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Game 75 Recap: Cubs 1, Mets 0

Quick Work

Box Score Play Log Game Graphs


W - Hendricks (3-4),  MLB's average length of game, magic.

L - Niese (3-8), that Home Run Big Apple thingy, losing your game summary right before publishing.

S - Motte (3)


Things to Take from This Game

1.  Hendricks with a good outing.

Kyle Hendricks pitched 6 efficient, scoreless innings, giving up just one walk and three hits. He struck out six with lots of movement - if not always command - on all of his pitches. Other than a one-out double that was quickly pitched around, he wasn't in trouble at all. The defense also was flawless, save a bad route and awkward catch by Fowler.

2. The offense continues to struggle.

There isn't much to say about the offensive performance.  Castro walked twice.  Bryant had a hit and a walk. The scoring came from a no-doubt double by Szczur that scored Bryant. We loaded the bases, once, so there was that...


3. The bullpen delivered.

Rondon, Strop, and Motte each had convincing scoreless innings to preserve a 1-0 lead.


The 2 hour and 22 minute, happy details,  below

Game 70 Recap: Cubs 2, Dodgers 5

After further review... still lost.

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs


W- Who knows? Eh, Howell I guess (3-1), who cares, let's go home.

L- The very concept of the "Win" also, Hendricks (2-4).

S - Jansen (10)

Things to Take from This Game

1. Starters Struggle 

Hendricks was off his game, with the big damage coming on a Justin Turner 3-run Home Run. Bolsinger looked tougher, getting several Cubs to swing over a diving "spike" curveball, but he couldn't make it through five. With Bolsinger getting Rizzo to GIDP in the fifth and picking up some help from Howell to get out of the inning, the Dodgers shut down the only good shot at a big inning.

2. Denorfia gets TOOTBLANed

With two outs in the ninth and down by three, Denorfia got Thrown Out On the Bases Like a Nincompoop, running into the final out of the game trying to get to second on a liner off the left field wall.  Van Slyke got a perfect bounce off the wall to him, played it perfectly, threw perfectly, and still just barely beat Denorfia. And it's not as if we likely were to come back against Jansen down by three with two outs in the ninth and a runner on second.  But still, oof.

3. Grimm Looked Good

Justin Grimm struck out the first four batters he faced, in dominating fashion, before losing some steam in his second inning. It still was an encouraging performance.


The I-could-have-been-paying-more-attention-to-the-season-premier-of-Big-Brother-17,-but-instead-I-recapped-this?!?! details, below


Game 69 Recap: Cubs 1, Dodgers 0 (10 innings)

Nine Over

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs


W- Motte (5-1), fly balls to center, getting paid by the word, pitchers duels

L- Peralta (1-1) going to bed early, offense

Things to Take from This Game

 1. The Cubs "Know How to Win"?

For those who put weight in such things, this sure looked like a knowing-how-to-win/will-to-win/clutch/piss-vinegar-and-gumption sort of game.  An error-free pitcher's duel against a big-time opposing pitcher and team, won in extra innings by the supporting cast after yeoman's work from the bullpen. There's precious little to complain about with this victory.


2. Hammel outduels Greinke

Hammel looked in command of this game from the first pitch, and by both the line and the eyeball was superior to Greinke, who also was dealing.


3. Waiting to go to Jansen

0 to 0 after nine, Mattingly went to the just-off-the-DL Joel Peralta, not the unhittable Kenley Jansen.  Jansen only surfaced to clean up a bases loaded, no outs mess, and he nearly did.  If Gonzalez doesn't bobble a potential double-play ball at first, he might have made it out of the inning untouched.


4. Fan catch of the year.



The gory details, below


Game 1 Recap: Cubs 5, Braves 16

I Returned to TCR to recap THIS?!?!


Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs, Photos


W-  Lowe (1-0), calls for instant replay, people making their team or career debuts

L- Zambrano (0-1), dignity. 3 hours of my life


Things to Take from This Game

1.  Not So Good: Zambrano, Samardzija

Zambrano got knicked by a series of softly hit singles before giving up a 3-run home run to Neo Heyward.  Some throwing mistakes and a McCann homer in the second chased Zambrano from the game, having given up 8.   The fourth reliever in, Samardzija, walked three in a one third of an inning.

2.  Good:  Byrd, Marshall, Russell.

Byrd gave the Cubs a very early and short-lived lead with a 3-run homer in the first.  Marshall and Russell gave the Cubs a chance to get back in the game with a Ramirez 2-run Homer, as they pitched 4 and 2/3 of scoreless relief, before turning things over to Samardzija, Berg, and Grabow

3.  McLouth Lies like a Dog.  And Fakes It.  And Just Isn't Very Nice. 

Down 8-5 with Ramirez on 1st, Byrd smoked a liner to left center.  McLouth made a diving catch with the ball popping out on contact with the ground.  But McLouth faked the catch, threw it in, and the umpires, missing the call, declared Ramirez doubled off of first.   We went from having the tying run at the plate with no outs, to no on and two outs.  After Soriano predictbly ended the inning; it was all downhill from there.


The gory details, below



Soriano by the Pitches

Hoping to understand Alfonso Soriano's hot and cold streaks this year, I turned to the incomparable Fan Graphs to break down his present and historical success against different pitches.  The results suggest that Soriano is losing the skill that made him one of the more feared hitters in the game, but that he might have found a method to compensate for this loss.  Below is a chart showing the percentage of fastballs Soriano has seen each year since 2005, with 2009 broken down per month. It also shows his ranking among hitters seeing the fewest fastballs, his "runs above average"  number on fastballs, (wFastball) and how high he ranks among all hitters, and his overall OPS. (As in, not specific to fastballs)  The most important thing to notice here is his wFB rank.


Date  Fastball%  FB% Rank  wFastball wFB Rank  OPS
2005  47.9  147/147  27.6  15/147  .821


 54.1  150/159  23.7  25/159  .911
2007  54  150/161  23.3  27/161  .897
2008  53.2  134/145  17.9  38/145  .876
April 2009  45.9  196/197  3.3  55/197  .965

May 2009

 43  185/185  3.6  60/185  .657
June 2009  49.1  180/184  2.4  72/184  .585
July 2009  44.8  190/190  .7  112/190  .992
August 2009  36.7  179/190  -.6  156/190  .220


You probably have noticed a couple of striking trends going on here.  First, Soriano has progressively moved from being one of the most effective hitters in baseball against the fastball to being quite pedestrian. Second, pitchers have not noticed and adapted to this change:  They contiue to avoid throwing fastballs to Soriano as if he were the same hitter he was in 2005.  He's not.

So how do we explain Soriano's April and July, when he hit like the hitter for whom the Cubs offered that premium contract?

Finding  that answer requres looking at Soriano's results swinging at sliders.

Snark Weak

Snark is the blogging equivalent of pennies:  easy to throw around, but no matter how much is thrown, it doesn't buy much.  Using too much of it in one place is a real jerk move, but when one just don't have any currency more valuable to offer, for a short while you can make due with each.

That weak analogy aside, let's snark up the Cubs sports media.  From the headlines at the Sun-Times, I learn...

Bench player doesn't mind the opportunity to play every day

Pitcher has a tired arm, therefore he will rest it.

Player would prefer not to hold an unflattering record.



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