TCR Thursday Notes's like Friday Notes, but on Thursday...and on 'roids.

Alright, I've been compiling links and notes for about three weeks now and finally had a chance to get it all down today, so plenty of diversions for the off-day today before we knock the silly out of the Redbirds this weekend. And yeah, some of this stuff is old.

- Let's go back in the time machine and talk about home field advantage for the All-Star game. I think most of the sentient baseball universe realizes the absurdity of awarding home field advantage for the most important games of the year to the league that wins an exhibition contest. MLB says they can't do the rational thing of awarding it to the team with the best overall record, as it won't give them enough time to plan and book events in the potential cities. I call SHENANIGANS!!!

When do they start booking these hotels and start planning? Using the current All-Star method, you know that after the season ends, one of four teams could be hosting the majority of the games. After one round, it's down to two teams. If they use the best record, there are seven teams that could host the majority of the games (throw out the playoff team with the worst record), and after the first round, it would be down to three cities (once again throw out the record of the worst team left). This doesn't seem like such a scheduling catastrophe as MLB makes it. And the NBA and NHL seem to have figured it out.

- The horror of shattering pictorial form.

- MLB Trade Rumors has been compiling scorecards for the general managers in baseball. These scorecards are better known as spreadsheets to the rest of the world. It includes all of a GM's roster moves and you can find Jim Hendry's at this link.

- You just can't get enough good breakdowns of Rich Harden's mechanics.

- Jonah Keri of ESPN's Page 2 breaks down the first half of AL play by using the 1984 Cubs team. The entry for the Texas Rangers...

You couldn't mess with Reuschel either. Larry Bowa, Reuschel's teammate on the '84 Cubs and opponent for many years beforehand, tells a great story about the big righty. Playing for the Phillies one series in the late '70s, Bowa's team got smoked by the Expos in Montreal. Bowa told Montreal reporters he didn't mind, because the Phillies would be traveling to Chicago, where they'd beat up on a lousy Cubs team -- and by extension, Reuschel. The first time Bowa stepped to the plate, Reuschel drilled him in the ribs. Bowa swore at Reuschel as he hobbled down to first, while Reuschel stayed silent. Leading off first base, Bowa shouted to Reuschel that he was going to steal second. Reuschel quickly picked him off. Later in the game, Reuschel singled with one out. Bowa told his double play partner Dave Cash that if a grounder comes his way, send him a good toss and he'll bean Reuschel in the forehead on the throw to first. Sure enough, the next batter hit a perfect double play grounder to Cash. But the Phillies' second baseman juggled the ball before flipping it to Bowa. The bobble gave Reuschel extra time, which he used to slide high into second, spiking Bowa (Reuschel outweighed him by 80 pounds), unleashing a pool of blood and forcing Bowa to leave the game. Back in the dugout, Bowa waved a white towel of surrender in Reuschel's direction. Reuschel quietly tipped his cap, thanking Bowa for the tribute. 

- Fresh off the heels of my piece about Bob Howry, Jerry Crasnick ranks the bullpens for the rest of the season. He has the Cubs at number two behind the Angels. I say you're being a bit kind Mr. Crasnick.

Although Bob Howry's overall numbers aren't pretty, manager Lou Piniella keeps running him out there. Howry has a 5.30 ERA, but he's stranded 21 of 24 inherited runners. 

Sure, Howry might strand some runners like he did Tuesday in the sixth inning, he then proceeds to give up the go-ahead runs of his own the next inning.

- Josh Kalk, Pitch f/x guru, breaks down the rest of the season for the Cubs at The Hardball Times. He has some good factoids in there, but it's clear he doesn't follow the Cubs on a regular basis. I don't want to pick on Josh, because I think he does some great work, but...

Clearly, this is a front office that understands how important getting on base is and it isn't a surprise that what once was a very free-swinging Cubs team a few years ago has been completely transformed.


Mostly the same front office...different manager though. 

 Lou Piniella has done an excellent job of keeping his regulars fresh and keeping his bench sharp.

Geovany Soto and Henry Blanco disagree.

 The middle of the rotation is held down by Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly, who both could be front-line starters on many teams.

followed by...

A lot has been made of the poor pitching of fifth starter Jason Marquis this year, but really for a fifth starter he is one of the best in the league. He keeps the Cubs in games and gives the offense a chance, which is really all you should ask of your fifth starter. In a playoff series, this will all become moot anyway as he will either be relegated to the bullpen or be off the playoff roster.

 The 4.73 ERA of Jason Marquis versus the ace material of Ted Lilly and his 4.37 ERA?

And where he goes off the deep end...

 So, in the beginning of August, the Cubs management should start looking ahead to the postseason. 


Come on now, yeah the Cubs have the best record in the NL and all the outlying numbers say they're the best team, but they're five games up in the beginning of August. You don't take your foot off the gas pedal and risk getting passed up, no matter how bloody likely it may seem. 

I make it sound worse than it is though, cause there is plenty of useful info in there. 

- That article did lead me to this fantastic study of the fabled inside change-up. Our man Ted Lilly is either one courageous mother-effer or a bull-headed ox.

To summarize, the writer John Walsh took a look at Pitch f/x data for 2007 and came up with CQ or "Courage quotient" - how many times a pitcher throws an change-up inside to a hitter compared to the outside part of the plate. Ted Lilly is the only pitcher to throw more inside change-ups than outside out of any of the pitchers Walsh looked at. It sure worked for him last year, so you have to wonder is he still doing it in 2008 or did the advance scouting catch up to him instead?

- One of our wonderful readers does a thorough breakdown of the Cards, Brewers and Cubs schedules for the rest of the season. The quick summary is the Brewers have the easiest road to the playoffs with more home games and lesser opponents. 26 games at home, eight of those against the Nationals and Padres, with another three-game set at San Diego as well.

- And my favorite recent discovery, Chicago Tribune has been posting scouting reports and post game reports from Inside Edge. For the pitchers, there's a breakdown of the type of pitches, in what counts and what locations they favor. For the hitters, you've got spray charts and which pitches and what locations they do best at. Take Kosuke Fukudome for example and you'll learn that he's got a .315 batting average against fastballs and .474 versus changeups but is .238 and .233 versus the curve and the slider. For the post-game reports, there's a grade on a variety of different game situations.

Enjoy the off day and go Dodgers. 


1-0 in the first...

Chad Bradford from the O's according to Rotoworld.

Rob, I have working for hte Cards games. I thought the dodger's are supposed to be blacked out. What gives?

Anyway, I'm in parachat for the redbirds game if anyone is as bored as i am.

I hate off days.

yeah, I usually can't get the Angels or Dodgers on

don't know... 

"The 4.73 ERA of Jason Marquis versus the ace material of Ted Lilly and his 4.37 ERA?"

It's appropriate to mention that if you exclude Ted's first four starts, his ERA falls to 3.48.

As for the inside change up article, the only thing we understood was the cool graphics.

Otherwise, we approve of your Thursday notes. Carry on.

You are not a patient man.

Sorry if it felt kind of awkward to be alone in a chat room with you. Besides, you were unresponsive to repeated advances.

Must not have been the same Chad then.

From the espn article you linked:

"Yes, Davey Lopes was on the '84 Cubs for a short time, acquired at the Aug. 31 deadline, given 17 at-bats, then a surprise spot on the playoff roster at age 39. Lopes didn't follow the typical baseball player's aging pattern either, posting above-average adjusted OPS figures in each of his final five seasons before retiring at age 42."

I thought we determined that Sutcliffe was a trade deadline move in June? What gives?

I  believe, August 31st has always been the deadline for post-season rosters. Lopes was probably a waiver-wire trade. I believe that the non-waiver deadline was in June once upon a time.

Fwiw, Lopes was the PTBNL for Chuck Rainey and a PTBNL (turned out to be Daman Farmer) who was traded to the A's on July 15th. The Cubs got Lopes on Aug. 31st. 

And I'm far too lazy to look it up today...



Lopes in 1985 (at age 40):

OPS+ of 122 in 325 PAs
47 steals 4 CS

Then the next year he was hitting an unreasonable .299 .419 .490 when he got dealt to Houston for Frank DiPino who had a 3.57 ERA at the time. Lopes had an OPS of .621 the rest of the way for the Astros and DiPino balanced the trade by throwing up a 5.18 ERA for the Cubs.


Go dodgers!!!

We talking about the Dodgers or your evening last night?

perhaps both.

Very well played.

And Manny Ramirez is pretty good.

2 on, 1 out and down three with Ankiel up...


Broxton K's Ankiel and Shumaker for the Dodger win.


Manny sucks.

His average and OBP both went down today.

already been mentioned that the Red Sox won the claim for him which means everyone in the NL passed. Giles has the Rsox as one of the 10 teams he can veto a trade to and it's more likely the Rsox were blocking the Rays..possibly the Angels.

listing Boston as a no-trade destination is weird.

Not if you're a minority (I realize Giles isn't).

The way I read it, Boston was one of the teams NOT on his no-trade list.

that's how you read this?

Giles has a limited no-trade clause, and Boston is among the teams to which he cannot be traded without his permission. 

That's what the original version of the story said. They had it exactly opposite of what's up now. Maybe you read the earlier version.

Yeah, hadn't read it for a few hours.

I am surprised the Muts didnt put a claim on him with how thin their OF is. Also surprised BOS or NYY didnt put a claim on Bradford knowing those 3 were looking for relief help at the deadline.

is the Interception fest that will be tonight's Bears preseason game on natonal TV anywhere? NFL network replay or anything?

nfl network tomorrow

|Sure, Howry might strand some runners like he did Tuesday in the sixth inning, he then proceeds to give up the go-ahead runs of his own the next inning.| Had me spewing my drink - nice one.

'Front-Line' doesn't mean #1 starter... It means top 2 usually. Lilly may not be a playoff starter, which not a lot of other teams could say.

probably should have thrown a few F-bombs in that line...always good for a laugh.


I am.

Tim Redding was hit by a fly ball while standing in the outfield during batting practice on Thursday.

Redding collapsed to the ground, and stayed down for a minute before walking gingerly off the field. Apparently, he was almost hit by a line drive as he came through the infield. The team is calling it a contusion, and says he should be ready to make his scheduled start on Saturday.

Whose stats I can't find on, per ESPN 1k.

I think my uncle used to drink that back in the 60's & 70's.

Shlittler was Leo Durocher's favorite beer.

Yeah, nothing's better than an ice cold can of Schittler.

fwiw, it's post up on the trade.

Your Schlitting me?

Nice K and HR rates, but a year or two older than you would like to see in the FSL... well guess he turns 23 late this year, so about right.

I guess he will atleast be a top 15 prospect, if not top 10, when the pre-season rankings come out with those numbers.

off-day stuff

When Billy Beane and Jim Hendry made **the trade** the A's had a 49-41 record, five games back of LAA. Since then the A's have gone 4-19, lost the last nine in a row, and find themselves 17.5 back.

They got five starts from Sean Gallagher (1-1, 1-4 in games he's started) (4.26 ERA 27k 19bb) but Sean suffered a control meltdown in his last start, hitting two batters in row with the bases loaded to force in runs. He claimed that he felt his shoulder pop while pitching but an MRI came up negative. So far he's avoided the DL but some reports say the A's think he's a headcase, others say he's got real shoulder inflammation.

The A's gave Matt Murton (.186 .219 .229) a shot in left. And Eric Patterson (.188 .298 .271) a shot as leadoff man. Both flopped and are playing for AAA Sacramento right now.

Josh Donaldson was promoted to A+ Stockton where he's turned into the hitter everyone said he would (.416 .490 .697).

The Cubs were 54-36 .600 when they traded for Harden and Gaudin. Since then they've gone 15-10 .600 and picked up a game on both the Cardinals and Brewers.

Harden is (1-1, 2.10 ERA, 47k, 10bb) and the Cubs are 3-2 when he starts.

Gaudin is (3-1, 1.84 ERA, 18k, 3bb, 14.2 IP) and the Cubs are 7-6 when he appears.

Head case? Multiple reports have shown Gallagher had pitched through pain the last few times (coincidentally when his control went into the crapper).

The quote from the A's was that the injury was "in his head" more than in his shoulder...

then there's this up on now...

According to A's manager Bob Geren, the MRI showed that Gallagher's injury is minor, and the right-hander would not need to go to the DL.

"He said it bothered him playing catch, but it didn't bother him pitching," said Geren. "He wanted to get it checked out just to clear it in his own mind and make sure it wasn't anything serious."

The MRI was Gallagher's idea, not the team's.


That means he is a headcase?

Are you kidding me?

that points to a guy wanting to make sure he's not about to tank his career pitching through a small tear or something else an xray wouldn't see.

its not extraordinary stuff.

Mark Prior approves!

What reports? If you've got a link please post it. I haven't seen any reports of Gallagher pitching in pain.

Murt and E-Pat may be even worse (so far) than you say --

According to Yahoo -- for the A's, Matt is 3-for-30, and EPat is 0-for-10.

And Aram and Soto were 2 for 39 or something after the All-Star game.

I will say one thing, if there's an organization that understands the concept of sample size, it's the A's. They just have too many .800 OPS left fielders right now, though.

Great point -- ARam's track record is just like Murton's and EPat''s hard to tell them apart.

Great point, Murton and E-Pat both have better track records than Soto, so we should have demoted Soto.

Yep -- that E-Pat track record is very impressive. I'll always remember his performecne is the last sevral MLB All-Star games.

Excellent point.

Umm... does Soto have such a track record?

Because that was the point.

EPat had a better minor league career than Soto up until last year. Murton has been very successful in the minors. AND Murton has been successful in the majors. Both were better than Soto in the minors - i.e. both have better track records.

Don't get me wrong - Soto has performed excellently over the past two years. But his "track record" is pretty limited.

Limited, other than being the MVP at AAA, hitting .380 last September and taking over as starting catcher in the heat of a pennant race.

But, yeah, obviously, the A-Ram comparison was the more ridiculous one. Comparing Murton or E-Pat to Rammy is, ah......well, you fill in the blank.

Oh...and there's the whole "first NL rookie catcher to start an All-Star game" thing as well. How many All-Star votes have Murt and/or E-Pat gotten?

Didn't I already acknowledge the last two years?

As I already clearly said, Soto has been great over the last two years.

I still say that he has a limited track record, based on the fact that he never had an OPS higher than .750 before last season - in the minors, whereas Murton has had an OPS higher than .750 in three different MAJOR league seasons, and has has been well over .750 each year in the minors (before this year).

Eric Patterson also has had better minor league numbers than Soto.

Being that minor league success is a strong predictor of major league success, I would say that both Murton and EPat have pretty good track records.

But again... this isn't to bash Soto. It is just supporting the point that players have slumps. And that you can't make a judgment about a player based on limited sample sizes.

Fair enough.

Interesting on Gallagher, maybe Hendry Sold High.

Evidence is mounting that Murton and E-Patt aren't really worth anything.

To state the obvious:

Cubs could use a series win (or sweep) this weekend.

Brewers host the Nats, who are playing a double-header in Colorado today, then must travel late tonight to Milwaukee, then face CC and Sheets in the first 2 games.

Way too early to say anything about Gallagher's future. I'd tend to think he could develop into a front - line starter, given time.

I loved the Harden trade at the time because like Q-Ball notes above, I've always felt Murton and Patterson were crap. For position players, the evidence is overwhelming that if you cannot progress through each level of the system with big-time numbers, get to the bigs, and do something good there and STICK, then you will NEVER be a big league position player worth getting excited about. On their very best days, these two guys' upside was as a big league bench/utility player. Yawn.

Which is why I strongly believe that Felix Pie is a bust, too. Maybe he can be a big leaguer at some point. But he will NOT be a difference maker, and if not, then why get excited about him? Hope the Cubs begin looking at some other options for CF this offseason.

And loved the Reuschel outtake at the start of this post, The Whale was my favorite Cub from the 70s/early 80s era, by a longshot. Great athlete!

Are you saying if you don't stick in the major leagues, you'll never be a good major leaguer? That's sort of obvious, isn't it? Or, are you saying that the evidence is overwhelming that if you don't do something good when given your first chance, you'll never be a good Major Leaguer? If you're saying that, it's not true.

.170 .200 .302 First 53 at bats, Manny Ramirez
.204 .241 .204 First 54 at bats, Arod
.255 .298 .367 first 98 At bats Jim Thome
.205 .275 .299 Next 117 at bats Jim Thome
.178 .269 .305 First 118 at bats Reggie Jackson
.150 .227 .250 First 60 at bats Juan Gonzalez

Well, E-Pat is not those guys, and I don't argue that point. My point is that you're first 100 at bats in the majors don't have much to do with your long term success.

Some guys that maybe more resemble Patterson.

.253 .284 .341 - First season 273 at bats, Brian Roberts
.227 .308 .297 - Second season 128 at bats, Brian Roberts
.174 .240 .217 - First month, 25 PA's Ray Durham
.258 .300 .288 - First 132 at bats, Eric Young
.278 .304 .309 - First 97 at bats, Bill Doran
.261 .303 .272 - First 92 at bats, Ricky Henderson (6 SB, 3 CS)

Epat has had a grand total of 56 at bats, and has batted a not very good .196 .292 .286, (2 SB, 1 CS)

There's not a proponderance of evidence that shows anything with a ML's first tastes of the big leagues. For every Jim Thome there's a Kevin Maas.

I posted the link to that 84 Cubs article a few weeks ago. I should have gone to the excerpt - Exxxxx-ceeerrrrrrpt!!

I said some of the stuff was old! But I believe I came across it from your link...

the Reuschel section was the best

Submitted by Rob G. on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 12:57pm.

I believe, August 31st has always been the deadline for post-season rosters. Lopes was probably a waiver-wire trade. I believe that the non-waiver deadline was in June once upon a time. Fwiw, Lopes was the PTBNL for Chuck Rainey and a PTBNL (turned out to be Daman Farmer) who was traded to the A's on July 15th. The Cubs got Lopes on Aug. 31st. And I'm far too lazy to look it up today...


ROB G: The MLB "non-waiver" trade deadline was moved from June 15th to July 31st in 1986, but also prior to 1986 non-waiver interleague trades were only permitted during the MLB Winter Meetings in December, so when Rick Sutcliffe was traded to the Cubs in June 1984, he had to clear American League Waivers before he could be traded to the Cubs.

The only reason June 15th was important in 1984 was because the Cubs were free to acquire Sutcliffe once he cleared American League waivers, whereas Sutcliffe also would have had to clear National League waivers if the trade had been made after June 15th.

You may recall that Cubs Assistant GM John Cox forgot to get National League waivers on Joe Carter and Mel Hall prior to the trade, so Hall and Carter could not report to the Indians until after they had cleared National League waivers. (Back then teams would routinely place all of their players on league waivers at the start of each waiver period, and Cox just forgot to do it).

All it would have taken to nix the Sutcliffe deal was for one N. L. GM to put in a claim on Hall and/or Carter. The Cubs really had to sweat that one out. I remember Cubs GM Dallas Green was very upset with John Cox over that gaffe.

AZ Phil,

I know you weighed in on the previous thread about the low regard the Cubs Player Development Dept. is viewed within MLB. You also mentioned a couple of current Cubs players who got to the majors after NOT listening to these 'Instructors' (I know one is Theriot, I'd be curious who is the other).

My question - do you believe Pie is an everyday MLB player, and if so, will the only way that happens with the Cubs is to do what Theriot did?

Geovany Soto

There was also a lot of talk by the Cubs of making Zambrano a closer, and it's pretty obvious that he does what he wants when it comes to pitching mechanics and batting.

That 84 Cubs team had quite the bench of decent veteran hitters. At various times during the season, I remember Bill Buckner, Jay Johnstone, Richie Hebner and Lopes all off the bench. If I remember, 84 was one of Thad Bosley's ridiculous pinch hitting seasons, too, he was money all season long. A thinner, better version of Daryle Ward.

Finally got around to reading the CQ / Lilly article. Good stuff!

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  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 14 min 6 sec ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 21 min 20 sec ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 2 hours 49 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)

    Transmission 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • Phil, when will the Cubs start moving international players from EST to the Dominican for the start of the DSL season?

    diamondjaxx 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • It was a nice barehand pick-up but he was close enough to 1st where he could underhand the ball to Bryant. The trouble he's had has been with the overhand throw. He's definitely working on it, but I don't know if that play was a good example of progress made.

    K Dub 7 hours 17 min ago view
  • Phil, have you heard anything about the condition of Oscar De La Cruz's elbow? Has there been talk of a time table? Is he throwing?

    K Dub 13 hours 6 min ago view
  • i was distracted for most of the game and also missed the first few innings.

    but yeah, any time he makes a good fielding+throwing play on D it's worthy of praise and a trip to pizza hut for a personal pan pizza and $1 worth of songs on the juke box.

    seriously, i'll take it.

    crunch 15 hours 11 min ago view
  • BTW, CRUNCH, Lester made a nice bh pick-up and toss to Bryant. Did you catch it?

    He's been workin' on the D!

    The E-Man 17 hours 7 min ago view
  • j.urias didn't have a good debut...

    2.2ip 5h 4bb 3k...3 r/er...1 wp

    81 pitches. yow.

    crunch 19 hours 51 min ago view
  • Ach - I really only saw it quickly and thought that's where it it. No matter - he crushed it and the video board people did not have to repair the panels from what I saw!

    The E-Man 20 hours 3 min ago view
  • Totally agree with that re Soler, whereas Bryant seems to get the close call (so far) this year.

    Good to see Baez get a couple knocks today - been awhile

    Eric S 20 hours 10 min ago view