From this morning's Tribune and Steve Rosenbloom...
If you're rating the last 10 games for each team, the Sox get more style points than the Cubs. Sure, the Cubs went 8-2 while the Sox went 7-3, but the Sox did that on the West Coast, while the Cubs were at home.
Sure, the Cubs played better, won more games, faced teams with a higher combined winning percentage (.488 to .455) and outscored their opponents by a wider margin (+27 to +13), but the White Sox did it while they were sleeping with their road groupies and the Cubs players got to sleep in their own beds. That makes all the difference in the world...because this is the NBA all of a sudden.
The Sox also did it against the one good team that either team
played, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of
California of the United States of the Northern Hemisphere of Earth,
Haha, see what Steve did there? He took a joke that's three years old and recycled it.
coming back in the last two games to get a split.
Wow, the White Sox split a four-game series on the road versus a good team that just got back its best starter for that series and is still missing Kelvim Escobar, Howie Kendrick and Chone Figgins. That's incredible work there by the White Sox. I mean they managed to play .500 baseball versus a depleted team. Print up the playoff tickets for winning 5 of 6 against two teams with winning percentages at or below .400.
To be fair, The Cubs did play against some lightweights in the last series, the just-below .500 Pirates, the woeful Padres and the Diamondbacks, who just happen to have the best record in baseball.
Now, you can tell me that the Cubs' first opponent on this
homestand, Arizona, is a first-place team, and I'll tell you that the
Diamondbacks play like a last-place team. Like the last-place Padres,
the Cubs' second opponent, for instance. Specifically, the D-Backs play
like slugs outside of the NL Worst.
Haha, NL Worst? Get it? That's a little word play there by Rosenbloom because the Diamondbacks and Padres play in the NL West. See what he did there? And that's why Rosenbloom gets paid the big newpapers dollars.
It's also one of the reasons the newspaper business is crumbling...terrible writing and poor research.
The Diamonbacks have played the second softest schedule in the majors, but Rosenbloom didn't want to seem to bother researching that the White Sox have played a pretty soft schedules themselves. Specifically, the 6th easiest in the majors. BUT THEY MANAGED A SPLIT versus the Angels. Great work, "Hawk" Harrelson is appalled by that level of homerism.
Here's the deal: Against NL Central and NL East teams, Arizona and
San Diego each have won a measly six games. San Diego beats up its own
division, but nobody out west can win outside of its own sandbox.
Except the Dodgers who are 10-10 versus the rest of the NL. And the Diamonbacks were still a respectable 6-7 versus the rest of the NL before the Cubs series. And what about the +52 run differential the Snakes are sporting, 2nd best to the Cubs? But they've beat the crap out of the crappy teams in their division, clearly they're an inferior team.
I guess Rosebloom's article basically boils down to whether a four-game
road split versus the Angels is more impressive than a three-game home sweep
versus the Diamondbacks. And of course it's not. The Diamondbacks are ahead of the Angels in ESPN's RPI Index and way ahead of them in BP's adjusted standings (look for the W3 and L3 numbers). The Angels are just a +6 in run differential compared to the Snakes at +52. The Angels have been fighting injuries all season, while the Diamonbacks were just missing Doug Davis and I guess Chad Tracy, if he even counts.
And would this be a good time to mention the AL Central that Rosenbloom's beloved White Sox are riding on top of? Wait, that's not nearly as clever as NL Worst, and I'd really like a newspaper writing job one of these days. Let's see what I can come up with here...AL Entrail. See, it rhymes with Central and it's considered disgusting. Damn, that's awesome...AL Entrail it is. I can't wait to write for the Trib.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.