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Three wasted hours, reviewed

 

W - Wellemeyer (3-1), Sunday Night Baseball "BINGO"
L - Marquis (1-2), trying to live-blog double-switches, HDTV on acne scars
S - Isringhausen (10)

 

Things to Take from This Game

 


1. Marquis = Hill?

Jason Marquis walked three in the first, but only gave up one run due to a terrific catch by Lee on a bases loaded, line-drive rocket off the bat of Duncan. He gave up five runs and five walks in five innings, with pretty weak command throughout the night.

2. Everyone = Hill? The only pitcher on either side to strike out more batters than he walked was Isringhausen, and his strikeout came on a "let's hurry up and get out of here" called strike three on Lee to end the game. Between the double switches and the walks and the Joe Morgan, it was a tough game to follow. Seriously, could Miller and Morgan stopped talking about Australian aboriginal farming techniques just long enough to call the game?

3. No Clutch Hitting
The box score shows 23 LOB for the Cubs. Among the more egregious innings were the first (two on, one out, no runs) the fourth (leadoff double doesn't score) and the seventh (bases loaded, one out, one run scores)

4. Soriano Looks Lost
Soriano started out his first ABs by going 0-2, 0-1, 0-2, 0-2, and 0-2. Besides two strikeouts, he did get a single and an RBI sac fly out of all that. But still...

 

The hum-drum highlights follow....

 

Tags: 
First Place

Box Score, Photos

W - Dempster (3-0), Ivy
L - Duke (0-1), Bullpen mounds

 

Things to Take from This Game
1. The Fifth Inning
After giving up two hits to start the game, Dempster cruised through the first four innings before falling apart in the fifth. The Cubs entered the inning with a 5-0 lead, but Dempster gave up 3 on a hbp, two walks, a couple singles and a double. He recovered a loss of command to strike out LaRoche with the bases loaded. (LaRoche just had a horrible game, all around.)

The bottom half of the inning featured five Cubs runs, two Pirates errors, and a Ramirez two-run homer. It put the game away at 10-3.

2. The Cubs Outfield
Remember when the outfield was supposed to be Soriano, Pie and Fukudome? WIth an outfield of Murton, Johnson and DeRosa, the Cubs still scored 13 runs. Johnson scored three times, Murton had a couple of RBI ground-outs, and DeRosa... well, he didn't break his neck in right field while stumbling over the Pirate bullpen, so that counts as good.

3. Cubs Patience
Another day, another 7 walks, with just three strikeouts. Really, it was just an all-around strong offesnive performance, with everyone reaching base safely other than Dempster, Howry, and pinch-hitters Fontenot and Pie.

The Cards and Brewers both lost, so guess who's in first? The happy, three-and-a-half-hour details, below.

 

Tags: 
Up to .500

 

 

W - Zambrano (1-0), outfield arms, broad strike zones, Derrek Lee
L - Villarreal (0-2), Budweiser shills
S - Wood (3), the home-stand

 

Things to Take from This Game

 

1. Cubs pitchers cruise
Zambrano
pitched 7 relatively strong innings with 7 Ks and 2 ER. His worst
trouble came in the first, which began with runners at 2nd and 3rd
before Erstad struck out and Lee flew into a 7-2 DP, with Soriano
nailing Bourn at the plate. Cubs pitchers didn't allow a walk,
and Zambrano cruised through the middle third of the game with 9
straight outs. No one reached base against Marmol or Wood in the
8th and 9th

 

2. Derrek Lee is crushing the ball
Lee
finally made an out, and even that was a lined shot that might have
cleared the wall on another day. His go-ahead home run off of
Villarreal was hit about as hard as a person can hit a ball.
Everything is getting smokback up the middle of the field.

 

3. Soriano helps out
Soriano's
throw home in the top of the first was perfect.  He also hit one out,
just scraping over the basket in the left field wall to give the Cubs a
2-1 lead. Hopefully it's the start of better days ahead.

 

After a shakey start to the homestand, we at least walk into Pittsburgh as a 3-3 team. Details below.

 

Tags: 
It's... It's.... It's.....
Cubs Game Recaps!

W-
Hart (1-0), the Lees, extra-base hits
L- Oswalt (0-1), relief pitchers
S- Wood (2), hope for this homestand

Things to Take from This Game


1. No easy innings

Other than the sixth
and the half-inning ninth, no inning went without someone scoring a
run. Marquis struggled through five and a third, featuring
rolling sliders and fastballs that kept moving back over the plate, but
getting out of potentially disasterous innings with 3 GIDPs.
Oswalt gave up ten hits and a walk without striking anyone out in six
and two-thirds.

2. The Lees

Derrek
and Carlos combined for seven hits, five runs, four rbis, three
doubles, two home runs, and awful defense. Derrek dropped a ball
at first that started a 2-run sixth inning for the Astros. Carlos
Lee wandered about aimlessly in left field, occasionally drawing stray
baseballs closer to him by virtue of his gravitational field.

3. More love for Fukudome

KF's
day featured a fine running catch, a bunt single that surprised the
whole ball-park, and the go-ahead, two-run double in the five-run
seventh inning.

4. Then, there's Soriano...

Whose 0-5 with 5 LOB day leaves him with a .045 average to start the year.

That je ne se qua of mine that you didn't know you missed until you saw it again, the dinge an sich goodness inherent in a recap, below

 

Tags: 

I can't believe it has gotten to the point where I feel compelled to say this, but...

 

Tags: 

One of the latest and most exciting developments in baseball research is the measurement and analysis of individual
pitches. For instance, the Pitch f/x system created by the
company Sportvision
tracks the in-flight movement of pitches from two different cameras,
thereby assessing a pitch's velocity, horizontal and vertical
movement. A bit less than 1/4th of all pitches from last year were so
assessed, and MLB has made the raw contents of that data available at this location. Better yet, there are several bloggers who, unlike me, have the
talent and dedication to transform that heaping mess of data into
meaningful findings. Most notable, Josh Kalk
has been developing player cards,
a la what's available at baseball-reference or fan graphs or baseball
cube, except with graphs incorporating this incredible new source of
information on pitch selection and pitch behavior. He also has
developed a remarkable application where you can select any
player and any pitch with just about any limiting parameter you could
want - say, Bob Howry fastballs to right-handed hitters on 0-2 counts with a velocity above 93 MPH that resulted in swinging strikes - and then view the results on a handy X/Y graph.

As if that's not enough, there's the more user friendly if less revolutionary pitch data commercially available at Baseball Info Solutions which is being applied by the talented folks at Fan Graphs.
Fan Graphs now offers data on individual players' pitch selections and
velocity, all thoroughly sortable. For instance, Tim Wakefield
and Chad Bradford feature the two slowest average fastballs in the
major at 74.2 and 78.6 MPH, respectively, while no one threw a changeup
with greater frequency last year than Matt Wise, at 54%

There's a gold mine of potential information available at our
fingertips, with The Baseball Analysts and The Hardball Times leading
the way in this sort of analysis. With far less sophistication than
what those guys can offer, let's see what it can tell us about the
Cubs' staff.

Or, how Baseball-Reference will be the death of me

 

The latest ridiculously interesting tool released by baseball-reference.com is its Batting Order Position Outcomes page. Plug in a team, a year, and a position in the batting order, and it will break down that position's results by the player batting in that slot.

 

For instance, did you know that on the 2007 Cubs team, Cesar Izturis logged the most games (41) and plate appearances (154) in the 8th spot in the order? He put up a .254/.314/.300/.614 line while hitting 8th, and the Cubs went 18-23 in games where he batted 8th. With Koyie Hill hitting 8th, the Cubs went an impressive 14-7. No thanks to Hill, necessarily, who hit .141/. 203/.211/.414 in those games. In stark contrast to Hill, Ronny Cedeno hit .368/.369/.737/1.052 in nine games there, and the Cubs went 2-7.

 

Other interesting but perhaps entirely meaningless discoveries include...

While it's no Arizona-Phil-from-two-days-ago-live-scouting-update , John Sickles has a post up at his website concerning Felix Pie. For the most part, it's a vanilla run through Pie's minor league credentials, but a couple of things came up from the post that are worth re-emphasizing.

What a difference a year makes. During the 2007 spring training, the starting rotation discussion centered around which of these three candidates would be our number five starter: Wade Miller, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman. Combined, they started six times (three apiece for Miller and Guzman) Trachsel also started four games, with the next smallest total belonging to Sean Marshall, at nineteen.  Congrats to Marshall for grabbing the "Ruben Quevedo Fifth-Man" mantle, and running with it.

This year? Carrie Muskat gives the rundown on the candidates for the two open spots in the rotation. The first bit of news is this notion that the fourth spot is open, that Marquis evidently has to apply for his old job. The other applicants being Dempster, Lieber, Marshall (also applying for his old job) and Gallagher.

Among the more interesting observations from the Muskat article is that Marquis has a history of fading in the second half. A quick check of ESPN's stats page shows Marquis with a 4.41 ERA pre-All Star break for the last three years, 5.54 after it. How stupid and unrealistic would it be to let him have the fifth spot for the first half of the season, then ship him off to some unsuspecting foe, and bring up Gallagher for the second half?

Every Day Is Like Sunday

Readers of the Chicago Daily Tribune woke up on the morning of June 23rd, 1895, to discover that the day’s baseball game between the Chicago Colts (fore-runners to the Cubs) and the Cleveland Spiders was likely to be delayed. On account of police raid. As the paper reported, the Rev. W.W. Clark of the Sunday Observance League had demanded warrants for the arrest of team captain Cap Anson and the rest of the Chicago starting nine, for breaking the Sabbath laws.

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