We had some laughs, some good times last year, you milked $7.5 million out of Hendry despite a rather pedestrian major league career because you throw from the left side. Let's just part ways now before anyone gets hurt any further.
20/20 Hindsight: Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the Braves had *Heyward, *McLouth, Pinch-Hitter for Medlen, #Cabrera, Prado, #C. Jones, *McCann coming up. Lou went with Sean Marshall in the 7th, probably with the hope to go with Grabow in the 8th and Marmol in the 9th. Marshall gets Heyward and McLouth swinging and pinch-hitter Matt Diaz to pop up. It took him 13 pitches to get through the inning. He's now thrown 3.2 IP of perfect baseball in 2010, facing 11 hitters and striking out 7 of them. He's clearly pitching well to start the season, dare I say brillianty. I mention in Parachat that Lou should just stick with Marshall (his spot wasn't due until 9th in the top of the 8th) but he would never do it and would probably go to Grabow or possibly Caridad and Grabow. This is the "safe" thing to do as far as managers are concerned. Use your relievers in defined roles and one inning at a time regardless of the situation because that is what is expected and you have to answer less questions in the post-game press conference if things go wrong because you followed the "book".
Lou goes to Grabow to turn Melky around. Melky is about 50 pts worse OPS-wise from the right side in his career, so good move to have a lefty, although he would have had the same advantage with Marshall. Cabrera grounds out to Theriot. Next up is Prado who has a 28 pt OPS advantage when facing lefties, although his iso slugging is even better - 186 to 115. Lou could have also left Marshall in to face Melky, then go to Caridad to face Prado and then bring in Grabow to face Jones. Prado doubles and next up is Chipper. Chipper is worse by about 60 pts OPS-wise from the right side although still north of .900 for his career. Grabow falls behind 3-1 and then leaves a change-up up in his eyes with first base open and the lefty Brian McCann up next (759 OPS vs. lefties compared to 896 vs righties). Game over.
The Good: Ryan Dempster goes 1-2 with the bat including making contact with the bases loaded that led to a Troy Glaus error to score the first run of the game.He strikes out 9 from the mound in 6 innings, including retiring the last 11. Soriano goes 2/4 including a double off a Jurrjens slider in his first at-bat. According to MLB Gameday, Soriano sees 12 fastballs, 5 change-ups, 4 sliders and 1 curveball.
Ex-Cub Watch: Rich Harden's line: 3.2 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 5 BB, 8 K
Milton Bradley: 1/3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 HR
Ronny Cedeno: 2/5 with the walk-off RBI single
Next up: Tommy Hanson vs. Randy Wells tomorrow night as Cubs try to avoid the sweep. I expect to see Jeff Baker and possibly Tyler Colvin in the lineup.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
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.