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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Revived offense could provide the best fix for Cubs’ bullpen

PHOENIX—Perhaps the Chicago Cubs found the secret to playing without a true closer: Dominate the opposition at the plate while taking save opportunities out of the equation. There was no need for any ninth-inning nail-biting on Tuesday, as a team in a hitting slump for much of the second half is beginning to wake up.

“We stacked them one on top of the other,” second baseman Daniel Murphy said of Cubs at-bats after a 9-1 win over Arizona. “Sustained pressure on the opposing pitcher. Traffic early in innings.”

The Cubs were up 5-1 after two—thanks in part to a single and a home run by Murphy—then added on runs later, taking some sting out of the pregame news that righty Brandon Morrow is finished for the year. The closer’s nagging bone bruise in his forearm, which has sidelined him since the All-Star break, hasn’t healed. Meanwhile, his backup, Pedro Strop, is also down, so the Cubs will be mixing and matching more than ever late in games.

I’m not exactly sure that “if you score more runs, it becomes harder for the bullpen to blow it” is exactly a major newsflash, but, given what we’ve seen concerning Maddon and handling pitchers…..

QLE Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pitching, scoring

Friday, September 14, 2018

Granderson triple bounces twice on HR marker

Curtis Granderson missed a home run by… a millimeter? It bounced on top of the stretchy nylon rope that separates the field from the basket where home runs can land. Then it bounced on top of the rope AGAIN and landed in play. Truly amazing.

Also, the Brewers look like the team to watch in the playoffs. We don’t get excited about these teams that suddenly add multiple short-term veterans who are hungry for a championship, because it might fall apart in the off-season, but the team and its fans sure get excited.

Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 14, 2018 at 07:47 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cubs, curtis

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Joe Maddon is angry with MLB over Cubs weather-impacted schedule

A stretch of bad weather has put the Chicago Cubs in a difficult position schedule wise, and manager Joe Maddon is not pleased with how Major League Baseball is handling the situation.

After taking on the Milwaukee Brewers in a critical division game Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, Maddon’s Cubs will grab their packed overnight bags for a quick trip to Washington D.C. for a makeup game against the Nationals.

The rescheduled game means the Cubs will have a stretch of 30 consecutive days in which they’re required to report to the ballpark for a scheduled game. According to Maddon, that’s a workload the league should try to avoid putting on the players, regardless of the unique and unexpected circumstances.

After this press conference, Maddon immediately started yelling at Lake Michigan, ordering it to part itself so that he could walk to Benton Harbor.

QLE Posted: September 13, 2018 at 06:07 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, old man yells at cloud, weather

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Paul Sullivan - MLB Needs to Change Cubs-Nats Venue for Thurday’s Game

Switching it to a day game in Chicago, or even in Milwaukee if the Nationals are worried about giving the Cubs home-field advantage, makes much more sense. It’s not unprecedented, and it’s obviously doable.

Clearly, rational minds will arrive at a rapid, amicable solution that will please all involved.

Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: September 11, 2018 at 08:06 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, hurricane, nationals, pennant race, weather

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Joe Maddon’s circle of trust shrinking as Cubs struggle

So, how long before he has twenty pitchers on his roster and only uses three of them?

MILWAUKEE—For contending teams, September often can be about finding out who you can trust in big moments—and who you can’t. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon might be able to use Tuesday’s ugly 11-1 blowout loss to the Milwaukee Brewers for the latter category as his circle of trust might be shrinking right now.

Let’s start on the mound, where he’s still searching for plus and minus relievers—those guy who can keep a game close in which the Cubs are trailing, and of course those who can hold a lead as well.

“We self-destructed, pitching-wise,” Maddon said of Tuesday’s game.

QLE Posted: September 05, 2018 at 08:26 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, pitching

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cubs likely to start own media network after 2019 season

So, WGN as it was in the 1990s, only with no Bozo?

Move over, YES Network?

“It’s a great time to be us,” Crane Kenney said Saturday regarding the possibility the Cubs could start their own media network after their contracts with NBC Sports Chicago, ABC-7 and WGN-9 expire after the 2019 season.

“We have a big passion for controlling our own destiny,” added Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations. “It’s sort of like conversations in the real estate market. We like controlling our own destiny. You start adding partners and it becomes a lot more complicated.”

QLE Posted: August 28, 2018 at 07:27 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, television, television contracts, television rights

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nationals throw in the towel, trade Daniel Murphy to Cubs, Matt Adams to Cardinals

Somewhere, Alex Anthopoulos and Matt Klentak are dancing a merry jig…..

With a sub-.500 record and their playoff hopes all but gone, the Washington Nationals have waved the white flag on the 2018 season and have begun tearing down a once-promising roster.

The Nationals on Tuesday traded three-time All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Chicago Cubs for minor-league infield prospect Andruw Monasterio and a player to be named or cash considerations.

“We took a chance at the first trade deadline and held tight with the belief that that was our best way to compete and kept almost our entire roster intact,” general manager Mike Rizzo said.

QLE Posted: August 22, 2018 at 08:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, daniel murphy, matt adams, nationals, white flag

Yu Darvish done for season with injuries to right elbow, triceps

Yu Darvish’s injury-plagued first season in Chicago has come to an end as the Cubs announced the right-hander will miss the rest of the season with more damage in his pitching arm.

An MRI has revealed a stress reaction in Darvish’s right elbow and a triceps strain, the Cubs said Tuesday, injuries that will force him to be shut down for six weeks.

Maybe Daniel Murphy knows how to pitch.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 22, 2018 at 08:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, yu darvish

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Launch party: How Cubs infielder David Bote finally got to the majors – The Athletic $

The article describes one way data can be used to improve on-field performance.

“They said, ‘Hey, I know you worked hard to get to this point,’” Bote said. “‘You’re doing well. You’re having success with what you’re doing. But this is what we see, this is what the numbers show and this is what you have in your pocket. If you can make this adjustment, you can elevate your game to a level that you didn’t think could be there. Do you want to be a great Double-A player or a big leaguer?’ They asked that question and whether I wanted to go all in on it. They told me not to be afraid to make the change and left it up to me. I saw what they were saying. The statistics made sense. The science behind it made sense. Everything they showed me was pointing to that direction so I said let’s go for it and see what happens.”

Bote and Haines both said it was presented not as a swing change but as a refinement. His finish would be a little higher, but it was mostly just a slight tweak in approach and timing to switch up the contact point and they believed the results would speak for themselves. They were careful to make sure to let Bote know that if he went overboard with this and did take chances in front all day, there would be a lot of swing and miss. It’s a main reason we’re seeing record-high strikeouts in today’s game. But picking and choosing his spots could lead to a dramatic improvement in Bote’s offensive performance while not taking away his ability to use the whole field.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 15, 2018 at 09:38 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david bote

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

David Bote’s Path

America’s greatest hero.

Seriously, a nice story about a hard-working kid

Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: africa, cubs, david bote, grand slam

Monday, August 13, 2018

David Bote hits walk-off grand slam for Cubs | MLB.com

This is a pretty nice way to end a game.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 13, 2018 at 10:15 AM | 95 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david bote

Friday, August 10, 2018

Some of my favorite Javier Baez statistics

This is a fascinating piece, breaking down Baez’s swing rates by pitch type, and the (mostly favorable) results. 

You may be surprised to learn that the article only underscores Baez’s uniqueness.

Spahn Insane Posted: August 10, 2018 at 01:28 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

After a pep talk from Pedro Strop, Javier Baez hits his 25th HR in the Cubs’ 3-1 win - Chicago Tribune

It’s a building narrative.

Strop pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve the Cubs’ 3-1 win over the Royals, and he also gave Javier Baez a pep talk during a 22-minute rain delay after the slugger was upset about his two early strikeouts.

“I was screaming to him,” Strop said. “ ‘Wake up! You got a game to play. You’re the man. The next two at-bats, watch. You’re going to get two hits.’ ”

Baez responded with a tie-breaking home run in the sixth inning against reliever Kevin McCarthy, and he added an RBI double in the eighth.

“After the rain delay, I went out there with a different attitude,” Baez said.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 07, 2018 at 11:30 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez

Monday, July 30, 2018

OTP 2018 July 30: Now Running for Office, Adam Greenberg. You May Remember His First At-Bat.

Greenberg dug in for the first pitch, slightly bending his knees. It was a 92-mile-an-hour fastball.

“You get three-tenths of a second,” Greenberg said. “The first tenth I’m thinking don’t bail because if it’s a curve I look stupid, and it’s strike one. The second tenth I realized the ball wasn’t breaking. By the third tenth, my only thought was to get out of the way, and the only thing I could do was to turn into the catcher.”

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 30, 2018 at 08:22 AM | 1266 comment(s)
  Beats: beaning, cubs, off topic, politics

Friday, July 27, 2018

Fan hit by metal debris from Wrigley scoreboard…

...but at least he was wearing a bucket on his head.

PepTech, the Legendary Posted: July 27, 2018 at 11:17 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Kyle Schwarber Is Becoming an Elite Defender | Chicago magazine | August 2018

He’s looked pretty good in the games I’ve watched. I wouldn’t call his arm a gun but it’s probably one of the most accurate. Today he made a perfect throw to get another guy at 2B.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:53 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Why the Cubs and Yankees Should Swap Tyler Chatwood and Sonny Gray

The biggest reason this perfectly reasonable idea wouldn’t happen is that Chatwood is guaranteed more money, but I like the idea behind it, at least:

Gray is still getting decent or better swinging-strike rates on his primary pitches. His velocity is pretty stable this year — and might actually be up a tick over last year — so there’s no obvious explanation for Gray’s struggles except for the change in approach he adopted when he came to New York. As for Chatwood, we knows he’s pitched poorly — and the pitch-value data suggests he’s struggled with his four-seamer and sinker more than other pitch by far. Yet those pitches also account for close to 60% of his offerings, with his changeup and curveball both in the single digits. The latter two pitches are actually above average on a rate basis, though. The whiff numbers on Chatwood’s secondaries are strong and, interestingly, Statcast suggests that Chatwood’s biggest control problems are on his four-seamer and sinker. He has better command, it seems, of his cutter, changeup, and curve.

Gray, in other words, would benefit by moving away from his secondary pitches, Chatwood by embracing them. Per Pitch Info, those two pitchers are on the worst teams for making those specific changes.

Cubs pitchers are throwing fewer secondaries than any other staff in the majors, the Yankees more of them. At some level, these figures are reliant on the actual personnel employed by the clubs. When the numbers are so divergent across an entire roster, however, it at least suggests the possibility of an organizational philosophy at work. By these numbers, Gray might benefit most from a move to Chicago, Chatwood from a move to New York.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Exiled by the Cubs, Sammy Sosa Is Enjoying the Life He Wants You to See

A bit late, I admit, but something that I think will be of interest in several regards.

Inside the cool, hushed second-floor lounge of Dubai’s grandest hotel, a waiter carefully prepares a shallow glass of 12-year Macallan. A familiar figure smiles, observing the meticulous way that his drink—nearly $100 for a double portion—is prepared. Three ice cubes, so symmetrical they could have been laser cut, gleam as they’re tongued into the scotch without a splash or even a clink.

He leans back, arms wide, into a plush sofa trimmed in blue leather. A crisp blue suit clings to his shoulders and chest, still broad from 500 push-ups each day, even as he’s set to turn 50 in November. His golden eyeglasses are stamped MAYBACH across each temple. A monogram peeks from under the left sleeve of his jacket: S.S. He gazes up into the majestic atrium of the 56-story Burj Al Arab Jumeriah, self-billed as “the Most Luxurious Hotel in the World” and famously shaped like a sail swelling above the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. “Now,” he says, “you see why it’s seven stars.”

Twenty summers after he and Mark McGwire chased the ghost of Roger Maris—and saved a sport, as they both contend—this is the life of Sammy Sosa. Or at least the one he wants you to see. His are the curated days of an Instagram influencer, even if Sosa isn’t much for social media. “I never watch Facebook, Instagram, some of that B.S. s—-,” he says. “I don’t have time for that.”

QLE Posted: July 10, 2018 at 08:59 AM | 100 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dubai, sammy sosa, where are they now

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Cubs Prospect Oscar De La Cruz Receives 80-Game Suspension

Cubs prospect Oscar De La Cruz has been hit with an eighty-game suspension, per a league announcement. He tested positive for the same banned masking agent/diuretic, furosemide, that led to the recent suspension of Robinson Cano.

Entering the season, De La Cruz was seen as a prospect to watch, with an intriguing combination of size, stuff, and command. MLB.com rated him third among Cubs farmhands, in fact, after seeing him turn in a dozen solid starts at the High-A level in 2017. Though he didn’t carry forward the gaudy strikeout numbers he showed in the prior season, and missed a lot of time with arm issues, De La Cruz had worked to a strong 3.46 ERA in 54 2/3 innings with 7.7 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.

John DiFool2 Posted: July 08, 2018 at 06:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, peds

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Cubs hero Jason Heyward’s walk-off slam latest sign of new life in bat since DL

But Heyward really has seemed to be a different hitter since hitting his head on the outfield wall May 6 in St. Louis and spending close to two weeks on the concussion disabled list.

Heyward called the ordeal scary and said he was thankful when he was able to return to baseball activities about halfway through the time he was sidelined.

But while he’s able to joke now about the fact he’s hitting .340 in 13 starts since hitting his head, an actual benefit was the work on his mechanics he did leading up to his return.

‘‘Just use my hands and try to be whippy with the bat,’’ he said, describing the emphasis he adopted. ‘‘Have lag instead of trying to hit the ball with my arms and body.

‘‘That’s what the time away kind of allowed me to do, just making sure to do anything I could before I got back. And since I’ve gotten back, to work on that every day.’’

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 07, 2018 at 03:38 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Braves fans flooded MLB’s Twitter after controversial replay ruling erased a run

The Atlanta Braves were on the wrong side of two controversial calls in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Tuesday. Most of all, it included an apparent missed call after a replay review.

Justin Turner Overdrive Posted: May 16, 2018 at 03:16 PM | 104 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cubs, replay

Monday, May 14, 2018

Taking Back the Ballparks - Chicago Cubs

We just passed the halfway mark in this endeavor. Yet like the baseball season itself, the second half won’t take quite as many days to complete.

Just as College Week gives Jeopardy host Alex Trebek a younger group of contestants to insult, and Fleet Week depletes the stock of antibiotics on our nation’s maritime vessels, By Acclimation Week is going to speed up the Taking Back the Ballparks project.

If my assumptions are correct, each day this week we’ll check off another team, a ballclub whose park has no need for a new name, and any suggestions otherwise will be greeted with responses ranging from huh to legitimate anger.

The first is the most obvious of all: Wrigley Field. While not the true corporate name we think of today, it’s probably not a coincidence that the park’s moniker is shared with the name of the chewing gum company one-time owner Phil Wrigley ran. In some ways, Wrigley was the original Busch. Or, perhaps, the original Trump, a comparison that likely pleases the Ricketts, if no one else in Chicago.

Obviously, Wrigley isn’t going anywhere. Hell, the neighborhood around it has assumed the name of the ballpark. And if there’s a greater justification for keeping a ballpark’s name for eternity than that, I can’t think of what it would be.

Feel free to use the space below to talk about what a good name for the ballpark would be if it wasn’t called Wrigley, your favorite moments there, or, if McCoy drops by to nakedly highjack the thread, the little-discussed intricacies of the Crimean War.

Tomorrow: Evil’s Residence

Ballpark History

Built: 1914

Capacity: 41,649

Name: Wrigley Field, 1926-present; Cubs Park 1920-26; Weeghman Park 1914-1920.

Other ballparks used by club in its current city: 23rd Street Grounds 1876-77; Lakefront Park I 1878-1882; Lakefront Park II 1883-84; West Side Park I 1885-1891; South Side Park 1891-1893; West Side Park II 1893-1915.

Distinctive Features: The ivy; the neighborhood; the rooftops onlookers; the overhanging second deck; the manual scoreboard; the continued dominance of day baseball; the marquee; the troughs, the chads and trixies. 


Ballpark Highlights:

With darkness falling, Gabby Hartnett deposited an 0-2 pitch from Mace Brown over the left-centerfield bleachers, giving the Cubs a 6-5 win over Pittsburgh, a victory that propelled them to an NL pennant. The Homer in the Gloamin’ was arguably baseball’s first famous walk-off dinger, and it remains the sport’s best named (sorry Bobby).

On July 1, 1943, night baseball came to Wrigley when the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League held its All-Star game under temporary lights.

In 1945, a dumbass brought a goat to a game and somehow thought that was OK.

Just a little over 25 years ago, in his fifth big league start, Kerry Wood turned in perhaps the single-most impressive pitching performances in big league history. Wood fanned 20, walked none and yielded just two baserunners – one when HBP magnet Craig Biggio took a curve off the shoulder and a questionable hit by Ricky Gutierrez that bounced off the glove of Kevin Orie. He managed this against the winningest team in Astros history, which was led by the NL’s best offense.

In 2003, the Cubs were within five outs of their first World Series visit in 58 years when all hell broke loose, almost none of it having to do with a foul ball into the stands.

On Oct. 22, 2016, Kyle Hendricks outdueled Clayton Kershaw to lead the Cubs to a 5-0 victory and a triumph in the National League Championship Series. Two weeks later, in Jacobs Field, the Cubs would claim their first World Series title in 108 years.

Selections to Date
San Francisco Giants - China Basin

Texas Rangers - The Ballpark in Arlington

San Diego Padres - Mission Field

Boston Red Sox - Fenway Park

Washington Nationals - Nationals Park

Tampa Bay Rays - Suncoast Dome

Philadelphia Phillies - Citizens Park

Seattle Mariners - Cascadia Field

Pittsburgh Pirates - Allegheny Park

Kansas City Royals -Kauffman Stadium

New York Mets - Willets Point

Los Angeles Angels - Autry Field

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Stadium

Detroit Tigers - Tiger Field


Miami Marlins - Fish Tank


Cleveland Indians - Jacobs Field

 

SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:42 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, stadium names

Friday, May 04, 2018

20 years later, Wood and Astros hitters recall 20-strikeout game

Wood’s fifth career start put him on the Major League map and flummoxed a Houston lineup that consisted of multiple All-Stars and two future Hall of Famers, all of whom later lifted the Astros to a club-record 102 wins while leading the NL with 874 runs scored.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest performances in Major League history, here’s a look back, as told by those who lived it….

An oral history of the 20-K game.


The history of MLB rocking the blues

Powder blues picked up steam throughout the rest of the 1970s and hit their high-water mark in 1980 and ‘81, when there were 11 blue-clad teams. Two of them—the Phillies and the Royals—faced each other in the 1980 World Series, marking the first time powder blues had appeared in the Fall Classic.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Cubs Activate Ben Zobrist, Option David Bote; Bryant Back In Lineup

Ben Zobrist has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and will bat seventh today against the Brewers, Bruce Levine of 760thescore.com reports. Kris Bryant will also make his return to the lineup after sitting out for a few days following a hit-by-pitch injury.

The gang’s all back together for the weekend.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 28, 2018 at 11:20 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, cubs, kris bryant

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