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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, jason heyward

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   1. bunyon Posted: June 07, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5687557)
Hitting him in the head is a hitting on/off switch.
   2. salvomania Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5687601)
If he heats up a little he could crack the 30 extra-base hit mark in 2018.
   3. salvomania Posted: June 07, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5687603)
Heyward has reached a .400 slugging pct once in the past five seasons... He's a shortstop playing right field.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5687627)
Why so mean, salvomania?
   5. Stormy JE Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5687629)
Hitting him in the head is a hitting on/off switch.
The new market inefficiency?
   6. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5687638)
He's had good stretches before. This won't last. Hitting him second while he's "hot" is playing with a very weak fire.

It was so improbable last night. He's extra awful against lefties.
   7. Voodoo Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5687640)
Nevertheless, last night was ####### awesome!
   8. bunyon Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5687649)
How much anger would he generate if not for the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016?

My WAG is: a lot.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5687714)
How much anger would he generate if not for the Cubs winning the World Series in 2016?

My WAG is: a lot.
Probably, but on the other hand, the Chicago media has widely reported that he's apparently a really nice guy, excellent teammate, leader (TEH RAIN DELAY SPEECH!), hard worker, etc. and that his struggles haven't affected his attitude at all. So there is certainly a level of frustration, but people here seem to be acknowledging that he's a hard guy to actually be angry at.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5687720)
Probably, but on the other hand, the Chicago media has widely reported that he's apparently a really nice guy, excellent teammate, leader (TEH RAIN DELAY SPEECH!), hard worker, etc. and that his struggles haven't affected his attitude at all. So there is certainly a level of frustration, but people here seem to be acknowledging that he's a hard guy to actually be angry at.


LaTroy Hawkins is all of those things, and Cubs fans managed to do that with him.
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5687729)
Heyward is also a good fielder and a generally smart ballplayer, so he doesn't go around doing clumsy or stupid things in the field that would gain him immediate boos. Also I think it helps that he doesn't strike out a ton (for 2018) or hit into endless double plays -- it's easier to boo a K or a DP than a ten hopper to SS or weak a fly ball.
   12. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5687730)
Why so mean, salvomania?


No kidding. Heyward was actually good for you guys!
   13. PreservedFish Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5687733)
Chicks dig the dWAR.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5687736)
LaTroy Hawkins is all of those things, and Cubs fans managed to do that with him.
True - maybe it was easier to hold him singlehandedly accountable for losing games because he was the closer (or attempted to be, anyway). It's frustrating when Heyward comes up in key situations, but he's not usually the single source of a loss.
   15. Voodoo Posted: June 07, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5687762)
Latroy blew several saves in a row down the stretch in the 2004 season that started with such promise and ended in a flaming disaster. Any team's fanbase would turn on a guy in that situation.
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5687796)
LaTroy Hawkins is all of those things, and Cubs fans managed to do that with him.

Different context; Heyward's benefiting from Cub fandom's goodwill and broader sense of relief from having won in 2016 (leaving aside the rain delay speech and whatever effect it might've had on the Cubs' game seven fortunes--absent any way of proving it in either direction, I'm willing to give JHey at least some credit for leadership), whereas LaTroy had the misfortune to be part of a very talented but underachieving and frankly dislikable 2004 Cub team (and of course Cub fandom was already neurotic as hell that year owing to a combination of the spectacular LCS implosion the prior year and the high expectations placed on the 2004 team; the 2003 Cub fan postseason experience was the polar opposite of the 2016 experience. Rather than resolving all those decades of frustration, it exacerbated it--and indeed kind of epitomized it.).

Also, what ElRoy and Voodoo said; LaTroy was fairly combustible as the Cubs' closer, and in a race where the Cubs narrowly missed a postseason berth they should've run away with, those losses get magnified even beyond the usual blown saves.
   17. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5687805)
No kidding. Heyward was actually good for you guys!

Seriously--leave the meanness for those of us stuck watching him for the next five and a half years. (The description of Heyward's offense I've taken to using is even meaner than salvomania's--starting RF who hits like a backup catcher. Mainly because a lot of shortstops, including the Cubs' multiple options at that position, hit better than Heyward does.)
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5687811)
LaTroy had the misfortune to be part of a very talented but underachieving and frankly dislikable 2004 Cub team
This is a good point - it seems like maybe Heyward also benefits from the general likability of, and goodwill toward, the team as a whole. This team is seen as "our guys" in that so many of them are young and were developed by or at least came up with the Cubs. And most of them are just likable guys.

The 2004 team, on the other hand, felt a lot more mercenary and the personalities were largely either bland or tending toward the unlikable. Derrek Lee was an exception, but you had guys like Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano ('nuf said), Moises Alou, Nomar, Todd Hollandsworth (douche), Corey Patterson (major disappointment), Aramis Ramirez (bland), and of course the F-Troop of useless, bland middle infielders. You also had Sosa, of course, but the bloom was pretty much off of his rose by then, and Maddux was decent in his return, but he was never a big personality guy.

So it seems like Heyward might be "less guilty by association" - which is ironic because he's the biggest mercenary on the team.

EDIT: Oh, and how could I forget to mention Farney? No further comment necessary.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5687813)
Different context; Heyward's benefiting from Cub fandom's goodwill and broader sense of relief from having won in 2016 (leaving aside the rain delay speech and whatever effect it might've had on the Cubs' game seven fortunes--absent any way of proving it in either direction, I'm willing to give JHey at least some credit for leadership), whereas LaTroy had the misfortune to be part of a very talented but underachieving and frankly dislikable 2004 Cub team (and of course Cub fandom was already neurotic as hell that year owing to a combination of the spectacular LCS implosion the prior year and the high expectations placed on the 2004 team; the 2003 Cub fan postseason experience was the polar opposite of the 2016 experience. Rather than resolving all those decades of frustration, it exacerbated it--and indeed kind of epitomized it.).

Also, what ElRoy and Voodoo said; LaTroy was fairly combustible as the Cubs' closer, and in a race where the Cubs narrowly missed a postseason berth they should've run away with, those losses get magnified even beyond the usual blown saves.


But all of that goes back to bunyon's Post 8. If he wasn't a part of the Cubs team that won the World Series in 2016 (or subsequent years), all of his positive qualities as a human being and teammate would be pretty easy to toss aside (just as they would with any team's fans in that boat).

   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5687829)
Hitting him in the head is a hitting on/off switch.

Self-administered concussions, the new slump-buster?
This won't last.

The solution is obvious, no?
   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5687837)
Papa John Phillips used to tell a story about how Cass Elliot wanted to be in the Mamas and the Papas, but he didn't think she was a good enough singer. Then one day she hit her head on an overhead pipe, and miraculously this made her able to hit some higher notes. Given her newfound vocal ability, Papa John let her join the group.

This was all nonsense, of course. Phillips resisted letting Cass join the group only because she was too fat.
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5687838)
LaTroy had the misfortune to be part of a very talented but underachieving and frankly dislikable 2004 Cub team (and of course Cub fandom was already neurotic as hell that year owing to a combination of the spectacular LCS implosion the prior year and the high expectations placed on the 2004 team; the 2003 Cub fan postseason experience was the polar opposite of the 2016 experience. Rather than resolving all those decades of frustration, it exacerbated it--and indeed kind of epitomized it.).

Hawkins could also be annoying in his public dealings at times. Wasn't he the one who complained to a reporter, "I could do what you do, but you can't do what I do"? I recall that soundbite. Part of the overall whininess and unlikabilty of the team.

Sure it helps Heyward that his first year was THE YEAR. It helps that the club won 25 of their first 31 games and led the division easily all year in his debut year. While there's been frustration, it's been easy to role off.

Fun alternate universe question: how would Cub fans view Joe Maddon if the Cubs lost Game 7?

   23. bunyon Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5687844)
Fun alternate universe question: how would Cub fans view Joe Maddon if the Cubs lost Game 7?

If he lost Game 7 of the World Series? Very positively.

If he lost Game 7 of the NLCS? He wouldn't be the Cubs manager today.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5687856)
Fun alternate universe question: how would Cub fans view Joe Maddon if the Cubs lost Game 7?
Do you mean that specific game, i.e. as if it had been played and managed the same up until some decisive point late in the game? In that case, very poorly. I and many other fans already think that his managering of Game 7 was pretty bad and that they won it in spite of him. If they had lost - hoo boy. People would have been PISSED.

If you mean a completely different Game 7, in which he didn't try to manager so much, he'd probably still get a lot of slack as Bunyon notes.
   25. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5687858)
But all of that goes back to bunyon's Post 8. If he wasn't a part of the Cubs team that won the World Series in 2016 (or subsequent years), all of his positive qualities as a human being and teammate would be pretty easy to toss aside (just as they would with any team's fans in that boat).

Yes, I don't think we disagree on any of this. My explanation for the different treatment of Hawkins was just that: an explanation, not a justification.
   26. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5687860)
Fun alternate universe question: how would Cub fans view Joe Maddon if the Cubs lost Game 7?

This isn't even a challenging question: I'd be seething still. And I'm still firmly of the belief that the Cubs won game 7 despite Maddon, not because of him.
   27. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5687861)
If he lost Game 7 of the World Series? Very positively.

In a vacuum, I might agree. In light of Maddon's own contributions to Game 7's lasting as long as it did and being as difficult as it was, I couldn't disagree more.

EDIT: Cosign Voodoo's 28.
   28. Voodoo Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5687862)
Fun alternate universe question: how would Cub fans view Joe Maddon if the Cubs lost Game 7?


I've never loathed a manager more than I hated Maddon for about an hour there, circa the 9th inning of Game 7, so I think Joe would have one foot in some serious #### with Cubs fans had they lost that game. Aroldis Chapman would probably probably be the most hated Cub ever, and his only defense would be that Maddon had hung him out to dry.
   29. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5687864)
Hawkins could also be annoying in his public dealings at times. Wasn't he the one who complained to a reporter, "I could do what you do, but you can't do what I do"? I recall that soundbite. Part of the overall whininess and unlikabilty of the team.

I'd forgotten this (about Hawkins specifically) if I ever knew it, though in fairness to me half the 2004 team seemed to have the same thin-skinnedness concerning the media, so Hawkins might've gotten lost in the blur.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5687865)
And I'm still firmly of the belief that the Cubs won game 7 despite Maddon, not because of him.


Fortunately, he got help from the other dugout.

Hawkins could also be annoying in his public dealings at times.


Only in Chicago. Seriously, he's pretty much loved everywhere else see this or this.)
   31. Spahn Insane Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5687868)
Fortunately, he got help from the other dugout.

Well, yes. Once the Cubs managed to survive to extras, Maddon clearly outmanaged Tito in the 10th.

Though Tito's 10th makes it easy to remember a fine trivia question for future generations (barring another change in the IBB rule): Who drew the last 4-pitch intentional walk (and the next-to-last)?
   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5687870)
SoSH, your first link requires me sending an email to someone, possibly to Madeleine Albright.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5687872)
Well, yes. Once the Cubs managed to survive to extras, Maddon clearly outmanaged Tito in the 10th.


It started well before the 10th. Tito completely overused the handful of pitchers he had any trust in, with correspondingly crappy results.

Maddon made the more obvious WTF moves. Francona's were the longer-term but more damaging ones.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5687876)
Tom,

Try this.
   35. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: June 07, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5687886)
In a league where strikeouts are at their highest point in the history of the sport, Heyward is a corner outfielder who only struck out 67 times last season. He's also listed as 6'5, 240 on Baseball-Reference. If he can figure out how to hit the ball harder with his defensive value and ability to make contact, he could be a real weapon for the Cubs. Heyward is 28. Baseball is a weird sport. I could see someone with his skill set and athleticism having his best seasons post-30. You never know when the proper mechanical adjustment is going to click. Look at late-bloomers like Steve Finley and Raul Ibanez. Heyward was far more heralded than those players, came up to the majors at a far younger age, and raised expectations with a great rookie year. He also mixed in some valuable seasons with disappointing seasons. But maybe the best is still come with Heyward.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5687904)
In a league where strikeouts are at their highest point in the history of the sport, Heyward is a corner outfielder who only struck out 67 times last season. He's also listed as 6'5, 240 on Baseball-Reference. If he can figure out how to hit the ball harder with his defensive value and ability to make contact, he could be a real weapon for the Cubs. Heyward is 28. Baseball is a weird sport. I could see someone with his skill set and athleticism having his best seasons post-30. You never know when the proper mechanical adjustment is going to click. Look at late-bloomers like Steve Finley and Raul Ibanez. Heyward was far more heralded than those players, came up to the majors at a far younger age, and raised expectations with a great rookie year. He also mixed in some valuable seasons with disappointing seasons. But maybe the best is still come with Heyward.

Moses, you've lost your title as Most Unwavering Optimist.
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 07, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5687909)
He's just Heywardoptimistic, which is just another word for really ####### high.
   38. Brian C Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5687958)
The only game 7 decision Maddon made that I strongly disagreed with (at least that I remember now) was bringing out Chapman to pitch the 9th. Chapman looked gassed and I didn't get it.

But that said, that hardly seemed (then or now) like a completely unjustifiable decision. The Cubs' pen at the time had been mostly terrible throughout the playoffs, and remained pretty flammable throughout 2017 for good measure. Sticking with the guy you trust most with the game on the line was the only way to go - I just didn't think Chapman was that guy at that moment. But that seemed like a difference of opinion, and not COMPLETELY ####### UNFORGIVABLE like is often described.

Anyway, as for Heyward, he's also been low-key decent with RISP over the past couple years. On a team that has well-publicized issues getting runners home, he's been ... not bad. I mean, it's not like he has a reputation for being super-clutch, last night notwithstanding, but it's probably helped his image that the whole team is perceived to have a problem in those situations; he doesn't stand out any more than anyone else as being un-clutch.
   39. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5687965)
Francona and Maddon are two of the more successful managers in recent years, yet people think they're morons.

   40. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5687972)
He pulled Hendricks way too soon.
   41. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 07, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5687975)
I'm sure the Cubs fans here have beat this subject to death, but what are the best working theories for the complete collapse of Heyward's bat? (primarily his power, I suppose)
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5687983)
Francona and Maddon are two of the more successful managers in recent years, yet people think they're morons.


I think they're excellent managers. But good managers can make bad decisions.
   43. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 07, 2018 at 05:53 PM (#5687992)
Cubs now with second best record in NL. If the Brewers lose tonight, the Cubs will be #1.
   44. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 07, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5687996)
The only game 7 decision Maddon made that I strongly disagreed with (at least that I remember now) was bringing out Chapman to pitch the 9th. Chapman looked gassed and I didn't get it.

It was a cascade of decisions dating back to Game Six.

The Cubs led 7-2 after seven innings. Maddon pulled Arrieta (OK) and put in ... Chapman. Wait - Chapman threw 2 2/3 innings in Game Five. It was the longest relief outing of his career. That made sense - the Cubs needed to win, they were up by one - this is why you traded for him. BUT ... why then turn to him with the Cubs up by five late? Seems like a great chance to give him more rest, in case Game Seven is close.

He threw a scoreless eighth. The Cubs score 2 more in the top of the ninth, lead 9-2. Chapman is back out for the bottom of the ninth. THe hell? Even Maddon admits he messed this one up. After the Cubs scored, he had a seemingly endless converstaion with Bosio over who to warm up. It took so long, they didn't have a guy ready to start the ninth for Chapman. So Chapman faces another batter, walks him and then he's out. 20 pitches in a blowout that weren't needed.

Then Maddon yanks Hendricks in the middle of the fifth. He brings in Lester with a runner on base - and Lester lets him score. This is questionable, but not as bad as the Game Six use of Chapman.

Chapman out for the 8th. Shockingly, he's gassed after what happend previously. Three runs score and the lead is gone. Chapman pitches the 9th anyway. Dark feelings for so many Cubs fans. Thank God the game wasn't at Wrigley. Chapman survives.

The rest is history.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2018 at 06:46 PM (#5688005)
On a team that has well-publicized issues getting runners home, he's been ... not bad.

He kinda is the King of "oh crap, Heyward up in a crucial situation again! Hey, he beat out a dribbler or hit a bloop single to right and the 2B has kicked it into the RF corner for a triple!"

I don't think we have a theory for his offensive collapse. We weren't necessarily expecting anything except his usual self and he totally cratered ... at age 26. I don't think there'a any theory that covers something that dramatic and unexpected. At times, his swing has been worse than I would have thought possible from any non-pitcher.

OK, I have a minor pet theory that he obsesses about it too much. If you look at him year-to-year, there was usually some substantial improvement in one area while he got worse in some other area. Somehow it all came out to a 115 OPS+. For example:

He was a big GB hitter his first two years, then a league-averageish FB hitter, then a massive GB year, now back to a FB hitter. He cut his K-rate by about 5% in year 4 but then his HR/FB was cut in half in year 5 and has never really recovered (it's actually worse this year). His BABIP has ranged from 260 to 335. He's made further cuts to the K-rate but at the expense of some walks. In the last few years, I think he's actually been cheating and starting his swing very early -- he has a lot of ridiculously pulled foul balls -- which is not an uncommon ploy when the bat starts to slip but usually it results in more/sustained power and more Ks which is not what's happened to him. So I theorize that he's just always trying to fix some part of his swing, obsesses on it and loses some other part of his swing. Instead of deciding years ago "OK, I'm gonna be a reasonably high-K, high walks, decent power kind of hitter" or "I'm gonna be a low-K, solid walks, GBs and use my speed with a bit of pop kind of hitter", he kept trying to be an excellent all-around hitter.

What I've seen these last few weeks is ... just weird again. He can still look absolutely pathetic and lost up there but he's also smoked some balls. He had a line drive the other day that could have killed somebody. Statcast, and whatever baseballsavant does with their stats, tells an interesting story. In 2015, his average launch angle was under 5 degrees. Coming to the Cubs, that went up to 10 degrees but he lost about 2.5 MPH off his average exit velocity. This year, the EV is back up towards 89 and the launch angle is 14 degrees. Based on statcast, baseballsavant gives him an XBA of 289, an XSLG of 473 and a xWOBA of 359. Yes please to all of that.

Anyway, I think he may have gotten lost in his own head and maybe getting concussed knocked him out of it. :-)
   46. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2018 at 07:10 PM (#5688015)
On G7, Hendricks and Lester ... I was not a fan at the time but one of our wiser heads, in real time, noted that ... Lester had already warmed up at least once. Hendricks starting the 3rd time through the order, batter just reached base, LHB coming up. If you were going to use Lester, that was the time to bring him in. And if you don't use Lester then, you'd be running a big risk if you asked him to warm up again later in the game. I've made enough peace with that decision -- if there was a mistake, it was in having Lester warming up at all (or maybe having had him warmed up earlier, I don't really recall the earlier scenario). But at the point the decision was made, it's basically "do I want Lester or Hendricks for the next couple of innings and, if it's Lester, better to bring him in now than wait another batter."

But per #44, I put it mainly on the broader strategy. The Cubs had strong starters and mostly unreliable relievers (esp by that point in the season). The Cubs had little choice but to trust their starters to go deep and get out of jams cuz the pen wasn't gonna be doing it too often. Instead Joe had a quick hook and pretended he could just pitch Chapman as much as necessary without consequences. In 7 starts, Cub starters threw just 37 IP (then Lester picked up 3 more in relief). They gave up just 13 runs, 11 earned -- that's pretty good. The pen, including Lester's 3, threw 26 innings and gave up 14 runs, 13 earned -- that's not good.

Tito at least had the right strategy. His rotation was a shambles, so he was gonna get as many innings as he could out of Kluber then rely on his pen. I don't think he should have started Bauer and Tomlin on 3 days rest, shoulda had the kid start game 5 then Bauer in game 6 but the strategy looks correct to me.

In alternate reality land ... assuming 2017 goes the same way, things might have gotten unpleasant. After "blowing" the WS and then all the troubles with runners on base in 2017, there'd be endless griping about how the Cubs aren't clutch, there's something wrong with the approach, we need more gritty guys not casually excellent guys like Rizzo, where are Bryant's HRs, fixation on Javy's faults not his strengths, Rajai Davis might be our starting CF, etc.

Anyway, all in the past now. We won, all is forgiven, Heyward's a nice guy, he hit a grand slam, I hope he enjoys all his money. Joe's a strong manager whose main fault might be too much PT for the nice, rich guy in RF. Torres is the next Sandberg if not Morgan, Eloy will be the next Stanton and it's all good. We won a WS in my lifetime, I was starting to think that wasn't gonna happen.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5688027)
Tito at least had the right strategy.


No he didn't. He panicked when he was up, both in the ALCS and the World Series, and continued to ask more and more from his overworked pitchers (not just starters), with, no surprise, increasingly crappy results. He pissed away a World Series his club should have won.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:09 PM (#5688127)
He panicked when he was up

That's tactics, not strategy ... or just blowing it.

continued to ask more and more from his overworked pitchers (not just starters)

He was asking very little from his starters (other than Kluber) because he had none left due to injuries. He had no choice but to "overwork" his pen. He at least made the rational choice to overwork his excellent pen than to ask for more from his poor starters. Maddon asked for too little from his strong starters in exchange for overworking his lousy pen.

In the WS, Cle relievers threw 31.2 innings (exactly half) and gave up 11 runs, 10 earned. That's quite good. The starters -- 31.1 and 16 runs, all earned. That's pretty much the mirror image of what the Cubs did. Anyway, that's certainly a heavy load for the pen but spread out over 10 days. Cody Allen didn't appear on consecutive days. Miller pitched in G3 and G4 but had 3 days off before G7.

As to the ALCS, they won that in 5 and had a full 5 days off before the WS -- whatever overwork he did to the pen in the ALCS should have been recovered from by that point. Again the pen threw 22 of 44 innings but that's partly because Bauer turned up lame after 2/3 of an inning in his G3 start. He used 3 innings from Allen and Miller to secure a 3-0 lead in the series. If there was a mistake here, it was starting Kluber in G4 on 3 days rest but he used none of his main relievers in that game. He probably didn't need to use Miller for 2.2 innings in G5 but it was just 3-0, runner on, one out, Donaldson coming up, it was certainly a good spot to bring him into the game but probably could have risked an inning from Otero or Clevinger later.

Miller and Chapman ended up with very similar lines:

AM 7.2, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 9 K
AC 7.2, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 11 K

They both picked a bad game to give up runs. Cody Allen was spotless in his 6 innings and for that postseason 13.2 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 24 K ... I was happy to see him come out of the game.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5688162)
That's tactics, not strategy ... or just blowing it.


What earthly difference does it make?

He was asking very little from his starters (other than Kluber) because he had none left due to injuries. He had no choice but to "overwork" his pen. He at least made the rational choice to overwork his excellent pen than to ask for more from his poor starters. Maddon asked for too little from his strong starters in exchange for overworking his lousy pen.


He asked Kluber to go on short rest three times, including when the Indians had a 3-0 lead in the ALCS. That was asinine. They won Game 5 when he went to one of those starters who he didn't have left, and that guy threw 4 1/3 shutout innings. He didn't pitch again.

They built a 3-1 lead in the World Series, then he asked two pitchers who weren't all that good (plus one who was, but was running out of gas) to pitch on short rest.

For the record, in the 2016 postseason, starting pitchers on full or extended rest threw 287.1 innings at a 3.73 ERA. Starters on short rest threw 40 innings at 6.08 ERA, a number which included the effective relief outings of Kershaw, Lester and Bauer. As starters, the ERA of those guys was 6.56. And, the guys typically getting the short rest appearances are supposed to be the good pitchers.

For the Tribe, it was even worse. Indian starters on full or greater rest in the playoffs threw 52.66 innings of 1.54 ERA; their short-rest guys delivered 22.33 innings of 6.76 ERA.

In the WS, Cle relievers threw 31.2 innings (exactly half) and gave up 11 runs, 10 earned. That's quite good. The starters -- 31.1 and 16 runs, all earned. That's pretty much the mirror image of what the Cubs did. Anyway, that's certainly a heavy load for the pen but spread out over 10 days. Cody Allen didn't appear on consecutive days. Miller pitched in G3 and G4 but had 3 days off before G7.


Tito essentially trusted six pitchers in the World Series. Those guys gave him 49.66 IP, at a 3.81 ERA. The untrustworthy guys he could only use in low-leverage situations provided 13.3 IP at a 3.38 ERA.

They both picked a bad game to give up runs.


They didn't pick it. They both got help. Miller was repeatedly used for 2-inning hitches throughout the postseason, often when it simply wasn't necessary (a six-run lead in Game 4, for instance). Only a fool would think that couldn't catch up to him.

He Brenly'd* damn thing.

At some point teams will recognize that asking pitchers to extend their workloads at the point of the season when they're most tired is not a sound strategy. The 2016 playoffs was not that year.

* OK, Brenly lite. Brenly's World Series is not likely to ever be topped.
   50. Zonk prescribes Rezine for TDS Posted: June 08, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5688252)
You can put me down in the same club with Spahnie and Voodoo... and I think we all have evidence from chatters to prove we aren't over-selling it.
   51. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5688299)
Cubs now with second best record in NL. If the Brewers lose tonight, the Cubs will be #1.

This was always a longshot, given that the Brewers weren't even scheduled. :-)

You can put me down in the same club with Spahnie and Voodoo... and I think we all have evidence from chatters to prove we aren't over-selling it.

My Facebook wall liveblogging of Game 7 is not suitable for sensitive readers.
   52. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5688310)
He pulled Hendricks way too soon.

Yes. And his pointless use of Chapman in Game 6 probably helped bring about Chapman's putrid performance in Game 7, in light of how hard he was worked in game 5 (8 outs, 42 pitches).

Maddon's justification for lifting Hendricks when he did was gobbledygook...something about "Well, to me, Kipnis is the best hitter on that team." Leaving aside the dubious merits of that statement, Hendricks had a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th, and was cruising; Santana walked because of a blown third strike call. The worst Kipnis could've done was make it 5-3. Which of course the switch to Lester/Ross ended up doing in short order anyway...

Look, having Lester as the backup plan was a fine thing, but Hendricks gave Maddon little reason to use it. Which leads me to think Maddon had predetermined that this was how he was going to handle the pitching in that game.
   53. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5688313)
Francona and Maddon are two of the more successful managers in recent years, yet people think they're morons.

I don't think either guy's a moron--quite the contrary--but Maddon's quick hook of Hendricks in game seven was a stupid, indefensible move.
   54. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5688318)
Also, Cokes as appropriate...
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5688320)
I'll defend his use of Chapman in G6 - not him going back out for the 9th, but bringing him in when he did was fine.

The point about Lester warming up is true - but Joe also very clearly said before the game he wasn't going to bring in Lester with runners on, and he did. He panicked.

But you know what? I don't care anymore, at least not now.
   56. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5688332)
I'll defend his use of Chapman in G6 - not him going back out for the 9th, but bringing him in when he did was fine.

Bringing Chapman in in the first place certainly ranks lower on Maddon's list of transgressions than sending him out for the 9th, or pulling Hendricks early the following night, or bringing Lester (and Ross) into the game mid-inning with a runner on in place of Hendricks. I probably wouldn't have used Chapman in game 6 at all, but I can see it if he'd limited him to the "high leverage" spot, such as it was, then yanked him when the Cubs extended the lead. It was the cumulative effects of decisions made the prior two games that made Maddon's handling of the pitching staff in game 7 all the less explainable.
   57. Spahn Insane Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5688335)
The point about Lester warming up is true - but Joe also very clearly said before the game he wasn't going to bring in Lester with runners on, and he did. He panicked.

Right, exactly--yes, Lester had already begun (actually, well past "begun") to warm when Hendricks got lifted, but whose fault was that?
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5688339)
for the season, Heyward has a .261 AVG and a .247 xBA.

for the last 31 days, he has a .321 AVG and a .282 xBA.

he has jacked up his fly ball rate (who hasn't?), so some power gains may ensue.
   59. wjones Posted: June 08, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5688417)
When Heyward first came up, there were all these stories about how the ball just jumped off his bat...all the homers in Spring Training that broke car windshields in the parking lot. That seems like ancient history.
   60. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 08, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5688440)
February 25, 2010: Cox says the ball sounds different coming off Heyward's bat. It's a familiar sound, but one Cox says he has not heard in a long time. "There's a little sound off the bat," Cox said. "His line drives are kind of like ol' Hank Aaron's sound."
   61. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 08, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5688453)
It's also fun to see all the articles on the rebirth of Heyward's bat, which has apparently risen from the dead more than Dracula:

Jason Heyward's long-dormant bat shows signs of life for Cubs, Chicago Tribune, May 28, 2016

Don't worry Cub fans, Heyward is going to be fine. Sports on Earth, June 14, 2016

Are Jason Heyward's offensive adjustments finally paying off?, The Athetic, July 30, 2016

Jason Heyward's New Swing Seems To Be Working, Deadspin, April 25, 2017

Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward's bat has come alive, Cubbies Crib, June 27, 2017

Cubs: Jason Heyward is Showing Signs of Life Offensively, The Loop Sports, June 1, 2018

Cubs hero Jason Heyward’s walk-off slam latest sign of new life in bat since DL, Chicago Sun-Times, June 7, 2018



   62. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 08, 2018 at 03:22 PM (#5688471)
Yes, fun.

That's why I won't believe it until after he opts out and is gone forever (he's not opting out).
   63. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 08, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5688510)
Cox says the ball sounds different coming off Heyward's bat. It's a familiar sound, but one Cox says he has not heard in a long time. "There's a little sound off the bat," Cox said. "His line drives are kind of like ol' Hank Aaron's sound."
The 'sound off the bat' thing has to be one of the biggest BS tropes in baseball.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: June 08, 2018 at 06:08 PM (#5688583)
It was more than "sound" mythology though ... he had an early HR, maybe even opening day, pretty sure against Zambrano -- an absolute thing of beauty, a Bonds-esque swing replayed all day in super slo-mo. Kid looked like a beast. He's hardly the first or the last but 10 games into his career and he was hitting 316/409/632 with a 409 BABIP -- I bet the ball sounded pretty frightening coming off that bat.

Like many young players, that was followed by a bad slump but then May arrived and he hit 337/453/628 ... and tossed in 4 RoE to boot ... and he looked like a young god who'd made his first adjustment. Those are Troutian numbers. The early high K-rate had been controlled and he was now under 20%.

At the end of that first year, we had a discussion about his HoF chances. I believe ZiPS basically said yes, projecting a career along the lines of Reggie Jackson, presumably with much better defense. I recall being a pessimist in that I figured that was his upside and something like Jack Clark, with better defense, was the expectation. This doesn't have ZiPS in it but one thread I did find:

Heyward better than Aaron?

Spoiler alert: pretty universal conclusion the answer was no but Reggie, Thome, McCovey, Parker ... even Griffey and Mantle make appearances. I point out some flukey stuff in #49.
   65. McCoy Posted: June 08, 2018 at 07:11 PM (#5688602)
I remember the heyward talk his rookie year and I was pretty down on the huge hype he was getting at the time.

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