Remember the 2003 NLDS, Yeah That Was Awesome

The almighty Braves have fallen, their miraculous run of division titles will likely come to an official end this weekend. They still have the faintest of hopes for a wild card birth, but obviously chances are slimmer than slim when your seven games back and trailing seven other teams. Makes you think Leo Mazzone really was the genius over there, but then you look at the Orioles who have given up the 2nd most runs in baseball. Enough about Hotlanta, the Cubs are a story in themselves, a story of pain, suffering, heartbreak, and an ending about as upbeat as one would find in a James Ellroy novel. Only 22 more games to endure. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-84, 2nd, 4.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (66-73, (WC) 7th, 7 GB) Turner Field, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 7 mph TV: CLTV, DirecTV 739 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Tim Hudson, RHP 11-10, 4.95 ERA, 189 IP 116 K, 66 BB, 21 HR 273/339/436 againstAngel Guzman, RHP 0-4, 7.05 ERA, 44.2 IP 50 K, 30 BB, 5 HR 297/408/451 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Angel Guzman, P Marcus Giles, 2B Edgar Renteria, SS *Adam LaRoche, 1B Andruw Jones, CF *Brian McCann, C Jeff Francoeur, RF #Willy Aybar, 3B *Scott Thorman, LF Tim Hudson, P

Cubs vs. Hudson: Jacque Jones: 10-32, 313/313/531, 6 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 1 2B John Mabry: 4-16, 250/250/250 Juan Pierre: 3-13, 231/286/231 Aramis Ramirez: 3-10, 300/300/400Braves vs. Guzman: No Braves with more than 10 Ab's
Nice to see Soto get a start and it does seem like Dusty is at least trying to get Murton and Theriot more AB's than Bynum and Pagan, although the discrepancy is far closer than I'd like. I'm more curious to see how Guzman does with Soto than anything Soto does with the bat.
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Comments

Based on this lineup it is good to see the Iowa Cubs made the treck to Atlanta for the game tonight.

"Makes you think Leo Mazzone really was the genius over there, but then you look at the Orioles who have given up the 2nd most runs in baseball."

So what really should be looked at is the talent gotten by the GM. ATl had a very good one, BALT doesn't.

Atlanta's pitching staff was pretty similar the last 2 years, at least at the beginning of the year. And obviously you've missed all those pitchers who went through Atlanta and had their best year(s) there.

Yep. But I would also argue that Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux were probably easier to coach and had better arms than any other three starters of just about any team in the 90s and early 00's.

ATL never had a great closer either. Some ok ones. Solid arms in the pen too. Hard to argue with a GM who goes out and gets good bullpen arms every year.

I think Mazzone was a top notch coach, but lets see how he does in the next 3 or 4 years in Baltimore.

Kind of off the topic, but with the Cubs again scoring runs tonight and losing, I looked it up and the Cubs have actually done a good job scoring runs since the AS break (5th in NL), but yet they are still only 22-30 since the AS break record wise. And including today's game the Cubs have scored less than 4 runs only once in the past 12 games, but yet have only won 2 games.

Just more proof this team needs some better pitching.

Manny, a quick question on Atlanta's pitching staff, and the roster. Did Mazzone develope Kyle Davies or John Thompson? Did Cox develope Francouer, Pratt, Langerhans, McCann, Orr, Laroche, Kelly Johnson, or Wilson Betemit? Not so much, But he played them because he had to. And put them in the line-up where they could be successfulll. My fault with Dusty is, he puts players in position to fail. Latroy as closer(everyone knew this one), Neffi at top of order(duh) But the "orginazation" gave him tools to use. Dusty didn't utilize his tools. As much as you, or anyone, can whine that he wasn't given the Yankee line-up, he could have handled things better. You don't bring up minor league starters and bury them in the bullpen. You don't bring up "prospects" and bury them every time they go o-four, wait Theriot didn't get that chance to do it until September. Yeah Dusty a real sharp manager.

JMHO
scooterÆ

I think debating the merits of Dusty Baker, or his lack of any merits, is really beating a dead horse at this point. A team does not lose (or approach losing) 100 games because of the manager. Its a form of denial, a way of saying but for this "idiot" our team "coulda been a contender." This team is bad and it needs a lot more than firing Dusty, and playing Theriot and Murton in meaningless September games, two nice, but not chamionship, players are going to fix.

The Cubs have a terribe bench (for which Dusty is partially responsible, but Hendry was the guy who acquired the "versatile" (I suck at a lot of different positions) Freddy Bynum from Texas, although of course Dusty chooses to play him); a flawed concept on how to evaluate players offensive value (Cubs management has systemically shown little concern for either OBP or slugging in evaluating players in its player development system and in constructing offensive depth in the line-up, prefering to emphasize speed); flawed defensively (see Cedeno and Bynum in the infield, Barrett catching, and Pierre and Jones in the outfield), and most of all flawed in the construction of a starting rotation. Management above Dusty's pay grade chose to depend on two guys (Wood and Prior) whose chronic health and durability issues were obvious by the end of 2004. Yet they did not replace Clements after 2004, they did not add a a starter after 2005 (despite being free of the Sosa burden on their budget). And as a result the starting rotation has been in chaos all season. And you can't fix a starting rotation in one off-season, not when the going price for a stud number one is a $70 million dollar contract.

It takes a series of bad organizational mistakes to take a team that was up won 89 games consectuvely (and probably would have wone 91 to 93 but for Dusty) to become a 100 loss team. Unfortunately, this team never admits to making a mistake. This year was all the result of injuries and the fans injuring Dusty's and the players (particularly J. Jones and Ronny Cedeno's psyche).

If Cubs were run by people seriously interested in winning, they could pursue two options. First, they could adjust their payroll budget upward to 130 million, that would put them in the Boston Red Sox range, and a comparable club in revenue generation. They could then see if they could finesse a deal for Alec Rodriguez from the Yankees, acquire one solid starter by trade and perhaps another as a free agent, and add Tori Hunter or Marcus Giles as a free agent. And a couple of good bench players. They would then have a starting rotation of:

Zambrano
Free Agent
Trade
Hill
(Prior, Gallagher, or any of the assorted youngsters we have seen this year).

It would not be a championship rotation, but it could get the Cubs back up into the middle of the pack.

The other alternative is the 1980s Atlanta Brave or Florida Marlin route. Build up your scouts and player development coaches (hire more of them and hire only good ones, not necessarily your buddies), trade your few quality veterans for prospects, and put up with losing badly for about 3 to 4 seasons using those low draft choices to pick potential studs.

Unfortunately with the Cubs, we may get something like the latter results without the benefits. The Cubs were atrocious from 1972 to 1981, and again from 1990 to 2002, and you can count the good draft choices on one hand for all those years, and even they (Dunston, Wood, and Prior) have not exactly worked out.

CubfaninGermany:
"I think debating the merits of Dusty Baker, or his lack of any merits, is really beating a dead horse at this point. A team does not lose (or approach losing) 100 games because of the manager."

Very good point...

And even better when considering that a vast majority think he won't be the manager next year, but Hendry will be the GM and he will be with the team next year unfortunately.

But it does still baffle me that so many posts, time and effort are directed at bashing the manager, when even those people all admit that the team would of never won even with a manager they think is great. They might say in passing that the GM sucks, but then go on bashing away at Baker. Sooner or later you guys will see the main culprit to this sinking organization is Hendry. But more inportantly, I hope McPhail and/or the Trib executives see it ASAP.

A payroll of $130 million should be enough to build a team that can win the NL Central, but the key is how that money is spent. After all, Hendry had nearly $100 million to spend to build the 2006 team and he used it to build a basement dweller.

Unless the approach and culture of the organization changes, they will waste $130 million just as easily as they wasted $100 million this year. Whether or not the Cubs adopt a commitment to winning will dictate what moves the Cubs make in the off season. We'll either see a new direction or more of the same.

OT:

Manny,

Fight on state! We're gonna stick it to Brady tomorrow!!!

Hey when your team sucks on the fundamentals and keeps making the same dumb mistakes with different players every year that is the managers fault. It shows a lazy team that doesn't care about the little things. It shows a team that plays grab ass in the clubhouse instead of preparing for games.

It's a no accountability "I want to be your friend more than your boss" attitude. And what happens in every single workplace where the boss tries to be best friends with everyone instead of being a boss? People take advantage of him, they get lazy, they screw up their jobs. And that is what has been happening in Chicago since 2003.

It is no mistake that for every year Dusty has managed the Cubs they have gotten worse and worse. They haven't improved anywhere on the roster and regressed everywhere. But why is that? Because each year he gets more and more of "his" players.

And any person can ignore that Dusty makes no difference and its all Hendry's fault. But that person can never answer one simple question. If he doesn't like all these players Hendry gives him, then why does he start them? Why does he give them playing time over better younger players? Dusty has no problem sticking to his boys like Neifi and Estes through months of slumping. But god forbid a rookie slumps he is losing his job fast.

The fact is Dusty requests who he wants on his roster and Hendry does his best to go out and get them. Because if Dusty didn't like them, he wouldn't play them.

I personally place more blame on Hendry for the poor job he did in assembling this team. Dusty may have had some say in who Hendry signed, but it was unltimately Hendry's responsibility to decide who he would put on the team.

Even so, I understand the anger with Dusty. He has done a poor job with the players he has been given. And his misdeeds have been on display every day, unlike Hendry who made a huge blunder building the team and then was largely out of the public's view. So even though Dusty's sins may have been minor when compared to Hendry's, Dusty has been an easy target because he's out there doing his thing every day.

ShawnGoldman:
"Fight on state! We're gonna stick it to Brady tomorrow!!!"

Damn right!!! After tomorrow people won't be talking about Quinn, but Morelli instead.

MIKEC:
"And any person can ignore that Dusty makes no difference and its all Hendry's fault. But that person can never answer one simple question. If he doesn't like all these players Hendry gives him, then why does he start them? Why does he give them playing time over better younger players?"

Isn't that 2 questions? But to answer that question, it is easy, it has always been Dusty's style to use his whole roster. He plays his bench guys a lot. Always has and Hendry had to know that. If not he is a bigger idiot than I thought.

I think most people agree that 85-95 mil ought to be enough money to put together a good team, esp in the NL. I am of the opinion that money is not the problem. And CubFanInGermany is right, arguing about Dusty is silly, because he's a goner after this season. We do it anyways in the grand tradition of TCR :)

Since the Trib's role in the organization is to shovel money into the team (which after this year, if I'm the Trib, I start wondering why I'm shoveling so much money into the Cubs), I don't blame the Trib, the problem is lower in the ranks and files of the organization. So, if you must blame someone you have to blame: Hendry, Dusty, the players, or circumstance.

I guess circumstance is the big one, with players underperforming the first part of the season and, of course, Lee's injury. Then there are the pitchers... This season was supposed to be the one that we didn't rely on Wood & Prior being healthy. They were supposed to be welcome additions later in the year. Nobody said it, but in the backs of our minds those two guys were there and when they returned things would be ok. They were in the back of Hendry's mind when he gave Dusty Glendon Rusch as our #2 starter and Jerome Williams as our #4 (?) starter.

Say what you want about Hendry (I know there are a lot of ill-feelings about him among some of the TCR crowd), but I think he's a decent GM. He doesn't appear to micromanage and he's done things like turn Hawkins into Aardsma and turned Clement into Murton. He's annoyed me from time to time with signings like Neifi & Rusch, but for the most part he's made sense.

In poker, which I find to be a perfect allegory for life, one of the first things you learn is that you can make all the right moves and still lose. I think this happened to the Cubs this year to some degree.

cubfaningermany, how do you know Murton isn't a "championship" (whatever the hell that means, as no one person can win a championship and even the Yankees had shitty players on their teams when they won it all) player? He's hitting around .300, which is a rarity in cubbie blue this season. His OBP is over .350, and he hits relatively well with RISP. He's done this with, to put it mildly, inconsistent playing time.

Granted, his defense is a little lacking, but that is easier to improve upon than hitting.

The kid hasn't even been given a real chance to prove himself, and people are giving up on him because he hasn't hit 35 hr yet. I guess I just don't get it.

Smitty:
"He's (Murton) done this with, to put it mildly, inconsistent playing time."

I don't know what you consider inconsistant, but Murton is on pace to get 450 AB's this year. That is pretty close to a full season. And remember he even went through a major slump in all of June and early July, where Dusty had him sit some so he could try and find his stroke. And also, he has the 5th most AB's on the team.

"The kid hasn't even been given a real chance to prove himself, and people are giving up on him because he hasn't hit 35 hr yet. I guess I just don't get it."

I wouldn't give up on him, but just platoon him with JJ. He would be the perfect platoon partner/4th OF in a productive offensive OF. But also, if a platoon is not going to happen, LF is the easiest and most productive way to upgrade the offense next year via FA. That is why I haven't given up on him, but realize that if we truely want to get a big time upgrade offensively via FA it is going to have to be at Murton's expense. Just remember, right now if Murton were to qualify, he would be 2nd worst behind Preston Wilson in OPS (.784) among LF in NL. He has had a nice little season, but for the postion he plays he is below average.

Okay, I think I more or less agree with Manny. Which is to say that I don't really think Dusty's the problem. On-field-managers are (as Billy Beane said in Moneyball) middle managers. If a middle manager sucks at his job, he either gets fired or reprimanded until he cleans up his act. When a President or CEO sucks at his job, the whole organization suffers.

I've read comments here that have stated that Hendry and Dusty seem pretty well aligned about personnel decisions, and I think I agree with that. I also think that MacPhail is pretty well aligned with Hendry and Dusty on personnel decisions. I think that's why Dusty still has a job.

What I think is really going on is this organization is run by a bunch of conservative dunderheads who are totally unwilling to use results as their yardstick for organizational success. See Corey Patterson. Kid hits .250 in AAA? Well, he has all the "talent" in the world, let's promote him!

Yeesh. Until the leadership of this organization can figure out how to evaluate talent, we're not going to see any kind of perennial winner in Chicago. At least not on the North Side. And that's that.

Marhsall

Hendry has at least shown that he can get smoe guys who were "on the verge" such as Lee, Ramirez, and Barrett. However, the farm system needs to help more and since our system has put out only pitching lately and most of it hurt, we need some position players. I'm hoping Theriot can turn into something decent and Pie and Scott Moore end up being regulars sometime soon. The hope however is with new scouting director Tim Wilken, he had some really good drafts in Toronto and Steve Stone thinks he will be terrific here and be as good as Gordon Goldsberry was for us in the 80's.

"And remember he even went through a major slump in all of June and early July, where Dusty had him sit some so he could try and find his stroke. And also, he has the 5th most AB's on the team."
--
Might as well stroke it while you're spending all that time on the bench.

"Just remember, right now if Murton were to qualify..."
--
Wait, I thought he has played basically a full season? He's 5th in AB's, which don't mean shit. I explained this to you a couple weeks ago.
He's only 5th in AB's because:
Walker was traded
Barrett is a catcher (catchers split time ya' know)
D-Lee has been injured

Otherwise he'd be 8th in AB's...
His ass has pulled some splinters outta that bench this year.

I think Manny's right in this situation. Murton has had a decent season, but when compared to other left fielders, his season doesn't look quite as good. I like Murton, but agree that LF is one of the easiest and most natural places for the Cubs to upgrade in 2007.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that Murton must be replaced in order for the Cubs to contend in 2007. I'm just saying that LF is one of the positions where good FAs will be available. If Hendry goes another direction and adds a couple of power bats at other positions, having Murton back in LF would be fine with me. Just as long as the other necessary moves are made.

Murton is in his first full season. He might continue to get better. Take a look at the first year stats of alot of guys-Bonds, Sandberg, Brock...Guys develop at the major league level. I'd hang on to him and upgrade right field. Trade Jones. He's average and not getting any better. He's defense sucks and he doesn't seem to like playing here. His contract is very movable.

Dusty uses his entire roster huh? On Theriot's first call up he was brought up to spark plug the offense but hardly played and was sent back to the minors. Tony Womack who was recently DFA was brought in to spark plug the offense and handed starts instantly.

And lets not forget how Dusty used his entire Roster when Guzman had that dominate performance in relief of Rusch. What was Guzman's reward? He didn't pitch anymore after that and was sent to the minors.

There are dozens and dozens more examples of that during the Dusty era.

Murton is going to out OPS Soriano and Lee next year. Write it down. Put it on your fridge and accept it.

Yeah I don't think so Real Neal.

Post All-Star
Murton .888
Lee .826
Soriano 1.050

Its not so much that we are beating a dead horse, that its Manny firing a shot about Hendry in every single f-ing post. We get the point. Hendry is the anti-christ and its not Dusty's fault. Show me a GM in any sport that makes perfect moves every season. I guess Atlanta's GM is a blistering moron b/c they won't win the division this year and/or b/c they only won 1 WS during their 14-title run. Do I think Hendry assembled a good team this year, even without the injuries? No, I cringed when we traded for Pierre. But, Hendry traded Jose freakin Hernandez for Aram? Hundley for Karros? Essentially 234 yr old Miller for Barrett? I mean, c'mon already. Cashman traded or signed for Womack at one point, so I assume he is moron too. But, wait Cashman also brought Sturtze in the fold b/c why? Torre loved him for some reason. I think McPhail and Fitzsimmons are the real culprits here, not Hendry. Dusty? Is a shitty manager - plain and simple. I fully believe he is not a stupid man but is having fun with the media saying 'walks clog up the bases' just to get a rise out of cubdom since he knows he's gone and will surely be hired by someone else. Also, if Hendry had the financial backing that some other teams had, he would not be som timid in pursing top-tier free agents.

RF Fielding Stats - JJones

Yes, we have seen JJ play some mighty shitty right field this year. I'm generally pleased with his hitting and have stated numerous times that among the truly "available" RF'ers he was the best choice and is proving it with his offensive numbers this year.

So, I wanted to see statistically, how he was stacking up against other RF'ers. Here is the latest NL list- its a mess and I didn't want to reformat it, but currently he has a FP of .976 and a RF of 2.04 - good for 8th in the NL. This does NOT include "BT" (bounced throws) or "TIS's" (Throw in the Stands), or "MCM" (Missed Cutoff Man). But in PERSPECTIVE with other players, he's about middle of the pack defensively - or maybe a little better.

I'm just the messenger...

ME GP GS INN TC PO A E DP FPCT RF ZR
Brad Hawpe, Col 128 122 1082.2 270 251 15 4 3 .985 2.21 .849
Shawn Green, NYM/Ari 115 112 981.2 195 191 1 3 1 .985 1.76 .837
J.D. Drew, LA 115 112 958.1 246 239 3 4 0 .984 2.27 .890
Austin Kearns, Cin/Was 132 127 1127.2 327 316 5 6 1 .982 2.56 .884
Juan Encarnacion, StL 118 106 941.1 216 208 4 4 0 .981 2.03 .912
Brian Giles, SD 137 137 1218.0 272 259 7 6 2 .978 1.97 .904
Jeff Francoeur, Atl 140 140 1230.2 288 270 11 7 3 .976 2.06 .865
Jacque Jones, ChC 127 123 1060.0 246 235 5 6 2 .976 2.04 .878
Geoff Jenkins, Mil 117 111 976.0 234 222 6 6 2 .974 2.10 .863

defensive stats...a tool of the devil.

just watching him play...you dont need a stat. there is no tracking to do on his skills. a dozen or so games with anyone's eyes can "showcase" those skills.

.9020487 of something and .9829364 of something else...whatever.

btw...im not jumping down your throat...information is information and you didnt create those stats, j.j. did.

the crux is...if jock was this team's LF...damn, what a deal. 5m for a competent glove with 30 double 25hr power (and he can run a bit, too).

in RF he's got the "run on me" arm that we definately didnt see with burnitz last year or sosa most of his cubs career.

he's done some stupid crap on the bases, but aside from a rough couple weeks on the basepaths getting picked off, he's pretty stable out there imo.

CRUNCH: I know - totally agree...Again, for what was out there, it was pretty much a choice between Encarnacion and JJ.

I haven't compared recently, but I think JJ has the offensive numbers edge, and Encarnacion the defensive ones.

It has been generally believed that the Cubs not signed JJ, the Cards would have,

But certainly, LaRussa would have him playing whenever and wherever he dictated - platoon, LF, bench, etc.

This cannot happen with the current manager.

One of the reasons Dusty will always find a managerial job should he want one!

encar's arm is definately better...really streaky feast/famine hitter...not as much pop in the bat vs. jones but its not like encar's homers/doubles wont somewhat pace jones.

Tom C:
"Its not so much that we are beating a dead horse, that its Manny firing a shot about Hendry in every single f-ing post. We get the point."

HA HA

You must not read many posts as the Dusty bashing is a good chunk of them and I don't recall you saying anything about them. Tell them "we get the point".

Manny:
You must not read many posts as the Dusty bashing is a good chunk of them and I don't recall you saying anything about them. Tell them "we get the point".
____

I think I've read about 100000 posts of yours that say "FIRE HENDRY" or Dusty gets railed on and hendry gets a pass, etc. You make the same argument about Hendry every time.

With Baker, he's doing something new and different every day to drive everyone nuts. So to say "we get the point" about Dusty is to say that he screws up the same way every time. He doesn't. He makes stupid moves or says stupid things every game.

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