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.
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.