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   1. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 28, 2008 at 03:44 PM (#2761335)
Soto's looked terrible in his last two starts: 0 for 8 with 8ks. Hopefully two days of rest (not starting yesterday and today's off day) help him. I think Lou has to be careful not to overplay him, especially during the summer. It's such a huge drop off offensively from him to Blanco though.

If Wood blows a couple more saves, espcially 1 run saves, we might start seeing some questioning of him in the closer role. I actually thought there'd be more after his last one when Marmol came in and nailed it down in the 10th. I much prefer Wood closing and Marmol being available for the other innings and for longer appearances.

Even though they weren't hitting in a couple of these past games, they still are being patient and the plate and are taking their walks. Aaron Cook seems to be the only SP who looked to have an easy start (not a lot of pitches), and they even got to him some.

Theriot's defense is starting to look really suspect, and he's had some pretty bad ABs with guys in scoring position the past couple of games.

And it is a little worrisome to lose 2 of 3 to Washington.
   2. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 28, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2761340)
Oh, and Fukudome isn't looking so hot against lefties with good breaking stuff. The splits disagree with me, so maybe I just overreacting to a couple of bad ABs this weekend (and last week against Fuentes). He only has 9RBIs right now, which is surprising since Lee and ARam both are on both ahead of him a ton. He doesn't seem to get too many good pitches to hit with those guys on. I think Lou's gonna have to swap Geo and DeRosa in the lineup to take advantage of Geo's power in those situations.

Nice to see Pie come around some, too bad we ran into that stretch of LHP. Lou should probably start him against one every now and then, especially if we run into another stretch of them. Of course, since the job they're doing with him also included rebuilding his confidence, I'm fine with choosing to put him in during mostly favorable situations.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 28, 2008 at 03:56 PM (#2761349)
All I know is that everything that could go right has gone right for Chicago while in Milwaukee Ben Sheets is already on the shelf, Rickie Weeks is hitting under .200 and Eric Gagne has blown four saves.

And the Cubs are 2 up on the Crew.

Can't help but think that's ok............
   4. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: April 28, 2008 at 04:10 PM (#2761368)
The team continuing to draw walks at a jaw-dropping rate (113 in 25 games; on a pace to draw 732).


# of walks since 1996.

1996: 523 (9th)
1997: 451 (15th)
1998: 601 (6th)
1999: 571 (11th)
2000: 632 (6th)
2001: 577 (5th)
2002: 585 (6th)
2003: 492 (14th)
2004: 489 (14th)
2005: 419 (16th)
2006: 395 (16th)
2007: 500 (15th)
2008: 732 (projected, 2nd)

The last time a team had fewer than 400 walks was Colorado in 1993. The last time a team not in it's first year drew 400 walks was 1978, when the Expos drew 396.
   5. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 28, 2008 at 05:55 PM (#2761497)
The Cubs have not led the league in walks since 1984-85. In the interim, they have never ranked higher than 5th in the league. They have been last in the league seven times in that period, 2005-06 as listed above, and five straight years from 1988 to 1992. They've been among the bottom three in the league in walks in 15 of the last 22 years.

Just incredible.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 28, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2761592)
Another bright spot is Cedeno smacking the crap out of the ball.
   7. Cabbage Posted: April 28, 2008 at 08:09 PM (#2761663)
1998: 601 (6th)
1999: 571 (11th)
2000: 632 (6th)
2001: 577 (5th)
2002: 585 (6th)


Largely the work of the right fielder.


Otherwise, what is everyone's thoughts on Howry? Has he just hit an unlucky stretch, or is this going to be a year long suckage? I'm inclined towards the latter, but I'd like to hear some different takes.
   8. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:08 AM (#2761934)
Howry seems to be suffering the same malady that struck him early last season. I think it's an unlucky stretch that you're going to get from a pitcher who gives up some contact. His peripherals look pretty reasonable.
   9. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:41 AM (#2761963)
Largely the work of the right fielder.


Grace was also drawing a ton of walks in that time period. Getting 200 from 2 positions and finishing 5th or 6th seems weird.
   10. Spahn Insane Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:54 AM (#2761986)
Soto's looked terrible in his last two starts: 0 for 8 with 8ks.

Holy Christ--I'd missed that.

Really? 8 Ks in 8 ABs? Damn. Dial was right about him. 8-p
   11. Spahn Insane Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:56 AM (#2761989)
Oh, and Fukudome isn't looking so hot against lefties with good breaking stuff. The splits disagree with me, so maybe I just overreacting to a couple of bad ABs this weekend (and last week against Fuentes). He only has 9RBIs right now, which is surprising since Lee and ARam both are on both ahead of him a ton. He doesn't seem to get too many good pitches to hit with those guys on.

The obvious solution would be to put Fukudome in the 1 or 2 slot, but it may not be so obvious to Piniella.

Seriously--how hard is this? You've got a guy who gets on base an assload but has marginal power, in a lineup full of guys who can go deep.
   12. Spahn Insane Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:57 AM (#2761990)
And said lineup doesn't have an ideal leadoff hitter.
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: April 29, 2008 at 02:59 AM (#2761993)
So the Cubs improved their walk total by 105 from 06 to 07, and still finished next to last in the league in 07.

Yet another testament to the genius of Dusty Baker. 395 walks in 162 games in 06. Just pathetic.
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: April 29, 2008 at 03:06 AM (#2762001)
All I know is that everything that could go right has gone right for Chicago

Well, almost; Soriano's been injured, and has sucked when he hasn't been. But that's a pretty small nit, I suppose, in light of what's gone well.
   15. CFiJ Posted: April 29, 2008 at 12:30 PM (#2762140)
Wow, you can really see the Baker effect. He takes over in 2003 and the walks plummet.
   16. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 29, 2008 at 03:49 PM (#2762344)
Wow, you can really see the Baker effect. He takes over in 2003 and the walks plummet.

I'm not sure what Baker had to do with it though. Sosa was in decline, and his walk total dropped by 41. The Cubs also replaced Mark Bellhorn with Mark Grudzielanek, a difference of 46 walks.

I know that's oversimplifying things (e.g., Baker probably should have used Bellhorn more in 2003, although it's pretty hard for any manager to keep a guy hitting .210 in the lineup), and Baker clearly did not promote the base on balls, but I do think most of that drop can be explained by personnel changes that were fairly independent of Baker.
   17. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 29, 2008 at 03:57 PM (#2762355)
At least one study concluded that players increase their walk totals under Baker, though I know there has been some dispute over the conclusions.
   18. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: April 29, 2008 at 04:25 PM (#2762394)
The Cubs have not led the league in walks since 1984-85. In the interim, they have never ranked higher than 5th in the league. They have been last in the league seven times in that period, 2005-06 as listed above, and five straight years from 1988 to 1992. They've been among the bottom three in the league in walks in 15 of the last 22 years.


Get your hands off my favorite drum!

The amazing thing to me that practically speaking -- Fukudome is really the only OBP 'plus' in the lineup... yeah, yeah -- Soto's been great, but strictly from the BB perspective - I don't know that he's going to be a huge step up from last year (all-around offensively is a different matter).

Last year's team drew exactly 500 BBs -- second worst in the league. To be drawing free passes at the rate they're going is truly the most wonderful story of the 2008 season to this Cubs fan.
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 29, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2762463)
Pretty much every starter is walking more:

Ramirez: +129% on career BB rate
Soto: +38% on minor league rate
DeRosa: +62%
Lee: +5%
Theriot: +21%
Johnson: +38%

Okay, I'll forgive Lee for not drawing (many) more walks...
   20. CFiJ Posted: April 30, 2008 at 10:15 PM (#2764588)
I'm not sure what Baker had to do with it though. Sosa was in decline, and his walk total dropped by 41. The Cubs also replaced Mark Bellhorn with Mark Grudzielanek, a difference of 46 walks.


My memory is that Grudzielanek took over second, and Bellhorn was moved to third. Baker then replaced Bellhorn (29 BB in 173 PA) with Lenny Harris (13 BB in 146 PA, 10/107 as 3B), until Ramirez came along (17 BB in 250 PA). Baker also replaced Choi (37 BB in 245 PA) with Karros (28 BB in 365) and Randall Simon (4 BB in 110 PA). Not to mention that he enjoyed running Troy O'Leary (14 BB in 194 PA) and Tom Goodwin (11 BB in 184 PA) out there in the OF.

Sure, you can spread some of the blame to the front office for not providing Dusty with the selective guys to play in spite himself, but Dusty's go-to guys were all free swingers, and certainly he wasn't encouraging them to be selective (walks clogging the bases and all that).
   21. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: May 06, 2008 at 06:11 PM (#2770828)
Felix Pie's OPS against RHP is now higher than Reed Johnson's.

johnson: 274/319/323
Pie: 250/333/341

And Pie has so few abs that a 4-4 would raise his overall average 50 points. If they were all singles, his overall line would be .285/.349/.357. Not ideal, but acceptable.

Obviously, this is a bit unfair, since a 4-4 from Reed Johnson would raise his average above .300, etc.

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