MLB has released the latest update on the All-Star voting and there would be three Cubbies in the starting lineup. Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome are one and two among the outfielders and Geovany Soto has a commanding lead over Brian McCann at catcher.
Of course, none of them deserve it, but it pays to be on a popular team that also happens to have the best record in baseball. A matter of fact, all the Cubbies are enjoying the residual benefits of a. 632 winning percentage. Derrek Lee is second in the voting, Mark DeRosa is second (poor Dan Uggla), Ryan Theriot is third and Aramis Ramirez is second(actually well-deserved). Using an advanced metric such as Runs Created, as tracked by The Hardball Times, here's how the All-Star voting should be shaking out. An asterisk indicates they are actually leading the voting.
C - Brian McCann (2nd in the voting). Geovany Soto is third in Runs Created and VORP at catcher behind McCann and Martin.
1B - Lance Berkman* - Derrek Lee is 7th in RC and no, his defense does not make up for that difference.
2B - Dan Uggla (4th in the voting, although Utley is just behind him in runs created). Mark DeRosa is 5th in Runs Created at second base.
SS - Hanley Ramirez* - Ryan Theriot is 6th in Runs Created, but third in the voting.
3B - Chipper Jones* - Aramis is 2nd in Runs Created and the voting.
OF - Nate McClouth, Pat Burrell & Jason Bay (Burrell is 6th, McClouth is 15th and I'm not sure where Bay is, but it's below 15th). Fukudome is 5th in Runs Created and tops among right fielders. Soriano is tied with Juan Pierre right now, mostly due to injury, but enough said.
When they get around to deciding about the pitchers, Dempster and Zambrano are currently six and seven in pitching runs created. Zambrano's current DL trip will probably cost him a spot and Dempster's glossy win-loss record will probably get him a trip to Yankee Stadium. Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol both have very strong cases as well. Marmol is second in Relievers Expected Wins Added as tracked by Baseball Prospectus in the NL and second in Win Probabilty Added as tracked by Fangraphs (in both cases he's behind Brad Lidge). Kerry Wood doesn't fare as well in the advanced metrics, but is tied with Brian WIlson for the lead league in saves and has pretty-looking 2.56 ERA.
So the Cubs will likely have anywhere from six to eight representatives at the Mid-Summer classic. The three starters voted in and Aramis, plus whatever pitchers get tabbed. Maybe they don't all individually deserve it, but this team certainly does. And I think we're all smart enough around here to realize that the power of being a Cub, plus a good team equals lots of All-Star players.
And let's say I wouldn't be suprised if a Cubbie made the list of five for the last spot that gets voted in by the fans. That player could be Marmol or Wood or (gasp) Aramis if the reserved selection is really messed up. And let's say the power of Cubbie Nation or whatever term you wish to label the enormous collection of Cubs fans around the world, will be sure that player voted in is a Cub.
Now if there are two Cubs on that final five list...well, we might have a mini-Cub civil war on our hands.
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.