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.
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible