Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Gonfalon Cubs > Discussion
Gonfalon Cubs
— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, May 06, 2019

That was fun

The first road trip of the season feels so long ago now, doesn’t it?  Coming into the season I was on the more optimistic side of people around here; I still overreacted a little to that piss poor start.  As plenty of people have said, teams are never as bad as they look at their worst or as good as they do at their best.  However, I see no reason to think the Cubs aren’t much more likely really this good - well, not .800 win percentage good, but 95 wins good.  The Cubs have the best run differential (and best on a per game basis by a nice margin); they’re just 0.01 r/g behind TEX for the ML lead (5.9 r/g), and are all the way back up to 3rd in the NL in ra/g (4.26, but it’s 2.77 since that 9 game opening trip). 

There obviously is plenty of offensive regression coming - Contreras, Heyward, and Bote are the obvious candidates, not to mention the utter unpredictability of the entire bullpen.  Javy is a different story, and I’m not going to even begin to try and predict what’s gong to happen with him; he has clearly made improvements yet again from last year (going the other way a ton more), but he’s basically a baseball wizard so he can just do whatever he wants I guess.  Rizzo has rebounded nicely (.340/.438/.774 last 14 games), Bryant’s also rebounding - though more quietly (.277/.444/.596 last 14), and even Schwarber looks better if you cherry pick enough (.320/.419/.560 last 9). 

On the pitching side, only Lester appears to be significantly out-pitching his FIP, but as I mentioned in a comment in the last thread his peripherals are much closer to his good 2016 than his luckier 2018.  Hamels and Quintana appear to be back to the solid, reliable selves and good for Pops giving Hendricks his vote of absolute confidence right before Kyle threw his Maddux.  Darvish continues to be absolutely maddening (is it me, or is he going really out of his way to try and completely avoid all contact?), but the stuff appears to be there - unlike last year, where it seemed like he never had it.  IOW, I think it might be mental with him, and I think the Cubs absolutely should be doing everything they can to try and straighten him out, as he has an upside none of the other SP options can touch.  I saw some conversation in the game chatter yesterday about either a 6 man rotation (wouldn’t be the worst idea, though no one has said anything about it yet) or either Chatwood or Montgomery taking his spot.  First off, I think the Chatwood suggestion is ludicrous; he’s closer to being just released than given a rotation spot again IMO (I’m not completely opposed to a spot start against the right opponent).  Montgomery is just a guy, and I’d only put him in over Darvish if Yu was hurt or completely worthless (and he’s not close to that yet; again, a spot start or 2 is fine).  I’ll be happy to change my mind if Davish doesn’t show any signs over improvement over the next 4-6 weeks. 

The bullpen has once again been a surprising strength.  Almost everyone has had a blowup or two, but everyone’s overall numbers look pretty good which means that they’ve been really good outside of the obvious hiccups.  Kyle Ryan is really flying under the radar, but he looks like he’s solidified a spot in the pen for the rest of the year to me; he’s not just a LOOGY either.  Strop is basically a metronome at this point, one that is consistently underappreciated.  Brach is another version of Cishek, and both have been solid.  Kintzler has bounced back nicely, and I’m inclined to believe what he’s doing is “real” as his bad stretch last year is really the outlier.  I’ll continue to dream on Maples, while also accepting it’s probably a long shot if we ever see Morrow in a Cubs uniform again. 

This team is the 2016 team, and isn’t approaching that level of domination.  But today, you can make a strong argument that the Cubs are in the discussion for the best team in baseball.  That’s about all you can really ask for, and so I’m going to enjoy this ride while it lasts. 

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 06, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 126 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5842676)
Surprisingly that lineup got 5 runs, but the bullpen #### the bed. I'm also not sure of Maddon's exact plan last night - he's getting too LOOGYish with Ryan for my tastes, but it's not his fault everyone he brought in just wasn't sharp enough. OTOH, letting Brach hit for himself to lead off the 10th but PH for Schwarber with Contreras confuses me; it's one thing if he really wanted to give Contreras the whole night off (or at least off from catching), but then to change his mind mid inning? I'd rather Schwarber against a LHP than a RP against anyone. Oddly enough, the bullpen is 8 for 15 in save situations; well, not oddly, terribly even though overall they've been fine.

Heyward is 4 for his last 49; quite a bit of that has come since he was moved to leadoff (which I actually suggested before it happened).

   102. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5842686)

Heyward is 4 for his last 49; quite a bit of that has come since he was moved to leadoff (which I actually suggested before it happened).


He took one for the team and volunteered to be a substitute host for whatever parasite Kris Bryant had to start the year.
   103. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5842735)
I'm also not sure of Maddon's exact plan last night - he's getting too LOOGYish with Ryan for my tastes, but it's not his fault everyone he brought in just wasn't sharp enough. OTOH, letting Brach hit for himself to lead off the 10th but PH for Schwarber with Contreras confuses me; it's one thing if he really wanted to give Contreras the whole night off (or at least off from catching), but then to change his mind mid inning?
Joe's managering shat the bed last night. Wasting a LOOGY in a tie game in the 9th, then letting a reliever bat leading off the 10th?? That's dipshittery of the highest level.
   104. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5842768)
May 16:

1942 2,000 hits: Billy Herman
1948 Reds take early 8-1 lead on Cubs, but blow it: 13-11
1949 Rick Reuschel born
1994 Sammy Sosa's last SH: 7,706 remaining PA in his career
1994 last game: Willie Wilson
1996 Sammy Sosa homers 2x in an inning
2000 Chad Kreuter hat night at Wrigley, jackass fan takes it and LAD players go into the stands
2001 400 homers: Sammy Sosa

   105. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5842776)
Do you mean wasting Ryan (in the 8th)? I understand treating facing Votto as a LOOGY situation, but not quite sure why Ryan is the LOOGY and not Cedeno - I realize you're anti-LOOGY in general, so I won't belabor that point.

I think the first mistake was not double switching in Montgomery, because he should have gone more than just 2/3 of an inning. I'm not sure why he wanted/needed Brach to go a 2nd inning. I know the bench was short with Rizzo unavailable, but he still never used Zagunis, so that was mistake number 2 (or again, he could have planned ahead to double switch in when he brought Brach in). Maybe there were more pitchers unavailable than I realize (which would make the Monty move worse in retrospect), but I would guess all of Cedeno, Cishek, and Chatwood were available if needed based on recent usage.
   106. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5842778)
Do you mean wasting Ryan (in the 8th)?
Yeah, sorry, I thought that was in the 9th. Even beyond the abomination that is the LOOGY in principle, it's just dumb to waste a pitcher on one batter late in a tie game, which becomes glaringly obvious when you then don't pinch-hit for the next reliever. I agree that he managered Monty out of the game, but at least that was earlier on when extra innings weren't staring him in the face.
   107. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 16, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5842859)
The lineup randomizer is back, and its spectacular:

Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 13m13 minutes ago

Tonight’s Cubs 9...

1. Schwarber LF
2. Bryant 3B
3. Descalso 2B
4. Baez SS
5. Contreras C
6. Caratini 1B
7. Heyward RF
8. Almora CF
9. Quintana SP


Something tells me Joe didn't have that one ready before this series started.
   108. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 16, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5842877)
Kyle's hitting for neither power nor average. OTOH, Rfield loves him. He's at +7 on the year.

This universe seems broken if he's going to SLG .388 and be a potential gold glover.
   109. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 16, 2019 at 04:36 PM (#5842883)
This universe seems broken if he's going to SLG .388 and be a potential gold glover.
Maybe it's just the introduction to the opposite sketches.
   110. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5843111)
Michael Cerami @Michael_Cerami 7m7 minutes ago

Here are some FACTS.

Yu Darvish has the ...

- 18th best strikeout rate in MLB (28.7%)
- 4th lowest (best) hard-hit rate in MLB (26.7%)
- 22nd best GB% in MLB (49.5%)

If he can keep the command under control, he'll IMMEDIATELY become one of the better pitchers in baseball.


I don't know about his conclusion, and that's a big IF. He did look much better the other night (against another bad offense), but the 0 walks is the real takeaway. He still throws way too many pitches and tries to strike everyone out all the time.

Kyle's hitting for neither power nor average. OTOH, Rfield loves him. He's at +7 on the year.

He's had a few Schwarerrors recently, but a lot fewer assists (does he have any?). I thought a lot of his dWAR last year was due to those outs on the basepaths.

---

Last night was just bad offense. I mean, the Reds pitching was outstanding, seriously. Quintana wasn't bad, and had one bad inning again, but the Cubs were pretty lucky to get even those 2 runs (literally, that bounce off 3b was crazy).
   111. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5843170)
Rizzo's back

Schwarber
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Contreras
Descalso
Heyward
Almora
Hamels

I like seeing Almora out there just about every day now, if only for his defense. Doesn't help he's also hitting better than a number of other guys.
   112. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 17, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5843191)
I like seeing Almora out there just about every day now, if only for his defense. Doesn't help he's also hitting better than a number of other guys.


I also like seeing Almora playing regularly and starting to hit reasonably well.

Meanwhile, isn't it getting to be about time to bring Ian Happ back up? Neither Schwarber nor Heyward are hitting all that well and, frankly, one of them should probably always be sitting against a lefty starter. Mark Zagunis has become the forgotten man - and it's hard to blame Maddon for not playing him; he's not really a major-league caliber corner outfielder. I know Joe's done some Bote-Baez-Russell with Bryant in the OF - and having to cover for Rizzo at 1B obviously shortened the bench a lot. But the Cubs kind of feel like they're an outfielder short right now.
   113. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 17, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5843206)
For his season at AAA, Happ is hitting .228/.358/.368 with 4HRs and a 37/26 K/BB ratio in 165PAs. I do believe he got off to a horrible start*, so it's been better lately. I'm sure the Cubs asked him to work on specific things (ie cutting down on the Ks), but that doesn't scream like a guy who's ready to come back and get regular playing time.

*Nope, I'm wrong. He's been pretty terrible this month. He's been slightly better against LHP than RHP (which is the opposite of what he's been so far in his big league career). So everything about his year in Iowa looks weird and not good so far.

Phillip Evans, who had a nice spring, might be the guy who's bat might be worth a look: .282/.434/.496. He's 26, not really a prospect, but he's not on the 40 man so there'd have to be a corresponding move to get him up. Him, or Dixon Machado, who's in a similar boat as Evans. Of course, neither are OFs. Donnie Dewes and Johnny Field are only ok so far, but they're OFers. Considering the offensive surge in AAA and the facts the IA Cubs are in the PCL, it's actually kinda disappointing to not see anyone on that team having that good of a season hitting so far.

As I'm glancing at that page, I happened to see Duensing's numbers, and oh boy. I commend him for sticking it out, but kinda hard to not think he's just complete toast.

tl; dr, it's probably more likely the Cubs look outside the org than bring up anyone currently in AAA.
   114. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 17, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5843227)
For his season at AAA, Happ is hitting .228/.358/.368 with 4HRs and a 37/26 K/BB ratio in 165PAs ... [and] [h]e's been pretty terrible this month.


Fair enough. It was more an observation that the Cubs feel like they're an outfielder short with Zobrist on the restricted list and Zagunis nailed to the bench (as he probably should be). I don't know what the deal is there, but yeah, that line certainly doesn't scream "promote me!"
   115. Walt Davis Posted: May 17, 2019 at 07:01 PM (#5843241)
the bullpen is 8 for 15 in save situations

Team save ratios can be misleading. If the pen loses the lead in the 7th or 8th inning, it's a "blown save" but if they hold the lead, it's a "hold". Given current pen strategies, the pen is liable for a blown save in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings but only eligible for a successful save in the 9th. Alternatively, if you're up 1 after 6, it takes 3 scoreless innings (or scoring some runs but not too many) to record a team save.

And whaddya know, b-r tracks "save situations" The Cubs have 35 save situations with 17 holds and 8 saves ... which is probably not great but probably not bad. Note, for reasons I don't understand, it's 35 save situations with 17 holds, 8 saves and 7 blown saves which adds up to just 32 ... ahh, you don't get a hold if you don't retire a batter so those are Ryan's and Cishek's failed LOOGy/ROOGy outings.

For comparison, Houston's pen has the most WAA so far. They have 33 save situations with 18 holds, 12 saves and 3 BS ... which is nuts, that would be a good save %age for a 1-inning closer. Also if have LOOGy'd/ROOGy'd, they've at least gotten an out.
   116. Meatwad Posted: May 17, 2019 at 11:28 PM (#5843334)
After tonight I hearby proclaim Kris Bryant as fixed.
   117. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 18, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5843368)
Everything except the haircut.
   118. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2019 at 02:56 AM (#5843695)
Everything except the haircut.

Don't touch the hair! Probably one of those Dorian Gray things where the uglier the hair gets, the better the bat gets.
   119. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2019 at 03:00 AM (#5843697)
Sean Doolittle on Maddon and Saturday's kerfuffle ...

"It was kinda tired. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is."
   120. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 20, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5843728)
I think Doolittle has a point - and a totally understandable reaction - but I also see Maddon's side of making a big show for CJ's sake. They're totally different moves, but Maddon is and always will be the rules stickler guy. Whatever. Doolittle is one of those potential "closers" the Cubs might try and trade for at some point though.

---

Sucks both Lester and Hendricks got semi-shelled. Neither are really a surprise considering how they really so much on control and deception. It was obvious Lester didn't have it from the start; Hendricks looked amazing first time through so his struggles appeared to come out of nowhere.

---

Fun with cherry picking:
Bryant's last 23 games: .318/.454/.753
Rizzo's last 23 games: .307/.415/.670
Contreras's last 23 games: .309/.389/.543
Baez's last 23 games: .323/.365/.552

Man, that's been a fun run.

Bote's last 23 games: .218/.303/.372
Heyward's last 23 games: .169/.237/.292
Descalso's last 23 games: .127/.197/.200

Yuck.

Almora's last 23 games: .320/.338/.573. That's fewer PAs that most everyone else, and not a lot of patience and probably lots of luck (he doesn't hit the ball in the air a ton). Regardless, he is the one OF that should be in the lineup every damn day at this point.
Schwarber's last 23 games: .254/.404/.423. I mean, that's basically a leadoff hitter.
   121. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 20, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5843809)
When the Cubs are at their best, they’re doing exactly what Maddon said: going to the opposite field. It’s a thing of beauty to watch and after Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Nationals, they led all of baseball with a .702 slugging percentage to the opposite field. The gap between the Cubs and the second team, the Tampa Bay Rays at .599, is the same between the Rays and the 15th team on this list. In Sunday’s 8-5 victory over the Nationals, they delivered four extra-base hits, two to the opposite field.

But when the Cubs don’t stick to their approach with runners in scoring position, the offense wanes. Since May 6, the beginning of the Marlins series, the Cubs are 29th in baseball with runners in scoring position in wRC+ (39) and batting average (.159). They also don’t strike out much in those situations, just 16.2 percent of the time, which is 28th. So they’re putting the ball in play, but their .162 BABIP (28th during that stretch) is resulting in missed opportunities. And while that number is lower than it should be if they had even average luck, it’s not totally unearned. During that span, they’re 28th in hard contact (26.4 percent) and fifth in groundball rate (55.2 percent).

And, to prove Maddon’s point, they’re pulling the ball 51.4 percent of the time in those situations, which is tops in baseball.


good stuff
   122. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 20, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5843878)
Sports Info Solutions @SportsInfo_SIS

Highest Hard-Hit Rate - Minimum 90 at-bats
Hunter Pence 43%
Christian Yelich 43%
Anthony Rendon 43%
Cody Bellinger 43%
Justin Turner 42%
Carlos Santana 42%
Tommy La Stella 42%
Yadier Molina 41%

Our hard hit rate is: number of hard-hit balls/at-bats


This TLS thing will never make sense to me.

---

I haven't seen anything about how Javy is feeling today, but he's not in the lineup:

Schwarber
Bryant
Rizzo
Caratini
Heyward
Almora
Descalso
Russell
Darvish

Oh, boy.
   123. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 20, 2019 at 06:59 PM (#5843999)
A more recent CT scan revealed a hairline fracture for Nico Hoerner in his wrist. He'll be in a splint for three weeks and out at least a month.


No chance of seeing him this year now, methinks.

Strop threw 25 pitches in a side today and will have another in a couple days. Morrow threw from 45-60 feet flat ground today and came out of it fine.
   124. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 20, 2019 at 07:02 PM (#5844000)
Morrow threw from 45-60 feet flat ground today and came out of it fine.


Except for a mild case of dropsy and acute hammer toes.
   125. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 20, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5844012)
Schwarber
Bryant
Rizzo
Caratini
Heyward
Almora
Descalso
Russell
Darvish

Oh, boy.


Yikes! When Victor Caratini is your cleanup hitter - and Victor Caratini is probably your best choice for cleanup hitter - that's not ideal. Although Caratini is batting .471/.571/.824 this season so, maybe?
   126. Brian C Posted: May 20, 2019 at 09:47 PM (#5844029)
Sean Doolittle on Maddon and Saturday's kerfuffle ...

"It was kinda tired. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is."

I had no idea that Elroy was actually Sean Doolittle!
Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BFFB
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.3650 seconds
41 querie(s) executed