Cubsters Last Stand

GAME 106 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (53-52) @ PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (55-51) CITIZENS BANK PARK, 6:05 pm CDT, TV: CSN
Vicente Padilla, RHP
5-9, 5.45 ERA
54/42 K/BB, 16 HR in 79.1 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
7-4, 3.43 ERA
128/61 K/BB, 12 HR in 139.0 IP
LF *Matt Lawton SS #Jimmy Rollins
CF Jerry Hairston CF *Kenny Lofton
1B Derrek Lee 2b *Chase Utley
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF *Bobby Abreu
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Pat Burrell
2B *Todd Walker 1B *Ryan Howard
SS #Neifi Perez 3B David Bell
C Michael Barrett C Mike Lieberthal
P #Carlos Zambrano P #Vicente Padilla
Wow, that's a lot of lefties in the Phillies lineup. Luckily Big Z handles them almost as effortlessly as he does the righties. I suppose we found the answer to the "Where Will Matt Lawton Play" sweepstakes? Sorry, Murton. Let's hope that he still gets to play against lefties as Lawton doesn't hit those southpaws all so well. As anyone could have predicted, Dusty pretty much went with alternating righties and lefties down the order, so let's hope we have a few more Felipe Alou's out there. I made my point last week that we needed to do a lot better in our homestand if the playoffs were to be reached this year. So we've now moved onto having to roll over the competition rather then just beating them soundly. And since the teams we face this week are some of our direct competition, 5 out of 6 is just about mandatory. And with three-fifths of our rotation nothing more than average, that will be a tough task to accomplish, unless Lawton can inspire our offense to another nice stretch of healthy run scoring. Go Cubs!
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Comments

*** Don't get me wrong, I like Michael Barrett a whole lot...but I'm not sure I like him enough not to go after pudge...not that Pudge would clear waivers up to our position probably anyways..but just a thought. ***

Pudge is a great player and everything, but I think his best, most valuable quality (and often most overlooked) is his leadership ability.

That makes me wonder who fills that role for the Cubs now...

Love him or hate him, I often see Neifi keeping the young pitchers calm and in check. He seems to pretty much be the "captain" of the infield.

Ron Galt:
"Of course, we all know lineup construction doesn't matter."

Here is some good info from BP about that very topic with two other case studies linked up.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

BP is free till midnight today, so read up quick.

Conclusion:
"With regards to lineup structure, this was far from exhaustive research on the subject, but it appears that bunching better players together and sorting by descending OBP yields the best results for run scoring with similar lineups. However, the differences between those lineups and the traditional lineup structure are minimal. Itís entirely possible that adding factors such as steals, extra bases and left-right alternation may make enough of a difference to counteract losses in OBP towards the top of the lineup or bunching of the better hitters."

HEre is another link to BP about lineup construction:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Conclusion:
"Each of these players was given three spots in the lineup and then all possible lineup combinations of these three players were run through the program (which runs each lineup through 1,000 seasons), giving us a sample size of well over a million seasons by the time things are all finished. The program outputs a minimum, mean, and maximum for each lineup. I also outputted the full results for the first 50 lineups to check standard deviations, all of which were between 39 and 41 runs. Of all the lineups, the highest mean runs scored was 834; the lowest mean was 816. Despite testing every possible combination with these three players, the range of means over the entire sample was 18 runs. There's just not that much difference."

Just to translate that CONCLUSION into plain english:

"I think that it makes a difference but I'm not really sure."

Here is one from Retrosheet:

http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/RuaneT/lin...

Conclusion:
"If anything, my approach shows that batting orders matter even less than people have believed. You would think that with such complicated forces at work here, some truly bizarre lineups might have been more efficient than the obvious ones used throughout the years, but if they exist, the methods described in this article didn't find them. That doesn't mean that specific teams haven't used illogical lineups in the past, only that one of those teams wasn't the San Francisco Giants over the past six years, and that it probably didn't cost these hypothetical teams a lot of runs anyway."

From the 1988 Baseball Abstract, Bill James summed up his view:

"Several people, maybe a dozen, have done simulation studies of lineups, and have all (as far as I know) reported that it really doesn't make any difference, that one lineup is as good as another."

Has he done one himself? Anyone know, please link it up. Thanks!!

On a positive note, since the Cubs are one of the lower teams in contention, they have a better chance at making waiver wire deals.

I would prefer Aram bat 4 and Burny 5 but it really doesn't make that much of a differnce. At the most a run or two a week, that having a leadoff hitter like Lawton make up for now.

I'm just posting facts. Apparently it's a Rohrshach test and difficult for adum poster to understand.

But in view of the fact that most people think the Cubs bullpen is a Low Pressure Center please consider the local opinion of two primary players in a recent Cub trade....

" Adding Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta's staff made Leo Mazzone's day.

The Braves pitching coach described himself as "happier than a pig in slop" and was giddy after watching the newly acquired reliever throw in the bullpen Monday.

"Schuerholz did it again," Mazzone said, referring to general manager John Schuerholz, who made the trade with Detroit. "He picked up the best reliever possibly available."

Mazzone said Farnsworth will be the eighth-inning bridge to closer Chris Reitsma and also close out games.

The 29-year-old native of Alpharetta, Ga., will be a free agent and hopes to stay with the Braves."
_______

VERSUS
_______

"You guys have lost all concept of the reality of this game. So dempster is out, then you get Novoa, a fly ball pitcher in..batter gets a double, we lose."

"novoa? wuertz? remlinger? that IS dempster's backup core... ~snip~
face it, this pen is a mess and the dumpster is the only guy you can count on...and counting on that is just scarey in itself."

"And all of you who want make children with Roberto Novoa have apparently not been watching his last 2 weeks of baseball. There's nobody amongst those Bad News Bears rejects in the pen I want in the game with the bags juiced over Demp."

"Who would you rather have had in there? Would you rather have put in Robert Novoa with 1 out and 2 men on?"

" If Dusty went to Novoa, we could have lost."

"Dempster didn't have it tonight but I'm not putting a rookie ( Novoa) in that kind of spot."

"We need a blowout tommrrow because it looks like Novoa is going to be the closer for the game."

"when other teams score against our rag-tag bullpen and win games... when Novoa gives up game winning homers"

Manny,

The problem with all of these studies is that the "model" teams they use to run the numbers don't really resemble the Cubs lineup. For example, here's the lineup from the BP article:

Player 1: .305/.361/.346
Player 2: .305/.361/.346
Player 3: .318/.398/.511
Player 4: .274/.350/.463
Player 5: .274/.350/.463
Player 6: .276/.334/.437
Player 7: .241/.325/.321
Player 8: .241/.325/.321
Player 9: .106/.166/.176

The Cubs aren't anywhere near that balanced. D-Lee and Aramis are significantly better than their projected 3/4 guys, and between Neifi, Corey, Dubois, and Holly, we had three guys in the lineup for most of the first half with a .300 or below OBP.

Cubswin,

What is your point? That Farnsworth was able to put it together somewhere other than Chicago? Big deal. He's not the first person to do so. Sometimes is take a change of scenery for that to happen. Farnsworth proved last year that he wasn't going to get it done here. Did you even see him pitch last year? Not to mention, getting saves in Detroit is not the same as in Atlanta, where it matters if the Braves win or not. Let's see how Kyle does down the stretch in real pressure situations. Let's see how he does with two runners on in the eight against second place Washington as opposed to cellar dwellers KC or Seattle.

18 runs is the difference between going 81-81 and 84-78.

3 more Wins (pythagorean)

Vorare-
Of course, the study is not done on the 2005 Cubs, but as a compostite (NL and AL lineups from 1993 -2004) of traditional lineups vs. unconventional, like the retrosheet study, where they looked at the 362,880 possible lineups and came up with the best lineup (4.143 runs/gm) vs. worst lineup (3.967 runs/gm). That is a difference of 28 runs over the course of the entire season, from worst possible to best possible lineup.

But you are correct, the studies are not based specifically on the 2005 Cubs, but a composite of the teams lineups.

That Farnsworth was able to put it together somewhere other than Chicago? Big deal. He's not the first person to do so. Sometimes is take a change of scenery for that to happen

Or maybe our coaching sucks, just something to think about.


"Several people, maybe a dozen, have done simulation studies of lineups, and have all (as far as I know) reported that it really doesn't make any difference, that one lineup is as good as another."

Simulation, hypothetical, far from exhaustive research, etc, etc.
A whole lot of faith your putting in a computer simulation to try and make your point.

Thinking about it some more, it was a mistake on my part to mention lineup construction. That mistake, at least in the top two slots, has been sufficiently corrected, although in traditional fashion, too late to stem the bleeding (cf. 130-pitch outings).

I don't give a damn about counting stats, but it's going to be a shame if Lee falls 2-3 RBI short of the Triple Crown.

CWTP:
"18 runs is the difference between going 81-81 and 84-78."

Theoretically, yes, but in actually who knows. It could make the difference of 10 wins or 0 wins.

But that is from WORST to BEST possible lineup. Even the anti-christ Dusty doesn't trot out there anything close to the WORST possible lineup (probally top 10% of best possible lineups), so that 18 runs would shrink considerably.

Chicago White Sox = 519 runs scored = 69 wins
Toronto Blue Jays = 520 runs scored = 54 wins

The overall point being, is so much is complained about here on lineup construction, but the differnce is so small, it is clearly not worth the over abundance of complaints.

And I don't hear anyone complaing about Hairston leading off the past month (which he has struggled) and the team still struggling scoring runs.

Nomar is 1 for 2 today so far. The hit was a single. Marmol is having a rough day as it is 5-0 Huntsville.

Or maybe our coaching sucks, just something to think about.

Or maybe Hi-Tops hasn't opened up in Detroit or Atlanta yet.

Computer simulations are an important component of statistical analysis and should not be dismissed out-of-hand. But most of the line-up studies I've read about usually suffer from a fairly common flaw, which is called lack of sufficient variability.

If all managers tend to follow a "book" way of putting a line-up together, then any study will lack sufficient season-by-season, team-by-team variability. No manager has tried to bat the pitcher and weak-hitting catcher 1-2, so we really don't know how "poorly" that line-up would produce runs, at least not in a statistically meaningful way. And an analysis that looks at only one season's worth of line-ups is only measuring the construction skills of 30 or so managers that essentially copy one another -- you are simply not going to get good statistical results that way.

But the fact that it is hard to find statistically significant data does not mean that there is not a relationship between batting order and runs scored.

The most-convincing evidence that line-up construction matters to me has always been the simple fact that because baseball is a game of nine players and nine innings of three outs, the guys at the top of the order get more opportunities than the guys at the bottom. This means you put your best guys up at the top and your worst at the bottom. You'd be foolish not to!

Rob G.:
"Or maybe our coaching sucks, just something to think about."

I think you might have a point with Rothschild. There have been some complaints about him recently and maybe there is something to it. Both JoBo and Farns have gone on to pitch well after leaving here. Who knows, but it is worth at least keeping an eye on.

People weren't complaining about Hairston because he was the best option available. Most everyone one but you seems to recognize this. Now that we have a better option at leadoff, no one is complaining once again. Patterson, Perez, and Macias are NEVER the best options to be the leadoff hitter or anywhere near the top of the lineup. So people complain. It's quite simple actually.

Rob G:
"Simulation, hypothetical, far from exhaustive research, etc, etc.
A whole lot of faith your putting in a computer simulation to try and make your point. "

You may be right, but with all the stat heads and SABR minded folks on here saying basically that people should be more openminded about changes in looking at things, you would think more people woud be open to the idea that all these studies are on to somethingt, instead of just out and out not beleiveing it.

Blue:
"Or maybe Hi-Tops hasn't opened up in Detroit or Atlanta yet."

CLASSIC.....Very funny!!

Rob G-
But why are we still having problems scoring runs, if Hairston was the better option? It didn't seem to solve the ills of the offense.

Think of it as an intelligence test. If you don't get my point I don't care.

But start by asking yourself the question, Which is the better more successful organization Atlanta or Chicago? Maybe the Braves (not to mention Detroit and IRod) know something the ALL-CAPS braintrust doesn't?

or

What is it about Kansas City, Detroit, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Atlanta...apparently any other town but Chicago ....that instantaneously transforms pitchers the Cubs have consigned to the crap pile into worldbeaters other clubs are ecstatic to have on their teams? I don't think it's luck. I don't think Joe Bo for example suddenly got lucky 10 times in a row immediately after being cast off by the Cubs. I think it's likely that players may have been rushed off the DL into game situations, might have been playing hurt, might have been misused and might have been mismanaged.

Now, anywhere else but here the past couple days that opinion wouldn't be particularly controversial. I don't think it is. But then that's just me.

However, some of us are waiting for the ALL-CAPS CROWD!! to stop waving their arms and explain why a players' manager couldn't get ANYTHING AT ALL!! out of our MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR!! bullpen. Why he did so poorly that the MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR!! bullpen is mostly elsewhere doing EXTREMELY WELL.

And, in view of the Death Valley Low Opinion you all have of Novoa, how can he be considered an upgrade over Kyle Farnsworth??

Even the anti-christ Dusty doesn't trot out there anything close to the WORST possible lineup (probally top 10% of best possible lineups)... The overall point being, is so much is complained about here on lineup construction, but the differnce is so small, it is clearly not worth the over abundance of complaints.

This kind of thing, however, leads cynic Ron to hope Derrek does fall short, preferably by one.

Manny, I can acknowledge, as I did above, that Baker is (thank God) no longer making catastrophic mistakes with lineup production. On this point, you are best off nodding in silence. Instead, you insert that top 10% remark. Sure, top 10% if you're painting everybody's name on dice and rolling them and don't care if Maddux bats cleanup.

As usual, you "back it up" with an assertion about Hairston. Well, have a gander at the leadoff Cubs ranked by AB+BB:

Hairston 259/304/417 115
Perez 245/260/353 104
Patterson 242/272/404 103
Hollandsworth 250/276/375 58
Walker 261/292/413 48
Macias 300/300/300 20

Jerry Hairston, as tepid as he's been, stands head and shoulders above the 265 PAs (59% of all leadoff PAs) consumed by the group who 80% of this board knew damn well would need a Lonely Planet Guide To First Base to succeed batting leadoff.

You'd think you could buy one of those with $4 million a year.

In my opinion the reason this offense has struggled is because of a lack of 2-out RBI's. It always seems like we let pitchers off the hook. The 9th yesterday was an example of this. If burny could have gotten a hit in that sitution we are up 3 or 4 runs going into the bottom part of the 9th.

Ryno re: Post #200 - I'd say sox fans are more fanatical in general. Too many cubs "fans" go to games because Wrigley is the world's largest beer garden, not just to see the game. Red Sox fans are wicked intense, which is both good and bad. Even when the Pats are winning multiple super bowls, most of Boston just cares about the sox. Hell, they have news specials when they load up the truck in February for the drive down to Ft. Myers for spring training.

chifan...I would guess, without looking, that we are fine compared to the league in 2 out rbi's. Think of it this way, our only runs yesterday scored with 2 outs, and back in the extra inning ST Louis game all 8 of our runs scored with 2 out.

Again, just from memory, it seems like our big problem is getting RISP home with less than 2 out....as of late, we seem to be dreadful in that category.

Where can I find stats on this?

But why are we still having problems scoring runs, if Hairston was the better option? It didn't seem to solve the ills of the offense.

For the umpteenth time, you're taking 3 or 4 weeks of at-bats and games as something resembling statiscally significant.

Also, when he was first put into the lineup, we scored a ton of runs.

And for someone, who I know ,thinks WINS are the ultimate stat, we went from a well below .500 team to an above .500 team once Dusty put out a lineup that made sense. As the saying goes, correlation doesn't imply causation, but I'd figure you'd be all for it.

I don't have data to support this, but I bet that Hairston was about as unlucky a hitter as you can be the last few weeks. Not only do I like his leadoff approach (sees a lot of pitches which in turns helps gets you into a team's bullpen sooner, not to mention allows the hitters behind you a chance to see what an opposing pitcher is throwing). I would venture a guess that he was extremely UNLUCKY in his BABIP average. He seemed to hit a lot of balls hard that went right at people. That tends to balance itself out after awhile and one of the many reasons I'm not going to put much credence in a month worth of at-bats.

Unlike most around here, the offense isn't our problem. We certainly can do a bit better, but it's the bullpen and starting pitching that is the reason for our .500ish team.

And finally, Hairston was our best option at center and leadoff. but I'm glad Hendry got someone better. Now if Dusty would get with the program and put Burnitz or Lawton in center and put Hairston back on the bench.

For a guy who doesn't like Hairston and is all about guys on hot streaks, you should be up in arms that our outfield isn't Murton, Burnitz, Lawton right now?

Raffy's plea-
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

I smell a Raffy "i'm an addict" plea coming.

Can you be addicted to steroids?

"Think of it as an intelligence test. If you don't get my point I don't care."

You failed a long time ago. You're just shouting into the wind at this point.

Although I must say, attempting to compare some internet posters complaining about novoa in one game to a fluff AP article about the braves trading for farnsworth...that's pretty ambitious!

"[F]rom memory, it seems like our big problem is getting RISP home with less than 2 out....as of late, we seem to be dreadful in that category.

Where can I find stats on this?"

I think the problem is simpler. Driving the RISP in is not the problem; the problem is getting them in scoring position in the first place.

Here are the Cubs ranks in the NL

SLG 2nd
Runs 6th
OBP 10th

To put a finer point on it the problem is a lack of walks as the Cubs rank 2nd in Batting Average.

Walks are also the anchor that is holding back the pitching staff, which is first in K/9, 3rd in BAA, but is 8th in ERA as they are 3rd worst in walks allowed and home runs given up.

It has been said that the most important thing in baseball is control of the strike zone and unfortunately the Cubs are failing to do that on both sides of the ball.

"What is it about Kansas City, Detroit, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Atlanta...apparently any other town but Chicago ....that instantaneously transforms pitchers the Cubs have consigned to the crap pile into worldbeaters other clubs are ecstatic to have on their teams?

1. Hawkins is hardly a worldbeater...his first few weeks in San Francisco were absolutely horrid, and now he is solid but still below average. He was never that terrible for us ERA wise, he just couldn't hold close leads which is what we needed him for at the time.

2. Farnsworth had a couple great seasons for us, but then completely lost his head and did no good for us...we'll see if he can keep it together for a couple years...if so, all the power to him.

3. JoBo was great for us for 2 years, and then absolutely terrible in the beginning of 2004 with a sudden unexplainable drop in velocity...the Cubs gave him another chance this year, and he absolutely sucked. I really don't think 11 games in a different league can count as being a "worldbeater" but we will see...I doubt there are many in the Cubs organization that don't want to see him succeed. We likely would not have been in the 2003 playoffs without him.

But with your JoBo comments the otherday and your comments today including the mention of Gerut, it was pretty clear that you were attempting to criticize why we got rid of the guys we did. For JoBo, Farns, and Hawkins, the reasons were crystal clear why they were moved....they were not doing their job for us and were more helpful by brining us other players.

if people dont understand why sosa/farns/sisco are gone from our system by now they never will...

and not much of it had to do with what you read on the back on a baseball card.

its been drilled into all our heads and we all know what's up...i dunno what's up with those that choose to ignore it, but whatever...

add alou and mercker to that list, too...

Adam, I did a very brief amount of looking into this. I could only find season numbers. The ESPN page for RISP, 2 out is here. The Cubs are dead last in the NL in continuing innings in these situations, part of which stems from RobR's points above.

You can use the dropdown box to switch to scoring position with no condition on outs. (Or just click here.) The Cubs' OBP is about 12 points higher in the overall numbers, so on the year, they're probably doing much better with RISP and fewer than two outs, but even the two out line is reasonably in line with their overall OBP this year. I didn't use runs, as they depend on how many runners a team puts up in the first place, and that could easily skew things.

Of course you could find the actual totals by rigging a spreadsheet and subtracting one from the other, too big an at-work project for me though.

CWTP:

Other teams turn our piles of crap into world beaters? Like who? Kyle Farnsworth? Nope too early to tell. Juan Cruz? Sucks. LaTroy Hawkins? Did you see him pitch against us? He killed him. That was a great trade. Who else? Matt Clement? I am very sorry that ball hit him in the head for two reasons, one, that I do not want to see any player get injured and two so there would be no excuse to why he would falter in the second half. Much like Dontrelle Willis has. But we didn't scrap heap him. Who else? Antonio Alfonseca? C'mon! Get real.

San Francisco, Detroit, and Tampa are hardly New York, Boston, Chicago where there is a little bit more pressure pitching for a pennant and just waiting for the end of the season.

No pressure, better pitching. Latroy comes here on last home stand and did his great imitation of butter in a frying pan.

i'll tell you the real problem with cubs, its actually an organizational problem -

They wait much too long to fix their problems.

Examples:

#1Hawkins #2 Kerry Wood to the bullpen #3Sending Corey to Minors #4 Addressing LeadOff Man situation #5 Left Field being Weak

'The 6-foot-3 right-hander already cracks 97 mph on his fastball, and his biting curve mystifies batters as it tumbles through the strike zone."

Damn, I could swear I've heard this before.

Chad, where is that quote coming from?

A KC paper was saying that the Royals want Pie. Whats funnier Tex wanting him and Hill or the Royals thinking they could come up with a package to get him?

The Royals offer would have to be:

Burgos, Gordan, Greinke, Macdougal, and Sisco just to get talks started w/o laughing at them.

Thank you chad

chad..and his control isnt refined yet..hehe

but wow...19 years old

I don't see us moving Pie in a waiver deal. Unless the Royals have the first (and not second) waiver position.

Pie wouldn't need to clear waiver would he?

crunch - Can I add Dusty not arguing with Umps this year?

If the Royals had first waiver spot, they can claim him and then we can arrange a trade.

Do minor league players need to clear waivers after the trade deadline?

cubs completed the farnsworth trade, btw...cash was sent over the PTBNL option.

no idea how much $$, but i cant imagine it to be much at all (not much in the baseball world, anyway)...probally not even 6 figures.

CHIFAN:
"In my opinion the reason this offense has struggled is because of a lack of 2-out RBI's."

I agree...timely hitting!!!

Some don't beleive in it, but I see it over and over again.

MannyTrillo still peddling the same tired links on lineup construction?

You have already been proven dead wrong on this subject Manny and yet you still go about peddling this trash.

What you think everyone forgot about the discussion that was held a month or so ago on this EXACT same subject? Do us a favor stop spreading your lies and your fake "case studies" as proof.

MIKEC,
I love you man...

It's a shmae TCR has to delete almost everyone of your classless, unproked attacked posts.

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