Just a Few Things to Say
- I like Lou. I think he does far more good than harm as baseball managers go. Yeah, he'll make some questionable decisions as all managers do, but he's been more right than wrong in his 2 years with the Cubs. Of course, no one ever notices the right decisions, they're just taken for granted as the way it's suppose to happen.
That all being said, STOP USING BOB "HOME RUN" HOWRY. Just knock it the fuck off. You're not turning him around, you're not gonna get him going before the playoffs. He's a lost cause and needs to be banished Scott Eyre style.
Lou says he's trying to figure out the middle innings and seems to not trust the youngsters. But how the hell do you trust a guy with a 5.43 ERA?
- On that note, Cubs are already in talks with Lou for a contract extension. He's got one more guaranteed year and a team option for 2010, although it sounds like they'll wait for the playoffs to end to continue discussions.
And if you're hoping for Jim Hendry to get axed with new ownership, well it's still possible, but highly unlikely. He's got an option for 2009 he can exercise and is guaranteed that year if the team is sold. And considering he's a major player in assembling the best Cubs team most of us have ever seen, I doubt new ownership will even consider firing him, especially considering how much debt the new ownership will already be taking on.
- Kind of a weird vibe from the crowd at last night's game, wasn't there? For a pretty big series, they seemed pretty quiet. They did seem to muster the energy to boo Fukudome and Howry though, which is borderline absurd. Despite my earlier rant and risking a lively discussion on the merits of booing, I'm not sure getting on Howry and Fukudome at this point of the season is really appropriate, especially when the Cubs are so close to clinching. This isn't Philly.
- Assuming the Cubs clinch during this homestand, how should they treat the final week of the season? They'll be playing against two potential playoff teams and can have a hand in knocking them out, but will surely want to rest some players. You can't sit your regulars completely and risk throwing off their timing, but two to three days off over that last week would be nice.
The bigger question is what to do with the rotation though. I'm not sure you want to let potential playoff opponents see the starting pitchers too much. It's less of an issue with the Brewers who have seen the Cubs pitchers enough already, but we only play the Mets twice a year and don't see them during spring training. Would it be wise to give Marshall, Guzman and Randy Wells some of the starts in that series? The Cubs might also be playing for homefield advantage, so Lou might wait until that is secured before going to the scrubs. And I'm not sure how much rest the regulars would get, because on the flip-side you'd like them to get some AB's in against some pitchers they may see in the playoffs.
- As for the playoff rotation, Lou hinted that it would be Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster and either Marquis or Harden earlier this week. I assume that's him just being funny or that Rich Harden isn't quite healthy. Marquis has been pretty decent of late, but that makes no fucking sense. Even when Harden's not "healthy", he still gives up only one run in six innings. And with the way the first round is currently set up, the Game 2 starter would be able to go in Game 5 on four days rest. I know Lilly's been quite spectacular his last two starts, but I'd rather see Dempster or Harden as options for that game.
Also, how much rest should Z and Harden get down the stretch. Both seem to come back quite strong with long layoffs, so should either of them even pitch the last week? It's tempting to have Harden's last game of the regular season be Thursday and Z's final game be Friday and shut them down until the playoffs.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.