Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Gonfalon Cubs > Discussion
Gonfalon Cubs
— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, July 29, 2019

Taking the current temperature

Starting a new thread, as it’s way overdue.  I’m not sure I have that many original thoughts, so I’m going to steal some comments from the last thread here.

First thing on my mind is the ridiculous home/road splits.  I haven’t updated these since I originally posted them before the Brewers series, but nothing has really changed and the 2 losses fit the general theme.  The Cubs are 10 under .500 on the road; if they were just .500 on the road they’d have a 5 game lead in the division instead of being tied with the Cards.

They hit essentially the same on the road as at home - .785OPS at home, .790 on the road - but the pitching is *significantly* worse, in virtually every way. I can never get these tables to look right, but:

HOME: 3.36 ERA, 1.185WHIP, 8.7k/9, 2.9bb/9, 1.1hr/9, .233/.300/.384 line against
ROAD: 4.86 ERA, 1.451WHIP, 8.4k/9, 3.8bb/9, 1.3hr/9, .266/.343/.448 line against

The Cubs do hit more HRs on the road than home (12 more in about 50ABs), but walk less to cancel it out in OPS. So I don’t think this is just a case of extreme park factors. I have no idea what would explain this (every team is stealing signs against them everywhere but Wrigley? the pitchers are always drunk on the road?).

Second, we’ve talked quite a bit about the holes on the team.  I never really considered “leadoff hitter” as a hole, or even a position, but I’ve been rethinking that quite a bit lately.  Cubs leadoff hitters this year are hitting a putrid .218/.289/.399; only the 9th spot in the order is hitting worse.  Some of that is because the Cubs really don’t have a typical guy to put there, though I’ve made the argument before that Heyward should go there.  Of course, he’s not really hitting this month again anyway (.282/.311/.705), so maybe that’s a bad suggestion.  I wonder why he hasn’t done it more (he’s done it 6 games, which is 6 more than I remember - and didn’t do #### in those 6 with a .383OPS), perhaps he just doesn’t like doing it.  Garcia is just as bad of a fit as Schwarber, and I understand not rushing to put Happ back up there so soon after bringing him back.  Maybe it’s time for Rizzo to spend a couple of weeks there again.

I’m glad Garcia is up and playing pretty regularly, but it’s also becoming clear that he probably isn’t an everyday guy.  His defense is only so-so at best, and he’s such a free swinger that he’s always going to struggle against certain types of pitchers.  If Bote were hitting lefties, perhaps that’s an ideal platoon.  Since he’s not, I’d guess the Cubs are still looking to add someone who can at least play there part time.  Walt listed a few guys*, but Sogard may have been the best option and he went to TB instead.  So now I’m eyeing Hanser Alberto; he’d be cheap, but the draw here is the multiple positions and he’s hitting .404/.413/.529 vs LHP.  That’s assuredly a fluke, but it kinda fits a need and he’s still likely to be better than Descalso the rest of the year.  I still would guess the Cubs end up with Castellanos for RF, just because there aren’t any other great option (Dyson would also be fine).  The problem here is that there really aren’t any great options that really move the needle.

*Rojas 2.4/1.2 88
Sogard 1.9/0.9 126
Dietrich 1.7/0.9 122
AFrazier 1.5/0.3 93
Galvis 1.5/0.2 98
Alberto 1.3/0.2 97 (on the O’s, 26 years old)
GGarcia 1.0/0.3 102 (on Pads)
Iglesias 1.0/-0.1 78

Which means, the Cubs probably do end up overpaying for another decent RP.  I also kinda think they have to, what with so many guy punch 7th/8th inning blown leads.  I’m not going to be happy about it, and maybe this team isn’t worth adding another guy for, but I’d hate to see what would happen if that’s the reason the Cubs lose a playoff game, or worse, series.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 29, 2019 at 11:03 AM | 387 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›
   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 29, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5865967)
Where can I find the splits for the road record? Cubs are 16-18 in 1 run games, but what about just on the road? Dag posted this last thread, which gets me part of the answer:

They've played 27 road games since leaving Washington DC. They've gone 7-20 in those games. They've only been outscored 108-131 in that stretch, which pythags its way to an expected record of 11-16. Aye, but the Cubs are 2-9 in one-run games and 0-4 in two-run games. Meanwhile, they're 3-2 in blowouts (games decided by five or more runs).
   2. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 29, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5865970)
First thing on my mind is the ridiculous home/road splits. I haven’t updated these since I originally posted them before the Brewers series, but nothing has really changed and the 2 losses fit the general theme. The Cubs are 10 under .500 on the road; if they were just .500 on the road they’d have a 5 game lead in the division instead of being tied with the Cards.

The Cubs have the worst road record in the NL right now (barely below Miami) - and the 2nd best home record.

Re: Post #1:
After yesterday's game, the Cubs are now 4-2 in road game blowouts and 4-18 in road games that aren't blow outs over the last 10 weeks.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 29, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5865980)
4-18 in road games that aren't blow outs over the last 10 weeks.
This strikes me as suboptimal.
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 29, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5866011)
Suboptimal, absurd, and completely unsustainable. Right?

So, if I counted right, the Cubs went 12-11 in their first 23 road games (so up through the Nats series). They went 7-3 in blowouts, and 5-8 in non-blowouts. That seems like a normal, or reasonable, distribution (maybe still a little worse than you'd expect for a team that is playing .667 ball at home.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 29, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5866014)
I see a Balt writer is connecting the Cubs to Villar, who also would make sense in that bucket of maybe MI help.

Nightengale (I know) says this:
Team president Theo Epstein, wondering just how long the Cubs' window will remain open, is willing to do just about anything to give this year’s edition a legitimate shot at the World Series.

The Cubs already spent $42 million this summer on closer Craig Kimbrel after they were financially tapped out during the winter. They tried to get leadoff help with Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals and Eric Sogard of the Toronto Blue Jays (traded to the Tampa Bay Rays). They are willing to part with players on their major-league roster to get another power bat or more pitching.

It’s unknown just what Epstein will pull off, but a bold move should be made.


A couple of people have said the Cubs might be shopping Maldonado, which makes more sense than trading for him in the first place.
   6. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 29, 2019 at 05:23 PM (#5866137)
Realistically, what would it take to get Merrifield? Are the Royals interested in a grab bag of potentially borderline major leaguers given the state of the team? Happ, Bote, Russell, and Almora are all expendable here. The Cubs probably don't want to trade any real pitching (Alzolay) given the age of the rotation. I suppose Amaya is expendable given the age of the Cubs' current catchers.

So I guess it depends on what the Royals want. The Cubs certainly can't offer anything resembling elite prospects.
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 29, 2019 at 05:49 PM (#5866154)
I totally understand why the Royals wouldn't be looking to trade Merrifield - he's good and cheap and there's cost certainty with his extension now in place. So in that sense, I'd bet they'd be more likely to move him for an elite prospect rather than a package of assorted ok ones. I know it's been a few years, but the trade comp in my mind is Adam Eaton to the Nats:
But that is the new reality for the franchise, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jonathan Mayo, after the White Sox acquired right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning from the Nationals for right fielder Adam Eaton on Wednesday. The trio represented the Nos. 1 (Giolito), 3 (Lopez) and 6 (Dunning) prospects in the Nationals' system.

Thanks in part to Tuesday's acquisition of infielder Yoan Moncada and right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech from Boston for left-hander Chris Sale, the White Sox have, in a span of about 24 hours, added the Nos. 1, 3, 30 and 38 overall prospects in the game, according to MLBPipeline.


Giolito was the #3 overall prospect and Lopez #38. Eaton had 5 years of controls left at $38.4mil and was coming off a 6.1 WAR season (preceded by 4.0 and 5.3. He was younger than Whit now, having just finished his age 27 season. Merrifield is obviously older (30 this year), and doesn't have as long of a history of success (2.9WAR so far this year, 5.5 last year and 3.9 the year before) but only costs $26mil total for this year + the next 4*. Merrifield is the more versatile defender; at the time of the trade Eaton had played some CF but was only seen as ok there but a plus in RF. Market has changed a bunch since then, but I'd still think the Royals would at least think about that deal as a comp. If that's the case, there's no way the Cubs can meet it unless the Royals are very high on a couple specific guys. I'd reckon they'd ask - if they'd even take the call - for *at least* Happ, Alzolay, Amaya and something else (like a high upside guy, maybe Marquez. Maybe the Royals would prefer more ML ready guys, but I still don't see them matching up great with the Cubs, unfortunately. I'm not sure how much Schwarber or Russell would really interest them considering cost, and they'd have to be really high on Almora/Happ to count them as a major piece. Happ/Alzolay/Amaya probably wouldn't cut it.

*Oddly enough, his salary decreases to $2.75mil in 2022 (when he's 33) and jumps to $10.5mil in 2023(34); so I do expect the Royals will trade him at some point during this deal
   8. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5866494)
Strop to IL, Underwood up. Maples has completely fallen apart in AAA. I guess this injury only increases pressure on Cubs to get another top RP, as if there wasn't enough already.
   9. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5866509)
Breaking: According to a source, the Cubs are about to acquire RHP David Phelps from Toronto for minor league pitcher Thomas Hatch
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 30, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5866512)
Oh joy. In which I learn that "David Phelps" is apparently a Major League pitcher.

EDIT: And indeed has been one since 2012, although only 8.2 innings in 2017 and none in 2018, so I'm gonna guess Tommy John in there. Looks like the Platonic form of the Decent, Totally Anonymous Reliever. Had a nice year with the Marlins in 2016.

He's definitely a Baseball 2019 player, that's for sure.
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 30, 2019 at 02:54 PM (#5866533)
Considering you're only going to get < 30 innings out of any given reliever in a deadline deal, I think this is the proper approach.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 30, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5866535)
You mean as opposed to giving up Gleyber Torres? Yeah, I'm on board too.
   13. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 30, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5866538)
Realistically, what would it take to get Merrifield?

I don't think it is realistic. The Royals want prospects and the Cubs don't have many of them. And the Cubs aren't the only team that could use him.
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 30, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5866540)

I don't think it is realistic. The Royals want prospects and the Cubs don't have many of them. And the Cubs aren't the only team that could use him.


That's my feeling as well.

OTOH, the Cubs have a plethora of non-stars who can hang in the majors but are still young and cost controlled. And if any team would tend to overvalue those players its one which has lots of limeup holes to fill and wants to avoid a hard rebuild. That would sound like KC.
   15. Zonk Has Two Faces, Both Laughing Posted: July 30, 2019 at 03:10 PM (#5866541)
Phelps is the definition of a fungible reliever - and yes, it was TJ surgery that cost him a couple years.

Not to bring my bad mojo from the old thread over here -- but I need to point out that though he wasn't a first-rounder, Thomas Hatch was the Cubs top pick in the 2016 draft (they didn't draft till the third round due to the Heyward and Zobrist signings).

He's unlikely to be missed -- decent college arm from a good program, but he's repeating AA and doesn't look likely to do much beyond eventually tread water beyond it. His BB rates are too middling, his K rates are poor, and he gives up too many HRs. His main value is that he's got another year before he risks exposure in the rule 5.... not that anyone is particularly licking their chops over him.
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5866552)
Maybe one day Hatch will grow up to be Phelps.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 30, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5866561)
Yeah, but don't count your chickens while they're still Hatch.

Or something like that. There's a bad pun in there somewhere.
   18. Zonk Has Two Faces, Both Laughing Posted: July 30, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5866574)
You want someone to Hatch a better pun?
   19. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 30, 2019 at 10:29 PM (#5866679)
Strop on the IL with a neck strain, probably caused by whipping around to watch all those hard-hit balls he's been giving up.

David Phelps, Ken Phelps, Digger Phelps - I don't care. Anyone but Strop at this point.
   20. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 31, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5866774)
David Phelps, Ken Phelps, Digger Phelps - I don't care. Anyone but Strop at this point.

Digger Phelps: The only man to lead Wrigley in Take Me Out to the Ball Game each year since Harry Caray died.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 31, 2019 at 10:25 AM (#5866809)
David Phelps, Ken Phelps, Digger Phelps - I don't care.
Is Michael Phelps available?
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5866865)
Heyman, with an unrumor:

Cubs would love Whit Merrifield. But the asking price has always been enormous and is said to remain so. KC loves him too.
   23. bfan Posted: July 31, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5866883)
KC loves him too


as does his mother and his wife.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5866980)
Utilityman Tony Kemp is headed to the Chicago Cubs from Houston in exchange for Martín Maldonado, a source tells ESPN.


I think I like this.
   25. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 31, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5867020)
On the one hand, what were the Cubs doing with a third catcher? On the other hand, what are the Cubs going to do with a sixth corner OF/2B?
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 31, 2019 at 02:25 PM (#5867023)
I think I like this.

I think you should.
   27. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 31, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5867024)
Oh ####, if they get their man Merrifield that will be 7!

Bote/Happ/Descalso/Garcia/Zobrist (in Sept.)/Kemp/Merrifield
   28. Spahn Insane Posted: July 31, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5867029)
I get the feeling the only reason Descalso's not been DFAd is his 2-year deal. This makes no sense of course, but giving him a multiyear deal didn't either.

He's an old "utility" guy who can only play one position competently and can't hit. He's about as useless as it gets. Think "TLS minus the bat."
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5867083)
Levine:
At one point Cubs and Detroit were close to dealing Nick Castellanos for minor league catcher Jhonny Pereda .
   30. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5867097)
#Cubs get Nicholas Castellanos, source tells The Athletic.


Nice. There's some decent platoon options with this roster. If Descalso stays away or just is better when healthy, the bench might actually be ok again.

Paul Richan and Alex Lange go from the Cubs to Tigers for Castellanos.
   31. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 31, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5867134)
The Cubs might end up missing Paul Richan so I wish the Pereda deal had worked out.
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5867143)
Cubs also traded Carl Edwards Jr. to the Padres, per source


Although I said this should happen for him, this still bums me out a bit.

....

Underwood down, Phelps active. Kemp also active tonight.
   33. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 31, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5867163)
I am being told by an unreliable source that the return is Brad Wieck. He is a 27 year old lefty reliever with a strong K:BB and a cartoonishly high rate of home runs allowed.
   34. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 31, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5867173)
Source: Detroit kicked in roughly $500,000 to complete the Nick Castellanos deal, so the Cubs will take on about $2.5 million of his salary. With a chance for more October baseball at Wrigley Field, Tom Ricketts stretched the budget for baseball operations.


So generous. Cubs saved money in the Montgomery/Maldanado/Kemp series of moves. Phelps is also really cheap.
   35. Brian C Posted: July 31, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5867174)
I have to admit, I'm surprised to see this trade deadline go by without a major-league (or major-league ready) player get moved by the Cubs, aside from CJ. Who, I agree with Moses, I'm sad to see go in a way even though it's clearly time to move on - as with Montgomery, CJ's contribution to 2016 needs to be respected regardless of how far he's fallen. I hope the change of scenery does him good and he has my best wishes.

Speaking of Montgomery, the early returns on him in KC are not great. So the Cubs' effectively turning him into Kemp seems like a decent deal, even if he seems like a piece that the Cubs don't need or have much use for ... terrible batting average, good patience, a homer now and again, decent defense in LF. Seems redundant when Schwarber's already here.

Wieck seems like a guy who could be useful if he stops giving up more homers than Hendricks gives up walks.

I'm not super excited about Castellanos. I'm not convinced that he makes them much better when all is said and done. He's a respectable bat but not great - his 110 career OPS+ is a dead match with Schwarber - and he's awful defensively. I mean, outside of last year, Castellanos doesn't look much better than Almora in terms of bWAR - basically a 1.5 WAR/yr guy (notwithstanding Almora hitting the tank this year). And even in his best year last year, he only put up 2.9 bWAR, which even if he plays at that level for the Cubs is hardly a difference maker over 2 months.

So, lots of activity today and there's a bit more versatility on the roster and perhaps slightly higher upside. But overall I'm not sure there's much net benefit.
   36. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 31, 2019 at 10:10 PM (#5867206)
Speaking of Montgomery, the early returns on him in KC are not great.

3 games - all starts - for a total of 11.1 IP. Ouch.
   37. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 01, 2019 at 09:36 AM (#5867258)
Garcia going to AAA for Castellanos. Does this mean Happ at 2b or Bote playing every day? Even if Garcia has been figured out, from a roster construction side Almora should be the one going down (or a pitcher, but Wick probably already is ticketed to go down when Hamels starts this weekend).

Edit: oh, already forgot about Kemp
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 01, 2019 at 09:37 AM (#5867261)
The Cubs have won each of Hendricks' last 11 starts vs. St. Louis. That is the longest team winning streak in one pitcher's starts against the Cardinals for the Cubs dating back to at least 1908.


Entering today, the Cardinals ranked 29th in wOBA (.240) and 30th in SLG (.395) vs. RH changeups this season. Hendricks threw 41 in his seven shutout innings today (39.4% -- up from 27.3% season average) and generated 10 swinging strikes.


Kyle Hendricks this season vs Cardinals:
3 starts, 0.39 ERA, 23.0 IP, 19 Hits, 0 Walks, 13 Strikeouts
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 01, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5867485)
Heyward CF
Castenallos RF
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Contreras
Schwarber
Kemp
Lester

The OF defense is not a strength. Lester isn't a FB pitcher though.

I'm not super excited about Castellanos. I'm not convinced that he makes them much better when all is said and done. He's a respectable bat but not great - his 110 career OPS+ is a dead match with Schwarber - and he's awful defensively. I mean, outside of last year, Castellanos doesn't look much better than Almora in terms of bWAR - basically a 1.5 WAR/yr guy (notwithstanding Almora hitting the tank this year). And even in his best year last year, he only put up 2.9 bWAR, which even if he plays at that level for the Cubs is hardly a difference maker over 2 months.

Well, considering the offense the Cubs have been getting out of CF this year (.244/.307/.378) and 2b (.217/.297/.378), his bat is replacing essentially one of them so it's a low bar for him to clear. He makes a big difference against LHP (.347/.415/.611 vs the Cubs as a team are at .235/.319/.423), which is where the Cubs are pretty susceptible (guys like Almora/Bote being bad against them this year, not to mention Schwarber/Heyward splits). Of course, he's going to be playing most days, so it's just hoping his offense gain makes up for the defensive dropoff. No, he's not a significant difference maker, but with the holes the Cubs have he still helps. Hopefully, Kemp is closer to last year than this, otherwise 2b is still a huge hole.

   40. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 01, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5867494)
I'm not super excited about Castellanos. I'm not convinced that he makes them much better when all is said and done. He's a respectable bat but not great - his 110 career OPS+ is a dead match with Schwarber - and he's awful defensively. I mean, outside of last year, Castellanos doesn't look much better than Almora in terms of bWAR - basically a 1.5 WAR/yr guy (notwithstanding Almora hitting the tank this year). And even in his best year last year, he only put up 2.9 bWAR, which even if he plays at that level for the Cubs is hardly a difference maker over 2 months.


I'm not entirely sure what to make of this - and one can definitely make too much of it- but this Twitter thread has a couple of spray charts of Castellanos' hits (total and just home) overlaid onto Wrigley Field. And if this is to be believed, he could see a big jump in his home runs (he hits a lot of fly balls to straightaway and nearly straightaway CF where fly balls go to die at Comerica Park).
   41. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 01, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5867496)
Castellanos currently leads the major leagues in doubles so I can buy that a friendlier park will have a real impact on his home run rate.
   42. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5867511)
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this - and one can definitely make too much of it- but this Twitter thread has a couple of spray charts of Castellanos' hits (total and just home) overlaid onto Wrigley Field. And if this is to be believed, he could see a big jump in his home runs (he hits a lot of fly balls to straightaway and nearly straightaway CF where fly balls go to die at Comerica Park).

Fair enough, but at least some of this (if not most of it) is already accounted for in park factors, which are in turn accounted for in OPS+, right?
Of course, he's going to be playing most days, so it's just hoping his offense gain makes up for the defensive dropoff.

Well, yeah, this is my point.

Bottom line is that Castellanos overall is a 1.5-2 WAR per year player, which barely meets the standard of cromulence. Granted, most of his playing time will come from Almora, who is doing worse than that this year (although who has been roughly that in the past).

But here's fun fact - Castellanos has actually been out-WAR'd this year by ... David Bote (1.3 to 1.2) despite Bote having considerably less playing time. Less playing time for Almora is one thing. But if playing him means less time for Bote (because Bryant plays less in the OF), then that's probably a net downgrade.

At any rate, one place where I definitely disagree with you is that they need to keep Almora on the active roster as a defensive replacement, where he should enter basically every time they have a lead past the 6th inning.

Along those lines, one factor in the Cubs' favor here is that Maddon is pretty good about playing to the strengths and weaknesses of his roster. So keeping some offensive/defensive flexibility is really important, I think. I'm not sure I wouldn't rather have Russell than Kemp, to be honest.
   43. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 01, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5867531)
But here's fun fact - Castellanos has actually been out-WAR'd this year by ... David Bote (1.3 to 1.2) despite Bote having considerably less playing time. Less playing time for Almora is one thing. But if playing him means less time for Bote (because Bryant plays less in the OF), then that's probably a net downgrade.

You address this to some extent a couple paragraphs later anyway, but the question isn't so much whose playing time Castellanos gets; it's when he gets it. The Cubs' primary starters in both OF corners right now are left-handed. Castellanos has posted an .868 OPS against LHP in his career, and over 1.000 in both 2018 and 2019. Schwarber is at .621 for his career, and just over .650 in the last two years. Heyward is at .652 for his career, and around there for 2018-19 combined (just under .600 this year, just over .700 last year). With Castellanos on board, the Cubs can credibly bench both Heyward and Schwarber against a lefty if they want to (Bote 3B, Bryant RF, Castellanos LF, Almora CF). (Looking way too far ahead, both the Dodgers and Braves have two lefties in their likely playoff rotations). If he doesn't start against right-handers, he's available to hit for Schwarber and Heyward if they get LOOGY'd late in the game.

As you noted, Maddon is pretty good at getting utility out of his role players; Castellanos gives him more options in that regard.
   44. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2019 at 06:58 PM (#5867545)
Good point, Eric J, although it also underscores what I've been saying about it being a small upgrade at best - let's face it, a platoon upgrade against LHP is nice but not really a huge deal. Especially since the Cubs are really good against RHP. Is Castellanos really going to be a platoon starter? If so, that means their big deadline upgrade is a guy who figures to start every 3-4 days on average. But if not, then he probably weakens the team against RHP, no?

   45. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 01, 2019 at 08:33 PM (#5867565)
Is Castellanos really going to be a platoon starter? If so, that means their big deadline upgrade is a guy who figures to start every 3-4 days on average. But if not, then he probably weakens the team against RHP, no?

Heyward and Schwarber both significantly outhit Castellanos against right-handers, so I wouldn't play him over either of them. Almora hits worse against RHP, so there's the option to run Schwarber/Heyward/Castellanos if you have a ground ball pitcher on the mound or otherwise feel like OF defense isn't a priority in a particular game. (Of course, there's always Happ against right-handers as well; LHB is his stronger side.)

Maddon's lineups generally haven't involved very many set configurations for most of his time here; the only players who've started 75% of the team's games at a particular position this year have been Baez, Rizzo, and Schwarber. (Last year, it was only Rizzo and -gulp- Contreras; in 2017 it was Rizzo and Bryant, in 2016 Rizzo and Russell.) If Castellanos in RF is an everyday occurrence for the next two months, I'll be surprised.

Overall, yes, it's a small upgrade; I'm given to understand that the Cubs didn't have the chips to get a big one at the moment. This one at least fills a particular need, especially if Castellanos is deployed well.
   46. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2019 at 08:48 PM (#5867572)
Yeah, I guess I just feel like the price for Castellanos - while not being high in absolute terms - was pretty high in relative terms for a spot starter on the short end of a platoon and, on top of that, who trades away on defense a fair amount of the value that he provides on offense. It seems weird to me that lefty-mashing, defensively-incapable corner outfielders are so hard to find.

Where have you gone, Glenallen Hill*? Cubs nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

*acquired by the Cubs via July waiver claim in 1998 and proceeded to post a 154 OPS+ over the rest of the season
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 01, 2019 at 08:55 PM (#5867576)
Glenallen Hill, where are we when we really need you?
Running away from spiders somewhere, I would assume.
   48. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 01, 2019 at 10:12 PM (#5867593)
Re: Castellanos.

He's the only reason they weren't no-hit today.

That's a pretty pitiful series by the offense. What - three runs in three games? But at least they weren't swept! No, just yet another road series that they lost.
   49. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2019 at 10:12 PM (#5867594)
Well, obviously this one game tonight means I'm completely right about everything.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 01, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5867597)
The Cards took the current temperature tonight...and not orally.
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 02, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5867646)
Did you post that before or after you read Lester's quote?

---

The Cubs are now 21-33 on the road, after starting the year 12-11. They're 18 above .500 at home and 12 below on the road. That's really ####### hard to do and impossible to understand.
   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 02, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5867647)
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 11h

Can confirm that Cubs are planning to have Ben Zobrist begin a Minor League assignment with South Bend this weekend. Theo Epstein said earlier on this road trip that this weekend was the target.

Would need to be activated on 8/31 to be eligible for playoffs, if all goes well.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5867649)
Did you post that before or after you read Lester's quote?
What was Lester's quote? I'm not aware.
   54. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 02, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5867659)
Biggest Home/Road splits of the last 40 years:
1t. 1996 COL: .679 Home/.346 Road (.333 Dif)
1t. 1987 MIN: .691/.358 (.333 Dif)
3. 1978 HOU: .617/.296 (.321 Dif)
4t. 2003 COL: .605/.309 (.296 Dif)
4t. 2014 COL: .556/.259 (.296 Dif - it's all rounding: both 2003 and 2014 COL won 24 more home games than road games while playing 162 games each year)
4t. 1996 FLA: .642/.346 (.296 Dif)
7t. 1990 HOU: .605/.321 (.284 Dif)
7t. 2010 DET: .642/.358 (.284 Dif)
7t. 2010 PIT: .494/.210 (.284 Dif)
7t. 1987 BOX: .625/.341 (.284 Dif)

Those are the only ones I can find with more extreme differences from this year's Cubs. So it's rare - but it can happen!

Only the 1996 Rockies & 1987 Twins had winning records. 2010 Tigers were .500 and the 1996 Marlins just under. Just off the list is the 1982 Royals, who went 90-72 (56-25 / 34-47)

Most obvious theme? 3 ROckies teams. Maybe there's a similar effect from the opposite direction with the 1978 Astros. The 1980s filled-up Metrodome was known for giving the Twins a big boost.
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 02, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5867668)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 12h

Jon Lester after Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals combined for a one-hitter in an 8-0 shutout: “He pretty much shoved it right up our asses.”
   56. bfan Posted: August 02, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5867677)
The 1980s filled-up Metrodome was known for giving the Twins a big boost.


Yes, it always help when you have the air-conditioners blowing at gale force in from the outfield when your team is pitching.
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 02, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5867726)
Heyward
Castellanos
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Schwarber
Contreras
Bote
Quintana

against RHP. If Happ is going to be up, he should be playing more...
   58. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5867732)
Jon Lester after Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals combined for a one-hitter in an 8-0 shutout: “He pretty much shoved it right up our asses.”
Heh. Yes he did, Jon. Yes he did.
   59. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 02, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5867765)
Do you guys feel like the absence of a true lead-off type hitter has had a lot to do with the Cubs' offensive struggles the last couple of years? I'm not saying it's the reason they are so maddeningly inconsistent offensively. It's just that I think back to the 2016 season when they had Dexter Fowler at the top. He missed a couple weeks during the season and I recall the offense just deflating a good bit. He returned and things picked back up.

I have no numbers to back it up, but it seems like they've struggled to find a consistent guy for that slot since then. Zobrist is the exception, but of course, he's spent parts of the last couple seasons either being a corpse or injured. I don't know. I'm willing to see how Heyward shakes out in the spot, since he's hit better this season, but even then, he just seems like a "he might be the best we can do" option for that spot.

I guess I'm just trying to pinpoint how this lineup can be so mediocre or outright bad at times given the talent of the guys in it.
   60. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 02, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5867766)
Just heard on the radio that the Cubs had travel issues yesterday and didn't get back to Chicago until 1:30 AM.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 02, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5867785)
Walks - maybe. The fan side of my brain surely thinks it's played a part. There's got to be some back luck or sequencing involved, but the Cubs have just had too many holes in the lineup that maybe it makes them more susceptible to the types of droughts they have. Whether or not that means they need a "true" lead-off hitter, I dunno, but at the same time as a team the lead-off hitter this year is hitting .215/.285/.393, worse than any other spot in the lineup and much worse than 8th (.255/.350/.452) and the 8th spot has 81 fewer PAs this year. So #### like that adds up too. Maybe there's something to how Maddon juggles the lineup or the mental makeup of these particular players or just the types of players that Thed prefer or some other completely unquantifiable and inexplicable reason that is just a big of factor, or maybe it really just is shitty luck though something about the mix or players just accentuates that bad luck.
   62. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5867795)
the Cubs have just had too many holes in the lineup that maybe it makes them more susceptible to the types of droughts they have
This. Just not enough consistently good hitters in the lineup to "keep the line moving" reliably. Plus, and this is just off the top of my head, it seems like Baez/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras might be a little more slump-prone than other teams' good hitters. Has anyone run any numbers on that?
   63. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 02, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5867798)
Re: Post #59

Not having a leadoff hitter hurts, but that's just one factor.

The biggest loss caused by Fowler isn't the leadoff slot, it's CF production. Albert Almora was iffy early on, but has regressed. Ian Happ had a nice start in 2018, but really regressed.

Speaking of regressing, there's really nothing much to say about Addison Russell. His failures are probably the single biggest problem the position players have had. This was supposed to be a core player for the future, and now he's in AAA.

At the same time, Ben Zobrist got old. Well, that's something everyone expected at least. But Zobrist, Fowler, and Russell were all elected as starters to the All-Star Team in 2016. None have really contributed anything this year. If it wasn't for Zobrist's 2018, I'd say they'd contributed nothing offensively.

Now, you do have Baez stepping up. But that's just one slot.

Meanwhile, prior to this year Heyward has been a disappointment. And Schwarber.... he's got power, but not much else. His line from 2017-onward: .224/.329/.469. The team expected more from him than that. You can't blame it all on his slow start to 2017, either. His batting average this year is only slightly higher than his 2017 season batting average. It ain't like his glove's making him a major leaguer. By WAA, he's been a below average player each season since the world title.

This is the glass half-empty look. Almora was OK in 2017. Zobrist was good in 2018. Heyward's been good in 2019. Even among the guys mentioned here,
you've got something good each year. But what looked like a stacked lineup has turned into a lineup with 3-4 holes in it each year.

They're still 6th in the NL in runs/game. And 4th in OPS (6th in OPS+, but one point behind MIL & ARI). The strong points on the team are still strong, and almost all teams have some problems. But the above is why the Cubs have had problems.

The lack of production from several slots is a bigger deal than the lack of a good leadoff man.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5867802)
Yep. It's a significant, if not utter, failure of player development, and management's attempts to fill the resulting holes have mostly made things worse rather than better.
   65. Red Voodooin Posted: August 02, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5867834)
Yep. It's a significant, if not utter, failure of player development, and management's attempts to fill the resulting holes have mostly made things worse rather than better.


I dunno, this seems like a pretty massive oversell. If we look back to the winter of 2017, the Cubs had a handful of young players who looked good in brief or extended stints over the previous two years that we hoped would take the next step and become stars. (For the purpose of this argument, we'll say that Bryant and Rizzo were already established as superstars and despite some injuries and slumps in subsequent years, they've remained at that level).

Now, if you would have asked me in January 2017, which of Baez, Russell, Schwarber, Contreras, Almora and Happ (who didn't have any MLB experience, but had first round pedigree, so we'll lump him into this group) was going to take the next step and become a top 50 MLB players, I would have said Addison and Schwarbs (and I think most around here would have, too). Instead it was Baez and Contreras who broke out while Russell and Schwarber have hovered around the floor of their potential (or worse, all things considered for Russell). Still, though that doesn't seem too bad in terms of cashing in on your young assets, and there is still value to be out of the rest of that bunch (except Russell, who still would be valuable if he wasn't a total ########). It seems unfair to call the Cubs to task for the failure of Schwarber and Russell to become stars, without giving them credit for Javy and Willson reaching (or in Baez's case, exceeding) their reasonable near-term ceilings.
   66. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5867848)
I guess "utter failure" is going too far, yeah, but only getting two good players out of that group (and absolutely nothing on the pitching side except, as we've said, partial Hendricks credit) is at least some sort of failure. I think you're overstating the value of the rest of them, especially Russell. His bat just gets worse and worse, and his defense is only keeping him barely above replacement level. That's not a valuable profile.
   67. Brian C Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5867849)
Today was the 4th straight game that the Cubs' starter did not walk a batter.

Cubs starters since the ASG: 19 GS, 109.2 IP, 19 BB, 110 K
   68. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:23 PM (#5867850)
Maybe we're a bit disappointed in the lineup but a big part of that is that the Cubs are spending $97.9 million on the rotation and just under $50 million on the bullpen (I'm not breaking the bullpen down because it's complicated). That definitely has an effect on their ability to supplement the lineup; let alone the cost in position talent the Cubs have paid in trading for some of these pitchers. I think the inability to develop pitching is the team's core issue. I don't think the stalling out of some of the young hitters is that abnormal.

Lester 27.5
Hamels 20.0
Darvish 20.0
Chatwood 12.5
Quintana 10.5
Hendricks 7.4
   69. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5867851)
How is Cole Hamels recovery going? Any word when he's due back to the rotation?
   70. Brian C Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5867852)
His bat just gets worse and worse, and his defense is only keeping him barely above replacement level. That's not a valuable profile.

His bat just gets worse and worse?

OPS+ by season:

2015: 91
2016: 94
2017: 84
2018: 76
2019: 88

Obviously last year was a bit of a dropoff but otherwise he's been pretty consistent. He already has more HR this year in very limited time than he did all last year.

He didn't become what we all hoped for, of course, and moving him to 2B took some of his value away. But apart from his personal issues, an excellent defensive middle infielder with his bat obviously has value.
   71. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5867853)
Fair point - it wasn't clear from what I wrote, but I was also thinking of that (and not just the lineup) when I said that management's attempts to fill holes had made things worse rather than better.
   72. Brian C Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:27 PM (#5867854)
How is Cole Hamels recovery going? Any word when he's due back to the rotation?

He's back tomorrow. He made a rehab start in Iowa the other night.
   73. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 02, 2019 at 05:53 PM (#5867863)
OPS+ by season:

2015: 91
2016: 94
2017: 84
2018: 76
2019: 88

Obviously last year was a bit of a dropoff but otherwise he's been pretty consistent.


There's two years of drop off there: In 2017 and again in 2018. An OPS+ of 94 is good for a SS. Really, it's an average OPS+ for a shortstop.

But an OPS+ in 2017 of 84? That's bad. NL shortstops overall had an OPS of 712 in 2017. Addison Russell was at 657. And that league SS OPS includes all backups and middle infielders. In the 2017 NL, 18 players had 300+ PA while playing at least half their games at SS. Russell tied for 12th in OPS+ and 14th in oWAR. But he was young and people take backwards steps sometimes.

I figured he was going to improve in 2018. Hey, development isn't a straight line. Instead he was even worse. An OPS+ of 76 is replacement level. This time 16 NL players had 300+ PA while playing at least half of their games at SS. Russell ranked 14th in oWAR and 14th in OPS+. He still had value because of his tremendous defense, but offensively he'd gone from average at the position to near the bottom.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 03, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5867963)
Brach DFA for Hamels. This is the right move, keeping Wick over him, but I'm actually surprised the Cubs made it.

Vs LHP Gonzalez today:
Heyward RF
Castellanos LF
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Contreras
Almora
Bote
Hamels

Guess they're still not buying Almora's 34wRC+ against LHP.
   75. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 03, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5867965)
It's mostly cherry picking, but Russell only played in 55 games this year, so I'm not at all convinced that 88ops+ this year is really an improvement over last year as I think a semi-hot stretch with a couple HRs just masks his overall numbers. He had 3 HRs in a 4 game stretch and he went 7 for 14 during it, that's basically the difference between this year looking better or worse than last year. He had a .577 ops before it, and a .636 after.

Like I said, cherry picking, but outside those 4 games he was worse than last year. But considering the small samples involved, I'm fine saying his bat was getting worse and worse.
   76. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 03, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5867968)
Addison Russell in his 2016 All-Star season: .238/.321/.417
Addison Russell in his get-sent-to-AAA season: .247/.329/.404

He's the exact same hitter he's always been. He'd have to be Khris Davis to post more similar numbers than that.
   77. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 03, 2019 at 07:28 PM (#5868057)
Tom,
OK - that's a nice one.

He's definitely having his best offensive year since 2016. I was surprised that the Cubs demoted him. My impression at the time - bolstered by what you note in post #76, that it was more caused by other factors. He'd been caught playing brain dead on defense and on the bases in the days/weeks prior to his demotion. He made a comment to the media after a bad baserunning day that he needed to learn the signals (!) while on the bases. Joe Maddon gave a radio interview a day or two before the demotion saying that he's been taught all the things to do by the coaches, he just has to actually go and do it.

If I want to nitpick the 2016/2019 offensive comparison, the context has changed a bit. In 2016, the NL average 4.48 runs/game and had an overall OPS of 734. In 2019, it's 4.76 and 752 respectively. Wrigley is mildly more of a hitter's park these days (it's slight: 101 factor in 2016, 103 now). His OPS should be up about 35 points instead of down by 5. But that's nitpicking - even with all that, his adjusted OPS is 95% of what it was in 2016.

Here's a split for you - Addison Russell as a starter vs. as a sub (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 2019:
Starter: .258/.354/.444
Substitute: .182/.174/.182

17 games off the bench: 24 PA, 4 singles, no walks. 1 SH, 1 SF.
   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 03, 2019 at 08:09 PM (#5868065)
Sure, if you ignore all the context we've been talking about, his 2016 line (when he was an underserving All-Star voted in by the fans riding high on a team that had a historically great first half) superficially looks pretty close to this year*. I'll repeat myself, but I'm comfortable saying this year really isn't an improvement considering the smaller sample and how one good half week makes that big of a difference on his overall line.

Yet ignoring all that, as well as the league context and the fact that he turned out to be a total piece of ####, he's still extremely disappointing because a guy that can come up and hold their own at 21/22 is the type of guy you expect to improve - maybe hope they make a leap even - and not regress. Even if he'd maintained that ~90ish OPS+ from his first 2 seasons these last 3, he'd be seen as a disappointment because he never improved at anything. Maybe his minor league numbers should have been a sign that he'd top out at this type of player and not break out like Bogaerts (who was still better than Russell before the offensive jump the last couple years), but he was always young for his leagues and hit at least average for those leagues.

Yes, Dag, turning into a moron in the field and on the bases and lacking any self-awareness about it (though we shouldn't be surprised by that part), was the final straw that sent him back down. He also gets more than his fair share of ####, and that's probably deflecting some hate that should also be going Schwarber's way**

*Yet he's still way off his pace for both oWAR and dWAR this year compared to that year too.
**His bat always looked like it'd be better than it's turned out, and he's also been a victim of hype - much of it brought on by the front office - but he also has taken some real steps back this year after he looked better last year (and assuming his terrible luck in the clutch last year regressed to the mean, it wasn't that crazy to think he'd actually hit better than last year even if he didn't improve at all).
   79. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 03, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5868067)
Contreras leaving today with a hamstring injury is going to really hurt, even if it turns out to be just a mild sprain. I don't think the Cubs would undo the Maldonado/Kemp swap, but I'd expect the Cubs to add one of the recent DFA ex-catchers of theirs back (Federowicz or Wilson; LuCroy hasn't been here before but they might take a chance on him). They're saying he'll get an MRI Monday, and Davis will likely be up tomorrow.

---

Since Bryant hurt his knee against the Giants, he's gone 5 for 33 with 12Ks/1BB and no XBH. Maybe it's just a coincidental slump - a sore knee shouldn't really make his chase as many pitches out of the zone he has been lately, but he was in a really good stretch when he got hurt. Maybe I'm just overly pessimistic after how last year went with his shoulder, but they really can't afford to have him at this reduced level while Contreras is out.

Rizzo is also in another mini-slump since they got to SF (.602OPS plus today's 0 for 3 with a BB). Javy seems to be heating up a bit. I'm not sure how good Castellanos will really be, but he's had a bunch of great ABs so far and has a lot of loud outs (he hasn't been challenged at all defensively yet in either corner, but with his rep and numbers I would have expected him to at least look a lot more awkward than he's been).

---

Hamels looked good. That's 5 straight starts with the SP not issuing a walk.
   80. Brian C Posted: August 03, 2019 at 10:43 PM (#5868126)
Hamels looked good. That's 5 straight starts with the SP not issuing a walk.

Which means that since the ASG, Cubs starters are now averaging less than one walk per game. That seems impressive - I'd have to assume that they've never done that in any other 20-game stretch in the 30+ years that I've been following them.
   81. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 04, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5868170)
Bryant gets a day off today, probably very needed.

Heyward
Castellanos
Rizzo
Baez
Schwarber
Caratini
Kemp
Bote
Darvish
   82. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 04, 2019 at 06:48 PM (#5868231)
AUGUST 4:
1931 Cubs purchase Billy Herman from Louisville (AA) for $50,000
1932 Charlie Grimm's first game as manager
1937 Gabby Hartnett hitting streak hits 24 games, easily the longest of his career
1955 Ernie Banks hits 3 HR in one game off 3 different pitchers. CHC 11, PIT 10
1960 Billy Martin throws bat at Jim Brewer, then starts brawl in CIN-CHC game. Brewer's right cheek bone shattered

   83. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 04, 2019 at 08:55 PM (#5868248)
Since the beginning of June Darvish has 76 strikeouts and 10 walks.
   84. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 05, 2019 at 02:12 AM (#5868296)
So if the Cubs can convince MLB to forego any more road games, I think they're going to be OK.
   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5868306)
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian ·16h

Dating back to June 10, Yu Darvish has a 10.1 K/BB ratio and has walked 3.0% of his batters faced in 59.2 IP. In his first 13 starts (66.1 IP) this year, he had a 1.8 K/BB and walked 14.9% of his batters faced.


It's like a switch just flipped or something with him. After the game, Maddon said Yu was a bit sick yesterday so that's partially why he was pulled after 5 innings.
   86. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 05, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5868317)
At first he seemed to be avoiding walks by throwing meatballs and giving up a ton of homers. Now he's cut those out while maintaining the outstanding K:BB rate. He's had ten starts from June 10th forward. His HR allowed/9 IP for the first five was 2.6 and for the latter five it's 0.93.

HR rate is a very fluky thing so I don't want to put too much into that. His game logs do have an interesting pattern, though. At first he's got a bad K:BB and home run rate; then a bad K:BB but he stops giving up homers; then a good K:BB but starts giving up lots of homers again; and recently he's doing well on all counts.
   87. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5868333)
Sharma wrote about Darvish too:
Since May 15, Darvish has a 29.2 percent strikeout rate and a mere 5 percent walk rate. Over that period, among NL starters, only Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Walker Buehler have a larger gap between their strikeout and walk percentages. His 89 1/3 innings pitched during that time is topped only by Aaron Nola, German Márquez and Partick Corbin. After correcting the walk problems, Darvish has fixed his home-run issues over his past five starts, and it’s led to a 2.17 ERA during that span.


Darvish struggled mightily with walks, mainly due to fastball command, early in the season. Darvish was throwing his four-seam fastball in the zone 52.7 percent of the time in April and May. Since then, he’s throwing it in the zone nearly 60 percent of the time.
   88. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5868344)
After the game, Maddon said Yu was a bit sick yesterday so that's partially why he was pulled after 5 innings.
That's exactly what Maddon wants you to believe. He is actually hell-bent on setting the record for consecutive games without the starter walking a batter.
   89. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5868388)
Oh, if you say so:

"I faced hitters just last week, so I'm pretty built up," Morrow said via text on Friday. "I've thrown the last two days and should be back on the mound early next week."

Morrow has been rehabbing at the Cubs' spring facility in Arizona and recently underwent yet another procedure after being diagnosed with radial tunnel syndrome (compressed nerve).

"On Monday, I had that nerve decompressed via hydrodissection," the right-hander said. "It took away all the aches and pain I was feeling in my elbow and forearm."

...

He had minor offseason elbow surgery, then a Synvisc injection in late April, a procedure typically done on an athlete's knee.

"That will lubricate and help to protect the area around my elbow," Morrow explained at the time.

...

"With the way I'm feeling, I expect to progress quickly," he said.

"I guess not more than a month away from being back," Morrow said.


I'll believe well after I see it.
   90. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5868408)
"With the way I'm feeling, I expect to progress quickly," he said.

"I guess not more than a month away from being back," Morrow said.
Brandon Morrow will undergo surgery today to repair a ruptured tendon in his right thumb, suffered while texting with a reporter on Friday. He is expected to be out for the remainder of forever.
   91. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 05, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5868438)
AUGUST 5:
1901 Topsy Hartsel, CHC, hits 2 inside the park HR in 10-7 loss to CIN
1911 CHC manager Frank Chace suspends Joe Tinker & fines $150 for indifferent play. He's reinstated the next day
1913 Cubs trade Ed Reulbach to Brooklyn
1922 released from a sanitarium, Phil Douglas gets drunk. Fined by team, docked five days pay, & must pay sanitium bill
1929 Rogers Hornsby walks 5 times in a game - only time that happens. Scores 2x. CHC 9, BRK 8 (16)
1930 11th consecutive game Hack Wilson has an RBI: 16-for-41, 19 runs, 3/1/7 xbh, 20 RBIs: .390/.510/1.024 OPS: 1534
1943 ubs trade Bill Lee to Phillies
1944 1,000 games as manager: Charlie Grimm: 580-416
1966 WPA's favorite Ron Santo game: WPA 1.022. 3-for-5, 2 HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI, 1 K. 1 ROE. CHC 4, SFG 3. So he had all team's RBIs
1977 Bob Dernier signed as amateur free agent by PHI
1988 Worst start of Greg Maddux's career: Game Score 5 (2.1 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
2014 MLB debut: Javier Baez. Hits game winning HR in top of 12th for the win (and his 1st MLB hit)

   92. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: August 05, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5868471)
hydrodissection

Well that just sounds terrifying.
   93. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5868476)
Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs ·5m

Source indicates Willson Contreras likely out 4 weeks with a hamstring injury.


Guess it could have been worse. My fear though is that he just won't be 100% again, or he gets reinjured shortly after coming back. I'd still expect a veteran C signing any day now.

Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs ·1h

Just mentioned on ESPN 1000 that Duane Underwood has been recalled for the Cubs. Unclear what the corresponding move is.


Someone (?) mentioned probably another RP to the IL, but there's no obvious one as I don't recall anyone leaving any of the games this weak with anything of note injury-wise.

EDIT: Twitter rumors are that it's Kimbrel, but no reasons or anything official yet. Ugh.
   94. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5868495)
Cooper @RushingBaseball ·6h

Yu Darvish

First 13 starts:
66.1 innings, 41 BB (14.9%, T-1st worst in MLB over this span)

Last 10 starts:
59.2 innings, 7 BB (3.0%, T-3rd best in MLB over this span)


I appreciate the rankings addition. What an unreal turnaround.

---

Heyward
Castellanos
Bryant
Rizzo
Baez
Schwarber
Caratini
Kemp
Hendricks

   95. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5868509)
Official:
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma ·1m

MRI revealed a strain for Contreras in right hamstring and he'll be out about 4 weeks. Right knee inflammation for Kimbrel. Initial hope is not much more than the 10 days for him, but will monitor it over the coming days. Felt it during his last outing.
   96. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 06:36 PM (#5868548)
Jed Hoyer says no plan in place currently for Brandon Morrow to get into a game and also no next step mapped out yet for Ben Zobrist.

Pedro Strop feeling well, but Cubs don't have a rehab assignment to announce yet.

Jed Hoyer said that Ben Zobrist went back to Nashville today.His next step will be discussed with the front office

Joe Maddon on catching situation . “ Schwarber already told me he is available to catch. He told me he wants to start. “Maddon will use him in an emergency .


Brach cleared waivers.
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 05, 2019 at 07:05 PM (#5868554)
#Cubs in agreement with free-agent pitcher Alex Wilson, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic.
   98. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2019 at 07:12 PM (#5868559)
...in which I learn that an "Alex Wilson" is apparently someone who has been a Major League reliever since 2013. I sense a pattern here.
   99. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: August 06, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5868686)
AUGUST 6:
1884 Cap Anson hits 3 homers in 1 game
1919 Pete Alexander loses when ball from Braves pitcher Ray Keating's bat goes through a hole in wire fence for a homer. 2-0
1959 MLB debut: Billy Williams
1981 NL owners agree to $20.5 million sale of CHC to the Tribune Company
1983 Walt Terrell, Met pitcher, hits 2 HR off of Ferguson Jenkins. Mets 4, Cubs 1
1989 Last time a reliever went at least 8 IP in outing: Scott Sanderson: 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 5K. Cubs. Loses to Pit, 5-4 (18)
1998 Jack Brickhouse dies at age 82. Play-by-play 1941-81





   100. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 06, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5868690)
Maddon said Kintzler has some discomfort in his right pec muscle. Cubs don't know anything more on his status at this time


No updates yet today.

Maddon did a good job last night with the pen, I think. I'm worried about Cishek, but he also got jobbed when CB missed a clear strike 3 and Martini homered later that AB (but I really can't complain that much about the zone as CB was extremely bad, as usual, but it felt like the Cubs had more go in their favor than the A's).

Bryant just doesn't look right at all. He just seems like he can't hit anything hard, when he finally succeeds at making contact which looks hard for him even. Thankfully Javy is on one of his tears, and Castellanos looks like a perfect compliment to this offense. I kinda want to see Happ at 2b to see if that's doable at all.

X
Page 1 of 4 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
tshipman
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.7646 seconds
59 querie(s) executed