Rusched

Glendon Rusch has this split in his time with the Cubs...
IPHHRBBKERA
as starter161.015214421153.41
as reliever67.084531524.30
It's enough to make you wonder just why this change to the rotation has been so long coming. It's long been obvious that a Rich Hill throwing just two pitches is not a major league starter. The disappearance of both his cutter and changeup at the major league level do lead one to wonder just how good a third pitch he really has. It doesn't need to be a great pitch, just good enough that he's able to throw it when and where he wants in order to keep the hitters guessing and off balance. That in turn will improve the effectiveness of his fastball, which isn't anything special, and his curveball, which is very special, will do the rest, provided he can throw it for called strikes. The trouble is that Hill has yet to prove that he can consistently get that curveball across the plate, and developing and improving pitches takes time, time that the 25 year old Rich Hill doesn't really have in abundance. If he can't make the necessary adjustments, he's doomed to life as a lefty specialist. Jim Hendry's behaviour at the deadline suggests he obviously believes in Hill's ability to adjust, and his upside if he can is pretty considerable. But then again Hendry seemingly also thought that Rich Hill was the best bet to step into the rotation when Kerry Wood went down in Cincinnati, and that right now looks like a poor judgement. Whatever, the Cubs now find Glendon Rusch back in the rotation, and Todd Wellemeyer once again makes the transition from Iowa starter to Chicago reliever. John Koronka's stay was thankfully a brief and irrelevant one. And Jermaine Van Buren meanwhile wonders just what on earth a guy has to do. Perhaps his overdue chance will come when the dominating relief ace Kerry Wood goes for his overdue surgery.
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Comments

This is my favorite lineup fielded this year by Dusty....long time coming...

Way to go Murton -- this was a great time for your first big league home run...It's nice to go into the bottom of the 2nd inning with the lead again...If Rusch can settle down and throw more strikes we may have a very good game here...I like the way the Cubs offense is scoring often and early -- lets let this trend be our friend in the next few games in Houston...;-)

Anyone notice how Lawton has stopped walking since joining the Cubs? 1 BB in 49 PAs. Is this just the pressure of a new team in midseason, or does the Cubs' current approach at the plate really change the approach of a new bat in the line-up?

With Nomar starting to hit, Barrett's bat hot, and Walker heating back up, the offense should score some runs. Although not a big fan of the Kerry Wood experiment, I have to admit that I'm more confident in the bullpen now than I have been all season (although Dempster is scarily effective far too much).

Houston....we have PROBLEMS with Rush's pitching -- the Astros are hitting off him like there's no tomorrow...I have a hunch our bullpen will be working hard tonight...We're already down 5-3 and it's very early in the game.

Burnitz is really having trouble with his hitting...maybe Dusty should put Macias in for him since we NEED players who can get on base and bat in runs...With the way Rusch has been pitching the Cubs will need to score A LOT of runs to win this game...Patterson just scored (but Burnitz would have scored too IF had had been on base).

get on base Walker!!!

get taveras out ONCE PLEASE RUSCH

Actually, Scott, Burnitz still has a higher OBP than Macias, along with a higher slugging percentage. (Jose has three walks the whole year.)

But I take your point. Burnitz is in a terrible slump and JFM has been Ok lately.

Dusty has already activated the Bullpen...Yet, I don't think we'll be able to use Kerry Wood 2 nights in a row -- I have a hunch he could shut these Astros down for a few innings (I think we'll see Wood tomorrow).

Rusch has allowed 10 hits so far and a home run that was VERY costly...Lets hope we can contain the damage and get out of this inning.

I hope Wellemeyer has good command and control right now....I would prefer using a veteran like Williamson right now -- this is a 2 outs and bases loaded situation and one pitch in the wrong place could cost us several runs.

Ramirez has already hit into 2 double plays (in the first half of the game)...that's unlike him...we need base hits and runs batted in....What a quick inning - no scoring at all for the Cubs...Now it's time for some good pitching and some smart defense.

Wellemeyer has given up BACK TO BACK home runs and Houston was shut out by the Pittsburgh Pirates...Now we're down 8-4...This isn't funny...These young (and wild) pitchers are digging the Cubs into quite a hole. We will need an incredible offense response to come back...It's possible BUT the Cubs will have to kick it up a few notches...Dusty its time to pull Wellemeyer...I would rather see Williamson or Novoa out there.

Now I see why rusch was not in the rotation lately. And I can see why Welly was in Iowa.

Oh do the Cubs need a bullpen....

Dusty has used our WORST pitchers so far tonight...they can't throw strikes...They are just walking bases giving up big hits...Dusty WHY are you not going with the veteran Williamson...?

Rusch is good...

WElly is good..

Now WEuertz is good....

Bullpen is good...

THAnks mr. Hendry!!

Scott, it's the 5th inning? You ask for Williamson to be in there early every game...he can't pitch 3 innings, so you might as well save him for when he is needed...if he shuts the door in the 5th...then who will pitcfh the 6th, 7th and 8th.

There is no possible way for Dusty to keep from Rush and a long reliever from absolutely sucking.

Scott-
Williamson can only pitch 1 inning, what will that do? The bullpen is a joke, haven't we seen this all year long??

Scott, it's the 5th inning? You ask for Williamson to be in there early every game...he can't pitch 3 innings, so you might as well save him for when he is needed...if he shuts the door in the 5th...then who will pitcfh the 6th, 7th and 8th.

There is no possible way for Dusty to keep from Rush and a long reliever from absolutely sucking.

I know Williamson can't go 3 innings BUT if we don't shut the Astros scoring drive down NOW then it will be impossible to come back (and the later innings won't matter)...IMO, Dusty has waited too long to make pitching changes and get to a veteran who can close out a very tough inning.

We might have been better off with Rich Hill out there tonight (as a starter or a Bullpen pitcher)...These other young pitchers are just not connecting right now....So many walks and too many hits...This inning is SO PAINFUL.

Hey Cub fans, here's how you know the season is over...

The Cubs can only lose one game per series for the rest of the season. You know the Cubs don't have what it takes to put together a winning streak, look at the rotation, 2 of the 5 starters are basically punching bags (Williams, Rusch).

But if they manage to lose only one game per series, their record is 88-74 !

It's a long shot, but if they start losing series, you might as well pack it up and wait til next year.

But you can't close out a game in the 5th inning? you've completely lost me...and I would guess everyone else.

Williamson and Wood can only carry so much weight...when your starting pitcher can only go 3.2 innings, your options are very limited. Using Williamson or Wood in the 5th inning would get Dusty fired when Welly gives up 5 runs in the 8th and Dusty has no one to turn to.

At least tonight, you don't have to waste Williamson's arm and can save him for tomorrow.

No chance Dusty holds ANY blame for this. He can't only use Williamson and Wood. If that is what you think needs to happen, then your beef is with Hendry for only leaving him with 2 effective pitchers.

Again, whenever the Cubs get in trouble. Scott, it simply doesn't make sense, and not a single manager in the league would bring in a late inning guy in the 4th or 5th inning.

Hill, Rusch, Welly, Mitre, Williams and Koronka are just not that good to rely on them in big situations right now. Its a same but we need them and they are just not good. The bullpen is good though (sarcasm).

with GREAT coaching! (sarcasm)

In Dusty we Trusty!!! (sarcasm)

What the hell does Dusty have to do with this?

For all you who just loved this lineup tonight.....maybe that's why I don't take anyone's points too seriously on here...lol

Seriously...maybe this team just isn't that good. Look, Pittsburgh shut out Houston for two games in a row...that doesn't make Houston bad AND it doesn't make Pittsburgh very good either.

One good series in a month and a half against the Cardinals does not make this team a good one. You all debate lineups Dusty puts out there...you all debate the bullpen moves Dusty makes...but lets face it...the players he choses generally are not good enough to win 2nd place in the division...let alone the wildcard.

Does Dusty get blamed for some of it? Sure he does...these no doubt are his guys...the guys he's sought and Hendry is to blame for it as well. I don't buy the fact that Dusty has no say over the players he gets....I think he has a heavy influence on that. And for THAT reason alone I think Dusty's judgment is questionable.

After this game...after the last two seasons you just have to laugh it off....it's hillarious.

Tonight is where it has all been laid out. People can talk about Baker and all that other stuff (I have done it too). I have finally seen the light. It all comes down to Hendry dumping Farnsworth and Mercker for attitude problems; we didn't give Borowski enough of an opportunity to get healthy, and we put Hawkins in a horrible position both last year and this year--then dumped him.

So here we are with a bullpen that has little experience and is overmatched. This is why we lose. That's the bottom line.

With where the Cubs sit in 4th place? A whole hell of a lot.

The only blessing is that we will have MUCH better starting pitchers for the next 2 games...we also will have Wood and Williamson available...I'm sure Novoa will make an appearance later in this game or tomorrow - and Novoa is often a better pitcher than any of the younger Bullpen pitchers we have seen so far tonight...Yet, it would take a massive miracle for the Cubs to come back...We would need help from the Astros pitcher(s) and our offense would have to get really hot and score several runs in each of the remaining innings...Message to Jim Hendry -- new re-inforcements for our Bullpen should be priority number one...These young and wild pitchers make life so easy for our opponents.

"I have finally seen the light. It all comes down to Hendry dumping Farnsworth and Mercker for attitude problems"

Yea, the guys Hendry had to get rid of because Dusty F. Baker - the player's manager - couldn't keep them from being complete shit-heads? Dusty's an excuse-making, uninspiring manager who did nothing to keep the Cubs in line last year. He was more worried about what the media was saying than keeping his players focused.

Houston is 48 and 24 since late May...they rarely have the pitching problems that the Cubs seem to have...I wonder what Baker and Hendry think about this...?

"Devil Rays - RHP Joe Borowski has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 innings since being signed by Tampa Bay on July 11"

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8959507/

We could have used someone like Borowski in this series against Houston...;-)

We had Borowski. He gave up 5 HRs in 11 outings...that's not just bad, that's Horrible. How long can you sit with a guy when you are in a playoff race at the time, who comes in for an inning and gives up a homer half the time?

Sure, in retrospect it wouldn't have been worse than things are now...but at the time JoBo was horrible, no other team wanted him keeping us from being able to trade him, so we had no choice but to release him.

It's how the game works...at the time Hawkins and JoBo didn't serve their purposes to us...things haven't worked out...but sending out a guy who gives up homers at an alarming rate when you are near the top of the playoff race as we were in June...you just can't risk it.

It's nice that JoBo is having success somewhere else.

One thing about Farns...he sucked on and off the field last year. Alou on the otherhand, sucked mostly off the field although his in game mental gaffes particularly on the basepaths sucked too.

I dunno, something needs to change...but I think a lot more is needed than just Dusty to take a hike.

Sometimes I think Gameday has a sarcastic college kid writing for them.

Top 8TH B:0 S:0 O:0
Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Neifi Perez replaces Derrek Lee.

Top 8TH B:0 S:0 O:1
Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Todd Hollandsworth replaces Aramis Ramirez.

I hate it when Gameday makes fun of me.

Adam, why are u getting so hot about people blaming Dusty for the Cubs woes? Is this not a comment board? Let them comment - who cares whether or not you believe it. Personally, I tend to agree Dusty needs to go. I realize Dusty is not the one pitching and batting and throwing and running, HOWEVER, look at the patchwork disaster that is the NY Yankees pitching staff. You really think Aaron Small, a washed-up Leiter, TANYON STURTZE?, etc, are leagues better than what we got? Yet they are still winning. Look at all the injuries the braves had. No way Cox would let a negative attitude develop. ITS ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE. Torre would not let it get as far as Dusty has. Dusty does not provide positive attitude, nor did Don Baylor (remember the Mack Newton fiasco? You really need an outsider to provide positive reinforcement? C'mon) That is my comment - blast away.

GO CUBS!

Here's an interesting article that a friend emailed to me...

Many reasons for Cubs' demise

http://www.pjstar.com/stories/081505/MLB_B79D...

{...Van Dyck, a native of Washington, quoted an assortment of baseball people, most of them anonymous, in discussing how the Cubs have gone from menacing at season's beginning to mediocre four months later.

"To be honest with you, they don't play very sound fundamental baseball," a front-office man told Van Dyck. "They have no speed, they don't hit-and-run, they don't steal, they can't do a lot of things. They're a station-to-station team and when you have that kind of ballclub, the pitching has to be very, very good. It hasn't been."

Said a scout: "To me, their bullpen has no heart. They have just killed the team. They come in and walk guys and give up hits. It has been that way all year."...}

I agree Dusty Needs to go, I just want people to start thinking about otherthings as well, and start having some logic about individual reasons that Dusty needs to go. Not putting Williamson in in the 5th is not why Dusty needs to be fired. Not batting Patterson 7th instead of 8th is not a reason for Dusty to get fired.

I thought this was a discussion board....I'm trying to get people to back up, or at the very least, think about the comments they make and the logic behind them.

This was written before tonight's game...

http://www.pjstar.com/stories/081505/MLB_B79D...

{...A month and a half remains and a road trip beckons to Houston, the National League wild-card leaders who sailed past the Cubs after a slow start. The three-game series begins tonight.

"We're not in a position yet where we have to sweep them," said Cubs manager Dusty Baker before Sunday night's game. "We want to win two of three.''

Since Chicago is 6 1/2 games behind the Astros in the wild-card standings, that would be a good start. But with four other teams also ahead of the Cubs in the only standings that mean anything to them now, they've got to do more than beat the Astros, with whom they have nine games left.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry remains supportive of Baker, who has received more than his share of heat from the Chicago talk-show media...}

Adam, you are such a bore.

I agree with Adam. Look, I realize Baker has done nothing but sulk for 3 years. Even in 2003, all he could talk about was his own bed and his dog. He only came here for the money. I wouldn't care either way if he was gone.

With that said, I also get tired of hearing nothing but "Baker should be fired" every time we lose. What about the fact that this staff, which used to lead the league in strikouts, is now average. We lead the league in walks now. We have 3 great young pitchers who have showed little or no improvement from year to year. We have this glorious minor league system with arms growing out of our ears--yet nothing.

We have no leadoff hitter, no defense on the infield in 3 of the 4 positions, & like that article said, we don't do the little things to win. One problem is we don't have the talent. How many guys can we hit and run with on this team? Burnitz? Patterson? Really--only Walker, Lee and Ramirez give us that opportunity; but then who is one base when they are up? For Walker in the 2-hole, it's usually the pitcher or 8 hitter.

Hendry had a great team for all of 2 1/2 months in 2003 after acquiring Lofton & Ramirez. He let that go, and we haven't been the same since. So there is enought blame to go beyond Baker.

Adam, when we were debating Macias, you said you wanted him hitting rather than Holly with 2 outs, since Macias makes contact. Of course, Macias has a much lower career OBP than Holly, and a strikeout is a groundout is a flyout with two gone; yet still, you want the lower OBP because he might make contact. And now you demand rigorous logic?

As far as tonight's game, phoo. Not too long ago, I remember hearing about the amazing crop of minor leaguers the Cubs have, so I'm hoping some of them will displace Mitre, Hill, Wellemeyer, and Koronka. Oh wait, those *are* the minor leaguers? Uh oh... ;)

Our starting pitcher gives up 10 hits in under 4 innings, and we're complaining about the bullpen??!!

It's called mop-up work for a reason: the mess is already there.

DING! DING! Bleeding Blue! Excellent comment.

Bonk, with the bases loaded...OBP means much less. The cubs as of late, aren't helping my argument, but go check stats about how many bases loaded walks there are. Chances are high that pitchers will give you a pitch to hit...and so the chances are indeed better when you have someone who gets a hit over 30% of the time when he puts a ball into play, then one who has a significantly higher chance of never putting the ball into play.

At the beginning of the year, no way I put Holly in ahead of Macias. But Holly has looked completely lost at the plate over the last month, striking out way too frequently. So in a single at bat, now in that situation, I'd take Macais over Holly...again, the fact that he is a switch hitter needs to be taken into account, along with the fact that he puts the ball in play.

You are talking about career OBP. I don't understand what that means in regards to a single at bat as the game situation dictated. If someone with a .333 career OBP is in a major slump, and is performing .30 points below his career numbers for the season...and another guy is hitting consistantly recently and performing .30 points above his career numbers...I'm going to go with the hot hand...or at worst look at this season's numbers.

Holly: .253 BA, .302 OBP
Macias: .297 BA, .315 OBP

So even if you want to include OBP...Macias is currently the better choice for a single at bat in that game situation

If you asked me who should start the rest of the year between Macais and Holly, I'd say Holly because overall he has more to offer over a 2 month period. But in a single at bat, in a game situation like that, I'm going to go with someone who strikes out half as much per AB, and gets hits more often especially recently.

"At the beginning of the year, no way I put Holly in ahead of Macias"

bah...reverse that, at the beginning of the year, no way I put in Macais instead of holly.

Since July 1. Holly is 17 for 77. Macias is 17 for 51. That's over a .110 point difference in batting average. add in Holly's 5 walks to Macias lone walk, that's still a 60 point difference or so in OBP.

I don't think I'm saying anything extraordinary here. I don't think I've figured out any big secret that no one else knows. I bet, given the recent performance of Holly versus Macais, and given that Macais is a Switch hitter preventing a double switch...at least 80% of managers would have used Macias in that situation.

I still don't get how you figure OBP doesn't mean as much when the bases are loaded. Unless you're a true believer in the Dusty Baker school of "you can't walk across home plate." If anything, OBP is far more important that average when bases are loaded because of the simple reason, every time you're not making an out with the bases loaded, you're scoring a run.

And that doesn't even include the differences in slugging, which can mean the difference between 1 or 2 RBI and 3 or 4 RBI with the bases loaded.

Based on this years stats, I can see going with Macias over Holly. But to put in perspective how bad Holly is doing this year: compare Holly's 2005 numbers to Macias's career line, they're nearly identical!

I maybe completely wrong about this, and I'd love someone to show me numbers even if it proves that I am indeed an idiot.

My thought is that there are far fewer walks given up with the bases loaded than otherwise, because the pitcher is going to do everything he can to let you put a ball in play....therefore, my thinking is that OBP with the bases loaded is less important than someone who will strike out half as much.

By all means, I'm happy to admit I'm wrong...but at least I'm trying to think about it, and can back why I would do what I do.

eh...revise that...OBP is less important than someone who can get a hit 5-10% more often.

Um, Bleeding Blue---I believe the score was 5-4 when the pen came in. That means we were still in the game at that time, right?

who thinks murton could be a future leadoff man?

i find myself thinking a great deal about next year. whats the right mix for this team?

Brian, theoretically they were still in the game, but if your starter can't make it through the 4th inning, its not the bullpens fault that you lost.

I just don't know that many teams who've got a "4th and 5th inning relief specialist"

"who thinks murton could be a future leadoff man? i find myself thinking a great deal about next year. whats the right mix for this team?"

I could see him as the leadoff man if we don't get Damon or Furcal and Hairston is not the everyday second baseman or center fielder.

Adam, I don't know what the numbers are that would suggest that a pitchers give up any more or any less walks with the bases loaded. It would be interesting to see some numbers either way.

But even if your theory is true, and there's still a big hole in it. A pitcher's only going to be doing everything he can to avoid a walk if he's behind in the count, not on the first pitch or when he's got a strike or 2 on the batter.

So, I'd suggest, OBP might be even more important than batting average with the bases loaded, because someone with a high OBP is more likely to work the count and draw 3 balls, forcing the pitcher to either groove a pitch that can be drilled or give up a walked in run.

Perhaps the other question to be studied, is do people with high OBP end up with a higher BA with the bases loaded?

If Dusty is coming back next year Murton will not be leading off or playing. I expect he will be in AAA or traded. The Cubs will sign or trade for at least one, if not 2 free agent outfielders,and I expect that by late 2006 and 2007 will be moaning about the burden of their crappy contracts. Dusty, like Mannytrillo, does not have the patience to develop a rookie.

When your starter gets knocked out by the 4th inning you are going to lose most ballgames. Over the long season getting consistently good starts will keep you in games and keep the second line ptiching from being overexposed. As I said before, Hendry's big mistake this year was not bringing Clement back given the chanciness of Prior's and Wood's health. Dusty's big mistake flowed from that, when Wood and Prior came up lame in Spring training. He moved Dempster from closer to starter and put Hawkins in at closer with only hopes and prayers for the rest of the bullpen.

As the season has gone on, the holes keep multiplying. The farm system has definitely been exposed as overrated. Serious questions have to be raised about how Hendry and Gary Hughes are supervising coaching and player development in the system given that the farm system has produced no impact players the last two seasons and the plethora of injuries to Cub pitchers in the minors. I have ranted about Larry Rothschild enough but he seems unable to teach anyone to throw an off-speed pitch or keep his best pitchers from coming up lame.

One problem is trading. Where do the Cubs have an excess in talent that they could trade? Certainly not starting pitching anymore. If they trade Lee, Ramirez, Barrett, or Walker they immediately create a gaping hole at one of those positions. How can they trade either Zambrano or Prior (unless it becomes obvious one or both will not resign and they will leave a free agents)? Wood is untradeable right now due to his injury and contract. And we have holes in the starting rotation that we need Wood to fill if healthy. Patterson might be non-tendered before arbitration if he does not agree to a contract so I don't think he is tradeable or would bring much in a trade. Amazing how quick this situation became bleak from 2003 when misjudgements start piling on top of misjudgements and starting with a belief that that nothing can go wrong. The Braves and Oakland have had much injury problems as the Cubs, but their organizations, their rookies, stepped in and did the job as those organizations seem to anticipate that things can and will go wrong. The Cubs just did not have that depth.

After 2003 Hendry and Dusty just assumed that they would get 100 starts a year out of Prior, Wood, and Zambrano and that even with gaping holes in the lineup and a thin bullpen that would get them 70 wins in those games. The other 60 games they would hope to go .500, and presto you are in the playoffs. But unfortunately there was no plan B when the wheels came off the cart with Prior's and Wood's injuries and Sosa's sharp decline.

This is decade is almost a replay of the eighties. That team after 1985 featured a lot of slugging, low OBP, slow other than Sandberg and Dunston, station to station, and poor fundamental baseball with a chronically injured star pitcher (Sutcliffe) and a farm system that delivered only a few impact players and aside from 1b did not develop any strong positional players.

the problem with murton is he's NOT a leadoff man nor does the organization want him to be one.

he's got too good of a batting eye to just make contact up the middle and spray contact to RF...eventually people are gonna start busting him inside and if he cant do anything with it he's gonna suffer.

righthanders are already exploiting this and so far he's seen a lotta lefties who just wanna pitch him away.

if murton goes away this winter to play some winterball and he starts showing he can get his hands around on some breaking crap and deposit it in LF deep..then he should get a decent look.

the cubs biggest lineup mystery to me right now seems to be who's gonna be the next cubs RF and is corey/hairston enough of a combo for the cubs brass to run out there as a duo.

Um, Bleeding Blue---I believe the score was 5-4 when the pen came in. That means we were still in the game at that time, right?

Yes and yes, but Wellemeyer did strand all three runners he inherited from Rusch in the fourth, and (as has been pointed out already), it's unrealistic to expect the bullpen to go that many innings.

And, to relate this piece of the puzzle to the whole Dusty issue: he didn't anticipate a second pitching change until it was far, far too late. It was already 8-4 when Wuertz took over, and the bases were loaded with no outs. That's six straight batters reaching base before he made the change!

As you point out, the Cubs were still very much in the game after Rusch came out, but Dusty was thinking two steps behind instead of two steps ahead.

Wellemeyer closed the door in the 4th, and it was correct to have him return for the 5th, but Dusty needed to have a pitcher at the ready even before the first sign of trouble. No, you don't want to burn out your bullpen with multiple warmups, but Wellemeyer is not a known quantity (in that he was just recalled), and it's too important of a game to let it get away. It should have been treated as a playoff game (at least at that point), and that means that Novoa or Wood (or, okay, Wuertz) should have been throwing before the inning even started. There's a whole discussion to be had about managers -- no, not just Dusty -- not understanding that the "saves" don't always come in the 8th and 9th innings, but I'll put aside his choice of relievers and just focus on how long it took him to bring in the reliever.

Six straight batters reached base before he made the pitching change, 6!, and judging from the walk given to his first batter, Wuertz wasn't even adequately warmed up by then! That works for a blowout (which, of course, it wasn't at that point) in an unimportant game, but last night was a critical, critical game. Some of this is obvious, but let's go through the reasons:

1. The Cubs needed/need to take at least 2 of 3 in this series.
2. The best way to do that is to win the opener, and the ONLY way to have a chance of a sweep is to win the opener.
3. Wandy Rodriguez is a patsy, while the other two starters (Pettite and Oswalt) are arguably two of the top-5 in the league. (And that's without facing their #1 this series!)
4. Put together #1-3, and it becomes clear that last night was not just a key game but the key game of a critical series, and arguably the biggest game of the season.
5. The offense had come through not once, not twice, but three times in the first four innings. The Cubs CLEARLY needed to put up a zero in the bottom of the fifth. I knew it, you knew it, anyone who knows baseball knew it. (I was going to say that there was one rather significant exception, but that man clearly doesn't know baseball, despite decades in the game.) I even pleaded its importance to the TV screen, but unfortunately the only one who heard me was my neighbor across the street. (I scream loudly.)

And Dusty treated it like just another middle inning in just another game, and warmed up just another reliever, waiting just enough time so that the game was out of reach already. Three runs in, three runners on, no outs. Then, and only then, does Mr. 4-Million-a-Year-Man (oh, make that Mr. 4-Million-a-Year-Dude) make the pitching change.

Three runs in, three runners on, no outs. Three runs in, three runners on, no outs. Hello? Hello?? Is this thing on?! How obvious is it that Dusty failed miserably and repeatedly in last night's game?! And yes, of course Wellemeyer, after teasing us in the 4th, was a miserable failure in the 5th. But who cares about him? If I were the general manager, he would have been sent back down or released before the fat lady sang (during the 7th inning stretch), but I'm pretty sure Dusty's gonna still be on that bench tomorrow. And that is, my friends, the horror . . . the horror . . .

So, Adam, instead of spouting generalities, would you care to respond to my specific criticisms of Baker in this particular game? Or are you just going to say, "Hey, I agree that Dusty's one of the problems, but blahblhbalbhablabablhlahb." What a bore.

I think I may have reached my monthly comment quota in this one post, but please allow me to say one more thing: I absolutely adore Greg Maddux (man crush, doggie style), and I hope and pray that he has a super outing today (and every other day) and puts up a Big. Fat. W.

pitchers do have to warm up before coming into a game...when you pull a guy for a fresh one unless someone else was warming in the pen (in this case a long reliever role, rare to have multiple guys going for that role that early) it takes a few a/b's before anyone's close to ready...at most dusty was "behind" 1-2 plate appearances, but that's arbitrary considering what else is in the pen.

the pen has blown ass all season with the exception of the dumpster who's sucked the past month...nice...and the next most reliable guy just joined the pen and should be leaving it very soon to get his shoulder cut open.

its been an ugly year where nothing worked out in the pen and the team has carred 4-6 .300-ish ob% guys outta 12 roster hitter at practically all points of the season. wee.

DING! DING! Brian (Vegas)! Excellent comment.

In Dusty's own words "''They were just blooping him early,'' Baker said. ''After that, they were just going long ball on us." Baker

i.e. they beat us with small ball and long ball...they just flat out beat us...

''Somebody is going to break,'' Baker said Monday. ''Somebody always does." Baker

"I don't want to tell you guys this, but dude, we probably have done broke already which explains why there are 6 teams between us and the wildcard lead...dude if that isn't the meaning of breaking I don't know what is.

" I have a pretty good idea how to run this race -- from playing to managing to coaching. Right now, we just have to get in position to run this race. Sometimes it's like running a track meet. It depends on when you make your kick.'' Baker

"Don't question my managing abilities. The Cubs are the only team I have managed without the superstar Barry Bonds to bail my ass out. Other teams have made their kick when it counted and I think they are winning the race and if we just had a few more weeks or months in the season than we do...we just may get there....or be even further out in December."

Cubfaningermany:
"Dusty, like Mannytrillo, does not have the patience to develop a rookie. "

What??? Since when have I become manager or GM? Well, if I am manager, Chad is already my bench coach and Crunch my hitting coach. Who wants to be considered for other positions.

The inadequacy of the bullpen is beside the point, Crunch. Ron W. hit the nail on the head with one of the best TCR posts I've seen all season long. Last night *was* a playoff game as far as the Cubs are concerned, and Baker should've managed it like one.

Even if we accept your premise that Baker was off one or two batters in relieving Wellemeyer, that's still one or two batters too many. Not only was last night's game a vital one for all the reasons Ron W. mentioned, it's Baker's *job* to stay on top of the game and yank an obviously-ineffective pitcher.

This is not a "blame everything on Dusty" post on my part. The Cubs are a mediocre team -- one-dimensional on offense, fundamentally flawed in the field, and highly erratic on the mound. They're not going anywhere this year, and the primary reason why is the players and not the manager or the GM or the team president. But Baker had a job to do last night, and he didn't do it. If he'd brought in Wuertz two batters earlier, and Wuertz had failed, you'd just say, "Well, the Cubs' pitching stunk up the joint last night." You couldn't pin anything on Baker.

Baker's inability to act with any alacrity when his just-called-up-from-AAA pitcher imploded cost the Cubs whatever slender chance they had of coming back to win a crucial game.

Oh yeah Cubfaningermany, you first state Dusty doesn't have the patience to develop rookies, but then go on to say the minor league system is overrated. So, Dusty should play overrated rookies like Dubois, Hill and Choi?

Thanks for the huge compliment, Gregory. It really felt good to write that post. And I agree with your comments, too, (and enjoyed your use of the word "alacrity" -- a perfect word choice!).

Suntimes is reporting they are interested in Rueter. WHY? he sucks instead of wasting a roster spot on him, why not try Nolasco or Pinto and see what you got. I think they will be contributors to the rotation for years once they get here.

Though we will never know if they can be or not if we let guys like Kurt Frickin Rueter waste rotation spot.

We seem to have several players on this team who used to excel at OBP with other teams, who strike out much more on this team.

If so, would that not lead us to believe it's not the player's fault, but the way the coaches on this team are training them that would lead to this decrease in OBP and increase in strikeouts?

The coaches create the atmosphere the players play under. If the coaches stress swinging first to a player who has excelled at walking his entire career, can we blame the player for not excelling at swinging first?

"Suntimes is reporting they are interested in Rueter"

TOLD YA'
____________
"If the Cubs had kept Hawkins they wouldn't have to worry about skipping Williams. What to do, what to do?

Hey, the Giants just DFA'd Rueter. Maybe Hendry will pick him up.
Posted by: cubswinthepennant at August 15, 2005 08:42 AM "
________

The Suntimes article goes on to say, "Rueter went 2-7 with a 5.95 ERA for the Giants. He was upset last month when they put him on the disabled list, citing gout in his right big toe as the cause.

When he was demoted to the bullpen last month, Rueter asked to be traded. Rueter has a solid history with Baker..."

Yep, this is just what the doctor ordered, another washed-up attitudinally-challenged Giants starter just off the disabled list but this one wants to be traded when he is asked to work out of the bullpen.

Prepare yourself Johann H. Any second now the TCR gnomes may throw their charts and graphs at you that prove players walk more under Dusty than they did elsewhere.

So ding ding ding Manny, You're contradicting yourself once again.

I guess we'll all accept your apology and let you recant your comment from yesterday where you said Wellemeyer was called up to do mop up work.

Or maybe instead you'd like to dare criticise your fearless leader St. Dusty for bringing in the mop-up guy when the Cubs were still in the game???

In DUSTY we TRUST!!!! He can't take us to the world series, but he'll give us Back to Back Winning Seasons, Wa-Hoo!

CWTP:
"Prepare yourself Johann H. Any second now the TCR gnomes may throw their charts and graphs at you that prove players walk more under Dusty than they did elsewhere."

Its the truth though. John Hill showed it. Even though it might not be because of Dusty, it does happen for some reason.

Um..Manny...Dubois and Choi are not on the Cubs anymore....so playing them is not really an option.
Since they didnt work out, all other rookies are Dubois, Hill and Choi....great analogy Manny.
So, since all rookies are those 3, lets fool ourselves into thinking that we are still in contention, and continue playing proven veterans who are just tearing the cover off the ball...throwing lots of strikes..etc.
I'd get rid of Welly and Weurtz right now and bring up Haines and Van Buren from Iowa. What the (bleep) do the hapless Cubs have to lose? They're both throwing well at AAA, and at least they deserve a shot. They really couldn't do worse.
Hooray for Matt Murton 2/5, with a run and a RBI.
Better sit him down to learn from The veterans...

Oh no we suck again!

On the bright side, CP and Murton had nice nights, which at this point is more important than wins and losses.

Dusty clearly didn't manage the game last night as if it was A MUST WIN play-off game...And now we have to win the next 2 games in Houston (against some of the best pitchers out there)...

http://www.suntimes.com/output/sports/cst-spt...

{...Now the Cubs need to make a kick in this wild-card race under even tougher circumstances. Left-hander Andy Pettitte, whose 2.62 ERA is fifth-best in NL, and right-hander Roy Oswalt (2.57 ERA, fourth-best in the NL) are the Astros' next two scheduled starters.

''We have to pick it up,'' Baker said. ''We have to find a way against two very tough pitchers.''

The Cubs still control their own wild-card destiny, with nine games left against the Astros and three each against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and wild-card-contending Florida Marlins.

''At this point,'' Baker said, ''you just have to beat everybody.''...}

>>>He was upset last month when they put him on the disabled list, citing gout in his right big toe as the cause.

Gout?! Are you kidding me? If you are getting disabled for gout I think it may be time to retire. Who was the last person to go on the DL with gout? Benjamin Franklin?

Wow, Bluewater Pennant. You could wildly speculate that a pitcher being DFA'ed by the Giants would want to play for Dusty just like a professional columnist, who also - shockingly - doesn't provide any facts to back up their comments!

Way to Go! You deserve that pat on the back you just gave yourself.

"Once believed to be the result of gluttony, gout is now known to affect people from all walks of life and often the disease is inherited. [ ] About 500,000 people have gout in the United States, with most being men between the ages of 30 and 60."

"Usually, the joints in the big toe are affected, but gout can also affect the instep, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows."

From allaboutarthritis.com

Blue:
"Manny, You're contradicting yourself once again.

I guess we'll all accept your apology and let you recant your comment from yesterday where you said Wellemeyer was called up to do mop up work."

I never said Welly was going to be used in "mop up duty" like you falsly state. This was your comment and my reponse:

YOU:
"#72 of 125: By Bleeding Blue (August 14, 2005 09:37 PM)
From the 'I hope you like the trip across I-80' file:

Kornoka Sent back down to Iowa, Wellemeyer brought up to avoid having an empty seat on the bullpen bench."

ME:
"#77 of 125: By mannytrillo (August 14, 2005 10:19 PM)
Blue-
"Wellemeyer brought up to avoid having an empty seat on the bullpen bench."

Actually he was brought up as the long relief guy since Mitre is gone and Rusch is now a starter. It is an important role as to nopt blow through a bullpen if a starter gets shelled. Hopefully he isn't needed much."

--

Long relief can be be mop up duty, but as last night showed it can also be an inning eater situation to keep the bullpen from being used and the team in the game.

Instead of waiting for my recantment, which obviuosly isn't needed, we will all just wait for yours, as you were wrong with what you thought I said. Thanks!

Dusty Baylor-
You should also be adressing CUBSFANINGERMANY as he stated: "The farm system has definitely been exposed as overrated." I agreed with him, and showed some more examples, but you should also include him on your post. We can play the rookies all you want, but that won't make them good rookies. The Cubs minor league system is just not as good as we all thought or were led on to beleive. Which is a shame....

Sorry Manny, most people who know baseball understand that "mop up guy" is slang for "long relief... after a starter gets shelled."

You see, the starter has already been shelled... leaving a mess to be "mopped" up by a long reliever who isn't good enough to start and isn't good enough to pitch the 8th or 9th innings.

So Manny, I apologize for not knowing that you didn't know the basics of baseball vocabulary.

I've got gout in my right big toe. It's a nasty source of pain, but it's hardly debilitating to an athlete. Not that I'm an athlete or anything, but I do play competitive softball and beach volleyball, and the gout hasn't hampered me at all.

I suspect that most of Rueter's health problems are the ones between his ears.

"If the Cubs had kept Hawkins they wouldn't have to worry about skipping Williams. What to do, what to do?"

CWTP,

If the Cubs kept Hawkins here are some things they wouldn't have to worry about:

1. Making the playoffs
2. Finishing the year .500
3. Wood could have his surgery now
4. When to pull the plug on the season
5. Finding some reason to fire Baker

Williams is not only a better pitcher than Hawkins, but comes at 25% of the costs. Also Aardsma who we got in the deal will be a more solid arm in the pen than Hawkins ever will be. LATROY SUCKS.

Blue-
But Welly wasn't there to be a mop up guy like you say. The game was 5-4 when he came in with the bases loaded and the Cubs still very much in the game. he was in to pitch 2-3 innings to save the bullpen and keep the Cubs in the game at teh same time. Of course he couldn't do that as he is not very good, but he was used in the proper situation and role, just did not execute. Neither did Wuertz.

That is why I was not a fan of using Rusch knowing he would go most likely 5 innings and have to use someone like welly for 2-3 as to not blow through the pen.

Also a long relief guy can be used in extra inning games. Many times managers keep a guy like Welly in the pen when a game is tied late as to use him for 3-4 innings if needed in extra innings as to not have to use a starter.

There are many other uses for a "long relief" guy than the expalaation you gave of "mop up duty after starter got shelled".

the hawkins deal was a great one, whether hawkins sucked or not. But we systematically ran our entire bullpen out of town. The worst was definately the way we dumped JoBo just as he finally got healthy again.

Manny, perhaps you'd understand if you didn't try to twist my words to give them a new meaning.

I didn't say the definition of long relief is a "mop up guy after a starter got shelled"

I said the definition of mop up guy is a "long reliever... if a starter gets shelled."

And I'll remind you that it was YOU, MANNY, who said that Wellemeyer was being brought up to be a "long reliever... if a starter gets shelled"

And yes that is exactly what Wellemeyer was brought in to do last night. If your starter can't make it through the 4th innning, you can't expect the bullpen to win the game for you.

Blue:
"And I'll remind you that it was YOU, MANNY, who said that Wellemeyer was being brought up to be a "long reliever... if a starter gets shelled"

This is actually what I said. Youar enow twisting what I said. Please read the WHOLE post.

"Actually he was brought up as the long relief guy since Mitre is gone and Rusch is now a starter. It is an important role as to nopt blow through a bullpen if a starter gets shelled. Hopefully he isn't needed much."

Welly was brought up to be long relief. Long relief has many different duties and one of them is to come in when a starter gets shelled early. But ehre are many others. Welly is LONG RELIEF, not mop up man only. Mop up is one of his duties, but not yesterday.

Sorry that you are not understanding what long relief is...

Manny, sometimes I can't believe that you take yourself seriously.

"Actually he was brought up as the long relief guy since Mitre is gone and Rusch is now a starter. It is an important role as to nopt blow through a bullpen if a starter gets shelled. Hopefully he isn't needed much."

Yes, Wellemeyer was recalled to pitch after a starter gets shelled so you don't "blow through" the good arms you have in the bullpen. Hopefully he isn't needed much (for 2 reasons, your starter has already failed and he's a middle reliever so he's not good enough to be used in important situations)

If you don't want to understand what a mop up guy is, you can take pride in your own ignorance.

Boy, I hope my favorite team's starter gets shelled tonight and has to come out of the game with the bases loaded in the 4th inning. That way we'd get to see our stellar staff of long relievers! They'll get the job done for sure!!!

Manny , that was abslolutely right. I shouldnt just single you out on the rookies point.
It is also true that not all rookies are bad, i.e., not all rookies are Dubois, Choi, and Hill(Bobby?).
I do not want to play rookies "just to play them," so to speak, but because marginal veterans are not preferable to them.

Dusty-
You are right about not all rookies are bad, but my point is we keep getting told these guys are good and 99% of them are not. Murton looks to be the exception, right now. But over the past 5 years how many GOOD players came up in the Cubs system?

For as hyped and as touted the Cubs farm system is and has been, I would expect more MLB production and success. Patterson was the next GOD and he hasn't panned out. Guzman was the next STUD pitcher, he can't stay healthy.

This is my thing, we should play rookies or prospects who are good enough and many times they are not, at least not yet. Other teams play their youngsters because they are good enough to play. Maybe our are just not. A perfect example is Dubois.

I think we are on the same page. right?

I also think that Rich Hill has time to come up with that 3rd pitch. That is exactly what he should be doing at Iowa...be it a cutter, or a change-up..or what ever.
He had 2 pretty good starts before tanking against the Reds. He still has some promise. I am not comparing the 2, by any means, but I seem to remember Greg Maddux going 6-14 his rookie year (full year).

(1)Williams is not only a better pitcher than Hawkins, (2)but comes at 25% of the costs.

(1)And you base this conclusion on what? Since coming off the DL July 4, and being returned to his accustomed role of 8th inning setup man, LT has allowed 4 earned runs in 19 innings (20 games). The Giants are 13-7 in those games.

(2)Nope, The Giants are paying less than $1 million of Hawkins' 2005 salary. The Cubs are paying the rest ($3+ million).

But of course the point I was making yesterday was that the Baker Cubs have the unwarranted belief that the solution to their pitching woes can be found by dumpster diving in San Francisco.

Dusty:
"I also think that Rich Hill has time to come up with that 3rd pitch. That is exactly what he should be doing at Iowa...be it a cutter, or a change-up..or what ever."

i agree...

I did not thing it was a good idea to bring him up when they did and I stated it then. He was not ready. Before this year he had never pitched above A ball. He still needs some time. He might still pan out, but at this time he is not a guy who should be pitching at the MLB level as a starter for sure.

And I understand the Maddux comment, but a team that are looking to compete for a playoff spot can't have a rookie pitcher going out and going 6-14 and getting shelled every time. In 1987 when the Cubs let Maddux in the rotation they have very little expectations of winning, so it was much easier to throw him out there to get his lumps.

Agreed Manny. But the only way to find out if any of these rookies are any good is to play them.

Since coming off the DL July 4, and being returned to his accustomed role of 8th inning setup man, LT has allowed 4 earned runs in 19 innings

Interesting that 3 of those 4 earned runs came during 3 games at Wrigley, isn't it?

"But over the past 5 years how many GOOD players came up in the Cubs system?"

How about last twenty years?

Jacos-
I was trying to be nice. :)

can we chalk this one up to crazy rumor about an ex-Baker player:

http://www.suntimes.com/output/deluca/cst-spt...

"The Cubs are still in the market for another starter and are expected to inquire about veteran left-hander Kirk Rueter, who was designated for assignment Sunday by the San Francisco Giants. "

really, what would be the point?

Mark Bellhorn might get DFA'ed this week as well

"(2)Nope, The Giants are paying less than $1 million of Hawkins' 2005 salary. The Cubs are paying the rest ($3+ million)."

CWTP,

I was refering to next year when SF will have to pay all of Hawkins 4 million dollar option and we are paying Williams at most one million if he qualifies for as a "super 2".

"Interesting that 3 of those 4 earned runs came during 3 games at Wrigley, isn't it?"

No.

How bout this:

I will begin to rethink my anti-LaTroy stance the day he maintains a lead in game that matters. Until then: HE SUCKS!

Ok....the last 20 years?
Mark Grace
Greg Maddux
Mark Prior
Carlos Zambrano
Jon Garland
Dontrelle Willis
Rafael Palmeiro
Jamie Moyer
Dave Martinez(not great, but solid)
Joe Girardi
Kevin Roberson (just kidding)
The last 5 have been pretty lean..but, then again, the next 5 could be pretty good. If the kids don't get on the field, they won't have a chance. I dont mean 120 abs....I mean 300-1000 ABs over 1-2 years.

what mystery kids you guys falling in love with?

there's only 3 kids remotely close to the bigs...1 is an everyday player, murton...1 *could* be an everyday player in cedeno...pie is a year+ away...

there's been no bat pimps around besides choi/hill the past many years. hill cant keep his knees healthy and his power never developed so he's a singles hitting AAAA'r right now...choi is in year 3 of being a walking advertisement for unfullfilled potential.

and the kids DO get on the field...they DO get a shot...and so far they have failed.

murton's played a decent amount for a guy who's not where the club wants him to be, esp. vs righties. this guy is not a leadoff hitter nor does the club want him to be one. he's still got a good chunk of work to do with his plate approach and realizing his power.

its amazing he's even up with the club, much less been given 24 games in the past 5 weeks.

there's no pimps being cockblocked in the minors...you dont need to give a guy 300-1000ab to tell what they can do when they can grab a glove/bat and show you in 1000ab's prior to that.

your flaws dont suddenly clear up cuz youre in the bigs...in fact once advance scouting gets a few looks at you, your ass is toast if those flaws are exploitable.

Why rip on Hawkins? That is one thing I never understood. Here is a guy who set up all his life. We all of a sudden thrust the guy into a closer role. He was never comfortable with that, and I think previous years show that. Then this year, he struggled in the same role. We then moved him out, and I think he only gave up 1 ER in the last 8 innings he pitched for us in a non-closer role. We ship him out, and he's pitched well after a few rought outings for SF.

So maybe if we had not blamed him, but rather those who put him in the position to fail, we'd have a decent reliever with us right now.

It certainly is a good thing that Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt didn't come up in the Cubs organization with this current emphasis on immediate almost HOF production requirements---Mays went about 0 for June and July, and Schmidt hit about .200 his first full year.

Gee, we would have wanted to trade them to Pittsburgh.

"there's no pimps being cockblocked in the minors...you dont need to give a guy 300-1000ab to tell what they can do when they can grab a glove/bat and show you in 1000ab's prior to that."

Crunch..this makes no sense...um...Choi was a stud in the minors...287 ba, .406/.513/.919 in 400 AB, 26 HRs and 97 RBI...then flames out.
So his minor league stats prove...that he deserved a shot. Ok...so what is your point again?
So after Palmeiro' rookie year, you knew exctly what you had?..same with Sandberg...then Rick Wilkins...??? Its a mixed bag, and only TIME and getting to play will tell if a guy is going to make it.
I'm looking forward to seeing Cedeno, Pie...and maybe even Eric Patterson, Brandon Sing, Jake Fox, or Chris Walker over the next 3 years, hopefully for more than 150 ABs if they do get here.

I am tired of the stopgap veteran approach....

"It certainly is a good thing that Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt didn't come up in the Cubs organization with this current emphasis on immediate almost HOF production requirements"

there is a HUGE difference between willie f'n mays and mike f'n schmidt and the people the cubs have had. lets at least keep grounded in reality.

there arent cabrerras/dunns/etc. being cockblocked here. seriously...c'mon...

"So his minor league stats prove...that he deserved a shot. Ok...so what is your point again?"

and about choi...AND ABOUT ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO LOOK AT NOTHING BUT #s...there is a LOT more to a player than their minor league #s...esp. in the PCL.

choi's problem isnt hitting off a AAA pitcher who doesnt even have a refined breaking pitch...choi's problem is hitting inside and inside/high from lefties and his lack of speed.

THIS is why choi is on team 3 in 3 seasons. no AAA numbers will fix the fact he's got an exploitable hole in his swing that guys good enough to play major league ball can exploit...besides the fact he's not doing any better against lefties...another flaw he cant seem to plug.

dubois had good minor league #s, but it has been very patiently explained by many why he's gonna have a huge problem in the bigs unless he changes his approach...

seriously, there's a lot known about a guy by the time theyre mlb-ready for the most part.

from flaws to what they're still working on.

cubs have NO finished products ready to roll. NO one is getting blocked. NO pimps are hiding in waiting that are ready to click now.

in all reality you're looking at cedeno and pie maybe contributing in a couple years and murton maybe next year if he can find his power in winter. greenberg's there to be a nice 4th OF option on day, and fontenot should be a decent IF bench option.

Right on all counts Crunch...on the specific players.
I think Fontenot would be a nice reserve guy..in Macias' place maybe?
I'm just saying, that most players do not have at least one flaw in their game. The Cabreras, Pujols, Griffey, Jeters...are not that common.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm not expecting the Cubs to stick some rookie out there and have him turn into an instant All Star like Dunn/Cabrerra.

But if I have the choice of seeing a rookie with some promise like Cedeno or Murton get a shot to figure out the big leagues, or seeing a grizzled veteran failed starter like Hollandsworth or Neifi, I'll take the kid. Best case scenario, the kid learns something and becomes a legitimate big leaguer; worst case scenario, he's a bust but probably still puts up numbers that aren't that much worse than the vet.

I think the Cubs have it all wrong. It seems to me that AAA Iowa is a 'hitters' park while AA Tennessee is a 'pitchers' park. It seems to me that our position players have their highest value while at Iowa but then don't seem to develop. So, why not just use those gaudy numbers to trade for developed players BEFORE they suck with the big club.

Same with AA pitching. Let these kids look like Gods down there rather then bring them up and not be so good (I'm looking at you Sergio Mitre!).

though fontenot hasnt been playing there much lately, he's spent a lot of time in AAA taking drills at 3rd and has played a few games there...it seems he's being groomed to fill the IF roles at 2nd/3rd macias now fills.

btw, im a murton fan...i think he's got 20hr potential and the club would love to see him pull some stuff more than he does.

eventually pitchers are gonna start pounding him inside when they realize he likes his stuff middle/outside and doesnt pull for power...he likes to make flat/solid contact right now.

he's got as good of a chance as any top hitter to get it done (just like choi..but hopefully has a better time with it).

he's just not going to be a menace against righties til he at least puts a fear of jacking one into LF off a righty pitcher. i think he's up to it...his batting eye is there and his hands arent slow. aside from that he's plays LF decent enough and he's definately a good guy to have on the bases.

"there is a HUGE difference between willie f'n mays and mike f'n schmidt and the people the cubs have had. lets at least keep grounded in reality."

Crunch,

What Sam was saying is that those guys struggled in their 1st months in the bigs but their managers let them figure out their struggles, and not decide that they were busts. Also you are too harsh on Murton. He has excellent plate discipline and is one of the best on the team in that regard. He is 23 his power will come, and if not being a poor man's version of Tony Gwynn is not a bad thing to be.

Since we're beating dead horses, anyone want to debate the value of sabermetrics and statistics in evaluating players?

Well, Blue I have something to say on that topic.......

"those guys struggled in their 1st months in the bigs but their managers let them figure out their struggles"

yeah, and what im saying is the cubs dont have a mays or schmidt around...the closest thing is Pie and he's not really ready...though he'll probally come up in sept. for some coaching/coffee anyway.

dubois wasnt even highly ranked on the cubs baseball bat prospects for a reason...and murton/cedeno didnt rank too high for reasons, too.

cubs have bat prospects, but aside from murton (who should list as a higher batting prospect next season) theyre all green/raw and for the most part not ready for the bigs. a lotta our batting prospects are still prospects and theyre not being held back by anyone but themselves.

I just looked up Tony Gwynn and was shocked to find out that he never walked very much. I would have had him pegged for at least 80 - 90 a year but he averaged 39 in his career and had 82 walks in his highest (which was thirty more than his next best year).

And while I know this will start a flurry of flame posts, I think Tony Gwynn was OVERRATED and didn't do much for his team.

"he's not doing any better against lefties...another flaw he cant seem to plug."

Choi's only had 22 AB's against lefties this year, but his OPS is .825. This represents an improvement over his dismal '03 and '04 numbers. The point, however, is that those numbers represent a tiny sample size. I agree that Choi can look terribly overmatched when he strikes out, but the fact is he's not been given the opportunity to play against lefties in the majors (79 AB's in three years). It'd be interesting to see what he could do in 150 starts. My guess is he'd have a Mickey Tettleton-like season.

I'm guessing he's overrated because his team never won a World Series?

In that case, you must really hate Sammy Sosa and Kerry Wood. :p

Sorry Vorare, never mentioned the World Series.

I am quickly becoming a sabermetric fan. I've got a lot of learning to do on what stats are the most important...but sabermetrics is nothing more than history--you can learn all you can about history...OR you can fail to learn from history and make the same mistakes again.

Okay, so in what way was Tony Gwynn overrated?

"Choi's only had 22 AB's against lefties this year"

that says enough about his ability. he's also k'd 9 times outta that 22.

he's a guy who's supposed to have figured out this already...its kinda freaky he just cant hit inside pitching or pull the ball effectively. he's a lefty power hitter, this is something he's supposed to do almost naturally. i still think he can figure it out, but its keeping him from getting more than 300-ish a/b's a year as it stands.

When he turned 30 he lost his legs. His lack of physical conditioning (i.e. FAT ASS) led to numerous missed games. Once he lost his legs he found himself standing on first a lot. So a guy with little to no power who can't score from first on a double does little good for a team. He didn't score as many runs as he could have cause of his speed. Also, his lack of power cost his team RBIs. If the guy ahead of him got on base, it was still going to take two hits to get him in. Great so he hits singles. So was Gwynn a good player? Yes. But definitely overrated.

yeah..its hard to look at gwynn of the 90s and realize at one point he was a somewhat well thought of basketball prospect.

And while I know this will start a flurry of flame posts, I think Tony Gwynn was OVERRATED and didn't do much for his team.

If you bat .350, you don't have to walk a whole helluva lot to contribute to your team. It's interesting and somewhat informative to note that Gwynn didn't walk much but to automatically conclude that he "didn't do much for his team" is altogether silly.

To look at in the extreme, if an army of Ivan Lendl-like robotic pitchers always ALWAYS threw strikes at a particular hitter, the fact that he didn't ever walk wouldn't be a problem in any sense of the word, as long as his OBP was still solid.

I don't have numbers in front of me, but I'll make some up:
1. BA .280/OBP .350
2. BA .340/OBP .350

Which would you prefer? It's almost certainly #2, but there's no argument for #1. (The only other argument is that one is no better than the other.)

So, does this constitute a flame, Chad?

"yeah, and what im saying is the cubs dont have a mays or schmidt around."

You do not know that if you do not let the kids play. How many HOFers came up to the bigs and everyone thought they would be a bench guy.

No Ron, I my comment about Tony Gwynn is that I was suprised by his lack of walks. I don't feel that stat has any bearing on his rating in my mind. If he walked 100 times a year I would still consider him overrated. I just thought that since he had one of the best eyes in the game, that he would have walked more. What it shows that if you threw it near the plate he could hit it.

This Choi revisionism is disgusting.

The reason Choi has played for three teams is because the Cubs had an opportunity to trade him for an established player, and the Marlins had an opportunity to trade him for chemistry and relief "help." The NLROM he won THE VERY FIRST MONTH OF THE SEASON still wasn't enough to impress anybody, as Karros kept getting more time. The collision pretty much sealed the deal, and Karros, who would go on to hit something like 150/200/250 in September 2003, is regarded as some kind of folk hero because he had "heart" and taped everything.

Move on to 2004. Choi hits 270/388/495 in 330 Marlins PAs and is traded to the Dodgers, where his power, but not his walks, disappear. This year, the power is back, and the walks are down, but he's still right around average, maybe a little below, for a 1B.

If anyone wants to point out what in his record screams bust, go right ahead. Try to do it without assuming Choi can't hit lefties because he isn't allowed to, or hectoring about his swing, which clearly produces acceptable results.

Where's Adam? I'm still waiting for my response to #57. It only took me about four hours to write the dang thing (ok, not quite).

Anybody have reactions (positive or negative)?

While we are on an overrated theme Cal Ripken is overated. He was .276 hitter and only averaged 173 hits a year while playing every game in how many seasons. The only reason he 3000 is because he played 20 years. Everyone talks about how great the 07 HOF class is while thats overated.

07 class

Gwynn- Best pure hitter since Ted Williams deserves to be in.

Ripken- The only reason he is in is because he played a bunch of games.

Mcgwire- Roid user and hopefully is put on the ineligable list or what ever it is called.

Actually, he was responding to me in #57.

He makes some excellent points. In fact, they are all valid arguments; so I can't, and won't argue any back.

Again, I'm not saying Baker isn't to blame at all--I have talked about the fact that he does not put his players in a position to succeed all that often---but I just felt these comments section day after day became mostly about bashing Dusty.

I just wanted to point out that there are many players who have not done their job, and were released; yet, there are guys who continue to stay on this team--and that is not Baker's fault. For example, we can rip Baker for using Holly; but is Hendry would just release him, we wouldn't have the problem.

The pen has continually failed. Part of that is because Dusty does not use it correctly. You can also attribute it to Hendry putting his faith in the wrong guys.

Ron W. post 57 is right on the mark.

Cal Ripken was overrated? I guess that depends on what you thought of him as judging overrateness is very subjective, but Ripken was the Sandberg of shortshops. A slick fielder who could hit for power at a non-power position.

His numbers don't look lofty compared to the new and improved mega-shortstops of recently but he played a good bulk of his career at a time when offensive numbers were nowhere near as lofty as they are now.

Most Similar Hitters accodring to BR.com
1. Dave Winfield
2. Robin Yount
3. Al Kaline
4. Eddie Murray
5. Carl Yastrzemski
6. George Brett
7. Harold Baines
8. Tony Perez
9. Andre Dawson
10. Rafael Palmeiro

7 of 10 are HOF'ers, including the top 6.

His career line is: .276/.340/.447
Sandberg's: .285/.344/.452
Gwynn: .338/.388/.459

I'll get to Gwynn in a second...

Ripken held on a little long to get the some milestones and records, but if you played baseball for a iving, you'd hang on till they kicked you out the door too.

He also won 2 MVP awards, a World Series ring and he could have stopped playing in 1995 and would have made the Hall, easily. He was one of the most dominant players of the 80's.

As for Gwynn his numbers are better, especially when you consider the ballpark he played in.

The same 3 players and there career OPS+, which is basically a number that takes into account park and league effects and sets them against the league average. 100 is average, the farther above 100 the better:

Ripken - 112
Sandberg -114
Gwynn - 132

Of course Gwynn needs to make up for the fact that he played a corner outfield spot and didn't do it very well, particularly at the end of his career but I think his offensive numbers show that he did that just fine. I'm a little surprised to find out that his power was better than Sandberg's or Ripken's especially when you consider the parks they played in.

Overrated is all subjective, but their merits as HOF'ers is without question. But then I have to ask is how is HOF'er overrated?

I don't have numbers in front of me, but I'll make some up:
1. BA .280/OBP .350
2. BA .340/OBP .350

Which would you prefer? It's almost certainly #2, but there's no argument for #1. (The only other argument is that one is no better than the other.)

Actually, there could be a very good argument for #1, if you knew the slugging percentages of each player.

Ripken- The only reason he is in is because he played a bunch of games.

Yeah, that and the fact that he's one of the three greatest SS of all time.

I totally disagree that Gwynn was overrated. First off, the guy was barely rated for most his career. What I mean is that he was never among the "top players."

Second off, let's throw the last 2 yrs out because he was diminishing. Before that, he had 35 doubles in '98 and 27 in '99. That's not too bad in my book. His slugging percentage was still over .500 in both those seasons. His lifetime OBP was .388 with a lifetime .338 average. He struck out 434 times in his 20 year CAREER, including a monster 14 in 411 ABs in his last full season of 1999.

So you can say that he may not have been the best player in his time. You can even argue not the best hitter with Boggs playing. I can't believe you can say he was overrated though.

So his walks were down (but not out--he still averaged about 40 walks/season), and that's not totally surprising. I think most pitchers didn't try to go around him. Hell, Sutcliffe has even said he'd just throw down the plate because it didn't matter because Gwynn would hit it anyway. So I think it shows he was challenged more because he had a lack of power. Pitchers figured if he put the ball in play, there was at least a 65% chance of getting him out.

I also want to add that I didn't see Gwynn too much. What I did see of him though made me believe he knew the game. While he liked to go the opposite way, he would try to pull the ball more with a runner on 2nd to advance them. He would even get the ball up in the air for a SAC fly when they needed it.

So numbers are one thing, but he also had the intangibles that made him a better player.

Regarding numbers, they were bad defensively either; and didn't appear to diminish too much in his later years.

actually his defensive numbers plummeted in his later years...Check out his Rate2 BP.com card. Overall they had him rated as league average as a right fielder but he fell off the table the last 5-8 years off his career.

I said it before and I'll say it again, high average and low speed doesn't do much for a team. That is why he's overrated. Let's compare him to a guy who is not in the hall of fame, say, Pete Rose. Now Rose was a great ball player and probably the most UNDER-rated player ever. Its a crime that he's not in the hall and I refuse to acknowledge any player inducted after Pete should have been in.

I can read Chad. I saw what you wrote. However, I disagree (which is what I wrote). I think when you have numbers like Gwynn's I don't care if they guy had a 10-40. So he's not fast. Is Boggs overrated too because he was slow?

So if this is all about Rose not being in the Hall, then drop the argument. That's not fair to Gwynn. I don't know many people who don't think Rose was one of the best all-time. I also don't know anyone who has tried to compare him to Rose. I would certainly pick Rose over Gwynn if I were making a team; but to say Gwynn was overrated because he was slow to me is dumb.

This is not about Rose getting into the hall. that was a side note. Gwynn and Boggs are two overrated players. Both had HUGE slumps in runs scored due to bad knees once they turned thirty and both had HORRIBLE power number compared to other players at their positions. Third base and right field are traditionally power positions. Color me under impressed.

I said it before and I'll say it again, high average and low speed doesn't do much for a team. That is why he's overrated. Let's compare him to a guy who is not in the hall of fame, say, Pete Rose. Now Rose was a great ball player and probably the most UNDER-rated player ever.

If Tony Gwynn is a "high-average, low speed player" then what do you call Rose?

Gwynn was a better baserunner than Rose, he hit for a higher average, got on base more often, and hit for more power.

Chad, sometimes your contradictions are so mind-numbingly baffling that I wonder if you just like to see what kinds of reactions you'll get.

Then again, I'm certain that you made your statements about Gwynn and Rose without doing even a minute amount of actual research.

Wrong. I looked them both up. But before I go quoting run totals lets just say, Rose found a way to get on base. Rose found a way to score. Rose played every day. Rose never got so old that he couldn't run. Rose played multiple positions and Rose was a winner. Gywnn wishes he could have been Pete Rose. AND maybe if Gywnn didn't get so fat he could have stayed healthy enough to get 4200 hits. But he didn't. In fact, in only 4 more seasons, Rose played over 1000 more games. What does that say.

Whoops meant to change it back to Chad not Han.

Rose stole 198 bases in his career, Gwynn 319 and at a much better percentage. I'm sure that's what Weeks was referring too.

And I'm sure if you had Gwynn hitting at the top of the order of the Big Red Machine he would have scored a helluva lot more runs then he did with some paltry Padres team.

Gwynn had a better OBP then Rose, thus he found a better way to get on base then Rose did.

Gwynn did get fat in his later years, Pete Rose had the luxury of penciling in his own name in the lineup.

Rob don't give me the team dependent bullshit. I ain't hearing that.

and that is why you fail.....

Actually, there could be a very good argument for #1, if you knew the slugging percentages of each player.

Yeah, and there could be a very good argument for #1 if it turned out that player #1 was actually a pitcher with an ERA of 0.00 who played in the field between starts (and won gold gloves, of course), and also compiled all of those statistics with one arm tied behind his back and one eye closed (it was a dare), and also sold peanuts between innings and mowed the field on off-days.

Was it really necessary for me to say "all other things being equal" for you to comprehend my argument?

Yeah, and there could be a very good argument for #1 if it turned out that player #1 was actually a pitcher with an ERA of 0.00 who played in the field between starts (and won gold gloves, of course), and also compiled all of those statistics with one arm tied behind his back and one eye closed (it was a dare), and also sold peanuts between innings and mowed the field on off-days.

Was it really necessary for me to say "all other things being equal" for you to comprehend my argument?

What's with the invectiveness?

I was not the original poster you were arguing against. I was simply pointing out that you could make a case for a lower BA guy if you knew both players had the same slugging percentage. Most people don't know that.

But before I go quoting run totals lets just say, Rose found a way to get on base. Rose found a way to score. Rose played every day. Rose never got so old that he couldn't run. Rose played multiple positions and Rose was a winner.

Oh, right; the old "knows how to do things", "winner", "gritty hustler" argument. That's the same argument that says that Derek Jeter is a better player than Alex Rodriguez. I apologize if that doesn't convince me.

And you're absolutely right about the relative longevity and durability of Rose and Gwynn and also about Rose's versatility. Those are the two areas where Rose certainly trumps Gwynn. I didn't argue those points, however.

I noted that you called Gwynn overrated because he was a high average, "low speed" (the second of which is untrue) and in the same paragraph said that Rose was underrated.

The point, Chad, which I guess you missed, is that Gwynn and Rose were extremely similar types of players.

Bill James makes a point that that is relevant to the Gwynn discussion: Specialists tend to be overrated while generalists tend to be underrated. This might explain why conventional wisdom perceives Nolan Ryan, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith to be slam-dunk HOFers while Sandberg is perceived as borderline. I recall Time magazineís calling Ryan the greatest pitcher ever, a ludicrous statement. Despite the SABRmetric backlash against specialists, however, I think players like the three I mention are legitimately great. Their durability and the magnitude of their given strengths more than make up for the relative weaknesses in their games.

Are we just saying things because we are bored? Really, Weeks. I did not agree with Chad's comment of Gwynn being overrated, but you arguing Rose is even more ridiculous. Yes, the "gritty", "team guy", labels mean something. I'd rather have a guy who hits a grounder to second to advance the runner than a guy who hits a grounder to short because he tries to pull everything. That means something to me when I watch Maddux or Murton beat our infield singles last night.

By the way, call me stupid, but I'd take Sandberg and Jeter as my infielders in a heartbeat over ARod & say, Kent (I'm choosing him because he surpassed Ryno in offensive categories). I have no love for the Yankees, but I love Jeter. He's one of my favorite players because I think he plays much better than his talent. He knows the game, he leads the team, he gives it his all every play every night. ARod may break every offensive category when by the time he's retired, but I haven't seen any leadership qualities that Jeter brings.

Lastly, Anyone can aruge Rose all they want about what kind of person he is; but is you question his greatness on the field, then you clearly either don't know baseball, or you just want to be Devil's Advocate. Either way, you come off as not having knowledge of the game.

As for the specialist thing Larry just wrote---I can buy into that.

Lastly, Anyone can aruge Rose all they want about what kind of person he is; but is you question his greatness on the field, then you clearly either don't know baseball, or you just want to be Devil's Advocate. Either way, you come off as not having knowledge of the game.

You clearly did not understand what was at the crux of the argument.

I was not questioning Rose's status as a truly great player. I was questioning Chad's characterization of Tony Gwynn being overrated because of his skillset while calling Pete Rose underrated, despite the fact that the two had nearly identical skillsets as hitters.

I saw your last line. You said "players", not "hitters." Big difference.

Yes, they were similar in hitting; but not in the same league as players.

I saw your last line. You said "players", not "hitters." Big difference.

Clearly you are more interested in playing games of semantics than discussing the deeper issue. Thanks for the heads up.

Yes, they were similar in hitting; but not in the same league as players.

I will again reference you back to the original argument (which you've either missed or willfully ignored twice). The point was about the types of hitters they were, and that it's impossible to say one's overrated because of his hitting while the other is underrated by the same measure, given that they are nearly interchangeable as hitters.

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