Game 105 Thread / Marlins @ Cubs (4 of 4)

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SP Rick VandenHurk SP Jason Marquis
  1-1, 6.10, 14 K, 8 BB, 10.1 IP
6-6, 4.44, 56 K, 41 BB, 105.1 IP
       
SS Hanley Ramirez LF Alfonso Soriano
RF *Jeremy Hermida SS Ryan Theriot
3B Jorge Cantu 1B Derrek Lee
LF Josh Willingham 3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla CF *Jim Edmonds
1B *Mike Jacobs 2B Mark DeRosa
CF Cody Ross RF *Kosuke Fukudome
C * John Baker C Henry Blanco
P Rick VandenHurk P *Jason Marquis

 

The Cubs need this game to preserve at least a tie for first place and to halve the four-game series. Marquis hasn't faced the Marlins this year, but was hit hard in each of his two starts against them last year. VandenHurk has never faced the Cubs, hasn't shown the ability to put up an ERA below six, and has as many major league innings pitched this year as Marquis has in his last one and a half starts. Fukudome bounces from eighth up to seventh.

 

In 9 PA Jeremy Hermida has a 1.083 OPS against Marquis. In as many PA, Ramirez has a 1.111 OPS against Marquis. Edmonds is the only Cub to have faced VandenHurk.

 

VandenHurk was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Its history dates back to its founding in 1232, is home of Philips light bulbs and Rik Smits.

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Comments

Lou just told Ron Santo that Harden was pulled because his shoulder tightened up about the time he hit a batter.

A Dunking Dutchman drop-in from Trans.

Exceptional.

It has occured to me that the dip in the fortunes of our beloved residents of 1060 West Addison may have coincided with the cessation of re-caps.

Is there anyway we can get back to re-caps, both parachat and regular? I fear that the season hangs in the balance! Help us Cub Reporter re-cappers, you're our only hope!

i forget who to give credit to, but the popular consensus (aka, 100% indisputable fact) is this is all the work of the Curse of Matt Murton.

FACT: the cubs have a losing record since trading murton
FACT: the cubs hitters are in a slump since trading murton
FACT: the cubs have not won a SINGLE playoff game since trading murton
FACT: matt murton is cooooooooool

i think this pretty much speaks for itself, and if you don't buy into it...to hell with ya.

Matt Murton must have cursed himself while he was at it. 3/30 (.100) since the trade, .186 .219 .229 .448 this season

it is a very powerful curse.

The Curse of Matt Murton was all my work. It is indisputable and all doubters are blasphemers.

Murton down, E-Pat up.

Not fun to be Matt right now.

Is it too early in the second half to DFA Marquis?

I less than 3 Mike Fontenot. And I might be falling in less than 3 with Jeff Samardzija, I'll get back to you on that one.

Yea... because we should DFA a guy after one bad start.

Mike Fontenot is probably our best hitter right now.

Go Cubs!

Is there a better kind of "scrap" than "clutch-scrap"?

Or a better kind of "clutch" than "scrap-clutch"?

If there is, I don't wanna hear about it.

Well that one was never in doubt :) and I knew that the Astros would come back on the Brewers. Never in doubt.

Actually our weekend was better than the Brewers..how crazy is that? They lost a home series with a bad Astros team where we lost 2 very very close games to a good Marlins team.

I said it before I will be very satisfied with a split in Milwaukee. Hopefully the bats can come alive.

Classic example of why starter wins are a good stat. Hot day at Wrigley with the wind blowing out and an umpire who won't call the bottom of the strike zone... unless a pitcher is batting.

At the end of the year the stat heads will say 'look at Marquis's run support', but pitching today was a lot harder than it was for Hardin yesterday.

Because at the end of the year numbers average out. Marquis isn't pitching every game with the wind blowing out and a bad ump and our other pitchers pitch in those kind of environments also. Marquis pitched badly today, wind out or not. Besides, he didn't get the win anyway, so your point isn't even valid.

Devil's advocate:

Wouldn't the 'end of the year numbers' averaging out actually be a good argument for wins? That all pitchers over the course of the year will see @ the same amount of good conditions and bad conditions. As well as high run support games and low run support games?

Chad,

The reason that people don't like Wins for starters is that we know that pitchers get varying levels of run support, and to a lesser degree bullpen support, which both can be a major factor into getting a win, according to the 'wins are stupid' theory.

The thing is, that unless they play all games in domes and replace the homeplate umpire with Strikequest or whatever the hell it's called, all pitching conditions aren't equal.

Because wins are flawed as a stat, they created another wonderfully flawed stat to make up for inconsistent run support called the Quality Start.

Johann,

Why do end of year numbers average out? Do you have any proof of that? A couple years ago when Rob G was saying that Oswalt should have won the Cy Young, I looked at the starting umpires for all his and Webb's and one other guy's games and found that Oswalt's umps had an ERA about a quarter of a run lower than did the other two guys. That's not averaging out.

If you just think about it for a minute, why would you assume that 'pitching conditions' average out, when you know that run support doesn't? Intuitively it makes no sense, and if someone does a proper exhaustive study, I bet practically it makes no sense.

Statistically, the term "average out" applies only as the sample size aproaches infinity. Since we are dealing with real life we make the cut-off somewhere below infinity. But the more samples we have the greater our confidence interval. Comparing one game below Oswalt and Webb would not show us much. A month of starts? A bit better. Most people would say over a season they could be compared reasonably well. Although perhaps we really need to look at 2-3 season swatches. The more data obviously the more confident we are in the comparison.

The counter to your ERA example above is that others would say umpire ERA is only a small part of the equation. Maybe Oswalt pitched more day games, had more starts on the road, had more starts against higher octane offenses, had more starts in hitter friendly ballparks, etc. While you were able to find a significant difference in one factor (umpire ERA) most would argue that all of the factors averaged out over a complete season.

Also, it's entirely possible that umpire ERA didn't really make a difference. If you don't think pitcher ERA has averaged out yet over a full season, it is entirely logical that umpire ERA hasn't either. Maybe the umps are exactly the same and umpired exactly the same in Oswalt and Webb's starts. It's just that those who umped Oswalt more experienced two more blowouts than the set of umpires who umped Webb and thus his umpire ERA went up .25 runs. Over a longer time span this would, in theory, average out and they would all experience just as many blowouts!

With regards to run support - it too will average out in the sense that a pitcher for one team is going to, on average over the long term, get the same amount of run support as other pitchers on his team. During single seasons some pitchers get lucky and others get screwed, but over time this averages out. Over a career you play for a lot of different teams and so this pretty much averages out too. The only way it wouldn't is if pitcher A pitches for high run scoring teams for almost his entire career and pitcher B pitches for low run scoring teams his entire career. But to matter you would also have to show that all of their other conditions were about the same, and even then the difference probably won't be too many wins, and other stats like ERA, etc. should be comparable between the two.

We realize that someone who played for the Yankees his entire career in the 1960s probably ended up with more winds that a similar pitcher throwing for the Cubs, so I don't think anyone thinks that wins average out for everyone.

Well, there's a couple things here.

First of all, umpires call a lot more innings than pitchers pitch, so their sample size is a lot bigger (300+ innings), and consequently less prone to be influenced by other factors.

But my point really is that looking at run support for one starter on a team (like Lilly) versus another starter on the same team (Hardin) may vary widely during a given season, despite the fact that for the most part, over the course of the season the talent behind them is going to be equal.

Conventional sabermatic analysis says 'well, the reason that this starter got a lot of wins and this starter didn't is because the first starter got more run support, even though he pitched less effectively." But I will bet good money, if you dig into it, and look at the scoring conditions (Wind strength and direction, temperature and humidity and home plate umpire), you'd find that a large part of that discrepancy will be explained. Yes, there will still be some luck in there, but will there be the sometimes wild variances we see by just looking at RS/9 (like 100% variance), probably not.

When you get down to it, the Win essentially says 'Was this starter more effective than his opponent, on a given day?' Which, last I checked, is the starter's job.

I guess I would disagree somewhat with your last point. If a pitcher goes 20-0 on a season, but had a 6.50 ERA and won every game 10-9 and only threw 5 innings a start we need to know that. Sure, he did his "job" each and every game, but the probability that he continues to get 10 runs of support a game is statistically low (in fact my example is statistically improbable). He is also hurting the bullpen by only going 5 innings. Even though he wins his games, over the long run, you would not be well off with him in your rotation. That is obvious I think.

I personally don't think you'd be right, but I would think you would make some good money if you could prove that some combination of wind/temperature/umpire explains more of the variation in wins between like-pitchers than run support does.

What I am saying is that run support and ERA are influenced by the pitching conditions.

If you don't want to use Marquis as an example, take the 2007 version of Carlos Zambrano.

He set a career high in ERA, HRs and Wins. So even though he gave up more runs per start than he had previously, he also received more runs per start. That seems like a strange coincidince. And intuitively, if he had to pitch a greater than normal share of days at Wrigley with the wind blowing out, and with stingy umpires, (or in Citiziens or Coors etc) you would expect two things to happen.

1. His ERA would go up
2. His RS would go up

And his winning % would be relatively unaffected. And that's what we saw. Now it could be a coincidence that he just happened to have his worst year, at the same time his teammates threw the majority of RS luck his way, but I'll take logic over hoping for coincidence seven times a week and twice on Tuesday, as they say.

So basically, if I understand this correctly, you believe that "pitching conditions" are actually the underlying explanationa behind everything. Run support is just an intervening variable that we look at to explain wins, but really conditions explain run support. Run support, in essence, is just a manifestation of the conditions a pitcher pitches in. That is interesting, but you can't really prove it.

Zambrano's 2007 season is a good case in point. His Run Support was high because in the majority of the games he won the Cubs scored a ton of runs. But in those games he pitched well and would have won low scoring games regardless of run support: 10-1, 8-1, 5-1, 6-2, 6-0, 12-1, 6-0, 5-1, 8-0, 6-0, for example. His ERA, HR, etc. went up because his losses were really bad. 5, 6, 5, 7, 6, 7, 6, 5, 8 earned runs, for example.

If pitching conditions explained things we would expect the Cubs to have scored a lot of runs in those games and the opposition to have scored a lot of runs in the wins. But that didn't happen. Zambrano only won TWO games with more than 2 earned runs (3 and 4). He dominated and the Cubs offense rocked the opponent, or the sucked and the Cubs offense was dormant. Pitching conditions wouldn't explain that, nor would run support for that matter.

But run support did matter in one way. Z has about the same number of dominating starts every year that he should win. In the past the Cubs have blown 2-4 of them by getting shutout or low-runned themselves. Last year they won virtually all of those great starts of his, making the differene between 16 and 18 wins. It's not surprising that Z would have a few more wins last year than in 2006, for instance: the Cubs offense and team in general was a lot better and won more games in 2007.

If we're talking about the difference between 15 and 18 wins, the first 10 wins are irrelevant.

Even in some of the games where the Cubs dominated 10-1 versus the Mets, you can see Zambrano wasn't that good, just lucky, unless you think 3 BB's and 3 K's and a HR with a 1:1 GO/FO ratio is good pitching. He actually got out DIPS'd by his opponent that day, a pretty good pitcher himself in Maine.

Even in your example you've got him in games where he won because of run support (5-1), where he could have lost if he had one of his 'bad games' (6 or 7 runs). If you say 8 runs would be a guaranteed win, he only have 4 of those in your list.

On May 4th he won 6-4 versus the nationals. Not a really good hitting team. His next start he lost to the Pirates, also a bad hitting team by the same score. He lost to the white sox 6-10 on May 20th. Three out of 4 starts exhibit the phenomena I am describing. A good pitcher, most likely pitching on days that favor hitters, and gives up more runs than you would expect, but wins 2 out of 3.

I never said or even implied '"pitching conditions" are actually the underlying explanationa behind everything." What I am saying is that taking them out of consideration, is willfully ignorant.

Can you give a good reason why 'pitching conditions' even out over the course of a year, but there can be a 100% variance in one starter's run support over another?

Seems I've been asking that question for four posts now, and no one has answered.

I'm not even sure exatly what you are arguing at this point. In Zambrano's 10-1 win he pitched 8 innings and gave up 6 hits and 3 walks and 1 earned run. If you believe this is not good pitching I'm not sure what I can really add to this discussion.

Also, in your example he LOST 2 of 3, not won them. We would expect him to lose the 7 ER game, and we would probably expect him to win 1 and lose 1 of the 4 ER run games. Basically, nothing surprising.

As to your question. First, variance is not measured as a percentage, which could be part of the confusion. I've avoided addressing it because I don't really know what you mean by it. But I don't think anyone, at least not I, ever said that certain factors average out over the year and others do not. In fact, above I spent a great deal of time talking about how all statistics even out as we move towards infinity. The larger the sample, the better. Is it possible that someone could have pitched in shitty conditions all year and another in great conditions? Yes of course. Is it possible that someone could have great run support during the year and another pitcher has terrible run support? Sure. Definitely. Over time both run support and pitching conditions should average out though.

But I don't think statisticians ignore this. There is a ballpark factor that I know for sure gets used quite a bit in their models. Pitching at Coors is not the same as at Petco. But you would really have to demonstrate that other conditions matter before they become utilized regularly. Pitchers all pitch similar amounts of games in each month of the year, so we assume, roughly, that we don't need to control for how many starts are made under X degrees or something like that. There also is no real strong evidence that temperature is a huge factor on pitching statistics. Wind might matter but we assume that controlling for ballpark captures this for the most part. Also, wind changes throughout the game so it would be hard to code. Would you measure each at-bat? This is a lot of work for something, again, we don't think matters that much in the scheme of things. I have not seen much data on umpire ERA, and that might matter. But again, we assume over time you get the same umpires as other pitchers.

The big thing is that if you include every possible variable in the model you can, theoretically, explain everything. But we can't add everything in. So we pick a few that we know matter quite a bit. There is a consensus that run support matters, so it is often used and talked about. It is certainly possible though that a "pitching conditions" with some combination of things you talked about could also be useful.

aaron sele approves of this thread.

Just wondering if the Cubs should bring up some pitchers (or P coaches) from the Peoria Chiefs. Now there's killer instinct.

I know ARam was ducking out of the way when he was plunkt in the head, and it was a soft pitch relatively speaking...but then Jason serves up a juicy one to Uggla so the Merlins take the lead. Something Drysdale and Gibson kinda wrong here. SOMEBODY has to make Marquis fight for his job. Jeff S, mebee?

All things considered, a win is a win. Go Cubs!

Huh?

The Cubs should have retaliated after A-Ram got hit by a breaking ball?

No thanks.

Helluva' game... and I got to enjoy it in person.

Samardzija looked very good. Edmonds' catch looked amazing. Theriot made the best play of his life.

And it was great to see Soriano, Lee, and ARam all make serious contributions today.

And just for Navigator/cwtp/bleeding blue - Fontenot's hit was nice. We might as well take advantage of his hotness before he turns back into a pumpkin.

"And it was great to see Soriano, Lee, and ARam all make serious contributions today."

If these guys get back on track, so will the Cubs. If they contribute like this every day, we will be back to 20+ games over in a week

I have a very odd image of someone "taking advantage of his hotness."

He is a ballplayer, as John Kruk would say.

Navigator was once Bluewater Boats. Other than pointing out his frequent contradictions and plagarism, I've never had anything to do with him or his posts.

Please don't ever make that mistake again, thanks.

Oops.... the mistake was unintentional.

navigator = cwtp = bluewater boats.

navigator ≠ bleeding blue

Sorry!

Hey! I was there too! Did you see me? I was the one wearing a Cubs hat. Not helpful? Ok, I was wearing a green shirt.

It was my first and probably only game of the year. Great game. I don't know about win as a stat personally (i.e. I don't really care), but Marquis looked like shit. Someninja looked great. I was very glad to see him go out for the 9th, instead of Marmolade or How?ry

When Ward came up to bat, I thought, "I hope he walks so Fontenot will come up"...when will he become the #1 lefty of the bench?

All in all, it was fun game to be at. Thank you to the scalper who ripped me off. God bless your good work.

according to Bruce Miles:

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/304

Given that heavy interest in guys that throw with their lefthand and starters that can be innings eaters Jimbo should be able to get decent pieces for each.

what's up with eyre anyway?

4 days in a row he's been warmed up multiple times a game and not used.

We all know how Streaky Sori is and if he can continue to light it up in Milwaukee we could be in for a good series and beyond.

Was fortunate as well to be in attendance with Cubster and Little Cubster.

Imo, key plays - which I'm sure CUBNUT will also consider - were Marquis's long AB that he turned into a BB, thereby extending the inning, the Sori HR that ignited a lethargic offense finally, DLEE's HR, FONTY's 2B (of course), and the Notre Dame Wideout THROWING FRICKIN' STRIKES @ 95mph+

I'm hopin' for a split in Milwaukee.

I just mention him because he is the reason that a certain Mike Fontenot is on this team.

I promised to take my son to a MILB game today, and I didn't even realize until we got to the ballpark that the visiting team was the Boise Hawks. Treat for me!

1B Michael Brenly looked pretty solid, going 2 for 3 with a double and two walks.

Also got to see other recent draftees: SS Flaherty (average day), LHP Leverton (3 runs in 3 innings, alas), RHP McDaniel (two perfect innings for the save) and Keedy (3 for 5 at DH today). There may have been a few others in the lineup, but those were the names I recognized.

Oh. My.

This may be the worst baseball article I have ever seen (hat tip Inside THE BOOK).

In case you didn't know... Fred Lewis, this year, is better than Barry Bonds has been in "several years." And the Giants, regardless of the fact that they have a WORSE winning % than last year, are a better team than last year.

Wow.

Can this guy be serious? Someone tell me that this is satire.

Wow, big l. As I read it, I actually was feeling like I mostly agreed with what he said, until about halfway through. Then, it starts getting worse and worse, until I too came away wondering if he could possibly be serious... How does this guy have a job doing this?

Truly. I feel like the Aflac duck in that Yogi Berra commercial. I'm pretty sure I lost brain cells just by reading that article.

It was indeed satire. I know- I e-mailed him :-)

Oh, thank you.

nothing like satire you need to actually debate about whether it is a joke or not.

with writing like that there's a few more "respected" satire sites with similar gist that would love to have him on board. he needs to add a little more bitterness and self-assured egotism to make it the big time, though.

we believe in you...or more importantly, its time to do whatever you feel like no matter how crap the quality and then act superior when someone calls out your bad attempt at satire as being sooooo intelligent no one below you can "get it".

go get em.

Well... Bonds wasn't really that good last year. According to BP Lewis is actually a worse left fielder than Bonds was though. If he was a break even left fielder, their season WARP's probably would be about the same (Bonds '07 vs Lewis '08) and like most statistic analysis, that gives them even ability to go 1st to 3rd on a single, and Bonds hasn't been able to do that for 4 years. Now throw 43 IBB's onto Lewis's numbers and would really even out.

I think the drop off from Cain, Lowry and Zito probably explains more of the Giant's problems this year than Lewis vs. Bonds does.

Andrew Cashner and 1B Sean Hoorelbeke promoted to Boise from Mesa. Hoorelbeke was one of 4 Mesa Cubs in the top 4 in the AZL (he was actually 2nd).

http://www.boisehawks.com/team/transactions/
Coleman, Harrison, Muller promoted to Peoria.
Cashner, Hoorelbeke, and Shafer promoted to Boise...

http://www.peoriachiefs.com/news/transactions/
Julio Castillo demoted to Mesa
Gian Guzman put on DL (broken leg)
Jordan Latham promoted to Daytona

I guess that's how they made room for the guys coming up from Boise...
The most obvious move that still hasn't happened is the one where Kyler Burke gets demoted to AZL, and Jones takes his place. Burke has hit .375 in the last 10 games, possibly feeling the heat from below...

So do you think they let Castillo know about the demotion before or after he was released from Jail?

...and just for the sake of completeness, Mike Phelps was released, to make room for Jordan Latham at Daytona...

The rumor going around is that Vitters (if healthy) might get promoted to Peoria before tomorrow's Peoria game at Wrigley. If that's the case, we might see another one of Mesa's boppers - 3B John Contreras - called up to Boise.

You are the GM-

Would you trade Soriano for Manny Rameriez?

Do you think Bosox would go for it or Soriano too much money?

Just seeing.

I suggested doing a couple of days ago. The main reason I suggested it was the cost in salary, which is Manram at 2/40 v. Soriano at 5/106. I think we would have to throw in a prospect and a pen guy for them to do it. They would really want Wellington Castillo given that Varitek is a FA after the season and they have no catching depth in the minors and would like a match-up Lefty and we have a lefty wasting a way in our pen in Eyre. I would like us to get our hands on one of Boston's fine pitching prospects (Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson) to get one of them I give up Hill also who the Red Sox have liked in the past according to some media reports. So a Manram and Bowden for Soriano, Castillo, Eyre and Hill would be a deal Id pursue if I had Jimbo's job. Of course it wont happen and Soriano might not want to go to Boston or vice versa for Manram.

(EDIT): Scratch that as Manram wants a team that trades him to decline his 09 option:

http://www.projo.com/redsox/content/sp_bb_sean_mca...

Though I would push for the Castillo, Eyre and Hill for Masterson part

Sorry Chi fan I didn't see your earlier post.

If he wants the the option declined I would be hestitant.

Not sure what FA looks like next year, I think the year after is good crop.

Or I might have them mixed up.

Thanks.

Mon 7/28 CHC (Lilly) @ MIL (Sabathia) 8:05 ET
Tue 7/29 CHC (Zambrano) @ MIL (Sheets) 8:05 ET
Wed 7/30 CHC (Dempster) @ MIL (Parra) 8:00 ET
Thu 7/31 CHC (Harden) @ MIL (Bush) 2:05 ET

Seems to me that the Cubs chances of winning each game in this series gets better the closer we get to Thursday. Discuss...(I'd echo the opinion of others that a split would be just fine, and with our non-Marquis rotation set up it seems like a reasonable goal)

That's how I would see it. I'm glad Marquis is missing this series, but the way Suppan pitched yesterday, kinda sorry we're missing him.

Our chances improve when we get to the bullpens. As frustrating as ours has been, it's better than the Brew Crew's.

It looks like the shakeup in the Pirates ownership last winter isnt much of an improvement:

http://trades.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/07/bay_sti...

They killed a Bay for Brandon Jones, Brent Lillibridge, a top ranking A ball pitching prospect and 4th low tier prospect deal.

They could have flipped Wilson then to the Dodgers for Laroache (Collietti is dumb enough to do it)and have their starting line-up of the future set:

(Edit): I had a brain fart as Walker was converted to 3b last year.

C: catch and throw type guy
1b: Laroache (Andy)
2b: Alverez
SS: Lillibridge
3b: Walker
LF: Jones
CF: McCutchen
RF: Tabata

That would be one hell of a line-up.

That really isn't much of an offer. Brandon Jones is a fourth outfielder. He's a lot like Matt Murton as he's an tweener outfielder. He's best suited as a fourth outfielder or maybe a platooner. Brent Lillibridge's prospect stock has been in free-fall the last two seasons. He has an anemic sub replacement level AAA EqA of .211. Ouch. He didn't hit well in AAA or AA last season and hasn't done anything since he was in advanced A ball. At this point he's looking like a decent utility player. The pitching prospect would to have been the centerpiece of the deal. Hanson might be enough to be a centerpiece, maybe Teheran but he's way too young (1991!). Locke's alright. They're better off packaging one or two of those pitching prospects and Freddie Freeman. The offer they made wasn't great.

Amazing how a bullpen can change during the season. Ours is in the process of completely turning over. Ranked in order of how I would use them:

CLOSER: Wood, when he is back
Marmol (better lately, please rest him Lou)
Samardzija (GAS!)
Gaudin (Thank god Hendry got this guy)
Marshall (Valuable 6th starter)
Cotts (Still not sold on him, but he's OK)
Howry (Our new Mop-Up man?)

I have just about had enough of Howry. He's 34, I wonder if he's cooked.

I wonder if there is room on our roster for Lieber and Howry, two guys who are not missing bats lately.

Hendry will be a seller of mediocre relief pitching at the deadline. I think we will see atleast one deal involving Eyre, Howry, Lieber or Wuertz for a C level prospect

I've always wondered how Howry was ever effective. He's got a straight-as-an-arrow fastball that sits in the low 90's. No movement. No secondary pitch. His success seams to be 100% dependent on being able to hit the outside corner. If his control is less than perfect he might as well be serving up batting practice.

Control not perfect? He's only walked 7 in 51 innings this year while striking out 39. So it depends what you mean by control.

Personally, what I think may be Howry's trouble is Lou's emphasis on NOT walking batters. As you point out, Howry needs to fool batters into thinking his pitches are over the plate when they're not. If they're actually over the plate, and he's got remarkable control so they usually are this year, he gets hit. Result: more hits than innings pitched and more homeruns per inning pitched than at any time in his career.

Throwing strikes and having good control are not necessarily the same thing.

You're right. If Howry has his good "control", those pitches are indeed off the plate, hitters chase, and pound them down into the ground. Right now, he's all over the plate, which is exactly where you don't want to be when you're a one pitch guy. There's no fooling anybody when you throw 'em 94 8 times in a row. You have to pound it low and away and make them hit the ball on the ground.

It also appears, to me anyway, that his fastball has lost a lot of its sink. That thing used to get awful heavy as it got towards the plate. Now it's considerably flatter and, thusly, much more hittable.

39 K's, 7 Walks in 51 innings

right, no control

Maybe you had trouble reading my first comment.

Let me try again.

Throwing strikes and having good control are not necessarily the same thing. In other words, just because you are throwing strikes does not mean that you have good control. You can be throwing strikes and be completely missing your spots. It isn't that difficult to understand.

In turn, Howry's strike out and walk totals have little to do with what I said.

Exactly my point. At the big league level, getting the ball over the plate doesn't mean you have good control. Being able to pinpoint a fastball on the outside or inside corner does. Lately, Howry isn't able to locate his fastball where he wants it. Instead, he's letting his fastballs sit in the middle of the plate and they're getting crushed for HRs.

Of course you're not going to walk anyone when all your pitches are over the fat part of the plate, belt-high. Those pitches are all getting hit over the fence.

y.petit (ARZ) would be such an amazing pitcher if he could expand his zone to somewhere outside the zone. he's so married to the zone and so uncomfortable outside of it.

he's a strikeout pitcher who pitches to contact. they've been trying to "tweak" it for years, but he continues to serve everything up in a pretty tight zone. it leads to a lot of long fly balls hit very solidly.

Sorry, duplicate

I'm curious as to why Lou has been hesitant to use Marshall lately - is he being saved in case of a possible middle relief appearance in Milwaukee?

I think Lou is showing off his Fantasy Football skills with his usage of Marshall. Marshall's role seems to be Harden's handcuff kindalike drafting the back-up RB of the team whose RB you selected as your number one back. He knows Marshall can give him 2-3 good innings at a time so handcuffing him to Harden ensures that he does get 8 good innings out of Harden's spot as drafting that backup RB means you know your getting all of that teams rushing yards for your team.

It wouldnt be a terrible use of Marshall. Of course the better approach IMHO is to let Leiber fill that role. Then you can send Marshall back to Des Moines to get stretched out. It wouldn't be a total shocker for an injury to occur in the Rotation. I'd rather have Marshall be the guy to fill in as opposed to JP Mathes or Justin Berg at this point.

Please god let the injury be to Marquis so an actual decent pitcher in Marshall can take his place. We're talking 1.446 WHIP in Marquis vs 1.25 WHIP in Marshall plus a lower ERA. Let Marquis be the relief guy.

I defense of Marquis, the Cubs have a .600+ winning percentage in games that Marquis starts over the last 2 years.

He isn't Cy Young, but that does show the value of a back of the rotation innings eater like Marquis.

And NO to Lieber; 1.000+ OPS vs. Lefties.

marquis was supposed to give the cubs 200+ip of full-year-healthy 4.00-4.50era ball...or at least that's what i assume most everyone was expecting.

so far all he's gotten right is the health. yes, 190-ish IP is close to 200, but i think people were expecting him to go longer in a few more games to get that 200+ easily.

he's throwing barely over 4.50, but that expectation of a 4.50 being fulfilled on the high-end wouldn't make people very satisfied anyway since its the high limit.

it's hard to shake that "well _______ (insert rookie) could do THAT" tag when you're throwing the kind of ball marquis is.

if he made a few less million a year people might like him more. i think he's worth keeping, but if he was traded for "nothing" it wouldn't upset me.

LF Soriano
CF Johnson
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
C Soto
RF Derosa
SS Theriot
2B Cedeno
P Lilly

V.

2B Weeks
SS Hardy
LF Braun
1B Fielder
RF Hart
3B Hall
CF Cameron
C Kendall
P Sabathia

(EDIT): I transposed Dero and Soto and forgot Kendall in my orginal post.

Arizona Phil. a question if you see this.

I was perusing Baseball America's weekly transactions from the 20th to the 25th and they have Francisco Acosta placed on the suspended list. Can you confirm that and is there anything more to the story? Thanks.

sinatro (that old white dude coach at 1st) suspended 2 days for making contact with an ump.

1 less eldery man in the cubs dugout...they're doomed. =p

What is up with 3B coach Quade? Is he trying to channel Wavin Wendell? Way too many guys being thrown out at home lately.

Someone needs to teach DLee how to run over a catcher. He should have crumpled Kendall an inning ago and his half-crawl to get back to the plate after sliding wide the other day was just pitiful.

I'm guessing the anemic offense is to blame for this. When the bats go cold and you start leaving 11 guys on base in 4 innings (like on Friday), you better send anyone who has even a remote chance to score.

Is Ceda ready?

What about other options in MLB? I like Scott Downs numbers, but those are numbers. I havent done any scouting....

We need another reliever...

I wouldn't mind Wuertz or Hart in the pen, but Ceda's probably not ready.

At this point, I'd rather see Eyre than Howry. Bobby has really lost it. Woody's loss is really hurting the bullpen hierarchy.

I vote for Donnie Veal as the 2nd bullpen lefty. At the very least he should be loogy ready.

Why would we want a loogy he's as likely to walk the guy as get him out. he doesn't find his command quickly so a short outing isnt the best for him and he has even higher walk problems with lefties.

I'm ready to part ways with Howry, too, but in his defense he actually looked pretty good out there today. Branyan hit a pitch that 95% of the time is a sharp grounder--just at the knees.

I really cant blame Howry for tonight as their is no way he should even have been in the game. Branyan's swing is an uppercut swing that is meant to crush low and away fastballs, which is Howry's bread and butter. You didnt have to be Steve Stone to first guess the most likely outcome. Also Branyan has never been able to handle LHP in the show so why would you not have one ready to go to face them? Also Lou almost cost us that insurance run in the 9th by having Dero hit for himself when Edmonds has great career numbers v. Torres and likely should have been brought in for defense in the 9th. If Dustbag was still the manager alot of people here would be complaning we won despite incompent managing.

We may have to change his name to 'Loosin it Piniella'.

Seems he has his favorites and dogs just like Baker, but at least with Baker you could figure out the reason. With Pinhead it seems to be totally aribitrary.

That's the way "senior moments" work.

Wasn't following the game, but was Bill Hall already used or Kapler? I would assume they would have just pinch-hit for Branyan if they brought in a lefty.

Of course, anything is better than Howry right now, although looking at the replay, that wasn't a bad pitch at all to Branyan. Low and outside fastball...

Kapler hadn't been used (he made the last out of the game against Marmol), and Hall wasn't used at all.

Interestingly... the Brewers traded for Durham, who is, imo, clearly better than than Weeks.

Why trade for the guy if you are not going to use him?

Hall started at 3B for the Brewers.

Oops... skipped right past the starters. My bad.

Damn Brewers nearly tied it again in the end, but as Harry used to say, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades". Good job by Gaudin and Marmol to preserve it. Howry...meh

Good Win! (not to be associated with Tom)

No game thread, must not be important.

It's only July.

(repeat 1000 times until heart rate lowers so I can go to sleep)

GO CUBS!!!!!!!!

As the late great Jack Brickhouse said-

"WHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOY!!!!!"

Word on the street is that the entire TCR staff is being held hostage by the MVN Brewers blog for the duration of the series, so we'll have to make do with this thread for the next 4 games.

Note to Lou:

You have three lefthanders in your bullpen. USE THEM!!!! No reason to let Howry face Branyan.

Lou is always such a matchup manager. Why is he starting to go away from this?

No Eyre, Cotts, or Marshall tonight.

Eyre must have eaten the last jelly doughnut Lou was eyeing or something.

He just refuses to use him.

5th game in a row eyre warmed, but not used. wonder if he just doesnt "have it"...and if he doesnt why is he on the roster instead of still on the DL?

dunno what's going on there.

...sorry for the hiccup. I thought someone had today handled and Cubnut is on vacation for a few weeks.

No apology necessary, but it was a surprise not to see a gameday thread.

By the way, this was a huge win. This was the game we needed the most. While there are no guarantees for the next three games, it seems that we have a very good chance at winning at least one of them. And a split is all we need.

Tomorrow's matchup even. Advantage us the remaining 2.

ANd I don't care if CC didn't get tagged with the loss, he left while losing and his team lost. In my book, we beat him.

And Yost is a terrible manager. While DLee probably hit into a DP, you can't let your pitcher get himself into that situation. Horrible. I know the pen sucks but bad bad bad move.

with 2 outs and nobody on?

Crazy. Crazy like a fox...

They were hoping to catch him stealing.

That was textbook Chadball, right there. Don't lose to Fielder. Make Hart, the righty beat you.

I loved it.

He shoulda been thrown out at the plate too if DLee didn't cut the throw off. You could see he was losing steam rounding third and it was a miracle he made it all the way home without stopping for a water break.

Nice to have Fonzie back, eh?

2B, SB and HR off of CC, then the ninth inning walk on a close 3-2 pitch and scores the winning run. Caught everything in LF, too. Without his HR Sunday -- I sense we might be singing the blues right now.

Nifty work by Gaudin and Marmol. If we get Kerry back (sounds vaguely familiar, no?), I'm liking our 'pen, with Howry bumped to the Wuertz role (or possiby beyond).

Meanwhile....Pie continues to tantalize. 3-for-6 last night, .424 in his last 10 games. We can't quit you , Felix.

This is updated from Iowa Cubs game notes yesterday: Pie is 62 for 186 (.333) after starting out 3 for 40 (.075) at Iowa, for an overall .288.

Apparently it took a while for Pie to shake off the effects of hitting lessons from a committee made up of Dave Keller, Gerald Perry and Lou Piniella.

Pie probably needs to be a .320 hitter in AAA to hit .265-.270 in the majors, which he'll need to play for Lou.

Maybe next year, in Pie's last-chance season with the Cubs, they can make Von Joshua the hitting coach?

Meanwhile, Koyie Hill has put together a nice season (12 homers) at Iowa after a dismal start, and was PCL hitter-of-the-week last week. I have to agree with AZ Phil that Hill be one of the first Sept. call-ups.

Pie probably needs to be a .320 hitter in AAA to hit .265-.270 in the majors, which he'll need to play for Lou.

He would need to hit .265-.270 to play for pretty much anybody. At least anybody who wanted a decent team.

I have to agree with AZ Phil that Hill be one of the first Sept. call-ups.

Awesome... I can't wait to see how hard Marmol, Z, Samardzija, et. al. can throw when Hill is catching!

I agree that Pie's swing was messed up by all those chefs trying to stir the pot. Once he got back to his comfortable hitting style, he started raking again. Next time up I hope they just let him hit to his strength and not try to go through all that "adjusting his swing" crap.

Matt Murton agrees with the above post.

Or maybe he is now raking because he is facing inferior pitching that are not as capable of exploiting Pie's weaknesses.

I saw Felix in AAA back in May. He looked ROUGH at the plate. Choppy hack swings on breaking balls. Swinging over balls in the dirt. I can't imagine he's turned into Brian Giles in a month.

Felix's problem is a common problem with alot of young guys. He really struggles with pitch recognition and strike zone judgement. Lots of guys can get through the minors without this being exploited. However once Big league advance scouts have a look see. You better be able to adjust or your going to struggle. Hopefully Felix has the inner discipline to adjust next year? I'd recommend offering arbitration to Reed Johnson just in case he doesn't though.

That brings up a good question.

For Reed Johnson - does arbitration look at his current Cubs salary ($1.3 M), or what he is/was being paid by Toronto ($3.275 M)?

good question for AZ phil, although my guess is the Cubs and Reed agree to something before it ever gets to that. He's probably a $3MM player....

Yea... I would think that the Cubs would figure out something before it comes down to arbitration, but I was more curious than anything.

I've said this before...Pie could hit .750 at Iowa it means almost nothing. He has to produce at the big league level. Period. Thats all that counts.

I'm guessing tonights game is another nail biter. I'll still be happy with a split but winning vs CC in the first game is huge, I imagine they have a shot at 3 out 4. Nice.

The reason Pie can hit in AAA is not because of Von Joshua, its because 75% of AAA pitchers arent good that is Koyie Hill can hit 12 HR in a season their.

Pie is afflicted with Corey Patterson disease - free swinging with bad pitch selection. Until he learns to hit an actual breaking ball, you won't see him in Chicago anytime soon.

that just shook things up around here was a 5.8 roller

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