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 3 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 > 
   201. Charles S., looking 4 band-aids instead of dreams Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5752197)
So last night was the kind of game that makes one want to give up being a baseball fan after 45 years.*
Got there super early to make sure I got a floppy hat. Then the rain comes. Finally we start. Cubs leave two on in the first. Pirates get three in the top of the second, and then the drip, drip, drip of suck that just makes you want to gouge your eyes out. We left after the 6th, but at least I've got the floppy hat.
*Who am I kidding? Let's go get 'em tonight.
   202. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5752221)
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.

Point to note - since the Cubs and Brewers last played, the Brewers have gone 7-4 and the Cubs 7-5. Now, it doesn't feel like 7-5 (and it's possible or likely - but I'm not gonna check - that the Cubs have a negative run differential in that stretch while the Brewers don't), and it sure feels like the Brewers have been much better, but it hasn't exactly been like that. Also, if the Cubs go 4-1, the Brewers have to go 4-0 to force a tie. So sure, that's a possible outcome.

That of course is still a different thing than expecting what will happen or is more likely to happen over the next 4/5 games for each team. Or even what will happen once the playoffs start. It's hard to mentally separate the narrative and the likelihood. And even harder for us to do with so much emotion involved.

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.


Yeah, the 2004 team choked, after the chokejob in the NLCS the year before. It was a team led by a manager that has a history of being in those spots and coming up short, and a bunch of players that you could say the same thing about.

I understand comparing this to 2004 is just a shorthanded way of referencing a team that finished terribly, but it pisses me off because there are so many differences between that team and this one. Comparing this group to that group is insulting to the current team, and it will remain that way even if the worst possible scenario plays out this year.
   203. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5752222)
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.

And at the same time, the Cubs in the last two games have illustrated exactly how a team might accomplish this!

A win tonight would be nice.
   204. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5752230)
Tonight is not a must-win, mathematically, but it sure feels that way.
   205. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5752235)
The 1998 Cubs also choked - but the 1998 Mets choked even worse.

(Source: memory. Didn't look it up to doublecheck, or even single check)
   206. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5752244)
Having said all that, it's probably worth thinking through the contingencies....

If the Cubs and Brewers tie, it's a game Monday at Wrigley. That's Q's normal spot in the rotation on normal rest. He's been really, really good against Milwaukee in his career and this year; plus every other starter would be going on short rest. The Brewers have Chacin going today, but with an off day tomorrow they could also start Gio (who started yesterday). Depending on how hard they ride their bullpen the last weekend, they could also bullpen a game - throw Hader early, something like that. Basically Maddon up the game, in a way Maddon can't with his current pitchers.

If the Cubs lose that game and have to play the WC, that's Lester's spot in the rotation on normal rest Tuesday. If the lose the division straight up, again, still Lester on normal rest Tuesday is probably an easy call over Quintana, regardless of the opponent.
   207. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5752249)
205 - yeah, my memory agrees with yours. Giants came from a bit further back to force the play-in game.
   208. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5752293)
And at the same time, the Cubs in the last two games have illustrated exactly how a team might accomplish this!

Quite so. Hence the harking back to 2004.

I agree with Moses's comments about the "likeability" quotient being much higher with this team (though the Russell matter certainly gives me a horrible taste in my mouth; it's not fair to tar the entire team with that, but the timing of it--not to mention Maddon's response, which can be most charitably described as "tone deaf"--seems to magnify it). The 2004 Cubs seemed pissed at the world right from the get-go, Baker fomented that all season, and they didn't channel it into impassioned play; to the contrary, they fell 5 wins short of their Pythag and blew a late WC lead to miss the playoffs completely while playing grabass with opponents and whining about the media. But while I agree that they're not perfect parallels, I feel an awful lot like I did during that Reds series (lowlighted by the Cubs losing a 16-K Mark Prior start) in 2004--not just the late stumbles, but just the general stressfulness of following the team.
   209. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5752298)
The 1998 Cubs also choked - but the 1998 Mets choked even worse.

Yeah, it was only fitting that the team that prevailed in that midget wrestling contest would get swept by the Braves.

When your season is saved by a game-winning Neifi Perez homer against one of your WC rivals...
   210. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5752300)
Also, this is probably completely irrational, but does anyone else feel less at ease watching Cubs/Brewers games at Wrigley than at Miller? I can't explain why I feel that way, but I do.
   211. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5752314)
Really, the amazing thing is that pretty much every time the Cubs have been in any kind of postseason hunt in my lifetime, they've almost always made the postseason. 2004 is the exception.

1984. 1989. 1998. 2003. 2008. 2009. 2015. 2016. 2017. Even when they got the wild card, there didn't seem like they were even going to win the division. If they lost the division this year, it would be the first time in a long time (since 1969?) that they didn't capitalize on a winnable division title.
   212. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5752315)
I agree with Moses's comments about the "likeability" quotient being much higher with this team

I'm not really talking about likeability - and yeah, put me in the same boat, plus I'm just about done with Maddon's whole schtick* - I'm talking moreso about actual talent and what they've done in games that mattered throughout their careers. What the Cubs did in the playoffs in 2016 - plus stuff they did in 2015 and 2017 - far outpaces what that 2003/2004 group did and what type of talent they had. I'm bordering on narrative here too, but I think it at least somewhat matters in the sense that these guys have proven they can still play in high stress games without, for lack of a better term, wilting. Sometimes you get beat, the other team is better or healthier or better prepared, sometimes bad luck gets you, #### happens. I steadfastly believe that if the Cubs blow this, in one form or another, it's because of those reasons, actual on field stuff, versus losing the games because for whatever reason the moment or stress or pressure or whathaveyou causes the players to choke. Choke implies a mental aspect. Those Cubs choked; these Cubs aren't choking.

*At some point, it probably is worth a discussion whether or not the positives are still outweighing the negatives with him. He should be ashamed with what he's saying now, and how he's saying it, but his ego won't let him. At some point, that ego can become a negative for the team.
   213. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5752345)
Here's the most relevant Russell part of the original Robothal piece at The Athletic ($; so a little more than what was in the Hardball blog thing):

Major​ League​ Baseball did​ not​ place Cubs​ shortstop​ Addison​ Russell​ on​ paid administrative leave solely​​ because of a blog post written by his former wife, Melisa Reidy.

The post alone would not have been enough for baseball to force Russell off the field under its joint domestic violence policy with the players’ union. The league had additional credible information, according to sources familiar with its investigation.

The league’s investigation includes interviews with Reidy and numerous other witnesses, and with officials gathering additional information since Russell went on leave, sources said.

Russell, 24, has one child with Reidy. Baseball reached out to another woman with whom Russell has fathered a child, the woman confirmed to The Athletic’s Katie Strang. That woman declined to comment at this time under the advice of her lawyer.


The story last year was that she didn't talk to MLB.
   214. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5752361)
Speaking of 2004 at least we got the ring in 2016. I'm sure part of this is that the Cubs are in a depression right now but it certainly feels like the window is closing and a lot of the bright stars we once thought we had have fallen.

Russell offensively has been a bust and with the off the field issues is probably gone and will return very little.
Bryant is dealing with a bum shoulder.
Contreras isn't standing up well to a full season of play.
Schwarber is looking like Pat Burrell light.
Almora doesn't look like it is happening
Rizzo is in his second year of decline
Heyward is going to be on this payroll forever

The one bright spot is Baez and I'll just go on record right here that he's the type of player that you let walk when it comes time to FA. IF he'll let you buy out a couple of years right now I'd say fine but come the winter of 2021 I would certainly not be handing any Soriano like contracts to him.
   215. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5752372)
If they lost the division this year, it would be the first time in a long time (since 1969?) that they didn't capitalize on a winnable division title.

I was recently thinking the same thing, and 1969 is really the only division-era Cub season that fits that description. (They've also never really had a big late-season comeback to make the postseason during that time, though they've won some close races.)
   216. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5752373)
At some point, it probably is worth a discussion whether or not the positives are still outweighing the negatives with him. He should be ashamed with what he's saying now, and how he's saying it, but his ego won't let him. At some point, that ego can become a negative for the team.


Hard to imagine the guy who helped bring a championship to the North Side of Chicago could wear out his welcome, but we know how these things go. Fair or not, blowing the division and losing the WC game would definitely be a step toward this happening.

I thought all of the "potential dynasty" talk after 2016 was way too premature, but let's face it: There was definitely a sense that this iteration of the Cubs could conceivably win multiple championships. An early exit from the playoffs this year adds to that feeling that maybe the 2016 thing was a one off. We'll see.

   217. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5752375)
Speaking of 2004 at least we got the ring in 2016. I'm sure part of this is that the Cubs are in a depression right now but it certainly feels like the window is closing and a lot of the bright stars we once thought we had have fallen.

Yeah, and the 2016 title is a big part of why I'm a little more zen (if still excitable) about this year...I can't imagine how neurotic I'd be right now if the Cubs still had that monkey on their back, where every year they don't win is seen as the window inexorably closing.

It is concerning for the long-term fortunes of the team that so many guys have stagnated.
   218. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5752380)
It is concerning for the long-term fortunes of the team that so many guys have stagnated.


On this point, I wonder how much of this falls to the feet of Chili Davis and how much is simply young players peaking early.
   219. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5752383)
Sometimes you get beat, the other team is better or healthier or better prepared, sometimes bad luck gets you, #### happens. I steadfastly believe that if the Cubs blow this, in one form or another, it's because of those reasons, actual on field stuff, versus losing the games because for whatever reason the moment or stress or pressure or whathaveyou causes the players to choke. Choke implies a mental aspect. Those Cubs choked; these Cubs aren't choking.

I'll cosign this. This team is a product of what's certainly been a more sustainable building process than what gave us the 2003/04 versions, and in expressing my frustration I'm certainly not casting aspersions on the team's character or will to win or whatever (which is in contrast to the 2004 team, which seemed maddeningly unfocused on the task at hand).

Indeed, that's part of why I'm so pessimistic about the remainder of the regular season and whatever happens afterwards--I *don't* think the effort's lacking, they just look completely gassed, and that's not going to be fixed through effort or playoff battle-testedness. I just think they've hit a wall, and they look it, and it certainly looks to me like the Brewers are the better team at this point in time. That said, the Cubs have an awful lot of talent, so it's not impossible they could pull a Lazarus, but I sure wouldn't bet on it.
   220. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5752386)
On this point, I wonder how much of this falls to the feet of Chili Davis and how much is simply young players peaking early.

It just seems strange that Contreras and Russell (in particular--I'm not sure whether KB's power outage can be blamed on anything but his shoulder injury, but his turning into Bill Mueller or something is disheartening) have all backslid, and in similar ways. I think the Chili Davis and Jim Hickey experiences have been mixed bags at best.
   221. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5752392)
The one bright spot is Baez and I'll just go on record right here that he's the type of player that you let walk when it comes time to FA.

I probably agree with this. Obviously his low OBP is now more than compensated for by his power, defense and baserunning, but when his bat and legs slow down a bit, things could get ugly for him in a hurry if he doesn't become a more disciplined hitter.
   222. Spahn Insane Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5752396)
*At some point, it probably is worth a discussion whether or not the positives are still outweighing the negatives with him. He should be ashamed with what he's saying now, and how he's saying it, but his ego won't let him. At some point, that ego can become a negative for the team.

Bill James once wrote that in his view, managers are generally both hired and fired for good reasons. That's not any less true of the best managers, which I think includes Maddon, and we may be seeing the harbingers of how that downswing plays out.

Since we have a resident expert on the subject of manager efficacy in this very thread, I won't embarrass myself by pretending this is any sort of serious analysis, but it's consistent with the vibe I'm starting to feel.
   223. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5752407)
Hard to imagine the guy who helped bring a championship to the North Side of Chicago could wear out his welcome, but we know how these things go. Fair or not, blowing the division and losing the WC game would definitely be a step toward this happening.

Yeah, he doesn't seem like the personality to just go away quietly. He's going to flame out, one way or another. He's a nerd version of Ozzie Guillen, but without the playing history here. That's not to compare the two of them, but moreso to predict how it ends for him here even with 2016.

I thought all of the "potential dynasty" talk after 2016 was way too premature, but let's face it: There was definitely a sense that this iteration of the Cubs could conceivably win multiple championships. An early exit from the playoffs this year adds to that feeling that maybe the 2016 thing was a one off. We'll see.

3 straight NLCS! 4 straight 90+ win seasons! There's a HUGE, HUGE difference between dynasty (which is really just another silly narrative anyway) and a one off, even if this Cubs group doesn't win another WS.

It is concerning for the long-term fortunes of the team that so many guys have stagnated.

Sure, totally agree. That led to the coaching staff turnover last year. The FO has to figure out why that happened, if there's a real reason, or what.

I just don't think McCoy's post is really that fair anyway, or at least it's trying to be as negative as possible. Before Bryant's injury, he was on pace for another MVP type year; if he needs surgery this offseason, should we expect he is going to remain a lesser player or will he go back to what he was? Rizzo had the back injury, after that was healed he's been great; OTOH, we're talking about a back problem so that is definitely worrying long term but I disagree he's declining. Schwarber was overhyped - much more obvious in retrospect - and the myth has always been greater than the player; he's still just 25 and this year is a positive step forward so I'm not ready to cap his potential at someone who still was a pretty good offensive player. Contreras is worrying, but I'm not convinced it's from playing too much (he was just fine last year up until his hamstring injury, he'd already dropped this year by that point in his workload) and still suspect there's an injury explanation. Almora was never supposed to be as good as those guys, but also still really young and still clearly useful (all that applies to Happ as well).

Russell is an indisputable disappointment, for a couple of reasons, but was still a positive contributor. None of them have been busts, which again is pretty amazing. Soler is pretty close to a bust, so it would appear they traded the right guy, no?

Regardless of what they should or shouldn't do with Baez in the future, he's going to be the 3rd different guy in this group to finish top 5 in the MVP vote for a season.

I don't see a closing window or lack of stardom here. I see a bunch of guys with varying degrees of success, which was always the most likely outcome and yet still probably on the positive side because there weren't any real busts in the group.
   224. Voodoo Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5752448)
1969 wasn't a winnable division, not with the way the Mets played down the stretch.
   225. McCoy Posted: September 26, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5752459)
I'll cosign this. This team is a product of what's certainly been a more sustainable building process than what gave us the 2003/04 versions, and in expressing my frustration I'm certainly not casting aspersions on the team's character or will to win or whatever (which is in contrast to the 2004 team, which seemed maddeningly unfocused on the task at hand).


Different times and situations.

Alou took a walk in the wilderness for most of his contract and Sosa was nearing the end. In terms of youth they had a cornerstone in Aramis Ramirez in place along with Zambrano, Prior, and Wood. That's is pretty solid. In terms of prospecty type guys you had Patterson looking good up until his injury and even after that season he showed flashes of production if utilized properly. Choi showed some promise before the concussion and Clement was a great #4 or #5 guy. You'll recall that heading into the 21st century the Cubs had the #1 rated farm system and what looked like a ton of blue chip positional prospects. That none of their positional hitters panned out and that Prior and Wood injured themselves to death doesn't mean what Hendry and Co did back then was radically different than what Theo & Co did. If even just 1 or 2 of their positional prospects had panned out and 1 of the Wood/Prior/Willis bunch had panned out for the Cubs from 2003 on we would have been calling that era a success. Even still they had 5 winning seasons in 7 and went to the playoffs 3 times.
   226. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 26, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5752648)
While the offense has been disappointing for long stretches of the season, I think it's fair to suggest that if the pitching acquisitions do even moderately well, the Cubs probably are running out their B-team lineups this week.
   227. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5752695)
I was recently thinking the same thing, and 1969 is really the only division-era Cub season that fits that description. (They've also never really had a big late-season comeback to make the postseason during that time, though they've won some close races.)

You know what was a more winnable division that the 1969 NL East? The 1970 NL East. The Mets won 100 games in 1969, but the Pirates won it in 1970 with just 89 wins.

The Cubs won only 84 games in 1970..... but that's ten games under their pythag. And even still, five games out of first is closer than eight games. But no one ever thinks about it, because they didn't lead all year, unlike 1969. In 1970, they went 22-32 in May/June (despite scoring one more run than they allowed in that span). Still, they were a game out in mid-September.

33-17 in blowouts.
51-61 otherwise.
Math shouldn't add up like that.
   228. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5752700)
It is concerning for the long-term fortunes of the team that so many guys have stagnated.

Remember in 2016 when the entire starting infield was voted the All-Star starting infield? None of those guys have made an All-Star squad since then.

Yeah, it's only two years and things happen and with Zobrist especially it's easy to see that coming, but ... if you'd bet people straight up that neither Rizzo nor Bryant would make the ASG in either of the next two years, you'd have found an awful lot of takers. And not just among Cub fans.
   229. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5752705)
Sometimes you get beat, the other team is better or healthier or better prepared, sometimes bad luck gets you, #### happens. I steadfastly believe that if the Cubs blow this, in one form or another, it's because of those reasons, actual on field stuff, versus losing the games because for whatever reason the moment or stress or pressure or whathaveyou causes the players to choke. Choke implies a mental aspect. Those Cubs choked; these Cubs aren't choking.

I'll cosign this.

Tritto. Losing is a result. Choking is a process.

This ain't the 2004 Unlovable Losers, or the Piniella Playoff calamities, or Bryan Brown & the "Thank God for the Mets" squad from 1998. These guys? They're just gassed.
   230. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5752708)
While the offense has been disappointing for long stretches of the season, I think it's fair to suggest that if the pitching acquisitions do even moderately well, the Cubs probably are running out their B-team lineups this week.

Yes, true. Or if they pulled the plug on Chatwood sooner than they did - which would have meant trying to get someone like Hamels sooner. Last year's FA was pretty disastrous for the 2018 team, save for Cishek (and even he appears to be worn down now).

---

I had a much longer post reply to 225, but I let it go as I think it's just a fundamental disagreement that we have that's been hashed and rehashed so many times over the years. I just completely disagree the only difference between then and now was a little bit a luck (or whatever you want to call a few more guys back then not panning out). I will say time has given me a little bit more appreciation for some of the things Hendry did (both the Aramis and Lee deals were absolute stunning wins for him). That is also not to say Theo is perfect or without his flaws.

---

Murphy
Baez
Rizzo
Heyward CF
Happ RF
Schwarber
Caratini
Quintana
Bote 3b

They said yesterday Bryant wasn't going to play today, and Zo gets more regular rest than anyone. But holy ####, that lineup might score negative runs tonight.

   231. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5752711)
Yeah, it's only two years and things happen and with Zobrist especially it's easy to see that coming, but ... if you'd bet people straight up that neither Rizzo nor Bryant would make the ASG in either of the next two years, you'd have found an awful lot of takers. And not just among Cub fans.

It was bullshit that Bryant didn't make it in 2017, but Rizzo hasn't been a good first half player the last few years and Bryant was hurt this year. Either way, that's more a flaw with the AS process than a failure on the players, IMO.
   232. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5752716)
Really, the amazing thing is that pretty much every time the Cubs have been in any kind of postseason hunt in my lifetime, they've almost always made the postseason. 2004 is the exception.

Does 2001 count? They were in first for 112 days, as late as August 17; ended up in third, 5 games back.
   233. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5752733)
Bill James once wrote that in his view, managers are generally both hired and fired for good reasons. That's not any less true of the best managers, which I think includes Maddon, and we may be seeing the harbingers of how that downswing plays out.

Since we have a resident expert on the subject of manager efficacy in this very thread,


Oh, crap.

I won't embarrass myself by pretending this is any sort of serious analysis, but it's consistent with the vibe I'm starting to feel.

I dunno. I have no real coherent thoughts on Maddon in 2018. The big irony of Maddon is the Cub Nation's love affair with him starting wearing off..... right when we'd expect it to be peaking: the 2016 World Series. Man, he made a lot of questionable decisions.

He can be stubborn to a fault. Or stubborn past a fault. He strikes me as a bit thin-skinned for the job. That's not his persona or demeanor, but he does chafe a bit at criticism, and/or doubles down on what he's being criticized for.

The last year or two are new land for him in that these are times he's expected to win the division. The pressure is higher on him now than ever before. In Tampa? Eh, can't be too much pressure - Yankees & Red Sox are in the division, man. Oh sure - they want and hope and even expect you to do well - but even if you have an off-season: boom -ready-made excuse: you're Tampa. And he had enough success when no one expected Tampa to ever succeed, that was about as little pressure as you can get for a manager whose teams were so often in the playoffs.

Come to Chicago: they'd had several terrible seasons in a row before Joe showed up. He gave a good press conference, and then when the team plays middling for four months - don't worry. That's still an improvement. Sure, some were hoping for the Big Step Forward in 2015 - but at least the pieces are arriving. Then the team caught on fire the last 60ish games and they're in the playoffs with the 3rd best record in MLB. And in the NLCS.

2016: pressure? Well, they are certainly expected to win .... but you know what really takes the pressure off. Winning 25 of your first 31. And 47 of your first 67. Then you WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

Since then, people have expected the Cubs to take the division each year. And last year they did, but it was a slog. This year, they're still in first, but it don't sound like many of us are confident.

Pressure is up. He's more under the microscope. And I don't think that's Maddon at his best.

To be fair: how many are? Look at all those great Yankee teams: only Joe McCarthy ever lasted over 12 years with the club. (OK, Maddon's been here only four - but a lot of guys have trouble lasting under annual expectations to finish in first every year).
   234. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 26, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5752739)
Yeah, he doesn't seem like the personality to just go away quietly. He's going to flame out, one way or another. He's a nerd version of Ozzie Guillen, but without the playing history here. That's not to compare the two of them, but moreso to predict how it ends for him here even with 2016.

I can kinda see that, but I don't think that's fair. Ozzie had no one to blame but himself for his problems. He warred with the front office. He wore out the media. The day he left, I didn't know a single Sox fan who wanted him to stay.

Maddon? Like I said, the main issue for him is I don't think he's handling the pressure of the high annual expectations as well as he could. Ozzie just couldn't handle....working with others.
   235. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5752783)
Maybe it's time to start making the Schwarber isn't clutch jokes. I said at one point he probably would be better hitting leadoff since he's done awfully with RISP; this is a better way of looking at that I think.
   236. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5752795)
Maddon said he did read Melisa Russell’s blog recently. “Domestic violence is horrible.” But, “I don’t know enough about the other side.” Said he received a text message from Addison encouraging the team to play well.


Shut up shut up shut up
   237. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5753145)
From Walt in yesterday's chatter:

And I know he'd just finished trip #2 through the order and has really struggled third time through but removing an effective Q after 74 pitches to ... rely on Chavez for multiple innings (worked) then Edwards in a high leverage situation** ... then Kintzler in the 10th (worked) ... all pretty questionable.

** I know we have to get him back into the groove and, given the heavy pen usage of today, you're always gonna have to rely on highly variable relievers in big situations eventually. But you shouldn't force yourself into it ... his Sept line now stands at 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 10 BB, 9 K. At the moment he's bad Marmol. And that's following a string of outings when he did fine but couldn't strike anybody out (6.2, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 2 K).


I initially said I was ok with him pulling Q, because it appeared the pull was more related to having TLS hit to try and blow the game open (IIRC, 2nd/3rd, 1 out was the situation); I could argue either way on that one, but I guess now that I've slept on it I'm a little surprised Joe was willing to gamble with the pen for 4 full innings. I get the benefit of hindsight here, but I now think he should have left Q in.

As for Edwards, a 4 run game is probably a good time to bring him in and try and get him right. Yes, he's been terrible, but that's still just 5+ IP in nearly a month. I think Edwards is proving conclusively he's completely unreliable come playoff time, which is a real shame. I also think Wilson is trying to show he should pitch the 9th, though maybe that was just a bad outing and we shouldn't read too much into it.

I'll also second the complaints about PR Gore and then Freeman sacrificing. Maybe Gore just didn't have a good read on the pitcher's move, but it worked out I guess?
   238. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5753269)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 3m3 minutes ago

MLB has extended Addison Russell’s administrative leave through Sunday, the final day of the regular season, a source tells The Athletic. As I reported yesterday, every previous case of a player going on AL resulted in the player agreeing to a suspension without appeal.
   239. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5753694)
Murphy
Zobrist RF
Rizzo
Javy
Schwarber
Happ CF
Contreras
Lester
Bote 3b

So are the Cubs lying about how hurt Bryant is again? I'm assuming they want to give Heyward some rest so he doesn't do anything more to that hamstring.
   240. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 27, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5753704)
So are the Cubs lying about how hurt Bryant is again?

What do you think they are lying about? All I've seen is that the x-rays are clean, it was still sore (as of yesterday), and Maddon said it wasn't as swollen as they thought it would be - or something like that.
   241. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2018 at 04:23 PM (#5753720)
They said he's probably miss one game (I think it was Joe after Tuesday's game when he said Bryant would be out Wed). I know these things change, but it's just weird it's happened 3 times already this year (not a concussion, then twice with the shoulder going from nothing to so to extended DL trips). I half-jokingly don't believe them that the x-rays are fine and/or there's gonna be another scan that shows something is fractured when it doesn't get better.
   242. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5753955)
Bryant available to PH tonight, return to lineup Friday. Maddon moved up traditional pre-playoff meeting to today. “It is really a postseason starting today.”


Today's update.
   243. McCoy Posted: September 27, 2018 at 08:17 PM (#5753982)
Season's over
   244. Walt Davis Posted: September 28, 2018 at 03:27 AM (#5754230)
Whoa, lots of posts to catch up on. Pulling from the wayback machine to page 2 ...

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.

One thing I'll say for this year's team is that they have been a good comeback team. So here again the last couple of days, backs against the wall and they managed to squeak out a couple of wins. Maybe that's just how they're rolling this year and will keep winning ugly in the playoffs. Or not.

At some point, it probably is worth a discussion whether or not the positives are still outweighing the negatives with him. He should be ashamed with what he's saying now, and how he's saying it, but his ego won't let him. At some point, that ego can become a negative for the team.

He at times annoys the F out of me but I doubt we'll find better. Down the stretch here I think he is just trying to get through this long stretch of games with very little rest, trying to keep guys fresh, nurse the injuries and the owies, start practicing his terrible postseason pitcher usage and let that 99% chance of making the postseason (now 100%) do the heavy lifting. I suppose if there's on upside to him pushing all of the "clever" buttons, it's that he's not pushing the panic button. I wouldn't have had the guts to put Edwards out there today, much less keep him out there after a bad walk and a lucky then unlucky PA by Bell while fully recognizing we'll have little choice but to use him in some tight spots if we go deep into the postseason.

Now when he pulls Hendricks in the 4th after 72 pitches next week, I'll be screaming for him to be canned.

It is concerning for the long-term fortunes of the team that so many guys have stagnated.

I'm not so pessimistic (except about Russell). First, we couldn't realistically expect a 103 win (107 pythag win) team not to "stagnate." Second, the SPs were almost certainly going to regress after 2016 ... I'm pleased as punch and mildly surprised Hendricks has stayed this good. Q and Chatwood have been a big part of this year's "problems" ... but I don't think any of the guys we were considering for Chatwood's spot last offseason have done well this season ... except Montgomery of course.

On position players -- it's an off season for Bryant but there aren't many guys who put up 140-150 OPS+ every single season -- even Chipper put up a 119 OPS+ at age 25. (His b-r comps are a pretty weird mix and far from fully promising.) Fortunately the shoulder isn't the throwing shoulder so maybe he can stick at 3rd, maybe he can move to the OF while spending a fair bit of it in RF. If he shows reduced power again next year, I'll officially worry.

As we know, I was head agnostic on Schwarber. I did expect more than this from his bat, at least if he was limited mainly to platoon duty but low BA, good walks, big ISO (234 this year) is what I expected, just the BA went even lower. His defensive contributions were obviously always going to be negative. Happ, Almora -- there was never any reason to think there was much chance they'd be better than league-average-ish players.

Remember, the draft is mostly a crap shoot. Of the 9 guys drafted #4 overall (Schwarber's spot) for 2006-14, he's already 3rd in WAR behind Guasman (11) and Bundy (4.5). Even over the full draft history, he's already around the median -- albeit I'm not sure he'll make it past Jeffrey Hammonds (9), Roy Howell (10, really?) or the Meathook (12, not a bad comp). Happ only seriously trails Javy among recent #9 picks and is also already sitting in the top half among all #9 picks -- while also seeming unlikely to get much beyond 8 career WAR. Even if a guy like Happ hits it "big", the top 3 position players drafted in his slot are Kotsay, Geoff Jenkins and Cuddyer -- and none of those guys was likely to turn the 2018 Cubs into a juggernaut. Dmitri Young is the 7th-best position player ever drafted 4th (well behind the other 6, the most similar of those to Schwarber I suppose being Darrell Porter).

Not trying to make too much of draft position, especially not specific draft position, just trying to remind us of what we should have realistically expected and that maybe they didn't so much "stagnate" as our hopes were too high.

And most of these guys are still just now entering their (standard) prime ages. Even Rizzo is only 29 next year and he and Heyward are the (non-Zo) old men. We've gotten just a bit over 600 PA from guys aged 30+ this year. We could easily be back to scoring 5+ next year. We could also obviously see Javy fall back, Bryant continue to struggle, Rizzo stink for 2 months instead of 1, Zo get old, Schwarber/Happ/Almora be blah, Willson lose it**, Lester go belly-up (I'm kinda expecting this, especially if we go deep in the playoffs), etc.

I feel underwhelmed too but they're sitting on 93 wins with 3 to play. Total white people's problems we're having.

** Hate to say it, but this happens often to good-hitting Cs. I don't know that it happens more often to them than to other positions but ... Soto got off to hot start with the bat at ages 24, 25 and 27 but quickly turned into a (pretty solid) backup. Sandy Alomar Jr put up a nice season at 24 followed by two terrible partial seasons followed by three good partial seasons followed by a terrible year as a starter followed by an outstanding year as a starter followed by a horrific year as a starter then was a backup. From 26-28, Todd Hundley put up a 141 OPS+, he put up around 80 for the other 2/3 of his PAs. Let's not even speak of Rick Wilkins and Jody Davis. Willso's bat may have stagnated but it's still a 93 OPS+ which is fine for a C and b-r still gives him solid WAR/WAA ... while ignoring his framing issues.
   245. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 28, 2018 at 08:55 AM (#5754279)
Maybe it's time to start making the Schwarber isn't clutch jokes.

This is a really terrible article. All of those tables are about ~60 ####### plate appearances. I mean, Sullivan ends saying "I don’t suspect that Kyle Schwarber is actually an unclutch hitter in his heart" but it's a little late for that and he needs to redeem himself better for the statistical fluke touting that preceded it.

There are countless series of events in baseball with different endpoints, so many that even if you are talking about rare chance events, one in a million stuff, you can identify one of those every day and write a stupid article about it.
   246. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 28, 2018 at 09:00 AM (#5754282)
Regarding what Walt says, I agree (in summary) that I feel like this team has been doing it with smoke and mirrors all year, and that we have to expect that to continue in the postseason. At the same time, while I am not going to bet my life on it, I kinda expect the smoke and mirrors to continue working into the playoffs.

I also agree about Contreras. He was used like a rented mule last season and I wonder if he will ever again be the hitter he was in 2016-17.
   247. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 28, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5754290)
Cardinals series matchups:

Friday: Hendricks versus Wainwright
Saturday: Hamels versus Mikolas
Sunday: Montgomery versus Flaherty

As in the Pirates series, we can expect the Cubs to be favored in each of these three games, but this is not likely to be an easy series. The Cubs are listed as 60/40 favorites by 538 today and Vegas gives basically the same odds -- this feels about right, and I would expect tighter margins in the two games to follow.

In the meanwhile, the Brewers host Detroit:

Friday: Zimmerman versus Davies
Saturday: Miley versus Norris
Sunday: TBD versus Turnbull

These are hardly HoF matchups, but the Brewers could easily sweep this series.
   248. Spahn Insane Posted: September 28, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5754300)
Today might be the best chance for the Tigers to pick off a win. Zimmermann has his moments, plus he's a cheesehead. Perhaps he'll be especially motivated.

A Cub sweep, and none of that matters.
   249. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5754352)
I think the most likely outcome from here is that the Cubs take two out of three, and the Brewers take two out of three: Cubs win the division by a game.

Unfortunately, I would guess the likelihood of that outcome among the fifteen other possibilities is something like 12%. 538 has the Cubs chances of winning the division at 68%, Fangraphs at 78%.

   250. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5754359)
So like a sucker, I registered to be able to maybe buy playoff tickets ($50 refundable deposit). Well, I just got an email I can buy tickets to either the WC game, or games 1/2 of the NLDS. The tickets go on sale in 20 minutes.

I refuse to buy tickets to the WC game, on principal, and also, I don't want them to play that game. The Cubs have also played like #### when I've gone this year, even worse when it's a Lester start. I'm not really superstitious, but I also don't want to pay for games that are very likely to suck or piss me off. I guess I can just hope I win again for the NLCS or WS games.
   251. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5754360)
This is a really terrible article. All of those tables are about ~60 ####### plate appearances. I mean, Sullivan ends saying "I don’t suspect that Kyle Schwarber is actually an unclutch hitter in his heart" but it's a little late for that and he needs to redeem himself better for the statistical fluke touting that preceded it.

There are countless series of events in baseball with different endpoints, so many that even if you are talking about rare chance events, one in a million stuff, you can identify one of those every day and write a stupid article about it.


Oh, totally agree. I feel like I'd noticed this with Schwarber this year, but again, there's no reason to think this is at all predictive.

I think the most likely outcome from here is that the Cubs take two out of three, and the Brewers take two out of three: Cubs win the division by a game.

Same. Let's hope the Cubs win today and Brewers lose. It'll make the other games this weekend less stressful.
   252. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5754362)
Murphy
Zobrist RF
Rizzo
Baez SS
Heyward CF
Bryant LF
Contreras
Hendricks
Bote

Interesting. Bryant's back, so that's good. I don't if Schwarber has been really bad this year against breaking stuff, but that would explain Bote over him today. In my mind, I can see Schwarber hitting Wainwright hard. I kinda expected Caratini today - day game after night. Both Happ and Bote have had really good ABs the last few games. It'd be nice to see Rizzo and Baez hit a bit today.

Put in Schwarber instead of Bote, and put Contreras 9th, and I think that's the most common playoff lineup.
   253. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5754363)
Yikes, the Tigers have only won five of their last seventeen games.

So I predict they sweep the Brewers in Milwaukee.
   254. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5754364)
I don't if Schwarber has been really bad this year against breaking stuff, but that would explain Bote over him today

With all of Bryant's ailments I suspect they want somebody else at third base right now.
   255. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5754372)
Yeah, good call.

---

I didn't buy any tickets. Wasn't worth the cost.
   256. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5754374)
Cards lineup:

Carpenter 1b
Martinez rf
DeJong
Ozuna
Gyrko
Molina
Wong
Bader
Wainwright
   257. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5754465)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago

Strop “getting closer” but not 100 percent comfortable when finishing his delivery, Maddon said


It's gonna be real difficult to think he can pinch in big spots in the playoffs if he doesn't pitch this weekend, me thinks.

---

Cubs activated Bobby Wilson from the DL, which I guess maybe might mean Joe will feel better PH for Contreras today.
   258. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 28, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5754617)
Yikes, the Tigers have only won five of their last seventeen games.

So I predict they sweep the Brewers in Milwaukee.


I know I mention it often, but being in Michigan, I see a lot of Tigers baseball. I can't over-emphasize how uninspired this team is. They're obviously in rebuilding mode, but they're very much like the 2012 Cubs, only less intriguing.
   259. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5754819)
Christopher Kamka @ckamka 3m3 minutes ago

Kyle Hendricks last 8 starts:
1.66 ERA, 54.1 IP, 43 Hits, 8 BB, 38 K, 2 HR, 0.939 WHIP #Cubs

Chicago Cubs @Cubs 43s44 seconds ago

.@kylehendricks28 this season:

33 starts (career high)
199 IP (career high)
3.44 ERA (1.79 in Sept.)
18 consecutive starts with 2 BB or fewer

#ClassDismissed
   260. McCoy Posted: September 28, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5754830)
Heading into the last 4 games I thought to myself if the cubs win on Thursday and Friday that probably means they get the division. Looking like they’ll win today.
   261. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 28, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5754854)
Magic number of two. So far, so good. Momentum is hugely overrated in baseball, but the Cubs seem to be rounding into shape nicely here heading into the playoffs.

I know I mention it often, but being in Michigan, I see a lot of Tigers baseball. I can't over-emphasize how uninspired this team is.


Based on how the Cardinals have played their last four games, could the Tigers really be more uninspired?

I guess the danger is that the Cardinals have played like crap lately because they're choking under the pressure of a playoff race such that, once they're officially eliminated tomorrow, they'll relax and play much better on Sunday. Hopefully, the Tigers will win tonight and/or tomorrow and the Cardinals' performance on Sunday won't matter at all.
   262. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 28, 2018 at 10:06 PM (#5754982)
Things looked hopeful until the Brewers got to bat. Man, that was deflated quickly.

Cubs are still in an OK spot in that the Brewers can beat the Tigers all weekend and it won't matter if the Cubs can handle their own business. It'd be nice to get a helping hand from the Toledo Mud Hens, but alas, we can't expect miracles.
   263. Meatwad Posted: September 29, 2018 at 01:17 AM (#5755020)
If the dodgers win tonight the cards will be a loss away from elimination. Would be nice to see that loss tomorrow.
   264. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 29, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5755047)
Murphy
Zobrist RF
Rizzo
Javy
Heyward
Bryant 3b
Happ LF
Caratini
Hamels

Schwarber's back must be acting up again. This is the 2nd straight time heyward has started a game in CF with Happ also starting, likely cause heyward is starting in CF in playoffs. Interesting to go back to pitcher hitting 8th.
   265. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 29, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5755067)
Strop will test his hamstring will some running. Aiming for return Thursday.

Strop said injury was supposed to heal in 5-6 weeks is healing quicker


I don't think they said that was the timetable when he got hurt. They said either 2-3 or 3-4.
   266. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 29, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5755124)
It didn't occur to me until last night that despite this season, and especially this month, feeling really stressful, the Cubs have actually won more games than they did last season. It's just that they've got another powerhouse in the division this year.
   267. McCoy Posted: September 29, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5755149)
It's over
   268. Voodoo Posted: September 29, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5755231)
well that was quick ####
   269. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 29, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5755290)
Dodgers are probably going to hold on here, so the cards are eliminated tomorrow. That should help with a win, so good chance worst case is a tie.

I still think the Brewers lose one of these next 2, too hard to finish the season on such a big win streak. Same reason I expect the Rockies to drop one, but also they face strasburg and scherzer.
   270. Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2018 at 12:10 AM (#5755518)
If I wasn't a Cub fan, I'd probably be pretty excited that two divisions are tied on the last day of the season.
   271. Meatwad Posted: September 30, 2018 at 01:32 AM (#5755526)
If only the tigers pitching wasnt so bad or that pinch runner didmt fall down in pittsburgh.
   272. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 30, 2018 at 01:34 AM (#5755527)
For some reason, I have the option to edit Meatwad's post. I'm a bit tipsy right now, so I'm wondering if this is a site error or if maybe this is a Fight Club type scenario where I realize I've been Meatwad all along.
   273. McCoy Posted: September 30, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5755539)
You can't even though you think you can
   274. McCoy Posted: September 30, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5755541)
Let's just say I'm hoping I'm not right on my wins prediction
   275. Meatwad Posted: September 30, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5755616)
No almora or happ today schawrber and contreras both starting and heyward is in center again.
   276. Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2018 at 07:40 PM (#5755907)
This team just refuses to do anything the easy way. :-) But at the start of the week, I figured they had to win 4 of 7, they did that so I can't complain and I blame the Brewers for not cooperating one little bit.

I know it's illogical but, if the Brewers were going to win today, I was almost hoping the Cubs wouldn't. It's win Monday or win Tuesday and it almost seems like taking Monday off then winning Tuesday would be more likely. Also now I've got to get up at 3 am. Hopefully Milw is running out of steam too.

No SPs officially named yet as far as I know. Presumably Q for the Cubs -- might be a good time for Joe to experiment with an opener, then Q. I doubt he lets Q go a 3rd time through regardless.

Brewers are in a bit of a tight spot according to mlb.com. SP choices are Chase Anderson or Jhoulys Chacin ... with bullpen day/Freddy Peralta also options. MLB.com points out this depressing factoid:

Anderson vs Cubs: 11 GS, 60 IP, 2.72 ERA, 204/273/379 ... only a 4-4 record though somehow. He's faced them 4 times this year for 24 IP, just 12 hits, 8 BB, 3 ER ... and a 1-2 record. Harsh....

Apr 8: 6 IP, 2 R, L, 0-3
Apr 26: 7 IP, 1 R, L, 0-1
Jun 12: 7 IP, 0 R, W, 4-0
Sep 12: 4 IP, 0 R, ND, 5-1

I don't recall what the issue was in that Sept 12 start. He'd gone 4 innings, 71 pitchers, 16 batters. He'd struggled a bit in the 2nd but got out of it. Counsell PH'd for him to lead off the 5th, ahead 2-0, which is pretty unusual. Cubs PH'd for Hendricks in b5 after 77 pitches and 21 BF.

Anderson got one more start against Cincy where he got knocked around a bit then skipped in StL in favor of the quasi-bullpen game. If I was Counsell I might try a LH opener through Rizzo (assuming Murphy, Zo, Baez, Rizzo or especially for Murphy, Zo, Rizzo, Baez) then follow with Anderson.

   277. Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5755912)
Joe's reliever management today was annoying but probably strategically correct. He went with the back-end guys with the big lead until they put a couple of guys on base, then he'd bring in a more trusted reliever but usually for just a few pitches to get out of it, then back to a back-end guy.

It's still a mess out there but, assuming Strop isn't available yet, I'll guess that the last 3 innings are slated for Cishek, Wilson, Chavez with the order of Cishek/Wilson depending on matchups. Edwards probably for the 6th. Joe will have at least two more changes than that, I just don't have a clue who. Question of whether Hendricks/Hamels are available on a throw day and would he use them.
   278. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 30, 2018 at 08:49 PM (#5755963)
I got a ticket to tomorrow's game! The Cubs are 3-0 this season when I've been in attendance, so I feel pretty good about their chances. Can't bring my son (for the first time; hopefully he's not the good-luck charm this season) because of the noon start; the boy has school, so it's just me. Which probably helped me get the ticket I got.

Another 10-run game would be really nice.
   279. Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5756010)
Another 10-run game would be really nice.

When making deals with the devil or extracting wishes from djins, please be specific ... The Cubs scoring 10 runs tomorrow would be really nice. (It's too late for the simple "Cubs win tomorrow" but maybe not too late to change some of the fine print. He'll probably ask for an extra soul though.)

Can't bring my son ... the boy has school

You should have your children taken away. :-)
   280. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 01, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5756217)
Since Moses hasn't done it yet (hopefully that means he's on his way to the game), the lineups:

Milwaukee:

1. Lorenzo Cain (CF)
2. Christian Yelich (RF)
3. Ryan Braun (LF)
4. Jesus Aguilar (1B)
5. Jonathan Schoop (2B)
6. Mike Moustakas (3B)
7. Erik Kratz (C)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS)
9. Jhoulys Chacin (P)

Cubs:

1. Daniel Murphy (2B)
2. Ben Zobrist (RF)
3. Javier Baez (SS)
4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
5. Kris Bryant (3B)
6. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
7. Jason Heyward (CF)
8. Jose Quintana (P)
9. Willson Contreras (C)

Fangraphs Live Scoreboard gives the Cubs a 58.3% chance (-147 with the house taking 5%)), 538 gives them 52% (-108). Fangraphs' playoff odds system has the Cubs at 53%, however (-113). Actual Vegas has the Cubs at about -130.
   281. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 01, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5756230)
I was posting in the mainland thread, which isn't the game chatter, but had more immediate conversation going on.

Scattered thoughts/feelings about today:
1. Quintana has been good against Milwaukee in his career, this year, and even in September. But he's still pretty unreliable, even though like many of the other SP, he's been trending up lately. He has 3rd time through the order problems, but middle and late relief are not Cubs strengths.
2. Chacin seems like the Cubs should hit him, but he's always felt like that. I think they got to him last time, but not the few times before. The Brewers bullpen is a significant weapon, and a significant advantage over the Cubs, so if they get an early lead, I'd expect Counsell to ride them HARD to try and close it out. If they're losing, it'll be harder for him to justify going hard to those guys with a real elimination game tomorrow.
3. The best bench players for the Brewers are lefties, so we're probably going to see a bunch of the LHRP for the Cubs today.
4. I expect a quick hook for the current defensive lineup once the Cubs get up - Zo to 2b, Almora/Heyward CF/RF, and possibly even Bote 3b/Bryant LF.
5. It's fairly overcast today, so a depressing looking game. Slight chances of drizzle throughout, probably not a great hitting day overall.
6. You don't want me at the game, Cubs have lost like 6 in a row with me there. Though I also was there for Darvish's 1 win this year - against the Brewers
7. I'm not going to get #### done at work today.
8. I have way too many thoughts on the possible WC or NLDS, but will deal with those later.
   282. McCoy Posted: October 01, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5756235)
2. Chacin seems like the Cubs should hit him, but he's always felt like that. I think they got to him last time, but not the few times before. The Brewers bullpen is a significant weapon, and a significant advantage over the Cubs, so if they get an early lead, I'd expect Counsell to ride them HARD to try and close it out. If they're losing, it'll be harder for him to justify going hard to those guys with a real elimination game tomorrow.

I don't see how Counsell doesn't ride his bullpen hard if they're losing. I mean I can see not if the starter gives up 4 or 5 runs in two innings and then the next two relievers give up 4 or 5 runs in the next inning or so he might just say eff it at that point if it is 8-0 going into the 4th. But if the Cubs are winning 2-0 with two men on in the 3rd with 1 out he's probably going to his pen for his best guys and will continue to do that up until it is a blowout in either direction.
   283. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 01, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5756261)
The Brewers bullpen is a significant weapon, and a significant advantage over the Cubs
And also, Counsell didn't use every single one of them yesterday.
   284. Spahn Insane Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5756268)
You should have your children taken away. :-)

Among the many advantages of being childless is effective immunity from the worst punishments the BBTF kangaroo court has to offer.
   285. Spahn Insane Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5756290)
Though I also was there for Darvish's 1 win this year - against the Brewers

Nay--Darvish's only win this year came on May 20 at Cincinnati. I know because *I* was there! (Cubs may have won a Darvish start against the Brewers, but that Reds game was his only W.)
   286. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5756293)
Among the many advantages of being childless is effective immunity from the worst punishments the BBTF kangaroo court has to offer.
You should be forced to adopt Kiko's son after he's taken away.
   287. Spahn Insane Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5756295)
You should be forced to adopt Kiko's son after he's taken away.

Harsh! I mean, nothing against Kiko's son, who I'm sure is an angel and a scholar. :-)
   288. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5756297)
I don't see how Counsell doesn't ride his bullpen hard if they're losing. I mean I can see not if the starter gives up 4 or 5 runs in two innings and then the next two relievers give up 4 or 5 runs in the next inning or so he might just say eff it at that point if it is 8-0 going into the 4th. But if the Cubs are winning 2-0 with two men on in the 3rd with 1 out he's probably going to his pen for his best guys and will continue to do that up until it is a blowout in either direction.

There's a lot of gray area between what I said and what you're saying. But yes, there are degrees here. Jeffers, Knebel, and Soria can definitely go 1IP in back to back days (or so I assume). Can they go more than an inning though? Do you risk finding out if you're ahead (yes), tied (maybe to probably), behind (eh to maybe)? Hader hasn't pitched since Friday, but can he go 2IP+ back to back days? If they're up today, I could see Hader going 3IP assuming he's efficient, but if they're trailing you have to pick his spot a bit more carefully. How much he's used today will affect tomorrow.

I'm just saying it's a harder decision, that's all.
   289. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5756298)
I could see Hader going 3IP assuming he's efficient
So, 9 Ks on 27 pitches?
   290. Styles P. Deadball Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5756300)
Can't bring my son ... the boy has school


I have a rule that you are not allowed to miss my class unless you can definitively prove you were at the ballgame.
   291. McCoy Posted: October 01, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5756306)
There's a lot of gray area between what I said and what you're saying.

But you have to get through my area before getting to yours. I don't see how Counsell can keep his best pitchers in the pen and allow the game to get out of hand. To do that is a very specific path. Starter gets into a jam very early on, Counsell brings in one of the key guys or none and that person gets into a jam. So in the second or third and down by 5 or more and it stays that way is pretty much the only way Counsell doesn't use his big guns and even then he'll still probably use 1 or 2.
   292. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 01, 2018 at 04:34 PM (#5756874)
Brewers won it more than the Cubs lost it, but not having a good pen and the 2nd half weak offense were the difference. 3 runs given up shouldn't have been a problem to win. Javy's K vs Soria was the Cubs' best chance; oh well.

---

Very early thoughts on the WC roster for tomorrow:

As I'm pretty sure it doesn't have to be the same roster as the LDS, the Cubs can leave off a few SP to allow for a few extra weapons (so no Quintana, and even though Montgomery is already moving to the pen not sure he comes back after only today's rest; then again he was pulled pretty quickly yesterday so I guess he could be a LOOGY option depending on the opponent); but I think you're gonna have Hendricks available and it's Hamels's throw day, so I'd have both of them on the roster. You obviously have Gore on the roster, but there's no need for a 3rd catcher. The back end of the pen is where it's tough (no good options), but if you have 3 SP and a 6 man bench, that still leaves room for 10 RP. So, my predictions:

Lineup: Murphy/Zobrist/Javy/Rizzo/Bryant/Schwarber/Heyward/Contreras (not how I'd line it up, but just going with today's for ease (and probably gonna be a RH SP no matter the opponent).
SP: Lester
Bench: LaStella, Bote, Almora, Happ, Caratini, Gore
RP: Hendricks, Hamels, Strop (I'll leave him in unless they say otherwise), Cishek, Chavez, Wilson, Edwards (can't leave him off).

That leaves 3 spots for 3 of de la Rosa, Montgomery, Garcia, Mills, Kintzler, Duensing, Maples. If Strop can't go, had to add another righty for sure, so I say Mills is probably in. I'm guessing that's the pecking order for the lefties, so Garcia is off if Strop can go (Garcia pitched yesterday and today). I'd like to say Kintzler isn't a real option, but we saw him today, so who knows. Duensing and Maples don't seem to really be in the picture, same with Webster.
   293. Voodoo Posted: October 01, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5756910)
Well, today's game was a bummer. I expressed confidence in our offense and skepticism towards Quintana before the game and I was wrong on both counts.

I'll echo the refrain that the Brewers snatched the division far more than the Cubs blew it, and it stinks to have to play an elimination game when we've been leading the NL in wins for almost two months now, but what has felt like the worst possible outcome of the season for a while now -- having to play in the WC game -- is now upon us and I don't feel too terrible about it right now. I'll feel really lousy if they lose tomorrow; losing a double elimination tourney with both games at home would be a bitter pill and might conjure up images of 2003 for me (losing two games at Wrigley back to back when one win would move them on). This season has never felt like 2004 to me, those comparisons were always inapt and losing tomorrow won't change that (also, #### that 2004 team btw).

As with everything that has happened to the Cubs, good and bad, since November 2016 -- my mental state and emotional reaction to major events (like losing the NLC/#1 seed, or god-forbid going out in the WC game) is night-and-day different to what it would be if we hadn't won in 2016.

I wonder how long that feeling of "darn, this is painful but at least we have 2016 so not nearly as painful as it might be" will last?

Probably until I die.
   294. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 01, 2018 at 06:47 PM (#5756971)
I think you're gonna have Hendricks available and it's Hamels's throw day


Hendricks went out to the bullpen for today's game around the sixth inning and was warming up in at least the 8th and 9th inning according to the Wrigley Field scoreboard. That said, if the thinking was just, "It's his throw day anyway; in an emergency have him do it in a game situation," they may still bump Hendricks off the wild-card roster and have Hamels serve that role. I guess the question is, who would be a better use of that roster spot than Hendricks. Dear God, please not Brandon Kintzler.

The number of relief pitchers used by the Cubs (and, to a lesser extent, by the Brewers) annoyed me because I'm a crotchety old man and excessive relief pitcher usage always annoys me. That said, the Cubs loss today rests pretty much entirely on the offense as they repeated their favorite performance of the 2018 regular season: 1 run via a solo home run and nothing else.

I assume the Rockies will pitch Freeland on three days' rest tomorrow. I learned today that Kyle Freeland is left-handed, so my pick for tomorrow's solo home run will be Kris Bryant. Let's hope Lester and the bullpen can make that stand up!
   295. Voodoo Posted: October 01, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5756978)
Facing a pitcher on three days rest, with Lester on the mound, at home, do or die.

We gotta ####### win.
   296. McCoy Posted: October 01, 2018 at 07:37 PM (#5757008)
If the Cubs are going to lose game 163 and play a 1 game elimination game I'd rather it be against the Rockies than the dodgers.
   297. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 01, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5757036)
Freeland on short rest tomorrow. So now I'm not sure how Joe will approach the lineup.
   298. Voodoo Posted: October 01, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5757039)
So now I'm not sure how Joe will approach the lineup.


I'm sure you'll disapprove, regardless.
   299. McCoy Posted: October 01, 2018 at 09:07 PM (#5757058)
Well, Freeland on short rest is really going to setup the Brewers nicely should the Rockies win. Not sure if the Rockies care all that much if it means getting in and Freeland has actually pitched more on 4 days rest than 5 days or more. But he is a much better pitcher on 5 days rest than 4 days.
   300. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 01, 2018 at 09:09 PM (#5757060)
As with everything that has happened to the Cubs, good and bad, since November 2016 -- my mental state and emotional reaction to major events (like losing the NLC/#1 seed, or god-forbid going out in the WC game) is night-and-day different to what it would be if we hadn't won in 2016.

I wonder how long that feeling of "darn, this is painful but at least we have 2016 so not nearly as painful as it might be" will last?

Probably until I die.


My postings be damned, this is pretty much where I am.

It was tough to watch the Cubs get bounced last year and it was agonizing in real time to watch the month-long Brewer comeback this year. But there's not that emotional devastation that came with those playoff runs pre-2016. Those stayed with you.

Now? It'll be bothersome for a couple of days, but ultimately, life goes on and you are better able to detach yourself a bit from the live and die mentality that I think most of us had with the Cubs until they finally won it.
Page 3 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
Infinite Yost (Voxter)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.7547 seconds
62 querie(s) executed