Game #66 Preview: A's (33-34) @ Cubs (29-36)

Though it sounds like Jim Hendry truly couldn't care less, it's the first day of the Ari Kaplan Era at Wrigley Field. As for the game on the field, mlb.com reports that Randy Wells is looking at today's start against the A's as hitting the reset button on his thus far rocky season.

The irony, of course, is that Wells's employers might not be able to overlook the past quite as easily: since the beginning of May, the righty is 0-5, 6.47. His first-inning troubles have been especially ugly. In 13 Wells starts this year, opponents are hitting .357 against him in the opening inning and Wells's first-inning ERA is a Grabow-esque 11.25. (Stats from Baseball-Reference.com.)

Moreover, all of this is happening while Tom Gorzelanny collects dust in the bullpen—since his last start 22 days ago, Gorzelanny has pitched just three times (1 2/3 IP) and thrown a total of 52 pitches.

The lineups have been posted. You'll note that with the A's starting another lefty, the Cubs' "everyday" right fielder will be sitting for a second consecutive day.

A's vs. Randy Wells (3-5, 5.15; first appearance vs. A's):
Davis 8, Jackson 7, Barton 3, Suzuki 2, Kouzmanoff 5, Cust 9, Ellis 4, Pennington 6, Braden 1

Cubs lineup vs. Dallas Braden (4-6, 3.95; first appearance vs. Cubs)
Theriot 4, Baker 5, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Nady 9, Soriano 7, Soto 2, Castro 6, Wells 1

From the FWIW Department, Marlon Byrd is the only Cub to have faced Braden and has gone 6/16 against him, including 3 doubles. As for Braden, he's 0-4, 4.75 in six starts since his perfect game against Tampa Bay.

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Comments

That Hendry comment from that Herald link is bothersome. "Look at Carlos Silva's stats from last year, who needs stats?"

Far too long overdue to get a shift in philosophy in the Cubs Front Office.

"Chuck Wasserstrom and (now) Ari Kaplan can break down all the numbers they like, but those numbers won't mean much if the general manager isn't paying attention to them."

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/3...

I'm glad the media is starting to paint the Hendry could be in trouble narrative.

Guy has gotten a pass for some questionable work for too long now.

you have a bad habit of not quoting what people are saying, but instead reformatting their quote to your view and slapping quotes around it.

cubs have had a stats guy...it's where those binders full of crap on the back of the dugout come from.

they just have a former wiz-kid "name brand" guy now.

hendry's quote was pointing out if he followed stats blindly we wouldn't have a guy like carlos silva doing what he's doing now. that's not too shocking or outrageous.

btw, a lot of people are flipping out over the prospect of a guy who's pretty much nothing more than an assistant to chuck w.

it's like expecting the team to turn a corner because they hired a new bench coach.

Its a shift in philosophy.

Is it turning around 2010? Heck no

Does it signal that we might be looking for a competent GM to helm this ship? Heck yes, and we as fans should be thrilled.

I'd rather this thing be run right, and be set up for a 10 year run. Especially if the Hendry plan is to trade for 30+ name vets to save his own hide.

how is an assistant to a guy who's been there 20 years a shift in philosophy?

it's a too-common myth that the cubs don't "do" stats, look at stats, or have a guy who assembles them.

The most important thing, isn't who was hired or what his reporting relationship is, it is who did the hiring. The farther down the totem pole he is (and crunch seems to be suggesting that he's pretty far down), the worse it makes Hendry's job security seem. It implies that Hendry can't be trusted to hire a need, and that his assistant can't either.

Bruce Miles is characterizing the hire as more than just a functionary/assistant to Wasserstrom:

"Cubs owner Tom Ricketts put his first stamp on the baseball department with the hiring of Ari Kaplan as manager of statistical analysis."

From my own, limited, business contact with the Cubs front office, I know that the line between the baseball people and the business people is a significant one--more like a wall than a line. If Ricketts really had a hand in this hire and has chosen to impact the baseball part of his business, as Miles writes, I think this is a newsworthy development.

I believe I also read Kaplan reports to Hendry -- so this assistant-to-Chuck-W stuff is dead wrong.

the silva trade was a bag shit for a bag of shit trade. thinking hendry knew he had a diamond in the rough is revisionist history .

hendry and crew didn't know what they had...as late as a few weeks ago hendry said when he snagged silva he didn't know if he'd be a innings eater out of the pen or a starter.

there's nothing in the stats that point to what he's doing this year and the "inevitable collapse" of his "luck" is moving into the 1/2 way point of the season.

it's not good stuff in this era for a GM or manager to even look like they're dismissing stats even if they're not. scouting + stats are used by every team, but a lot of people seem to have the idea that only a handful of team have clued-in to the stats thing and it's all happened recently.

You're confusing player evalutation with in-game management. Stats for in-game management have been used throughout the game since at least the 80's, and used by some teams probably from the 50's.

Using advanced statistics for player evaluation and valuation is just now fully taking hold in the major leagues, primarily due to Moneyball and the success of the Red Sox.

"Using advanced statistics for player evaluation and valuation is just now fully taking hold in the major leagues, primarily due to Moneyball and the success of the Red Sox"

that book has a lot of dramatically blown up mistruths.

mlb teams have actually been developing and using priority stats for a long time. a lot of the work was subcontracted out to Stats Inc. or an in-house manager of stats much like IBM takes contracts to do "custom solutions" for customers.

when we got beane we got a GM in the fold of the game who didn't suddenly realize something new...we got a guy who championed and brought closer to the top advanced stats. there's more respect for advanced stats, but very few teams were clueless, not using them, or ignoring them.

those books of stats on are not just raw data of baseball-card stats left for a bench coach/manager to do quick evaluations in-game. there's notes/words/links on how the data can be best used along with those stats.

chuck w. isn't just making a binder full of stuff printed off from the internet the past 20 years. he's working with the data and analyzing trends...

You're still talking about in-game management statitics, not player evaluation.

The numbers that show college hitters have been safer bets than HS pitchers in the draft go back to the start of the draft. Why has this just been reflected in the draft over the last six years?

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

you're talking about stat analysis of people using metal bats vs. 95%+ players who will never see a professional organized game on any level?

you can't use that stuff. hell, the wood bat leagues barely give a fair snapshot vs. how much weight it carries come draft time.

and the HS vs. college drafting thing is kinda flakey, imo.

Dramatically blown up mistruths indeed -- what Moneyball was about, purely and simply, was using statistics to ferret out an undervalued factor (in this case, the value of OBP) and exploiting it. Beane was NOT a pioneer in the use of statistics, advanced or otherwise.

moneyball was intentionally dramatized...some of this was to make beane look revolutionary rather than evolutionary.

some people just take too much from the book's dramatizing of events and concepts.

beane was smart enough to pay attention, but more importantly he was smart enough to hire paul d, imo.

"the silva trade was a bag shit for a bag of shit trade. thinking hendry knew he had a diamond in the rough is revisionist history"

Exactly. If Hendry is implying that his scouting acumen caused him to spot something special in Carlos Silva, I'd call bullshit. Scouts and statisticians should be equally surprised by what Carlos has done this year.

i think hendry is trying to point out stats arent the end-all-be-all and guys like silva are doing things numbers say they probably won't do.

the jim edmonds scrap-heap pickup was a nice one, too.

just like scouting can "lie" numbers aren't absolute, either. it's not a war, it's a partnership.

i think hendry is trying to point out stats aren't the end-all-be-all and guys like silva are doing things numbers say they probably won't do.

That's fine. But the point is there's also no way any scout would suggest Silva would do this either. If Hendry implies that, it's inaccurate.

the jim edmonds scrap-heap pickup was a nice one, too.

Joe Borowski. Ryan Dempster. Taking a flyer on cheap guys is smart management, but it's just luck. Didn't work for Wade Miller or Chad Fox.

just like scouting can "lie" numbers aren't absolute, either. it's not a war, it's a partnership.

Agreed.

I hope Hendry doesn't pull a Dusty Baker and rebel against all things stats.

Trying to dump Fukudome because he takes too many pitches and such.

Are you saying Carlos Silva's 2010 results don't matter? That statistically sound players are more important than actual results?

wooha.

stats vs. scouting vs. whatever vs. king kong vs. ponies vs. milton bradley

I'm not sure if this was talked about, but why did the crowd give Soriano an ovation for laying down a sacrifice bunt last night? It's Soriano's job to drive in runs, not Soto's or Castro's. That was as selfish a play as Soriano has made in a Cubs uniform, and I have no idea why he received an ovation. The only way that's a good play is if Soriano beats it out, which he didn't.

well to be fair it was vs. an AL team with an incomplete scouting report on 2010. no one in the NL would expect soriano to try to bunt for a hit and no one on the As was expecting it. it failed miserably. a case could be made for it being stupid or a calculated gamble.

the Z-hitting in RBI situations the past 2 games has irked me a bit more.

Short answer: Fans like "Hustle."

Long answer: Soriano was trying to bunt for a hit and would have had it if he could get the ball just a little farther down the third base line. The pitcher had to a make a fairly difficult play to get him, barehanding and spinning to throw to first. It's also pretty much the opposite of watching a high fly ball as if it was homerun and then getting a double on what should've been a triple, so I think Soriano's history has to be taken into account when trying to understand the fan reaction. It turned out all right, but I wouldn't want to see Soriano try it more than two or maybe three times a year.

Because the fans are tired of seeing Soriano swing for the fences, regardless of game situation.

Can you go over again why it's not Soto's job to drive in runs? I'm a little hazy on that. Is he supposed to be bunting and stealing bases or something?

wells needs to quit the boozin'.

he's patrick kane without the talent and championship.

I don't what he exactly does, but if it's putting the binders with splits and batter vs. pitcher matchups together, probably get someone here from TCR to do that for $15 p/hour

He's probably the genius that tipped Hendry to sign Aaron Miles because he was good in day games.

All in all, if he's been there for 20 years, he's probably not helping much or not being listened to and sounds like his idea of stats is just basic splits and stuff.

As for Kaplan, sounds like a database administrator more than anything, but maybe he'll give the Cubs a fresher take on stuff.

None of it matters with Hendry as GM, who will always defer to his scouts cause that's his background. For the most part it's served him well to be honest, Bradley and Fukudome being the major exceptions.

it's life-size!

It's out front of Wrigley next to the Green and Yellow "BP"-Ernie Banks statue.

fishing?

oookay.

theriot 's wife said he lives in that boat and he goes everywhere in it. She said he rarely walks.

~little rimshot ~

Ugh. (I had to read it TWICE to get it, well-played, rimshot and all.)

Can you think of any other sport he does well?

[and no, i don't think fishing is a sport]

I dunno if this is a shift in philosophy or anything, but I do know that, in my job, if some young gun got hired under me, a guy who reports to me, no less, who sort of is well known for something I'm known to be indifferent to, I'd be stupid not to notice. If I was Hendry I'd have a hard time not looking at this as kind of a statement being made by his boss. I don't think it matters much whether this new guy is a stats guy or what the hell he does. The fact the owner hand picked a guy Hendry should be responsible for hiring is a pretty strong statement.

very much agree.

I agree so much I said the same thing in post #11!

and I said the same thing yesterday...

apologies for not giving credit to you for my fantastic insight :)

Your comment, however, was off-topic, and mine was more about the context of the hire.

Ha, I probably just skipped past your post assuming you were in a spat with Mike C!

IN THE LAAAAAAND OF THE FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee

HELP! HELP! SITE-OP ABUSE! HELP!

hehe...

censorship is okay as long as I'm doing it.

yeah, it's all good.

i returned to "fix" the formatting on that at the same time you were editing it i think.

also, jeff baker wtf?

leadoff double...and so it begins

i had already re-edited my comment to not break formatting =p

byrd with his 100th diving catch on the season...

according to MLB gameday

Soriano loves to face sliders, hates fastballs.

That's gameday humor. No one actually believes it.

i'm at work let me know when they litter the field with the floating keebler elf bobblehead.

Cubs approach Red Sox, don't offer to pay much of his salary. Red Sox insulted, challenge Cubs to pistols at dawn.

http://www.csnne.com/06/16/10/-Daniel-Nava/v1...

They're missing out on a lot of nickname fun.

this Wuertz guy looks familiar...

-edit- and pitching familiarly

Ha..I was gonna make a similar comment before your edit. Great bodies think alike.

WOO!!!

great game!

It's sad when you're watching and absolutely expecting a loss. Fukkakedome with the winner!

BTW:

"Randy Wells is looking at today's start against the A's as hitting the reset button on his thus far rocky season.
The irony, of course, is that Wells's employers might not be able to overlook the past quite as easily"

What exactly is ironic about this? Just curious.

Ironic that the player is able to say, "What's done is done; time to start over," whereas management, if it's doing its job, couldn't possibly ignore everything that has come before.

Ironic would be Wells saying that and then getting released. Or maybe that we just be unfortunate.

It's like rain on your wedding day.

heh.

That is awesome.

almost as awesome as Immortal Dog

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1937499

Hilarious, and true.

Fukudome's hitting coach security blanket seems to be working again. They need to flag him as a terrorist so he can't leave the country again.

I wonder if the Cubs can package Fukudome for $1-$2M each, but if you want him to work, you need to add his hitting coach at $12M a year.

It sure seems clear to me that his hitting coach needs to be hired as a full timer for the Cubs.

Can he speak English? Everyone needs to get in on that action.

Oh they would, but so far he can't get a visa that allows him to work for more that a couple of weeks twice a year in the United States.

Do you have any actual info on this? Seems to me the reason he probably doesn't have a VISA that allows him to be in the US for more than a couple of weeks is because he is not a full-time employee of a US company, like Fukudome himself is. But if he were hired as a full-time coach, as Jace was suggesting, surely he could apply for the same type of work VISA.

It's not that easy. If you had a company, you could immigrate anyone by claiming they were "full time employees" that way. You've got to show that you have a skill that can't be filled by an American, and with the high unemployment rate we have now you can bet that there is pressure to not award a lot of long-term work visas.

Not saying it is easy. Just saying that so far I have seen NO evidence that the Cubs have tried and have not been successful. And I can understand that. The Cubs have a team hitting coach, they aren't going to hire another one just for one guy. Would love to see any link to issues about the Cubs trying and failing to get him another VISA.

Fukudome could hire him as an employee, no?

Hayden Simpson signed, no dollar amount mentioned yet

Slot should be right about $1.5M.

Went for about $500K under slot.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=...

cheapskates.

someone's lying though.

It's believed that the Cubs and Simpson worked out a deal shortly before the team made the pick official.

Simpson said he didn't know he was picked until he saw his name on the draft tracker, so who did they work the deal out with and why so long to announce it?

The Cubs may have settled on 'parameters' for a deal with several players before the draft, or he may not have known they were talking about taking him in the first round. $1 million for a middle second round pick, would have seemed like a nice chunk of change, and then when he got drafted in the first round he wanted some time to re-evaluate his position.

colvin leading off

baker
byrd
lee
soto
sori
castro
theriot

~2nd edit~

I like it

You may like it, but Lou has just condemned us all to three years of crunch complaining about wasting his power batting leadoff ; )

at least colvin & soto are playing.

/taking small victories where I can

soriano vs. colvin isn't even comparable.

one is a power hitter...one is a hitter with a little power.

i still don't know, even in retrospect, how anyone could be even slightly happy with soriano leading off when he was hitting for that much power.

even the people who bought into the bull that he can only hit in certain parts of the lineup or he turns to crap can't be all up on that as an excuse anymore.

i still don't know, even in retrospect, how anyone could be even slightly happy with soriano leading off when he was hitting for that much power.

you should have tried reading the hundreds of attempts explaining it to you...and the Cubs record and runs scored in 2007 and 2008.

~cue broken record~

i have read...and it still makes no sense.

any time you have a power hitter with more or as much power hits as RBIs you should re-evaluate a player's role.

high K rate, low walk rate, speed declining (it was just silly when he was hobbled and still leading off), 30+hr power, 30+ double power

yeah, let's get that guy his 70+ rbis and pay him 15m to do it.

what you guys like out of leadoff hitters don't jive with soriano's use over a couple years.

i've heard the "he can't hit there because he can only hit in 1 and 6 slots or whatever" excuses which are laaaame as hell...

Maybe you should write it on a post-it note and put on your monitor, then you will understand...

i understand.

i just think you people who think otherwise are retarded.

:)

Soriano was the answer to everyone bitching and complaining that Juan Pierre was a shitty lead-off hitter. So the Cubs went out and got the player who is different in every way from Juan Pierre.

I was one of the few who liked Pierre and thought he did a good job as a lead off hitter, i didn't like his noodle arm in the OF, but hey he still did his job as a hitter.

Did you like the .317 OBP?

it was .330 ob%.

204 hits...32 doubles...13 triples...58sb (20cs)

the guy was in scoring position (2nd/3rd) around 100 times that season waiting for someone to knock him in.

he played every game.

Yes, he had a .330 OBP by the end of the season. Fine, but season stats can cloud major in-season variation. He was absolutely dismal early in the year and contributed greatly to the season going south. Through June 9th he was at: .231/.277/.295/.572 - and getting the most at-bats on the team. It was brutal. At that point the Cubs were 12 games under .500, and 12 games out of first already.

From then on out he put up a nice line of: .326/.359/.440/.799 , which brought his season stats up. But at that point, it didn't matter.

People here have been on the Cubs to bench or get rid of Theriot, and to give you an idea of how bad Pierre was, Theriot's OPS was nearly 40 points higher on June 9th than Pierre's was in 2006. And at least Theriot has been moved down to 8th in the order a few times and sat a few games. Pierre started and led off basically every game.

If Colvin had the at bats to qualify, he'd be second in the league in slugging and his career slugging % is higher than Soriano's (as well as Soriano's with the Cubs).

if ryan theriot could do what he did the first year we'd never hear many complaints.

Yeah, and Albert Pujols first year was a fluke as well!

Man, could you look any more stupid?

no Nady vs. a lefty, surprise, surprise...

-edit- Wasserstrom strikes again

lefties with a 1.162 OPS off Kazmir this year...in 57 PA's. Righties with a .713 OPS against.

.751 (RHB) vs. .647(LHB) for his career though.

maybe Whatshisface can give Lou and the staff a quick lesson on sample sizes.

The only thing wrong with this line up is Theriot is playing.

Maybe we are showcasing him.

Free Mike Fontenot

Nothing can stop The Fountenaught... except a senile manager and a tough lefty.

Shouldn't Theriot be out fishing somewhere? His bobblehead told me that's his only talent...that and charming the ladies with his Gambit-accent. I wonder if he can also turn anything into a grenade?

gambit?

nerd

;-)

He was my favorite X-Man as a kid. What can I say?

Infield single by Soto?

Did someone collide with someone?

Third basemen dove in the hole and got it, but threw 3 bouncer from his knees that Soto barely beat.

on another note, if Colvin is leading off and starting because Kazmir has struggled versus lefties this year, shouldn't Tracy and Fontenot be starting as well?

you and your logic.

Baker playing a phenomenal third base today and Howry doing what he does best.

I get the Howry hate, but he's been decent since they re-signed him.

I don't hate him, I just like making fun of him. He reminds me of Barry Pepper, so he's cool.

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