Cubs Hits Of The Week (For The Week Ending 4/5)
The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning this week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):
#5 Big Hit: Saturday v. Houston, 3rd inning--Derrek Lee cracks a solo home run off Roy Oswalt to tie the Astros, 2-2. Lee would later employ his game-tying skills to more good use. (See #4 Big Hit.) WPA .120
#4 Big Hit: Saturday v. Houston, 7th inning--Lee collects his fourth hit of the day, a single to plate Mike Fontenot and erase the 5-3 deficit the Cubs faced at the beginning of the seventh inning. WPA .200
#3 Big Hit: Friday v. Houston, 7th inning--Geovany Soto had only three hits in the season's opening week, but this two-out, two-run single against Astros starter Chris Sampson got the Cubs on the board and even with the visitors at 2-2. WPA .294
#2 Big Hit: Saturday v. Houston, 7th inning--With 40,000 people chanting his name, Kosuke Fukudome worked the count full against the Astros' Wesley Wright, then pounded a two-out, tie-breaking double into left field. This could have been the defining moment of Fukudome's first week as a Chicago Cub, if it wasn't for what happened five days earlier... WPA .304
#1 Big Hit: Monday v. Milwaukee, 9th inning--The Cubs were down to their final three outs when Fukudome launched a 3-1 pitch from Eric Gagne into the right-center field bleachers, sending the Opening Day matchup into extra innings. WPA .454
Through Saturday, Fukudome led all of MLB with a personal WPA of .98. Alfonso Soriano (-.55), Ryan Theriot (-.43), and Felix Pie (-.33) were all down near the bottom.
Update: Reader big_lowitzki points out that Derrek Lee's seventh-inning homer on Sunday (WPA .217) would occupy the fourth slot on the list, but the list is based on games through Saturday only. Will Lee's bomb make it into next week's list? Be sure to return to this space next Sunday to find out! (I believe the technical name for this is a "tease.")
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.