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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Regrouping

I wanted to put up a new post yesterday, but I was sick - and not just from watching the Cubs (hey-o).  I think we talked quite a bit last year about how inconsistent the Cubs were, but this year seems even more extreme.  I don’t remember the worst series last year, but it would be hard to top losing 4 in a row to the Reds.  The Cubs had the lead in 3 of the games, but Sunday really was a masterpiece in blown games.  Montgomery pitched pretty good yet again - and then the wheels completely fell off after a missed strike 3 call (you can’t blame 7 runs on that, but it was a pretty big turning point when there was only 1 guy on and instead of 1 out, 1 on, it was 2nd/3rd no outs the next pitch).  Strop, who’d been pretty reliable all year then picked a pretty inopportune time to completely implode and that was that. 

I’d still argue the Cubs are a pretty deep team, but that depth is really being challenged right now with guys like Bryant, Morrow, and Edwards hurt.  Speaking of Bryant, I don’t think he has a concussion again, but this pre-game “he’ll probably be ok to PH tonight” followed after the game by “he was unavailable” is a lot like how they treated that mess.  Which makes me think he’s a bit more hurt than they’re letting on.  The results speak for themself:

The shoulder injury has been bothering Bryant for less than a week, but his struggles have been going on for much longer. Over his past 28 games, Bryant has posted a slash line of .241/.321/.336, with his lack of power the most concerning issue of late. A front shoulder issue can cause a drop in power. Part of how Bryant gets lift is with his follow-through with his left hand. If he were to have a left shoulder injury, that could sap a significant amount of impact from the follow-through, leading to a lack of lift and a drop in hard contact.

I pointed out near the end of the last thread, but Rizzo is also terrible right now.  For June, he’s hitting .238/.319/.425, and going into last night:

The reality is, the Cubs need Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to play up to their capabilities for this team to reach its potential. Rizzo entered Sunday’s game with just two extra-base hits and a .545 OPS in his last 62 plate appearances. He homered in Sunday’s loss, but that was the only time he reached base on the day.

This team was built around its offensive core, but a team-wide lack of power of late (the Cubs have a .138 ISO since May 14, 22nd in the game) has led to a good, but truly inconsistent offense.

The Cubs are second in the National League with 4.79 runs per game. They entered Sunday third in the NL in walk rate (9.8 percent), second in batting average (.257) and first in on-base percentage (.339). But this recent stretch of play has dropped them to ninth in baseball with a 102 wRC+ as a team. And they’re genuinely very inconsistent when it comes to putting up runs day in and day out.

Link

With Edwards and Morrow out, the middle of the pen has really #### the bed in higher leverage spots.  Strop and Wilson has the most higher leverage experience, and they’ve both blown up.  Duensing appears to just be garbage now, which means I was totally unfair to him last year when he was decent.  Rosario and Bass have had their moments.  Ferrell I guess had a moment, too, but overall I haven’t been impressed.  I don’t know that Montgomery was ever great in the pen, but he was fairly consistent, so even though he’s been good in the rotation I guess they miss his arm in the pen. 

Lastly, I think it’s pretty clear Gimenez isn’t a major league player anymore.  It’s only been a few games, but I’m not seeing any sort of unique pitcher or umpire whispering ability that could excuse him being a worse hitter (and bunter) than Lester.  Caratini has been raking in AAA (.337/.434/.517), so I wonder how much longer they keep wasting this roster spot.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 10:59 AM | 169 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5699766)
Darvish had a decent looking rehab start last night in South Bend, it appears:

The righty tossed 57 pitches in five innings of work with the Cubs’ Low-A affiliate, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out five and walking none.

“My body conditioning couldn’t compare to before going on the DL,” Darvish said. “So physically, in the next four, five days, it depends how I feel, but I have to bring up my physical condition.”

Of Darvish’s 57 pitches, he threw 41 for strikes and garnered eight swings and misses. He touched 94 mph on his fastball early, but later in the game was sitting 89-90 with what many thought were cutters. But after the outing, Darvish said they were fastballs, adding that he threw no cutters.


link
   2. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5699793)
On Lester and his FIP. I mentioned last start how many hard hit fly balls he was giving up, and how lucky he was that day.
   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5699799)
Stolen from Walt in yesterday's chatter:

Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2018 at 02:45 AM (#5699638)
Too late but for the record ... the pitching certainly was dogshit ... and the offense scored a whopping 13 runs in 4 games, 6 of them in the Sunday game. So, sure, if the pitching had been to the usual standard on Sunday, we mighta won.

Along with today's game, it's 23 runs in the last 9 games. For the month then it's 83 runs in 23 games, with 41 of those runs coming in just 5 games. Fortunately the pitching and defense has held opps to 85 runs, with 31 of those coming in Cincy.

Cubs RS and RA by month:

M/A: 5.1 3.7
May: 5.3 3.6
Jun: 3.6 3.7

I think I know which one is to blame for the current swoon.


Yep. Blame Wilson for the Dodgers loss last week, and Strop for Sunday, but the offense has been the problem for a bit now. Could you imagine how bad the offense would look without Heyward's bat this month?
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5699804)
Could you imagine how bad the offense would look without Heyward's bat this month?
...which, before the season, would have had to be the unanimous pick for the single phrase least likely to be typed about the 2018 Cubs.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5699884)
ChicagoSports @ChicagoSports

Former Cubs clubhouse attendant Yosh Kawano dies at 97 https://trib.in/2KoEHnZ via @PWSullivan


RIP
   6. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5699892)
Wow - RIP Yosh... Though, I have to confess - I remember him so often referenced in my very much youth that I admit I'm surprised he hadn't passed long ago.

Sounds like he did get to enjoy 10 years of retirement - retired in 2008.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5699900)
Same here. Though I do recall some story about him and maybe his brother circulating a couple of years back, and that made me aware he was still around at that time.

   8. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5699904)
Also, Underwood was decent last night. That first inning was Chatwoodesque, and hard to watch, though he through some pretty nice pitches and looked much better the next 3 innings. His stuff isn't great, and I think with a little more exposure, his offspeed stuff is probably hittable. I wonder if he wouldn't be a decent bullpen option later this year.

And it's a real damn shame that Gimenez couldn't get that sac bunt down, which meant burning TLS in a very longshot scoring chance. JD speculated that they'd already told Underwood he was done, so that's why they followed through with the PH. It sure seemed like Underwood could have gone another inning, facing the bottom of the lineup.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5699905)
Oh that's a shame. I remember being a kid in the 80s Yosh was a regular in pretty much any sports biography of the day.
   10. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 26, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5699906)
Could you imagine how bad the offense would look without Heyward's bat this month?


...which, before the season, would have had to be the unanimous pick for the single phrase least likely to be typed about the 2018 Cubs.


I think it would have been likely, just with VERY different context.
   11. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: June 26, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5699909)
Also, Underwood was decent last night. That first inning was Chatwoodesque, and hard to watch, though he through some pretty nice pitches and looked much better the next 3 innings. His stuff isn't great, and I think with a little more exposure, his offspeed stuff is probably hittable. I wonder if he wouldn't be a decent bullpen option later this year.


Meh - I think he's kind of Pierce Johnson 2.0, albeit a different sort. He's still surprisingly young - helps to be drafted and sign at 17, I guess - still a few shy of 24... but just like the older Pierce (I think they were both taken in the same draft class - part of the Almora class, no?) - it's probably time to see if he's got a future or not.

Like you say - he was decent...

I think - would have to check to be sure - he's gotta stick or clear waivers starting next year... don't remember exactly when they added him to the 40 man.
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5699976)
it's probably time to see if he's got a future or not.

Thus, my idea that maybe he could fit in the pen this year. I don't see how else you're going to see what he's got - he's not getting another start until the Cubs are down 2 SP again.
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:18 PM (#5700219)
The #Cubs today:

- Placed 3B Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation, retroactive to 6/23) & RHP Justin Hancock (right shoulder inflammation) on 10-day DL
- Optioned RHP Duane Underwood Jr. to @IowaCubs
- Recalled RHPs Luke Farrell & Dillon Maples, INF David Bote from Triple-A pic.twitter.com/aUsauY2wmE


Bryant said he hurt it on a slide a month ago. Well no #### it appears.

Morrow says he'll be ready tomorrow.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5700220)
Oh that's a shame. I remember being a kid in the 80s Yosh was a regular in pretty much any sports biography of the day.

I remember being a kid in the early 70s and Yosh was already a minor star in that sense. I always loved seeing that guy. I'm pretty sure the Cubs gave him a ring in 2016.

I'm hoping the Lester magic can last at least long enough that Darvish and Q have returned to form by then. Q heads my personal list of disappointments as I figured another Pettitte-ish season at worst and maybe a CYA contender. I'm very happy with Zobrist's bounceback -- even if it ends tomorrow, we've gotten at least as much out of that contract as I expected and more than I expected from him this year. It's also nice to see Almora and Happ establishing themselves as useful (if not necessarily everyday) players.

Although it probably wouldn't have the biggest impact, if I could change one thing in the 2nd half it would be to lower the staff's walk rate cuz it's just driving me crazy.

How did Bryant hurt the shoulder? Is it the sort of injury likely to recur at 3B so time to think about moving him (and sign Machado)?

EDIT: Now I see #13.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:26 PM (#5700224)
Oh, the worst moment last year was a trip to LA to get swept by the Dodgers then to SD where we got swept by the Padres (kinda similar to the Reds). That was at the end of May, followed a 7-2 homestand and left us 2 games under 500. We followed it with 5 straight wins ... then 4 straight losses. I'm annoyed but after 76 games last year we were 39-37 and 1 game back ... 42-34, 5 games under pythag and 2.5 games back is fine by comparison. We played almost exactly 600 baseball from this point last year ... we'd end on 95 wins if we did the same this year so I vote we do that.
   16. McCoy Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5700227)
Cubs suck
   17. Walt Davis Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5700228)
I think it’s pretty clear Gimenez isn’t a major league player anymore. ... so I wonder how much longer they keep wasting this roster spot.

He hasn't done it for a while but never under-estimate Joe's 3-C fetish! Especially with Bryant on the DL, Caratini up instead of Bote would probably work fine too (with LaStella, Zo, Happ getting more IF starts, maybe a Contreras LF start vs LHP, etc.)
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5700229)
Morrow says he'll be ready tomorrow.
In related news, Brandon Morrow's wife will be unsatisfied tonight.
   19. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5700235)
Heh.
   20. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 26, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5700236)
Totally forgot about that west coast sweep. Yeah, the Padres part was pretty bad.
   21. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5700434)
Also starting to look like Duensing is either toast, or hurt. In his last 10 appearances, he's allowed 17ER (18R) in 7IP, with a 5/5 B/KK ratio, and 16 hits and 3 HRs for an ERA of 21.86. It's not like there's just one bad appearance skewing everything (though he does have a 5ER one in there), as he's allowed runs in 7 of those 10 and in only 1 of those did he not give up a hit.

---

Javy makes things better though, at least when he's hitting. Routine for him, I guess.

---

Rizzo, Heyward, and Russell are all below the magical 100 OPS+ mark now. I kinda hope Rizzo is hurt, that's a better explanation than him sucking inexplicably again.

---

Last night Lester had some back luck to counteract all that good luck, and he still was pretty good.
   22. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 27, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5700445)
I am glad to see the Cubs DL Bryant. I know they want the help because they're scuffling lately but I think Kris needs a break even if he believes the shoulder is good to go by now.

I wouldn't mind if they gave Rizzo the same treatment and just tried to hold on without them for a week or two and let Zobrist and Happ play every day.
   23. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5700473)
Baez now has the team lead in OPS over Bryant - .870 to .864, but just a smidgen behind in OPS+ 126 to 128.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5700475)
I am glad to see the Cubs DL Bryant. I know they want the help because they're scuffling lately but I think Kris needs a break even if he believes the shoulder is good to go by now.

Oh, totally. It was obvious something wasn't right - he was swinging and missing a lot more than usual, and at pitches he usually handles. He wasn't driving the ball at all. He can claim that the shoulder isn't the reason for those things, but I think it's pretty fair to assume it is and he's just trying to not make excuses.

Rizzo had the bad back, so maybe that's bothering him again too. Same as Bryant, he's just missing way more pitches than usual and hittable ones at that.

Can't say I see anything wrong with Contreras, at least not as "obvious" as with Bryant and Rizzo.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5700741)
What the #### is this ####? Why is it on ESPN Insider? How as this supposedly written by someone that also works for fangraphs?

It's a clickbaity story, but here's the intro:

No MLB team can afford to take a year off. Whether they are contenders, a year or two away, or heading downhill in need of a rebuild, all teams must work to further their goals. With inaction not being a reasonable option and the first half nearly wrapped up, here is the top action item for each of the 30 teams' chief executives and general managers as the season moves forward.


Ok, fine. Maybe it'll be about a specific need each team has, sure, fine, I can see that. Here's the Cubs entry:

Chicago Cubs: Wait 'til next year? The Cubs are underperforming right now, but all of the pieces are still in place to make a run. Chicago might be better served to let it ride and hope its current core makes a move forward this year and then shop for reinforcements in the offseason.


Huh?
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5700744)
SI on Sammy:

Inside the cool, hushed second-floor lounge of Dubai’s grandest hotel, a waiter carefully prepares a shallow glass of 12-year Macallan. A familiar figure smiles, observing the meticulous way that his drink—nearly $100 for a double portion—is prepared. Three ice cubes, so symmetrical they could have been laser cut, gleam as they’re tongued into the scotch without a splash or even a clink.

He leans back, arms wide, into a plush sofa trimmed in blue leather. A crisp blue suit clings to his shoulders and chest, still broad from 500 push-ups each day, even as he’s set to turn 50 in November. His golden eyeglasses are stamped MAYBACH across each temple. A monogram peeks from under the left sleeve of his jacket: S.S. He gazes up into the majestic atrium of the 56-story Burj Al Arab Jumeriah, self-billed as “the Most Luxurious Hotel in the World” and famously shaped like a sail swelling above the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. “Now,” he says, “you see why it’s seven stars.”

Twenty summers after he and Mark McGwire chased the ghost of Roger Maris—and saved a sport, as they both contend—this is the life of Sammy Sosa. Or at least the one he wants you to see. His are the curated days of an Instagram influencer, even if Sosa isn’t much for social media. “I never watch Facebook, Instagram, some of that B.S. s---,” he says. “I don’t have time for that.”

But those are the places we’ve glimpsed Sosa since he took his last MLB swing, in 2007. He looks different from the man whose every plate appearance late in the summer of 1998 was a public spectacle as he slugged his way to 66 homers, just behind McGwire’s 70. His skin tone is lighter, the source of much confusion, speculation and ugly rubbernecking. (Deadspin: SAMMY SOSA IS A TERRIFYING VAMPIRE.) Sosa professes not to care. “Look at what I am today,” he says, motioning a hand toward the opulence around him. “This is my life, and I don’t take garbage from nobody. I do whatever I want.”

It is, in some ways, his third life. In this one he’s a devoted husband—he has been married to Sonia, the mother of his six children, for 26 years—and an international man of commerce. Although he won’t provide many verifiable details, he says he has interests in his home country, the Dominican Republic (oil); as well as in Panama (stormproof housing); the U.K. (beverages and hospitality); and the United Arab Emirates (real estate).


Holy ####, he has a granddaughter!
   27. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5700752)
Kyle Glaser @KyleAGlaser 3m3 minutes ago

The #Tigers have terminated the contract of pitching coach Chris Bosio, citing "insensitive comments that violated Club policy and his Uniform Employee Contract." The comments are not specified


Whoa
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5700965)
That was a double post, so I edited it after the fact. Now it looks like I predicted Bosio's firing 2 hours before it happened.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 27, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5700995)
Although he won’t provide many verifiable details, he says he has interests in his home country, the Dominican Republic (oil); as well as in Panama (stormproof housing); the U.K. (beverages and hospitality); and the United Arab Emirates (real estate).
Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get the feeling that we might be seeing Sammy in court one of these days, either bankruptcy or criminal?
   30. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5701043)
Bosio used racially charged language towards a team employee, WXYZ has learned.

"This is not easy for any of us, the players or coaches, but this organization is all about respect and that's what's happened. This organization had to act and it did," Ron Gardenhire said (via Evan Woodbery of MLive).
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 06:53 PM (#5701097)
#Cubs activate closer Brandon Morrow from DL and option reliever Cory Mazzoni to Triple-A Iowa.


Almora
Heyward
Baez
Contreras
Zobrist LF
Russell
Bote
Happ 1b
Hendricks

Rizzo gets a deserved rest.
   32. McCoy Posted: June 27, 2018 at 07:05 PM (#5701101)
100 bucks for a double of macallan? Does a beauty pageant winner swaddle your balls or something?
   33. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 27, 2018 at 07:12 PM (#5701105)
“Look at what I am today,” he says, motioning a hand toward the opulence around him. “This is my life, and I don’t take garbage from nobody. I do whatever I want.”


Yea dude, it's empty, which is why you are desperately trying to fill it with material things.

100 bucks for a double of macallan? Does a beauty pageant winner swaddle your balls or something?


Hey, somebody has got to pay for the indentured servants keeping the AC going.

Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get the feeling that we might be seeing Sammy in court one of these days, either bankruptcy or criminal?


The skin lightening was a very, very long con...
   34. Voodoo Posted: June 27, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5701129)
Good for Sammy. I hope he's happy. He sure gave me a lot of happiness as a fan.

I frankly don't understand the animosity displayed towards Sammy; there's a negative vibe in the linked to "profile" piece. If he's even mentioned these days, it's in the negative light cast by hit pieces by ESPN or idiotic comments like #33. Who the #### are you to comment on what he chooses to do with his skin?

Sammy was probably a bad teammate. That's about the worst I can say about him. But he was an all time great for five years, and it feels like he's been scrubbed from the record books like no player in recent memory.
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 27, 2018 at 08:31 PM (#5701156)
Yea dude, it's empty, which is why you are desperately trying to fill it with material things.

Maybe, it's possible, but that's not the conclusion I'm drawing. In fact, he seems much more content disconnected from baseball than I'd have guessed.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: June 27, 2018 at 11:52 PM (#5701262)
Yea dude, it's empty, which is why you are desperately trying to fill it with material things.

Or, he's been married to the same woman for 26 years, has kids and grandkids and is enjoying the $150+ M that he earned in his career.

He hasn't played in 11 years. In that time, he hasn't gotten divorced. To my knowledge, he hasn't been arrested for anything -- no drugs, no spousal abuse allegations that I've heard of. I'm not aware of any of his kids having gotten into any trouble. He's apparently not bankrupt yet. He still hasn't had anybody come forward and claim to have sold him steroids back in the day. Sounds like a "clean" life for a rich celebrity.

What do you expect a rich former athlete to fill his post-playing life with? Other than a hopefully happy family life and some (hopefully not fraudulent) investments?
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 28, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5701555)
I guess it's time to be pretty worried about Hendricks. That HR rate is ugly, and it seemed like everything the Dodgers hit last night was on the barrel (even the outs). However, maybe things will get better?

Since Hendricks’ velocity and swinging strike rate are actually up from last year, the real nexus of concern about the righty is about his home run rate. It’s up nearly double his career rate. He gave up another two last night to the Dodgers. Why?

His changeup is still plus, and two homers on righty-on-righty inside changeups that didn’t quite drop far enough are not symptoms of a larger problem. His curve isn’t amazing, but two homers on the curveball this year aren’t really the issue either. It’s the 12 homers against his fastball — both of Hendricks’ fastballs are giving up homers at nearly twice the rate they did last year.

By movement and velocity, both of Hendricks’ fastballs are better this year. His four-seamer has more ride, his sinker more sink, and both have more velocity. But obviously his command is not as good, and the pitcher has noticed.

Hendricks is both more predictable with his four-seamer this year and also catching more of the zone. That’s relevant to all of the four-seam home runs he’s given up, which all live within his heat map and aren’t major deviations from his approach.

We’re still talking about the guy with the third-best Command+ score in baseball and a long history of great command. Watch for some inside four-seamers to lefties, and maybe more outside black, and you’ll see how Hendricks will return to his roots.


He also talks about Quintana and Darvish. The one common thing here is command, since all of them still are doing ok stuffwise and commandwise. This could be a pitching approach/coaching change impact.

tl;dr Cubs should expect a lot of positive regression with the SP (even Lester as his peripherals could improve) in the 2nd half.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 28, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5701560)
Almora
Baez
Contreras
Rizzo
Russell
Bote (3b)
Happ (rf)
Schwarber
Quintana

So Heyward sits against Kershaw. I guess Maddon felt like Heyward had to start yesterday with Rizzo getting the day off, and of course Heyward got some hits off Wood.
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 28, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5701620)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 33s33 seconds ago

Joe Maddon says Yu Darvish has been ruled out for this weekend and #Cubs will re-evaluate when they return to Chicago.


I'm trying hard here not to read between the lines, especially when it comes to questioning Darvish. But it does seem like there's a little disconnect between him and the Cubs on how ready he is.
   40. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 28, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5701639)
Chicago Cubs @Cubs 1h1 hour ago

The #Cubs today activated RHP Tyler Chatwood from the Paternity List and optioned RHP Dillon Maples to @IowaCubs.


Bummer. Wanted Maples to get a few more appearances. I don't know the exact rules, but Chatwood isn't starting until Saturday, so why the rush? Edwards going on rehab stint tomorrow, too.

And I know some people here wanted them both to appear in the same game.
   41. Neil M Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5702131)
Big day for Pops.

10 Cubs with >200 PA and all with OPS+ >100.
   42. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5702144)
Baez is also now the team leader in OPS+ at 130, and bWAR (.29), and fWAR (2.4), but still only 2nd in wRC+ (130, KB 132). Javy also has a big lead in FG's BsR though their defensive numbers don't like him at all (or Rizzo). I've noted a few routine type plays Javy has bungled, but I don't think he's even just an average defender this year, much less below.

6 Cubs have 2.0 bWAR or more (with Zobrist right behind), and Bryant isn't one of them.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5702154)
I also think I'm about done with Luke Ferrell in the pen. I'm not completely sure why the Cubs seem to prefer him over the other guys on the Iowa shuttle (Bass, Hancock, Rosario, Mazzoni, and now Maples). Superficially, he has some decent looking peripherals (by far the best K/BB ratio of those guys and the only guy in the pen with a higher K rate is Edwards), but that HR rate seems earned and he just *looks* more hittable than the others (meaning, even though he's striking guys out, he doesn't seem to have great movement or break, and he gives up a ton of hard hit balls). Maybe I'm being unfair to him after the two walk-offs in STL, but I also think the Cubs might be too forgiving to him for that long stint against the Mets (the Mets!).

The one good prediction I had this year so far was about Duensing, and I'm bummed that's the one I seem to be right about. He looks toasty.
   44. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5702172)
Big day for Pops.

I hate to admit it but... yes. I've been mentally tracking this daily ever since I first mentioned it.
   45. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5702266)
https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1427650


He threw a bullpen session yesterday and it sounds like everyone agreed it didn't go well. This isn't going to have a happy ending this year, I fear.

Paul Sullivan @PWSullivan 5m5 minutes ago

Darvish flew to Texas to get second opinion from Rangers doctor


Does he not trust or like the Cubs doctors? This goes back to what I said yesterday, but as an NBA fan I can't help but worry when this type of thing happens thanks to the Kawhi situation (not that getting an independent 2nd opinion is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself).

EDIT:
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 7m7 minutes ago

Darvish heading to Texas to get a second opinion from Dr Meister (doc he worked with while with Rangers). Edwards pitches in Iowa rehab stint tonight, Eddie Butler still exists and is traveling to Iowa to start rehab stint tomorrow. KB will do cage/T work and take some grounders.


Better tweet with all info...
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5702267)
Plus we get to watch his "personal" catcher try and hit today. Ugh.
   47. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 29, 2018 at 09:18 PM (#5702473)
Right elbow impingement and inflammation for Darvish. Got a cortisone shot, let that sit for 3-5 days and then go from there.


Guess that's pretty good news.
   48. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2018 at 07:57 AM (#5702976)
June feels like one of those months where the Cubs should have won at a 70% clip. Outside of a very small handful of PA to some bench guys all of the guys getting PA were hitting at least average with most either well above it or well above for their position. Kris came in around average which is a downgrade for him but of the 10 players who got the most PA he got the least and Heyward of all people kind of cancels him out and then some by performing really well to expectations and racking up a lot of playing time. On the pitching side you had Lester pitching like a CYA winner and Montgomery pitching like an ace. They accounted for over a quarter of the innings pitched this month and almost 40% of the starts. Unfortunately the next half dozens guys or so got lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the Cubs only managed to be 4 games above .500 for the month instead 12 or more.
   49. Michael Paulionis Posted: July 01, 2018 at 03:27 PM (#5703182)
Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to get the feeling that we might be seeing Sammy in court one of these days, either bankruptcy or criminal?


I'm sorry Cubs fans but Sammy is definitely going to be found to be involved in something fishy. Best case scenario, he ends up broke. Worst case scenario, he ends up in jail or dead.

Although he won’t provide many verifiable details, he says he has interests in his home country, the Dominican Republic (oil); as well as in Panama (stormproof housing); the U.K. (beverages and hospitality); and the United Arab Emirates (real estate).


Ok, so 2 of those places are not exactly trusted places to store your money in (DR & Panama) while one could very easily be connected with a certain President that's been in the news quite a bit lately for suspect business practices (UAE). The only place that I wouldn't find shady is the UK, and that is the one that is most vague sounding: beverages and hospitality. What does that even mean? Is he developing some kind of chain of hotels that serve a Sammy-Sosa-branded-Macallen?

I'm 36, so I can vividly remember Sammy on and off the field from the countless games I watched in the mid-late 90's (didn't watch as many once I got to college). He reminds me a lot like a Michael Jackson; not just in the skin-lightening but also the fact that he never really fit in with the baseball culture. He seems almost childlike sometimes. The story of him when he was 20 and had his first taste of money ("he brought $40,000 in cash back to the D.R. and laid it out on a bed so his family could take turns jumping into the lush pile of green") is the opening to any "rags-to-riches-to-rags" morality tale. I love Sammy unconditionally, but Sammy Sosa was dee-you-em DUMB. He was fast enough to make up for terrible initial breaks on balls hit to RF, but anyone who actually watched him play had to have noticed Sosa's fielding instincts were something awful (which I realize is not always a sign of low IQ, but I think it said more about his inability to learn from mistakes).

Dykstra retired in 1996, was worth $58 million in 2008 (I'm not including the liabilities bc I'm sure Sosa isn't talking about all his investments), and by 2009 was $31 million in debt. If you match Sammy's timeline, he retired in 2005 (I'm not counting Texas in 2007), 12 yeas later=2017, then it would be very likely something bad is found out about his investments come later this year once the Trump recession starts.

“I passed Ernie Banks for most home runs in Chicago Cubs history,” he says. “He has a statue, and I don’t have nothing. So, what the f---?”


I respect Sammy's decision to not stay on as a Cubbie-HOF-living-legend the team trotted out every June to wave to the crowds at Wrigley, but THIS is just not acceptable.
   50. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5703186)
Well, Sammy made at least 125 million over his career while lenny’s Worth in the 21st century needs some very bolded quotation marks. He could very well go broke and I wouldn’t bet against it but he has a much bigger buffer against than did Lenny.
   51. Michael Paulionis Posted: July 01, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5703191)
Also, how many former Cubs players that don't have a statue at Wrigley would any of us Cub fans want the Ricketts' to consider before Sosa's? Personally, I think they should wait until Lester, Rizzo, or Bryant, but I know that might be stretching it. Jesus, Sandberg doesn't even have a statue.
   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 01, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5703200)
The #Cubs today placed LHP Brian Duensing on the 10-day DL with left shoulder fatigue and recalled RHP Dillon Maples from @IowaCubs. pic.twitter.com/rXYhBPV5ix


Fatigue, suckiness, same thing.
   53. Michael Paulionis Posted: July 01, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5703206)
I hear you about Nails. $36 million in the mid-90's was a lot too, though. I agree with you about the low probability that, when Lenny retired at 35, did he have all $36 million safely stored in savings. That said, I also doubt Sammy had $125 million in equity circa 2006.

$108 million man Antoine Walker. A bunch of those basketball players of the mid-90's to early-00's were REALLY bad with money.
   54. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 01, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5703214)
Fatigue, suckiness, same thing.
Do they have an Unabled List?
   55. Michael Paulionis Posted: July 01, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5703220)
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=duensbr01&t=p&year=2018

Considering the extreme difference of his April-May vs. June performances, I think it's pretty safe to say there's something wrong with Duensing. He's signed for 2019 too. He should take all the time he needs to get back. We do not need a guy with as low a ceiling as Duensing trying to press his luck. His BB/9 has gone from 2.6 in 2017 to 6.9 this season. I know 6.9 looks good compared to Chatwood's 8.1, but 3.3 is the major league average.
   56. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5703302)
Sure but Sammy made more money in his last 5 years than Lenny did over good entire career. Sure there are taxes but Sammy made at least another 50 million off endorsements. We're taking about a guy who made somewhere around 175 to 200 million dollars over his baseball career.
   57. Walt Davis Posted: July 02, 2018 at 12:03 AM (#5703582)
'm sorry Cubs fans but Sammy is definitely going to be found to be involved in something fishy. Best case scenario, he ends up broke. Worst case scenario, he ends up in jail or dead.

And we care? More than we do about other human beings? Our pride as Cub fans relates to his in some manner?

Sammy is an under-educated guy who struck it rich. Of course it's possible he'll get swindled, possible he'll get roped in by nefarious people, certainly quite likely he'll make bad investments in businesses run by his family members, etc.

That makes him just like nearly every other athlete, actor, musician, app writer and lottery winner who had the good fortune to beat the odds on their million-to-one (or worse) bet on becoming filthy rich with the added fame target attached to their backs. Some are fortunate enough to have agents, lawyers, financial advisors and/or family that are trustworthy and knowledgeable ... and a few actually are pretty sharp themselves.

And "Fishy" is the current president's middle name. Hard to get and stay rich without investing in something fishy. God only knows what my various funds are invested in. If anything, in Sosa's case, I suspect his caginess about his investments is more not wanting to admit they aren't going well than that they're criminal in nature.

But again, it's 10 years and he's not bankrupt or imprisoned yet. Unlike Dykstra, there's nothing in the article about Sammy recruiting investors or selling financial advice.

So would any of us be surprised if Sammy goes bankrupt? Of course not. Why, if it can happen to MC Hammer, it can happen to the best of us! But in the meantime, I'm perfectly happy to not assume it since I gain nothing by doing so. Wait and see and since I hold no ill will towards the man, I wish him the best.

beverages and hospitality

Usually it means he's invested in a club or bar or alcohol distributor. Practically a baseball tradition.

   58. Walt Davis Posted: July 02, 2018 at 12:18 AM (#5703584)
As to the Cubs ... the pitching is going through a very tough stretch and, thankfully, the offense has started hitting on all cylinders to compensate. Thanks to a ton of runs in the last few games, the June numbers look more like equal blame to be shared:

Cubs RS and RA by month:

M/A: 5.1 3.7 (16-10)
May: 5.3 3.6 (14-13)
Jun: 4.7 4.1 (16-12, that 4.7 is up from 3.6 a week ago)

They've now scored 60 runs in their last 6 games. Somebody get Elias on the case cuz I can't imagine that happens very often ... unless maybe there's a 22-run game in there. (Or 46 in the last 4 if you prefer.) In terms of record, May was the major under-performance -- a run differential of 46 in 27 games and only a 14-13 record. They had 10 games in which they scored 3 or fewer runs (1-9) ... or, if you prefer, they scored just 33 runs in the 13 losses. That means a whopping 111 runs in their 14 wins -- just shy of 8 runs per game.

June was kinda similar with 14 games of 3 runs or less but managing to go 4-10. Just 24 runs in those 12 losses leaving 108 for the 16 wins (6.75 per).

Obviously most teams, even the good ones, tend to look lousy when they lose but I think it's pretty rare to look so good when they win. The Astros average 6.4 in their wins and 2.6 in their losses. Cubs are at 7.3/2.1.
   59. McCoy Posted: July 02, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5703600)
So the guy who is 10th in PA is third in homers
   60. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5703639)
June feels like one of those months where the Cubs should have won at a 70% clip. Outside of a very small handful of PA to some bench guys all of the guys getting PA were hitting at least average with most either well above it or well above for their position. Kris came in around average which is a downgrade for him but of the 10 players who got the most PA he got the least and Heyward of all people kind of cancels him out and then some by performing really well to expectations and racking up a lot of playing time. On the pitching side you had Lester pitching like a CYA winner and Montgomery pitching like an ace. They accounted for over a quarter of the innings pitched this month and almost 40% of the starts. Unfortunately the next half dozens guys or so got lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the Cubs only managed to be 4 games above .500 for the month instead 12 or more.

That Reds series may have been the difference between a great month and just another good one. At the same time, this month was one of the least healthy months for the Cubs under Maddon, or so it seems. Their best player was worthless, then hurt; Rizzo wasn't much better. Their 2 best relievers were hurt. And like you said, most of the pitchers just flat out sucked.

I'll still take it, of course. And if the Cubs continue to be a 2nd half time, like they've been under Maddon...
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5703640)
They've now scored 60 runs in their last 6 games. Somebody get Elias on the case cuz I can't imagine that happens very often ... unless maybe there's a 22-run game in there. (Or 46 in the last 4 if you prefer.)

A bunch of Cubs specific things, not sure it answers your question though

Christopher Kamka @ckamka 17h17 hours ago

#Cubs: 10+ runs in all 3 games of a 3-game series for first time since September 11-13, 1998 vs Brewers. Sammy Sosa hit home runs #59-62 during this series.

Christopher Kamka @ckamka 18h18 hours ago

#Cubs: first time scoring 10+ runs in 4 straight games since June 1-6, 1930 when they did it in 5 straight games.

They scored 16, 15, 18, 10 and 13 in those games. And 9 the game after that.

Can't find the tweet now, but the Cubs scored more runs in that 3 game series than any other team has in any other series so far this year.
   62. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5703641)
Also

After losing to the Reds 11-2 on June 23, the Cubs were hitting .232 with runners in scoring position, tied for 22nd in baseball. In the past eight games, they’ve gone 40-for-94, a .426 batting average. They’ve raised their average in those situations by 24 points and now sit 9th overall in baseball.

As a team, the Cubs rank second in baseball with a .266 batting average, first with a .345 on-base percentage and they’re slowly climbing the ISO leaderboards, now up to 14th with a mark of .163. All this has helped propel them to second in baseball with 5.12 runs per game.

And remember all the hand-wringing over the leadoff spot early on? After Happ’s nice day at the top, the Cubs now rank fourth in baseball with a .361 OBP from their leadoff man, a spot that’s been shared nicely between Albert Almora and Ben Zobrist, along with an array of other players here and there.
   63. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:13 AM (#5703643)
Lastly, IFA signing day is here.
   64. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5703654)
I like the Gallardo signing - Big Z Jr... hopefully, without the latter day histrionics. Supposedly has a nice fastball with good movement and a relatively advanced (for a 16 yo) secondary repertoire. He also has the "fearless" tag - hence the Big Z Jr that is more than just him also Venezuelan. He's generally ranked as the best pitcher in the class. There's another kid - Starlyn Castillo - who brings high 90s heat already, that is considered the best 'arm', but to the extent you can project 16 yos, he seems more like a future closer type. EDIT: To be clear, the Cubs didn't sign Castillo - just mentioning him as the other 'top pitcher' in the class if you prefer raw velocity.

I've also read a bit about the OF they signed - Jose Lopez - who reads like a 5 tool guy. Fast LHB with good contact skills and surprising pop for his size, but not a prodigious power prospect. Like that signing, too.

Don't know as much about the third guy - Joel Machado - but sounds like your classic "projectable lefty".

If memory serves, I think the latest CBA eliminates that 'splurge/fast' cycle possibility - so I think this probably the cream.

Nice haul, considering the budget.
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5703667)
Right, they can't go over their allotment, and it looks like they've spent most of it. They can trade for more, but even that is capped IIRC.
   66. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: July 02, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5703675)
Right, they can't go over their allotment, and it looks like they've spent most of it. They can trade for more, but even that is capped IIRC.


Yeah - I think the limitation is something like half a trading partner's pool... so sans an OOTP-style 20 trades in a day, this is probably it.
   67. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5703702)
David Kaplan @thekapman 21h21 hours ago

Guess who is trying to make a baseball comeback? Former Cubs star Carlos Zambrano, who is in great shape and has completely changed his life is pitching for Leones de Yucatán in the Mexican League. He hopes to pitch his way back to the big leagues.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5703820)
Trevor Vallese @TVallese 39m39 minutes ago

Mozeliak on Fowler: “I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and question his effort and energy level. And those are things I can’t defend. I try to create opportunities for him, but not if it’s at the expense of other players who are hustling and playing hard.”


Someone tweeting a quite from an interview. Wow, that's just harsh. He's only hitting .171/.276/.278, but to have the head of baseball ops call you out publicly for effort? Oof.
.
   69. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: July 02, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5703835)
Someone tweeting a quite from an interview. Wow, that's just harsh. He's only hitting .171/.276/.278, but to have the head of baseball ops call you out publicly for effort? Oof.


Poor Dex... I mean that sincerely. Obviously, I'm glad not to have that batting line + contract - but recall that there were previously whispers about Fowler's lack of hustle BITD when the Cubs basically got him for peanuts, too.

IIRC, one of the Rox fans (Tom Nawrocki maybe?) thought it was a bunch of BS... people trying to find excuses or reasons to jettison him because 'Daddy Long legs' has a gait that looks like he's not trying.... not unlike Ron 'Penguin' Cey's waddle.

Obviously, he's not performing - and he's making a lot of money. I get that frustration.

However, in the two years we had him - together with everything heard from the non-go-team-go perspective from teammates and fans unwilling to accept the party line defending departing him - I saw nary a hint of this.

His teammates on the Cubs quite obviously loved him. He was - during his time on the Cubs - quite obviously an igniter.

We don't room for him, but if the Cards ate his contract? I'd welcome Dexter back in a heartbeat (setting aside I have no idea how you'd fit him onto the roster). He seems like a genuinely good guy, a beloved teammate, and I think the hustle crap is pure BS.

Not sorry to see turmoil in Evil Nation.... but am sorry Dex is probably pretty miserable right now.
   70. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 02, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5703846)
He's on paternity leave right now, too. So helluva time to publicly air him out, no?
   71. Brian C Posted: July 02, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5703854)
We don't room for him, but if the Cards ate his contract? I'd welcome Dexter back in a heartbeat (setting aside I have no idea how you'd fit him onto the roster). He seems like a genuinely good guy, a beloved teammate, and I think the hustle crap is pure BS.

Well, who can say? It's not unpossible that he was in a good environment here that kept him engaged and that in other circumstances he's more prone to check out. There are a lot of people like that in the regular world. Probably most people, in fact ... certainly I've had jobs where I ran out of ##### to give pretty quickly but also had jobs where I had no trouble staying focused.
I like the Gallardo signing - Big Z Jr... hopefully, without the latter day histrionics.

Speaking of, I've wondered a lot lately how Z would have fared if he was brought up in today's version of the organization. The Cubs' current leadership - from the front office down to the players - seems really, really good at getting different personality types to mesh. And probably even more importantly, the org does a really, really, really good job of keeping personalities from becoming negative media issues, which is really astonishing in this town. Even La Stella's image was rehabbed basically overnight, and he flat-out quit. Sure, winning helps, but it's also not like we haven't seen good teams factionalize, whether in the front office, clubhouse, or among fans, or the media, or all of the above.

The flip side of the coin is, I wonder if everyone would love Baez as much if he had come up in prior versions of the organization. Easy to imagine everyone involved getting fixated on his shortcomings or treating his personality as a negative. Certainly it happened to Z even when he was still good.
   72. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2018 at 12:06 AM (#5704361)
hopefully, without the latter day histrionics

Hey, he can have all the latter day histrionics he wants** after giving us 38 WAR.

** Offer does not guarantee that I won't whine about said histrionics if the latter day comes.

Speaking of, I've wondered a lot lately how Z would have fared if he was brought up in today's version of the organization.

To this point, Thed developing a starting pitcher from scratch is still theory. On the other hand, Z developing under this regime might be the next Schwarber. :-)
   73. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2018 at 02:08 AM (#5704385)
A Luc Longley update of sorts.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5704511)
Bryant eligible to come off the DL today, but not in the lineup (so doubt he's back)

Almora
Heyward
Zobrist
Rizzo
Baez
Schwarber
Conteras
Russell
Hendricks

I've made my peace with Heyward at 2nd, at least against RHP for the moment. That's a helluva lineup with the way everyone's hitting right now. Russell and Contreras are both on good runs right now.
   75. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5704551)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 2m2 minutes ago

Kris Bryant will do full work out today in preparation for coming off DL Wednesday


I"m curious to see if this story changes at all.
   76. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5704575)
Beautiful day here in Chicago...I'm very tempted to get a head start on my long weekend and grab a ticket for this afternoon's game. Probably shouldn't though.
   77. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5704577)
Hendricks on his struggles:

SS: You said earlier that you’re not getting your fastball down in the zone, which is leading to hitters not chasing your changeup. That makes perfect sense, but can you explain in a bit more detail as to how you believe it’s supposed to work and why it’s not working?

Hendricks: Everything works off my fastball. When I’m establishing my fastball at the bottom of the zone and they’re seeing it, I’m getting called strikes right at the bottom, the changeup is coming out right on the same plane. They have to respect it. So that’s when I’m getting swings under the zone, you get chases and bad contact. Right now, I’m not establishing that fastball, so I’m having to throw changeups for strikes earlier in the count to combat it. But then they’re getting a good look at it and they see it down and they take it. So, the swings I’m getting on pitches are all in the zone. So, it’s really hard to get soft contact in the zone against these guys when my stuff’s not moving how I’m wanting it to.

(Hendricks is getting a career-low 29.9 percent O-Swing%, the percentage of times he’s getting opponents to swing at pitches that are outside the zone. According to Statcast, Hendricks is getting a 35.9 percent whiff rate on his changeup this year, which is actually above last season, but below his 2015 and 2016 marks, which were both right around 39 percent. The major issue here is that from 2015 to 2017, Hendricks had a chase rate of his changeup between 46.4 to 52.6 percent. This season that number is down significantly to 37.1 percent. The numbers show Hendricks was exactly right in his assessment. Jarringly so.)
   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5704578)
You absolutely should. Why wouldn't you?
   79. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5704582)
Because I'm already working remotely on Thurs. and out Fri., and I work in an office where the powers that be still expect to be able to "swing by" your office to chat in person when they feel like it.
   80. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5704591)
That's a terrible reason.

Unless you're also going to the game Friday.
   81. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5704601)
I agree that it's a terrible reason. No, in Friday I'm going to be in Champaign for Wedding Part II (we got married a couple of months ago in Mexico City, so this basically a party for my family who couldn't make it to Mexico).
   82. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5704605)
That's a better excuse, I guess.
   83. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5704610)
MLB Trade Rumors @mlbtraderumors 23s23 seconds ago

Astros To Place Brian McCann On Disabled List, Select Tim Federowicz


Back in the majors! I bet he's better than Gimenez.
   84. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5704637)
And it's already begun! Quicker than I could have even predicted.

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 5m5 minutes ago

Kris Bryant could be activated tomorrow . Joe Maddon said they may wait through Thursday’s off day and activate Bryant Friday.
   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5704936)
Including today

Christopher Kamka @ckamka 44s44 seconds ago

Kyle Hendricks this season:
1st inning: 8,47 ERA, 17.0 Innings, .271 Opp BA, 8 HR
2nd inning on: 3.38 ERA, 80.0 Innings, .246 Opp BA, 8 HR
#Cubs
   86. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 03, 2018 at 05:41 PM (#5705004)
Mooney:

Kris Bryant is still feeling soreness in his shoulder and #Cubs have ruled out the idea of activating him tomorrow.


Mmhmm.
   87. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 04, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5705296)
The #Cubs today recalled catcher Victor Caratini from @IowaCubs. Catcher Chris Gimenez has been designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/4cSjKDOrzp


Happ Independence day!
   88. Zonk is Just the Right Amount of Wrought Posted: July 05, 2018 at 09:19 AM (#5705438)
The El Mago legend continues...

If you didn't see it, it's worth the look.

Dude just doesn't have bones, muscles, and sinew like regular human beings. Some of kind of hyper-flexible alien alloy held together by Terminator-style liquid material.
   89. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 05, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5705486)
Javy also has super human reflexes and can process everything in slow motion. I couldn't react to the catcher's tag like that.
   90. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 05, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5705492)
#Cubs Baez says he likes how Maddon told players to be themselves, saying "if you feel sexy, wear it." Is it sexy stealing home plate? Javy: "Yes it is."
   91. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 05, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5705537)
As of today,
-The Cubs have 7 guys with at least 2 bWAR, Bryant isn't one of them.
-The Cubs have all 10 regulars with an OPS+ of 100 or better, with Rizzo bringing up the rear at 103. By wRC+, those same 10 are all above 100, with again Rizzo bringing up the rear at 105.
-Baez has the lowest OBP of those 10 at .321, and he's obviously dependent on the high BA to be at that level. Heyward is at .343, Rizzo .346 and Russell .355; the other 6 are all at .370 or above.
-The Cubs have 7 guys hitting at least .280 (Almora, Zobrist, Heyward, Baez, Contreras, Russell, Bryant, in order high to low). Last year only Jay and Bryant were above .280.
-I'm not sure what is a realistic expectation for most of these guys going forward, but it's pretty safe to expect more out of Rizzo and Bryant in the 2nd half of the season.

The pitching is a whole other story...
   92. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 05, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5705552)
670 The Score @670TheScore 8:28 AM - Jul 5, 2018

The optimistic outlook is for Yu Darvish to return in late July, #Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey says. He has to go through process of building up arm strength, which will include bullpen sessions, a simulated game and at least one rehab start.
   93. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 05, 2018 at 05:31 PM (#5705681)
In this defensive all-stars piece is this note (which is something I've been harping on all year, though to be fair he's been much better lately defensively too IMO):

NL: Domingo Santana, Milwaukee Brewers

This one may look like a head-scratcher, and if you’re wondering where Jason Heyward is, check back with us at season’s end. Domingo Santana has a 7-3 edge over Heyward in Defensive Runs Saved, and before you say small sample, consider this:

Santana went from 8 Good Fielding Plays and 24 Misplays & Errors last season to 6 and 5 this season. Heyward has 12 Good Fielding Plays, but already has 16 Defensive Misplays & Errors in right, more than he’s had in either of the past two seasons.


No Cubs make his cut, fwiw.
   94. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2018 at 11:51 PM (#5705807)
Per #91: Cub position players lead the NL with 8.7 WAA, Atl next at 6.2. By position:

C 3t (1.1 WAA)
1B 11 (-0.7)
2B 3 (1.5)
3B 4t (0.8)
SS 2 (1.8, WSN 1.9)
LF 1 (1.8, Atl 0.9)
CF 3 (1.0)
RF 2 (0.8, Atl 1.7)

Obviously outside of 1B, that's pretty nice, no position worse than 4th, on pace for at least 3.5 WAR.

RF is the NL's weak spot this year, averaging -0.4 WAA. Philly and AZ RFs are already nearly -2 WAA. Also ...

Nats are worst in NL at C and 2B
Mets are worst at 1B and SS
Phils are worst at 3B and RF
Rox are worst at LF and CF (bWAR hates Blackmon's defense) ... and 13th in RF.
Marlins are worst at SP and RP

Sheesh, out of those 10 spots, an NL East team is the worst in 8 of them.
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 06, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5705860)
Phils are worst at 3B and RF


This one surprised me so I had to look it up. I did not realize just how badly things have gone for Maikel Franco since his great rookie season. He's even bounced back to a 101 OPS+ this year but that's more than canceled out by the fact that Rfield has him on pace for a -20 season.
   96. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 06, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5705937)
Kris Bryant will test his shoulder and hit today at Wrigley. #Cubs activating Carl Edwards Jr. and optioning Dillon Maples to Triple-A Iowa. Rob Zastryzny is also back in the Iowa bullpen.


Mmhmm.
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 06, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5706319)
Chicago #Cubs prized pitching prospect Oscar De La Cruz suspended 80 games for testing positive for Furosemide, a diuretic and masking agent.


First azolay gets hurt, then this.
   98. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 07, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5706597)
Joe Maddon says Kris Bryant is definitely going on a minor-league rehab stints to get ABs and test his shoulder.


New story every day. No word on when this rehab stint will happen yet.
   99. Voodoo Posted: July 07, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5706664)
Watching Chatwood pitch makes me long for the days of John Lackey.
   100. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 08, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5706902)
Flip.
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