Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Final Push

24 games to go.  Cubs still have 8 games left on this 23 straight day stretch, but only 2 more real road trips - DC this weekend and and Phoenix in a couple of weeks; the only other road games are today in Milwaukee and 3 at The Cell.  A 3 game lead is far from comfortable, especially after the way the last 2 games played out, but a win today and leaving with a 4 game lead with 23 left is still quite the enviable position. 

The Cubs went 18-10 in September, and are 10-4 in their last 14, but 2 back to back tough losses make it seem worse.  Of course, how they lost echo the problems they’ve had throughout the year.  The offense looked helpless against a couple of guys they look like they should beat up; add that to a pathetic bullpen collapse and tons of walks allowed and it adds up to losses that seem more predictive than their recent wins.  The unexpected part of yesterday’s loss was the way the defense looked absolutely pathetic.  A lot of that was Russell, and to be fair to him he’s pretty rusty and probably still hurt.  Without a rehab assignment, his only chance to play is up here.  He hasn’t looked anywhere near ready in the field or at the plate, but I understand they have to get him PT because it’s not really an option to leave him off the playoff roster (unless he’s more hurt than they’re letting on). 

I complained a bit in the game chatter about Contreras’s catching yesterday.  I understand and completely agree this is a non-problem if we had robot umps, but since that isn’t happening yet it’s becoming a pretty big concern for me.  It’s not just that he’s bad on getting close balls called as strikes, it’s that he gets so many close strikes - clear strikes - called as balls.  I feel like he’s actually gotten worse as the season has gone on; I know this is something they talked about a lot during spring training and how much he works on it, but game after game it’s contributing to higher pitch counts for so many different pitchers.  Then last night he had multiple passed balls where he tried to backhand or scoop a ball instead of blocking it.  He’s also still in his extended slump - .202/.298/.275 since 8/1.  The Cubs don’t have another option (though I do find it interesting Caratini has been catching Hamels quite a bit lately; last 4 starts), but he needs to get straightened out soon. 

It might be about time to assume Morrow isn’t coming back.  It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen anything on him, and even that was him still just throwing from flat ground.  With him out, the bullpen doesn’t feel anything like a strength.  While Strop has been good, he still has his moments - and it’s worth noting he’s been pretty invisible in the playoff mix the last few years.  Edwards is still very much a mess, and was a total mess last postseason.  Wilson has been a lot better this year, but there’s still a ton of risk with him.  Cishek looks to be in a bad stretch, or maybe he’s just tired.  Chavez has been amazing with the Cubs - 25.2IP, 1.05ERA, 31k/2bb - but he has a long enough history that I’m weary to think something special is going on. 

All that being said, the rotation has been very good lately.  Hamels looks like a legit ace again, Hendricks has regained his form, and neither Lester or Quintana are the worst 3/4 starters you’ll find on a playoff team.  The offense still hasn’t had more than a couple of games with the main regulars healthy - none if you want to include Murphy is this group because Heyward went out right before Bryant came back - but is still incredibly deep and dangerous.  In spite of last night, the Cubs still have a great defense (though again, Murphy hurts that) and are a great baserunning team.  So, I guess, buckle up and enjoy the ride? 

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 05, 2018 at 10:27 AM | 346 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 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 
   101. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 18, 2018 at 08:59 PM (#5746998)
Yes, now with extra "can't ever let it go, because #### forgiveness".

I hope that the people in your life aren't as quick to judge you by the stupidest thing you ever did as a teenager as you seem to be, and those of us who are in our 30s and 40s (and older) are all probably very glad that Twitter didn't exist back then. We made our off-color and totally offensive and unforgivable jokes (like virtually all teenage boys do, in locker rooms and on athletic fields and in parents' basements huddled around a copy of Playboy or a late night Cinemax movie) into thin air where they dissipated into the winds of history.

People are so quick to condemn for life any athlete, politician, celebrity, etc. over stuff they did when they were young. Might be nice to see a little tolerance and forgiveness practiced by those who seem so eager to remind us all what terrible people human beings make, particularly human beings who are still trying to find the owner's manual to help them figure out how life works.

(I don't give two shits about Josh Hader one way or the other except as pertains to his ability to knock the Cubs out of the postseason, but this stuff just makes me so sad. We'll never again be able to have a conversation about Josh Hader the pitcher without people gleefully showing up, schadenfreude on full display, to remind us that Josh Hader the teenager fell below our chosen moral standards.)

   102. Meatwad Posted: September 18, 2018 at 09:11 PM (#5747006)
Just a nit but cubs will play the WC team as they have the best record in the NL.
   103. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 18, 2018 at 10:55 PM (#5747105)
101: A) Relax. It was just a one-liner. But, if you want to get into it, I'm 41, and as I posted here when the Hader thing first came out, I most certainly said some stupid stuff as a teenager that I no longer believe or agree with. In fact, I was unfortunate enough to be the editor of the school newspaper, which meant I could publish some of that stupid stuff. I was absolutely an immature, opinionated teenager with a vehicle to broadcast those opinions publicly, at least to a certain segment. So I get it.

Here's the thing: As prone as I was to saying dumb stuff, I never, ever in a million years would have said "Yay KKK!" or "I hate gay people" or use the slurs that Hader apparently did. I did write an op-ed arguing against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, which was one of the dumb things I regret. If my high school classmates who haven't seen me since then think I'm still that guy, well, I understand. But praising the KKK? That's well beyond "dumb teenage stuff."

As far as forgiveness, that's not mine to give. Hader hasn't wronged me personally, and he certainly doesn't care what I think of him. But it's also not my obligation to be fine with him when he hasn't really addressed the issue at any substantive level. Hader didn't say anything about why and how he has supposedly "evolved" since then - all he did was say that's no longer him and apologize to his teammates. I don't doubt that the apology was sincere, and I would be willing to believe he has evolved, I'm just OK with holding out for more evidence and explanation than "My teammates are cool with me, even the minority ones."

That said, it was a poor choice for a flippant comment on my part.
   104. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 18, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5747112)
Just a nit but cubs will play the WC team as they have the best record in the NL.


Which probably sets the Cubs up to play the second-best NL playoff team in the first round. Both the Brewers and Dodgers scare me. I'm more confident that the Cubs are better than the Brewers and I would expect the Cubs to be favored in any NL playoff matchup they have. But not by so much that it would be a shocking upset for the Brewers to beat the Cubs in a best-of-five series.

As for the Dodgers, when they acquired Machado, everybody was talking about how the Dodgers were now clearly the best team in the National League. They haven't played like it, obviously, but all they have to do is put it all together for a week and the Cubs season could go poof.

All that said, man, it's nice to see the Cubs bats finally waking up a bit here the last couple of nights. Last night was as fun a Cubs game as I can remember watching in at least a week, probably longer.
   105. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:04 AM (#5747140)
I wrote a long response, but this isn't the place. So I'm just leaving it alone. I think I need a break from the internet.

As I write this, the Cubs are up 9-1. There's a happy thought we can all get behind.
   106. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:26 AM (#5747147)
Agreed. As I said, it was a misbegotten snark to begin with, and we’ve both said our piece. Go Cubs, and tip of the cap to Monty.
   107. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 19, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5747179)
Magic number down to 8.

Assuming they close out the division - this will be the first time in their history the Cubs have won three consecutive division titles (they won the NL three consecutive times 1906-1908)

One more win - and it's the first time since 1904-1912 that they've won 90+ games in four consecutive seasons.

This is already the first time since 1966-1972 that they've posted 4 consecutive .500+ seasons.

It will be the first time in franchise history that they've gone to the playoffs 4 consecutive seasons.

Pretty amazing stuff by this org -- especially when you consider the disastrous EJax, Darvish, Chatwood signings... and the problems with Heyward, Morrow, etc :-)
   108. McCoy Posted: September 19, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5747185)
I think everything is a first time (or first time since) for the Cubs at this point. Last year was the first time they won the division twice in a row, first time they went to the playoffs three times in a row. In 2016 it was the first time the Cubs were in the NLCS in consecutive seasons, then last year it was the first time in 3 consecutive seasons. The 3 NLCS appearances the last 2 seasons matches the total amount of NLCS appearances the Cubs had before 2015. The three NLCS appearances in a decade is the first time they have been in the NLCS 3 times or more in a decade. When they go to the playoffs this year it will be the first time the Cubs have gone to the playoffs 4 times or more in a decade.
   109. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 19, 2018 at 09:13 AM (#5747188)
Last year was the first time they won the division twice in a row,


2007, 2008.
   110. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 19, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5747198)
Here were our pre-season predictions:

Moses 96
Kiko 102
Man o'Schwar 100
Zonk 100
Dag Nabbit 97
McCoy 94
Trout! 95
TomH 92
Pops 96
Spahn 96
Voodoo 101
Meatwad 105
Walt 97
Andere 96
Quaker 98

The average of that rounds off to 98 -- to win 98 the Cubs need to go 9-2 from here on out. Probably overshot it (again).

Less biased sources said:

Fangraphs: 94 (5-6 remaining; now forecasting 95.3)
Bleacher Report: 93 (4-7)
PECOTA: 91 (2-9)
Fivethirtyeight: 95 (6-5; today they still forecast 95)
ZiPS: 94 (5-6)

95-96 looks like the best prediction to me (winning 6 or 7 out of 11) against D-Backs (1 on road), White Sox (3 at whatever they call Comiskey now), and then the Pirates (4 at Wrigley) and Cardinals (3 at Wrigley). It would be nice to enter next weekend's Cards series having clinched...
   111. Brian C Posted: September 19, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5747199)
#109 - true! But that didn't stop CSN from saying it was the first time in franchise history on a chyron during the celebration.
   112. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 19, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5747201)
Well, if they win out - Schwar and I hit it on the nose.
   113. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5747212)
Comparing strength of schedule for the top three remaining (via Fangraphs):

Cubs: .478 (1 ARI (R), 3 CHW (R*), 4 PIT (H), 3 STL (H))
Brewers: .468 (1 CIN (H), 3 PIT (R), 3 STL (R), 3 DET** (H))
Cardinals: .510 (1 ATL (R), 3 SFG (H), 3 MIL (R), 3 CHC (R))

*Cubs return to Chicago tomorrow and stay there for the remainder of the regular season.
**Whoever came up with this year's scheduling needs to be sacked.
   114. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5747217)
The 3 NLCS appearances the last 2 seasons matches the total amount of NLCS appearances the Cubs had before 2015.

We probably won't see that again in our lifetimes.
   115. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5747221)
We probably won't see that again in our lifetimes.

Indeed. It's really hard to be in the NLCS three times in two seasons.
   116. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5747241)
EDIT: Oops. Wrong post.
   117. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5747274)
Well, if they win out - Schwar and I hit it on the nose.

Keep hope alive!
   118. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5747369)
Keep hope alive!


Heh - it's not impossible... After tonight, they finally get a day off -- then it's just the White Sox and Pirates and Cards...

It looks quite likely that the Cardinals will be playing for something that final series, but if they either rip off 7-8 straight or fall apart and drop a bunch and it's meaningless?

   119. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5747378)
It looks quite likely that the Cardinals will be playing for something that final series, but if they either rip off 7-8 straight or fall apart and drop a bunch and it's meaningless?

I'm heading out to Chicago to catch next Saturday's game so I wouldn't mind the Cubs getting a chance to crush their playoff dreams that weekend.
   120. McCoy Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5747404)
I’m thinking my 94 is looking pretty good right now.
   121. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5747500)
With Morrow officially being ruled out, it's maybe a good time to revisit what the playoff roster will look like.

Written in Stone Locks (16)
IF: Javy, Bryant, Murphy, Rizzo, Contreras, Caratini
OF: Heyward, Zobrist
SP: Hamels, Hendricks, Lester, Quintana (that's the order I'd throw them in the playoffs)
RP: Cishek, Wilson, Chavez, Montgomery

Almost a lock, but... (2)
Schwarber, Strop: Once they're back playing, they move up to the top group

Should be, but can make an argument for why they shouldn't. Only 4 of these guys will make it unless the Cubs take a 7 man pen. I think that's unlikely, so which guy gets left out? (5)
LaStella: Probably will be there as the main PH, but since that's all he does I could imagine a situation where he got squeezed. Not likely though.
Almora: A lock to start against a LHP, and to finish games in CF. Like TLS, hard to see him not there.
Russell: I'd like to see a little more from his bat, and he's had some weird hiccups defensively. Again, probably will be there, but I could make a good argument that he's not worth bringing if he isn't worth using as a PH too
Bote: He can play SS, not as good as Russell. He's scuffling a bit hitting lately, but don't you feel better with him as a PH than Russell?
Happ: He's kind of in a similar boat as the previous 2 guys. He doesn't have a position he excels at defensively, but his versatility is his key. Also not really an ideal PH guy, and there isn't really a matchup where you'd start him over any of the locks. So he could miss the cut.

Pick 4 of your poison, assuming 8 man pen
Edwards
Rosario
De La Rosa
Maples
Bass
Mills
Kintzler
Duensing
Garcia
Norwood
Chatwood

I'd probably go with the first 4 there, but I'm still mostly wishcasting with Maples. Give him a handful more shots, and see if he takes it. I'm not sure why Bass hasn't been back up (well, he's not on the 40 man, but now there's a spot if they move Morrow to the 60 day DL), but he's been the best of the up and down guys all year. Mills would be another fine fall back long shot type, but he's not really getting any chances. I don't want anything to do with the bottom 5, though I suspect Kintzler will be given multiple changes to unfail back into a spot.

Wildcard
Gore: If you want to leave a 2nd position player off or go with a 7 man pen (I don't think they will), there's a really good argument for bringing Gore along. He's a pretty useful weapon off the bench for a close game.
   122. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5747541)
I'm not sure why Bass hasn't been back up (well, he's not on the 40 man, but now there's a spot if they move Morrow to the 60 day DL), but he's been the best of the up and down guys all year.


I think Bass is on the 60-day DL. No idea with what, but I assume he's not an option.

Not a lot to disagree with you on here. Assuming Schwarber and Strop are healthy enough to make the team, I'd probably go

C - Contreras, Caratini
IF - Rizzo, Murphy, Baez, Bryant, LaStella, Russell
OF - Schwarber, Zobrist, Almora, Heyward

SP (in this order) - Hamels, Hendricks, Lester, Quintana
LRP - Montgomery, Rosario, De La Rosa, Wilson
RRP - Cishek, Edwards, Chavez, Strop

That's 24. I might seriously lean toward Gore over Happ and Bote. If Bote starts hitting a bit more again, I might also lean toward Bote over Russell, but it's awfully nice to be able to run out an infield of Bryant - Russell - Baez - Rizzo to close out games.

If that's the way it shakes out, I feel bad for Ian Happ. He's been on the team all season; hell, he hit the first pitch of the season for a home run. He's fourth on the team in games played. But I feel like all of his potential roles are better filled by others. Maybe Happ over LaStella; as a switch-hitter, he's guaranteed the platoon advantage as a pinch hitter and he basically matches LaStella's OBP with a lot more power. Actually, looking it up, Happ has surprisingly good numbers as a PH - career OBP of .422 with an OPS over 1.000 - even better in 2018 (.333/.462/.667 in 26 PA) than in 2017. Yeah, I've convinced myself: I'd keep Happ over LaStella.
   123. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 19, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5747572)
I think Bass is on the 60-day DL. No idea with what, but I assume he's not an option.

No, Hancock is on the 60 day DL. Bass went on the 15 day DL, and then after he was healthy the Cubs DFA'd him because he doesn't have any options; he cleared waivers and has been pitching in Iowa.

That's 24. I might seriously lean toward Gore over Happ and Bote. If Bote starts hitting a bit more again, I might also lean toward Bote over Russell, but it's awfully nice to be able to run out an infield of Bryant - Russell - Baez - Rizzo to close out games.

Remember, Bote can play 2b and is a decent defender there. Russell SS/Javy 2b is better than Javy SS/Bote (or Zo) 2b, but enough to justify carrying Russell's non-bat over Bote or Happ or TLS?
   124. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 19, 2018 at 05:06 PM (#5747652)
No Pollock or Goldschmidt in tonight's DBack lineup. That seems a little white flaggy to me - even if the odds aren't in their favor, I'd be pissed if I were a fan of that team (well, even more upset than I already am about how they've played the last few weeks).

Speaking of:

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 21m21 minutes ago

From Cubs notes: Cubs enter final day of 30-day journey with 18-10 record, 2nd best in NL, 4th best in majors during that span. Pitching staff posts 3rd best ERA (2.95 ERA), offense produced +32 run differential - 2nd in majors during this stretch.


It wasn't always pretty, but damn if overall that's pretty good and probably better than we should have expected. Cubs lineup isn't up yet, but I could also see the Cubs going with a getaway day type lineup. (Also, Cain is out for the Brewers as he left hurt last night)
   125. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 19, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5747669)

It wasn't always pretty, but damn if overall that's pretty good and probably better than we should have expected. Cubs lineup isn't up yet, but I could also see the Cubs going with a getaway day type lineup. (Also, Cain is out for the Brewers as he left hurt last night)


I am genuinely surprised by those numbers. The Cubs sure felt like they were a .500 team in that stretch and played some of their most miserable baseball.

We are getting spoiled by success.
   126. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 19, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5747678)
We are getting spoiled by success.

Absolutely. It felt like the Brewers have been hotter than the Cubs during that span, too, but the Cubs actually were only up 2.5 games when it started. +1 during that is pretty good.

----

Not as getawayy as I thought:

Almora
Bryant LF
Rizzo
Javy 2b
Zobrist RF
Contreras
Bote 3b
Hamels
Russell
   127. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 19, 2018 at 07:07 PM (#5747723)
The #Cubs today selected RHP Allen Webster from @IowaCubs. RHP Brandon Morrow has been transferred to the 60-day DL.


Uh, ok.
   128. Meatwad Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:46 PM (#5747915)
2 out of 3 in Arizona is a pretty good outcome considering the Cubs history there. 10 games to go with a 2.5 lead this not the 04 team its in the bag.
   129. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:49 PM (#5747917)
10 games to go with a 2.5 lead this not the 04 team its in the bag.
How many chickens you got there in that basket of eggs?
   130. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 20, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5748001)
Yeah, that was a pretty sour note to end that stretch on. Here's hoping Hamels just had to get one last stinker of out his system.
   131. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 20, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5748005)
Handy little table for clinch possibilities.

As much fun as it would be to clinch against the Cards, I'd like it to happen before then. Unfortunately, the Cubs can't clinch at the Cell on Hawk today, that might have been the best result.
   132. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 20, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5748013)
2 out of 3 in Arizona is a pretty good outcome considering the Cubs history there.


I heard you allude to that in the chatter the other day. The Cubs went 2-1 there in 2017 , 3-1 in 2016, and 1-2 in 2015. They were 0-3 in 2014, but they were a bad team then.
   133. Master of the Horse Posted: September 20, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5748148)
Brewer fan here. Been a fun season, right? Cubs look to have division but Crew made them sweat until the final week which is fun. Good luck except against Brewers if that happens. Otherwise, kick ass especially Dodger ass.
   134. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 20, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5748176)
Brewer fan here. Been a fun season, right?
Indeed. As much as we stress out about it, it's great for baseball and great for fans of all the teams if there are good, competitive rivalries in the NL Central. Cubs-Cards is a lot more fun now that the Cubs are actually a good team, and it looks like the Brewers are going to be right there for a while too, which is a good thing.

Except for Braun, of course. F*ck that guy.
   135. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5748850)
I don't think any of us really want to have the Russell discussion here, but I will say I wouldn't have a problem if the Cubs just stopped playing him for this year. I don't know the legal or CBA related ramifications, and I'd like to think my thoughts aren't influenced by his (lack of) production, but I don't know.

I also wouldn't be opposed to them moving on from him this offseason.
   136. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 21, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5748857)
I heard you allude to that in the chatter the other day. The Cubs went 2-1 there in 2017 , 3-1 in 2016, and 1-2 in 2015. They were 0-3 in 2014, but they were a bad team then.

I agree that it's the recent teams that are germane to the discussion, but the Cubs had a franchise record of 25-44 playing in Phoenix prior to 2015. Their overall road record (31-48) against Arizona is their worst win percentage (.392) against any NL team. So their history there (short as it's been) has been pretty bad.
   137. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5748863)
I don't think any of us really want to have the Russell discussion here, but I will say I wouldn't have a problem if the Cubs just stopped playing him for this year. I don't know the legal or CBA related ramifications, and I'd like to think my thoughts aren't influenced by his (lack of) production, but I don't know.

I also wouldn't be opposed to them moving on from him this offseason.
Ugh. I just read the ESPN story, and yeah, I agree with all of this. Ugly stuff.
   138. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5748877)
Murphy
Bryant
Rizzo
Javy SS
Zobrist LF
Heyward
Caratini
Schwarber DH
Almora
   139. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5748880)
Ugh. I just read the ESPN story, and yeah, I agree with all of this. Ugly stuff.


Was gonna say "Are you guys crazy? The way he's played - his value is so low..."

But yeah, I see.

#### him. Sit him for the year and make plans for Javy at SS next year so far as I'm concerned.
   140. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5748887)
In practical terms, that could free up a postseason roster spot.
   141. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5748890)
Yes it would.

I mentioned the CBA stuff because the league "investigated" this last year after his ex's friend posted something. They never announced anything, and she didn't cooperate.
   142. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5748922)
Kelly Crull @Kelly_Crull 18m18 minutes ago

As first bus walked in with #Cubs players, there was no Addison Russell & team personnel said they “do not expect him to be here.”
   143. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5748983)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago

Cubs: “We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and support the League’s decision to place Addison Russell on administrative leave given new details revealed today. We will continue to cooperate with the League’s investigation so the appropriate action can be taken.”


There's a longer MLB statement, but it isn't copy/paste-able yet.

I'm reading between the lines here and just assuming he's not coming back this year.

Dan Bernstein @dan_bernstein 3m3 minutes ago

I'm told that concurrently with MLB's action, the Cubs themselves are giving "serious consideration" to Russell's future with the team. As they should.
   144. Weeks T. Olive Posted: September 21, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5749035)
Bote can back up SS, right?
   145. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 21, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5749040)
Bote can back up SS, right?


Not well, but well enough so far as I'm concerned.

I imagine Zobrist would be dreadfully ugly there nowadays, but I'm perfectly willing to hope Javy doesn't get dinged until next spring.
   146. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5749060)
Bote is a clear step up from what Zobrist likely would be these days.
   147. Spahn Insane Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5749094)
So this means Javy goes into next year as the starting SS (I assume), with who as the leading 2B candidate...Happ? Zobrist has been great this year, but he'll be 38 and in the last year of his contract.
   148. Spahn Insane Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5749095)
This team's certainly had its ups and downs. If they manage to win it all in spite of everything, it's a hell of an achievement.
   149. Spahn Insane Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:34 PM (#5749098)
Cubs look to have division but Crew made them sweat until the final week which is fun.

Your concern trolling and jinx-attempting bolded above are duly noted. (I kid. Welcome to the blog.)

Seriously, the Cubs are in the driver's seat for the division title, but it ain't over yet. And a best of 5 against the Brewers in the LDS, which is IMO the most likely matchup, is worrisome in any case.
   150. Spahn Insane Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5749102)
I guess I'd like to see Happ get first crack at the 2B job, unless his D is Murphy-level bad, which I guess is possible.
   151. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5749105)
Happ? Zobrist has been great this year, but he'll be 38 and in the last year of his contract.

Happ really hasn't played there this year (3 innings total, across 2 games), so not sure if that means they don't like him there. I'm fine going into next year with 2b being a platoon situation with Zobrist/Bote/Happ/TLS, knowing that it might be a spot to upgrade in season. Unless of course there's a good FA fit that I'm not thinking of right now. I'm not really interested in resigning Murphy to be the full time 2b, but I guess there's a price out there where it could make sense.

The Cubs could go after Machado as the plan for SS, moving Javy back to 2b.
   152. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5749108)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 8m8 minutes ago

Theo Epstein declines to address Addison Russell's future with the #Cubs: "It wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate. We’re at an important juncture where the league has a job to do – to find a just and fair resolution. We want to support that."

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 7m7 minutes ago

#Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts: "I can’t get into speculating on what will or won’t happen over the next few weeks. I’ll just reiterate the fact that we respect the process and we hope that the process moves quickly so that we can get to the right answer."

The Athletic @TheAthleticCHI 1h1 hour ago

Asked to speak on Addison Russell’s character, Theo Epstein said, “I would say that I know him in a baseball context.”

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 1h1 hour ago

Russell told the Cubs today -he still says he did not put hands on his wife in any physical threatening way.

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 1h1 hour ago

According to Theo - Cubs are prohibited from investigating or punishing in case of Russell . MLB handles all of these things . MLB handles through policy set in place for domestic violence


So not much really was said, but I think it's significant the Cubs had Theo/Ricketts addressing this. Reading between the lines again, I don't see how they let him come back. Then again,

Dan Bernstein @dan_bernstein 59m59 minutes ago

Three times Maddon has said he wants to get all the information, yet he has still not read her story in her words, which is the most significant information at this point.
   153. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 21, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5749119)
The Cubs could go after Machado as the plan for SS, moving Javy back to 2b.


With Machado's D numbers? I'd rather see Machado at 2B.

Mentioned in the other thread, but Zack Short is at least worth a sniff... He's in no way ready to start - but it's not out of the realm he could be an option next season as an AAA-MLB shuttle utility IF. Like Happ - he's a guy who would BB a ton and K a ton, but he's got some pop and is good enough defensively to function as a backup/the sort you could live with for a week or two.

Chesny Young is more of a 2B - but he's played a bit of SS.

Aramis Ademan had an awful year at Myrtle Beach - but the Cubs were super-aggressive (probably too aggressive) in skipping South Bend with him... He's just 19.

There's also this year's top pick, Nico Hoerner - he only played about 20 games this year, of course, but he'll likely start 2019 at high A.

They'll need another MI this offseason, but not desperately so. I agree with Spahn - no reason not to just let Happ win the job.

Cobble together some kind of Bote/Short/Young utility shuttle and just recognize that having two true SS's is a luxury most teams don't have - and that if Baez gets hurt, you're going to need to trade for something.
   154. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: September 21, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5749170)
the Cubs were super-aggressive (probably too aggressive) in skipping South Bend with him... He's just 19.


I agree that they were too aggressive, especially because I could have seen him had they not done this.
   155. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 21, 2018 at 07:08 PM (#5749235)
In practical terms, that could free up a postseason roster spot.

Russell is currently off the roster, but I'm not sure what the Cubs can do with that spot, other than adding Mike Freeman to the 40-man and having him on the postseason roster as the backup SS. Going from Russell, even the 2018 version, to Mike Freeman is less than ideal. If they can do it, I would expect a trade this week.
   156. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 21, 2018 at 07:30 PM (#5749246)
If they can do it, I would expect a trade this week.


They can make a trade to have a guy around for the last 10 games of the regular season, but a player has to be in the organization (not necessarily on the 40-man roster, certainly not on the big-league team, but somewhere in the organization) before September 1st, though, to be eligible for the postseason.
   157. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 22, 2018 at 12:32 AM (#5749390)
Russell is currently off the roster, but I'm not sure what the Cubs can do with that spot, other than adding Mike Freeman to the 40-man and having him on the postseason roster as the backup SS. Going from Russell, even the 2018 version, to Mike Freeman is less than ideal. If they can do it, I would expect a trade this week.

No, see what I said in post 121. The Cubs were likely going to be 4 of Bote, TLS, Happ, Almora, and Russell (with Gore as a wild card). This makes that decision easy for the Cubs. Like Kiko said, there's no getting another SS on the postseason roster besides Freeman (nor should they feel the need to, IMO), but I have no interest in him over any of those guys, including Gore.

Now the bottom of the bullpen...after today, not sure I want to see Maples or Rosario anywhere near the roster.

---

Russell is digging in, by the way:

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 4h4 hours ago

Statement by #Cubs’ Russell: “These allegations are completely false. I made that clear to MLB last year and reiterated it to the Cubs today. I’m confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me…”

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 4h4 hours ago

More from #Cubs’ Russell: “The protection of my children is foremost in my mind so I will have no further comment.” His statement was released through the players’ union.


I'm not at all saying I believe him, but it's one thing to say you'll let the process play out, and a completely different thing to categorically deny it. If there's even a smidge of corroborating evidence out there for his ex's story, he's made it much worse for himself.
   158. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 22, 2018 at 03:32 AM (#5749406)
Russell's "statements" weren't at all written by lawyers, no sir.
   159. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 22, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5749694)
Mike Freeman's contract selected and he's added to the roster, available today.


I guess there's no harm in this.
   160. Walt Davis Posted: September 22, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5749804)
To get back to happier subjects ...

Walt 97

The important thing was my prediction that Schwarber would have more steals than Bryant. Kyle currently leads 4-2 and with more SB than CS. Hard to see Joe giving Bryant the green light repeatedly in the last week.

**Whoever came up with this year's scheduling needs to be sacked.

With 15 teams per league, there has to be at least one IL series every time. With 5 teams per division, there has to be at least one team per division playing outside the division every time. That these will sometimes be contenders is unavoidable. About all you could do is institute a constraint that the last place finisher in each division from the previous year will be the final week set every time. This year that would have included the A's and Phils (who looked like contenders 4 weeks ago).
   161. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 23, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5749873)
Entering Saturday, the Cubs were averaging just four runs a game since the break, 25th in baseball during that span. They were 17th in walk rate (7.9 percent), 20th in batting average (.248), 17th in on-base percentage (.315), 27th in slugging percentage (.391) and 24th in wRC+ (89). They’re also tops in ground ball rate (48.8 percent) and 29th in hard-hit rate (30.8 percent), meaning far too many of their balls in play are weakly hit ground balls. That’s not a recipe for success.

Prior to the break, they were much better in all of these categories, top five in baseball in most of them. And their 5.12 runs per game in those first 93 games indicated that this offense was much more potent than what they’ve shown over the last 60, prior to Saturday.


I still think they'll be fine offensively.

And when Jon Lester tosses five innings of three-run ball and that’s one of his worst starts in recent memory, that actually feels like a good thing. The 34-year-old lefty has turned a corner since a disastrous stretch following the All-Star break and now has a 2.18 ERA in his last seven starts with 41 strikeouts and just eight walks. A group that once felt like a weak link of the team now is viewed as one of their strongest areas heading into October as Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels and José Quintana — all backed up by a defense that’s fourth in baseball in defensive runs saved and sixth in defensive efficiency — will be leaned on to lead this team through the playoffs.


Not sure I care the exact order the top 3 in the rotation are, but quintana is the least reliable and clear 4th guy at the moment.
   162. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 23, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5749874)
Murphy DH
Zobrist 2b
Javy ss
Rizzo
Almora
Bote 3b
Contreras
Schwarber LF
Happ RF
   163. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 23, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5749894)
I still think they'll be fine offensively.
...and there are apparently no data that will persuade you otherwise.
   164. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 23, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5749907)
   165. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:55 AM (#5750406)
Looking ahead to the Pittsburgh series, which... obviously... biggest series of the season.

The Pirates have been solid, winning 7/last 10, and 17/30. Of course, they lost two out of three to the Brewers over the weekend.

The Cubs are 8-7 this season against the Pirates.

Probable pitching matchups:

Monday, 24Sep: Taillon against Hamels
Tuesday, 25Sep: Archer against Montgomery
Wednesday, 26Sep: Nova against Quintana
Thursday, 27Sep: Williams against Lester

The Pirates face the full Cubs lefty onslaught here, and they have fared poorly against lefty starters this season (19-25, as opposed to 59-51 against righties). But I don't take that seriously: Pirate hitters overall don't seem to have much of a split.

The Cubs hit the best of the Pirates rotation, catching Taillon, Williams and Nova. So, the Cubs have their work cut out for them in this series -- they're going to be the favorites in each of these games but there are no easy matchups.

This leaves the Brewers fighting it out on the road against the Cardinals, who remain in the Division mix (4.5 GB) after sweeping the Giants over the weekend. The Brewers are 8-8 against the Cardinals this season.

Those probable pitching matchups:

Monday, 24Sep: TBD against Flaherty
Tuesday, 25Sep: Gonzalez against Gomber
Wednesday, 26Sep: Chacin against Gant
   166. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5750411)
...and there are apparently no data that will persuade you otherwise.

I think there are plenty of data that support that. They've been a pretty good offensive team for four years now, and we have seen quite a bit of waxing and waning over cherry-picked start- and endpoints. It's fair to say that they have been underperforming for the last couple of months, but one shouldn't ignore what happened before that.
   167. Spahn Insane Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5750449)
What's Marte's status? He left yesterday's game with a leg injury of some kind.
   168. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5750503)
I think there are plenty of data that support that. They've been a pretty good offensive team for four years now, and we have seen quite a bit of waxing and waning over cherry-picked start- and endpoints. It's fair to say that they have been underperforming for the last couple of months, but one shouldn't ignore what happened before that.

Absolutely. Even with that 2nd half, the Cubs are still 1st in the NL in BA and OBP, and 6th in SLG and 3rd in OPS. There also will be fewer ABs taken by the bottom of the roster - guys Maddon rotates in every day to stay sharp and rest for the playoffs. Come playoff time, the Cubs are likely starting Schwarber/Heyward/Zobrist/Bryant/Baez/Murphy/Rizzo/Contreras, with Almora giving either Schwarber or Heyward the day off against a tough lefty.

It's likely that Bryant isn't Bryant this run, but at a reduced effectiveness he's still better than Happ and Russell.
   169. McCoy Posted: September 24, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5750530)
Schwarber/Heyward/Zobrist/Bryant/Baez/Murphy/Rizzo/Contreras

That's not exactly murderers row at this point. Perhaps they'll be the grind it out professional hitters that say the Indians were in the playoffs and be tough outs but at this point that's a lot of averagish production out of a lineup that is going to have to face and get by three buzzsaw pitching staffs to win it all.
   170. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 24, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5750543)
What's Marte's status? He left yesterday's game with a leg injury of some kind.

Listed as calf tightness with no further mention, so I would guess he's fine.
   171. Quaker Posted: September 24, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5750590)
What is everyone's preferred rotation order for the postseason?

I think I'd go: Hendricks, Hamels, Lester & Q.
   172. Red Voodooin Posted: September 24, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5750599)
Hendricks, Hamels, Lester & Q.


I'm with this, but I could see Joe swapping Lester and Hamels, maybe even slotting Jon in the game 1 role. But to me Hendricks is our clear #1 and I'm expecting some big outings from him next month.
   173. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5750623)
What is everyone's preferred rotation order for the postseason?


I had been thinking alphabetical - i.e., Hamels, Hendricks, Lester, Quintana. But, yeah, I think Hendricks has pushed himself up to #1. Fun fact: Kyle Hendricks has been the starting pitcher in the final game of the last three playoff series that the Cubs have won. Unfortunately, it's harder to plan for who pitches the FINAL game of a series than it is to figure out who pitches Game 1.
   174. Zonk is One Individual Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5750633)
I was thinking alphabetical, too.

It's an interesting playoff rotation - I feel like any of the four could give you a stellar start when you need one... and any of them - excepting maybe Hendricks, who seems to have found his groove - could crap the bed.

I suppose any time you're talking postseason series - you'd much rather than that sort of Schilling/Johnson duo, but absent that - four guys you'd be fine with taking their regular (postseason) turns isn't half bad.
   175. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5750636)
Are we thinking that Joe will continue his policy of taking out Hendricks as soon as he gives up a baserunner in the 3rd inning or later of any postseason game?
   176. Spahn Insane Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5750648)
I think I'd go: Hendricks, Hamels, Lester & Q.

Agreed. Until Hendricks recently rediscovered his inner Maddux I would've flipped him and Hamels.

That said--am I nuts for thinking Montgomery should be considered for the 4th starter spot in place of Q? (I mean, they won't do it, particularly given Montgomery's potentially huge importance as a swingman if a starter craps the bed, but I don't honestly have any less confidence in him than I do in Quintana at the moment.)
   177. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5750650)
Are we thinking that Joe will continue his policy of taking out Hendricks as soon as he gives up a baserunner in the 3rd inning or later of any postseason game?


I feel like he's started giving Hendricks a bit more leeway lately. Part of that is, I think, my grudgingly getting used to the fact that it's not a Maddon thing to pull your starters in the 5th or 6th inning; it's a general baseball thing. But Hendricks pitched into the 9th and 8th innings of his last two starts - which, granted, weren't in the playoffs or against playoff-caliber teams.

That said, Hendricks is definitely the starter that Joe is most likely to pinch hit for early in a close game where he's pitching well. Although, to be fair to Joe, Hendricks is a terrible, terrible hitter (career batting average of .092; OPS of .221).
   178. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5750693)
Are we thinking that Joe will continue his policy of taking out Hendricks as soon as he gives up a baserunner in the 3rd inning or later of any postseason game?

Come October this bullpen is going to take years off my life; like Christopher Guest's machine in The Princess Bride.
   179. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 24, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5750703)
I have to think the fact that the bullpen is pretty unreliable that it'll lead to Joe leaving in the SP longer than he usually does. Outside of Q - who just doesn't have much playoff experience - he can at least somewhat justify that with the line that they've done it before.
   180. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 24, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5750796)
Bryant continues his slide down the lineup, while I continue to think he should hit leadoff....

Murphy
Zobrist RF
Javy
Rizzo
Schwarber
Bryant 3b
Heyward CF
Hamels
Caratini

Contreras caught Hamels last time out, and we all saw how that went. Otherwise Caratini is starting to look like a Hamels whisperer.
   181. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 24, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5750801)
Contreras caught Hamels last time out, and we all saw how that went. Otherwise Caratini is starting to look like a Hamels whisperer.


So, do we think that Caratini is Hamels's personal catcher come playoff time, too? I assume that the idea of having Contreras catch Hamels last time out was to get them familiar with each other under the expectation that Contreras would catch every playoff game. But if Hamels bounces back tonight with a quality start does that convince Maddon that there's something special there that needs to stay intact through the playoffs?
   182. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 24, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5750837)
I have to think the fact that the bullpen is pretty unreliable that it'll lead to Joe leaving in the SP longer than he usually does.

Weren't there only like 2 relievers Maddon trusted by the end of the 2016 postseason? He still pulled Lester after 6, Arrieta after 5.2 (after a two-out, bases empty walk with a 5-run lead) and, famously, Hendricks after 4.2 (after a two-out, bases empty walk with a 4-run lead) in the last three games of the World Series.

Which is to say, I'll believe it when I see it.
   183. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 24, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5750841)
If Contreras still isn't hitting, I don't see any reason why Caratini shouldn't catch Hamels. Contreras is hitting .194/.293/.264 since 8/1, so that's not a bat you're trying to keep in the lineup ahead of what might be a real benefit to Hamels behind the plate. I can't explain why he'd be so much better with Caratini, but why mess with a good thing? Hamels was fine with Contreras when he first joined the Cubs, so I don't think Hamels can't pitch well with Willy back there.
   184. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5750889)
Marte is not in the lineup tonight for PIT

Frazier
Reyes
Bell
Cervelli
Dickerson
Osuna
Luplow
Newman
Taillon
   185. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:03 PM (#5750988)
More from the glass 2/3-full dept. Back in ancient times, it was regularly opined that a good team would be 500 on the road and win about 2/3 at home -- which works out to a 94-95 win pace. The Cubs finished 44-37 on the road (hooray) and are 47-27 at hom (so still a shot at 2/3). They're certainly a good shot to reach that 94-95 win mark. They also had a 591 WP in the 1st "half" and a 581 so far in the 2nd despite our justified whining.

It is all a bit weird in the pythag sense though. Their 2nd half run differential is just +2. Their road differential is a solid +80 but the home differential is just +36 -- 20 games over on a +36 is pretty mindblowing. You'd think this might be something like we don't score much at home but we've got 46 games with 7+ RS, 22 at home, 24 on the road; we have 51 scoring 2 or fewer, 23 at home, 28 on the road. Even just 26 of 49 1-run games have been at home. Of 50 games resulting in a blowout (run differential 5+), 24 of 50 have been at home.

Anyway, maybe that +36 run differential at home explains our anxiety -- we win a lot but it must be a lot of close 2-3 run wins ... which are also games where Joe's more likely to get "creative" which probably increases our angst.

   186. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:08 PM (#5750989)
Their road differential is a solid +80 but the home differential is just +36 -- 20 games over on a +36 is pretty mindblowing.

Pythag isn't as accurate in home/road splits. You get to bat in the ninth when you're winning on the road, but not at home; that skews the run differential to an extent (especially for a good team that will miss the bottom of the ninth more often, and especially because you wouldn't be facing the other team's best reliever when you're already ahead).
   187. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:24 PM (#5750994)
#186 -- true, but it doesn't skew it to that extent. The Cubs would have missed out on a max of 141 outs in their 47 home wins, call it 5 full games which would be 20-25 runs. We're about +6-6.5 vs pythag at home so that would explain 2-2.5 of that. Similarly, on the road, we give up fewer runs in road losses -- we're about negative 4-4.5 vs pythag there and we could bring that down to about negative 2-2.5 with the adjustment.
   188. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:26 PM (#5750995)
Pythag isn't as accurate in home/road splits. You get to bat in the ninth when you're winning on the road, but not at home; that skews the run differential to an extent (especially for a good team that will miss the bottom of the ninth more often, and especially because you wouldn't be facing the other team's best reliever when you're already ahead).


Looking at that in more detail, the Cubs have had 7 WO wins, which means that in 13 of their wins they didn't bat in the bottom of the 9th. Given their runs scoring rate, that's about 7 missing runs. of the walk off wins, they had the following base/out situations when the winning run scored:

Bases empty, 2 outs
1st and 2nd, 0 outs.
Bases loaded, 1 out
Bases empty, 1 out
Bases empty 2 outs
Bases empty 1 out
Bases loaded, 1 out.

based on run expectancy tables, that's about another 5 runs

So, adding 12 more runs makes their adjusted home run diff +48
   189. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5751015)
For comparison, all MLB teams with 87-95 wins so far:

Yankees: 53-28 (+101) at home, 42-32 (+61) on the road
A's: 50-31 (+59) at home, 44-31 (+73) on the road
Cubs: 47-27 (+36) at home, 44-37 (+80) on the road
Brewers: 48-30 (+49) at home, 41-37 (+20) on the road
Braves: 43-38 (+34) at home, 45-30 (+67) on the road
Cards: 43-35 (+16) at home, 44-34 (+71) on the road
Dodgers: 44-37 (+66) at home, 43-32 (+107) on the road
Indians: 49-32 (+109) at home, 38-36 (+47) on the road
Rays: 48-26 (+102) at home, 39-42 (-17) on the road

Overall records including the Cubs are 805-595, +1081 run differential; +5.15 RD per game over .500. In home games, they're 141 games over .500 and +572; in road games, 69 over and +509. So the Cubs are somewhat more skewed than would be expected (I'm having trouble thinking through how I want to put the numbers together in a way that makes sense), which is roughly what Walt is saying in 1987 anyway.
   190. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5751034)
45-30 (+67) on the road Wow, impressive Braves.

which is roughly what Walt is saying in 1987 anyway. I know I'm a bit old-fashioned but not quite 30 years out of date!

   191. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5751040)
On lineup-y issues ... in The Book, Tango and MGL noted that the #3 spot had the most PAs with 2 outs and nobody on. Mostly in the first obviously, anytime the first two guys didn't reach. Given this, they advised against putting your best hitter #3 (which was and is often done) and that a good hitter for that spot was a guy who could generate his own offense while minimizing any value that would be lost (a 2-out walk from a slow guy isn't particularly valuable) and minimizing the damage of his flaws (low OBP, Ks).

Based on that, I proposed a guy like Soriano as a good #3 hitter. In addition to the HRs (self-generated offense), he also hit a lot of doubles, not a lot of singles but could steal a base when he did single/walk and of course, with 2 outs, his Ks wouldn't matter. In short, when he didn't homer, he could still get himself into scoring position all on his own. (Note, that's really an argument he's a good option for 2 outs nobody on, he may not actually be such a great options in other situations so he could still be a lousy #3 option.)

And of course we have the current Soriano in Javy. In addition to his 34 HRs, he's got 38 doubles and 9 triples, leaving just 87 singles and 19 unintentional walks ... which would be aided by his 21 steals plus speed to score from first on a double. So #3 might be the best spot for him even if he may be our best hitter.
   192. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2018 at 09:57 PM (#5752037)
Why do I have a sneaking suspicion the Cubs lead the league in pancake flops?
   193. WKRP in Cincinnatus Posted: September 25, 2018 at 10:39 PM (#5752059)
This is brutal.
   194. McCoy Posted: September 25, 2018 at 11:39 PM (#5752089)
The Cubs are going to blow it, aren't they?
   195. Man o' Schwar Posted: September 25, 2018 at 11:46 PM (#5752092)
Is kind of starting to get that 2004 feeling to it.
   196. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:38 AM (#5752106)
The Cubs are going to blow it, aren't they?


Kinda feels like at minimum, they're gonna need to split this series and then either sweep or win the series against St. Louis. Milwaukee's playing like a team that's primed to roll through October, and they get to play one of the worst teams in baseball to close it out. Cubs are gonna have to stop relying on the Brewers to lose and, ya know, score some runs.

Is kind of starting to get that 2004 feeling to it.


I'm guilty of making the 2004 comparison, much to the dismay of our resident optimist, but I don't think they're that similar.

If the Cubs do complete the slide and end up needing to win the WC game, then yes, both this team and the 2004 iterations will share an aura of disappointing results. Still, despite what we may recall, the 2004 team didn't squander a WC lead so much as they were just unable to keep pace with a stacked Houston team.

This team has somehow compiled 90+ wins despite the injuries and disappointing seasons from pretty much everyone who's not Javy Baez or Ben Zobrist. The '04 team basically let the absence of Wood and Prior for chunks of the season serve as an excuse to under-perform.

As I've said in the chatters, this month has been excruciating. They've played a grueling schedule and quite frankly, they look like the tank is on E. It's similar to how they appeared in the NLCS last year. They may still pull out the division, but man, they're quite the battered mess right now.
   197. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5752156)
The Cubs are going to blow it, aren't they?

Definitely the impression I'm getting. I think having 1 day off in the last 41 days is coming back to bite them.

Runs scored per game:
March - 6.33 (19/3)
April - 4.96 (114/23)
May - 5.33 (144/27)
June - 4.71 (132/28)
July - 4.88 (122/25)
August - 4.04 (113/28)
September - 3.78 (87/23)

Well, maybe it isn't fair to blame all their offensive woes on the prolonged stretch with hardly any time off. They were struggling offensively a little before then, too.

They went 18-10 in August because their pitching was pretty good (and because they exceeded their pythag).

Based on monthly splits (which B-ref hasn't yet updated to include yesterday's shutout), only 2 guys on the roster have a September OPS over 800: Kyle Schwarber (1182 in 34 PA) and Javier Baez (851 OPS).

OPS for guys from Sept. 1 to Sept. 24, among guys who played in at least 10 games:
1182 Schwarber
851 Baez
770 Rizzo
756 Bryant
754 Murphy
733 Happ
720 Zobrist
592 Catrini
569 Bote
552 La Stella
445 Contreras
427 Almora
377 Russell

Their September team OPS is 658, 11th in the NL. Their August OPS (728) ranked 10th.

In August, only four guys topped 710 (Rizzo, Baez, Zobrist, Schwarber).
   198. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5752165)
In other news.....

Craig Calcaterra@craigcalcaterra
MLB has more evidence against Addison Russell than just his ex-wife's blog post … via @HardballTalk

DiYaygo Maradona @chris_who2
If they had more information about this, I’m assuming MLB had it for a while. So, that makes me wonder why the hell he was on the field in the first place?


And in related news, USA Today: Joe Maddon's Addison Russell comments show that baseball has much to learn on domestic abuse.
   199. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5752172)
Still, despite what we may recall, the 2004 team didn't squander a WC lead so much as they were just unable to keep pace with a stacked Houston team.

They lost 7 of their last 9 (including 3 of 4 at home to a bad Reds team, and two road losses to an even worse Mets team) to blow a 2.5 lead over the Astros and a 1.5 lead over the Giants. Yes, the Astros played lights out in the second half that year, but I think that qualifies as "squandering." (Impressively, the Cubs not only blew that 2.5 lead to Houston during that 9-game stretch--they ended up three games behind them [and two behind the Giants].)

I'm thinking losing 5.5 and 3.5 games to two rival playoff contenders in the span of 9 games without any head-to-head matchups with either of them is kind of hard to do, actually.
   200. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5752177)
The main differences between this and 2004 are that this team's still going to the postseason in some form, and the 2004 team, while collapsing out of the playoffs, were nowhere close to the division lead (the Cards won 105 games that year). Though then, with the single wildcard team, there really wasn't that much of an advantage to winning the division as opposed to the WC.
Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
cardsfanboy
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.7029 seconds
59 querie(s) executed