A Homely Return Home: Cubs Lose to Florida, 4-2
The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.
You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...
- Ted Lilly held Florida hitless into the sixth inning and wound up allowing 5 hits and no walks through seven innings
- Alfonso Soriano raised his average to .340 with three more hits, including a double; he also drove in both Cub runs
- Soriano gunned down Hanley Ramirez when Ramirez tried to score from second on a single by Jorge Cantu in the 8th inning
- Geovany Soto reached base two more times, on a single and the 23rd walk he has accepted this year, and his OBP for the season remains around .500
- Though Florida starter Nate Robertson came into the game with an ERA a shade under 5.00, Cub hitters did little against him—just two runs and seven hits over Robertson's six innings—and they did nothing against three Marlins relievers after Robertson left
- Starlin Castro made three errors; one led to Florida's first run and another saw him boot a ground ball hit by Hanley Ramirez, after which Castro lackadaisically retrieved the ball, allowing Ramirez to scamper all the way into second base
- Lilly fell completely asleep twice (I mean that metaphorically, not in a Ken Griffey sort of way), allowing Chris Coghlan to take a running lead on his way to stealing third base in the 6th, and then again in the 7th, when Cody Ross got a running start off of third base before scoring on the front end of a perfectly executed double steal
- Coghlan's double off of Lilly in the 6th inning, which ended Lilly's no-hitter and his shutout, was Coghlan's first extra-base hit in 105 at-bats this year
- Aramis Ramirez struck out two more times and were it not for a wind-blown popup single, he would have gone 0-for-4...again; Ramirez is now hitting .163
The defeat leaves the Cubs a season-worst five games under .500 at 14-19. They're now 6 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and just 3 games ahead of the last-place and NL-worst Astros.
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.