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Monday, August 14, 2017

Now or Never

That makes things sound more dire than they really are, but for my sake at least, if the Cubs have any chance at still making noise this season, we really need to see another one of those dominating stretches over the next few weeks.  The Cubs padded their stats last year against the Reds, and it’d be nice to see some more of that.

It’s a little disheartening to see the Cubs roll out a lineup that still has Zobrist and his .662 OPS hitting clean-up followed by Schwarber and his .731 OPS and 70% krate following and realizing it really is pretty close to the best option at the moment.  Jay seems to have established himself as an everyday, or near everyday player, locking down the leadoff spot.  Bryant and Rizzo both are going through mini-power slumps again*, and this is where Contreras’s injury really hurts the Cubs.  I guess Baez has been on a good streak lately, but there’s still something about his ABs that is different with runners on or in a big spot (and then he runs into another hanging curve and it’s easy to forget the 3 pitch Ks where none of the pitches are close to the zone).  Heyward - again, still yuck.

If Schwarber doesn’t have a big series, I’d be tempted to just bench him and write off this season (not sure they’d send him back to AAA, but I’d consider it).  Give Almora and LaStella more regular starts, and at the expense of Heyward and Zobrist.  When Russell comes back (and I haven’t see anything on him for a while now), leave Javy in the rotation ahead of Zobrist.  I’m fine with Happ starting every other day or so when perhaps the matchup is better for him, but I would rather see him playing than Zobrist or Heyward. 

I think the starting pitching is beginning to sort itself out, but at this point, I’m really focused on the offense as I think the arms are what they are at this point, including the inconsistent pen. 

*Bryant’s HR was the best part of yesterday, and they’ve talked a lot about how his pinky injury seems to still be bugging him.  How fun was that .818/.867/1.273 series he just had, by the way?

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 14, 2017 at 04:40 PM | 117 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 14, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5513098)
Tonight's lineup: Jay/Bryant/Rizzo/Zobrist/Schwarber/Avila/Heyward/Baez/Quintana. Joe really should be breaking up that run of bad to mediocre lefties better.
   2. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 14, 2017 at 06:03 PM (#5513136)
I'd move Zobrist and Schwarber deeper in the order. But I am fine with loading up the lineup with lefty hitters tonight.

The Cubs as a team have basically been good Schwarber against the Reds this year, hitting .254/.356/.485 against them in 354 PAs, with 18 HR. They are 6-3 so far. The pitching hasn't been so great but they haven't faced them in awhile. I agree that they need to show them who's boss.

   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 14, 2017 at 07:12 PM (#5513149)
When's Russell getting off the DL?
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 14, 2017 at 07:36 PM (#5513157)
@CSNMooney: Joe Maddon on Addison Russell (strained foot): “I’ve not heard anything positive in regards to him being back anytime soon.”
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 14, 2017 at 07:39 PM (#5513160)
@MDGonzales: Zobrist scratched due to stiff neck
   6. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 14, 2017 at 07:50 PM (#5513163)
FFS. The injury bug's getting a little ridiculous.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5513174)
Heyward -- still fine, the glove is still excellent, his bat could be hidden if everybody else was hitting they way they should (and Russell was healthy). But I don't see much reason to keep trotting Schwarber/Zobrist out to the OF at the expense of Almora/Happ. Certainly Jay/Almora/Heyward is way better defensively and not really going to cost offensively.

That said, if you want to get a power hitter back on track, Cinci with their 85 ERA+ and team 1.7 HR/9 is the staff to pit him against so hopefully Schwarber will find a groove.

Until Russell's back, I realize the 2B options are slim and none of Zobrist, Happ, LaStella are great options there. God only knows what happens if Baez gets hurt -- what's Brendan Ryan up to these days?

Also I know Javy has a history of getting wild when he moves up the order but under the circumstances, I think we have to try. That middle of Zo, Kyle, Avila, Heyward is just awful. Might also be time to bat the pitcher 8th again, putting a decent OBP bat 9th (Zo?) so that we can get some runners on ahead of Bryant and Rizzo.

To wit -- Bryant reached base 13 times that series, scored just 3 runs, one driving in himself. He also drove in just 4. For that matter, over the last 9, it's 24 times on base and just 5 runs. We've either got to get better production behind Bryant/Rizzo or more runners on in front of them. Byrant has hit 294/405/530 and he's on pace for less than 75 RBI (but over 100 scored).
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2017 at 04:00 AM (#5513387)
By the way, in other threads, I've seen some mention of Bryant struggling with men on base and/or RISP. He's doing OK, main problem being a 246 BABIP with RISP. B-R's game log gives an RBI opportunity count and he's got his 51 RBI with 251 men on base -- which doesn't seem very good until you read that an average MLBer with that many PAs would have 55 RBI with 284 men on base. Obviously a guy with power who drives himself in a good bit would be expected to out-perform the average MLer but the 33 fewer men on base doesn't help.

I have no idea what a typical ratio would be but (per his splits) 123 of his 251 runners have come with 2 outs. In those 86 PA, he's got 16 hits, 14 BB and 3 HBP vs just 14 Ks. The line's not awesome at 232/384/406 but it's hardly terrible.
   9. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5513449)
Aug. 15:

1910 Mordecai Brown allows 11 hits in SHO: CHC 14, BRK 0
1936 Lew Richie, Cub pitcher, dies
1953 Ransom Jackson, CHC, grounds into 3 DP in game vs BOB, Cubs lose 2-0
1964 Mayor Daley declares "Ernie Banks Day" in Chicago. He goes hitless: PIT 5, CHC 4
1965 100 homers: Billy Williams
1981 CHC 4, PIT 0 (15). Walk-off error. Ouch.

   10. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5513461)
1981 CHC 4, PIT 0 (15). Walk-off error. Ouch.

That should be CHC 4, PIT 3 (15). I was thinking wow, that must have been some error.
   11. Lassus Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5513467)
That makes things sound more dire than they really are, but for my sake at least, if the Cubs have any chance at still making noise this season

I don't mean to be a concern troll, but aren't you guys in first place?
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5513468)
You're overthinking it, Walt. One, Bryant *should* be better than the average guy in those situations, and the fact that he isn't is why it's been frustrating.

Bryant RISP: .230/.346/.448, 23K in 107PA
Bryant no men on: .310/.418/.585, 59K in 294PA

Now, I assume most players have somewhat similar splits, but is that more extreme than average? I don't know.

In high leverage chances per bb-ref, he's hitting .130/.287/.203 in 87 PA; in close & late, he's hitting .200/.384/.345. Again, how much worse than average is that; IOW, is his dropoff in those situations worse than most? I'd guess so.

FG has a clutch stat, and FWIW, Bryant is easily the worst this year in that stat. That's just what it *feels* like watching him. Like last night, he's on this amazing run and comes up with the bases loaded and 1 out and he pops out to short CF, not even deep enough to score the runner on 3rd with Billy Hamilton's arm to run on. It's probably just a fluke, but it's been an annoying one this year.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5513472)
I'm not a Cubs fan, so forgive the intrusion. But I notice the last 2 thread titles are "A Crucial Time" and "Now or Never." What makes these early and mid August games urgently important compared to late August, September, and any potentially playoff series? They are in a close 3-team division race, I think everything would be important here on out. But if you had to pick a stretch that is especially crucial, I would choose the 3 weeks in September that contain 13 games against the Cardinals and Brewers.
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5513477)
What makes these early and mid August games urgently important compared to late August, September, and any potentially playoff series? They are in a close 3-team division race, I think everything would be important here on out. But if you had to pick a stretch that is especially crucial, I would choose the 3 weeks in September that contain 13 games against the Cardinals and Brewers.

I don't think there is disagreement. He frames it a little differently than just winning the division.

That makes things sound more dire than they really are, but for my sake at least, if the Cubs have any chance at still making noise this season, we really need to see another one of those dominating stretches over the next few weeks. 


We keep hoping the 2017 Cubs will show some of that 2016 magic. They will need to find a higher level if they're going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs. If the postseason started today the Cubs would be there but there is no feeling (for me) that they would actually compete. Since they're entering a soft stretch in the schedule we would hope to see them do more than limp along.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:55 AM (#5513498)
What makes these early and mid August games urgently important compared to late August, September, and any potentially playoff series?

The focus is on the regular season, and strength of schedule. The "Crucial Time" refers to the just completed 15-game stretch mostly against teams with winning records (MIL, SF, ARI on the road; WAS and ARI at home) in which they went 7-8 -- this is where the wheels could have fallen off, but they didn't. Now it's "Now or Never." They have a very weak schedule the rest of the season, facing intradivision rivals who trail them in a weak division, and otherwise pretty weak teams. If they don't pull it off, they weren't good enough.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:58 AM (#5513507)
Until Russell's back, I realize the 2B options are slim and none of Zobrist, Happ, LaStella are great options there.

At this point, I think LaStella might be the best option at 2b (or he can spot start at 3rd and Bryant slide into the OF depending on which underachiever you're sitting that day). It's only 327PA, but in his 3 years as a Cub TLS is hitting .280/.366/.426*, which is a bit better than anything we've getting offensively from the Zobrist/Heyward/Schwarber axis of suck. Defensively, I don't see a significant difference between him, Zobrist, and Happ at 2nd.

Heyward -- still fine, the glove is still excellent, his bat could be hidden if everybody else was hitting they way they should

But everybody else isn't, so it's currently a problem. With Russell out, Maddon should be doing a lot more mixing of the axis of suck and stop playing multiple of them at the same time (it's especially awful when all 3 are in there together, which is the most common occurrence). Like I said above, give Almora more CF time, which moves Jay to LF** and you can live with a RF rotation of Zobrist/Heyward/Bryant (with TLS at 3rd or Baez there when Russell is back); I'd say the overall OF defense is better when it's Jay/Almora/whoever than Schwarber/Jay/Heyward no matter how brilliant Heyward is in RF. Happ can start 3 or so times a week, mixed in at various spots***. Zobrist/Heyward shouldn't start more than Happ IMO.

I'm fine giving Schwarber this series as a last shot, and while it was nice he got on 3 times last night that was more about the Reds pitching than him; he still is having major problems timing and squaring up just about every type of pitch.

*How much of that is because he's only played in small doses (even though Joe does like to start him against the better pitchers)
**I think both Jay and Happ are currently below average CF; I think Happ has the tools to be a decent one with more experience.
***Or send him down to play everyday
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5513510)
I don't mean to be a concern troll, but aren't you guys in first place?

By 1.5 measly games over a poor (IMO) Cardinals team, with a not quite ready Brewers right on their tail and the Pirates still in the picture. No one expected this to be a close race, and the Cubs haven't made any sort of extended run this year except for right after the AS break. Yeah, I want them to win the division, but it's going to be pretty ####### empty if they do and just get swept out in the NLDS. Maybe it really just is the Dodgers' year, but coming into the season we sure expected it to be a competitive playoffs.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5513520)
while it was nice he got on 3 times last night that was more about the Reds pitching than him;

He managed to get hit in both feet.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5513524)

By 1.5 measly games over a poor (IMO) Cardinals team, with a not quite ready Brewers right on their tail and the Pirates still in the picture. No one expected this to be a close race, and the Cubs haven't made any sort of extended run this year except for right after the AS break. Yeah, I want them to win the division, but it's going to be pretty ####### empty if they do and just get swept out in the NLDS. Maybe it really just is the Dodgers' year, but coming into the season we sure expected it to be a competitive playoffs.
I'm not trying to be pedantic, but doesn't a hot streak at any later point in the season than mid-August (October especially & tautologically) better foreshadow a result that is superior than getting swept out of the NLDS?
   20. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5513527)
doesn't a hot streak at any later point in the season than mid-August (October especially & tautologically) foreshadow a result that is better than getting swept out of the NLDS?

In all honesty, does it (obviously in the playoffs, but haven't we seen enough hot teams in September do nothing come October)?

It's not about a hot streak, it's about the Cubs turning into the great team we expected them to be, beating up on the bad teams like they did last year. If they have a hot streak at the end of the season, it could simply be a hot streak. If the Cubs turn into a dominating team now and play that way through the rest of the season, they're more likely to be a force in the playoffs because it's more evidence to suggest they're a great team than a random hot streak or two would. To be pedantic, I never asked for a hot streak.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5513529)
"dominating stretches over the next few weeks" sounds like a hot streak to me. But from your clarification, I think you meant more of excellent playing over the rest of the season, rather than the next few weeks in particular.
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5513539)
Well, the longer it takes for them to start having dominating stretches, the more likely it's just a hot streak. So now that it's mid-August, there's not a whole lot of time to for them show they're capable of more unless they start now.

Yet, they could still playing this game the rest of the year, back into the division, and turn into a great team in October. It's not likely, but that's always still possible.
   23. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:32 AM (#5513542)
not even deep enough to score the runner on 3rd with Billy Hamilton's arm to run on

Realizing it's tangential to your point about Bryant, doesn't Hamilton have a pretty good arm?
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5513545)
doesn't Hamilton have a pretty good arm?

Maybe, but Burr had a gun.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:10 PM (#5513576)
I...don't know. I always just assumed he didn't - he doesn't look like he has a strong arm, and I can't recall seeing him throw anyone out recently. He also had shoulder surgery last offseason, IIRC. So, I am assuming here, but could be wrong. Maybe I'm just mixing the rest of his skills with Juan Pierre's, since they do have other overlaps.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5513588)
His 2-RBI hit last night notwithstanding, how in the hell is Billy Hamilton still batting leadoff for a major league team with a career sub-.300 OBP and a 70 OPS+? In 1977, sure, but in 2017?
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5513591)
I think Hamilton's throwing arm has a reputation of mediocrity. But he gets to so many balls it barely matters.

"dominating stretches over the next few weeks" sounds like a hot streak to me. But from your clarification, I think you meant more of excellent playing over the rest of the season, rather than the next few weeks in particular.

They're in first place, but they have three teams within striking distance, all of which have had recent stretches of good play, except one (Milwaukee, 2.5 GB), which spent about half the season in first place. I think it's best to assume that the Cubs need to play well from here on out in order to win the division. Fangraphs currently has them going 27-17 the rest of the season (.604), which doesn't leave them room for much of a bad stretch, and would get them to 89 wins.
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5513594)
His 2-RBI hit last night notwithstanding, how in the hell is Billy Hamilton still batting leadoff for a major league team with a career sub-.300 OBP and a 70 OPS+? In 1977, sure, but in 2017?

This. And what better options are there?
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5513607)
FG's current top 10 Cubs prospects:

1. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
2. Victor Caratini, C/1B
3. Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
4. Jose Albertos, RHP
5. Thomas Hatch, RHP
6. Aramis Ademan, SS
7. Alex Lange, RHP
8. Brendon Little, LHP
9. Mark Zagunis, 3B
10. D.J. Wilson, CF
   30. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 02:23 PM (#5513736)
At some point in the recent past, I made reference to the fact that I had an inexplicble dislike for Scooter Gennett, mostly because of his name. Well, after hearing the story of how he got that name:

Gennett found himself at a police station as a young child because he was giving his mother problems with wearing his seat belt. She took her son in to scare him into wearing it, and left with a surprising twist.

In an attempt to avoid trouble with the law, the mischievous young Gennett gave officers a fake first name. “I told the cops Scooter Gennett because that was my favorite Muppet Babies character. I kind of just used it as an alias, I thought I would get in trouble if I told them my real name.”

Both the police officers and Gennett’s mother were not expecting the youngster to give an alias. “She was shocked, she didn’t know that that was my favorite character. It kind of surprised her. She gave me a nudge to tell them my real name and I still didn’t. I just rolled with it.”

Gennett decided he liked his new identity so much he stopped responding to his real name. “For about a year or so I didn’t answer to Ryan. To get me to do anything, my parents and everyone would have to call me Scooter. It kind of just stuck.”


Plus the fact he's using his real name as his nickname on his jersey for that players weekend thing - Ryan - and this quote after pitching last night:

Gennett: “I don’t know what I was hitting, 95, 96...”

Reporters: “68.”

Gennett: “Yeah, I don’t believe that. I think the radar gun might be broken or something. That, Statcast, off-the-bat speed, all that’s fake news.”


####, I'm a Scooter Gennett fan now.
   31. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5513758)
You just made all of those names in #29 up, Moses.
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5513807)
Prove it.

I'm not creative to come up with Adbert. I also would have had to sneak in a Scooter. I am happy with the possibility for another Aramis.
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5513816)
Joe's been reading my work! Tonight's lineup: Jay(LF)/LaStella/Bryant/Rizzo/Caratini/Almora/Heyward/Baez/Hendricks. TLS is probably just playing cause Zobrist's neck still hurts. Though I do agree he should totally move Baez up:

Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 1m1 minute ago
Javier Báez in August (12 games):
.326/.367/.696, 10 Runs, 5 HR, 14 RBI #Cubs
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5513821)
I'm not creative to come up with Adbert.

Come on, everyone knows that's a Scott Adams character. I believe he was an incompetent marketing exec.
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 04:16 PM (#5513822)
One of the problem I think I'm seeing with Jay's defense is his speed, or rather, his lack thereof. Only Granderson is a slower CF, and those are the only two CF below league average. I continue to be impressed with Happ's speed, thus my hope he gets better with repetition (I think he has good baseball instincts, he's just not natural in CF yet, and well, he'd probably be a great defensive LF if it came to that).
   36. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5513908)
Jays just released Coghlan; do the Cubs go for round 3 with him? There doesn't appear to be a need or room, but there really wasn't last year either.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 15, 2017 at 05:40 PM (#5513910)
Eh, as you've pointed out, the role of "ineffective LH bat" seems to be pretty well filled at this point.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 05:54 PM (#5513919)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 11s11 seconds ago

From what I can tell (I'm about 95% sure), before Mike Montgomery, last #Cubs reliever with a bases loaded double was Tot Pressnell 5/1/42


Dag?
   39. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5513973)
My position on Heyward is that (a) he's doing about what we expected (but not what we hoped) and (b) if your choices are between struggling bats who are mediocre fielders and a struggling bat who's an excellent fielder, you start the latter (the vast majority of the time). What puzzles me more is why we aren't seeing more of Almora under these circumstances.

Jay/Almora/Heyward is a solid defensive OF and no worse offensively than what we've been trotting out. Mix Happ in there and at 2B. I do like the idea of some TLS at 3B and Bryant in the OF (I should have thought of that!)

On "crucial" and "now or never" -- well, y'know, a good headline sells. :-) Mostly explained above but the earlier stretch was "crucial" because it was against other potential playoff teams. Coming off a hot streak where we finally wedged our way into first place, it was a test of just how good this team is right now. We could have folded and dropped out of first again or we could have romped and we'd be thinking maybe 2016 or at least 2015 was here again. Instead we muddled suggesting our record is a fair reflection of our quality.

"Now or never" I take as more the notion that if we're going to win the division reasonably easily, it's now or never -- crap teams on the schedule, time for another run like the one coming out of the break. Sure, a hot streak at any time over the next 6 weeks may do the trick. But given the quality of the competition over the next couple of weeks, this is the most likely time to pad the win column. So I'm hoping for something like 12-6 over the next 3 weeks and a 4-game lead in early Sept. That will reduce my nervous tension.

As to the playoffs -- I'm now pretty much resigned to relying on the crapshoot. I didn't think we were as good as the Dodgers but I thought we might (underneath it all) really be at least as good as the Nats and certainly better than Rox/DBacks. That "crucial" stretch did kinda convince me that this just ain't our year in terms of enough cylinders firing right, that we're probably further off the Dodgers than I thought and nothing special relative to the WC teams. And, oy, bullpen troubles again. Doesn't mean we can't get lucky/hot at the right time but at this point I'll be happy/relieved if we can go on a nice run here and at least open a mildly comfy divisional lead. So it's "now or never" in terms of reducing my stress.
   40. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 15, 2017 at 08:45 PM (#5514074)
FG's current 11-20 Cubs prospects:

11. Brooks Villanueva, RHP/C/OF
12. Shawon Rindflesch, SS
13. Scooter Semple-McPherson, 2B
14. Arismendy Rizzo, 1B
15. Domingo Lento, SS
16. Wayne Schmetterling, LHP
17. Ron Menchot, 3B
18. Roosevelt Caracol, C
19. D.J. Stinkendfurz, RHP
20. Eloy Torpe, DH

   41. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2017 at 09:21 PM (#5514116)
I did this a few weeks ago, nothing much has changed but never hurts to update. The injuries put us in a bind of course ... and this is just for this season and obviously we shouldn't ignore history ... anyway, Cubs by WAA:

Bryant 3.3
(Contreras) 2.1
Rizzo 1.8
(Avila 1.2 ... 0.0 with the Cubs so far)
(Russell) 1.1
Heyward 0.8
Baez 0.6
Happ 0.3
La Stella 0.2
Jay 0.2
Almora 0.0
Zobrist -1.0
Schwarber -1.3

That's 11 players average or better, granted two on the DL right now and not expected back anytime soon. We have little choice but to give some PT to Zobrist and Schwarber (and Caratini) but it should probably be as little as possible. Joe went almost an entire season carrying Jonathan Herrera on a very short bench and gave him just 132 PA, he can do it again.

Those top guys (not including Avila but including Contreras and Russell) are credited with 10.4 WAA which is just behind the non-P WAA of the Dodgers at 11.2, #1 in the NL. That's cheating a bit, obviously the PA eaten up by Z, S and the various bits of Zagunis, Caratini, etc. have to be accounted for somewhere ... but quite possibly if we just trot out that main lineup the rest of the year, they'll keep performing at that level (minus Russell and Contreras, add Avila and Caratini obviously).

And while none of us like relying too much on DRS, Heyward does have the most WAA of any of our OF and has been about 2 WAA/WAR better than Schwarber and Zobrist have been.
   42. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:34 PM (#5514166)
Wtf, there's that unclutch Bryant again. Unreal.

Edit: 8th inning, down 1, 2 on and 1 out. Pop up to the 2b in short CF.
   43. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 15, 2017 at 10:44 PM (#5514172)
Wtf, there's that unclutch Bryant again. Unreal.

Edit: 8th inning, down 1, 2 on and 1 out. Pop up to the 2b in short CF.


Gotta figure it's one of those weird one-season things, but it's just more amplified because half of the regulars are kinda dog ####.
   44. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:13 PM (#5514216)
@ckamka: Last 3 times #Cubs scored more than 10 runs
Aug 14 (15 runs) next game: 1
Aug 1 (16 runs) next game: 0
Jun 22 (11 runs) next game: 0
   45. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 16, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5514386)
For those of you who were upset/disappointed/whatever with the Cubs when they fired Renteria to hire Maddon, you might be happy to hear the Cubs apparently gave Renteria a WS ring, per Jerry Reinsdorf.
   46. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 16, 2017 at 12:47 PM (#5514496)
For those of you who were upset/disappointed/whatever with the Cubs when they fired Renteria to hire Maddon, you might be happy to hear the Cubs apparently gave Renteria a WS ring, per Jerry Reinsdorf.

That's pretty cool.

Speaking only for myself, I wouldn't say I was upset or disappointed so much as I just felt kind of bad for Renteria. I think he did a nice job in 2014, and he'd gotten a commitment to continue, though I absolutely think the Cubs did what they needed to do when the opportunity presented itself; it's not Renteria's fault he's not Joe Maddon, or that Maddon became available when he did. I think I said at the time that it was a bit ruthless on the Cubs' part, but that it was about frigging time they got ruthless in their pursuit of a championship or four, and I still feel that way. I'm glad Renteria's getting another chance, and I hope the Sox are patient enough with the inevitable losing that comes from a full-on rebuild that Renteria can still be there when they get good.
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 16, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5514509)
I think I said at the time that it was a bit ruthless on the Cubs' part, but that it was about frigging time they got ruthless in their pursuit of a championship or four, and I still feel that way.

Yep. Ain't gonna win no championships if you've got ruth.

Well, I guess the Yankees did.
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 16, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5514514)
This is probably one of those fluke things again, but someone pointed out on twitter that Jay is only hitting .239/.315./342 as a leadoff hitter (130PA) while hitting .341/.436/.428 (165PA) anywhere else in the lineup (also a ridiculous .386/.440/.500 in 50PA as a reserve/pinch hitter). His AB in the 9th with runners on 1st/3rd and 1 out was one of his worst all season (strike out swinging).
   49. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 16, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5514520)
Yep. Ain't gonna win no championships if you've got ruth.

Harry Frazee endorses this sentiment.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 16, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5514532)
Speaking of bad at-bats in the 9th last night, I now agree with the idea of Caratini never playing. That was just pathetic.
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 16, 2017 at 03:04 PM (#5514577)
It's kind of a problem when he's hitting right behind Bryant and Rizzo. Let's not let Avila off the hook either - taking strike 3 right in the heart of the plate (even on a breaking ball) is never a good look.

I was watching him pretty closely last night, and in the game chatter it was mentioned that they talked about Hendricks pinpoint control after the game. IMO, he was hitting Caratini's glove pretty consistently, and so I'm wondering now if part of the reason Hendricks had so many walks had anything to do with how Caratini was setting up and receiving the ball. I don't know enough to know how that will influence the umpire's strike zone - and it was a pretty small zone most of the night and I don't think any of the pitchers got the benefit of the doubt on borderline calls - but it does make me wonder/assume this is the stuff they've talked about and why they were hesitant to play him.

Also talked about it in the chatter, but why is Justin Wilson so bad?
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 16, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5514584)
Yeah, it's a toss-up as to which was worse, Caratini swinging at strike 3 as it was rolling toward him, or Avila buckling his knees at strike 3 in the heart of the zone.
   53. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 16, 2017 at 03:31 PM (#5514592)
Also talked about it in the chatter, but why is Justin Wilson so bad?

Yeah, he's been kind of terrible. Allowed runs in 4 of his 6 Cub appearances.
   54. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 16, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5514631)
Also talked about it in the chatter, but why is Justin Wilson so bad?

Losing is a disease as contagious as polio.
Losing is a disease as contagious as syphilis.
Losing is a disease as contagious as bubonic plague.
Attacking one but infecting all.
   55. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 16, 2017 at 04:22 PM (#5514636)
Also talked about it in the chatter, but why is Justin Wilson so bad?

A mix of bad luck and bad pitching?

He's given up nine hits and five walks in 5.1 IP, so that's terrible. But he's struck out five, and the nine hits consist of seven singles and two doubles.

He's made 48 appearances this year, and given up runs in twelve of them; his overall numbers are pretty good: 45.2 IP, 2.96 ERA, 31 H, 21 BB, 60 K, 5 HR. If he gives up a run in an appearance one in every four appearances, the static probability of him giving up a run in four of six starts is about 3.4%. At some point over 48 appearances, it is not unlikely that that will happen.

I think he's a very good reliever, but not a great one, having a bad stretch like you often see happen. Watching him, I think overall he has looked pretty good.
   56. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 16, 2017 at 04:36 PM (#5514648)
Lineup bingo: Zobrist/Schwarber/Bryant/Rizzo/Avila/Happ(CF)/Heyward/Baez. Schwarber has reached in 5 straight appearances, after striking out in 8 straight.
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 16, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5514657)
Len Kasper‏Verified account @LenKasper 11m11 minutes ago

Kyle Schwarber 31g since return from minors: .256/.356/.556.


It's doesn't *feel* that way, does it? It's a lot more bumpy, and 39Ks in 90ABs is pretty poor (.171/.295/.378 with 75Ks in 222AB).
   58. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 16, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5514674)
And how about the good news from the bullpen? In his four appearances since giving up the grand slam against the Nationals, Carl Edwards, Jr has given up one walk and no hits in 3.2 IP, striking out six and inducing a double play. Last night he was as good as we've seen him all year.
   59. Brian C Posted: August 16, 2017 at 07:17 PM (#5514800)
I think he's a very good reliever, but not a great one, having a bad stretch like you often see happen. Watching him, I think overall he has looked pretty good.

I've had the opposite impression, that he's looked pretty mediocre. 5 K in 5.1 IP doesn't sound too bad, but when he's giving up as many hits and walks as he has, it means the percentage of hitters that he's striking out overall is pretty low - indeed, his K% is half of what it was in Detroit. He's not getting lucky, that's for sure, but he's clearly struggling to get people out.
   60. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 16, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5514807)
Looking at his stuff I think he looks pretty good. Obviously, he is having command issues, and the results have not been good, but this is what you get on occasion with the very good but not great relievers. Like most relievers you see on championship teams. Overall he has had a pretty consistent track record -- I haven't looked but I would bet he has had stretches like this before while consistently FiPping in the 2's and 3's. Be patient.
   61. Brian C Posted: August 16, 2017 at 07:38 PM (#5514821)
Yeah, I don't disagree that his track record is fine and that it's probably just a bad stretch. I just think it's silly to say that his stuff is there when it's not right now.

High-strikeout pitchers like him go through stretches of shaky command, it's true. But they usually don't stop striking people out like he has. Not only has his K/9 dipped since arriving but, like I said, his overall K% has flat-out cratered. It's a problem. It's probably not worth panicking over yet, but at the same time we're talking six games, all of which have been basically the same. That's more than the occasional bad outing or two (or three!) that distinguishes the good-not-great relievers from the actual-great ones. Even during Edwards's recent bout of flamability, he never put anything close to six bad appearances together like this.

I just don't think "he looks fine" is a good description of what's going on. It's borderline counterfactual, honestly. His stuff plainly isn't all that great at the moment. If it was, he'd still be getting the Ks even if his command was a little off and some grounders were snaking through.
   62. Howie Menckel Posted: August 16, 2017 at 11:03 PM (#5515012)
I had an aunt who was born in 1903. She lived most of her life in Reading, Pa. (though she was a secretary in Manhattan back in the day who watched the Empire State Building get constructed in her lunch hours).

was a fanatical Phillies fan. I thought 1980 would be her pinnacle. she said, kind of, but had a mild lament that being the last of the original 16 teams to win a WS kind of made them less special.

I didn't get it then and I don't get it now - but I followed Cubs threads here religiously last year (and for many reasons, rooted hard for them). now? I doubt I'll revisit this thread. the Cubs are just another good team now.

and no, I don't ask anyone to trade in their 2016 joy.
:)
just funny how life is
   63. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 17, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5515178)
Aug. 17:

1907 Christy Mathewson allows his only extra-inning HR: Johnny Kling, Cub in top of 12th. CHC 3, NYG 2 (12). Mathewson vs. M. Brown
1932 CHC 3, BOB 2 (19) - longest game of the year
1940 Billy Herman grounds into 3 GIDP in one game. 0-for-5 w/ 1 BB. CHC 6, PIT 5
1960 Ernie Banks hits the 1st of 4 walkoff HR (off Don Drysdale). Solo shot, tied 0-0 in bottom of 9th
1971 2,000 hits: Billy Williams: 1,751 games
1985 Philies hit 4 HR in 7th inning: Samuel, Wilson, Schmidt, Daulton. First 3 in a row. Daulton & Schu hit consecutive HRs in 4th vs CHC
1995 10,000th HR in Cub franchise history hit by Sammy Sosa
   64. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 17, 2017 at 10:39 AM (#5515216)
I just think it's silly to say that his stuff is there when it's not right now.

What's the evidence that it's not? His velocity has been normal, and to my eye, his pitches have mostly shown good movement. The problem is that they are moving out of the strike zone, or into the middle of it, or batters are getting just enough that they make decent contact. Again, we are talking about a very small number of appearances.

In no way can you judge anything about his K rate over five games.
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 17, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5515249)
With Schwarber's mini-streak of reaching base 8 straight times (which was immediately preceded by 8 straight Ks, and ended last night in a K), his OBP is all the way up to .317 and he's threatening the Mendoza line at .197. That OBP is now higher than Russell (.305), Baez (.308), Heyward (.312), Zobrist (.314), and he's now tied with the free-falling Happ.

As much criticism as Schwarber has (rightfully) taken this year, I really feel Zobrist's awfulness has completely gone under the radar. He's at .223/.314/.354; while he has some surprisingly decent defensive numbers, to my eyes he's been poor in the field and there's a clearly superior defender at each of his positions (Baez 2b, Heyward RF, Jay LF). Yet, he's hit either 1st or 4th in all but 7 of his starts (5x 5th and 1x each 2nd and 6th). I know he's had the wrist problem, which has supposedly impacted him the most hitting RH (.165/.258/.291; he's also been worse in the 2nd half than in the first even though his BABIP has gone up - so maybe there's an argument he's been unlucky lately); however he's now clearly the worst player getting regular time (so that excludes only Caratini). Going back to earlier in the thread, Heyward at least has his defense and baserunning to fall back on; Zobrist doesn't.

It's time to bench Zobrist.
   66. Brian C Posted: August 17, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5515276)
In no way can you judge anything about his K rate over five games.

Six games, in all of which he struggled to get hitters out.

And ... eh. His K rate over six games is more reliable than how he "looks" to you, which is the sole piece of evidence you've put forth.
   67. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 17, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5515277)
Looking it up..... Zobrist hasn't started in left since July 18. So he's just splitting time between 2B & RF. Or serving as a mid-game replacement.

And he's only been playing in RF once a week over the last 3-4 weeks. So really, he's just a second baseman for them. Clearly, Baez is the better defensive second baseman -- but he's been playing shortstop with Russell on the shelf.

I guess they could give Happ more time at second. He's certainly hitting better than Zobrist. By defensive metrics, Zobrist is doing a lot better by Total Zone Rating & range factor (obviously range factor isn't a great stat - but I have no problem using it here given that we're talking about guys fielding behind the same pitchers). BIS stuff has them essentially even, with a slight edge to Happ.

If you go by TZR stuff, Zo's defensive edge might be enough to offset Happ's better bat. But I'm always a bit more cautious with defensive metrics.

Yeah, I'd like to see Zobrist get less playing time. Mostly I just hope Russell is ready to return to the lineup sooner instead of later.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 17, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5515315)
Again, LaStella should be playing ahead of Zobrist at this point.

My eyes aren't agreeing with Zo's defensive numbers, so perhaps he's just doing a better job of positioning/instincts/veterany type stuff than Happ. I haven't been impressed with Happ at 2b, and he's spent a lot more time in CF anyway. I only brought up LF because for a while, you could have argued he should be playing there ahead of Schwarber.
   69. Brian C Posted: August 17, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5515349)
La Stella can't really handle 2B, though, can he? I know Maddon will throw him over there on occasion, but usually only for a few innings here and there. I don't think of him as a real option there for any substantial amount of time.
   70. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 17, 2017 at 12:32 PM (#5515354)
Huh? LaStella is naturally a 2b, who plays some 3b. As a pro, so majors and minors, he has 431 appearances at 2b and 72 at 3b. This is nothing like a Coghlan situation.

EDIT: I'd say the reason he hasn't played more 2b the last couple of seasons were because Zobrist and Baez were (rightfully, most of the time) ahead of him on the depth chart. Now I'm saying he should move ahead of Zo. When Russell comes back, that'll mean more moving time around, with Zobrist still the one who should end up with the shortest straw.
   71. Brian C Posted: August 17, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5515382)
Yes, I'm aware, but he seems to kinda suck defensively in general, doesn't he? Alfonso Soriano was a "natural" 2B when he came to the Cubs, too.
   72. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 17, 2017 at 06:21 PM (#5515760)
Six walks in the last three innings.

I guess one shouldn't be too disappointed when your team gets behind nine runs, and loses. But hitting six HR and then losing (you can look up the last time that happened) -- that is disappointing.
   73. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 17, 2017 at 06:49 PM (#5515764)
Yes, I'm aware, but he seems to kinda suck defensively in general, doesn't he?

No. This take surprises me.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 17, 2017 at 08:14 PM (#5515830)
Everything I'm reading now about Lester is scaring me...
   75. Brian C Posted: August 18, 2017 at 12:24 AM (#5515958)
No. This take surprises me.

Well, just based on my own eye test, but a quick scan of the BR numbers backs me up. Sample size issues given his lack of time in the field, but still.

The Lester thing is scary, especially since Quintana has been pretty much continued his down year since arriving (outside of his first start). Obviously they're better off with him than they would be without, but now the rotation is in pretty much the exact same state as it was before he got here.

At least Arrieta's been solid lately.
   76. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 18, 2017 at 09:02 AM (#5515998)
But hitting six HR and then losing (you can look up the last time that happened) -- that is disappointing.

Last time the Cubs did it? You may have heard of it. It was also a windy day at Wrigley Field. Also a big comeback that was all for naught.

Last time any team did it? Also a Chicago team.
   77. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 18, 2017 at 09:31 AM (#5516016)
Aug. 18:

1892 last game: George Gore
1913 Erskine Mayer, PHI, sets NL record by surrendign 9 consecutive hits to CHC in 9th inning. CHC 10, PHI 4 (6 runs in the 9th)
1915 Wilbur Good, CHC, steals 2nd, 3rd, & home in 6th inning in 9-0 win over BRK
1938 Paul Derringer homers off of Charlie Root. Its less than a month after his 1st career HR & this, his 2nd, will be his last
1960 1st of 26 multi HR games for Ron Santo
1968 WPA's worst Ron Santo game: -0.559. 0-for-4, 1 GIDP. CIN 2, CHC 1.
1968 ump Chris Pelekousas thrice calls illegal pitches against CHC PhilRegan, twice allowing the batter to hit agan. CIN's P.Rose 1Bs after 3rd strike
1977 Cubs trade Steve Renko to White Sox
1982 LAD 2, CHC 1 (21) Completes game begin yesterday. Fernandeo Valenzuela & Jerry Reuss in the OF. Reuss wins it & normal 8/18 g
1989 2,000 hits: Andre Dawson: 1,834 games
1991 200 homers: Ryne Sandberg
1995 CHC 26, Col 7. 2.5 hour rain delay. Entire thing takes over 6 hours
2010 Cubs trade Derrek Lee to ATL

   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5516125)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 29m29 minutes ago

Early indications are Lester injury is pretty minor. Still waiting to hear from him and DL likely, but this is a best-case.

Carrie Muskat‏ @CarrieMuskat 20m20 minutes ago

Early word is #Cubs encouraged by the medical report on Lester. He will be back this season


So they must have been thinking TJ if back this season is good news. Sheesh.
   79. McCoy Posted: August 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5516129)
We've got, what, 45 days left in the season? Any kind of tear would have meant missing the rest of the season.
   80. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 12:44 PM (#5516167)
Lester and Grimm to DL, Zastryzny and Pena up.
   81. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 18, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5516271)
1995 CHC 26, Col 7. 2.5 hour rain delay. Entire thing takes over 6 hours


Oh man, I remember that game. Some good banter between Steve Stone and Harry Caray about whether or not the Cubs had scored that many runs in Caray's lifetime.

2010 Cubs trade Derrek Lee to ATL


I had totally forgotten Lee 1) got traded 2) played for the Braves. The end came quickly for Lee, but he was a real joy to watch for a bit there.
   82. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 18, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5516300)
The rotoworld blurb says Lester's DL trip is due to "shoulder fatigue."

Everyone says no structural damage but that definitely gives me the heebie jeebies in a way that "strained lat" did not.
   83. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5516305)
Paul Sullivan‏ @PWSullivan 2h2 hours ago

Theo says Lester had been feeling it for a bit and needed break. "Only a start or two."


I can't find the tweet now, but I guess Theo also had a quote saying Lester's had this before and didn't think this was as bad as last time. But yeah, should fatigue is a icky phrase.
   84. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 18, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5516310)
Did the Cubs bring up two relievers because Montgomery is taking that turn in the rotation or should we expect another move before Lester's replacement is needed?
   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5516314)
Montgomery is going to the rotation.
   86. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 04:40 PM (#5516396)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 31s32 seconds ago

Jake Arrieta last 9 starts
2.03 ERA, 57.2 IP, 39 Hits, 16 BB, 48 K, 5 HR, 0.954 WHIP
   87. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 04:46 PM (#5516401)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 4m4 minutes ago

Lowest BA against this season as a reliever (min 40 IP)
.135 Carl Edwards Jr.
.137 Chad Green
.139 Betances
.141 Andrew Miller
.143 Kimbrel
   88. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 18, 2017 at 05:58 PM (#5516471)
@ckamka: Teams with 4 players in age 25 season or younger with 20+ HR
2017 #Cubs
2007 #Brewers
1979 #Expos pic.twitter.com/CukIzsuRSx

@ckamka: Javier Báez: 5th different #Cubs player to reach 20 HR this season. Ties franchise record (1958, 2004, 2008)


Happ's 20th will break these team records.
   89. Meatwad Posted: August 18, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5516481)
Rf may be the only position that doesnt get to 20 hr for the cubs
   90. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 19, 2017 at 09:44 AM (#5516798)
Aug. 19:

1880 Larry Corcoran throws no hitter: CHC beats BOS. Cap Anson has 21 putouts
1906 Tex Carleton, pitcher, born
1923 Bob O'Farrell, CHC, gets 4 RBIs without getting a hit
1930 PHI 6, CHC 6 (16) called for darkness. Chuck Klein walked 4 times, his most. PHI Phil Collins: 16 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 5 W, 8 K
1958 Gary Gaetti born
1965 Jim Maloney throws his 1st nohitter. CIN 10, CHC 0 (10) (Really? Innings or score has to be off). 10 BB, 1 HBP, 1 error, 12 K
1967 1,500 wins: Leo Durocher 8th to do so (2nd in last 20 year): 1,500-1,250
1969 Swede Hollison dies at age 99. Last pitcher to have worked from old pitchers box. 4 IP w/ CHC in 1892. He's also the last person alive to have played for Cap Anson
1969 Ken Holtzman throws no-hitter, despite not striking anyone out. 3 BB. H.Aaron flyball in 7th deep to lLF: wind held it up. CHC 3, ATL 0
1973 Rick Reushcel fans 13, his high. 9 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 0 BB, 13 K
1993 Cubs trade Candy Maldando to CLE for the great Glenallen Hill
1995 500 doubles: ex-Cub Andre Dawson
1998 Cubs sign free agent Gary Gaetti. Happy b-day
2004 Cubs sign Neifi Perez
2011 CHC annoucne Jim Hendry is fired. Told about it on 7/22, but stayed on for the draft class signings
2013 DCN purchase David DeJesus from the CHC
2014 CHC groundscrew can't get tarp on field - parts of IF exposed. Soaked IF. 15-25 minutes rain becomes 4+ hr rain delay

   91. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 19, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5516820)
1998 Cubs sign free agent Gary Gaetti. Happy b-day


I'm too young to have really appreciated Gaetti at his peak, but I freaking loved the guy during his brief run with the Cubs, even though looking at the stats, he was pretty dreadful in his only full season with them.

2004 Cubs sign Neifi Perez


Such a seemingly benign signing when it happened. There was a very brief stretch where his supposed versatility was bailing out the Cubs' injury problems, but oof, remembering that he and Corey Patterson were in front of Derrek Lee most of 2005 reminds you how Lee managed so few RBI despite crushing nearly 50 homers.

2011 CHC annoucne Jim Hendry is fired. Told about it on 7/22, but stayed on for the draft class signings


This is one of those "I remember where I was when I heard about this" moments for me. Man, those were some good chips and queso.
   92. Voodoo Posted: August 19, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5516823)
I'm too young to have really appreciated Gaetti at his peak, but I freaking loved the guy during his brief run with the Cubs, even though looking at the stats, he was pretty dreadful in his only full season with them.


He was pretty good for the Cubs down the stretch in '98, including a big home run in the Game 163 Playoff against the Giants. Then in a move that was very Cubbish at the time, instead of thanking him for his service and moving on, they decided to bring him back for the 99 season, and he was terrible.
   93. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5516825)
Cubs get Mets catcher Rene Rivera on a waiver wire claim.

That all for Victor Caratini this year?
   94. Brian C Posted: August 19, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5516915)
Such a seemingly benign signing when it happened.

I dunno, I don't remember it that way. The way I remember it, he was signed to a minor league deal, right? And there was some, "oh it's just a minor league deal, maybe he won't even end up playing" but for the most part we all knew where that was going to lead.

That 2005 really was special. He managed to combine being a terrible hitter with not striking out very much, and as a result managed to combine a 75 OPS+ with grounding into the third-most double plays in the NL.

Still, thanks to his defense, bWAR managed to like him more than any Cubs position player aside from Lee and Aramis.

Cubs get Mets catcher Rene Rivera on a waiver wire claim.

Well, I know what will be a major entry on the August 19 retrospective in coming years!
   95. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 19, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5516922)
That all for Victor Caratini this year?

Until the rosters expand.
   96. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 19, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5516951)
There was a very brief stretch where his supposed versatility was bailing out the Cubs' injury problems, but oof, remembering that he and Corey Patterson were in front of Derrek Lee most of 2005 reminds you how Lee managed so few RBI despite crushing nearly 50 homers.

Ah yes. The infamous Piss-Poor™ 1-2 "punch."
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 19, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5516956)
Yesterday someone posted the lineup for the Cubs the last time the Jay's were at Wrigley, and it was 2005 and the piss poor combo. Cubs did beat Halladay 2-0 though.
   98. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 19, 2017 at 05:07 PM (#5516959)
I dunno, I don't remember it that way. The way I remember it, he was signed to a minor league deal, right? And there was some, "oh it's just a minor league deal, maybe he won't even end up playing" but for the most part we all knew where that was going to lead.

Yeah, I was pissed.
   99. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 19, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5516968)
2004 Neifi was good for the Cubs* - including an awesome game winning grand slam in STL - but like the aforementioned Gaetti resigning him was a very obvious mistake.

*.371/.400/.548 but only 67PAs.
   100. Brian C Posted: August 19, 2017 at 07:24 PM (#5517040)
Has Maddon mentioned who the emergency SS would be on the current roster? Zobrist is the only other guy who's played there this season, and unless I'm overlooking someone, Bryant (with a grand total of one inning!) is the only guy besides Zo who has major league experience there. La Stella never even played there in the minors.

Baez getting hurt would be catastrophic. Mike Freeman looks like he'd get the promotion from the minors if it happened, and he'd almost have to be the everyday guy until either Baez or Russell got back, just by default.

I know the Cubs are fortunate to have two good options at SS - that's pretty rare - but the dropoff after them is huge.
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