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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, August 21, 2017

That counted as Now

I can watch this over and over and over all day. 

Can’t say anything better than that.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 21, 2017 at 11:41 AM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 21, 2017 at 11:42 AM (#5517864)
I should probably just post that on the main page, make it sticky, and never let it expire.
   2. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 21, 2017 at 03:05 PM (#5518002)
Pretty great stuff. I'm glad the Cubs made me look stupid (or, stupider) yesterday.
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5518339)
Aug. 22:

1933 Bill Veeck Sr urges midsummer series of interleague games & proposes a split season
1954 1st of 42 multi-HR games for Ernie Banks
1960 Jim Brewer, CHC & CHC team sure Billy Martin with $1,040,000 lawsuit over 8/5 fight. Settled in court: Martin to pay $25K
1960 Cubs sign amateur free agent Lou Brock
1961 Ron Santo singles w/ 1 out in first: only Cub hit of the game. Art Mahaffey: 9IP, 1H, 0R, 2W, 7K. Phillies 6, Cubs 0
1982 Cubs retire Ernie Banks's number
1983 CHC replace manager Lee Elia with Charlie Fox
2001 Sammy Sosa hits 3 HR in one game for the fourth time (2nd time he's done it in less than 2 weeks). Leaves game in 6th inning
2002 Cubs trade Tom Gordon to Houston
2010 Lou Piniella, CHC manager, retires. ATL 16, CHC 5

   4. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5518346)
Hey Dag, I meant to message you on Saturday, as it marked the 35th anniversary of my first in-person game at Wrigley. Surely a momentous and noteworthy occasion.
   5. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:08 AM (#5518370)
Someone on The Score last night said that Javy's slide reminds him of the Michael Jackson music video Smooth Criminal. I can totally see that. And think that Smooth Criminal would be a great nickname for Javy.
   6. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5518469)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 14m14 minutes ago

From Ed Hartig: Sunday's win 1st time in 17 yrs. Cubs overcame a multi-run deficit in extras for W. Last time 6/5/2000 vs. AZ (4-3,10 inn)


Boxscore. DBacks scored 2 in 10th off Aguilera and Heredia, Cubs 3, including a walkoff double by Jeff Reed. Cubs had 2 strike outs that inning, but neither of them reached.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5518472)
And think that Smooth Criminal would be a great nickname for Javy.

I think this El Mago thing sort of captures the spirit of that type of nickname. He's such a different player than what I expected - almost exclusively in a good way in spite of the ridiculous strikeouts. Never thought someone could be so entertaining, and in the way Baez is.
   8. Brian C Posted: August 22, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5518562)
Javy has walked 20 times this year. 12 of those have been intentional. He's gunning to one-up Dunston's 1989, when he drew a career high 30 walks, 15 of which were intentional.

By the way, I just realized that 2003 is as long ago as 1989 was in 2003. That seems impossible to believe. Funny how getting older works. The Bartman game could have been yesterday, but 1989 felt like already ancient history in 2003.
   9. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 22, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5518599)
Cubs had 2 strike outs that inning, but neither of them reached.


Um, isn't that what one would expect?
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5518608)
Um, isn't that what one would expect?

Um, did you watch the game Sunday?
   11. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 22, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5518703)
Um, did you watch the game Sunday?


No, I didn't. I saw the game winning hit, but that was it. So, wow, 2 dropped thrid reached, plus another WP, plus a HBP. Stellar inning.
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:11 PM (#5518721)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago
Russell plans to work with team during BP, weather permitting. "It's starting to feel like my normal foot."

Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 58s58 seconds ago
Believes could return well within two weeks, but team will remain cautious


What's the exact opposite of reassuring?
   13. Covfefe Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:15 PM (#5518726)
Javy has walked 20 times this year. 12 of those have been intentional. He's gunning to one-up Dunston's 1989, when he drew a career high 30 walks, 15 of which were intentional.


You know, it never occurred to me to compare Javy to Shawon... The numbers don't really align primarily because Shawon's defense was too inconsistent to get beyond grading out as average or slightly above, but they're remarkably similar players in a lot of ways.

Shawon certainly did make some pretty jaw-dropping plays at his best (and he also made some jaw-dropping plays at his worst).

Javy feels like a more refined Dunston - i.e., if you could take Shawon's undeniable skills and have it all play a little smoother and more under control.
   14. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 06:02 PM (#5518832)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 57m57 minutes ago

Zobrist is having travel issues getting to Cincy from Nashville. He'll be here by game time, but Happ will start at second base & bat 5th


Yeah, he's been a little better lately, but still...
   15. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:39 PM (#5518998)
Sure. Javy has more power, is a smoother defender, nearly always keeps at least one foot on the ground while batting. :-) Yes, the tool set it pretty much the same but Javy is doing a much better job of turning that speed into positive outcomes (moreso on defense, Shawon was a good baserunner in his younger days). I've often said that I consider Dunston to be one of the most _talented_ players I've ever seen (and especially so by Cub standards) but he might also be the worst-coached or least-disciplined player ever. I don't think he ever would have developed the kind of power of today's SS but I think with proper tutelage, he could have been at least Rafael Furcal or maybe even Larkin (I don't imagine Shawon would ever have walked as much as Larkin ... Furcal's hardly a perfect comp either, he just sprang to mind as Larkin-Lite).

Obviously at some point Javy's lack of walks will start to bite him. One thing I wasn't sure we'd ever see out of him was a good postseason -- it seems good pitchers should eat him alive. But he was of course quite good in the first two rounds last year before turning into the guy I feared in the WS (13 Ks in 30 PA, 167/167/267).

Anyway, I'm more than happy to take the bad with the good.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:11 PM (#5519049)
Zobrist is having travel issues getting to Cincy from Nashville.


I made that drive yesterday, and it was a slog, though I'd have expected the eclipse traffic to have dispersed by now...
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:13 PM (#5519050)
Javy is a pretty good to great baserunner in his own right, especially sliding. But he's one of the more daring guys out there, and his instincts are usually right on.
   18. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:24 PM (#5519118)
Bryant walking to clubhouse w/ trainer with his left hand wrapped up in ice. Cubs don't need any bad news with an already banged up club.


Ugh.
   19. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:31 PM (#5519122)
Left hand contusion for Bryant. X-rays negative for fractures. If he's going to miss time, Cubs don't expect it to be anything big.


Phew.
   20. Brian C Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:42 PM (#5519125)
I wonder how many times Bryant is going to look seriously hurt without actually being seriously hurt. Feel like he's had more than his share of close calls.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2017 at 01:40 AM (#5519155)
Javy is a pretty good to great baserunner in his own right

Agreed. I just meant that Dunston did a good job of turning his speed into positive outcomes on the bases too.

Left hand contusion for Bryant. X-rays negative for fractures. If he's going to miss time, Cubs don't expect it to be anything big.

After all these years, the Cubs need Christian Villanueva but don't have him anymore. (Hitting 291/368/531 in El Paso though and still just 26. Don't get too excited, still the PCL and that's just the fifth best OPS among regulars on the team.)
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 23, 2017 at 08:57 AM (#5519187)
Aug. 23:

1909 CHC steal home 3 times in game vs BOB. Cubs win 11-6
1929 CHC buy Lon Warneke from Alexandria in Cotton States League for $100
1932 CHC have only 1 assist in 5-1 win over PHI
1971 Ron Santo has to be restrained from going after Leo Durocher after he says Santo dmnds team give him a day (the day is 8/28, th.)
1974 WPA's favorite Rick Reuschel game: 9 IP, 9 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K. CG SHO, CHC 1, SFG 0. WPA: 0.828
1975 Last of 32 multi-HR games for Billy Williams
1983 Dave Concepcion, CIN, tossed for arguing caught steal w/ ump Dave Pallone in CHC game. Will get 3 gm suspension: spit on ump
1998 Blue Angels buzz Wrigley during game (Youtube Blue Angels fly over Wrigley Field)
2002 WPA's worst Sammy Sosa game: -0.421 WPA. 0-for-5, 1 K. ARI 3, CHC 2
2013 CHC take 6-0 lead in top of first, lose 8-6 to SDP

   23. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 23, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5519205)
Sure. Javy has more power, is a smoother defender, nearly always keeps at least one foot on the ground while batting.

Dunston was a strange hitter. He made a lot of hard contact and despite regularly taking wild swings at balls out of the strike zone, he didn't strike out a whole lot.

I am hoping Javi can improve against RHP -- he's helpless against righties throwing sliders.
   24. Covfefe Posted: August 23, 2017 at 09:49 AM (#5519216)
I think there's probably era normalization necessary comparing Shawon and Javy -- though I am surprised that looking back, even for the 80s/90s - Dunston actually didn't strike out nearly as much as I thought I remembered.

Anyway, I think they've both got cannon arms. They've both got violent swings - and Andere makes another good point, I very much agree with remembering Dunston making a ton of hard contact. They both have great range - Dunston was just forever undone by the fact that he was incapable of eating a ball he should have eaten and instead, airmailing into the seats for an error.

I wish we had some of today's advanced measures - exit velocity, etc -- for Shawon.

FWIW, though - was Dunston a "good" baserunner? His SB/CS numbers look meh, at best -- my recollection of Dunston is that he was the master of hustle, and you'd NEVER see him missing out on extra base on a bobbled ball because he was jogging to the next base. I also remember more than a few doubles that were actually singles made into doubles by lollygoging OFers.
   25. Brian C Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5519234)
Well, if Bryant's just out for a few days, that's no biggie, they can cover 3B easily enough.

By the way, I didn't really mean to compare Dunston and Baez overall. I was just pointing out that one (somewhat amusing) similarity. Despite their refusal to take walks, they're not really even very similar in terms of discipline, since as Andere alluded to, Dunston basically struck out at about a league average rate, and Baez ... well, he's somewhat higher than league average.

It's pretty remarkable that Dunston stayed in the league so long, given his nearly career-long lack of actual value - 1800+ games played and only 11.5 bWAR. I remember listening to the 2002 World Series on the radio one night when he hit that homer, and more than anything just being shocked that he was still in the majors. Still, I was really happy for him, because despite all of his very obvious flaws he was a favorite of mine when I was growing up. He and Ryno were the two mainstays from the time I started watching until I got to high school.

Well, and Maddux, technically, but that was a different story.
   26. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5519255)
Dunston was not a great base stealer, but he got pretty good at it in his late 20s. He was very fast, certainly. I remember him running out a lot of infield hits.

As a young player he was very sloppy at the plate, on the bases, and in the field (Sandberg to Dunston to Calumet City). But he seemed to mature quite a bit as he got older, in just about every way. He was never a great player, or even a very good one I suppose, but he settled into being a useful player and as Brian points out, played a hell of a longer than I ever expected. I think it helped him in his late 30s having Dusty Baker as his manager...
   27. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:31 AM (#5519323)
Dusty using Shawon as the DH batting 9th in the WS didn't do Dusty any favors though.
   28. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5519331)
Giants-era Dunston had one of my all-time favorite quotes.

He told a reporter that his son (one of the Giant batboys) asked him why he wasn't playing much anymore. Dunston told his kid: "Daddy's not a shortstop any more. Daddy's not an outfielder any more. Daddy's a teammate now."
   29. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5519345)
1998 Blue Angels buzz Wrigley during game (Youtube Blue Angels fly over Wrigley Field)

I was at that game, though I wouldn't become a Chicago resident for several years after. I remember Trachsel angrily stomping around the mound when the Blue Angels distracted him mid-delivery.

Sosa also hit his 50th and 51st homers that game, the first time he'd reached 50+.
   30. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5519350)
Good news on Bryant, in a "could've been a lot worse" sort of way. He's kind of been plagued by dumb little freak injuries this year, hasn't he? There's this HBP, his fluke stepping on the bag wrong after catching a routine popup, sliding in head first and catching his hand on the third baseman's shoe, and one more (recently) I'm forgetting.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5519353)
Was that the first time they did it or was it notably closer? They were flying there a bunch this past weekend, and I was at the game Thursday (Lester's pounding) and they were pretty damn close again for a while.

I guess the group of 4 never were directly over Wrigley, but very very close. There was a solo guy that kept going over.
   32. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5519357)
Dunston told his kid: "Daddy's not a shortstop any more. Daddy's not an outfielder any more. Daddy's a teammate now."

That's pretty great. And suggests a refreshing level of self-awareness.

I always found Dunston likeable, partially because he clearly was busting his butt all the time, but even as a much younger fan I found him incredibly frustrating. I'd like to see his career replayed with the player development crew the Cubs now have in place as opposed to whatever they were doing in the '80s and '90s. (That Dunston had a ton of talent, seemed willing to work hard, but never really progressed beyond being just OK tells me the Cubs didn't know what they were doing, which would be of a piece with their failure to develop any position players better than freaking Doug Glanville and Geovany Soto between Grace and Castro.)
   33. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5519364)
Was that the first time they did it or was it notably closer?

It's the time I have on file that they did it.
   34. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:57 AM (#5519367)
Was that the first time they did it or was it notably closer?

I don't know whether it was the first time, but I remember it because I was there (and Trachsel's reaction made it more memorable). I would say, if I had to guess, that they flew closer than they do now; perhaps they changed their dive patterns a bit in response to feedback from the Cubs?
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 23, 2017 at 12:16 PM (#5519399)
I remember Trachsel angrily stomping around the mound when the Blue Angels distracted him mid-delivery.

He was particularly irritated when the next year's Air & Water Show caused a similar interruption three pitches later.
   36. Covfefe Posted: August 23, 2017 at 02:54 PM (#5519541)
He was particularly irritated when the next year's Air & Water Show caused a similar interruption three pitches later.


Heh... nicely done.

FTR -- I lay claim/blame for Baez/Dunston comparison and I do still like it -- with the original caveat that Baez is far smoother than Dunston and that Baez's more refined play (especially in the field) is why Baez is a lot more valuable than Dunston ever was - I'm just more of amazed that I don't recall the comparison being made before.

Maybe a better way to put it is that Dunston was like a pre-alpha of the beta release Baez.
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 04:26 PM (#5519639)
Zobrist hitting 3rd tonight with Bryant getting the day (TLS playing 3rd).

It does "feel" like Zobrist has been a little better lately, but there really isn't a serious favorable cherry picking of his game log that really makes him look that much better. For the month, he's hitting .268/.359/.339, which outside of the power, is better than he's been this year.

Ok, I'm lying, a little, in his last 24 PA (7games, 4 starts), he's hitting .333/.417/.524.
   38. Brian C Posted: August 23, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5519677)
It does "feel" like Zobrist has been a little better lately, but there really isn't a serious favorable cherry picking of his game log that really makes him look that much better. For the month, he's hitting .268/.359/.339, which outside of the power, is better than he's been this year.

Honestly, though, I'll take it. They've gotten plenty of power from elsewhere in the lineup lately. They just need Zobrist not to be an out machine. Take some walks, knock out some singles and a few doubles now and again, and I'm happy.
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5519718)
Bunch of various injury updates:

Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 12m12 minutes ago

Lester played catch today & felt good enough to have a bullpen scheduled for Fri in Philly. Maybe a sim game sometime after & go from there


Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 2h2 hours ago

Contreras, Russell set for another round of running drills in outfield.


All of these are good things to hear.
   40. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 23, 2017 at 05:42 PM (#5519724)
Yeah, Zobrist has been better. I don't take too much stock in this week or two of good hitting but if he's going to snap out of it, this is what it would look like.

As the Cubs hit a season-high ten games over .500 last night, the phrase "winning ugly" came to my mind.

   41. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 06:29 PM (#5519744)
Cubs SP ERA in 2nd half is 3.43, 3rd in NL. Pretty solid. But it's offense that's carrying them: 116 wRC+ in 2nd half is tops in baseball
   42. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2017 at 06:35 PM (#5519746)
Dunston didn't strike out as much because he was "good" at making contact out of the zone. On occasion that would result in a bloop hit or a swinging bunt but he was no Vlad. Javy simply swings and misses. That's an equal lack of discipline. We have p/pa data for Dunston from age 25 and he averaged just 3.28 (with pretty incredible consistency) vs a league average of 3.68. Javy sees 3.8 pitches in a 3.85 league.

Both guys got fooled by pitches but Dunston would bend over and reach out one-handed if he had to to try to make contact. If you've got two strikes that's fine (given you're fooled) but he'd do that whenever. As importantly, he'd take a "regular" swing at stuff out of the zone. It might be more embarrassing to miss a pitch by 18 inches but, unless it's strike 3, that's better than making contact with one 4 inches off the outside.

Dunston's value on the bases was more about his hustle rather than his steals (like Javy) but he was a pretty good basestealer. 131-48 from ages 22-28 which isn't great but was solid for its time. That's also brought down by a couple of pretty bad years of 13-11 and 19-11. But those are mixed in with 11-3, 12-3, 30-9, 25-5 and 21-6.

Dunston probably did make plenty of hard contact but at "bad" launch angles. He also would have made a ton of weak contact on all those pitches out of the zone. Or maybe not ... we have ratios from age 25 too and he was pretty much league average at everything HR%, K%, HR/FB, LD% ... except the disastrous walk rate and the high IF/FB rate ... and he was much more a FB hitter than I remembered. I'd bet those extra pop-ups were mainly the result of making contact with high fastballs out of the zone.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:29 PM (#5519970)
Everytime it feels like rondon is going to turn a corner, he makes it obvious he won't.
   44. Brian C Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:29 PM (#5519971)
With the Brewers' loss today, the Cubs have their biggest division lead of the season at 3.5 games. They've also caught up to the wild-card slot, so that's in play also even if the Brewers go crazy over the last month or something.
   45. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:36 PM (#5519976)
Kyle Schwarber now has a better OPS than Miguel Cabrera.

Man, Cabrera sure is having an off year.
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 23, 2017 at 10:39 PM (#5519979)
#Cubs 2016-17 vs Reds: 34 games (25-9), 255 runs (7.5 per game), 72 HR


Thank God for the reds.
   47. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 23, 2017 at 11:01 PM (#5519989)
Well, this post began with a play where Javy looked awesome, so here's another play where Javy looks awesome.

Is there anyone in baseball more fun to watch than him?
   48. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 24, 2017 at 08:54 AM (#5520063)
Aug. 24:

1895 Jimmy Ryan hits inside the park grandslam off of Varney Anderson
1899 100 homers: Jimmy Ryan
1903 NYG commit 8 errors behidn Joe McGinnity in 7-3 loss to CHC
1905 Ed Reulbach wins marathon: 20 ining 2-1 game CHC over Philly. Tully Sparks loses also going the distance
1911 BRK 6, Cubs 5 (10). Fun game: 0-1, 2-1 (end1-5), 2-3, (mid8), 3-3, 3-4, 4-4 (end9), 4-5, 6-5. Runs in e. of last 5 half-innings
1927 Hack Wilson scores 5 runs in a game for the only time
1935 Hank Leiber, NYG, this 2 HR in one inning vs CHC
1947 Eddie Waitkus, CHC, hits inside the park grand slam vs. NYG. 3rd inside slam of the year; which wont happen again until 1990
1971 Ernie Banks's 512th & final HR, with CHC, of course
1983 Chuck Rainey, CHC, has no-hitter go until 9th: 1 out away Eddie Milner, CIN, singles. 3-0 one-hitter
1996 Kerry Wood goes 8 no-hit innings for Daytona ove Vero Beach in 3-0 win. I think someone else hitless in the 9th
1997 Last of 25 multiHR games for Ryne Sandberg
1997 200 homers: Sammy Sosa
2001 Hank Sauer dies
2014 Korea beats Chicago in Little League World Series, 8-4. Chicago scored 3 in bottom of the 6th (the last inning)


   49. McCoy Posted: August 24, 2017 at 09:10 AM (#5520067)
I always found Dunston likeable, partially because he clearly was busting his butt all the time, but even as a much younger fan I found him incredibly frustrating. I'd like to see his career replayed with the player development crew the Cubs now have in place as opposed to whatever they were doing in the '80s and '90s. (That Dunston had a ton of talent, seemed willing to work hard, but never really progressed beyond being just OK tells me the Cubs didn't know what they were doing, which would be of a piece with their failure to develop any position players better than freaking Doug Glanville and Geovany Soto between Grace and Castro.)

The Cubs drafted Dunston in 1982 and the Cubs in that era found and developed position players.

Ryne Sandberg
Joe Carter
Mark Grace
Rafael Palmeiro
And though he was drafted by the previous regime, Mel Hall.
   50. Covfefe Posted: August 24, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5520104)
With the Brewers' loss today, the Cubs have their biggest division lead of the season at 3.5 games. They've also caught up to the wild-card slot, so that's in play also even if the Brewers go crazy over the last month or something.


It's probably time to switch concerns from the Brewers to the Cardinals -- the Brewers are just 16-21 since the break, on their way to LA for three against the Dodgers, then get another four against the Nats week after next. They're going in the wrong direction and have far and away the toughest remaining schedule in the NLC. They had a really nice, surprising run -- I wish Harveys was around for it -- but I think they're out of gas and the road is getting rockier.

The Cards are 4 over since the break and have a crap ton of games left against the Giants, Padres, and Reds -- I think the Cubs and Brewers are the only teams left on their schedule that are and could even possibly have by the time they meet up, winning records.

If there's going to be September NLC chase -- it's gonna be the Cardinals as the team to worry about.
   51. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 24, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5520105)
Everytime it feels like rondon is going to turn a corner, he makes it obvious he won't.

I dunno. The pitch to Votto was a terrible 91.2 mph changeup (at least that's what mlb.com called it) hanging belt high over the plate. The other two homers were off 98 mph fastballs in the strike zone. Looking at Fangraphs, his fastballs in the last two outings have the highest average speed he has shown in the last three years.

In both of those games, his job was to throw strikes and get the game over with. So he burned four-seamers in the strike zone, at one of the more formidable middles of the order in the league. The approach was very bad for his ERA, but it was what he needed to do, and I'm no more (or less) worried about him now than I was before.
   52. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 24, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5520123)
The Cubs drafted Dunston in 1982 and the Cubs in that era found and developed position players.

Ryne Sandberg
Joe Carter
Mark Grace
Rafael Palmeiro
And though he was drafted by the previous regime, Mel Hall.


Hate to nitpick, but the Cubs neither found nor developed Sandberg. He was stolen from the Phillies by Dallas Green and came over as a fully formed player. He never spent a day in the Cubs minor league system and amassed 3.1 WAR as a Cubs rookie.
   53. Covfefe Posted: August 24, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5520168)
The Green/Goldsberry era was solid in both talent ID and development -- even the OBP-centric Thed regime obviously still has room for the occasional Baez.

Beyond Carter, Grace, and Palmeiro -- their stars shone far more briefly, but you also had guys like Rick Wilkins and Dwight Smith, who had their moments and would take a walk; as well as guys like Jerome Walton and Damon Berryhill (who wouldn't, but still had some productive years). There's also a Joe Girardi here, a Derrick May there.

It was the following Frey regime where scouting and player development went into hibernation -- the Green/Gold era was plenty fine at scouting and player development.

Prior era picks had their moments, but stagnated and precious few new picks came to pass - they hit on some rather lucky trades, but the successes (fleeting, '89 though they were) basically fumes of the prior front office.
   54. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 24, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5520175)
I posted this in passing in one of the omnichatters the other day - it's pretty clear that Baez's improvement over previous years hasn't come from better pitch recognition or plate judgment, based on both seeing him play and his still-terrible unintentional walk rate. So has he become a good bad-ball hitter a la Vlad, or is he just doing a lot more with pitches in the strike zone? And if it's the latter, why are any pitchers still throwing him strikes?
   55. Covfefe Posted: August 24, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5520185)
I think it's simply a matter of Baez being at his peak - physically... he's still just 24. That means he isn't going to miss a whole lot of pitches he can drive.

Unfortunately, I don't think he's ever gonna be Vlad (by this age, Vlad had 150 and 146 OPS+ seasons).

It's not time yet - and won't be time next year - but I hope Thed and company keep Branch Rickey's old better a year too early than year too late maxim in their back pocket because I do think the time to sell on Baez is going to be sometime in the age 27-28 range, not sign him to an arb buyout and get his late 20s.

Of course, his glove brings enough that maybe even once he loses that almost imperceptible fraction of quickness with his swing -- and goes from being a 270/300/480 hitter to something like 220/240/380, maybe he's still worth keeping around.

Alluding back to Walt's comments on Dunston -- he's probably a guy well worth keeping a close eye on stuff like launch angle and exit velocity, even if the production lines don't immediately change - I suspect once you start seeing some small, but trending changes there, it could well get ugly (at least with the bat) in a hurry.
   56. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 24, 2017 at 11:56 AM (#5520192)
Looking at his Fangraphs page the difference between current and previously hopeless Baez is that he is both more likely to swing at balls out of the zone and more likely to make contact when he swings.

I wonder if the difference is that the Cubs gave up on trying to make him take pitches?
   57. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5520198)
I think Baez is doing a lot more with pitches in the strike zone. As a hitter he reminds me of Sammy Sosa. Vlad was a contact hitter, with a career K rate of 10.9%. Baez's is 29.7%.
   58. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:12 PM (#5520205)
Between the last 3 posts, I'm worried that "never throw the guy a strike" is going to be pretty easy for pitchers to figure out in the near future.
   59. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:18 PM (#5520211)
I posted this in passing in one of the omnichatters the other day - it's pretty clear that Baez's improvement over previous years hasn't come from better pitch recognition or plate judgment, based on both seeing him play and his still-terrible unintentional walk rate. So has he become a good bad-ball hitter a la Vlad, or is he just doing a lot more with pitches in the strike zone? And if it's the latter, why are any pitchers still throwing him strikes?

The biggest differences I see with Baez this year seem to be he appears to be not trying to pull the ball as much and has more hard hit balls, which is actually strange because it also looks like he's swung at more pitches outside the zone while also making less contact on those *and* pitches in the zone. He's just seeing slightly more pitches in the zone and somehow that appears to be enough? I dunno, maybe I'm reading all that wrong but that would seem to indicate maybe he's getting luckier this year than last; his BAbip is virtually the same and even though he's hitting slightly more fly balls his HRs on fly balls has gone way up; his line drive% has gone done and his ground ball% has gone up.

It is also interesting that he isn't seeing that many more breaking pitches than before, which again, from a scouting perspective you think he would.
   60. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:21 PM (#5520216)
more likely to make contact when he swings.

That's not right though - 72.4% last year and 65.5% this year. Out of zone contact down to 50.8% from 62.4% and in zone contact down to 78.8% from 82.3%.
   61. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:24 PM (#5520226)
That's not right though - 72.4% last year and 65.5% this year.

I was speaking broadly about effective Javier vs. historically awful Javier and not looking at distinctions between this year and last.
   62. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5520228)
Fair enough. We need a filter on FG for when he's hot or not.
   63. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5520230)
I wonder if the difference is that the Cubs gave up on trying to make him take pitches?

His strike percentage is about the same this year, but he has seen a huge decrease in the ratio of strikes looking:strikes swinging: 21.3%:22.8% in 2016; 17.8%:30.5% in 2017. His walk rate remains tiny but it has gone up since last year. None of this is bad. Obviously, if he swung at fewer strikes that are unhittably outside the strike zone, that would be a good thing.

Again, I think the main problem for him in terms of swinging and missing unhittable pitches is right-handed pitchers throwing him sliders very low and away (just like young Sammy Sosa). Eliminating that alone would make him much more valuable as a hitter.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 24, 2017 at 12:48 PM (#5520278)
Again, I think the main problem for him in terms of swinging and missing unhittable pitches is right-handed pitchers throwing him sliders very low and away (just like young Sammy Sosa). Eliminating that alone would make him much more valuable as a hitter.

Agreed. And if he eliminates it with steroids like Sammy did, he'll be even more valuable! ;)
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5520322)
His walk rate remains tiny but it has gone up since last year.

Take out the 12 IBBs, and it's actually gone down - 2.67% to 2.05%.
   66. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5520429)
Zobrist is leading off tonight, but Bryant is back in the lineup. Baez also finally moves out of the 8 spot, goes to 6 ahead of Heyward and Rivera.
   67. Covfefe Posted: August 24, 2017 at 05:01 PM (#5520566)
I know he's gone (?) once willson gets back, and he probably departs - but i think Rene Rivera is my pick for the most unmemorable player in baseball. I see by his bbref page, he was a second rounder a long time ago and I suppose someone will point out he juggles chainsaws while singing opera or moonlights rescuing children from sex trafficking rings, but he just reminds me a player with no discernible or memorable skills beyond playing a position that teams need two guys to man
   68. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 24, 2017 at 05:34 PM (#5520606)
Zobrist is leading off tonight, but Bryant is back in the lineup. Baez also finally moves out of the 8 spot, goes to 6 ahead of Heyward and Rivera.

He may not draw another walk this season! (point taken in 65)
   69. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 24, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5520609)
I know he's gone (?) once willson gets back, and he probably departs

Eh, rosters will probably have expanded by the time Willson is back.

a player with no discernible or memorable skills beyond playing a position that teams need two guys to man

I believe you're referring to Tim Federowicz, no?
   70. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 24, 2017 at 05:50 PM (#5520620)
Isn't his nickname the Polish Rene Rivera?
   71. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 25, 2017 at 09:46 AM (#5520846)
Aug. 25:

1922 Cubs 26, Phillies 23. Cubs nearly blow 25-6 lead. 181 minutes
1934 last game: Hack Wilson
1960 Walkoff HR hit by pitcher. Glen Hobbie hits one off of Vinegar Bend Mizell CHC-PIT
1991 Doug Dascenzo commits error, ending 242 game & 442 chance straek w/out one
1998 Cubs get Mike Morgan from Twins in trade for player to be named later (Scott Downs) and cash
2002 Randy Johnson fans 16: ARI 7, CHC 0

   72. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 26, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5521454)
Aug. 26:

1929 Inside-the-jacket slam by Norm McMillian, CHC. Shot down Wrigley LF line vs CIN, bounches off gutter, disappears (landed in a reliever's jacket)
1941 Cubs send Augie Galan to Dodgers for Mace Brown and cash
1948 fans throw debris on field for 20 minutes after Jocko Conlan calls a Phil Cavaretta drive a grounde rule double instead of a homer during a CHC-BOB doubleheader
1966 Durocher rips dugout phone from wall and hurls it on playing field. Upset at Astrodome scoreboad cartoons lampooning him
1968 Glenn Beckert 7th inning single is only baserunner Gaylord Perry allows all day against the Cubs in near perfect game
1972 WPA's favorite Billy Williams game: 0.679. 5-for-6, 2 HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI. CHC 10, SF 9
1972 2,000 hits: Ron Santo. Does it in style: 4-for-5 w/ 2 HR, 2 runs & 4 RBIs. 1,947 games played for him
1979 Dennis Lamp, SP, throws 35 pitches and gets the win; fewest known pitches by a SP w/ the W. 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER 0W, 5K
2008 Carlos Zambrano gets hit in 13th straight game, tying Johnny Sain for longest hit streak by P since Wilbur Cooper in 1924 (16 games)
2016 Cubs play at Beatles Night in Dodger Stadium while the White Sox have Elvis Night at The Cell (and lose to The King - Felix Hernandez of the Mariners)


   73. Meatwad Posted: August 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5521461)
http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1979/B08260SFN1979.htm

retrosheet link to the lamp game. dude faces 25 batters k's 5 and only 35 pitches? how does that happen? no double plays. guys must have been first pitch swinging
   74. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 26, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5521537)
My best guess: the pitch count for the game is incomplete & inaccurate.
   75. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: August 26, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5521571)
retrosheet link to the lamp game. dude faces 25 batters k's 5 and only 35 pitches? how does that happen? no double plays. guys must have been first pitch swinging


Yeah, it's impossible. 5 Ks take a minimum of 15 pitches. That leaves 20 pitches for the other 20 batters. One taken pitch or foul ball to any of them and the math doesn't work.
   76. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 26, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5521656)
This is why bbref doesn't list pitch counts from those days.

Weirdly, what bbref DOES show is each K occurring on an 0-2 count, and every other batter seeing one pitch. I don't think so.
   77. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 26, 2017 at 09:11 PM (#5521666)
This is why bbref doesn't list pitch counts from those days.

I got it by doing a Play Index search for fewest pitches from a winning pitcher who started the game.
   78. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 27, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5521771)
Aug. 27:

1888 1,000 games as manager: Cap Anson: 647-336
1935 Ernie Broglio born
1941 200 wins: Charlie Root: 200-160. Has 9th inning RBI single in 6-4 win for CHI over CIN
1942 CIN: bad 9th inning: 4-4 game, bases loaded 4 CIN no outs: triple play for CHC. Then CHC Bill Nicholson hits HR on foul pole: 5-4 W
1982 LAD Rick Monday & Mike Marhsall are first NL pair pinch-hitters to HR since 8/23/75 when Rick Monday half of it again. LAD beats CHC
2006 walk-off grand slam: Gary Bennett: STL 10, CHC 6. Off Bob Howry
2010 Jay Bruce homers 3 times in CIN 7, CHC 1 game
2014 MLB debut: Jorge Soler. He homers in his first at bat

   79. McCoy Posted: August 27, 2017 at 02:55 PM (#5521887)
Re 52. The same people who developed ryne in Philadelphia developed him in Chicago and it was in Chicago that he became a second baseman. He also credited his Cubs coaches as developing him as a hitter.
   80. Brian C Posted: August 27, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5521912)
Watching Lackey doing his little meltdown in Philly today, it occurred to me that one of the many things I like about Kyle Hendricks is his consistency. Sure, he's never going to go out and be much of a risk to throw a no-hitter, but he's also literally never given up five runs in an inning. He just doesn't have the kinds of meltdowns that we're semi-used to seeing from Lackey and (earlier in the year) Arrieta or sadly even Lester these days. He just comes in, and sometimes he's sharper than others, but his variance from start to start is admirably small. You pretty much know what you're getting from him whenever he takes the mound.
   81. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 27, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5521981)
Sure, he's never going to go out and be much of a risk to throw a no-hitter

He nearly threw one last year, though.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: August 27, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5521995)
In fairness to Lackey, that was a weird meltdown and one that would have gotten to any of us. A popped up bunt that falls in, a soft liner that turns into an error, two wild pitches (his fault ... but in both cases Rivera seemed to be in a pretty good spot to block and they both caromed badly off his chest protector). The only really poor pitch I noticed was that HR to Williams.

And if Rhys Hoskins played for the Yankees, we'd be assessing hiw HoF vote total with his induction already assured.
   83. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 28, 2017 at 09:05 AM (#5522133)
In unfairness to Lackey, his redassedness does not seem to help him out when the chips are down. It feels like he gets pissed off and distracted when things go wrong -- it would be nice if he could channel his anger more productively.
   84. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 28, 2017 at 09:38 AM (#5522143)
Aug. 28:

1881 Dode Paskert born
1898 Charlie Grimm born
1916 Heinie Zimmerman traded by Cubs to Giants for Larry Doyle and 2 others
1930 The greatest Cub-Cardinal game of all-time: Cardinals 8, Cubs 7 (20)
1939 Charlie Root wins his 189th game as CHC. Passes Mordecai Brown as franchise leader
1939 Charlie Root balks for the first time in over 12 years (since 7-13-27, which was well over 2,000 IP ago)
1939 1,000 hits: Stan Hack. 907 games
1940 CHC recall Dizzy Dean from Dallas
1943 Lou Piniella born
1950 Hank Sauer hits 3 HR in one game
1968 HOU arrive in Chicago just in title for Battle of MI Avenue. Larry Dierker & others see it from their Conrad Hilton hotel rooms
1970 Leo Durocher ejected for throwing a ball in the dugout
1971 Ron Santo Day at Wrigley: he first publicly announces he has diabetes. ATL 4, CHC 3
1990 Larry Jackson, MLB pitcher, dies
2005 Cubs retire Ryne Sandberg's number, 23


   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 28, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5522166)
The only really poor pitch I noticed was that HR to Williams.

While also his fault, it's also something that's been quite a problem for him this year, and thus utterly predictable. I mean, first in all of baseball with 32 HR allowed.

Then again, Quintana has also shown a lack of ability to keep the ball in the yard.
   86. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 28, 2017 at 04:13 PM (#5522372)
Took me all ####### day to be able to post in here again, but didn't want to post another thread...

Sounds like both Grimm and Russell are starting rehab assignments today.
   87. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 28, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5522380)
Oh, and Lester threw a simulated game today.
   88. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 28, 2017 at 05:44 PM (#5522410)
Sounds like both Grimm and Russell are starting rehab assignments today.

I'm surprised. I thought Jolly Cholly was dead.

Happy b-day to him anyway!
   89. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 29, 2017 at 08:54 AM (#5522657)
Aug. 29:

1907 Ned Hanlon's 1,297th managerial victory puts him #1 all-time over Cap Anson. 1,297-1,148
1926 Charlie Root becomes only pitcher to HR off of Carl Mays
1931 MLB debut: Billy Herman: 1st PA: fouls ball off home plate - hits self in head and knocks himself out
1971 Henry Blanco born
1977 Duane Kuiper homers off Steve Stone. CLE-CWS
1989 Greatest comeback in Cub history: CHC 10, HOU 9 (10)
2001 Dick Selma dies
2014 Jorge Soler homers twice. He's 4th man ever with 3 HR in his first 3 games. The 3rd was teammate Javier Baez


   90. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 29, 2017 at 10:29 PM (#5523254)
Jake Arrieta last 11 starts:
1.69 ERA, 69.1 IP, 45 Hits, 21 BB, 60 K, 5 HR, .183 Opp BA, 0.952 WHIP
#Cubs
   91. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 30, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5523419)
Yeah, it looks like Arietta has his command and movement back at the same time. His velocity remains where it's been all year though, supporting the idea he could lose a couple of mph and still be a very good pitcher. Unlike 2016, no downward trend is evident in his velocity this season.

Averaging 92.5 instead of 94 gives you less room for error in terms of command, but there are a lot of very successful pitchers who work at that velocity. As long as the sinker sinks and he can locate the off-speed stuff, he should be pretty damned good, as we have seen the last couple of months.
   92. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 30, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5523481)
Aug. 30:

1849 Cal McVey born
1897 CHC pitcher plays OF in bathrobe (an ejection, not 'nuf men, he'd changed into streetclothes)
1898 Kiki Cuyler born
1912 Cubs win, putting Frank Chance 385 games over .500 (756-371), his peak
1921 2 triple plays in 1 day: ChiC do it vs NYG, BoB does it vs Cin. Both CHC & BOB lose
2004 1,000 wins as manager: Dusty Baker: 1,000-848
2010 Carlos Zambrano, CHC, homers vs PIT: now 1st picher to HR in 8 straight seasons since Gary Peters
2015 Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers. Ends the month 6-0 with a 0.43 ERA

   93. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 30, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5523740)
CHICAGO (AP) Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was called back to Chicago to be examined after experiencing a setback in his recovery from a right foot injury.

Russell was scratched from a rehab game with Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday after experiencing soreness. The 2016 All-Star has been sidelined since early August after straining the foot.

The news on ace Jon Lester was more encouraging. His 50-pitch bullpen session Wednesday went well, and the Cubs expected to have the next step in his recovery from left lat tightness and shoulde

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