Cubs Rally to Tie Game in 9th, Then Lose in 10th

The Cubs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, only to see Gabe Gross key a Brew Crew four-spot in the top of the 10th with a PH HR, as the Brewers defeated the Cubs 10-6 before 9,977 fans on a sunny 70-degree day at Mesa’s HoHoKam Park.

box score

Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs, and worked three innings (58 pitches, but only 33 for strikes, including a 33-pitch 1st inning), allowing one earned run on two hits, two walks, a HBP, and one K.

After laboring and throwing 33 pitches in the 1st inning, Dempster came back to retire the Brewers on only 13 pitches in the 2nd and 12 in the 3rd.

Tony Gwynn, Jr, led off the second with a triple, but was stranded there thanks to a one-hop come-backer to the mound, a Ricky Weeks strikeout, and a fly ball to RF.

Dempster retired the last six batters he faced, and appeared to grow stronger and more confident as his outing progressed.

With the Brewers leading 1-0, the Cubs scored three in the third. With one out, Kosuke Fukudome homered over the RF fence on an 0-2 pitch off Brewers starter Claudio Vargas, and then Derrek Lee drew a walk and Tyler Colvin yanked a single to right sending D-Lee to third, before Geovany Soto doubled both runners home with a hard-hit grounder down the third-base line.

Sean Gallagher worked the 4th and 5th innings for the Cubs (34 pitches total - 24 strikes), and he had trouble keeping the ball down and in the park. The youngster gave up a two-run HR to Gwynn following a lead-off double in the 4h, and a solo shot to Mike Cameron in the 5th. Another batter was retired on a fly ball to the warning track in RF.

The Cubs scored a run of their own in the 4th, when with two outs, Felix Pie pushed a perfect bunt between the mound and 1st base for a single, and then after a wild pitch moved Pie up to 2nd, Kosuke Fukudome chopped an opposite-field RBI single down the third-base line and into LF. For the day, Fukudome (hitting second in the order) was 3-3 (ground ball single to CF, HR to RF, and RBI single to LF). He is now hitting .400 in Cactus League action.

Kerry Wood entered the game in the top of the 6th and retired the Brewers 1-2-3 on two pop ups and a line drive. Although Woody threw just 12 pitches in his one inning of work and retired the Brewers in order, he struggled with his control, throwing only six strikes.

The Cubs missed a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 6th, failing to get Alex Cintron home from 3rd with no outs. With Cintron on 3rd base following a lead-off double and wild pitch, Sam Fuld had his bat busted as he grounded out weakly to 3rd, Andres Torres struck out swinging (he's dead meat once he's got two strikes), and--after a two-out five-pitch walk to Derrek Lee--Tyler Colvin flied out to deep CF (the Cubs could have used that when there was only one or two outs!).

Chad Fox made his first Cactus League appearance today, and had a very poor outing. In his one inning of work, Fox allowed two runs on three hits and a walk, and had a lot of difficulty throwing strikes. Several of his pitches were head-high (or even higher).

Carmen Pignatiello pitched the 8th, and faced only three batters. Throwing strike after strike, Tiggy retired the Brewers on a 5-3 GO, and then after a hard-hit line single to RF by Craig Counsell, a 4-3 GIDP.

Kevin Hart pitched the 9th and struck out the side. He did allow a one-out single, but then he blew away the last two hitters he faced with an excellent fastball.

The Cubs trailed Milwaukee 6-4 going into the bottom of the 9th, and with two out and nobody on base, they managed to string together a Ryan Theriot single, a double to the RF fence by J. D. Closser, and an infield hit by Luis Figueroa that featured a two-base Brewer throwing error that allowed PR Ronny Cedeno to score the tying run. But Alex Cintron fanned to end the inning, stranding Figueroa (who was representing the potential winning run) at 3rd base, sending the game into extra frames.

Unfortunately, Jose Ascanio was absolutely rocked by the Brewers in the top of the 10th, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. Ascanio's outing would have been even worse if not for an outstanding diving stop & throw by 1st baseman Micah Hoffpauir to get the lead-off hitter 3-1. Ascanio had nothing today, and the Brewers "B" Squad relief-lineup treated him like a Batting Practice pitcher.

Besides Fukudome’s three-for-three afternoon, another notable offensive performance by the Cubs today was Geovany Soto going 1-2 with two walks and a two-run double. Also, Derrek Lee drew two walks, and Sam Fuld went 1-2 with a single and a walk (Pie started in CF, and was replaced by Fuld in the 6th). Fuld also had an outfield assist (8-3-5).   

Eric Patterson started the game at 2B, and Mike Fontenot started the game at shortstop. E-Pat handled his one and only one chance (a 4-3 ground-out) and Fontenot handled his two (both 6-3 ground outs) without incident. And Kosuke Fukudome continues to make strong, accurate throws from RF. He has an OUTSTANDING arm.

Comments

This might be a dumb question, but when you're keeping track of pitches, how do you know whether a batted ball (either a foul ball or a pitch put into play) is a ball or a strike? Do you automatically assume it's a strike?

Batted balls are automatically counted as strikes. That's why in a single inning, a pitcher could get credit for throwing 15 or 20 strikes.

And batted balls includes foul balls?

Yes, foul balls are counted as Strikes

Thank you!

Thanks for the rundown Arizona Phil. Do you think given Cotts' struggles and Pignatiello's performance so far he is in the mind of Lou as a possibility for the 2nd lefty in the pen?

WISCGRAD: Right now, I would say IF Uncle Lou chooses to keep two lefties in the pen (and he very well might keep only one), it will be Scott Eyre and Carmen Pignatiello.  

But, if the Cubs do in fact acquire Brian Roberts from Baltimore, I believe LHP George Sherrill will probably be included in the deal, too, and if he is, he would immediately become the #1 lefty in the Cubs bullpen. He is VERY good.

AZ Phil--FWIW, the Baltimore Sun reporter who was on with David Kaplan Monday night sounded very confident that Sherrill wouldn't be part of any Roberts deal; said the O's were insistent about the Mariners including him in the Bedard deal and that they have high hopes for him as a closer...not that a Baltimore Sun reporter couldn't be wrong.

Thanks!

I was wondering when you'd get to a write-up.

Do you have a sense when Lou will say "Enough!" with these pitchers/players who will
not be on the team?

Fox, Taketsu, Ascanio, A. Blanco, Cotts, et. al.? I realize the ST team is "thin" with the injuries - but some of these guys...ugh!

Also, is Cintron signed to any type of guarantee? He still is a weak hitter, isn't he?

Will he make this club?

Thanks!

E-MAN: As of right now, I would guess Chad Fox, Shingo Takatsu and Neal Cotts will probably get released.

C. Fox and Takatsu are signed to minor league contracts so releasing them is no big deal, but in the case of Cotts, when he gets released is crucial.

Cotts is signed to a "non-guaranteed" major league contract, meaning that if the Cubs release him no later than March 14th, they will owe him only thirty days salary ($133,333). If they wait to release him until sometime after March 14th but prior to March 28th, they will owe him 45 days salary ($200K). If they release him after March 28th, they owe him his entire 2008 salary ($800K).

As for Alex Cintron, he signed a minor league deal, but I suspect he was promised that if he is not on the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, he can have his release and will be free to make a deal elsewhere.  

Cintron making the team probably has a lot to do with whether Ronny Cedeno is on the Opening Day roster. if Cedeno gets traded, Cintron will almost certainly make the Opening Day roster. If Cedeno does not get traded, Cintron probably does not make it.  

If Cedeno gets traded is there any chance Andres Blanco makes the team over Cintron?

T-DUBS: I would say Andres Blanco is strictly an "insurance policy" and will be the starting SS at Iowa. He has a strong arm and is fluid around the bag, but he isn't fast (in fact, he has below-average-speed for a middle infielder), and he has no power. And although he is hitting pretty well so far (mostly against minor league pitching), he has struggled with his hitting throughout his career.

i would say that the cubs 2nd lefty for bullpen is not on
the team yet.

if sherrill is included in a deal we would definately
be looking at more then four players going to orioles.

A.Pagan is leading ST in hits (11)!!! panic!!! fire hendry!!!

har...

S.Moore is 8 for 14 and 4th in hits.

P.Konkero is 10 for 14 (damn).

it's still too early to make fun of the pitching. :(

Scott Moore is one of those hitters who wishes it was ST all year long.

Scott Moore has some skills. I've seen him in AAA several times. If he indeeed gets the LH Platoon Job in Baltimore this year. I could totally see him putting up a 265/330/460ish line. He has a good eye, patient approach and 25 HR Power. Not great when you have Aramis Ramirez in your lineup. However he is better than what Pittsburgh,Florida, and Melvin Mora can bring to the table. And he very well could outproduce what the 3rd Basemen do in Oakland,KC,Cleveland,Arizona,LAA,LAD, and Tampa.

Well, if Fontenot and Patterson are your starting middle infielders, is it really that much of a surprise that Gallagher was trying to get fly balls?

How did Colvin look in left? One for the good DR. Was Fukudome's surgery for swinging or throwing or both, in your opinion? Seems like he did both well today.

Was Fukudome's surgery for swinging or throwing or both, in your opinion?
========

Both. Having loose bodies in the elbow causes pain an sometimes locking. It seems that Fuku's throwing arm if it's not at 100% yet should get stronger over time, but he looks close to fully recovered.

REAL NEAL:Colvin looked fine in LF yesterday. I've seen him play all three OF positions over the past couple of years, and LF is defintely his best OF spot, although he does have the speed to play CF.

Fukudome's surgery was for bone chips in his right elbow. I'll leave it to Dr Hecht to evaluate which is more negatively affected by that problem, hitting or throwing, but I can tell you his arm looks really strong right now.

Fukudome appears to be the ultimate spray hitter, literally using the entire field, line-to-line. But when he pulls the ball, he really turns on it and elevates his swing. I've yet to see him hit a ball over the fence anyplace but straight-away RF. When he hits the ball to CF or LF, it's strictly line drives, ground balls, and choppers. He likes to use the "butcher-boy" opposite-field chop down the third-base line when the third-baseman isn't playing all the way back.

caught this at an Illini message board:

"If we could package Benson for a tackling sled and a kicking tee - warrenillini "

Sound familiar?

"Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs, and worked three innings (58 pitches, but only 33 for strikes, including a 33-pitch 1st inning), allowing one earned run on two hits, two walks, a HBP, and one K."

Welcome to the wonderful world of "Dempster as a starting pitcher".

From Wittenmeyer, this A.M.:

"Piniella is disappointed with the early spring performances of young pitchers Jose Ascanio, Sean Gallagher, Esmailin Caridad, Jose Ceda and even Neal Cotts. ''You look at these guys prior to the games starting, and you think to yourself, 'Boy, this guy's got a good arm or this guy's got a good slider,' and all of a sudden, you put an umpire out there and start selling some beer in the stands, and it changes around a little bit,'' Piniella said.•

You think its the beer?

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/825531,CST-SPT-cubnt05.article

In fact, one team source said Tuesday that the Cubs and Orioles haven't talked in more than a week and the sides are no closer to a deal than they were when camp opened -- which is not close at all.

General manager Jim Hendry wouldn't address specific teams or players but said reports that things are ''heating up'' with any team are wrong.
'

'There have been no active talks in any trade situation in the last five, six days,'' Hendry said. ''We will continue to scout all the teams in Florida and Arizona, and if possible we will try to improve our ballclub by the end of camp.'

This may be 3/44 material, but Sullivan posted this excerpt of a Baseball Prospectus article re: lineups:

"The Cubs, to pick one example, have the potential for a disastrous lineup in play. A couple of weeks ago, Lou Piniella indicated that he would lead off with Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot, who possess two of the lowest projected OBPs in the Cubs lineup, while batting Kosuke Fukudome fifth. It would be hard to assemble a worse lineup given the talent available; Soriano is simply not a leadoff hitter, possessing the power and OBP of a #4 batter. Theriot, despite 28 steals last season, is at best a #7 batter, and best-suited for eighth. Fukudome will hit for average, OBP, and doubles power, and is a good #2 or #3 hitter depending on the players around him.

"To Piniella's credit, he has been batting Fukudome in the #3 spot so far in the Cactus League. Then again, it just puts the lack of understanding into relief; batting Theriot second and Fukudome third is one of those things that is a bit hard to make sense of.

"What has happened is teams, and even managers such as Lou Piniella, have been trained to regard secondary offensive characteristics as more important than primary ones. Speed is a secondary offensive characteristic, and it always has been. Contact rate is a secondary characteristic. The primary ones are the ability to get on base and the ability to hit for power. How well a player does those two things should determine his lineup spot."

Werd.

The lineup should be, imo: Theriot 6, Lee 3, Fukudome 9 (Lee & Fukudome could be reversed), Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Derosa 4, Pie 8, Soto 2, 1

...and when Soriano doesn't immediately start hitting, don't panic. Leave him there and he'll settle in.

Theriot leading off, really? I'd prefer:

Fukudome
Lee
Soriano
Ramirez
Derosa
Soto
Pie
Theriot/Cedeno
Pitcher

The problem with that is you have:

Lefty, Righty, Righty, Righty, Righty, Righty, Lefty, Righty, pitcher.

The Cub's need more left-handed power, it's that simple.

Thinking outside the box here, but would you try to pick up Roberts again, move Derosa to 3B, and trade Ramirez for some sort of solid lefty hitter? I'm sure he could net an all-star caliber lefty slugger.

"I'm sure he could net an all-star caliber lefty slugger."

I am not sure I agree with this, who were you thinking of?

I don't know. And in the interest of full disclosure, I usually lose in fantasy baseball.

Andru Jones? Torii? Jimmy Rollins (is he even a lefty?)?

Andru Jones? Torii? Jimmy Rollins (is he even a lefty?)?

First, both Jones and Hunter were signed this off season as free agents, and cannot be traded until June. Second, both were signed as big-time free agents, and will not be going anywhere anytime soon whether they were eligble to be traded or not.

Jimmy Rollins is almost assuredly going nowhere also.

Teams simply don't trade superstars like that.

And none of those 3 are lefties

Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter are right-handed hitters. Rollins switch hits.

I tend to think it's not as simple as getting more lefty power. I tend to think it's as simple as getting your best hitters the most opportunities in a season.

The lineup should be, imo: Theriot 6

Yea... that .326 OBP would be awesome in the leadoff spot!

Baseball Prospectus seems to downplay the fact that baseball is played on the field by human beings, not by robots. Sometimes it appears obvious (on paper) that things should work a certain way, but it doesn't necessarily work that way on the field. It's the difference between Fantasy Baseball and Reality Baseball.

Remember a few years ago when some said LaTroy Hawkins should be the Cubs closer because he had the "best pure stuff" among all Cubs relievers at the time and the reliever with the "best stuff" should be the closer? It's like that. It ignores the personality/psychological factors that actually really do have an impact on how a player performs in a certain role and how a team performs on the field as a group. 

Not everything is statistics. There is a lot of science and body memory involved in playing baseball, but there is also a lot of art and nuance involved in performing on the field that (unfortunately) just cannot be quantified by statistics. 

Baseball Prospectus seems to downplay the fact that baseball is played on the field by human beings, not by robots

Maybe at one time, but not these days. In fact, Sheehan's article explicitly addresses this:

"Now, you can’t always put the sabermetrically-optimal lineup on the field, because players aren’t Strat cards, and it’s worth it to take that into consideration in running a real team. The additional value of swapping, say, the #3 and #4 hitters is often dwarfed by the headaches it may cause with the players and the media. There are other examples, but it is entirely reasonable, when the values are close, to take human factors into consideration."

His discussion of people tending to overvalue secondary characteristics like speed to the detriment of OBP (because you can see speed, but can't see OBP) is really interesting to me.

RUZ: Certainly you don't want to OVER-value speed, but given a choice between (for instance) a couple of .330-340 OBP guys with above-average speed hitting 1-2 and a couple of slow guys with .360-380 OBPs hitting 1-2, I'll take the former, because while speed in itself is not a reason to hit a guy 1-2, it is a factor in the ability to score runs. 

As I said, the important thing is for the OBP of the #1 and #2 hitters to be GOOD ENOUGH to hit there. They don't have to lead the team in OBP. 

Likewise, unless the player is Ozzie Smith, speed with a low OBP has very little value no matter where the player hits in the lineup.  

Phil, I think this position is demonstrably wrong, assuming your goal is to score as money runs as possible. And I think the great accomplishment of statheads like BP is that they do the demonstrating.

I'll gladly take a couple slow guys with .360-.380 OBPs hitting 1-2 vs. fast guys with .330-.340 OBP. That is, I'd rather have Matt Murton lead off than Juan Pierre.

Arguing the validity of having high OBP guys at the top of the lineup is akin to being in the same group that said 'The forward pass is a fad' in football.

In 2006, Juan Pierre was driven in 84 times in 747 PA's, not counting any pinch running trips he might have had.
In 2006, Youkilis was driven in 87 times in 667 PA's. 80 fewer PA's, 3 more runs scored.

It's just simple math. The more times you're on base, the more likely you are to score. Youkilis got a headstart because his OBP is 5.5% higher than Pierre's and then got caught stealing 18 times less.

Have your 4 to 7 hitters steal all day long, I'll take Hatterberg and Youkilis on 1st and 2nd with Lee and Ramirez coming up 7 days of the week and twice on Sunday.

I think what Phil was trying to point out is that while Alfonzo might not be an ideal leadoff man, if you move him down in the line up it will likely negatively impact his hitting. This is because he feels more comfortable hitting leadoff.

Thus, the question is not if you would rather have him hit 5th (for example), but instead is hitting him 5th worth the possible decrease in his production. To me this depends more on who you will be replacing him in the leadoff spot.

I get your point, and agree with it, but not the best example

I'd rather have Pierre in front of Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Mike Lowell, than Youkilis in front of Matt Kemp, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Neal - you are assuming all things are equal in your example. In other words, Pierre in 2006 played for the Cubs - one of the worse scoring teams in the NL if they werent last they were next to last. Youklis played for the BoSox who I imagine were proabbly a top five scoring team in the AL.

If it's a matter of simple math, then you should know that Pierre was on base via non-HR hit or walk 233 times (didn't look for HBP, errors) in 2006; Youkilis, 237. So a total of four more times on base and three extra runs for Youkilis in a much-better lineup.

Your point is well-taken in terms of OBP, but this probably wasn't that great of an example.

Tito that's not math, that's counting.

Also you have to look at the number of times up at the plate, since Youkilis didn't get as many starts as Pierre.

The point about the Red Sox lineup being better than the Cubs lineup, is the point. The Cubs had Neifi Perez as the #2 hitter. Again, stupid construction of the lineup. Jones, Barrett and Aram Ram did decent approximations of 3 and 4 hitters.

The Cubs #3 hitters hit .306 .377 .520 and their number four hitters hit .278 .349 .504 but they drove in 22 runs less than their opponents, despite outslugging them because.... THERE WAS NO ONE ON BASE.

The Cubs leadoff hitter 'hit' .290 .329 .385 .022 worse than OBP their opposition
The Cubs #2 hitters 'hit' .272 .319 .390 in 2006 .014 worse OBP than their opposition

The #3 and #4 hitters outslugged their opposition, but the speedy Pierre and mess of #2 hitters didn't score more runs.

Simple math.

REAL NEAL: If you want Alfonso Soriano at his best, you hit him in the lead-off spot. His OBP there isn't perfect, but it's GOOD ENOUGH.

Theriot's OBP hitting second isn't perfect, but it's GOOD ENOUGH, and his right-field stroke is what I would prefer (if possible) in a #2 hitter.

I want #1 and #2 hitters who AT THE VERY LEAST can get to second-base... preferably without giving up an out, can get to third with less than two outs, can score from third on a fly ball to the outfield, can score from second on a single to the outfield, and who can score from 1st on double.

That does NOT mean you always play for JUST one run, but it does mean you always play for AT LEAST one run.

If it turns out that Soriano has permanently lost a step, then his value as a lead-off hitter is diminished and then it might not matter where he hits. That's TBD.

If Theriot's OBP becomes consistently Neifi-like, then he can't hit 2nd. In fact if he becomes Neifi Redux, he shouldn't be playing at all and the Cubs will need to look for another SS. That's also TBD.

Having high OBP guys hitting #1 and #2 matters, but only to the extent that the OBP just needs to be GOOD ENOUGH, and then the hitters need to be fast enough to be able to come around and score once they get on base. 

Station-to-station-baseball at the top of the order might work for the 1927 Yankees or 2007 Red Sox, but it won't work for the 2008 Cubs. 

If we get Roberts, i still vote for:


Soriano, Roberts, Lee, Ramirez, Fuku, Soto, Pie, Theriot

if Soriano stays in the 340 OBP range and his legs are good this year, I don't see the point in moving him. Of course a lot depends on how Fuku starts out as well.

without Roberts, I'd like to see on most days either of these lineups:
Soriano, DeRosa, Lee, Ramirez, Fuku, Soto, Pie, Theriot

or

Soriano, Fuku, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, DeRosa, Pie, Theriot

what I don't want to see is Ryan Theriot in the one or two spot in the lineup. Soriano may not be the prototypical leadoff hitter, but he's still one of our best hitters and getting more AB's to our best hitters is the best thing that Lou can do.

on a sidenote, adding Roberts sure would balance out the lineup a lot better.

 


You know, it's not "good enough" if even 3% of the time the there's no runner on first to advance on the bases. That is, a difference in OBP from .330 to .360 matters. And a 6% increase from .330 to .390 matters a ton.

Further, I don't buy that Soriano will struggle in Wrigley hitting 3rd. He's paid very well to do his job and should be expected to perform at a high level wherever he hits. I think he can beat his historical batting order splits.

If the Cubs have players, whether they are Fukudome, Derosa, Murton or Brian Roberts, who make more sense hitting in the 1-2 spots, they should assuredly play them there over Soriano, who makes more sense at 3 or in the middle of the lineup, and over Theriot, who makes more sense at the bottom of the lineup.

I suppose, what it comes down to, is that the Cubs will score more if they switch the emphasis you make on OBP and speed. That is, having speed guys at the top matters only in so much that their speed is good enough, and that the hitters are the best available at getting on base and aren't necessarily sluggers.

I do disagree with the following point (kind of):

That is, a difference in OBP from .330 to .360 matters.

And I tell you why. Now, while the statement is true, I don't always just hit Youkilis at the top and his 360 versus Pierre and a 330, to continue the example.

A difference of 3% matters about 15 times a season. A guy with a 3% higher OBP gets on base 15 more times in a sample of 500 AB's. That's about 2.5 times per month (give or take a tenth) that one guy gets to first when the other guy doesn't.

Now, I personally believe that if there is a great difference in the way those two players run the bases (i.e. the 360 guy runs like Youkilis and the 330 guy runs like Pierre) then you make up more than 15 outs by having Pierre on the basepaths because he scores considerably more often from second on singles and from first on doubles. Now, if it's a 45 or 50 point difference in OBP, then it's obvious. If it's Youk or Riot, who do you take? If it's Youk or Neifi, who do you take? That's a no brainer. Also, if there's no discernable difference in the way Player A runs the bases as opposed to Player B. Duh, right?

I'm not in love with speed. I'm not Dusty. The right answer isn't ALWAYS hit the fast guy at the top. But in a circumstance where they're within a stone's throw of each other, it makes sense to me that being able to take multiple bases in one swing of the bat outweighs the 15 (or less) outs that he would make in a 500 AB sample. Particularly in a situation like the Cubs may be in this year, where they may struggle to hit homers in the middle of their lineup like they did in 2006. Lots of singles and doubles.

Wes, consider plate appearances instead of at-bats. And I'll keep playing the Youkilis/Pierre game.

Last year, Youkilis had 625 PAs and made 392 outs. He had an OBP of .390 (which is strong--I don't know if the Cubs have a player on their roster who will have a .390 OBP in 08, though Lee and Fukudome are my best guesses at who has a shot).

Last year, Pierre had 719 PAs and made 519 outs. He had an OBP of .331. If he had the same PAs as Youkilis, he would have made 451 outs.

Those extra 59 base runners that Boston enjoyed over the season compared to what LA received contributed more to Boston's success than Pierre would have offered, even with his speed.

Now, neither of those players are on the Cubs, so who cares? But if there's a chance Fukudome can put up a .380 OBP or if Derosa can put up a .370 OBP, doesn't it make sense to him them ahead of Soriano and his .337 OBP, assuming Soriano's SLG stays the same? And doesn't it make sense to keep Theriot as far away from the top of the order as possible?

I would answer both of your questions with a resounding yes.

By my estimation, those 59 baserunners translates into 29 runs. Or 1 run every 3 games. Color me unimpressed.

I don't even know where these numbers came from,  but if the difference in the two situations is 29 runs, that's about 3 wins over a season. That's a huge fucking difference.

oh crap. one run every SIX games.

no big deal.

And I don't buy that many runs wins 3 games. They can't.

Here you go Chad. I think I did the math right.

Team Runs RA Differential +.500 Dif/Win
Cubs 752 690 62 8 15.5
Phillie 892 821 71 16 8.88
Rockies 860 768 92 17 10.82
Braves 810 733 77 6 25.67
Mets 804 750 54 14 7.71
Brewers 801 776 25 4 12.5
Marlins 790 891 -101 -20 10.1
Reds 783 853 -70 -18 7.78
Padres 741 666 75 15 10
Dodgers 735 727 8 2 8
Cardina 725 829 -104 -6 34.67
Pirates 724 846 -122 -26 9.38
Astros 723 813 -90 -16 11.25
Dbacks 712 732 -20 18 -2.22
Giants 683 720 -37 -20 3.7
Nationa 673 783 -110 -16 13.75
Total -22 11.72

Ahh, that looks like crap. But the punchline is that last year on average 11.72 runs = one more win in the standings. The Cards and D-Bags were really lucky and the Cubs and Braves were not. 10 is the rule of thumb, that BP uses, I don't feel like challenging it, though I suspect in higher scoring era's that number goes up.

those 59 baserunners translates into 29 runs. Or 1 run every 3 games.

1 every 3 games? So they only play 90 games a year?

Chad... I have no idea where you got the 29 runs, or the 1 in 3 games.

But as Rob said, 29 runs is VERY significant.

One other quick point from me on this. The 59 point difference in their OBP would have resulted in 59 more baserunners for Team X, if the PA's were identical. That's kind of the concept. But, that's a 59 point difference. You'd be silly to not go with that.

But again, I think a smaller deficit in that number can be overcome by taking an extra base. Not 60 points. Not 40 points. Maybe 30, but I dunno. Maybe not.

Again, it doesn't really matter because we don't have such a scenario. I think that you are correct that DeRosa and the F-Bomb would have such a distinctly higher OBP than Soriano that even if he could run at 100% and steal 40+ bags, it wouldn't make up for it.

Hmm, so AZ Phil what you are suggesting is that the Cubs really need situational hitting or hitters. So a guy who can bunt, hit behind the runner, steal, go from first to third on a hit and run, draw a walk or work the count has some value for a team even though none of this translates into one of those nice stats that works well in my Fantasy league. I wonder if the Cubs have any player like that.

Hell, I say let's let OBP decide the entire lineup.

Lee
DeRosa
ARam

How does that sound?

Really stupid.

OBP above all at the top of the order, slugging % after.

But those are the top obp guys on the team.

here is your quote:

"OBP above all at the top of the order"

Or maybe there is more to baseball than one stat.

No, there's just the one stat. End o' story.

As a fellow Illini alum I try hard to give you the benefit of the doubt, Chad, but really...

This isn't very difficult: You put the high OBP guys before the high SLG guys. The theory behind that being the high OBP guy will get on base, the high SLG guy will knock him in.

If the highest OBP guy is also the highest SLG guy, you bat him 3rd.

There's also the ancilliary benefit of working the pitcher. If you have patient hitters in the top two of the lineup, you're likely to jack up a pitcher's pitch count by the third inning. Soriano and Theriot are terrible at doing that.

The 2008 Cubs are more similar to the 1927 Yankees than they are to the 1968 Cardinals. A very small percentage of run scoring in 2008 is going to come from one team running the bases better than other.

Neal - I won't disagree with you on Soriano but you mentioned that Theriot doesn't work the pitch count or to be more accurate you used the word "terrible". So I am curious what is that based on? Do you have some stat? Because when I watch Theriot he does a very good job in taking pitches.

probably P/PA....ESPN keeps track of them.


3.53 last year for Theriot
3.67 for Soriano

Derosa 3.96 last year, Derrek Lee 4.02 for example...

in regards to Theriot, he seems to approach an at-bat very similarly to me when I played way back when.
I'd jump on a first ball fastball if it was there (or if I was ahead in the count), but otherwise looked to work the count if I didn't get it early. So his P/PA isn't going to get in the 4 range in all likelihood, but doesn't necessarily mean he's not patient at the plate. Guys who are "first ball, fastball" hitters, will look like they don't have much patience by P/PA numbers, even though they're not just hackers. Guys like Nomar, Barrett and Moises Alou come to mind as well...

Not to put Theriot in that class...



The Cubs projected lineup by P/PA

Soriano 3.67
Fukudome *4.00 (guesstimated)
Lee 4.02
Ramirez 3.67
DeRosa 3.96
Soto 3.90
Pie 3.73
Theriot 3.53

The only position player who had an PT at all in 2007 who saw fewer pitches per PA than Theriot was the guy he replaced, Izturis. It's not necessarily a fair indicator of 'patience', because it rewards guys who swing and miss at 3-1 pitches while punishing guys who hit them, but it does reflect how much the opposing pitcher has to work to get a guy out of the batters box.

As to having Theriot bat 2nd so he can aim at the hole created by Soriano being on first here are my problems with that.

1. He did it last year and he was only on base for Lee 32.4 % of the time. He actually hit better as a leadoff hitter.
2. Soriano only led off an inning with a hit/bb/hbp 56 times last year. So only about one out of every three games this 'magical' scenario comes into play. With a runner on first base Theriot hit .239 .289 .282. There's sample size issues there (71), but the evidence we have is that Theriot is a woeful hitter in that scenario (.232 .298 .263 for his career).
3. Fukudome by all reports has the bat control to do the same things, and may be able to get on base 30% to 35% more often for Lee and Ramirez.
4. If Soriano is on first, Fukudome is probably about 60% more likely to double him home than Theriot is.
5. It's likely to get Fukudome, who we expect to be a notably superior hitter 54 more PA's, and Theriot, the team's worst or 2nd worst hitter 108 fewer PA's. Both of these are good things.
6. When Theriot does get on base in the 8 slot, he is a good baserunner to be able to scamper into scoring postion when the pitcher bunts.
7. It guarantees that the opposing pitcher will see a lefthanded hitter in the first inning, and most likely one in the 2nd and third innings as well.

In today's Suntimes Ryan Theriot's un-PC thought on the lineup-

-And if it means Theriot loses his No. 2 spot to Fukudome?

''I'm not karate-fighting him, that's for sure,'' he (Theriot) said. ''I could care less where I hit.''

Please, no one translate these jokes to Fukudome.

Must learn Barance Ryan-san. Karate not here, here or here. Karate inside of Here (pointing to The-Riots chest)

Neal:

No, I don't have to look at how many plate appearances Youkilis had. The point is that they were on base roughly the same amount of times in that season and scored roughly the same number of runs. Anyone who can read can see that Youkilis has an higher OBP and would definitely be on base more often than Pierre given the same # of plate appearances. The difference in plate appearances means nothing, and that's why it's not the best example. You'll continue to disagree, and that's that. I again agree with your larger point that higher OBP is better (again, that's a pretty simple argument).

Hmm... so basically you agree that if Youk got as many plate appearances as Pierre, Youk would have almost assuredly scored more runs, right?

And why would he have scored more runs? Because he was on base more often.

If I go 30 for 100 with 30 triples and you go 35 for 100 with 35 singles - who will score more runs??

Or if I go 30 for 100 with 30 singles and 30 stolen bases, and you go 35 for 100 with 35 singles and no stolen bases, who will score more runs?

If I go 30 for 100 hitting leadoff and you go 35 for 100 hitting 8th in the NL, who will score more runs?

This stuff is just not as simple as higher OBP = more runs. Higher OBP = more times on base.

After that it depends on how MANY more times, which bases you are typically on, who hits behind you, how fast you are, etc.

Very good points!!!

Not really good points, because none of those secnarios are realistic.

Big Low:
"And why would he have scored more runs? Because he was on base more often."

Partly, but I think even more importantly, it is because he had better hitters behind him.

For what it's worth, Pierre was on base fewer times last year with the Dodgers than he was with the Cubs in '06 and scored more runs. With almost the exact OBP (.330, .331).

Could that have anything to do with the fact that he wasn't batting infront of Neifi Perez? Which is the majority of the point of this discussion. Neifi and Theriot have no place above 7th in a batting order.

Part of the point of the discussion is the better Dodgers lineup, yes. Duh.

But Neifi doesn't have anything to do with a discussion of the runs scored of Pierre, as Neifi batted a grand total of 89 times in the second slot in 2006 (not sure how many of those were with the Cubs vs. the Tigers). He hit .292.

I wasn't going to list all the guys who batted 2nd for the 2006 Cubs. Think of 'Neifi' as all of them or whatever imaginery hitter would hit .272 .319 .390. That explains the difference between Pierre's numbers from 06 to 07 (plus a couple less caught stealings as I recall). Barrett should probably have batted #2 in 2006 and Fukudome or DeRosa or Lee should do it in 2008.

One of the big things we are all missing with this is that Pierre didn't hit leadoff for the Dodgers, except for the first month until Furcal came back. He hit 2nd in 123 games last year. Hit Pierre 2nd for the Cubs in 2006 and he would have scored a lot more runs. The Cubs #3 hitters put up a line of .306 .377 .520.

"Pierre didn't hit leadoff for the Dodgers"

You're right. Sure hope the blokes above read that WISCGRAD. Pierre was a dismal failure at leadoff man last year and got benched even while the Dodgers were managing to stay in the pennant race.

At the All-Star break the Dodgers were only 1 game back but Pierre was hitting 2nd and not doing well (.282 .311 .338 .649).

In fact, in classic Pierre stat-packing style, he didn't start hitting at all until Aug 12 (he was .277 .315 .332 .647 at the time) AFTER the Dodgers had slipped from 2nd to 4th place. It didn't help the team much though. They were 1 game under .500 the rest of the way.

I didn't miss that. I wasn't the one who brought up his 2007 season in comparision to leadoff hitting. I did mention that he didn't have Neifi batting behind him, where I was hinting at the fact that he batted closer to the 'meat of the order' than he did with the Cubs.

I'd be very surprised if the 3 and 4 hitters for the Dodgers last year outhit the Cubs 3 and 4 hitters in 2006. Let me check....nope.

Maybe it's just a bloke's poor phrasing, but Pierre never got benched last year. He played 162 games (1,416 innings) as the Dodgers' CF and had about 700 plate appearances.

He hit leadoff in 31 games. If removing him from that slot is what you meant by benching, that makes more sense.

oh YES he was. June 7th when he sported these numbers: .269 .298 .317 . It was headline news in Los Angeles.

Pierre appeared in the game though, ironically as a late inning defensive replacement.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=27060...

Umm... Juan Pierre started 160 games last year. He played in all 162 games.

Those two games that he did not start were on April 14 and June 7th.

So... if not starting in one game is getting benched, then sure, he got benched. But most people would call it a day off.

But most people would call it a day off

I call it revisionism.

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