Let’s Not Get Swept

Another day, another rookie pitcher. Good news is I think I saw Joe Morgan doing the Little League World Series so hopefully he won't be doing tonight's game. Little victories. Jae-kuk Ryu was optioned back to Iowa to make room for Walrond for some reason. Kerry Wood was transferred to the 60 day DL to make room for Walrond on the 40-man if your keeping track of such things. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED--THIRTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (54-75 (Div) 5th - 14.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.0 GB) AT ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (68-60 (Div) 1st - 0 GB; (Wild Card) 1st - 0 GB) Busch Stadium, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 7 mph TV: ESPN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Jeff Weaver, RHP (NL Only) 2-3 5.74 ERA, 42.1 IP 21 K, 14 BB, 10 HR 309/367/530 againstLes Walrond, LHP (AAA) 10-5, 3.98 ERA, 133.1 IP 104 K, 59 BB, 11 HR 267/350/403 against

*Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C *John Mabry, 1B Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Les Walrond, P Preston Wilson, RF *Chris Duncan, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B *Jim Edmonds, CF Juan Encarnacion, RF Ronnie Belliard, 2B #Aaron Miles, SS Gary Bennett, C Jeff Weaver, P

Cubs vs. Weaver: Jacque Jones: 8-27, 296/345/407, 2 K, 2 BB, 3 2B Phil Nevin: 7-25, 280/333/400, 7 K, 2 BB, 1 HR Juan Pierre:n 4-12, 333/333/500, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 3B John Mabry: 2-11, 182/250/455, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR Aramis Ramirez: 2-11, 182/308/182, 1 K, 2 BB Cardinals vs. Walrond: No Cardinals with more than 10 AB's
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Comments

Not that it really matters at this point, but Bynum is a terrible choice for 2nd in the lineup. He's patient, but ugh. GIDP anyone?

why is bynum batting second??

http://firejoemorgan.blogspot.com/2006/08/gen...

another fantastic piece from a fantastic site...

"Bynum is a terrible choice for 2nd in the lineup"

Looks like Dusty needs another toy taken away from him.

contact hits 2nd.

nothing's new there. he's not the only guy to do it, but dusty's been doing it religously for a looooooong time with very little variation. if you can manage to put the bat on the ball without King a lot, you're in. if you got speed, too...big plus.

speed, contact(speed a plus), 3-6 power(usually L-R or R-L oriented), 7-8 the "rest"

crunch, we know that dusty has been stupid in the past, and continues to be stupid. that doesn't mean we can't be bothered or frustrated by it. let's put two of the three garbage pieces in today's lineup (cedeno being the other) at the top! hooray!

however, and more importantly, i don't know how anyone can say that freddie bynum is a contact hitter. (28 Ks in only 88 ABs this year!!!). i know you'll counter with "contact hitter means blah blah blah, not just strikeouts", but basically dusty is trying to do something stupid (contact at the top) and failing at that (bynum is not a contact hitter)

bye, dusty. hope girardi gets into a lot more arguments in the next 5 weeks.

I'm awfully tired of seeing Mabry sorry bat...thank goodness the word is DLee will be back next week. Just another example of taking a servicable (marginally in this case) bench player and giving him the ab's of a starter albeit he's a platoon starter this year.

Fast Freddie is Dusty's new toy.

Sutcliffe doing the color commentary with Jon Miller

http://tinyurl.com/kdmos

Colvin & Canzler....our very own law firm out of Boise.

Worst defensive RF in baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

S. Rolen singled to right, P. Wilson scored, S. Rolen scored on right fielder J. Jones' fielding error

What happen???!?!?

#5..>Lantern, you'll probably get your wish. It appears that Loria's cronies are pretty much deadset on taking down Girardi's reputation along with his job. Olney claims this type of leak has to come from the front office.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-hyde27...

Ryno - I hope you were being sarcastic about Bynum's patience!

Dusty's baseball IQ hasn't advanced from the mid 70's.

Jacos - With Wilson at 2nd, Rolen went opposite field with a low and away fastball. It it took a couple hops and Jones charged it hard. Unfortunately, it went under his glove and went all the way to the wall. Jones did not break fast for the ball at first went it got by him ... definitely enough hesitation to make it an easy call for 3rd base coach Oquendo, and Rolen, being a pretty heady player, knew what kind of arm/accuracy he was dealing with in Jones.

Jones did manage not to spike the ball into the ground with his relay throw, I believe Bynum (it could have been Cedeno) relayed it up the 3rd base line a bit, but I think Rolen would have beat a perfect strike from the relay man anyway.

More Cub foolishness to match the Card's bad plays (error by Encarnacion, WP for run) in the first.

Damn, what is Bynum doing batting second? clogging up the basepaths. :-)

It has gotten to the point where I am actually happy to see Cedeno continue to fail in the field, as this will hopefully ensure that he won't be the starting 2B next year -- his inability to make the play in the 3rd cost poor Walrond 4 runs. Would have been a tough play, but, still.......

How can Barrett have 10 PB with a month still to go? Boy, he needs to hit .320 to offset his D -- never throws to a runner, and 10 PB is inexcusable -- either laziness or lack of concentration.

Barrett is a Terrible defender...

I agree.

But there were stretches when he alone was the only player doing much for the team offensively.

He would certainly be a liability in any post-season appearance if we had to rely on throwing anyone out - or even m aking a play at the plate.

How many runners have scored through him on plays at the plate, anyway?

DAMN BARRETT!

Speaking of him - first pitch popup to kill the inning!

WHO OWNS WHO, ROB?

You might want to trash the recent header of yours!

How wonderful to give any good team plenty of extra outs so they can beat us with more chances.

Thank you MURTON!

Thank you Howry!

Thank you, oh great hope, RONNY!

What a bunch of garbage.

#18: Thank you MURTON!

Um, you spelled "Jones" wrong.

Worst! Game! Ever!

(ok, not really, but it's up there)

Everyday I look at this team I get more and more excited that the end of season is actually around the corner.

Worst game Ever:

This IS up there.

The Atlanta game with eight home runs was pretty painful this year. As was TWalk's double-error inning game vs. Mets (also the game I think when Cedeno moved out of the way on a steal attempt to avoid a hard slide).

But tonight in one inning, we have Ramirez' lazy throw, Murton's lazy non-catch, Cedeno's potential blown double play, and of course, Howry's down-the-middle pitch to a very hot hitter.

And Jones.

Azrad:
"Everyday I look at this team I get more and more excited that the end of season is actually around the corner."

Sometimes I think the same thing, then I think how there are so many holes and question marks for next year and that we are almost certain to see some of these youngsters play big roles next year and then I think can't we move on to 2008 already.

d.lee to return tommorow...

"If I was feeling pain still, I wasn't [going to return]," he said Sunday. "I feel like I'm not jeopardizing anything by playing."

How can Barrett have 10 PB with a month still to go? Boy, he needs to hit .320 to offset his D -- never throws to a runner, and 10 PB is inexcusable -- either laziness or lack of concentration.

For the record there are SEVEN catchers with 10 or more passed balls. So while it may be inexcusable, there are catchers who are doing just as bad if not worse.

Barrett's caught 21 runners stealing. While its not good, its not Mike Piazza bad either. Barrett also had to catch a number of games where human stolen base machine Greg Maddux was on the mound - something that doesn't show up in the stats.

However, if you do want to look at stats, it should be noted that Barretts defensive numbers (including Passed Balls and Stolen Base/Caught Stealing Pcts.) are actually very similar to those of Bengie Molina and AJ Pierzynski - two guys often held up as being examples of how teams need good defensive catchers to win a world series.

Don't look now, but Alfonso Soriano might be looking at a pretty historical season. Soraino right now has 41 HR and 34 SB. On pace for 51 HR and 42 SB. If he picks up his attempts at SB, we could be looking at the first 50/50 season ever.

Also, Willy Taveras now has a 30 game hit streak. This year has been insane with the hit streaks.

AJ is a great defensive catcher? In what circles? He has the same knocks on his defense as Barrett does.

Besides Barrett has always been poor at throwing out runners. He didnt have Greg Maddux around in Montreal and Maddux hasn't account for all those stolen bases against him. I mean jesus....85 SB against? only 21 caught stealing for a .198 success rate? Thats horrible.

And Barrett throws out runners at about the same rate Piazza did when he was in his prime. (.233 CS% career for Piazza, .236 CS% for Barrett) Cept Barrett doesnt hit 30 HR's a year and knock in 100 RBI.

One thing is for certain, Barrett has a weak and inaccurate arm behind the plate. No one is even remotely afraid of it, and when teams come to Chicago they run at will on him regardless of the pitcher.

The finest example of how a great defensive catcher is worth his weight in gold is Pudge. .488 CS% for his career and putting up a 10 SB and 19 caught stealing this season. That is 75 runners that are either not in scoring position or on 3rd base. Thats a pretty huge gap of how a catcher can save your pitchers a ton of grief. Barrett is practically an instant double for anyone with any speed ability who hits a single.

crunch: contact hits 2nd...nothing's new there. he's not the only guy to do it, but dusty's been doing it religously for a looooooong time with very little variation. if you can manage to put the bat on the ball without King a lot, you're in. if you got speed, too...big plus.

I'm not about to start a big elaborate argument over the +'s and -'s of something as irrelevant as batting Bynum 2nd, and I respect your opinion a lot, crunch.

Thing is, in theory, you want your leadoff guy to get on base and steal into scoring position, etc., those sorts of things. A perfect #2 can bunt the ball well, make *good* contact (meaning in the air to stay out of DP, or basehits), and will take a lot of pitches to give the leadoff guy a chance to steal.

I think I've seen Bynum bunt, but never very well and I don't recall him ever successfully performing a sac bunt.

He's hitting in the 270's and hitting the ball on the ground a *LOT* (GO/AO 3.44, way higher than Murton, even!)

and finally:

edge: Ryno - I hope you were being sarcastic about Bynum's patience!

He's seeing about 3.96 pitches per plate appearance. MLB average is 3.68, so that part he is doing very well. The patience, no doubt, comes from his training in Oakland's organization.

At only 26 he probably has a good future, but at this point he shouldn't be batting 2nd.

In fact, my lineup would look like this for the rest of the season:

Pierre, Pagan, Lee, Ramirez, Jones, Barrett, Cedeno, Theriot

Sorry Pro-Murton crowd, but I'm not sold on Murt. He'd make great trade-bait this off season.

Barrett doesn't have a Pudge or Molina arm, that's for sure, but the pitching staff deserves a good hunk of the blame for Barrett's CS%. If you've been watching them at all for the last few years, you should know that aside from Zambrano this staff does an absolutely piss poor job of holding runners on. There isn't much a catcher can do when the runner is halfway to 2nd by the time the ball leaves the pitchers hand.

MikeC:
"One thing is for certain, Barrett has a weak and inaccurate arm behind the plate. No one is even remotely afraid of it, and when teams come to Chicago they run at will on him regardless of the pitcher."

The sad thing is that statement can also be said for our starting OF's (Murton, Pierre, JJ).

Sorry Pro-Murton crowd, but I'm not sold on Murt. He'd make great trade-bait this off season.

OK, you're not sold on Murton, but you want Pagan to play and bat 2nd everyday?

If Murton (and his great numbers since the all star break) hasn't sold you, what on earth has Pagan shown that has you so impressed?

Mind you I like Pagan a lot, but as a 4th/5th outfielder. But unlike Murton, he has almost no shot of becoming good enough to be an everyday player.

Vorare:
"Barrett doesn't have a Pudge or Molina arm, that's for sure, but the pitching staff deserves a good hunk of the blame for Barrett's CS%."

Barrett CS%
2006 - .231
2005 - .198

Blanco CS%
2006 - .433
2005 - .487

Yes, the pitchers might deserve some of the blame but somehow Blanco can throw runners out pretty well.

ryno...im not the one doing it. dusty is. sadly, he's not alone in managerial circles past or present on putting a contact guy up top reguardless of his ob%.

btw, im not a fan of his use of the #2 slot...he just does it that way, though. much like a lotta people, if i was running things or whatever murton would be the #2 guy f'sure when he played.

I mean jesus....85 SB against? only 21 caught stealing for a .198 success rate? Thats horrible.

I'm not saying that Barrett is great or even good defensively. I'm just saying he's improved alot since his days in Montreal, where he was just learning to be a catcher, and he's not the Defensive nightmare some people here like to make him out to be.

Like I said, Molina is considered to be a good defensive catcher by some people, yet his .184 sucess rate at catching base stealers is even worse than Barretts. Pierzynski, who yes some people here have cited as being a good defensive catcher, is in the same ballpark with a .202 rate. Brad Ausmus, Paul LoDuca, and Jason Varitek are also in the same ballpark.

Yes, it would be nice if Barrett was better defensively, but on the list of things the Cubs need to improve, he's so far down, its barely worth mentioning.

I fucking hate Gary Bennett.

Blanco probably has one of the best arms in baseball, so it isn't surprising that he would have a very high caught stealing percentage regardless of the pitching staff. A player with a marginal arm like Barrett is going to suffer far more from catching a staff that can't hold runners on and/or tends to be very slow to the plate.

Manny--

Bingo! Can't blame the pitchers if Hank is throwing runners out. Always nice to bring facts into the debate.

Also -- I thought they said Barrett's 10PB led the league?

Some pretty wild games with the Cards this year -- Rolen handed us 2 games with late errors, Pierre pulls Pujols' drive out of the ivy, then the last 2 games of this series end with 2 outs in the 9th. Lousy feeling at the end, but some exciting stuff.

MANNY: The sad thing (weak and innacurate arms) is that statement can also be said for our starting OF's (Murton, Pierre, JJ).

How true!

But - I still have no problem with Juan Pierre. He's earned another year or two in CF in my opinion. Just find the cutoff man, baby.

Murton's lack of making the "in the stands" play last night is no surprise. He has very poor fundamentals always catching one-handed, takes wrong angles to the ball, poor throws (as mentioned previously).

Jones is something else! On the plus side, his BA and other offensive numbers I think lead all of the available FA's that were "signable" and on the market last year. That's a good thing. It is NOT his fault that the manager puts him in clutch situations setting him up for failure against lefties.

But we were sold how "solid" he was defensively coming from the Twins org.

Did he get Cub-ed? What happened? Or, was this more of Hendry BS?

I think Jones has been playing with a bum shoulder. That would explain some of his throwing trouble, but fielding in general has been awful for ALL of the Cubs this year.

I don't think they spent any time on it in spring training, and apparently they don't take infield practice before games either.

Also -- I thought they said Barrett's 10PB led the league?

Leads the NL yes, but he's tied with 6 other catchers for 2nd in all of baseball. Oddly enough, 7 of the 8 worst catchers in terms of Passed Balls are in the AL, with Posada leading baseball with 12 of them.

Also strange, while 7 of the worst 8 come from the AL, the 9th through 14th worst offenders are all from the NL.

Like I said, while the words "inexcusable" and "horrible" are used to describe Barrett's defense, the facts show that he's simply not significantly worse than several other defensively below average catchers who are starters on winning ballclubs.

"I think Jones has been playing with a bum shoulder. That would explain some of his throwing trouble,"

Jones' throwing troubles are nothing new.

#41: Neither are JJ's reported shoulder problems.

"#41: Neither are JJ's reported shoulder problems."

He has had throwing problems his entire career.

I think it would be appropriate to attribute some of Barrett's passed balls to the fact that he's had to catch 8 different rookies this year (whom he's presumably never caught before, so he doesn't know their tendencies), and he's catching the wildest staff in all of baseball.

Why are we even complaining about this guy? He's about to win his second straight Silver Slugger, and is one of the few bright spots on a terrible team.

Sean Marshall threw 93 pitches in his previous rehab start for Iowa last Tuesday and apparently pitched pretty well, and he was in good enough shape to throw 100 pitches last night in his (supposed) final AAA rehab start, so it is muy misterioso why Hendry would think Les Walrond was a better option than Marshall to start last night in St. Louis.

I guess it was that "Hendry Reward Program" thing again. If you're a "good soldier," you get the reward of a promotion to the Varsity (i. e. 40-man roster) and you get to start a game in St. Louis in late August on national TV. I'll bet the Cincinnati Reds were really pleased.

When stacking up Barrett's PB versus others -- remember, he has probably had fewer games, due to the suspension.

Jones throwing problems don't seem to be from a sore shoulder, which would lead to less velocity, but from an issue with is release point, which leads some throws to comically head directly into the ground, while others sail over the catchers head.

Say one thing for LaRussa -- he does make things happen when it matters -- started the runner in the 9th both Sat. and Sunday, while Pierre was not going in the 9th Sat., then Bynum hit into the DP and prevented A-Ram from hitting in the 9th.

What's the point of having speed/"contact" at the top if you don't use it when it matters????

Michael Barrett :
97 games, 10 PB, 21/107 in SB (19.6%) .993 Fpct

Comparison:
Jorge Posada:
110 games, 12 PB, 34/91 percentage,(37.4%) .989 Fpct.

Ramon Hernandez:
112 games, 10 PB, 34/79 (43%), .986 F.pct

Kenji Johjima:
117 games, 10 PB, 22/70 (31.4%), .995 F.Pct

Paul LoDuca:
94 games, 8 PB, 20/90 (22.2%) .988 F.Pct

And why are you guys harping on passed balls? Its a very subjective stat like errors. Its whatever the score keeper wants to decide on that day.

Jacque has a tear in his labrum, same injury as Brad Radke but he's still able to locate his pitches so although you can argue that Jones's velocity can be down as a result, the accuracy shouldn't be more than a minimal factor.

"Jacque has a tear in his labrum, same injury as Brad Radke but he's still able to locate his pitches so although you can argue that Jones's velocity can be down as a result, the accuracy shouldn't be more than a minimal factor. "

I forget, does Jones throw from the stretch or the wind-up?

When stacking up Barrett's PB versus others -- remember, he has probably had fewer games, due to the suspension.

Again, not based on the facts.

Of the 7 players have given up 10 or more Passed Balls, Barrett is right in the middle with the 4th most innings caught.

If you want to break it down by Passed Balls per inning Caught, 5 others in that group, including Posada and Molina are worse than Barrett.

Once again, the facts show that despite statements that his 10 PBs are "inexcuasable" they simply aren't significantly worse than several other below average defensive catchers.

Equally odd as batting Bynum's second is "the Genius"' decision to bat Preston WIlson and his .300 OBP lead-off.

Jacque has a tear in his labrum, same injury as Brad Radke but he's still able to locate his pitches so although you can argue that Jones's velocity can be down as a result, the accuracy shouldn't be more than a minimal factor.

Other than the obvious differences between pitchers throwing and outfielders throwing, it is interesting to note that Radke already has issued more walks this season than he gave up in any other season since 2000. His WHIP and BB/9 are both way over recent years, and his K/9 is way down. So one could make a pretty interesting case that the injury is affecting Radke's control.

Not that I'm saying that's why Jones can't figure out when to let go of the ball.

Equally odd as batting Bynum's second is "the Genius"' decision to bat Preston WIlson and his .300 OBP lead-off.

354 OBP vs lefties this year
348 the 3 years prior
332 for his career

Bleeding Blue -

I thnk we are saying the same thing. I believe your point that Barrett's stats "aren't significantly worse than other below average defensive catchers" should actually become the Cubs' new aspirational motto:

"Let's not be significantly worse than below average!" Go team!

it seems pretty obvious that a shoulder injury would affect your release point on any kind of throw. pain will do bad things to your mechanics.

"it seems pretty obvious that a shoulder injury would affect your release point on any kind of throw. pain will do bad things to your mechanics."

Maybe so, but he has always had an inaccurate arm in the outfield. Has he always been hurt?

""Let's not be significantly worse than below average!" Go team!"

He does have an above average bat remember.

BillyBucks

We are not saying anywhere near the same thing. In fact, you appear to be going to great lengths to totally miss the point.

You are saying that Barrett's defense is "inexcusable" and doesn't make up for his well above average offensive production.

I am demonstrating with facts that Barrett's defense is simply not nearly as bad as you are making it out to be. Statistically, he is on par with several other catchers on winning ballclubs.

No he's not a great defender, but he's not a 240 hitter with no power either. The fact is there are really only 2 or 3 catchers who are very good at both sides of the game. Barrett's an asset on offense, but not on defense.

and the fact is, in that regard, it really doesn't make him that much different from the 3 of the last 4 starting catchers on World Series Champion teams. If you find that to be "inexcusable," so be it.

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