At Least Carlos Marmol Got Some Work
The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.
Why the Cubs Lost: Sean Marshall spotted the Dodgers a five spot in the first and the Cubs never mounted much of a rally. Marshall didn't get particularly hit hard until Mark Loretta doubled in the third and fourth runs. In Lou's in-game interview he said he noticed Marshall wasn't throwing his curveball and sent Rothschild out there to tell Marshall as much and if Pitch F/x data on Gameday is accurate, it took Marshall 22 pitches before throwing arguably his best pitch. He managed to survive to the fifth inning but ended up with 4.2 IP and 7 ER, 8 total and his ticket firmly punched to the bullpen once Rich Harden returns.
The offense managed a little more than nothing against Eric Milton. John Miller - desperate to keep people tuned in to ESPN after the top of the first - was quick to point out that Eric Milton is something like the active leader in giving up home runs, but the Cubs didn't manage even one and will enter June just a game over .500.
It Wasn't All Bad: Just most of it...
Reed Johnson had three hits and kept up his hot-hitting and Soriano reached base twice in-between 2 strikeouts.
Jason Waddell struck out the first two lefties he faced (okay, one was Eric Milton) and worked a scoreless inning.The bullpen remained unscored upon since Monday for a streak of 15.1 IP (if my math is right) although Jose Ascanio gave up an inherited run on a stolen base by Matt Kemp with a seven-run lead that let James Loney score from third. With a 6-run lead in the seventh inning, Russell Martin also stole a base.
In the top of the 8th, Carlos Marmol drilled Brad Ausmus of all people. I guess that was to retaliate. I'm not sure that really sends the intended message other than, "if you embarrass us, we'll go after your inconsequential back-up catcher".
Sometimes You Just Get Beat: Reed led off the second with a double on a ball Matt Kemp laid out for and missed. A nice hustle play. The scrap was on full display as he advanced to third on a deep fly to left field and ran on Juan Pierre's arm. Then a short fly out to right that Jamie Hoffmann had to dive for and Johnson decided to run. With Fontenot due up next and then the pitcher(although probably a pinch-hitter), it was probably the right decision as they'd probably work around Fontenot, plus with Hoffman laying out to make the catch, you have to think he'd have problems getting on his feet and making an accurate throw, but that is exactly what he did, nailing Johnson easily.
Armchair Managing: In the top of the first with runners on second and third and one out and the eight place hitter up in Hoffmann, Lou decided to bring in the infield and pitch to him, rather than the intentional walk to face a pitcher that hasn't played in two years. Hoffman hit a long fly to center to score the final run of the inning. I think you have to walk him there and try to get the K or double play ball from the pitcher.
I also think you shouldn't let the team bat around in the first.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.