The Marquis de Shutout

(Yeah I got a million of those for the rest of the year for Marquis) If you're a fan of the pitching duel, last night's game may well have been the highlight of the season. If Chicago-native Tom Gorzelanny could have a mulligan after the leadoff home run to Soriano, we could have been looking at another 15 inning affair. The good news this time would have been that our bullpen would have been plenty rested as Marquis cruised through 9 innings and 30 batters including the first five innings of perfection. All this on a 109 pitches, 72 of which were strikes, in other words  about 5 innings for Zambrano. Marquis earned himself a game score of 86, which will put him tied for the top spot in the NL along with Jake Peavy and Cole Hamels. He is now 6th in the NL in ERA, to go along with Rich Hill's four spot and Ted Lilly at the 12 spot. Who would thunk that our starting pitching would be our biggest strength? Not much to criticize on  a day when your starter gives your bullpen a day-off after a 15-inning affair but a few quick notes. -  By sending Cedeno down and keeping Pie up with the team, Lou was basically forced to either start Jacque or Pie in centerfield against the lefty. He could have got creative and moved Soriano back to CF, Murton in LF and Derosa in RF with Izturis and Theriot in the infield but starting all your middle infielders is one of the reasons the Cubs got in trouble on Sunday. I would have probably gone with Pie because if they're both going to be liabilities with the bat, might as well go with the better glove. Lou didn't see it that way and gave Jones the start but at least had the decency to bat him eight. Jones responded appropriately by stranding nine runners in the game. Sadly it was completely predictable. - I'm also not sure why after the eight, Piniella brought in Pie to play CF for Jones but left Murton in RF. Rubber game of the series today and the Cubs can win their fourth straight series. Let's go Z!
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"Marquis earned himself a game score of 86, which will put him tied for the top spot in the NL along with Jake Peavy and Cole Hamels. He is now 6th in the NL in ERA, to go along with Rich Hill’s four spot and Ted Lilly at the 12 spot. Who would thunk that our starting pitching would be our biggest strength?"

This is why I don't like game score. Peavy only got through 7 in his game, right? Marquis went the distance, shutout the Pirates and posted a complete game and a win. To me, that's a far superior performance. While you can't control your own teams runs, you are going to score at least one run in every game you play, therefore, if you throw a 9 inning shutout, you will usually earn the win. If you recall Peavy didn't get a win because the game was taken out of his hands.

Agree with that Chad. Marquis is the superior game. I don't mind if DLee doesn't hit HRs, as long as he keeps his average that high.

Really? Peavy struck out 16 batters! Hammels went 9.0 IP and had 15 Ks! Marquis was fantastic, but I thought either of those would deserve a higher "game score".

The bad thing is that even with such a hot start to the season, if Marquis does regress towards his career mean ERA, it could get ugly for him in a hurry.

But what is the saying, lies, damned lies and statistics? Mark Twain?

At least Zambrano has to improve, statistically, at least.

"All this on a 109 pitches, 72 of which were strikes, in other words about 5 innings for Zambrano."

That's good ROB> LOL!

How did Theriot look at SS last night?

Jones looked clueless against the lefty last night. i know that everyone knows how bad the numbers are, but Jones looked like he had no idea what was going on. This guy needs to go. We can live with Pie in center, at least he can catch and throw.

Lay off of Jones. He was put into a situation that we all know he will fail in. He can't hit lefties and was put into a situation where he had to face left handed pitching that was throwing VERY well. 19 times out of 20 against a lefty on top of his game, Jacque is going back to the dugout. Get on Lou for putting him into that situation, not Jones. I am not sure that I agree that Pie should have been out there, though. Pie doesn't hit lefties much better than Jones, however, his psyche is probably more fragile. I could have been devestating to him to have stranded 9 last night (particularly worst case if the Cubs had lost.) Jones will recover by today or tomorrow with his first hit.

Theriot looked good at short last night. Very comfortable. Didn't really have any difficult plays that I recall, however.

:)

Roger Clemens' big announcement this week has Rickey Henderson hoping some club might give him one more chance to make a major league comeback. "Seeing Roger come back, all the seed that it plants is ask me to come back one time," Henderson, a Mets special instructor, said yesterday in the Mets clubhouse before last night's game against the Giants. "I'm going to look at it at the end of the year. I might come out with some crazy stuff, a press conference telling every club, 'Put me on the field with your best player and see if I come out of it.' If I can't do it, I'll call it quits at the end," he said. The 48-year-old Henderson hasn't played in the majors since appearing in 30 games for the Dodgers in 2003, his 25th year in the majors.

Click here for the full story.

Archie: Someguy isn't pesonally attacking Jones. He's just saying that LouPa is in the bunker and has three 8-irons from which to choose. Nothing against Jacque, he's a respectable major-leaguer, which makes it all the more perplexing that there's no takers yet.

One can only assume Hendry thinks he can get better value in return in July, so for now - let's keep touching our jaws together.

*Jones looked clueless against the lefty last night. i know that everyone knows how bad the numbers are, but Jones looked like he had no idea what was going on. This guy needs to go. We can live with Pie in center, at least he can catch and throw. *

Thank you for adding another voice to my growing chorus. I know they are trying to trade him, but running him out there to fail/flail every day is not going to increase his value.

Same goes for Izturis, who is also godawful.

Marquis is simply awesome. Clearly the best overall performance to date of any pitcher on our staff. Sure, he is unlikely to keep it up, the ERA below 2, but I would say he has a legitimate shot at winning 20 if he gets run support. It took a brilliant performance last night from Marquis to win the game. If Z or probably any other starting pitcher had been pitching, no way we win with just one run.

michaelweaselo - Lies, damned lies and statistics was first used by Benjamin Disraeli. Twain simply plagiarised it.

Seriously... is Jacque Jones is the only on the Cubs who is not allowed to slump?

Jacque Jones will never be a hall of famer, or probably even an all-star. But he will hit rhp's very well and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. On top of that, his arm is clearly better than it was last year (though still not great).

Again - it appears that you all expect superstars at every position, and Jock is not that. He is a five million a year outfielder who has done exactly what he is here to do.

Now if only he was never allowed to face a lefty.

By the way, continuing another conversation, Derek Lee is 6th in MLB in OPS (slugging + OBP). This tells me he isn't just a singles hitter and in fact he's tied for 2nd in doubles.

Good point Johann. And also nice to have a hitter who just gets it done and doesn't try to hit every pitch for a three run HR. Not saying that anyone on our team does necessarily - but it's very different (and better) to having, say, Adam Dunn in your lineup.

As someone who's not a huge fan of Jones, I can agree he is getting way too much blame for a slump.

Why are Floyd and DeRosa getting no blame for their slumps? And really, outside of last year DeRosa has done nothing, so it seems he should be getting more crap then he does.

Jones is a lifetime .280 hitter. He is just 10 points below that after a couple horrible games. All indications are he will hover around .280 all year, which is great in the bottom part of the order. If Soriano, Theriot, Lee and ARam can all hit around .300, a .280 from Jones will more then acceptable.

It's going to be the rest of the people in the bottom of the order I want to see more from. Murton again showed he's good when he starts, but we'll see. DeRosa needs to show last year wasn't a fluke, and Floyd needs to improve his OBP to his lifetime average if he's going to make an impact.

Chad — May 10, 2007 @ 1:00 am
“Marquis earned himself a game score of 86, which will put him tied for the top spot in the NL along with Jake Peavy and Cole Hamels. He is now 6th in the NL in ERA, to go along with Rich Hill’s four spot and Ted Lilly at the 12 spot. Who would thunk that our starting pitching would be our biggest strength?”

This is why I don’t like game score. Peavy only got through 7 in his game, right? Marquis went the distance, shutout the Pirates and posted a complete game and a win. To me, that’s a far superior performance. While you can’t control your own teams runs, you are going to score at least one run in every game you play, therefore, if you throw a 9 inning shutout, you will usually earn the win. If you recall Peavy didn’t get a win because the game was taken out of his hands.

==================================

CHAD: I agree

So what if a pitcher strikes out a ton of guys if in doing so he throws 120 pitches in six or seven innings? I'll take a Marquis performance every time.

The idea in "pitching to contact" is that the pitcher tries to get the hitter out on a "pitcher's pitch," and it doesn't mean the pitcher doesn't get any strikeouts or that it's OK if the hitter clobbers the ball.

A starting pitcher should try to retire hitters with a minimum number of pitches each inning, number one to avoid getting gassed in a particular inning by throwing 25 or 30 pitches, and number two to be able to go deeper into the game and save the bullpen from overuse.

Throwing a minimum number of pitches per inning also means a starting pitcher doesn't have to display his entire array of pitches in any one AB or early in the game. It's basically what Greg Maddux has been doing for years.

Relief pitchers are different, and so if a reliever consistently throws 20-25 pitches per inning but strikes out the side in the process, that's fine. It just doesn't work well if a starter operates like that.

Jones looked like he was going to swing no matter what was thrown last night. Derosa worked the count before he grounded to the 3B last night, Jones taps the first pitch back to the P. He was swinging at pitches 2 feet outside.

Saying his throwing is better than last year isn't saying a whole lot. Murton's throw into second last night keeping the runner to a single was a very good throw. Murton does not have a cannon, but he plays smart. Pie has a cannon and from left Soriano looks to have a great arm. I would say that Jones is at best average in the field.

I think Jones is catching way too much shit too. He hustles on every play and when there's a rhp on the mound you want him in the game. It's not his fault he gets run out there against lefties.

I admit that I haven't seen a Cub strand so many baserunners in a game since Andre Dawson in the '89 playoffs but no one on this team is doing a great job driving in runs right now except maybe Theriot.

hey gang.
JJ left much to be desired at the dish, but hey, alls well that ends marquis de shutout.
nice back2back dubbles by the dish-minder though eh?
and how bout the riot? 2b yesterday, SS today, gotta like lou havin him in there when he belongs there.

must say though im STILL pissed off about that 15 inning ordeal. MEH!

go bulls!

So what if a pitcher strikes out a ton of guys if in doing so he throws 120 pitches in six or seven innings? I’ll take a Marquis performance every time.

Except that there are almost no pitchers in MLB history that had success without striking out a lot of batters. About 4.5 per 9 innings is the minimum.

The idea in “pitching to contact” is that the pitcher tries to get the hitter out on a “pitcher’s pitch,” and it doesn’t mean the pitcher doesn’t get any strikeouts or that it’s OK if the hitter clobbers the ball.

Well, it's been shown that if a batter makes contact, it doesn't matter much who the pitcher is -- with very few exceptions. There's no such thing as a 'pitcher's pitch' if there isn't a strikeout.

Chad and AZ Phil,

I'm with both of you on the game score thing. It definitely rewards strikeouts, which I can understand because if the batters don't put wood on the ball, they can't get a hit. Still, there is a lot to be said for efficiency, and I, too, prefer the Marquis performance.

The solution would be some way to rate the quality of contact made by batters. A bunch of tappers to the mound would rate much better (for a pitcher) than a bunch of drives to the warning track, and slow bouncers to short would be better than rocket shots down the line. Likewise, a bloop single would be a hit, but wouldn't count as much against the pitcher as a line drive single. Could also calculate in a way to reward low pitch counts.

I am a fan of stats (both new and old school), but this demonstrates the problems of trying to quantify something as subjective as a pitching performance. Some people prefer the power pitchers over the junk ballers, some would rather see D-Lee crank homers out of the three spot while others are happy with him hitting a sick number of doubles.

It is funny reading comments about Marquis' performance so far this season over at cardinals.com. When he was signed by the Cubs, the comments over there were that Jason would be terrible from the get-go. Now that his numbers are at the top of the charts, the comments are that, sure, but looked who Jason has pitched against, a bunch of terrible teams. If he ends up winning 20 games, I am sure that they will even then be able to come up with something to diss the guy about. I think that what really is sticking in their collective craws is that Marquis is doing all this for a team that many of them hate. I think that makes it especially hard to stomach for them. I like Marquis' composure on the mound. Even against the Cards, he really did not show them any emotion at all. If a little of that would rub off on Z, just a little, it would be a good thing.

It's just game score guys, just a handy way of comparing the best pitched games of the year. No one's getting a Cy Young or a new contract because of it. And everybody in baseball would take Jake Peavy and Cole Hamels ability to strike out somebody over Marquis and his pitch to contact method. It was a great game and the game score shows that. If they added a small bonus for the complete game combined with a shutout that would be appropriate, but the formula already gives credit for the extra innings and not allowing any runs so it's just a bonus.

As for JJ, I wasn't picking on him. As I said, it was completely predictable, tough lefty and he don't hit them well. Neither has Pie in the minors.

Scott de B. — May 10, 2007 @ 8:41 am
Except that there are almost no pitchers in MLB history that had success without striking out a lot of batters. About 4.5 per 9 innings is the minimum.

...it’s been shown that if a batter makes contact, it doesn’t matter much who the pitcher is — with very few exceptions. There’s no such thing as a ‘pitcher’s pitch’ if there isn’t a strikeout.

=================================

Scott: Jason Marquis struck out five batters in nine innings last night.

This what I wrote:

The idea in “pitching to contact” is that the pitcher tries to get the hitter out on a “pitcher’s pitch,” and it doesn’t mean the pitcher doesn’t get any strikeouts or that it’s OK if the hitter clobbers the ball

And I respectfully disagree with you about "pitching to contact" and getting a hitter to hit a "pitchers pitch" being inferior to going after the strikeout in every AB.

There are times when a pitcher needs a K or a pop up (like runner on third with less than two outs) and there are other times when he might need a ground ball (going for a DP to end an innng).

But "pitching to contact" by throwing quality pitches that aren't specifically designed as "strikeout pitches" is the best way a pitcher can minimize pitches per inning and stay stronger later into a game.

If clubs were allowed 16 or 18 man pitching staffs, it wouldn't matter. But with seven guys (max) in the bullpen (some of whom can't be trusted), it is a good thing for a starting pitcher who has his "good stuff" going (as was the case with Jason Marquis last night) to go as deep as possible into a game.

And I repeat, it doesn't mean the pitcher does not get any strikeouts. It's just that he isn't specifically going for a "K" on every AB.

The #1 goal in trying to get a batter to hit a "pitcher's pitch" is to get dinky pop ups, lazy fly balls, and broken bat ground balls, and an occasional K is the by-product of this approach. It doesn't mean that the pitcher lays a BP fastball right down the middle and says "hit it!" It means staying ahead in the count, working the corners, mixing up location and arm slots, not throwing more than 15 pitches in any one inning, and making quality pitches.

Not sure ARM. Maybe a touch of emotion makes Z a better pitcher. This year her certainly looks calmer than last year. Doesn't seem quite as effective yet though...

...but looked who Jason has pitched against, a bunch of terrible teams.
-----
Aren't 40% of his wins against the Cardinals (4/21 and 4/27)?

If A is true (he's winnning agaisnt terrible teams) and B occurs (wins twice against StL), then C is TRUE...draw your own conclusions.

Cubster, yeah, the folks over there on the Cards' board have admitted that their team has been terrible until the last few dates, so they did admit that.

Mark, yeah, I agree, a "touch" of emotion is fine. I just said that it would be good if a little bit of the Marquis composure rubbed off on Carlos. I don't see a lot of change in his composure this year. Sure, he has not pointed to his eyes as he looks at the umpire as Z walks off the mound, suggesting that the Ump cannot see or that he needs glasses. But he still has composure problems. I mean he gets really, really bothered when he does not get the key close calls in the first inning. The signs that he is bothered are not as obvious but they are still there.

I should have used The Google. Disraeli is one of my favorite historical Brits. I should have known that.

Stupid minor in British History fails me again.

Why is it so hard for fans (and bloggers for that matter) to swallow the Marquis pill? Is it because he's an ex-Cardinal?

He's fixed something, he's pitching great. He's not really given us a reason to think he's going to suddenly be terrible. Regression and all that, sure, but I don't think he'll be terrible. Go Jason!

Does anyone have ESPN Insider?

I'm dying to know if this article on Zambrano's contract says anything noteworthy.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?en...

ARM - think you nailed it. The signs of frustration are less obvious now but probably not gone. He doesn't seem to want to break bats over his knees anymore (though I'm sure he did break a (partly broken) bat over his head in a game this year... Hopefully, his problems are just arm slot related (as advertised). Have a feeling that it may have something to do with his contract though...

michaelweaselo - what did you learn? Moral of the story: don't forget the brits used to rule the world before America.

ESPN 1000 radio saying Cub roster move announced...Possibly Pie but will post when confirmed

Pie sent to Iowa, Angel Pagan up

glad to see Pie get his playing time, but generally all I have to say is bleech.

Pagan is a switch hitter, so at least Lou can play the lefty-righty thang with another righty bat to use beside Murton

Cubster - Is ESPN 100 radio a chicago based ESPN affiliate? Do they talk a lot about Cubs baseball? I have been listening the the Score a lot, but have been getting annoyed by all the talk about the Bulls...

The Olney bit on Z doesn't have much in the way of news. Olney speculates that Z may be frustrated by the uncertainty and makes the obvious point that the value in signing a below-market long-term deal is security and the longer this goes on, the less valuable that security becomes. Some of the blog here:

"I've covered players in Zambrano's situation who said privately that they were very much bothered by ongoing negotiations, because when they took the field every day, they felt as if they were auditioning for the big-money payoff. This can be especially true for starting pitchers, who have four days between starts to fret and worry about why their contract is not getting done. A player agent once laughed about how he would get phone calls from the team only when his client had a nice outing, and never when he had a bad outing. "It's like they're going back and forth, start to start, on whether to give him the deal," said the agent.

This is why so many players cut off negotiations before the start of a season. They want it off their mental plate.

The holdup seems to be taking place in offices high over the head of Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who negotiated the parameters of the Zambrano semi-agreement this spring, so it's unlikely that a few rough games are the reason why Zambrano hasn't gotten his deal. It's about business: Do the suits in the Tribune Co. want to add another huge bill on the books of the company as they try to sell it?

But some day very soon, Zambrano probably needs to clear his mind about the contractual hold-up and focus entirely on pitching -- and maybe even use the Cubs' deliberation as motivation. So, you're not sure if you want my assets on your books? Well, OK, but you'll pay for that.

Somebody will pay for it. Maybe the Mets, or the Red Sox, or the Yankees, or the Dodgers, or the Astros. Zito is two years older than Zambrano and doesn't have as much in the way of pure stuff, and he got $126 million. Zambrano will be the most coveted free-agent pitcher on the market as long as he doesn't have a subpar year that makes other teams wonder about his ability to focus. The biggest threat to Zambrano's market value, in a sense, may be Zambrano continuing to wait for the Cubs to give his contract the final go-ahead.

He's been the good guy in this negotiation so far. He's shown a willingness to take a hometown discount (for extraordinary money, yes), he's waited for the Cubs to complete the deal, and he hasn't been screaming about the delays. He's kept his mouth shut.

Zambrano probably needs to tell the Cubs: It's business, and it's time for you to make a decision, and if you don't make a decision, I will. Because it's time for me to forget about the extension and do all my thinking about pitching."

Doesn't make the tiniest bit of sense to me. I could *maybe* see swapping Pie out for another outfield if that outfielder could actually sub for Jones in CF against lefties, but Pagan is just about as lost against lefties as Jones.

*Jones taps the first pitch back to the P. He was swinging at pitches 2 feet outside. *

He also swings at pitches at bounce two feet in front of the plate. And pitches that barely scrape buy home plate.

*Jacque Jones will never be a hall of famer, or probably even an all-star. But he will hit rhp’s very well and cover a lot of ground in the outfield.*

Covers a lot of ground? Not enough to play next to Murton. Last night on those two balls hit into the RF gap I wondered just when either of them was ever going to even come into the picture...[one mississippi, two mississippi]. And Tuesday's game, if Jones catches that ball while diving on the track, the Cubs would have won. I bet Pie catches that ball on the run, without diving.

Jace, yes it's the ESPN affiliate. The morning talk after the M&M syndicated show is now Waddle (who recently left WGN radio) and Silverman. Then they do Dan Patrick syndicated show midday. Afternoons till about 11pm is local sports programming (McNeal, et al.). I try not to listen to WSCR much (Murph in small doses and he has a crappy time slot anyway) as it's heavy WSux year round.

* Henderson, a Mets special instructor, said yesterday in the Mets clubhouse before last night’s game against the Giants. “I’m going to look at it at the end of the year. I might come out with some crazy stuff, a press conference telling every club, ‘Put me on the field with your best player and see if I come out of it.’ If I can’t do it, I’ll call it quits at the end,” he said. The 48-year-old Henderson hasn’t played in the majors since appearing in 30 games for the Dodgers in 2003, his 25th year in the majors.*

Um, Rickey, newsflash--you can't do it. You haven't hit above .240 in this century. You're done. Kaput.

It is amusing, though, to see this every year. I hope he's still pulling this stunt when he's 80, like some crazy old homeless lunatic on a street corner tellin' people he used to be somebody.

I can see it now:

"Eh, sonny, come on, I'll race you from the left field line to the right and I'll whip you" said 77 year-old Henderson, a special assistant to the Las Vegas Marlins. "Why, back in 1977 I stole 2,000 bases...I was stealing bases before these fancy anti-gravity shoes was invented, by cracky".

Secret to the Brewers success... are you ready for this? I hope you're sitting...

From benmaller.com...

Ready?...

How About That? The Brewers are 10-0 when Damian Miller is in the lineup and 14-10 when he doesn't start.

Click here for the full story.

The #1 goal in trying to get a batter to hit a “pitcher’s pitch” is to get dinky pop ups, lazy fly balls, and broken bat ground balls, and an occasional K is the by-product of this approach.

I understand, but we now know that there isn't a whole lot of variation in the ability of pitchers to induce pop-ups, flies and ground balls. Certainly a lot less variation than used to be thought. That's why strikeouts are better, because if the batter can put wood on the ball, he eliminates the difference in skill between Johan Santana and Wade Miller.

if pie's not gonna be used and he's used up whatever instruction he's gotten here he might as well be sent down.

hard time imagining pagan cant sit on the bench, pinch run, and occasionally play some OF like pie's been doing at a heroic .630 ops clip.

if theyre gonna be just bench guys right now there's not much difference between a pie and a pagan...especially since its not 2008 yet.

pie is the future blah blah blah...yeah, future. as in...not the guy who's ob% is david ortiz's rookie year weight and who's power is rivaled by neifi perez.

Brewers keeping beer in the clubhouse -- from the Journal-Sentinel

____

Team spokesman Tyler Barnes confirmed the team's decision.

Pitcher Chris Capuano, the Brewers' representative to the players association, said the decision was consistent with the way the Brewers regard their players.

"For the most part they treat us like adults. There's no curfew on the road. You're expected to handle yourself professionally," he said. "Guys are not going to sit in the clubhouse and drink four and five beers and then drive. We would never do anything like that.

"But it's nice if a guy wants to have a beer after a game that the team is OK with it."

I don't mind seeing Pie sent down at all, I just don't get Pagan as the replacement. Seems like we have more need for a middle infielder or a right handed outfielder.

Here, I fixed it for you:

“Eh, sonny, come on, Rickey will race you from the left field line to the right and Rickey will whip you” said 77 year-old Henderson, a special assistant to the Las Vegas Marlins. “Why, back in 1977 Rickey stole 2,000 bases…Rickey was stealing bases before these fancy anti-gravity shoes was invented, by cracky”.

Vorare, I agree. In the previous post I cast a vote for Sam Fuld.

Pie should look at the bright side. His BA just doubled.

Previous thread, I meant.

Angel Pagan is another example of what happens when we send a guy back to Iowa. He regressed so badly the I-Cubs were batting him 8th. He's hitting something like .243 against RHPs. But he's on the 40-man so he gets the call-up (but why bring up a mediocre OFer when you're constantly complaining about the "logjam in the outfield?") instead of this guy who went 4/5 yesterday with 3 doubles batting leadoff....

2007 .336 .372 .923
2006 .296 .375 .825

2007 .462/ 1.212 vs LHP
2007 .296/.831 vs RHP

Michael Eugene Fontenot,
5'8", bats L, throws R
SS, 2B, 3B
College: LSU
Not on 40-man roster

lou probably needs another pinch runner for ward...could probably use another bullpen arm, too. the 3-pitcher inning is getting old...time for the introduction of the regularly occurring 4-pitcher inning.

seriously, though...pagan's speed probably had weight on him being added. the OF version of freddy bynum is back...sweet.

Pagan's a switch-hitter fellas...

I'd like to see the Cubs trade Jones. The issue is, with whom do you replace him? We won't know unless and until the trade is made.

From the times, I've seen him - admittedly less than most of you, as I'm limited to WGN or ESPN games - he doesn't look to be a good outfielder to me.

He seems to catch the ball funny, somehow catching it awkwardly in his glove. Obviously he doesn't drop many, if any, but he makes me nervous every time he catches a ball. His arm was a noodle last year, and I'll take the word of several of you that it's better this year.

His baserunning is less than stellar, with many goofups on the bases.

Where he bothers me most is at the plate. He has zero plate discipline - no wonder Dusty loved running him out there - and hits lefties about as well as me. But I must admit to a prediliction against him for another reason. I don't like hitters who are not well-balanced at the plate. Mark DeRosa is another one. They seem to lose their balance and almost fall over at least once every at bat.

When I think of a well-balanced hitter, I think of Joe Mauer or, for you old-timers, Ted Simmons. They neevr looked fooled by a pitch, even if they swing and miss.

problem is that Soriano isn't moving back to CF and that means Jacque or Pie flailing away when lefties start. Pagan might get the CF start for now vs lefties.

Good, now Pie can play every day, learn to bunt and come back up once either Cliff or Jacque gets traded or hurt. Good move.

As for Angel in the Outfield ... at least it's not Tom Goodwin.

The Iowa Cubs have won six in a row. Who's hot?

SS Fontenot .336
2B Patterson .304
LF Kinkade .333
1B Hoffpauir .294
C Hill .307
CF Walker .298
C Soto .288
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Who's not?

Moore .242
Coats .241
Pagan .250

Iowa has them batting 6, 7, 8 .
All three are on the Cubs 40-man.

if the 25th man on the roster ever becomes an issue with the team...there's a lot more serious things going down with the team than the skills of the 25th man.

rather late on the lineups tonight...

that's ridiculous crunch....

you've already seen how Lou uses his bench, everyone's going to be used and it's important to have the best players there. Of course it's an issue....

Rob:

He's a switch hitter, but from his numbers and from what I saw last year, he's weak against lefties. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it's just a sample size issue.

then the issue is lou.

hehe.

seriously, though...nice to have a bench that's worth a damn this year.

this team's already had 2 mild, but could-be substantial injuries with aram/soriano missing notable time, but the actual bench in place kept most of us from freaking out too badly while time was being missed.

check out the game thread I just put up btw, a bit more info on Pagan.

If Soriano won't play CF, it's either Jones or Pie in CF versus lefties, neither is a real good solution, thus the move. We'll see about Pagan versus lefties, it wasn't really a lot to draw from last year.

Soriano 7
Riot 6
Lee 3
Ramirez 5
Murton 9
DeRosa 4
Blanco 2
Pagan 8
Z 1

When/if Pagan gets on base, he is an excellent base-stealer.

- sigh -

"Good, now Pie can play every day, learn to bunt "

Pie doesn't need to learn how to bunt, he needs to continue to learn the difference between a ball and a strike.

AZ Phil,

'The #1 goal in trying to get a batter to hit a “pitcher’s pitch” is to get dinky pop ups, lazy fly balls, and broken bat ground balls, and an occasional K is the by-product of this approach. It doesn’t mean that the pitcher lays a BP fastball right down the middle and says “hit it!”'

That's not a sustainable skill set though. No player in the major leagues in the 120 years the game has been around has been able to beat the system like that, so it's a safe bet that Marquis isn't going to be the first. Certain types of pitchers do have lower batting averages on balls in play than others, those pitchers are groundballers, change up specialists and knuckleballers.

Marquis is definetly niether of the last two, and last night he wasn't even the first. He got lucky, pure and simple. I am all for it and glad it happened, but getting half your outs on fly balls is not a good plan as a pitcher in Wrigley. If he throws those exact same pitches to the Pirates in July with the wind blowing out, he may be out of the game by the 4th. Maybe he was pitching to conditions last night, but let's not mistake his skill or brains for Greg Maddux just yet.

Did you see him attempt a bunt (I think I saw vs. STL but maybe someone else). Worse than Korey when he came up. Yes he needs to be a better hitter, but having that speed and not being able to bunt is just retawded.

"Did you see him attempt a bunt (I think I saw vs. STL but maybe someone else). Worse than Korey when he came up. Yes he needs to be a better hitter, but having that speed and not being able to bunt is just retawded."

That may be so, but his lack of bunting ability is not what is keeping him out of the majors.

His minor league 164/441 walk to strike out ratio and rather pedestrian OBP are.

Scott de B. — May 10, 2007 @ 10:49 am
we now know that there isn’t a whole lot of variation in the ability of pitchers to induce pop-ups, flies and ground balls. Certainly a lot less variation than used to be thought. That’s why strikeouts are better, because if the batter can put wood on the ball, he eliminates the difference in skill between Johan Santana and Wade Miller.

==================================

Scott: Please none of this "we now know..." crap. OK? Just because you believe in the ultimate value of statistical analysis over observation and experience doesn't mean you're right. All it means is that you have your opinion and I have mine. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I did NOT say strikeouts don't matter. What I said was TRYING to K every hitter is not the best approach for a starting pitcher, because it tends to make a starting pitcher throw too many pitches per inning, and that can tax a bullpen over time.

Again, the idea in “pitching to contact” is that the pitcher tries to get the hitter out on a “pitcher’s pitch,” and it doesn’t mean the pitcher doesn’t get any strikeouts or that it’s OK if the hitter clobbers the ball

There are times when a pitcher needs a K or a pop up (like runner on third with less than two outs) and there are other times when he might need a ground ball (going for a DP to end an innng).

But “pitching to contact” by throwing quality pitches that aren’t specifically designed as “strikeout pitches” is the best way a pitcher can minimize pitches per inning and stay stronger later into a game.

If clubs were allowed 16 or 18 man pitching staffs, it wouldn’t matter. But with seven guys (max) in the bullpen (some of whom can’t be trusted), it is a good thing for a starting pitcher who has his “good stuff” going (as was the case with Jason Marquis last night) to go as deep as possible into a game.

And I repeat, it doesn’t mean the pitcher does not get any strikeouts. It’s just that he isn’t specifically going for a “K” on every AB.

The #1 goal in trying to get a batter to hit a “pitcher’s pitch” is to get dinky pop ups, lazy fly balls, and broken bat ground balls, and an occasional K is the by-product of this approach. It doesn’t mean that the pitcher lays a BP fastball right down the middle and says “hit it!” It means staying ahead in the count, working the corners, mixing up location and arm slots, not throwing more than 15 pitches in any one inning, and making quality pitches.

[...] I know another thing, they’re tickled to pieces with Jason Marquis up in the Windy City. At least, for now. [The Cub Reporter] [...]

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