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 4 of 4 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4
   301. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 01, 2018 at 09:38 PM (#5757069)
I'm sure you'll disapprove, regardless.

Damn right. But I'll be confident they'll win regardless.
   302. Meatwad Posted: October 01, 2018 at 10:23 PM (#5757082)
Am I crazy for thinking about going to the game tomorrow?
   303. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 01, 2018 at 10:54 PM (#5757087)
Okay, I decided to update my analysis in comment #53 of this thread, which looked at the Cubs run distribution by game and how it compared to teams with similar runs per game. In that comment, I looked at the Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies, and Braves, who, at the time, were 1 - 4 in the NL in run-scoring. This turned out to be 4 of the 5 playoff teams. So, I added the Brewers to my analysis. And, to sort of put in a control of what a really bad offense looks like, I added the Miami Marlins, who finished last in the NL in runs scored.

Here's the broad overview - NL Rank in runs per game, Team, Runs per game. These include today's Game 163s.

1. LA, 4.93
2. COL, 4.79
[3 is WAS]
4. ATL, 4.69
5. Cubs, 4.67
[6 is STL]
7. MIL, 4.63
...
15. MIA, 3.66

The Marlins were shut out more often than the other 5 teams - 14 times - followed by the Brewers (12) and Cubs (11). The Dodgers were shut out the least often (8 - the other two teams were both shut out 9 times).

The Rockies scored exactly one run by far the fewest times - 5 (and won two of those games, 1-0!). The Brewers scored exactly one run 15 times. The Dodgers and Braves scored exactly one run 17 times each. The Marlins scored exactly one run 23 times. The Cubs scored exactly one run 28 times.

Combining these, the Cubs scored fewer than two runs 39 times. This is the most of these six teams - including the Marlins, who scored 0 or 1 run a total of 37 times. No other playoff team scored fewer than two runs more than 27 times. The Rockies scored fewer than two runs only 14 times!

The most common run total for the Rockies was 5 runs - 27 times.
The most common run total for the Braves was 4 runs - 25 times.
The most common run total for the Brewers was also 4 runs - 23 times.
The most common run total for the Dodgers was 3 runs - 27 times.
The most common run total for the Marlins was 2 runs - 28 times.
The most common run total for the Cubs was 1 run - 28 times. It was not just my/your/our imagination. The most common final score for the Cubs this season was one freaking run!

And yet, the Cubs were fifth in the NL in runs per game. Why? Because the Cubs scored 7 or more runs 49 times, the most of any of these teams. The Dodgers did so 46 times, the Braves and Brewers 43 times apiece, and the Rockies 36 times. (The Marlins scored 7 or more runs 23 times.)

The Cubs had more games than any of the other five teams here in which they scored exactly 1, 8, and 9 runs. None of the other playoff teams lead all five other teams at more than one score. (The Marlins scored exactly 0, 2, and, oddly, 6 runs more than any of the 5 playoff teams.)

I don't know what to make of this. I originally did this analysis after the Cubs had played 143 games. In their last 20 games, their most common runs scored - 6 times - has been ... ONE RUN!
   304. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 02, 2018 at 12:13 AM (#5757109)
My offhand reasoning for that is that the Cubs were a pretty anemic power team, so you weren’t getting the batches of runs that usually accompany a team who hits a homer or three most games.
   305. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5757256)
Not gonna put up a new thread as a preview for the WC game.

Rosters were due to the league at 10am, so I'm guessing we'll see it sometime soon.
   306. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5757279)
Roster:

Mills, Hendricks, DeLaRosa, Lester, Hamels, Wilson, Montgomery, Cishek, Chavez, Strop, Rosario
Gore, TLS, Murphy, Almora, Caratini, Happ, Baez, Schwarber, Bote, Bryant, Zobrist, Heyward, Contreras, Rizzo

No Edwards.
   307. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5757280)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago

Edwards off due to right forearm discomfort Sunday


He didn't warm up at all yesterday, which I guess is odd in retrospect (he's shaky, but still would have been ahead of Kintzler on the depth chart I think).
   308. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5757303)
Roster:

... Strop


2-1 Cubs lead through 8. Do you bring in Strop for the save in the ninth? It's playoff time - not a lot of opportunities to ease him back into playing shape in low-stress situations.
   309. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5757306)
Cubs vs. Freeland earlier this year at Wrigley: 7IP, 3R, 6H, 1bb, 5K. Cubs lineup that day was Almora/Baez/Bryant*/Rizzo/Contreras**/Zobrist/Russell/Happ/Lester. Lester went 5.2IP, 2R (both unearned), 5H, 3bb, 5K. Rockies lineup was Desmond/Blackmon/Arrenado/Story/Ianetta/Parra/Cuevas/Valaika/Freeland. Both pens were good (Ottavino and Ferrell/Strop/Duensing/Cishek).


*Bryant was just coming back from getting beaned in the head in Denver, and was hitting .291/.441/.506 at the time. I miss that Bryant.
**.149/.259/.189. I don't miss that Rizzo at all.
***.264/.350/.418. Lack of power has been an all year problem.

---

If I had to guess/predict the lineup tonight, I think both Murphy and Schwarber sit, with Almora and Bote in (I'm pretty sure on Almora/Schwarber, less so on Murphy though he has sat against LHP a lot lately). Last non-DH lineup against a LHP was vs Ray and it went Almora/Bryant(LF)/Rizzo/Baez/Zobrist(RF)/Contreras/Bote/Hamels/Russell (1 run); Heyward on the DL. Same lineup 2 days before against Corbin (3 runs against him). I guess put Heyward in Russell's place but hit Bote 9th; probably shake it up some and have Zobrist hitting 2nd instead of Bryant just cause that's been the case lately.

Final prediction: Almora/Zobrist(2b)/Baez/Rizzo/Bryant/Heyward/Contreras/Lester/Bote (I could see Contreras and Bote switched).
   310. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5757314)
2-1 Cubs lead through 8. Do you bring in Strop for the save in the ninth? It's playoff time - not a lot of opportunities to ease him back into playing shape in low-stress situations.

I think it depends on where you are in the batting order and who's already been used. If I had to guess, I'm guessing he'd get the 9th if they're already through the heart of the order (so, lesser bats, but "bigger" inning) or he'll get a chance against Arrenado/Story before the 9th. Joe was very careful not calling him the closer with Morrow out.

I think Joe would like to map it out where Lester gets 7, and then he has Chavez/Wilson/Strop/Montgomery/delaRosa for the last 6 outs. He'll only let the lefties face lefty hitters. If Lester can't go 7, or if it's tied when Lester is pulled, then he's going to either Hamels or Hendricks double switching in and going until they need a PH; repeat with the other if still tied. You can't play for the next round, but I think he'll want to avoid using both SP in the pen unless absolutely necessary. He'll consider PH for Lester as early as the 4th if need be, but I think he'll let Jon sac bunt even with 1 out if it's just a guy on first situation.
   311. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5757342)
We're all going to realize our lifelong dream of seeing Cole Hamels used as a LOOGY, aren't we.
   312. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5757396)
Listening to Maddon's interview on the Score - he's not really saying anything - but he did say he's going to use Strop "like normal" and expects him to be fine and ready to do whatever they need. He didn't say what the lineup was, but mentioned it's more right-handed. Also mentioned that's fine for PH late because the Rockies main relievers are RH.

Joe just said Lester is hitting 9th tonight.
   313. Master of the Horse Posted: October 02, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5757401)
Even though I think the Cubs/Crew have played enough already and just stop good luck tonight.
   314. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5757405)
Well, here we are with it all on the line.

It's been a pretty rough year on a lot of fronts, and I think it's fair to say the 2018 Cubs have done remarkably well considering all of it.

Like I said: If it's going to happen again, this is the way it has to happen.
   315. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 02, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5757513)
Like I said: If it's going to happen again, this is the way it has to happen.

I was irrationally convinced the 2016 Cubs wouldn't win it all because it felt entirely wrong for them to do it as an overdog.
   316. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5757557)
A WS title from the wildcard position would be quite satisfying. You think Cards and Brewers fans have grown to hate us ever more since 2016? Wait'll the Cubs just sorta pull a championship out of their keisters at the expense of better teams. THAT, to me, is the sort of thing that really inspires hatred among rival fanbases. (I'm thinking the Cardinals' 2006 and--especially--2011 titles. 2011 was the worst--not only did they win as a WC, but they benefited from a monumental choke from a Rangers team that still hasn't won a title.)
   317. McCoy Posted: October 02, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5757562)
I was irrationally convinced the 2016 Cubs wouldn't win it all because it felt entirely wrong for them to do it as an overdog

I went to bed after the 9th because I was convinced the Cubs didn't have the stuff to win but they mostly certainly had the ability to lose.
   318. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5757597)
Zobrist RF
Bryant LF
Rizzo
Javy
Almora
Murphy
Contreras
Bote
Lester

I gotta say, I think I like this one.
   319. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5757625)
Rockies:

Blackmon
LeMahieu
Arenado
Story
Holliday (!)
Desmond
Dahl
Iannetta
Freeland
   320. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5757643)
I went to bed after the 9th because I was convinced the Cubs didn't have the stuff to win but they mostly certainly had the ability to lose.

For me, that game was Game 4 of that year's LDS, which of course featured a remarkable Cub comeback. I think I gave up on that one around the 6th inning. I just couldn't take the thought of blowing a 2-0 series lead to such an inferior opponent (and remember, that's when the silliness about the Giants' "even year BS" was still a going concern).

If I were gonna go to bed during game 7 of the WS, it would've been middle 9. I was absolutely certain the Indians would put the Cubs out of their misery (but not us out of ours!) in the bottom half.

Chapman's having absolutely nothing may have worked to his advantage against Santana leading off the 9th. Full-strength Chapman would never throw a breaking pitch on a 3-ball count, but that's what he did, because he didn't have his good heater, and it was a cement mixer. One never looks for a breaking pitch from Chapman in that situation, and it's a good thing--Santana would've hit that pitch about 500 feet if he hadn't been sitting fastball. As it was, he just got under it.
   321. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5757722)
I went to bed after the 9th because I was convinced the Cubs didn't have the stuff to win but they mostly certainly had the ability to lose.
I was watching at a bar/restaurant, but I went home during the rain delay because if they were going to blow it (and I thought they would, obviously not being privy to Heyward's speech), I didn't want to be in public.
   322. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5757724)
I mean, this sets up a situation where the Cubs lose the Division tiebreaker game and then get a shot at their opponent in that game in the NLDS. I'm pretty sure that matchup has never happened. And that would be a fun one to win.
   323. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5757726)
I guess I get the urge to stop watching out of anger - but to actually follow through and do it? I couldn't.
   324. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:23 PM (#5757729)
Me too. I don't exactly cherish the memory of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, but I don't regret watching it, or the game that followed.
   325. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5757731)
Well, I didn't stop watching. I just went home and watched.
   326. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5757734)
I don't really remember the bottom of the 9th in WS G7, or anything that happened after the Bartman Gonzalez inning. I watched them. I made myself.
   327. Meatwad Posted: October 02, 2018 at 06:52 PM (#5757756)
Decided to save my time and money and will be watching from a bar. If the cubs #### the bed I would prefer to not be sober. But I feel confident that the cubs will win tonight.
   328. McCoy Posted: October 02, 2018 at 07:18 PM (#5757766)
I could have gone to game 5 of the WS for a measly $750 per ticket but I didn't want to spend that kind of money to watch the Cubs get eliminated while sitting in the rain
   329. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 02, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5757788)
About 2:30 the afternoon of Game 5, my cousin (from Chicago but has lived in LA for 25 years) texts me asking if I want a ticket for the game. He has a friend who works for MLB, because he's a well-connected guy. She had gotten tickets for him and his wife, and then apparently had a couple extras for me and his sister. The kicker was that he got them either for free or for face value, so no charge for me.

Glad I went.
   330. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2018 at 08:05 PM (#5757811)
I could have gone to game 5 of the WS for a measly $750 per ticket but I didn't want to spend that kind of money to watch the Cubs get eliminated while sitting in the rain

I was there, and I'm pretty sure it didn't rain. We talking about the same WS?
   331. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2018 at 08:07 PM (#5757814)
I mean, this sets up a situation where the Cubs lose the Division tiebreaker game and then get a shot at their opponent in that game in the NLDS. I'm pretty sure that matchup has never happened. And that would be a fun one to win.

Oh yes. That series would be nuts, and if the Cubs win, that lately-stolen division crown will be cold comfort to the Crew.
   332. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 02, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5757820)
I was there, and I'm pretty sure it didn't rain. We talking about the same WS?
Well, it was cool and cloudy/threatening rain all day.
   333. McCoy Posted: October 02, 2018 at 08:20 PM (#5757858)
Re 330. Yes if I had the ability to see into the future I would have known the forecast for rain was going to prove wrong but when I had a chance for the tickets it was looking like it was going to be a cold rainy miserably night.
   334. WKRP in Cincinnatus Posted: October 03, 2018 at 01:33 AM (#5759094)
Welp. Hopefully it’s an interesting offseason.
   335. McCoy Posted: October 03, 2018 at 05:43 AM (#5759112)
Wasn't an awful season but it wasn't a fine one. Cubs have some real problems they have to address and their mistakes are starting to pile up on their roster.
   336. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 03, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5759136)
I think that was the conclusion of the Chili Davis era.
   337. Brian C Posted: October 03, 2018 at 09:09 AM (#5759144)
They had some key injuries this year, a lot of struggles from both position players and pitchers, and a bunch of other random bad luck. And they still won 95 games with a pythag to match. They'll be contenders again next year.

Still a good time to be a Cubs fan.
   338. McCoy Posted: October 03, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5759173)
Cubs score a whopping 2 runs over 22 innings in two games in which all they had to do was win one of them to move on to the NLDS. Unbelievable*. Cubs starting pitching and bullpen do their job. Giving up only 5 runs over 22 innings. This is all squarely on the offense.

Don't have any Maddon hate. Don't really see him doing anything really wrong to cost the Cubs the season nor the playoffs. Only two really questionable decisions with one of them being an organizational issue (Gore being on the playoff roster-unless Maddon demaned him on there) and the other being Heyward PH in a key spot. Both aren't obvious horrible decisions and would be quickly forgotten or even hailed if the Cubs managed to even once capitalize on the mistakes the Rockies made.


*Well, not unbelievable for this year.
   339. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5759208)
How is Gore being on the playoff roster a questionable decision at all? There was a really good argument to have him on the roster had they made the LDS. Also, which batter is making the roster ahead of him, Taylor Davis or Bobby Wilson? That right there is the organizational issue.
   340. Zonk is One Individual Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5759213)
I think that was the conclusion of the Chili Davis era.


I certainly GD hope so.

I mean, mid-year - I might have said "well, Javy seems to have taken a big step forward"

Now, I'm thinking "Can you imagine the sort of year Javy might have had if it weren't for an awful hitting coach making him not as good as he could be?"
   341. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5759215)
the other being Heyward PH in a key spot. Both aren't obvious horrible decisions
I disagree - Heyward was an obvious horrible decision. But in the bigger picture, you're right, this was (predictably enough) on the offense. Well, and the managering with the bullpen in the Milwaukee games.
   342. McCoy Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5759218)
How is Gore being on the playoff roster a questionable decision at all? There was a really good argument to have him on the roster had they made the LDS. Also, which batter is making the roster ahead of him, Taylor Davis or Bobby Wilson? That right there is the organizational issue.

Like I said it was an organizational issue. That Gore is considered the best choice or the only choice is a huge problem, especially for an anemic offense.

I disagree - Heyward was an obvious horrible decision. But in the bigger picture, you're right, this was (predictably enough) on the offense. Well, and the managering with the bullpen in the Milwaukee game.

The issue for me is that in the end Schwarber looked just as lost as Heyward. At the time I stated they should have gone with Schwarber because there was a chance that he would at least walk. When he came up he pretty much proved that he wasn't going to take a walk so either one was likely to be futile.
   343. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5759224)
Now, I'm thinking "Can you imagine the sort of year Javy might have had if it weren't for an awful hitting coach making him not as good as he could be?"

I really didn't follow the season very closely at all, so: How did Chili Davis hold back Javy Baez this year?

Is the knock on Davis just that so many guys slumped (especially over the last two months) or is there anything more?

Don't get more wrong- the fact that so many guys slumped as badly as they did in the 2nd half absolutely is a valid issue to hold against a hitting coach. The comment about him hurting Baez makes me wonder if there's something else I missed by not paying that much attention.

I'll hang up and listen for any replies.
   344. Zonk is One Individual Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5759242)
I really didn't follow the season very closely at all, so: How did Chili Davis hold back Javy Baez this year?


Well, that comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek...

It's overblown, irrational, and MAYBE even a little unfair --

But someone's head needs to be served up for this debacle and Chili makes the most sense.

I'd point out that Boston led baseball in RS this year.... last year (with Chili), they were 7th in the AL, just a wee bit above average.

At worst, he's a meaningless sacrificial lamb on the altar of disappointing endings... at best, he probably should be canned because he's not good at his job.
   345. McCoy Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5759251)
What's Barry Bonds up to these days? Let's see if he wants to the be the hitting coach.
   346. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 03, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5759283)
I posted a new thread for offseason talk.
Page 4 of 4 pages ‹ First  < 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
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.1165 seconds
16 querie(s) executed