The Second Half Really Begins
To piggyback on Cubby Blue's guest post, now that the Cubs finished that four game warm-up they can start the second half. And before we get too excited about leapfrogging the Brewers and gaining ground on the Cardinals, a quick look at the schedule shows the Brewers still have eight chances to beat down that Nationals piñata and the Cardinals another four, while the Cubs just have a three-game set versus the league slumpbuster.
Speaking of the schedule, starting on September 11th, this is the Cubs last four weeks of regular season baseball in 2009.
3 at Pittsburgh
3 vs. Cincinnati
4 vs. Milwaukee
3 at St. Louis
3 at Milwaukee
4 at San Francisco
3 vs. Pittsburgh
3 vs. Arizona
Hopefully that last week won't be a big letdown after 14-straight against teams that are very much in the race at the moment.
Back to the task at hand, I certainly don't think the series is do or die against the Phillies, but getting swept by the World Champs sure would take all the fun out of the weekend sweep over the Nationals. Hopefully they can hang with the Phillies and at least take one and hopefully two. The Phillies do have one of the worst starting staffs in the league(4.82 ERA, 13th in the NL) and the Cubs will miss Cole Hamels, so the starting pitching match-ups favor the Cubs, but the Phils have also won eight straight and have taken a pretty commanding lead of the NL East.
Join the fun in Parachat tonight...
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.