Soriano Slider Watch

Theories have been abundant on the rapid decline of $100 million dollar man Alfonso Soriano, from age, to bad legs, to just a bad season in 2009 because of bad legs and his age.  As our man Transmission showed last year, as well as Joe Posnanski and a few other articles, part of the puzzle was teams throwing more sliders to Soriano as well as Soriano not doing his normal damage on fastballs.

So let's see how Opening Day went for #12 with the caveat that Pitch F/X and its pitch recognition isn't 100% accurate.

1st AB vs. Lowe (2 outs, nobody on)

Slider - Ball

Slider - GO 5-3

2nd AB vs. Lowe (leading off the 4th)

Slider - GO 5-3 (yes, Soriano swung at a first pitch slider low and outside)

3rd AB vs. Lowe (2 out, nobody on)

Slider - Called Strike

Slider - Swinging Strike

Slider - Swinging Strike

4th AB vs. Wagner (2 out, nobody on)

Slider - Called Strike

Slider - Ball

Fastball - Fouled Off

Fastball - Swing and a Miss for the K

10 pitches, 8 sliders total (2 from a lefty though)

Days left on Soriano's contract (assuming Sept. 28, 2014 is the last day of the season, could be Oct. 5, 2014).

Some other observations from yesterday's game...

  • As Carlos noted in Parachat, yesterday's bottom of the first inning was a highlight reel on the luck(or lack of luck for the Cubs) of BABIP
  • At least Z kept his composure out there and the Gatorade machine was spared. I keed.
  • Byrd looked kind of slow out there in center field, didn't he? I also thought he liked to play shallow?
  • Speaking of defense, the adage is you want to be strong up the middle. The Cubs answer to that is Byrd, Theriot, Fontenot and Soto.
  • Where will Ninja be playing on the home opener - Wrigley or Iowa?
  • How do we convince Fukudome it's always April? 337/452/535 with 15 2B, 2 3B,5 HR, 38 R, 25 RBI's over the last two seasons and a game during the inaugral month.

The good news is there are 161 games left to go...I think that's good news.


"Facts are meaningless; they can be used to prove anything"

I sorta noticed last year when catcher was sitting behind lh hitter's box when Sori batted.

what's up with pitch FX anyway? this offseason i spent some time digging through their data and was blown away at how many mis-classified pitches they've assigned to pitchers.

it was a revolution 3+ years it's getting a lot of head scratching with it's findings. it REALLY has issues with 2-seam vs. 4-seam fastballs and imo you cannot treat these pitches as the same with almost any pitcher. if a guy throws a pitch from another arm slot that takes a little off the velocity it can even end up being called a slider or similar...

guys refining their fastball and playing with velocity (esp. if it leads to the ball moving or dropping) can get weird results, too.

es hardly perfection and they don't change the settings everytime a new pitcher comes in...

I imagine the software is programmed to judge by velocity, drop, release point, movement and spits out a pitch.

I think we all know, as I stated, that there is some issues with their pitch recognition, although the 10 pitches to Soriano yesterday were in line with what I saw.

From the aforementioned Joe Posnanski in the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview, quoting Bill James...

"Willy Mo Pena never saw a slider in his major league career. He thought they were all fastballs."

(Replace WMP with "Fonzie")

Nothing strangulates a sports club more than having older players on long contracts, because once they stop performing, they become immovable. And as they become older, the risk of injury becomes exponential. It’s less costly to bring [on] a young player. If it doesn’t work, you can go and find the next guy, and the next guy. The downside risk is lower, and the upside much higher. It’s almost like he is managing a mutual fund.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Simon Kuper, Financial Times)


Quoting Billy Beane quoting Arsene Wenger? Don't you know that Arsene Wenger's shit doesn't work in the Champions League?

Cubnut's back with 2 zingers in a row...

I'm not sure how many people here got that, but that cracked me up. Especially since when you posted that Messi was three goals into his one-man demolition of Arsene's boys.

To add to what Billy Beane says, it also makes it almost impossible to deal players when No Trade Clauses are handed out like candy.

Manny, back and better than ever.

And just like that, he's gone. Underground. Nobody has ever seen him since...

has billy beane seen his team lately?

cost-wise he's correct...but saving money is about all the A's are up to the past many years.

low risk suck is still suck.

the A's bats last year and this year are barely MLB capable.

I'd have to say the the "Billy Beane Magic" hasn't done shit for a number of years. His teams have sucked as CRUNCH says. Looking at Ben Sheets this year, and the rest of their lineup, things aren't gonna get much better, imo.

the real sad part is guys he's traded away vs. what he's kept.

i bet they'd like to have andre either back. they wanted milton bradley, though. heh..

Or GMs could just stop overpaying guys when they are getting really old. GMs set the market value, don't they?

Soriano was brutal yesterday, no doubt, but anyone can have a rough day. I'll give him a few weeks. Love the countdown, btw.

Wow, that's right, I actually once upon a time contributed useful insight around here. Cool!

differences I spotted from Phil's report on Sunday

T. Blackford & D. Patton aren't on the AA roster

L. Sommer and C. Siegfried will start with Daytona rather than AA

C. Lambert is on the Tennessee DL (along with M. Spencer as noted)

no sign of J. Leverton, D. McDaniel, J. James, L. Flores, or A. Sosa, all of whom Phil saw assigned to Daytona.

I assume some were cut and some will stay back in extended spring training.

Why the hell didn't Colvin start in left, anyway?

And why the hell did Lou start Silva instead of Z?!!

I'm thinking Silva would have pitched better.

... That's a depressing thought: Silva is in the same rotation.

i fail to see what this has to do with bobby scales and if you're not talking bobby scales you sure as hell aren't talking about winning.

I'm glad we finally agree.

Rank the amount of faith you have of the Cubs pitchers named Carlos-

1-I would die if he had a bad appearance

2- I would cry if he had a bad appearance

3- I would eat pie if he had a bad appearance


april 10 (SAT) through april 18 (also, SAT) we have 8 day games in a row. 2 @CIN and 6 @CHC.

*golf clap* bravo.

that's 9 days, though.

off day smashed up in there.

i'm just settling into the fact that after missing the cubs opening day because of it being a day game it seems i'm in for another week of it except for some weekend games. it's a me-thing rather than it being a bad team-thing.


How can April 10 and April 18 both be Saturdays?

Must have something to do with he earlier Daylight Savings time.

Thank you for affirming my casual observation that Marlon Byrd looks awfully chubby and slow for a CF.

How bad will it have to get to remove Soriano from the lineup? I mean, seriously, if he's batting .193 at the end of May, will they do something?

that's not chub...that's steroid-like muscle definition busting out all over his jersey (seriously, dude is a tank).

gabe kapler is built as hell, too...some claim it slowed him down and made him plodding more than athletic.

I think the steroid needles sticking out of Kapler's ass is what slowed him down.

Speaking of chubby and slow, did you see Tiger Woods lately?

Mcghee tonight, 2/3 and 3-run HR. Fun with MLB cable "trial" period!

ha...joe borowski is doing field interview/analyst work for Fox Sports ARZ.

We could use him right now.

Good Morning Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to get Alfonso Soriano to bat OUTSIDE the lineup. The secretary knows this has never been done outside of the American League. But god knows the manager can't do it, so it is up to you and your team, Mr. Phelps. Find a way to get Soriano in Left field without him actually coming to bat as an automatic out. As usual, if you or any of your team gets caught, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your activity. Good luck Jim. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds.

outside Wrigley now by marquee on Clark

According to the site that hosted the web cam, you can get Milton Bradley home jerseys for only $95! I snapped up a dozen. Suck it!

I wish Ricketts was worrying more about what's ON the field than on the walls.

Just wait. If this flies with the fans, those pix will be replaced with advertising sometime down the road.

what exactly do you want Ricketts to be doing with the team? He's an owner, they should worry about making money and hiring the right front office personnel to spend the money.

Wrigley is still there biggest cash cow to spend on players, he should absolutely be worried about it and trying to improve the fan experience.

They've committed to Hendry for at least this year, let Hendry do his job. Then fire him if they don't make the playoffs this season.

The photo banners are just there for openning week. They had to get permission to do that because of the landmark status of the marquee.

I've got one word for you. TOYOTA.

They need permission for that too. And it's not going away in a week.

These pix are all about Tom Ricketts not the Cubs.

I hate it. Shoot me.

The Toyota thing isn't a done deal yet.

I don't like this either.

But I understand the desire for more revenue.

Yeah, megalomaniac greed.

Pass the Kool Aid! Those pix on the walls are part of Ricketts' PR campaign that's all about himself.

"YEAR 1"

Anybody been to, or seen, Fenway lately?

Like going to a NASCAR race.

If you want to keep Wrigley, prepare for advertising, and lots of it.

I understand not wanting Wrigley to become some sort of corporate shrine filled with product placement and massive advertising signs. However, I also think that the argument that BECAUSE Wrigley is an old school ball park there should be no adulteration of it in any way is silly. All of the old school ball parks had advertising plastered everywhere. I tend to think that the advertising disappears into the noise after a few visits to the ballpark. Id much prefer a few signs to uniforms that are basically advertisements first like in Soccer. Soccer has little choice with no timeouts and only two 45 minute halves. They need the revenue to come from somewhere. But Id take a Toyota sign over the Cubs becoming sponsored by Poker or Emirates Airlines.

Looks like rumors may be starting about Samardzija's nightlife while in Daytona.. Would anyone be surprised to find out that he may have spent a bit of time getting laid and drunk while there? I sure wouldn't...

that sponsorship has been up since last season...

I believe we had a friend of Samardzija from Indiana defending him in the comments when I mentioned it.

yeah, i settled out of court with the dude in a million-dollar internet lawsuit.

I sincerely hope that dude comes back. He probably had freshman geometry with Samardzija in high school, but by god he will defend him to the DEATH!

Byrd vs. Jurrjens, Swisher vs. Lackey (terrible track record for Swisher vs. Lackey but has started the season off well), T. Snider vs. Harden @ Texas or JJ Hardy vs. E. Santana @ LA?

I'm leaning towards Snider.

Snider or Hardy. Probably Snider.

Recent comments

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  • BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.  

  • Yep

  • AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?

  • Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?

  • CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!

  • Lulz

  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.

  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.