A Quick Tour of the Cubs Offense....
Alfonso Soriano - still projected to hit 41 HR's on the season despite a .657 OPS in May. Also on pace to strikeout 184 times which would be a career high. Since his public flogging at the hands of the WWE, a .376 OPS with 19 K's and 0 HR's (hat tip to reader Romero for keeping an eye on that).
Ryan Theriot - .340 BA and .993 OPS at home (5 HR's will help that), .241 BA and .667 OPS on the road. Little Ryan Theriot gets homesick. .903 OPS with runners in scoring position has been a bright spot.
Milton Bradley - ever so slowly warming up, he's finally above Mendoza line and his OPS is at .740 (just 40 pts behind Bobby Abreu for those keeping track at home). One of the few Cubs that could be considered to be doing well with runners in scoring position with 1.018 OPS although just a .269 BA in that situation, meaning he's doing more of keeping the rally going than bringing the runners home. Dusty Baker disapproves of this strategy.
Derrek Lee - the death of this team, completely useless player that the Cubs should just drop... he just happened to have the best OPS for any of the regular Cubs in the month of May (.955).
Aramis Ramirez - Get well soon. Real soon.
Aaron Miles - The exact opposite....
Geovany Soto - GeoWalton as someone so affectionately labeled him in Parachat has all of 5 extra base hits this year. He had 29 at this point last year and 60 on the year.
Mike Fontenot - Godenot or FonteNOT depending on your mood and his level of play is showing the power while playing out of position. The .497 OPS with RISP though is...um...not good.
Kosukue Fukudome - came back to Earth a bit in May with an .830 OPS but an incredible .406 BA and 1.208 OPS with runners in scoring position should keep him near the top or middle of the order for awhile.
Reed Johnson - He's still doing his job versus lefties with a .955 OPS against lefties (most of the damage coming the last week). Just hope Lou resists the urge to get him more at-bats versus righties.
Bobby Scales - your 15 minutes are just about up.
Micah Hoffpauir - He's doing pretty much what I expected from, which is a decent lefty power bat off the bench or as a fill-in.
Jake Fox - Free Jake Fox! Free Jake Fox!
If there's a silver lining to the first two months, either most of the Cubs forgot how to hit or they've just been unlucky. The numbers suggest unlucky.
(BABIP numbers via Fangraphs)
Not to get into too big of a batted ball type tangent, but Bradley and Fontenot are the two Cubs that probably expect major improvements in their numbers. We should also expect some improvements from Soto, Lee and Soriano with Fukudome and Ramirez giving back a little. For Bradley, he went from an absurdly high .390ish BABIP last year to an absurdly low .244 so far this year. Hopefully he can stay on the field long enough for that to correct itself.
I also want to mention Geovany Soto and his THT page. He's hitting line drives and ground balls at about the same rate, but his homerun per flyball rate is down to 2.7% from 13.4%. Some have suspected he got fat again, some think his shoulder is bothering him or maybe it's just the sophomore slump, but it does appear as the weather warms and the ball starts carrying a little more, hopefully the home run rate will follow.
They've already clinched a minimum winning percentage of .607 for the month, and that's only if they lose the last 2 games. If they win both, they can push that up to .679. So much for "stumbling" in May. When you're winning over 60% of your games, you're doing baseball well.
If the best walk-off hit possible is a solo home run in a zero-zero game--Eloy did it tonight!
(But maybe it's a grand slam when your team is down three? He didn't do that.)
Number eight for Jimenez. His team is 31-17. Yesterday they scored 17 runs against Lansing. Two weeks ago it was 15 runs against the same team. This is a nice team, South Bend. The Cubs must have had a good draft last year.
Tonight the pitchers were Sands, Brooks and Effross.
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.