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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 3 Thoughts

The Good:
Rizzo: Homered in 3 straight games, and he looks like his normal dominating self.  He also has 3 stolen bases already, mostly the kind where the pitcher forgets about him.  He’s up to .296/..412/.535 on the season so far.
Heyward: I still hate talking about him as much, but those nice swings/hard hit balls are finally turning into hits.  We’d all be pretty happy with a .297/.348/.422 line this year.  He’s played a lot more CF that we were led to believe, and while he’s pretty good there, I still kinda just want to watch him completely close off RF.
Russell: Stellar defense, as usual.  But I want to point out the declining K rate.  So far this year it’s at 17.1%, after 22.6% last year and 28.5% the year before.  He seems to be having more quality ABs, and has shown real growth in the pitches he can and can’t hit.
Almora: I’ve mentioned this before, but his defense somehow still manages to impress me.  He hasn’t gotten a ton of ABs yet, but he *looks* good there so far.  He really should get more PT from the CF/RF/2B logjam.
Lester: Just chugging right along.  He looked damn near spry his last start fielding a couple of weak hits. 
Davis: There was a lot of concern coming off his injury last year, plus his disastrous spring.  But he’s been damn near perfect (only 3 hits and 2 walks in 9 innings).  His being solid just makes the whole pen seem more stable.
Uehera/Rondon/Edwards: All 3 have had 1 shaky outing each (those Grimm saved Edwards so his line is still pretty impeccable), but if they can stay consistent - and Joe can resist the urge to overwork them - they’re a pretty solid end of the pen.

The Bad:
Zobrist: He looked a little better yesterday after the extended break, and he’s a slow starter.  Hopefully the back issues are temporary and the real cause of his oldmanitis. 
Baez: He looks like 2015 Baez right now, chasing every single breaking pitch.  Defense is still top notch, but he could use a little more patience.
Bryant: This is probably unfair, but this has been a very quiet stretch for him.  The patience is still there, and his defense at 3rd has been pretty sparkling (with a hiccup here to there), but he seems to be swinging and missing at more hittable pitches than usual.  Probably should really be in the too early column, but he’s set the bar high for himself.
Hendricks: Velocity and control seem to be gone, and there hasn’t been any consistency.  Again, really early, but possibly worrisome.
Lackey: Ugh, I can’t even evaluate him objectively.  I so strongly dislike him.  There’s a part of me that still kinda enjoys when he gets hit hard, I can’t help it.
Grimm: A few bad outings isn’t really that bad, but I think Joe’s been giving him a chance to have a bigger role and it for the most part hasn’t worked out for him yet.

Too Early:
Arrieta: Not much to say here.
Contreras: He’s playing a lot more than I would have guessed, so only thing to watch is if he’s gets worn down at all.  He’s settled down a bit while catching, though obviously still quite excitable. 
Schwarber: It’s a credit to him and his amazing batting eye, but it’s going to take some time for him as he still doesn’t have a full years’ worth of big league ABs.  A joy to watch hit, and he’s been averagly cromulent defensively to my eyes.
Anderson: Joe doesn’t seem to trust him yet and/or is just babying him.  Really looked terrible last time out, but looked ok enough the first 2 times.  Probably would get hurt if he typed this long of a post. 

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 03:26 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5441593)
Heyward starting in CF again tonight, this marks his 11th start there this year.
   2. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5441594)
From the last thread:

Egads, Rfield has Schwarber at -5 already. That is Dunnian.

How much should we put into that sort of defensive number this early? Like I said, he doesn't look that bad out there to me. He's far from graceful, and hasn't really had a complete ###### yet, but he gets to almost everything that it looks like a normal LF should. I mean, I've seen Dunn play OF, and he's far from Dunn.
   3. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5441595)
Also last thread

Zobrist, frankly, doesn't have a role on this year's team. I wonder if the Cubs could shop around his "veteran clutchiness" and get in return a reliable left-handed reliever. Happ could then be promoted.

I'm fine waiting a bit more for Happ, it's not like he's languishing in AAA. I think it might be a little early to think about moving Zobrist, but I could see the argument that at some point it could be the best move. Not sure how much weight the Cubs put on the intangible side of things, since we know how much Joe loves him.
   4. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 04:21 PM (#5441624)
Ha!
   5. Brian C Posted: April 24, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5441671)
Declining velocity or not, Arrieta's looked pretty good to me aside from the gopher balls - right now he's given up as many homers as walks (5). Since his big problem last year was losing control of the zone, for now I'm happy to accept that as basically bad luck on his part. I daresay that if he finishes the year with a +5 K/BB ratio, his overall numbers will be pretty terrific.
   6. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: April 24, 2017 at 05:31 PM (#5441689)
Ha!


I actually recognized the outfield from attending games there.
   7. SteveM. Posted: April 24, 2017 at 08:09 PM (#5441770)
I think Schwarber has looked almost average out there in left. That is the least of the team's problems. I worry more about Zobrist as he looks slow out in the OF. I also think they need to get Almora some more starts. He looks like a legitimate MLB starter this year.
   8. Brian C Posted: April 24, 2017 at 09:30 PM (#5441814)
Jim Deshaies, after Brett Anderson gets hit in his throwing hand by a comebacker: "Anderson is going to lead the team this year in throws to prove he's OK."
   9. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 24, 2017 at 10:05 PM (#5441837)
@CarrieMuskat: One more exit velocity note on #Cubs Heyward: His HRs this year: 106.8 mph, 104.6 and 105. All were harder than any HR he hit last year
   10. Ardo Posted: April 24, 2017 at 11:22 PM (#5441882)
Heyward already has .7 B-Ref WAR (before tonight's game), half of his total for the entire 2016 season.
   11. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 26, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5442812)
Schwarber has bobbled a couple of balls, but hasn't been charged with an error yet. I can't think of any obvious misplays off the top of my head, though I haven't seen every inning of every game. Last night, he had a poor misplay, but that was more of a mental mistake (which almost surprised me more). 7th inning, Jaso had led off with a double. Next batter hit a deep fly ball to LF - remember LF is huge in Pit - and Schwarber sort of lazily drifted back and under it. He caught it right on the edge of the track; Jaso tagged, and Schwarber wasn't in any position to make a strong throw and he even stumbled on the lip and Jaso got to 3rd easy. Schwarber had plenty of time to get completely under and set himself up for a throw, he just didn't even expect to have to make one. So good job by Jaso reading that, and hopefully Schwarber learns from it.
   12. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: April 27, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5443465)
Schwarber didn't have a good first inning defensively last night. Harrison led of the game with a high pop fly home run that just barely cleared the low wall in LF (6 ft, perhaps?). Off the bat Schwarber broke in[/url], and then had to hurry back. Had he read the ball off the bat, he could have been in position to reach over the wall and make the catch. A few batters later, Polanco was on first and Cervelli hit a double almost straight down the line. Schwarber wasn't that close to the line, and had a bit of a run to get to the ball; luckily the ball bounced nicely off the wall and he was able to barehand the ball and throw it in one motion. Unfortunately, the throw was right between the two cutoff men and so Baez couldn't catch it cleanly; had the throw been on the money, they would have had a great shot at getting Polanco at the plate.

I don't think either play were the type every LF makes, but I think an average guy would have made at least one of them and a good LF could have made both. You can find both plays ]on this page, but I can't link to each video directly. LF is pretty big in Pittsburgh, and there was another RBI double to LF that allowed a guy to score from first, though I don't think anyone could have done anything different that Schwarbs.
   13. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 02, 2017 at 02:20 PM (#5446776)
Couple of random thoughts that I didn't feel like organizing into a new post:

-Bryant has been really good since this first went up. He had been showing signs of busting out, so it's nice to see they've happened. To my eye, he also looks much better at 3b this year. He's yet to play anywhere but 3rd this year, so I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
-Hendricks has looked really good the last couple of starts. He got beat on a bad pitch to Hanley, but I haven't been looking at the velocity to see if there's been changes. His pitches seems to have more movement, and he's had more consistent command.
-Zobrist looks less dead.

The bullpen really has settled in nicely, though the last couple of games weren't perfect. David/Rondon/Edwards/Montgomery have been really, really good.

Still don't like Lackey, and if he's going to get hit around every time, it's only going to make me like him less. Anderson also has been much less sharp - not that he's been reliable either (5 starts, 21.2IP). Eddie Butler isn't striking anyone out in AAA (11k in 24.2IP), but he's not getting hit hard either (0 HR, only a 1.47ERA), so perhaps we might see him get a start sooner rather than later. Seeing how the bottom of the rotation has been - and that every SP has had a couple roughish starts, I'm doubling down on my prediction of the Cubs adding a decent SP during the season. It helps that the pen - at the moment - doesn't seem to need an impact arm.

-Schwarber looks really lost to me. It's not just the Ks (though there are plenty of them), but his patience has started to a little. Perhaps a day or two off could help.
-Jay has been pretty much a perfect bench guy. Almora is still making a case to play more often. And Heyward is still hitting, well, for him anyway. This is a good problem.

In AAA, Happ has cooled off a bit (8HRs, but now down to .250/.333/.571), but Candelario is still raking (.316/.435/.671).

Guess that could have been a new blog on its own. Oh well.
   14. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 02, 2017 at 06:31 PM (#5447073)
@MDGonzales: Maddon said Cubs have discussed options that include 6th starter, nothing firm yet.
   15. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 03, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5447471)
It was quite encouraging to see Baez bust out. Opposite field HR Monday, and then 4 for 4 last night; HR on a hanging curve, single right up the middle on a 2 strike count, a triple into the RF corner, and then a bloop single to shallow RF. Very good approach in each AB.

Also, Schwarber getting a HR was nice, but he's still scuffling and the other ABs were nothing to write home about.
   16. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 03, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5447475)
Prior to yesterday (haven't bothered checking today), the Cubs were 10th in the NL in Defensive Efficiency, 12th in starting pitcher ERA & 1st in bullpen ERA.

I saw none of those things coming.
   17. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 03, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5447483)
I am concerned about the SP. I'm sure there's a relation between that and the Def Eff, but the SP are just getting hit a whole lot harder than last year, or so it would seem.

I think some of the defense has to do with Heyward in CF (he's probably at worst equal to Fowler out there, but he's not playing next to himself making him look better) and Zobrist in RF, IMO. I mean, Schwarber, too, but there's fine if they're playing a real CF and Heyward in RF. Bryant has been great at 3rd (I think the advanced stats support that).
   18. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 03, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5447605)
I am concerned about the SP.


I think it's more specific than that. It feels like the Cubs can never get out of the first inning without allowing the other team to score. Including yesterday's game, they've been outscored 33 - 19 in the first inning of their 26 games. From inning 2 on, they've outscored their opponents 113-84 (that's a Pythag of .644 - or a 104-win pace over 162 games). Everybody scores more in the first inning (including the Cubs), but not everybody gives up more than a run per game in the first inning (MLB average is 0.55 R/1st inning).

For the most part, it seems like their starting pitchers are settling down and pitching well after the first (not always - e.g., Anderson on Monday, but Hendricks and Arrieta over the weekend and Lester last night pitched well after the first). Doing some arithmetic with their splits, their starting pitchers have a 3.31 ERA after the first inning (MLB average looks like around 4.00).

The first innings obviously count, too, so I'm not saying - well, their starting pitchers are really 3.31-ERA level; the 10.73 1st-inning ERA counts, too. But it feels like an oddly specific thing that may be fixable as a result.
   19. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 03, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5447680)
Maybe it's fixable, I dunno. There's been so much talk of everyone's velocity being down, maybe it's related?

The flip side is that none the starters are going deep in games - all 5 are averaging less than 6 innings per start (well, Lackey is at exactly 6, and as I noted before Anderson is just a tick over 5). They talked about wanting to work the starters less, so that's good, but the pen is working harder (or will end up being worked harder if the starters can't carry a bigger load).
   20. zonk Posted: May 03, 2017 at 03:17 PM (#5447812)
Since Moses mentioned Butler and Candelario --

A couple other minor league notes...

Another guy hitting really well is Victor Caratini -- 329/376/447. He's never gonna hit for much power, but he's continuing to look like he'll be ready to slide into being a very nice backup catcher (if not perhaps even better) as soon as Montero departs after this -- and should Joe wish to indulge his 3rd catcher fetish (well, beyond Schwarber), his line looks ready to go. Also - just 11 Ks in 93 PAs - not earth-shattering, but on a free-swinging lineup like this one, he'd be a nice change of pace at the plate.

Going a little bit further down the minor league ladder -- Trevor Clifton is off to a fine start at Tennessee -- 2-1, 3.10 in 5 starts. As you might expect, the K rate is a bit off what he did at Myrtle Beach in 2016 - but still a respectable 7.1 per 9. I suspect the Cubs will want to just give him a full year at AA, but he continues to be on track.

Meanwhile, the other guy I like a lot - Dylan Cease - continues to flash his elite stuff in his first taste of full-season ball... 1.90 in 5 starts at South Bend -- with an eye-popping 14.1 K/9 (37 Ks in 23.2 IP). Walks are still a bit high - 15 BBs - but giving him 1st round money in the 6th round of 2014 is looking like a steal.
   21. Brian C Posted: May 03, 2017 at 03:48 PM (#5447845)
Going a little bit further down the minor league ladder -- Trevor Clifton is off to a fine start at Tennessee -- 2-1, 3.10 in 5 starts. As you might expect, the K rate is a bit off what he did at Myrtle Beach in 2016 - but still a respectable 7.1 per 9

That's not actually all that respectable, is it? Especially when he's walking 3.5 per 9. I mean, the Southern League average is 8.6 K/9. And by "a bit off", what you actually mean is waaay off.
   22. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: May 04, 2017 at 01:08 AM (#5448198)
Hey, I'm not sure if any of you guys are in the Highland Park area, but I'll be performing a solo acoustic set at Madame ZuZu's at 8 PM on Saturday... just thought I'd share because it is my first ever show in Chicago, and I've been lurking on (and enjoying) this blog from New York since the F-Troop days. Your passion never ceases to impress. Looking forward to a great series this weekend.
   23. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5448317)
Cool, good luck. That's a bit far from me. Are you going to make it to any of the games?

   24. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5448326)
Arrieta gave up 2 runs in the first last night, but looked a lot better after that. I think he threw 20 or so pitches, and his command was off; he was pulled after 6 (well, PH) with only 85 pitches. Zobrist misplayed the RBI double - it was hit hard, but he was running at an angle in and the ball just carried over his glove; it was yet another play I thought to myself that Heyward would have caught.

After the game, Maddon said Contreras plays like his hair is on fire, and i think that's the best description of him I've seen. That baserunning move was quite ballsy.

This is interesting, but haven't seen anyone else post it yet:
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 45m45 minutes ago
Bronx Bombers-Cubs probables: Pineda vs. Hendricks; Montgomery vs. Anderson; Severino vs. Lester


EDIT: Cubs are going with the backup OF today: Jay/Almora/Szczur left to right. Montero is hitting 5th.


   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5448339)
I think that's Jordan Montgomery starting for the Yankees.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5448341)
Hey, I'm not sure if any of you guys are in the Highland Park area, but I'll be performing a solo acoustic set at Madame ZuZu's at 8 PM on Saturday... just thought I'd share because it is my first ever show in Chicago, and I've been lurking on (and enjoying) this blog from New York since the F-Troop days. Your passion never ceases to impress. Looking forward to a great series this weekend.

Good luck from a fellow solo acoustic musician. I'll be in Madison over the weekend - funnily enough, playing for the wedding of a couple who met at one of my shows years ago. Pretty cool story. I'll be back in time to get to Wrigley for Sunday's game though.

Let us know if you have any upcoming gigs in the city.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5448343)
Arrieta gave up 2 runs in the first last night, but looked a lot better after that.

Same sh*t, different day.
   28. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5448360)
I think that's Jordan Montgomery starting for the Yankees.

Wow. That possibility never crossed my mind. I just assumed the Yankees had an Anderson.
   29. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5448364)
BTW, I think I've figured out when the posting problem happens. Or at least for me.

If I post in one of the Gonfalon threads and then go to the newsblog and someone else then posts in the Gonfalon thread, when I come back to Gonfalon I get the login problem and can't log in. If I then post in a Newsblog thread and come back to Gonfalon, I can post again. So I wonder if it's the same for anyone else - I'm going to email this to Jim regardless.
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5448365)
I just assumed the Yankees had an Anderson.

I just found out they have a Higashioka. That was news to me.
   31. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5448369)
Your post was the first time I knew they had a Montgomery. I thought they just had a Starlin and a bunch of Judges and Sanchezes.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:31 AM (#5448376)
Oh, they got all kinds of folks. They got a Didi, an Aroldis, a Dellin, a Jacoby, a Chase AND a Chasen, and even one of them Masahiros.
   33. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5448399)
But not an Anderson?
   34. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: May 04, 2017 at 12:20 PM (#5448435)
Cool, good luck. That's a bit far from me. Are you going to make it to any of the games?


Friday afternoon!

26. Thank you!

Jordan Montgomery is pretty talented, as in he can throw a change-up and curve for strikes. The downside is that his fastball is not overpowering, and he's been missing over the middle often over his last three starts. I like his gumption, but he's going to have an outing where he gets drilled if he keeps missing over the middle while trying to go inside to righties.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5448440)
But not an Anderson?

Looks like they ain't had no Anderson since back in aught-five. Had 'em that Granderson fella for a while, of course.
   36. zonk Posted: May 04, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5448496)
That's not actually all that respectable, is it? Especially when he's walking 3.5 per 9. I mean, the Southern League average is 8.6 K/9. And by "a bit off", what you actually mean is waaay off.



Yeah, yeah... trying to be optimistic because over the last few years - the jump to AA has been where Cubs sleeper pitching prospects hit a wall (Underwood being the most recent example).

FWIW - now up to 7.3 per 9 with his most recent start.... Other points in his favor - no unearned runs, and it's not like he's giving up bushels of hits. He's still just 22 (albeit turning 23 in a month), so he's still relatively young for AA.

It's Cease who has the ace ceiling -- I think Clifton's is more of a John Lackey sort... a perfectly fine mid-rotation solid citizen. I feel like he's still on track to potentially be an option as soon as the middle of next year.
   37. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5448505)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 24m24 minutes ago
Aroldis Chapman will be presented with his World Series ring, and Starlin Castro will be treated to a video tribute before Friday's game.


I'm glad Starlin is playing better this year, and it's really gotta suck for him to see the Cubs don't miss him at all.

Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 25m25 minutes ago
Adam Warren also will receive his World Series ring.


We gonna have a thing for Clayton Richard? Joe Nathan? Tim Federowicz?
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 04, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5448515)
We gonna have a thing for Clayton Richard? Joe Nathan? Tim Federowicz?

I assume Brian Matusz already got his.
   39. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 04, 2017 at 05:52 PM (#5448890)
Another guy hitting really well is Victor Caratini -- 329/376/447. He's never gonna hit for much power, but he's continuing to look like he'll be ready to slide into being a very nice backup catcher (if not perhaps even better) as soon as Montero departs after this -- and should Joe wish to indulge his 3rd catcher fetish (well, beyond Schwarber), his line looks ready to go. Also - just 11 Ks in 93 PAs - not earth-shattering, but on a free-swinging lineup like this one, he'd be a nice change of pace at the plate.

Something to keep an eye on. Contreras has appeared in 24 of the Cubs' 27 games, and caught in 23 of them. Several were short appearances, but he usually ends up PH for Montero, or gets double switched in for him. Montero is looking a bit on the heavy/slow side to me, so we don't really have to dip into Joe's 3rd catcher fetish to see that it would seem pretty likely we see Caratini at some point and we should even hope to see him, for Willson's sake.
   40. Brian C Posted: May 05, 2017 at 10:43 AM (#5449289)
The Cubs have won 7 of the 9 series they've played so far. Given that fact, it feels like their 16-12 record is something of an underachievement.

We gonna have a thing for Clayton Richard? Joe Nathan? Tim Federowicz?

I think being generous with the spoils is a good look. But it seems a little weird to give rings to guys who were out of the organization by the time the WS win happened. Richard actually pitched against the Cubs after he got traded*, for crying out loud. At least Fedorowicz was still technically a Cub, so I think he probably should get one.

(*- Not actually true, but it could have been.)
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 05, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5449292)
Richard actually pitched against the Cubs after he got traded*, for crying out loud.

That's exactly the point. What more could the guy do to help the Cubs win??
   42. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 05, 2017 at 11:00 AM (#5449295)
Oh, I'm not really complaining. I'm fine with them getting the jewelry. It's just going to be a little funny/awkward if they have both Chapman and Warren out there getting rings. Well, for Warren at least, and probably a bunch of people who don't remember him at all.

I know they're going to do a thing for Fowler (I read they gave him the option to get his ring earlier, but he wants to do it when the Cards come to town), and I'm guessing that's the last public one.
   43. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 05, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5449300)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 6m6 minutes ago
Felix Peña up and Justin Grimm optioned to help a worn out bullpen.


Makes sense. Grimm hasn't been sharp (and I didn't realize he had options). You have to figure Montgomery and Davis (pitched 3 straight) aren't available today; probably best to avoid Koji as well (he seems to not do well on back to back days).
   44. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 05, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5449303)
I think being generous with the spoils is a good look. But it seems a little weird to give rings to guys who were out of the organization by the time the WS win happened. Richard actually pitched against the Cubs after he got traded*, for crying out loud. At least Fedorowicz was still technically a Cub, so I think he probably should get one.

(*- Not actually true, but it could have been.)


Benji Molina, who played against the Giants in the 2010 WS, got a ring from the Giants.
   45. Brian C Posted: May 05, 2017 at 11:53 AM (#5449323)
Benji Molina, who played against the Giants in the 2010 WS, got a ring from the Giants.

See? That's what I mean. That's just perverse.

Makes sense. Grimm hasn't been sharp (and I didn't realize he had options). You have to figure Montgomery and Davis (pitched 3 straight) aren't available today; probably best to avoid Koji as well (he seems to not do well on back to back days).

Grimm had the fine distinction yesterday of giving up 2 hits and 2 walks in 0.2 IP without giving up a run.

I'm frankly ready to move on from him. He's been around a long time now and seems like a guy who will always alternate between looking like an ace reliever and just lighting everything on fire. He's terrifying in high-leverage situations and it looks like Maddon's given up on him being that guy anyway. Strop is prone to bouts of implosion also, but I'm far less uneasy with him when the game's on the line than with Grimm. At best, it seems like he's just another bullpen guy.
   46. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 05, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5449329)
See? That's what I mean. That's just perverse.


Molina was guaranteed a ring going into the 2010 WS.
   47. zonk Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5449369)
The big problem with Grimm sucking is that the Brian Duensing experience has gone about as well as expected -- so if Grimm now sucks, the Cubs have a real need for a lefty (or someone who tie down LHBs reasonably well as a RHP, ala old good Grimm).

I was hoping Jack Leathersich would make himself into an option this year -- but I see he's already walked 10 guys (!) in just 3 innings at Iowa, so ummm... yeah... not an option.

Looking at Iowa's numbers - I see Zac Rosscup is still around and he's been outstanding - 14 Ks, no BBs in 8 and 1/3 innings.... maybe him?

Other than that - you've got Rob Z (whose line looks terribly unimpressive) and 27 yo org fodder Dave Rollins...

EDIT: I'm forgetting Monty, of course - but he's wasted as a LOOGY so I'd prefer not to see him used in that role in all but extremely necessary circumstances.
   48. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5449374)
I would like to see Grimm get stretched out in the hopes of becoming a stopgap option for the rotation. Maybe it will even improve his consistency.
   49. zonk Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5449376)
Damn edit didn't work -- but of course, I neglected to mention Monty re: lefties.... but he's wasted as a LOOGY so I'd rather not see him as the sole option against a specific LHB when you need a 3rd out or somesuch.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5449388)
So are you Cubbies fans looking forward to today's game as much as this Yankees fan is? Too bad it may be more like Bears weather, but right now in New York it's pouring.
   51. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:42 PM (#5449395)
   52. Brian C Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5449398)
I was looking forward to the Fenway series last weekend more than the Yanks series, to be honest. Maybe it was novelty of seeing the Cubs play in Fenway, since that doesn't happen often. It should still be fun, but the Yanks series should be later in the season, when the ivy is all the way in and people are excited for the weather.

On that note, yesterday was a pretty cruel day for a 13-inning game. I don't get cold easily and I was even prepared clothing-wise, but by the end of the game, the wind had stripped away just about all the warmth I had. I love Wrigley with all my soul, but it's not the place to be in mid-40s temps with a stiff breeze coming in from the NE. At least they won, extending my personal win streak to 10.
   53. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5449399)
The big problem with Grimm sucking is that the Brian Duensing experience has gone about as well as expected -- so if Grimm now sucks, the Cubs have a real need for a lefty (or someone who tie down LHBs reasonably well as a RHP, ala old good Grimm).

I'm not convinced it's quite a need, regardless of Grimm or how much longer Duensing's DFA deathmarch lasts (I'm fine with Grimm being the one to go down now; it's inevitable Duensing isn't going to make it through the year and I'm not nearly as offended by his mere presence as I was with Richard --- yet).

I would like to see Grimm get stretched out in the hopes of becoming a stopgap option for the rotation. Maybe it will even improve his consistency.

Did they move him to the pen because of injuries or because he really doesn't have a 2nd or 3rd pitch? ALso, didn't his velocity improve when he moved to the pen?

   54. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5449401)
I was looking forward to the Fenway series last weekend more than the Yanks series, to be honest. Maybe it was novelty of seeing the Cubs play in Fenway, since that doesn't happen often. It should still be fun, but the Yanks series should be later in the season, when the ivy is all the way in and people are excited for the weather.

Same. There really isn't a novelty of another team when they visit here - especially since interleague is old hat now. It's cool to go to other places, but there's just so much more linking the Cubs and Red Sox at the moment (even though I'm glad to see Starlin again).
   55. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:55 PM (#5449408)

Did they move him to the pen because of injuries or because he really doesn't have a 2nd or 3rd pitch? ALso, didn't his velocity improve when he moved to the pen?


I thought it was because that's where you put failed starters. There could be a more specific reason in his case. Everyone gets a velocity bump when they go to the bullpen.

So are you Cubbies fans looking forward to today's game as much as this Yankees fan is? Too bad it may be more like Bears weather, but right now in New York it's pouring.

The novelty factor of an unusual visiting team doesn't do it for me. I think it's a more interesting experience to visit an unusual park.
   56. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 05, 2017 at 01:59 PM (#5449412)
I love Wrigley with all my soul, but it's not the place to be in mid-40s temps with a stiff breeze coming in from the NE

I have Spahn's tickets for Sunday night's game, but man, if it's like it is today, watching the game on TV while cooking dinner and opening a nice bottle of wine might start to sound pretty damn tempting.
   57. Brian C Posted: May 05, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5449416)
That 2003 Yanks-Cubs series in Wrigley was awesome, though. I still remember the Clemens/Wood matchup, with the key homer by Karros. Good times. Wasn't that also the game that Hee-Seop Choi got concussed? Astonishing that was 14 years ago.

In Duensing's defense, he shockingly hasn't walked anyone yet. Perhaps all is not lost.
   58. Brian C Posted: May 05, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5449420)
The novelty factor of an unusual visiting team doesn't do it for me. I think it's a more interesting experience to visit an unusual park

Yeah, I've seen the Cubs play in Kansas City and Texas, as well as Comiskey, which of course they do every year but still. Catching the Cubs on the road is always fun but in an AL park it's a real treat. But seeing KC or Texas play in Wrigley - no biggie.

I've also seen them in Houston, but that was before the Astros changed leagues, so doesn't count.
   59. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: May 05, 2017 at 02:48 PM (#5449444)
I have Spahn's tickets for Sunday night's game, but man, if it's like it is today, watching the game on TV while cooking dinner and opening a nice bottle of wine might start to sound pretty damn tempting.

That would be understandable, but the weather has to improve between now and then, doesn't it? Even down this way it's cold, rainy and gross.

On that note, and speaking of eating tickets, I'm giving the Oaks at Churchill Downs a miss this afternoon, in favor of (1) getting some work done in a very quiet office and (2) not catching pneumonia while surrounded by a bunch of drunk 20-somethings. I'll meet up with our houseguests (we Louisvilleans get popular around Derby week, I've discovered, particularly if one has a spare bedroom or two) later in a less miserable setting.

Perhaps I'll slip out a bit early to catch the end of the Cubs/Yanks game, though.
   60. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: May 05, 2017 at 02:50 PM (#5449447)
That 2003 Yanks-Cubs series in Wrigley was awesome, though. I still remember the Clemens/Wood matchup, with the key homer by Karros. Good times. Wasn't that also the game that Hee-Seop Choi got concussed? Astonishing that was 14 years ago.

It was indeed the game that featured the Wood/Choi collision, though failure to mention the infamous Juan Acevedo as the victim of Karros's bomb earns you 1.5 demerits. (Also, that game was Clemens's first [I think] attempt at his 300th win.) Acevedo relieved Clemens, who departed with a 1-0 lead, and gave up Karros's 3-run homer on his first pitch.

That was certainly one of the more memorable games of the hundreds I've attended at Wrigley. The next night's game wasn't bad either--Cubs took a 6-0 lead and ended up hanging on 6-5, the game ending on Joe Borowski's pickoff of pinch runner Charles Gipson.
   61. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 05, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5449453)
University of Northwestern? Zonk is rolling in his grave.
   62. zonk Posted: May 05, 2017 at 07:19 PM (#5449616)
...Rollin' like a Rondon slider instead of spinning as it should.

W T F
   63. Ardo Posted: May 06, 2017 at 03:12 AM (#5449753)
As I've found it, a sweatshirt and my heaviest winter coat make those 45-and-windy nights at Wrigley quite comfortable. I'm more concerned about the team. Bryant, Lester, and Davis look like the only plus players on the entire roster right now.
   64. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 06, 2017 at 08:32 AM (#5449764)
Cub starting pitchers have gone longer than 6 IP a grand total of two times this year, most recently on April 16.

Those two times? Exactly 7 IP each time.
   65. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 06, 2017 at 08:00 PM (#5450021)
Most recent times CHC SP couldn't get 5 outs in consecutive starts:

Brett Anderson, 2017
Carlos Silva, 2010
Steve Wilson, 1990
Fergie Jenkins, 1983

Also, I am irrationally annoyed at Ben Zobrist for his brain dead pick off in the 9th inning the other day. This team could use a day where the bullpen doesn't have to go that much, and that day could've helped. But instead 8 IP in relief. So they didn't have the guys they wanted to use on Friday, and it cost them. Now the bullpen will have to throw over 8 IP today (which is totally unrelated to Zobrist, but I'm still annoyed at him for it. Hey - I said it was irrational).
   66. Meatwad Posted: May 07, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5450235)
cubs dfa szczur for zastryzny
   67. zonk Posted: May 09, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5451638)
...and Szczur goes to the Padres in a deal for AAA arm fodder.

With the emergence of Almora, there simply isn't a place for Matt on this team -- but I'm still sorry to see him depart and wish him all the best.
   68. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 09, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5451649)
double post.
   69. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 09, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5451652)
In one day, the Cubs went from 4 CF to 2. And replaced them with 2 RPs.

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