Once Again, It's Homer or Nuthin' (Mostly Nuthin'); Cubs Lose 2-1 to L.A.
Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.
A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.
Young Randy Wells, starting in place of the injured Rich Harden, delivered yet another terrific start, holding the Dodgers to just 2 runs over 7 innings. He made tough pitches when he had to, fanning seven and walking one. Wells departed with his season ERA still at a glittering 1.80.
The Cubs looked feeble against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf through most of his 7+ innings. The veteran lefty matched Wells with 7 K and 1 BB, but he kept the Cubs off the scoreboard until Scales's blast in the eighth. Wolf helped his cause by inducing three double-plays. Also, as a team, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.
The bottom of the ninth was just a killer. Milton Bradley dropped an ugly but well-placed bunt for a single to lead off the inning, then Derrek Lee followed with another single, moving Bradley to second. After trying and failing to bunt the runners over, Reed Johnson eventually did advance Bradley and Lee with an infield dribbler. Following an intentional walk to Geovany Soto, Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso, subbing for the recently overworked Jonathon Broxton, fanned Scales and Jake Fox to quell the rally and drop the Cubs back to .500.
The basher without a position entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, right after Scales had homered, and he ripped a single to centerfield. Fox then played the field in the top of the ninth, manning third base and actually handling a chance successfully (though Scales was nearly folded in half by Russell Martin as he received Fox's throw to complete a force out at second base.)
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.
cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.