Game 114 Thread / Astros @ Cubs (2 of 3)

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SP Rich Harden SP *Wandy Rodriguez

1-1, 1.11, 39 K, 8 BB, 24.1 IP

6-4, 3.61, 83 K, 27 BB, 92.1 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B #Kaz Matsui
SS Ryan Theriot SS Miguel Tejada
1B Derrek Lee RF Hunter Pence
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Carlos Lee
CF Reed Johnson 1B #Geoff Blum
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Ty Wigginton
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF *Darin Erstad
C Henry Blanco C Humberto Quintero
P *Rich Harden P *Wandy Rodrguez

Apparently the new trend for the Cubs is to get shut out the first game of a series. I can't say I approve. The amazing Rich Harden goes for the Cubs who saw his strikeout rate go down after striking out nine in seven innings in his last outing. He'll oppose Wandy Rodriguez, the Astros ace, who seems to have figured out how to pitch on the road this season - a 4.03 road ERA vs 3.31 home ERA. This compared to his 2007 split of a 6.37 road ERA vs a 2.94 home ERA.

The weather looks a little nicer today and I do hope all of our Chicago readers are safe and sound after yesterday's storm. Sure, the clear skies means there will be baseball, but it also means we won't see a repeat of Elvis sliding on the tarp. Suspiciously, the Astros' "Fat Elvis" - Lance Berkman - is out of the lineup today.

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Comments

the 2 shut outs this homestand, the Cubs have come out hacking away in the first couple innings, including Soriano swinging at the first pitch of course. Show patience, good things will happen.

My entry in today's "guess the typo" contest -- Hank White is Catching...

it's not so much a typo, more of an oversight...I cut and paste the last game thread and then forget to change the positions if anyone got moved around.

 

 

just playing, really appreciate the site and the updates as you know...

6 pitches 3 up 3 down -- Marshall might only have to go 2 today!

If you watch the highlight video, he makes a totally unnecessary jump.

Quick adjustment, nice catch but more goofy than great.

I realize this is completely off topic (and that since the baby I never post; in fact I had to register for the first time), but that Miller Lite commercial I saw between innings - was that at Moody's?

unpossible...

and ONLY 8 K's through 5. Total slacker.

Harden's performing even better than Sutcliffe's first half - season with the Cubs, if memory serves. Lots of whiffs on that change.

Harden's been getting hit hard the last couple innings.

knock it off...

Harden seems to give up a lot of home runs.

maybe today, but career-wise he had a .70 HR/9 rate which is borderline ridiculous.

It was 0.71 for the season entering today. Anything under one is pretty fantastic...

 

I know it is nothing, but I just don't like the trend of 5 hrs in 5 starts with the Cubs.

what is going on with Harden?
only got the live box score here

I question this strategy of trying to lose.

In order to make the playoffs and make a deep run, I think Bob Howry has to get on track. That's the only possible explanation for Lou leaving him in today, and let's just hope it doesn't backfire.

--edit--

Backfired. Fucking Carlos Lee.

Homerun Howry Strikes Again!!

Can Howry jump in the same car with Eyre?

on the bus with Eyre for Howry?I like Lou for the most part, but he's gotta give up on Howry right now...he should have about 1 month ago.And F U Carlos "Cub Killer" Lee...

Looks like the wrong guy got DFA'd. OK, maybe not, but come on Howry, knock it off...

Why oh why pitch to Lee with first base open.

that is a fantastic question....

just an ugly ugly game

6-1 lead, Harden on the mound....

No such thing as a sure thing (except that bringing Bob Howry in to protect a one-run lead is a recipe for disaster).

Not being able to scratch a run across when you have first and third with no outs is probably the bigger problem than Bob Howry's batting practice fast balls.

How about a hit and run with Theriot on first?

2nd and third, nobody out, and we have a chance to score 'cause the middle of the order isn't coming up

The 4-5-6 hitters have driven in five runs today. Just FYI.

I just don't get how Lou can count on Howry in any remotely important situation. The dude's been a mess the entire season.

Howry had a great May; the rest = poop

I think we all agree that Howry's toast for the remainder of the season, or at least should be, after numerous chances. How about a Guzman call - up, maybe before 9/1?

SORIANO!!!!

that was pretty fucking ninja!!! 

FONZIE! On a 1 - 2 pitch - awesome.

I think I have been convinced that a power hitter in the lead off spot is a good thing.

I think the only change I would make to the lineup at this point would be to either move DLee to the 5 or 6 spot. Putting him after on-base-machine-but-only-singles-or-walks Theriot is just a recipe for a double play.

Looks like DLee liked the day off -- 4 hits.

Who would go in the #3 spot if you move Lee? K-Fuk is a slap-hitting .275 hitter with a good OBP -- not a #3 guy.

I'd put Aramis in the 3 hole, Edmonds or Soto in the 4 hole, and Lee in the 5-6 hole. Maybe even just swap Lee and Aramis.

The only problem I have with Lee in the 3 hole is that his power has been fairly limited the last couple years, and with Theriot getting on all the time in front of him (but only to first base), there are WAY too many opportunites to hit into double plays (opportunities that he rarely lets pass by these days).

I think by now we all realize Lee's 2005 was an aberration that won't be repeated, and his 20-25 HRs just aren't enough for the 3 spot.

Well... lineup simulators have found that you should put your 4th or 5th best hitter in the 3 slot.

Your best hitters should be in the 2 and 4 slot, and then depending on the skill sets the next three should be in the 1, 5, and 3 slots. I am not sure that I completely buy it yet... but the numbers back it up.

I don't mind Lee hitting 3rd at all. No question he has been in an extended slump, but it isn't like there are a lot of good options to replace Lee in the 3 slot. ARam hits into his share of double plays also...

Further - Lee's double play propensity this year doesn't align with his stats for his career, so there is, in reality, no reason to expect him to continue to hit into double plays. And... FWIW.. Lee's GB% is only slightly higher this year (45%) than the previous two years (42%, 43%), so it would appear that there is a lot of luck involved.

it's not polite to be talking about a guy being in a slump when he's getting 4 hits in a game. just sayin.

I don't know what the lineup simulators say when your 4th or 5th best hitter hits a grounder to short every other AB.

I just looked at his spray chart on MLB.com: http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_hitting...

Unfortunately it only lets you look at one ballpark at a time, but the chart of his ground-outs has a huge red splotch over the shortstop. I don't know if it's because he's getting jammed on inside fast balls or he's not going the other way with outside pitches. Probably a bit of both.

It's hard to complain too much since the team's in first place and he had four hits today, but it's just disgusting how many times Theriot takes a walk or gets a seeing eye single, only to be doubled up on another DLee grounder to short.

There are a few solutions:
1) Put someone in front of him with a higher slugging percentage than Theriot so there's not always someone standing on first (e.g. swap Sori and Theriot).
2) Hit-and-run more often
3) Start making Lee bunt (obviously not going to happen)
4) Drop Lee in the order

The only one I see legitimately happening is number 2.

Well... again, I think that the large number of double plays is more a matter of luck than anything else.

I would also guess, without looking into it, that most RH hitters have the majority of their ground balls going to or near the shortstop. A quick look at ARam's shows something pretty similar (though with less total ground balls).

It's also hard to hit into a lot of DPs when Neifi, Corey and/or Macias are hitting in front of you...

Without looking into every player's spray charts, I can't really prove that DLee hits more grounders to short than other players do. But anecdotally, it seems to me that he hits way more grounders to short than anyone else (at least on the Cubs).

I'd even be willing to bet he's at or near the lead in Fielder's Choice 6-4's (the only difference between that and a double play being there were already 2 outs).

If anyone knows how to find this information, I'm a bit curious. Otherwise, we'll just have to leave it up to my perceived observations versus someone else's.

BP keeps track of double plays per opportunity:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sorta...

If staying out of double plays is your main concern for the #3 hitter, than Soto or Fukudome should be your man.

Lee isn't even the worst one on the team. Hitting Lee 5th, with AramRam's lack of speed and new found walking tendencies probably isn't a great plan.

I believe Ryan Theriot leads the team in % of double plays in situations where double plays are possible. Of course, with Lee batting third, he gets way more opportunities for DPs.

With the way guys have been getting on base this season compared to past seasons, there are bound to be far more double plays (more opportunities for them).

For better or worse, Lee has turned himself into an opposite-field hitter, someone who is happy, early in the count, to get a slap single to right. It's not quite accurate to say that he has been in a slump. In June, when he hit 2 home runs, he batted .283. In July (2 more home runs) he hit .292. It's not even a power slump, since he hits the ball farther to straightaway center than Soriano hits it to left. But Lee's long balls don't go out (except occasionally over the 368 sign).

His inside-out swing probably lends itself to grounders to the left side on inside pitches.

I'm not criticizing him, it's just who he is and what he wants to be. Some guys just like to spend a little more time looking at a pitch.

Not a slump? You do know that there is more to baseball than batting average, right?

April: .364/.437/.682 OPS: 1.118
May: .234/.269/.411 OPS: .681
June: .283/.371/.404 OPS: .775
July: .292/.339/.442 OPS: .781

May - July: .268/.324/.420 OPS: .744

His career line: .282/.367/.500 OPS: .867

I have no idea how you can say a SLUG of .420 is not a power slump for Lee. And his OPS over the last 3 months is 123 points lower than his career OPS.

Not a slump?

Sure... I guess there is a chance that he has just become a .744 OPS hitter, but I doubt it.

At what point does it stop being a slump and start being what he is? 3 months is half the season.

Well... being that the three months don't really align with the rest of his career numbers, it would appear to be a combination of bad luck and a prolonged slump.

While it is a half of a season, it is still a relatively small sample size, and one that is MUCH less predictive of the level of player that he is than the much greater number of at-bats over his career.

"the three months don't really align"

Fair enough, but he turns 33 in just a few weeks, so maybe what we're seeing is the beginning of the inevitable downturn in his numbers.

That is possible... but I don't think that we can make that assumption at this point.

Cubs f/x is looking at whether or not Lee is seeing, and swinging at, more outside pitches.

Wow... K Wood in the game, throwing 95 mph...

As I posted in the other thread --

D. Ward is very good at not swinging the bat while he is being intentionally walked.

Other than that....

Yeah, I really think that Eyre should have stayed, and Howry should have gone....

I'm really surprised they couldn't put Eyre on the DL for a few weeks until the rosters expand. Just seeing his interview and how broken up he was about it makes me feel like there had to be a way to keep him on the team somehow.

GMs and managers have to make tough calls -- if they kept every guy on the team who sucked but cried, it would be, well, the 2005-06 Cubs.

It did seem like Eyre fell out of favor very quckly.

I never understood why Glendon Rusch was mocked mercilessly for his weight problem, but very few people ripped Eyre for being at least 20 pounds overweight.

Had a few balls hit hard off him, but nice first outing back for Woody.

Neither are very good pitchers right now, but Lou really disliked Eyre as the season progressed. Lou's reaction in coming out to the mound to get Eyre in his last appearance spoke volumes - he looked absolutely disgusted with him.

Man, I really don't like Howry in the game if it's close. I know Lou likes him because he doesn't walk people, but he's still horrid.

Given all the hype and all the $$, and the fast start, it is remarkable how quickly Fukudome has become an afterthought in the lineup.

His K's seem to have accelerated dramatically -- lots of swings and misses on sliders down and in (didn't see today's K). Hopefully, he can adjust.

(overheard in Cubs locker room)

Kosuke: advanced scouting is a beetch...

 

He has been better lately.

Though he still is, and probably will continue, really struggling against LHP.

And Howry steals a win from Harden. That just isn't right. Maybe it can be Harden's parting gift for Homerun Howry.

Gaudin stole one from Z on Sunday as well, so the former A's are even.

Harden was due for a tough outing -- that Bob-Gibson-eque ERA wasn't sustainable. Nice that the Cubs could get a win anyway.

Remember the April/May posts that the Cubs were a better team without Soriano? Only true when everyone else on the team is hitting over .300, like they were back then.

Yet another example of why wins/losses are a stupid way to judge a pitcher.

Judging any pitcher by only one stat is very stupid.

I think wins is a useful stat for a starter (although not close to the most important), but I think it's entirely meaningless for a reliever. In fact, I don't think I ever even look at the won/loss record for relievers.

Read the scoreboard and weep, Brewers and Cards.

Now can see what a freaking weapon we have when Soriano bats 1st? So deadly late in a game. After a pinch hitter comes up, Soriano does. that is just huge.

Soriano is maddening, but when he's hot, he puts the offense on a whole 'nother level. His OPS seems to grossly underestimate his value.

Weird game today. You think 6-1 with Harden on the mound things are pretty safe. Lou keeps trying and trying to give Howry a confidence booster but so far its backfired just about every time. Soriano was HUGE though, when that guy is healthy and on this team is pretty damn good.

You think maybe Howry is Lou's golfing buddy? No other reason to explain why he keeps getting the call when the game is on the line.

Gaudin pitched two innings last night, Samardzija threw 40 pitches on Sunday, Cotts has been worked VERY hard of late, and Lou goes out of his way to make sure Wood doesn't enter a game in the middle of an inning.

So realistically, Lou's only options were Marshall or Howry. And I don't think Lou could have lived with himself if a righty slugger like Carlos Lee took a soft-tossing lefty like Marshall deep. So he put his chips on Howry, especially knowing that Howry rarely walks anybody.

Lou just needs to back off of Howry. Similar to the "dead arm" period that Marmol and Wuertz both went through earlier this summer, from overuse. Maybe Howry would benefit from a little "Wade Miller back spasms" DL trip for a couple or 15 days. Then if he still has trouble. You still have 10 days to try and make a waiver trade. Also it gives you 2 weeks to take a look at an Angel Guzman down the stretch. I personally think Angel will make a difference down the stretch.

If anyone is interested I'll be hanging out in the parachat for the cinnci brewer game.

Aussie Ryan Searle (who's mom commented on here a few times last year) was promoted from Mesa to Boise and will make his Hawks debut today.

Former Cub 1st round (and 3rd overall) pick Luis Montanez called up by the Orioles today replace injured OF Adam Jones.

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playe...

Somebody else put this possibility (Montanez getting called up) on the board a few days ago - well done!

woohoo! the kid gets the mlb pension and health plan for life.

this is quite seriously probably the best thing to happen in his professional life since signing a contract to begin with.

and wow...orioles...THAT desperate? good luck.

Good for him. Hope he makes the best of it.

That said, my guess is that he probably has to accrue a certain amount of mlb time before he qualifies for the pension and other benefits.

Shit. Carpenter. 5IP, 0 runs. 0.00 ERA Fuck You!

So it will be Demp and Carpenter on Sunday night, I guess.

Maybe his arm will fall off too - like Mulder.

How about like Dravecky?

/One ticket to hell, please. First class.
//I don't really wish that on anyone. Really.

it is about time marshall pitches hopefully
tomorrow.

i would also be all for a eyre to the whitesox trade

it was weird how fast he fell apart.

for as ugly as his numbers are...and that whole not playing til may thing...all his "ugly" came in his last few outtings before another trip to the DL. he came off the DL...one more bad outting...gone.

he actually looked great for almost a month when he got around to starting his season.

sucks...

"Eyre was 2-0 with a 7.15 ERA in 19 appearances this season and also had two stints on the disabled list. He set a franchise record with 33 straight scoreless appearances from August 2007 through June 2008."

Too bad Pinhead wasn't around to see that performance...

Some unofficial word regarding what went down between Prince & Parra:

http://blogs.jsonline.com/brewers/archive/2008/08/...

Seems like the Brewers fans were in agreement that Fielder should have been benched for a day or two. Instead he 'apologized', though I don't see to whom, and then started and hit a home run.

Starting to seem like we may have another Milton Bradley/Joey Belle in the makings. Now that they've traded LaPorta they don't seem to have an in house replacement for him, if they want to ship his problems elsewhere.

Harden says he asked Lou to take him out of the game because his legs were tired. Felt like lead. First time as a Cub he complained about being tired.

Lou says he may scale back Howry's appearances now that Wood is back.

I says Billy Howry is looking a lot like he's the new Stevie Ire.

Meanwhile, Jon Lieber had less than stellar mixed results last night in a start for Peoria.
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...

"...the kid gets the mlb pension and health plan for life."

Does he really need this, after he signed his big - money contract not that long ago? Seems like the kid already won big after that development - shades of Bobby Brownlie.

"Carpenter. 5IP, 0 runs. 0.00 ERA Fuck You!"

Someone told me that I was nuts to keep insisting that his return could be an effective one, given some time. I hope I'm clearly wrong about that, but let's hope we can put this club in the rear - view mirror after this weekend.

thats it lets make sure harden doesnt have to
run the bases next start .
even though i must say the bunt he got a hit on was nice
maybe he can give some tips to theriot.

Brewers vs. Reds, 11:35 am (Chicago time) today.

Homer Bailey for the Reds -- Opp. BA this year = .381.

Yikes.

Perhaps this is what's really bothering Fielder these days:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/c_c_sabathia_...

very old

I'm surprised Chunky soup hasn't done a CC/Prince commercial yet.

Any word on Pie?

Next year's OF -- corners are set, and I assume they will want to keep Reed as the 4th OF, but who is the main CF?

Maybe they should tell Edmonds to buy a 1B mitt -- he can become the new Ward next year (late inning LH bat), but could actually play in the field, and could be an emergency backup if no other CF emerges?

indiana jji think i am moreinterstedin j.finch
she is definatly the better pitcher in her marriage

She prefers bigger balls, though. *snicker*

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