Game 152 Thread/Reds @ Cubs (2 of 3)

Game Chat : BR Preview : Game Notes Aaron Harang vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
N. Hopper CF A. Soriano LF
J. Keppinger SS R. Theriot SS
K. Griffey RF D. Lee 1B
B. Phillips 2B A. Ramirez 3B
A. Dunn LF M. Murton RF
E. Encarnacion 3B M. DeRosa 2B
J. Votto 1B J. Jones CF
J. Valentin C J. Kendall C
A. Harang P C. Zambrano P
These two staff aces hooked up in Wrigley about five weeks ago. The Cubs hit Harang relatively hard, scoring five runs in seven innings. The Reds hit Zambrano harder: 13 hits (11 singles!) and six runs, also in seven innings. The two bullpens were unscored upon and the Reds won the game 6-5. (This was also the game in which Zambrano, remarkably, failed to strike out a single hitter.) Tonight's game marks the first phase of the Cubs' Great Three-Day Rest Experiment involving Zambrano and Wednesday night's starter, Ted Lilly. As previously mentioned on this page, Zambrano has never started a Major League game on just three days' rest. That being the case, last night probably wasn't the ideal night for our bullpen to pitch 4 1/3 innings, though our big guns--Marmol, Howry and Dempster--got the evening off. Perhaps Z can give the entire relief crew a bit of a break tonight.
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If we end today still with a lead, that will be a very, very, good thing. Harang Vs. Z on short rest. Sheets Vs. AA Crap. Odds are not terribly high to keep the lead.

TCR optimist, at your service.

I think the Cubs will hold steady tonight with another solid outing from Z and a few early runs off of Harang.

Optimisim is good.

In the scheme of things, I think we are all optimistic in terms of I bet everyone here expects the Cubs to win the division. The problem is, that makes anything short all the more painful...hence a need to convince myself that just holding serve on a day like today is a good thing.

hmm, Sheets on 3 days rest too?

If i were Lou and Larry I would have Z focus on giving us 6 soild innings. using the 3rd or 4th pitches earlier in the game and not worrying about pitch counts. Fortunately, he only threw 100 pitches on Friday.

sorry if i missed this- is floyd hurt? curious as to murton in rf.

Theriot is 12 for 80 in his last 21 games (.150) with a .216 OBP and slugging of .175.

I'd really like to see the Cubs flip him and Jones or DeRosa for a few games, just to see if he can take a little pressure off of himself lower in the order. He is in an extended slump, and keeping him #2 leads to a lot of Soriano, Lee and Ramirez LOBs.

Traschel went on three days rest his last start on Sept 13, which the Cubs won 6-2. Of course, his previous start before on Sept 9th, he went 2IP, 6ER on 47 pitches ...

Don't remember if Lou was planning on starting Traschel on 3 days before his Sept 9th beat-down, but anyways, Cubs are 1-0 with starters pitching on 3 days rest. Here's hoping for 2-0 after tonight.

Eric S, Lou made the switch of Traschel and Z after his poor 9/9 start if memory serves.

OPP W L SV IP H ER BB SO
08/19 @MIL 0 0 0 6.2 9 6 0 8
08/24 FLA 1 0 0 7.0 8 3 1 5
08/29 @PIT 1 0 0 9.0 2 0 1 8
09/03 NYM 0 1 0 5.2 10 6 1 6
09/08 MIL 0 0 0 7.0 7 2 2 7
09/13 STL 1 0 0 7.0 3 3 2 5

I say he's due for a bad outing. if you look it goes 1 bad 2 good 1 bad 2 good now its time for 1 bad.

GO CUBS

Thanks blockhead25 -- thought that was the case.

dc60124 -- Murton is 313/313/618 with 2HR in 16 career ABs against Harang; Cliff is 111/200/111 in 9 ABs.

Of course, hard to ignore Cliff's 4 HRs the last 6 games ...

Holy christ Soriano is in the lineup tonight? After the way he was hobbling last night this really surprises me.

Block:
"Harang Vs. Z on short rest. Sheets Vs. AA Crap. Odds are not terribly high to keep the lead."

Actually Las Vegas would disagree with you. Both the Cubs and Brewers are favorites tonight.

1-0 CINC...

Let the short rest bitching begin....

Murton overthrows cutoff, nobody covering 2nd base...WOO!!

Great start!!

2-0 CINC.

I’d really like to see the Cubs flip him and Jones or DeRosa for a few games, just to see if he can take a little pressure off of himself lower in the order.

That is what they have been doing lately.

Floyd out of starting lineup due to ball fouled off foot yesterday, can PH.

HOU 1-0 over MIL...NICE!!

I think they will need many more that that 1 run to win, but nice start.

Sheets out in Houston, some kind of injury warming up

"That is what they have been doing lately."

Umm, no. Flip Theriot with Jones or DeRosa...meaning put Jones or DeRosa at #2 and Theriot #7.

Umm, no. Flip Theriot with Jones or DeRosa…meaning put Jones or DeRosa at #2 and Theriot #7.

I know exactly what you meant.

I guess I was kinda' wrong - it was only for two games, the last two of the Houston series. But they did try it.

Sheets injury to his knee according to wgn Corey P.

I don't see Zambrano making it through 5 innings. He's missing his spots by several inches and leaving too many pitches in the "hit-me" zone. Just looks like he's overthrowing and not at all comfortable. Two walks to start the third. He may not make it out of this inning.

This is looking very ugly for Z. 56 pitches already and he hasn't gotten anyone out int eh 3rd yet. Weurtz is up.

Z has 56 pitches top 3rd...not throwing strikes

Wuertz warming up

We have Wild Carlos so far tonight -- 9 baserunners by the top of the 3rd (2 on, no out) -- 29 strikes, 29 balls.

62 pitches thru 3 IP. Thanks God for double plays.

.... followed by a 6-4-3 DP & a line-out! Hope he's turned the corner. 'Spose we can get a hit off of Harang?

I fully understand if the Cubs were down in the standings, or it was the last weekend, pitching Z AND Lily on shortrest...but I just can't comprehend Lou's thought process on this at all...didn't make sense when he announced it, doesn't make sense now. You are taking veteran pitchers and putting them in an unusual situation, taking them out of thier typical routine, and expecting things not to change.

I sure as hell hope Lily saves some face for Lou tomorrow.

Was D-Lee's fly out as close to the bleachers as Gameday made it seem?

MIL up 5-1...

Like I said HOU was going to need much more than 1 run. Come on Cubs, let's get some runs!!

You hate to see our singles-hitting catcher strike out in that situation. Sorry, but when the wind's blowing out a gale, you don't play your contact-hitting catcher when you have a guy that slugged over .600 on the bench. It's not like Soto has looked over-matched at the plate.

Ok, I'm first guessing here. But why is Carlos leading off the bottom of the 5th? How many more innings can you expect from Carlos on 3 days rest?

Z can probably still get to 110 pitches, Joe. He's pitched fine the last two innings going back into the third.

He's at 87 through five.

7-1 MIL, looks like we need to win to be able to keep pace with MIL now. Come on, only 1 run down.

Seeing our studs overworked for far too long may have me a bit over sensitive...and as I type that Encarnacion goes deep. Shit.

Two.

Or he can decide to only throw four-seamers and get crushed. Forget I mentioned it.

Still think his outing was better than we could have got from anybody else we would have sent out there tonight.

And I don't think the first two innings were rest related. If they were, he would have continued to struggle all the way through. I think he was too excited, his arm angle was way down again, and his mechanics weren't great. Seemed like it clicked for him at some point in the third.

Carlos was losing velocity in the 6th. Fastball (per Gameday) in the first 5 innings was regularly 91-93, topping out at 96 in the 2nd. In the 6th, was in the 88-90 range, with only one pitch making it up to 93 (ironically, that was his last pitch to Votto, which was smacked for a base hit).

Awesome. The fans just sang happy birthday to Ryno.

Sheesh! Burton (pitching for Reds in the 8th) -- hitters are batting .187 vs. him this season.

His WHIP/Slg Pct is 0.85/.231 and 0.86/.208 in Aug. & Sept....

His fastball was hitting 92-95 and his slider (cut fastball?) was at 87-88 w/ about 7" of break. Pretty good stuff.

Welcome to your 2nd place Chicago Cubs led my anti-ace Carlos Zambrano!

"Still think his outing was better than we could have got from anybody else we would have sent out there tonight."

It's not a matter of who could have pitched better tonight. It's a matter of what happens the next few games. If we lost with someone else today, we still have Z on normal rest tomorrow. Instead we have Lilly on short tomorrow, and who knows what will happen.

Even though we likely will fall a fraction of a percentage point into 2nd tonight...I'm ok as long as we are effectively tied with the Brewers heading to Atlanta...then even if they win on our off day, we're still only 1 back in the loss column and they face Smoltz and Hudson.

But the bottomline is, we just have to find some semblance of a consistant offense. We are playing with fire and are prone to get burned with these squeakers while the Brewers are having no problem putting away the bad teams they play.

No Comeback tonight...

Cubs lose 5-2.

MIL wins 9-1. Like I said, that 1 run wasn't going to get it done. Man, MIL can score some runs.

Cubs now down 1 in the all important loss column. Thankfully they came back last night, or we could have been in deep shit right now. Hopefully Lilly can pick the Cubs up tomorrow, even though he will be on short rest.Not pretty baseball the last two night. Let's get a win tomorrow and get to the off day. Go Cubs!

Also, Lou really needs to start thinking about sitting down Theriot and Kendall. They both have been pitiful the past 3 weeks.

Since Aug 28, Theriot is hitting: .150/.216/.225 (before going 1-4 tonight)

Since Aug 31, Kendall is hitting: .222/.314/.289 (before going 0-3 w/ a BB tonight)

here is hoping atlanta shows up this weekend,

we know houston sure hasnt

Atlanta will mathematically be alive and you have to figure Smoltz and Hudson will be working hard for individual achievement. STL has already rolled over and played dead, they are just going to be going through the motions after playing 30+ games in a row.

The hell key in terms of schedule is to hope and pray SD has something to play for in all 4 games of that series. We need Philly to catch up to them, so they can't rest Peavy in game 162...or others before that.

Maybe we can pick up Gagne to be our closer next year.

How the hell does Francona leave Gagne in the game with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th in a 1 run game, after giving up 2 walks and single...and then leave him in again after giving up a 3rd walk and the tying run.

That Gagne trade might go down in RedSox/Yankees lore if the Yanks can catch them.

There is no one good to replace Theriot. Kendall though should definitely be replaced by Soto.

I want:
Soriano
Jones
Lee
Aram
Floyd
Soto
DeRosa
Theriot
Pitcher

That would be a heck of a lineup.

fwiw, the reports from sudsville say Ben Sheets came out with tightness in his left hamstring. To be re-evaluated tomorrow. Seems like they get better pitching after they take him out of games, Vargas is now 11-4

Who would've ever thought "Heck of a lineup" and Jones would be in the same sentence 4 months ago?

Tough loss tonight, but if Sheets has to miss anytime I will take that trade. Good day to have a long at school as I do not want to hear about the end of the world because we lost to Harang.

Astros just announced they are starting Danny DeVito tonight.

Is Carlos really the "ace" of the staff? I mean, is he the "ace" of the staff THIS year?

Johann:
"There is no one good to replace Theriot."

We don't have anyone on the team that can do better than this .155/.217/.226/.443? He has been really struggling the past 3+ weeks. We don't have the luxury of waiting his slump out. There are 10 games left and we are down in the division.

ARM:
"is he the “ace” of the staff THIS year?"

No.

Chifan:
"Tough loss tonight, but if Sheets has to miss anytime I will take that trade."

I wouldn't take that trade. Not enough games left. Plus, MLB.com made it seem like Sheets injury wasn't anything more than cramps. If he is OK, he can very possibly pitch against Hudson or Smoltz next series. Not good...

From MLB.com:
"Despite the stunning blow of losing ace pitcher Ben Sheets after the first inning to a hamstring cramp,"

Cubs need to have a lead going into next weekend, since they will likely face Arroyo and Harang again.

Cubs have just won 7 of 10 -- let's do that one more time.

Are the Astros pitchers even trying against the Brewers? Their pitches were so fat last night that I thought I was watching batting practice. It really did remind me of watching Mark McGwire as he was setting the single season record and there was talk about certain pitchers just wanting to help him keep taking the record higher and higher. Simply stated, are the Astros sticking it to the Cubs or is their pitching staff really that bad? If they are that bad, I wish they would have been that bad when we played them.

I don't think we the Cubs should blame where they are in the standings on anyone but themselves.

That said, thinking bigger picture, it is inexcusable what the Astros are doing right now. The Reds were so pumped last night after that win, you would think they were a game ahead and not us. They are playing their hearts out, while the Astros have put a "Free Wins Here!" sign outside Minute Maid. Absolutely a gutless, pathetic, display by their entire organization and a complete disservice to the game.

We don’t have anyone on the team that can do better than this .155/.217/.226/.443? He has been really struggling the past 3+ weeks. We don’t have the luxury of waiting his slump out.

Well... the other option is Cedeno. Is that what you want?

Further... from what I have seen, Theriot has been getting pretty unlucky of late. He has had several hard hit balls that have been right at people or people have made great catches on (Carlos Lee's miracle catch comes to mind).

Theriot is not the problem on this team. Especially when you don't have a better option.

As for Kendall... I agree with you. Kendall is slumping, and there IS a better option available both offensively and defensively in Soto.

Last night the Cubs got beat by one of the best pitchers in the game. It isn't something to be overly concerned about.

dave:
"Well… the other option is Cedeno. Is that what you want?"

NO!!!!!!!!!!! :)

if Cincy continues a 5 man rotation we should see the same 3 pitchers in the same sequence the final weekend in Cincinnati (Arroyo, Harang, Shearn)...again missing Belisle and Saarloos.

Dave:
"Last night the Cubs got beat by one of the best pitchers in the game. It isn’t something to be overly concerned about."

The Cubs are now down one in the loss column and in 2nd place (by percentage points) with only 10 games left. Now, I'm not "overly concerned", but I'm sorry, with only 11 games left in the season, tied in the division and your supposed ace on the mound every loss is a legit concern.

Go Cubs!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry, with only 11 games left in the season, tied in the division and your supposed ace on the mound every loss is a legit concern.

Sure... BUT... the Cubs were not going to win the last 12 games of the season. Facing Harang, I am not surprised the Cubs lost that game, regardless of Z's performance. That is all I am saying.

cubster — September 19, 2007 @ 9:48 am
if Cincy continues a 5 man rotation we should see the same 3 pitchers in the same sequence the final weekend in Cincinnati (Arroyo, Harang, Shearn)…again missing Belisle and Saarloos.

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

CUBSTER: If all pitchers stay in the normal rotation the rest of the way, here are the likely pitching match-ups for the rest of the season:

WED 9/19 - Shearn vs Lilly (three-days rest)
THU 9/20 - OFF
FRI 9/21 - Maholm vs Marquis
SAT 9/22 - Bullington vs Hill
SUN 9/23 - Gorzelanny vs Zambrano
MON 9/24 - OFF
TUE 9/25 - Lilly vs Willis
WED 9/26 - Marquis vs Mitre
THU 9/27 - Hill vs Olsen
FRI 9/28 - Zambrano vs Arroyo
SAT 9/29 - TBD (or Lilly on three-days rest) vs Harang
SUN 9/30 - Lilly (or Marquis on three-days rest if Lilly pitches SAT) vs Shearn
MON 10/1 (tie-breaker Game #163) - TBD vs Marquis (or Hill on three days rest if Marquis pitches SUN)

"Astros just announced they are starting Danny DeVito tonight."

Thanks Billy, I have to clean the water I just spit out off my keyboard.

Here is an interesting tidbit from ESPN.com about the starting pitching changes by HOU:

"But there has been some controversy at Houston with interim manager Cecil Cooper's decision to start Paulino and Juan Gutierrez (1-1, 6.10 ERA) for this game over staff ace Roy Oswalt and fellow veteran Woody Williams, respectively. Knowing there would be some questions, Astros interim general manager Tal Smith called Cubs counterpart Jim Hendry about the switch, and Cooper -- a first baseman on the 1982 Brewers team that won the AL pennant -- talked to MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

"He was very professional and I appreciated the call," Hendry told the Astros' official Web site. "He's an honest guy. I don't think there's anybody sitting at home in Houston orchestrating it, trying to help the Brewers or the Cubs."

Oswalt left the team to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple's second child Tuesday. While Hendry was diplomatic, one of his players was upset.

"That ticks us off," Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd said. "But you can't help family situations... and Oswalt is having a kid. I don't understand the Woody Williams deal, but at the same time, I'm not going to question Cecil Cooper's decision to start a rookie. It's their team, and they can do what they want to do."

the other option is Cedeno. Is that what you want?

I think Cedeno could meet the challenge of hitting 155/217/226.

I wouldn't like to see Cedeno hitting second, but if you're going to bat Theriot eighth anyway, why not switch? Cedeno hit six HRs in one week at Iowa. Maybe he could get hot.

As far as Theriot "hitting balls hard right at people," that's the problem with non-power hitters. The better you hit the ball, the more likely it's caught. That's not bad luck, it's a given.

Piniella is circling the wagons around his veteran starters, so it's pointless to think about Theriot sitting unless he gets injured more than he already is. But I do expect Soto to play tonight.

Piniella is circling the wagons around his veteran starters, so it’s pointless to think about Theriot sitting unless he gets injured more than he already is.

Theriot is a veteran?

That should wake you guys up! Let's go! We've seen so much pessimism this morning in Cub Blog Nation it makes us sick. We posted our thoughts about this on TLFC, but now we're taking it to the individual sites. We know TCR is a little more optimistic than other places, so this board needs to get off of their custom built gaming chairs, stand up, and say "Go Cubs!" It's frigging thunderdome out there! Let's frigging go. Fire it up!

AZ Phil:
WED 9/26 - Marquis vs Mitre

If both guys are on (and facing the Cub's, Mitre will probably be on) we'll see a ton of ground balls.

mannytrillo:
“That ticks us off,” Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd said. “But you can’t help family situations… and Oswalt is having a kid. I don’t understand the Woody Williams deal, but at the same time, I’m not going to question Cecil Cooper’s decision to start a rookie.

The Cub's need to take some blame for getting swept by the Astros. If they don't make it to the playoffs I would probably put 90% of the blame on the Cub's for falling asleep during this series. That was ridiculous.

PS. Our "That should wake you up" was supposed to be preceded by an electronic slap across the face. Unfortunately, we used brackets, which HTML can't read... awesome. Let's go!

Frankly although it sucks that the Cubs got the veteran and the Brewers got some young no-name guy....for a team that's in dead last, doesn't it make a lot more sense to start some minor leaguer to see what you've got over Woody "Proven Mediocre Veteran" Williams?

I'm pretty sure if the Cubs were in last place coming down to the end of the season, we'd want to see what the kids can do instead of running out has-beens. And as for Oswalt, he just had a kid, with the team in last place, there's no reason for him not to take the day off to be there.

Ugh Lefties in 2 of 3 against the Pirates and Marlins? Let's hope the Braves/Cards don't play dead like the Astros did.

Theriot's in a slump. He doesn't look bad though. Very quality at-bat in the comeback game getting the rally started.

Theriot's been solid in the field and will take a walk when you need one (see the other night). Can you say the same for Cedeno? Leave him in and leave Cedeno where he belongs -- on the pine.

Theriot's BAbip the past 28 days is .188 (AVG is about .300), which has exactly coincided with his lower numbers, so he is getting very unlucky on a lot of batted balls. He's not striking out a lot, so he's seeing the ball well and taking walks or hitting it, just not in the right places.

Now, in this short of time frame, it's not a given this will change, but the more you play him the more chance there is the balls getting caught now will start finding the gaps. Players who don't strike out tend to have these sort of streaks and generally need to play through them.

He has 9 Ks and 10 walks in 104 ABs, by the way.

"Sure… BUT… the Cubs were not going to win the last 12 games of the season. Facing Harang, I am not surprised the Cubs lost that game, regardless of Z’s performance. That is all I am saying."

Perspective is very important and dave is 100% right on this one.

“That ticks us off,” Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd said. “But you can’t help family situations… and Oswalt is having a kid. I don’t understand the Woody Williams deal, but at the same time, I’m not going to question Cecil Cooper’s decision to start a rookie. It’s their team, and they can do what they want to do.”

Then you know what Uncle Cliffy, take it out on the team your facing since that's the only thing you can affect.

Here's the real situation. Since the Cubs were tied in the loss column with 13 games to go:

Cubs 2-1 10 games left
Brew 1-0 12 games left

"inegrity of the game" FLASHBACK

This was Cecil Cooper on September 3
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070...

MILWAUKEE -- Interim manager Cecil Cooper's roster will expand by six beginning on Tuesday, and he has a loose plan in terms of how he's going to distribute playing time through the final 24 games of the season.

A lot will be dependent on whom the Astros are playing. If they're facing a contender, Cooper is leaning toward using a lineup of regulars, whereas when they're playing teams out of the race, he'll mix in a couple of kids here and there, to give them some big league experience.

The Astros play only two non-contending teams the rest of the way -- the Pirates (Sept. 14-16) and the Reds (Sept. 25-27). The rest of the series are against teams fighting for playoff spots -- the Brewers, the Mets, the Cardinals and the Braves.

Cooper, a former five-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of the game, and he's also looking forward to playing the spoiler for a few of these playoff hopefuls. That's why he'll use his regulars more often than not.

"We owe it to those guys to go with the lineup we've always gone with," Cooper said, referring to games against contenders. "There might be a case where Cody Ransom plays. He's not a kid. We might find a situation for him. [Humberto] Quintero, he's not a kid, neither is Jason Lane."

But for the rest of the September callups -- J.R. Towles, Juan Gutierrez and Felipe Paulino -- they'll be eased into the mix, just as Josh Anderson was during the recent Cubs series.

"I really liked what I saw from Paulino," Ausmus said. "He's obviously got a good arm, but his other pitches are pitches he can use effectively. His slider, when thrown properly, is a strikeout pitch.

"It's nice to see guys like that throwing for us.

Houston IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Paulino (L, 0-1) 4.0 5 5 5 1 3 1 11.25

Houston Chronicle: QUIT YOUR WHINING CUBS

The Chicago Cubs were so ticked off about the Astros starting three consecutive rookie pitchers against the Milwaukee Brewers, the team they're battling for the NL Central title, that they went out and lost to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. Way to go, Cubs. Possibly on the verge of another collapse, and it appears you've found your scapegoat. It's not a stupid billygoat or Steve Bartman. It's the Astros. Hey, every loser needs an excuse.

Yes, the Astros started three consecutive rookie pitchers against the Brewers. That's their right. You had a one-game lead over the Brewers entering Tuesday with your best pitcher on the mound and you lost to a bad Cincinnati team. Maybe it's because Cliff Floyd was too busy being ticked off. Maybe some of his teammates felt the same way. They need to get over it.
....

[I actually used to beat up Cubs fans regularly, especially in late September. I would never see them in October, though.]

http://blogs.chron.com/gamedayastros/2007/09/...

At the end of the season, the Astros starting pitching in this series will be a complete non issue. Both the Brewers and the Cubs will win it or lose it themselves. Sure, the Brewers are supposed to go out and beat rookies. Just as we are supposed to go out and beat crap teams we play the rest of the way.

In our current stretch of playing under .500 teams we are
1-2 against Pittsburgh
2-1 against Houston
3-1 against Cardinals
1-1 against Cincy

7-5 against teams well below .500. OK, but not really a strong statement. we have 10 left, to finish out the season with 22 straight against below .500 teams. If we don't win...we won't be blaming the Astros, I'm sure of that.

Way to go, Cubs. Possibly on the verge of another collapse

I love how one loss means that the Cubs are on the verge of "another collapse."

You had a one-game lead over the Brewers entering Tuesday with your best pitcher on the mound and you lost to a bad Cincinnati team.

Yea... lets ignore the fact that Cinci happened to be throwing their best pitcher, who is better than the Cubs' best pitcher, and is also one of the best pitchers in baseball. That isn't relevant or anything.

Quality journalism there.

Honestly, I don't like that Floyd was commenting on what the Astros were doing. Let the manager talk about that if he wants...let the press talk about it. I agree with the blog on that one point, the Cubs should be focused on their opponent as there is nothing they can do about the Astros now.

I also think the Astros situation is more of a case of really bad luck for us then anything else. Albers pitching was a non issue, Oswalt going to be with his wife is a non-issue, the only issue is not starting Williams...but it sounds like that is going to be the case for the rest of the year. It is what it is.

And Williams is not good. He has an ERA over 5.00 and has like 15 losses this year.

And Williams is not good. He has an ERA over 5.00 and has like 15 losses this year.

Agree Manny... it is quite possible that the Astros' rookie is better than Woody Williams.

"Theriot’s BAbip the past 28 days is .188 (AVG is about .300), which has exactly coincided with his lower numbers, so he is getting very unlucky on a lot of batted balls. He’s not striking out a lot, so he’s seeing the ball well and taking walks or hitting it, just not in the right places."

At what point do you stop yourself and realize that BAbip is totally flawed? If you would actually watch baseball and realize that often times when a guy is in a slump still makes contact but hits lazy fly balls and soft grounders. BAbip on a large scale makes some sense but you need a really really large sample size considering that every batted ball is different.

"Yeah, shut up Cubs. We start scrubs against the Brewers cause thats all we have! So there.

Posted by: Joe at September 19, 2007 10:22 AM"

This was posted at that above link. Pretty funny.

I AGREE...QUITCHER BITCHIN

and if the Astros were throwing Paulino and Guttierez against the Cubs someone would be whining because we historically have sucked the first time we face an unknown pitcher. Seems like a pretty weak argument when you bitch about it when it happens to the other team.

and I too agree with Manny here... it is quite possible that the Astros’ rookie is better than Woody Williams (of course that's faint praise).

At what point do you stop yourself and realize that BAbip is totally flawed? If you would actually watch baseball and realize that often times when a guy is in a slump still makes contact but hits lazy fly balls and soft grounders.

Well... in the case of Theriot, I would argue that he hasn't been hitting lazy fly balls and soft grounder.

BABIP is flawed, just like EVERY other stat by itself is flawed. But it does give a fairly accurate look at how "lucky" a player has been over a certain period of time.

Yeah, it's pretty low-class to bitch about it publicly, in my opinion. Not least because it gives dimwits with blogs ammo for their pissy, unfunny screeds.

Seriously, is that guy an actual paid columnist for the Chronicle?

"BABIP is flawed, just like EVERY other stat by itself is flawed. But it does give a fairly accurate look at how “lucky” a player has been over a certain period of time."

But there is a world of difference between screaming liner that find a glove and pop ups and soft grounders. BAbip doesn't differentiate. That is why it is a deeply flawed stat. OBP is not deeply flawed. It is an accurate account of the percent of time a player gets on base. End of story.

I AGREE…QUITCHER BITCHIN and if the Astros were throwing Paulino and Guttierez against the Cubs someone would be whining because we historically have sucked the first time we face an unknown pitcher. Seems like a pretty weak argument when you bitch about it when it happens to the other team.

Your'e WAY off base. This wasn't the first time Milwaukee faced him. Paulino has been used almost exclusively against the Brewers ---7 of his 8 major league innings in
fact. He pitched 3.0 against them Sept 5 and allowed 2 walks, 6 hits, THREE HOME RUNS, and 5 earned runs.
His ONLY other appearance was 1 inning vs the Pirates September 15.

I just wish Theriot would take a few pitches sometimes. I suppose I never noticed when he was actually you know, getting hits. Sure, he drew that leadoff walk on Monday, but he's driving me nuts with all the first and second pitches he swings it. He saw 9 pitches in 4 AB's last night. And he even managed to burn up 3 of 'em in a strike out in his second AB.

If Fonzie strikes out on three in a row and Riot goes hacking, we're four or five pitches into the inning and D-Lee's up there with two outs. Lee has no choice but to take the first pitch, no matter how fat it is.

Theriot:
48 BB, 49 K

Soriano:
29 BB, 118 K

Yep...They are both hackers...

Theriot's P/PA is 3.55, which is WORSE than Kendall, Lee, DeRosa, Fontenot, Pagan, Murton, Pie, Ramirez, Jones, Soriano, and Ward (in that order... all players have 100+ at-bats).

It is funny to hear people praise Theriot's patience and his ability to "work the count" when people like Jones and Soriano see more pitches than he does. Further, among Cubs with 100+ at-bats, Theriot is also behind almost all of those players in OBP, and finishes ahead of only Pagan, Pie, and Jones, though Jones is just one hundredth of a point behind.

Don't get me wrong - I like Theriot - but is probably the worst starter on the team offensively, and isn't better than anyone defensively other than Kendall, whoever is playing RF, and possibly Soriano.

re comment 103

PWNDED

Awful hard to strike out when you see less than 3 pitches per PA, Dusty. Which is what he did last night. Which was my point.

I want the Ted Lilly Fan Club Supercomputer prediction for tonight's game! As they say at my son's Little League games, LET'S.....GET......FIRED......UP! LET'S GET FIRED UP!!!

#74

What if it was actually Bud Selig who made the call to Cecil Cooper, desperately trying to get his favorite ballclub into the playoffs...

Sheffield... take off the tin foil hat...

I don't know if you can compare P/PA for a singles hitter versus a power hitter. Pierre used to say that no matter what he did, he couldn't draw walks because pitchers stayed in the strike zone. The pitcher figures, I'll throw the ball over the plate--what's the worst that can happen?

I see Jones and Floyd swing at bad pitches. Murton does it a lot. Soriano, of course. But Lee, Ramirez, Kendall, Theriot--not too often.

Ted Lilly = Rich Hill...scary, check out their stats for this year.

Most pitches Theriot sees are at or near the strike zone. Most Soriano sees are not.

You won't see many pitchers try to pitch around Ryan Theriot unless the pitcher is up.

Wes,

I'm sure I missed something somewhere but the random FU there seemed unnecessary.

OK so I'm off base here and Paulino really sucks and really is the brewers bitch (Miles Davis, Bitches Brew comes to mind)

still, Paulino against the Cubs probably is good for 8 shutout innings pitched, I guess we call that our curse.

Woody actually has a 3.32 ERA vs the Brewers this year I believe in 3 starts fwiw.

But it's not worth bitching about by anybody. Astros owe us no favors.

"“Theriot’s BAbip the past 28 days is .188 (AVG is about .300), which has exactly coincided with his lower numbers, so he is getting very unlucky on a lot of batted balls. He’s not striking out a lot, so he’s seeing the ball well and taking walks or hitting it, just not in the right places.”

At what point do you stop yourself and realize that BAbip is totally flawed?"

At the point that you show me a guy with 650 PA's in a season who had a BABIP of .188.

OBP is flawed as well or do you not realize it's eaiser to have a high OBP playing for the Rockies or the Reds than it is for the Mariners?

Just one minor correction of Chad's bullying BS - continue your regularly scheduled programming of panicking after every Cubs loss.

10 who must step up...

3. OF Jacque Jones, Cubs

This season, Cubs center fielders have combined to "hit" .245 AVG/.298 OBP/.393 SLG, while the average major-league center fielder in 2007 has a line of .273 AVG/.339 OBP/.424 SLG. As you can see, the Cubs haven't been up to snuff. Lately, Jones has been getting most of the time in center, and he's put up better numbers since the break. However, he's not the defender that Felix Pie is (or the sidelined Angel Pagan, for that matter), so it's vital that he make up for his defensive shortcomings at the plate. He'll need to flash a hot bat the rest of the way if the Cubs are to hang on.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7240932?CM...

Dayn Perry should maybe tune into a Cubs game or two once in awhile.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/681422.html

on the new kid from Cincy...

He does have what Wilken called two “average to plus pitches,” those being a fastball (anywhere from 89-95 mph, Wilken said) and a slider to complement his high three-quarters arm slot.

will be working on his change in Instructs and if it kicks in might be moved to the rotation.

The Cubs reportedly told Comcast SportsNet not to show prospective Cubs buyer Mark Cuban when he was sitting in the right-field bleachers during Monday night’s game. Yeah, who would want the Cubs’ audience to envision an owner who would do anything to win and is unlikely to be accused of scalping his own tickets?

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com...

so things looking good for Cuban so far...

#116 total crap post. Bullying? I think not. I am going to call out sabrenonsense. BAbip has ZERO ability to determine how hard the ball was hit. That is a huge factor. I could hit a line shot to left center that Andruw Jones catches on a full sprint full out dive and you could ground out meekly to the the pitcher yet it counts the same. So when you factor that over a small sample size, the disparity is huge. And OBP is not flawed at all. It tells you straight out, the percentage of the time a guy gets on base safely.

Rob G: "Astros owe us no favors."

No. They owe it to baseball to put out the best team they can when playing teams that are in the hunt. I fully expect the Pirates and Marlins to do the same.

No. They owe it to baseball to put out the best team they can when playing teams that are in the hunt. I fully expect the Pirates and Marlins to do the same.

Not really, they owe it to their fans just as much to start working for next year. They owe us absolutely nothing. And they're skipping a pitcher with an ERA over 5 this year. What's the big f**** deal?

The fact that Clifford even thought it was worth mentioning is more concerning.

"No. They owe it to baseball to put out the best team they can when playing teams that are in the hunt. I fully expect the Pirates and Marlins to do the same."

I disagree. While it's nice in theory, September is about giving different people different looks and seeing what you have in the organization. For the Astros, who are out of playoff contention, these next 11 games or so are the only chance to evaluate, in real game situations, players who they will need to make decisions about if they want to perform next year.

I don't think a team out of the hunt needs to put the "Best team" out there...I think the key is being consistant. If they are going to pull Woody out against the Brewers, than keep him out. If they are going to play Biggio for all 3 games in this series, then play him most of the rest of the way.

If Houston wanted to intentionally fuck with the Cubs, there is a lot more they can do to guarntee a loss, including sitting Berkman and Lee the entire series.

Astros have not done a thing wrong.

Sheets back to Milwaukee to have an MRI and be evaluated by the team doctor. Rotoworld speculates that he's "very questionable" for his Sunday start.

"Not really, they owe it to their fans just as much to start working for next year. They owe us absolutely nothing."

"I don’t think a team out of the hunt needs to put the “Best team” out there"

You guys are showing a real disrespect, not only for baseball, but for all of sports. Part of the reason we watch is that we know our team is doing everything they can to win. It is expected that for the sake of the game, you don't roll over and let other teams win just for the sake of getting a look at some young players. That is just wrong.

And this isn't just about the Cubs. The Washington Nationals are playing the Mets and for the sake of the Phillies I fully expect them to put their best team out there. Same with St. Louis and San Francisco. You owe it to the game to insure that the first place team at the end of the season earned it.

I'm really disappointed that you guys don't agree.

"They owe us absolutely nothing."

Once again Rob, they don't owe this to the Cubs, they owe it to baseball.

Rob, if I didn't know better I'd think you were rejoicing in another team's injury.

;)

There has been among other 'unwritten rules' in the game as long as I've been watching baseball (which is, well, George Altman was still playing) that you started your main lineup and rotation against teams in contention until the race was over. If Houston wants to pitch a AA prospect against Pittsburgh, then who cares. But if Cincinnati is playing the Cubs or Atlanta is playing the Brewers after they've been outed by the Mets/Phillies.........well, you expect to see Hudson, Smoltz, Harang, etc. toeing the rubber and Chipper Jones, Griffey, Dunn, Phillips, Francoer, etc. in the lineup. Not a problem playing a prospect or two, but it isn't a game to 'experiment' or find out 'what they have for next year'. The Astros, Reds, etc. can do that when THEY play the Marlins or Nationals.

BAbip has ZERO ability to determine how hard the ball was hit.

But that doesn't really matter. History has shown that the average BABIP will hover around .300, regardless of how hard someone hits the ball. There are people who will typically have higher or lower BABIP, but they stil lhover around .300.

One of the reasons for this is that it doesn't necessarily matter how hard you hit the ball - a blooper is just as good as a line drive single, and counts the same both in BABIP or BA.

A .188 BABIP is incredibly unlucky, even if a player is in a slump.

BAbip has ZERO ability to determine how hard the ball was hit. That is a huge factor

There actually is a formula for determining estimated babip. I'm too lazy to look it up now, but it factors in LD%,GB%, FB%, etc.

let's get this straight, Chad thinks it's a disservice that this guy

http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/williwo02...

is missing a start versus the Brewers?

Buy.A.Clue.

I don't know Rob... an 89 ERA+ looks pretty good to me.

"But that doesn’t really matter. History has shown that the average BABIP will hover around .300, regardless of how hard someone hits the ball. There are people who will typically have higher or lower BABIP, but they stil lhover around .300."

I get this. But this is over a large number of at bats. I am saying that a .188 over a smaller number, say 100 abs, can easily be due to the fact that the batter is having a rough time at the plate. Sure, it doesn't have to mean that but we all know that batters go through streaks. Sometimes the ball looks like a beach ball and sometimes it looks like a BB.

I understand that in the long run, probably, for every screaming liner that found a glove you will get one flair that should have. True. But there is no question that if every time you hit the ball, you hit frozen ropes, your BAbip will be higher than the guy who only hits soft nubbers. Point being, when you are in a slump you hit more bad balls than good ones.

Chad and George, please tell me exactly what the Astros have done wrong this series that has so disrespected baseball?

That's right, the answer is nada, zilch, nothing. They aren't making these changes just for the hell of it, they are making the changes because one pitcher is having a baby and the other pitcher sucked pretty much throughout the year.

On offense, they have most of the regular lineup as of late in there.

The commish doesn't have a problem. Hendry doesn't have a problem.

It's typical fandom sour grapes, and nothing more. Astros have done nothing disrespectful to the game of baseball or the Cubs.

Buy.A.Clue.?

Really? Then Cliff Floyd and the Chicago Cubs should too. They seem pretty upset about this. But what the hell do they know? They are only professional baseball players.

"They aren’t making these changes just for the hell of it, they are making the changes because one pitcher is having a baby and the other pitcher sucked pretty much throughout the year."

Half right. Williams is not benched for lack of production. If the Astros were 1 game out, he'd be on the hill tonight and you know it.

I do agree. Cliff Floyd should buy a clue too. Who else on the Cubs bitched about it?

the idea that houston is trying to screw the cubs outta something out of spite is uh...interesting.

a new GM sure as hell isnt gonna get his feet wet pissing off the other GMs...unless youre kid-wonder in boston, but he's already learned from that mistake.

houston can put biggio out there to pitch and if houston fans have an issue with it, then they can bitch.

but, i dont see a reason to bitch (except for disappointment its not going the other way....that's disappointment, not conspiracy fueled hate) unless you're a houston fan about how they handle their present and future.

Who says Houston owed the Cubs?

Cooper, a former five-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of the game, and he’s also looking forward to playing the spoiler for a few of these playoff hopefuls. That’s why he’ll use his regulars more often than not. “We owe it to those guys to go with the lineup we’ve always gone with,” Cooper said, referring to games against contenders.

I didn't say the Astros were 'disrespecting' the game nor did I mean to imply it. The point was made that 'teams out of the hunt don't need to put their best team out there.......'. I disagree for the reasons in my earlier post. Many MLB players, managers, and coaches also disagree. That was my point. You're not going to change their minds, nor mine, and probably not Chad's.

btw, i dont consider what floyd was saying in that article bitching...more like laying all the known conditions out, accepting it with reasons given, and giving blessings.

*shrug*

if the cubs dont make it its the cubs fault (see comment 66) and no one owes them anything.

Come on... we are talking about one game, where Woody Williams is not going to pitch. Williams isn't a good pitcher. The odds are pretty good that Williams' replacement will be able to pitch as well as Williams would have. It really isn't an issue.

The Oswalt situation is in a completely different category - if his wife didn't have a baby yesterday, he would be pitching.

I blame Michael Barrett. He was traded to Houston this afternoon for a PTBNL. I expect 10 passed balls tonight. Tomorrow he is scheduled to be traded to Atlanta for the same PTBNL.

Only 10 PB. His defense is improving.

Chad,

That's very interesting. Your theory is that the smaller sample size, the better predictor it is.

Chadworld, book your trip today!

barrett doesnt have a HR since june 10th (as a cub) and is hitting #s that make neifi look like a batting champ in SD.

wtf happened there?

this is a guy who runs private winter clinics for friends and talented "kids"...not like he spent the offseason drinkin' and fishin' or something. maybe he's tired...*shrug*

This is what I don't understand about it, and why I think it's a general non-issue and more for media fodder than anything else.

For a team that is 20 below .500 and out of the playoffs, what does it mean to "put your best team" out there. You mean the best team that carried you all the way to a .450 winning percentage? I think it's one thing if you sit 7 of 9 key starters suddenly, for one series, and then put them back. But it's another if you are making a few changes in the hopes of finding a group that you can build off of so you aren't 20 below next year.

Seriously, can any of you think of a single example of a team blatantly tanking it just to help one team and hurt another?

by the way, Michael Barrett came up with the bases loaded in his first 3 at bats and for the night went 0-4 (.243) in last night's padre game (9 LOB for the night) including:
1- SF with bases loaded (gotta give him credit!)
2- inning ending Fly out with bases loaded and two outs
3- inning ending GIDP with bases loaded and one out.

now the Padre's broadcasters are also blaming Barrett, it was an interesting listen. The Pads keep winning though, whatever...hope it holds up for them vs Milw at seasons end.

The funny thing is, the biggest threat to the Cubs in my opinion isn't going to be teams out of the playoffs tanking it and playing rookies. It's going to be the Padres clinching a playoff birth during the Brewers series, and resting guys, including Peavy, for the playoffs the last few games.

"Rob G. — September 19, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

I do agree. Cliff Floyd should buy a clue too. Who else on the Cubs bitched about it?"

Yeah, prolly just ol' Cliff Floyd. Couldn't be anyone else. Just cause they didn't talk to the press doesn't mean they are not pissed. I would think he just spoke for the team on that one.

"crunch — September 19, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

the idea that houston is trying to screw the cubs outta something out of spite is uh…interesting."

I don't think they did this to screw the Cubs. I think they did this cause they are assholes and don't care about it at all so they as Carman would say, "Do what I want".

Also, Neal what the fuck are you talking about? Did you read my comment? Are you telling me that I should take every at bat over an entire season to judge how well Ryan Theriot has hit the ball in the last 100 abs? Read what I wrote.

My point was this: When a guy goes into a slump and is not swinging the bat well and not seeing the ball well, he is less likely to hit the ball hard. Do you get that? Is that too hard to follow? SO when you hit the ball less hard, you are more likely to make outs. Does that make sense in your world? Makes sense in mine.

"It’s going to be the Padres clinching a playoff birth during the Brewers series, and resting guys, including Peavy, for the playoffs the last few games."

For better or worse, Peavy is not due to pitch against the Brewers. I would suppose that if it came down to the last day, he might pitch on 3 days rest but...

It looks like Maddux on Friday and Chris Young on Saturday.

"I don’t think they did this to screw the Cubs. I think they did this cause they are assholes and don’t care about it at all so they as Carman would say, “Do what I want”."

I'm serious...what did Houston do that makes them assholes, I'm totally and completely lost. You think they are assholes and "don't care" simply because they aren't starting Woody?

Yeah, I think they had set it up since early in the month that Peavy would be available for game 162 if needed, but otherwise, they were ordering the rotation to make sure he would be available for Game #1 and 5 of a playoff series.

re: 149 "I don’t think they did this to screw the Cubs."

me either...another clear as mud statement by me.

i found it interesting in the same way i find it interesting when people wanna try to tell me that the US Govt. blew up the towers and the pentagon...or the healing power of crystals...etc etc.

a new GM sure as hell isnt gonna get his feet wet pissing off the other GMs…unless youre kid-wonder in boston, but he’s already learned from that mistake.

What new GM?

well, tal smith is acting GM...dunno if he wants to make the move to GM, but he's still one of their more important executives in houston. he's a bit beyond his years to be GM again, probably...in his 70s i believe.

either way, he's very familiar with "the game within the game" for the executives.

"What new GM?"
You know what he meant, the guy stepping in for Purpura filling the role as GM in this situation.

I think the key to tonight's game is whether Manny Trillo writes, In Dusty We Trusty!!!!!

If he doesn't write that, we've got a pretty good shot.

Cecil Cooper should have never written that book

Look, it's not about Theriot walking more or striking out less. It's about seeing more pitches. Why? Because in the average inning, if Soriano and Theriot don't get on base, then Lee comes to the plate after the pitcher has thrown just 7 pitches. Seven.

And I tell you what, if that pitcher has only thrown 7, everybody in the ballpark knows that Derrek Lee is taking a pitch. The pitcher knows it, the catcher knows it, and the opposing pitcher knows it. What's the big deal with that, you say?

Lee after a first pitch strike (0-1 count): 239/322/349
Lee after a first pitch ball (1-0 count): 363/472/610

Ramirez after 0-1 count:291/331/502
Ramirez after 1-0 count:344/447/632

Do you see? Those are all close to 200 AB sample sizes, as well. It's not a coincidence that you hit better when you get ahead. Our top of the order guys kill our power hitters when they make quick outs. That's why your top of the order guys need to take pitches and be patient. That's not walking more. That's not striking out less.

“What new GM?”----You know what he meant, the guy stepping in for Purpura filling the role as GM in this situation.

The "guy stepping in" blockhead is none other than the President of the Astros blockhead. Tal Smith has been with the team longer than their name. He was GM in 1975. So explain to me how he is a new guy getting his feet wet.

I wouldn't have asked crunch if I had a clue what he was talking about. Still have no idea.

Sure it would be nice if Houston wasn't giving up in their series but you can't ask any favors from any team. Tonight the Brewers will win their game, hopefully the Cubs should win their game....I'll take a tie with the 2 teams remaining schedules...the Brewers will face 1.5 contending teams at the end and we will face none. So overall we will face more 'scrubs' than the Brewers in the last 2 weeks.

Well all I know is that the people claiming the Astros are assholes for benching Woody Williams must be the same people that were screaming to keep Fred McGriff in the lineup every day at the end of 2002 because we can't play that rookie Hee Seop Choi....there's the integrity of the game to consider!

Oh wait a minute.....I'm pretty sure nobody was doing that.

"I’ll take a tie with the 2 teams remaining schedules…the Brewers will face 1.5 contending teams at the end and we will face none. So overall we will face more ’scrubs’ than the Brewers in the last 2 weeks."

It makes absolutely NO difference who the Cubs play, be it the KC Royals, White Sox, Pirates or Devil Rays.

They are going to have to BRING IT every single night. Why do people keep saying this as if its an "advantage"? It is not.

Several posters have given us the combined record of the Cubs against these "bad teams", and we are well UNDER .500.

Or even better....2005 -- Neifi Perez over Theriot, Hollandsworth/Lawton/Macias/anyone else over Murton

Teams out of the race in September will and should play rookies over crappy veterans to find out what they have for next year, they owe it to their own fans.

If we are still tied tonight, I do feel relatively optimistic...but we don't have a whole lot of schedule advantage left. After tonight, the Brewers have a significant home field edge, where they greatly excel, while we have a clear advantage in overall record, but face teams that we have struggled against all year.

On paper, things still look good for the Cubs, but the margin of error keeps diminishing, and at this point is virtually non existant. We fall a game down today, we have to count on the Brewers losing, or we fall 1.5 out before we play again...emaing we will need to gain 2.5 games in the final 10 days of the season. each half game in the standings is critical now. As soon as we blink and lose ground, we lose any schedule advantage...completely.

Several posters have given us the combined record of the Cubs against these “bad teams”, and we are well UNDER .500.

6-8 against Cincy
5-7 against Pittsburgh
0-3 against Florida
11-17 overall.

MIL
1-2 vs Atlanta
5-7 vs STL
0-3 vs SD
6-12 overall

"Tonight the Brewers will win their game, "

WHAT? You know this for a fact? If so, don't waste your time posting here. Go to Vegas.

"I wouldn’t have asked crunch if I had a clue what he was talking about. Still have no idea."

if you cant figure it out by what ive said you probably never will.

when was he last a GM...the early 80s?

how many peers he got that's still GMs he's communicating with now?

how well did he cover his ass actually going out of the way to explain some of his moves to other GMs on their own free will so the press wouldnt be the first to try to answer other GM's questions?

if you cant figure it out by what ive said you probably never will.

Well, I sincerely didn't know what you were talking about.
But now I know why...it was gibberish as usual.

Craig Monroe:
"I think the key to tonight’s game is whether Manny Trillo writes, In Dusty We Trusty!!!!!

If he doesn’t write that, we’ve got a pretty good shot."

I didn't write it yesterday, YOU DID, and the Cubs lost...Hmm??

GO TCR!! And people who hide behind fake monikers. Woo!!!

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