justin Wilson the Cubs traded for is the only other theoretical good option, but the Cubs didn't get that Wilson. Strop/Rondon/Koji are completely unreliable. I like Maples stuff, but he's got a lot of holes and probably is more of a 2018 thing to experiment with.


*
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka Sep 3
Best career opponent BA
last 40 seasons
(Min. 100 appearances)
.131 Carl Edwards Jr.
.155 Craig Kimbrel
.163 Aroldis Chapman

**Or Hendricks maybe could have kept going. Joe really needs to test him out more in those spots and realize he doesn't need to be so protective.
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 13h13 hours ago
Kyle Hendricks last 9 starts (since return from DL):
2.36 ERA, 53.1 IP, 51 Hits, 14 BB, 45 K, 6 HR, .250 Opp BA
   56. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 06, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5527235)
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 06, 2017 at 05:30 PM (#5527497)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 3m3 minutes ago

Contreras will get two at-bats and catch 3-4 innings tomorrow. Friday he'll DH and get ~3 at-bats. Off day and re-evaluate on Saturday.
   58. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 06, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5527526)
**Or Hendricks maybe could have kept going. Joe really needs to test him out more in those spots and realize he doesn't need to be so protective.

I'm still annoyed Maddon pulled Montgomery after 5 IP (and just 64 pitches) a few days ago for a pinch hitter with 2 out and a guy on first. As rallies go, that ain't much of one. And the non-reliable bullpen had been torched the day before in the 14-12 game.

It made no difference. Cubs won that game. Wouldn't score enough runs to win the Montgomery game. And got killed in the Arrieta game. But .... Maddon's hook is too quick too often lately; especially given the bullpen and that they're still playing 20 days without an off-day.
   59. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 06, 2017 at 07:37 PM (#5527533)
Yeah, there's a feeling this year like Maddon's still managing the 2016 World Series.
   60. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 07, 2017 at 10:08 AM (#5527715)
They held a one run lead! Three innings from the bullpen with a single baserunner (a walk) and three strikeouts.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 07, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5527740)
I finally have reached my breaking point with Heyward. I can't say it's a totally rational thing, although I can dig up plenty of support for it*. But anytime he comes up with the Cubs having any chance of scoring, I'm dreading how upset I'll be when he inevitably disappoints me. He fly out weakly to RF to end the 7th with Happ on 2nd, and he foul popped out to 3rd to end the 9th with Avila on 3rd. Neither of those are really that terrible in an of themselves, but I'm just so, so ####### tired of seeing it. Each AB usually also includes either a weak foul off of a fastball near the middle of the plate, with him lunging to even make contact. Yes, his defense in RF is still great, and the rare occasions when he's on base, he's a plus baserunner. I just don't want to see him hit ever again. He really might be the nicest guy in the world, and maybe his legendary speech is as important as some would have you believe, but I just can't stand him on the Cubs anymore.

I would rather see anyone else in RF than him; perhaps Russell's continued absence is the only thing keeping Heyward as a regular (Javy would be near FT at 2b and so Zobrist/Happ would have to spend more time in RF). I think Happ should be playing almost every day, then Jay and Schwarber the next step down, and Zobrist and Almora filling in the rest; with TLS playing more often now it's really easy to just use Heyward as a PH/defensive replacement down the stretch.

*He's not tied with Zobrist for the worst bat on the team with an 81OPS+ (Zobrist has been bad so far in Sept, but he looked alive in August at least). He's been consistently terrible - his best month was March/April with a .747 OPS and August was his worst at .627. We tried so hard to see a good stretch early in the year, but that's so so long ago now and really it just feels flukish in retrospect.
   62. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: September 07, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5527824)
that's so so long ago now and really it just feels flukish in retrospect.

And the fact that a month of .747 OPS seems flukishly good from a corner outfielder is fairly pathetic.

Anyway, I'm with you. I'm now fully convinced that Heyward's just a bad hitter. He wasn't when he was 20, but he is now.
   63. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 07, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5527841)
Whether there's lingering mental issues from the beaning (I doubt it, since he was useful at a point after that) or it's just physical (maybe his wrists are just ######, and so everything about his stupid swing is just compensating for that), there's no reason to expect anything more than what we're getting now. Yet, he's still better than last year! While he wouldn't be the first person to fall off a cliff, he's got to be one of the weirder cases based just on the timing and lack of obvious injury. He peaked offensively at 20!
   64. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: September 07, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5527892)
Yet, he's still better than last year! While he wouldn't be the first person to fall off a cliff, he's got to be one of the weirder cases based just on the timing and lack of obvious injury. He peaked offensively at 20!

His is a very strange case, to be sure.
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 07, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5527941)
Hey, a new lineup order:

Happ (CF)/Bryant/Rizzo/Zobrist/Schwarber/Baez/Heyward/Rivera/Lester.
   66. Meatwad Posted: September 07, 2017 at 02:38 PM (#5527945)
it could work. It will be very nice to get willson back into that 4th spot of the line up.
   67. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 07, 2017 at 10:24 PM (#5528207)
Most starts (min 5 IP) allowing 1 or 0 runs
2016-17
28 Jon Lester #Cubs
24 Max Scherzer #Nationals
23 Clayton Kershaw #Dodgers


It wasn't pretty most of the night, with a bunch of of pitches, walks, and hard hit balls early before cruising the last few innings.
   68. Ardo Posted: September 08, 2017 at 02:04 AM (#5528256)
He peaked offensively at 20!
One of Heyward's comps, Claudell Washington, also had his best offensive season at age 20. Washington, like Heyward, was a top prospect who had a fine career, but never developed into a star.
   69. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 08, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5528415)
It was a given that Heyward would have a good game after I talked #### about him - this catch and a solid single and double.
   70. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 08, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5528513)
Sept. 8:

1907 MLB debut: Heinie Zimmerman
1947 CHC SP Ox Miller hits game-winning slam, but doesn't last 5 IP for the win. CHC 4, PIT 3
1953 Cubs sign Ernie Banks
1969 Ump blows calls: says Tommie Agee safe at plate. NYM 3, CHC 2. Cub lead down to 1.5 games
1977 CHC Bruce Sutter fans 6 straight MTL at Wrigley Field. Retires side in 9th on 3 pitches (3 Ks)
1985 4,191 hits: Pete Rose. CIN vs CHC game
1986 MLB debut: Rafael Palmeiro
1998 McGwire hits his 62nd home run. STL 6, CHC 3
   71. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 08, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5528519)
It's a little early for this, but I mentioned in the chatter last night, if the Cubs had to turn in a postseason roster today, Justin Wilson doesn't make it, right? With the Cubs: 12.1IP, 5.84ERA, 13, 12BB, 12K, but somehow no HRs yet, while allowing 2 inherited guys (out of 5) to score.

BTW, even though Duesing has been good, I knew there was a reason like I felt he's been worse than the numbers - he's allowed 26 of 31 inherited runners to score!
   72. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 08, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5528656)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 56m56 minutes ago

Contreras began rehab assignment at High A Myrtle Beach last night, but #Cubs will need to find another way to get him ready after tonight.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 56m56 minutes ago

Carolina League playoffs getting cut short due to Irma. Myrtle will not play beyond tonight. Season over for other #Cubs’ affiliates.

Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal 57m57 minutes ago

Contreras coming off right hamstring strain. Will need to see pitching and simulate up-and-down nature of catching. #Cubs will develop plan.

Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal 30m30 minutes ago

Sorry, one #Cubs affiliate still alive: Eugene in Class A Northwest League. Begin finals tomorrow. Could be possibility for Contreras.
   73. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 08, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5528764)
BTW, even though Duesing has been good, I knew there was a reason like I felt he's been worse than the numbers - he's allowed 26 of 31 inherited runners to score!


I think you read that backwards. Per Baseball-Reference (Reliever Pitching table) he's allowed 5 (IS) of 31 (IR) inherited runners to score.
   74. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 08, 2017 at 03:41 PM (#5528773)
if the Cubs had to turn in a postseason roster today, Justin Wilson doesn't make it, right?


Goodness knows I wouldn't want him anywhere near the pitcher's mound in anything remotely resembling a high-leverage playoff situation, but when I was thinking through the playoff roster a week or two ago, I'm not sure there are 25 guys who are obviously better choices.

C: Contreras, Avila
IF: Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, [Russell], Zobrist, LaStella
OF: Schwarber, Happ, Jay, Almora, Heyward
SP: Arrieta, Lester, Hendricks, Quintana
RP: Montgomery, Duensing, Rondon, Edwards, Strop, Davis

That's 23 guys. I'm skeptical that Russell will be healthy by then, although nobody else on that roster other than Baez can really play shortstop, so maybe Russell would have to be replaced by Mike Freeman.

So, that leaves two slots. Maybe you put Leonys Martin in one, on the basis of why else bother acquiring him a few minutes before the deadline. On the other hand, he hasn't really done much and I tend to think "designated pinch runner" is overrated as being worth a roster spot.

But even with Freeman and Martin using up two slots, there's still a free slot, which I assume will be filled by a reliever. Your choices are Uehara, Wilson, Grimm, or John Lackey. Basically, it's "best of a bad lot", but Wilson might just make the most sense there, given that he's the only one of the four who's left-handed.

EDIT: It might be more accurate to drop Rondon down to the Uehara, Wilson, Grimm, Lackey group and say "pick 2 of 5" to fill out the roster.
   75. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 08, 2017 at 04:14 PM (#5528810)
Your choices are Uehara, Wilson, Grimm, or John Lackey. Basically, it's "best of a bad lot", but Wilson might just make the most sense there, given that he's the only one of the four who's left-handed.

Would one of those other guys throwing left-handed necessarily be worse than Wilson has pitched?
   76. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 08, 2017 at 05:44 PM (#5528882)
BTW, even though Duesing has been good, I knew there was a reason like I felt he's been worse than the numbers - he's allowed 26 of 31 inherited runners to score!

No, he's STRANDED 26 inherited runners and five have scored. Allowing 26/31 to score would be virtually impossible. And way, way worse than Wilson's 12 bad innings. The overall numbers are bad for Wilson, but I would take a lot more stock in his 42 appearances with Detroit than the 15 he's had with the Cubs. Before his last two terrible outings he had six straight really good ones. I trust him no more or less than I do Strop, Rondon, Uehara and Edwards.
   77. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 08, 2017 at 06:07 PM (#5528893)
Guys, I'm never wrong. I'm clearly the only person who realizes how terrible Duensing is.

Carrie Muskat‏ @CarrieMuskat 1h1 hour ago

#Cubs injury updates: Russell is jogging and feeling better. Contreras will rejoin team on Sat. Arrieta ok, just resting


Wouldn't you put the 2nd thing first?
   78. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 08, 2017 at 06:09 PM (#5528895)
Wouldn't you put the 2nd thing first?

You can't, because then it would be the 1st thing.
   79. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 08, 2017 at 09:19 PM (#5528941)
Face has a point.
   80. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5529619)
Sept. 11:

1896 Cap Anson wins his 1,226th game as manager, surpassing Harry Wright as all-time leader
1900 MLB debut: Johnny Kling, catcher
1917 CHC celebrate Military Day at Wrigley, CHC beat CIN in both ends of d-header
1918 World Series Game 6: BOX 2, CHC 1. Only 8 hits total (5 for BOX, 3 for CHC). Ends it
1956 Yogi Berra, NYY, ties Gabby Hartnett's rcord of 177 HR by a catcher in 9-5 NYY win over KCA
1967 HOU ties NL record using 8 pitchers in 9-innig game: HOU 11, CHC 10
1968 Fergie Jenkins loses his 5th 1-0 game of the year, a record. NYM 1, CHC 0
1969 PHI beats CHC when Dick Selma unexpectedly tries to pick runner off third and Ron Santo didn't expct it (Cubs led 1-0 in 3rd)
1973 Cubs sell Rico Carty to A's
1973 2,000 wins as manager: Leo Durocher: 2,000-1,702
1976 MLB debut: Andre Dawson
1982 Milt Pappas's wife disappears. All sorts of rumors, but she accidentally drove into a pond and drowned. Car found 5 years later
1998 MIL 13, CHC 11 - part of wildest series in Wrigley hisotry
2004 LaTroy Hawkins, CHC, fans FLA side on 9 pitches in 9th

   81. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:05 PM (#5529699)
This weekend sucked.
   82. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5529712)
This weekend sucked.

Yeah, I was going to write up a new post, but then realized I had nothing to say except this.
   83. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5529726)
La caca, es en la cama.
   84. Meatwad Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5529732)
it was a bit of a #### show. i hope addison is able to somehow come back soon. need to get the regular guys back playing and hitting again otherwise they might not even make the playoffs.
   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 11, 2017 at 01:50 PM (#5529749)
Last update made it sound like Russell isn't coming back soon - and honestly, even if he did, that's not really going to help the offense that much. Willson being back should help, but Rivera and Avila both him just fine in his absence.

Bryant has been bad this month - .176/.300/.294; his last HR was 8/31, and before that were on 8/26 and 8/17. His lack of consistent power this year has been odd, just like his unclutchness.

Rizzo's been off this month, too - .258/.333/.355. Both of those aren't even 2 weeks, but when both of them scuffle at the same time the offense just seems to really suck (except right after the AS break when Contreras was on his tear).

Schwarber's not starting much right now. Baez has been consistently himself, which is both good and bad mixed. Zobrist and Heyward have been bad. Happ is up and down and not playing all the time. Jay still is fine.

I'm not ready to draw bigger pictures here - like the Cubs can't hit good pitching, which is something I've seen floating around - but the feast or famine extremeness of this year has been annoying.
   86. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 12, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5530186)
Sept. 12:

1891 Abner Dalrymple hits for the cycle
1932 Johnny Freerick hits his 6th PH homer of yr - MLB record. In btm of 9th w/ 1 on to win 4-3. BRK (his team) beats CHC 4-3
1972 Billy Williams hits into 3 GIDP. 0-for-4 w/ a K
1982 Ryne Sandberg hits his only leadoff HR
1998 CHC 15, MIL 12 - part of greatest series ever at Wrigley. Sosa hits #60



   87. Covfefe Posted: September 12, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5530218)
I was at the finale of that 1998 Milwaukee series -- which they also won in a walk-off after coming back from two runs down in the 9th on a Gaetti single and then a Gracie homer in the 10th to win it. I very much remember the 9th inning - the Brewers tacked on an insurance run in the top half, IIRC - turning to my buddy and saying "This sucks, we should have gone yesterday"... only to be treated to another walk-off thriller.

Beyond playoff series, of course, I struggle with remembering specific regular season series that stick out -- I mean, I can sort of vaguely remember series that were critical in clinching a division or sowing up a WC here or there, but very much yes on that Milwaukee series. Three high-scoring weekend games in the heat of a playoff chase, capped with a couple walk-off comebacks?

That was a weird season... It was an enormously exciting September - even beyond the Sosa chase - but I do very much remember going into the playoffs without much hope of going anywhere. Even the euphoria after the game 163 quickly dissipated into a sort of "well, that was fun... now it's on to getting swept by the Braves". Whether it was just a sober recognition of the reality of facing a juggernaut Braves team or just that the September felt like it was "enough" fun for a season, that was the only time I can remember going into the playoffs without much in the way of even irrationally exuberant expectations and not being as crest fallen as I had been previously or would be thereafter, when the run ended.... almost like an epilogue that you read because, well, there's an epilogue but you know it's not really going to move the story forward or whatnot.
   88. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 12, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5530219)
1998 CHC 15, MIL 12 - part of greatest series ever at Wrigley. Sosa hits #60

I'm partial to 9/1-9/4 2003, when the Cubs won 4 of 5 against the Cards, including a Sosa walk-off in the 15th and 2 add'l 1 run wins (IIRC, both were comeback ones).
   89. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 12, 2017 at 04:04 PM (#5530313)
Lineup:

Zobrist
Bryant
Rizzo
Contreras!!!!!
Happ
Schwarber
Heyward
Baez
Quintana

I don't want to see Heyward in there. How about going back to the pitcher hitting 8th and put Javy 7th, with Jay in RF and hitting 9th?
   90. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: September 12, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5530327)
I was at the finale of that 1998 Milwaukee series -- which they also won in a walk-off after coming back from two runs down in the 9th on a Gaetti single and then a Gracie homer in the 10th to win it. I very much remember the 9th inning - the Brewers tacked on an insurance run in the top half, IIRC - turning to my buddy and saying "This sucks, we should have gone yesterday"... only to be treated to another walk-off thriller.

Do you still have your Gracie the Swan beanie baby?
   91. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 12, 2017 at 06:08 PM (#5530420)
Per the twitters, arrieta threw today but will not be back to start against the cards this weekend. Also Contreras is scheduled to not catch 9 innings tonight, so he'll probably be switched out at some point.
   92. Walt Davis Posted: September 12, 2017 at 08:22 PM (#5530443)
Especially with that lineup, I can see no rational reason not to have Javy 7th and Heyward 8th. You break up the LHB, you minimize Heyward's PAs and you're less likely to waste men on-base with a Heyward squib back to the pitcher. I can see some logic of Javy 8th, otherwise he'd never walk, but it's not like Heyward's OBP couldn't use a boost.

Cub OF OPS+ and dWAR (includes lots of 2B for Zo, a little for Happ):

Heyward 82, 1.1
Zobrist 83, -0.1
Almora 89, 0.1 (his D has been a disappointment this year)
Schwarber 94, -1.2
Jay 94, -0.6
Happ 116, -0.2

(Note, those minuses aren't that bad given the negative Rpos for corners.)

I still tend towards "if nobody but Happ can hit, let's put the best D out there." (Happ/Almora/Heyward ... with some Jay vs RHP.) That said, Schwarber is hitting 239/333/528 in the 2nd half which is a 124 sOPS+ so Schwarber/Happ/Heyward might be our best mix of offense and defense. He's still below replacement on the year though ... Zobrist has pushed himself comfortably above replacement.

And of course as lousy as his defense is, LaStella's 121 OPS+ and 377 OBP is screaming to lead off and play 2B against RHP.

Is it time to start seriously griping about Maddon's 2017 performance? He's really seemed stuck in a rut -- Schwarber, Zo, Heyward, probably too much Jay, not enough LaStella, Javy batting 8th, Hendricks not going deep into games (this might finally be changing), pretty much still the same bullpen usage patterns. I hate to say it but he seems like he's managing by spreadsheet. It reminds me of myself playing Diamond Mind or similar where I know the next outcome is random and that the underlying "true talent" hasn't changed since the season started so if DM tells me that Zo was the better option at 2B on April 2 then, by god, that's obviously still the correct decision on Sept 12.

OK, not that stuck in a rut -- he's still doles out a lot of PT through lineup rotation but it seems the same pattern as what he started with. Only Rizzo and Bryant will clear 600 PAs, Javy might be the only other one to be qualified (Heyward, Zo and Schwarber will all be close). If Russell had been healthy he'd have qualified but then Javy probably not.
   93. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 13, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5530718)
Almora 89, 0.1 (his D has been a disappointment this year)

He's played so little and inconsistently, and quite frankly his defense still passes the eye test for me, that I'm perfectly comfortable calling him a good defender, and thus going by your criteria, my preferred OF is Scwharber/Almora/Happ with Jay mixed in there (and since Jay doesn't have a platoon split - this year or his career - it might actually be Schwarber sitting against LHP for Jay). I'll admit some of it is irrational with Heyward, but even as a plus defender, it's just RF so I really don't think his positive defense makes up for it.

Also, Schwarber since his recall is hitting .244/.337/.538. So I wouldn't really want to use full season numbers for him in doling out this PT.

Is it time to start seriously griping about Maddon's 2017 performance?

Yes, I think so. I'm not sure I completely agree with your list per se, but there are quite a few things worth complaining about (my biggest gripe remains how long he let Schwarber flounder hitting leadoff). The overall PT looks like he's done a good job big picture resting guys and filling in around injuries. Except, of course, for Heyward. And Zobrist when his wrist was still hurt.

Outside of using guys who were bad/struggling in key moments (he stayed with Koji too long when it was obvious his stuff was faltering; he kept faith in Grimm way too long), I don't really have a huge problem in the overall bullpen usage. Maybe he could have used Davis a little more, but everyone in the pen has cycled through good/bad/good stretches in a very unpredictable way (as bullpens tend to do).

I think you nailed the underlying theme with most of our complaints - faith in guys playing up to career norms, with the glaringly obvious exception of his inability to trust Hendricks. From the outside, it seems like that sort of even handedness should be successful with this talented of a team and should help when things aren't going poorly.
   94. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 13, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5530750)
I get a kick out of the fact that when you go to b-ref, the six main bench guys have OPS+s of: 121, 116, 109, 108, 101, and 94. Now, that's partially how you define who's a bench player (Baez is the 101) but .... as frustrating as this season has been with some of the big names you expect to do well not doing that well (Zobrist, Schwarber, Russell, Lester - arguably Heyward after all the talk of his off-season swing rebuild), the team's depth has really been strong for them.
   95. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 13, 2017 at 11:25 AM (#5530753)
Oh, and Chris Bosio was on The Score this morning. I didn't hear it but the mid-day show said he sounded reaaaaaally leery on letting Arrieta back soon. Matt Spiegel said it sounds like Arrieta is one tweak away from being shut down for the year. They're leery of that leg and pushing it too much. Again, this is all third-hand as I didn't hear the actual interview.
   96. Covfefe Posted: September 13, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5530762)
Do you still have your Gracie the Swan beanie baby?


Ha! Like virtually all giveaways I got during that period in my life, it did not survive the postgame celebrations in wrigleyville.

However, on a lark - just texted the buddy I attended the game with and he (or rather his now-wife/then-GF) does indeed still have his.

Sadly - or fortunately, in my case - I see they're only going for about $25 on ebay... so at least I'm not missing out on a fortune!
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 13, 2017 at 01:37 PM (#5530882)
I hope he sees it here, but I think this tweet was written with Elroy Face specifically in mind:

David Roth‏ @david_j_roth 3h3 hours ago

/Enters MLB game as relief pitcher, laboriously warms up for entirety of Neil Young's "Cowgirl In The Sand," walks one batter, gets removed
   98. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 13, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5530913)
Whoever that guy is, he's now my second favorite David Roth.
   99. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 13, 2017 at 03:19 PM (#5531000)
Cubs' newest crazy money scheme: Pay a $50 deposit to be entered into the postseason ticket raffle; they'll refund it if you don't get picked or use the money. So, 2 months interest on a bunch of money from suckers is a nice little cash infusion.

Yes, I registered, why do you ask?
   100. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 13, 2017 at 06:14 PM (#5531167)
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