Cubs Lineup Waste
(awesome illustration from Tim Souers of Cubby Blue, click on the image for the full-size)
More after the jump...
A few days ago I put up a poll on some of the lineup atrocities over the years, which Neifi ran away with at 73% of the vote, but this continued mess of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hitting ahead of Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto finished a distant second at 11% (with Soriano hitting leadoff finishing just behind at 10%). Anyway, how about contextualizing the current atrocity in numbers thanks to Baseball Prospectus (ROB is Runners on Base).
As you can see, the two guys struggling the most have had the most opportunities to drive in runs thanks to batting in the middle of the order. On top of that, thanks to their struggles, there isn't anyone on-base for Soriano while he is hitting. It's a double whammy of lineup stupidity. Just to compare, Chris Young of Arizona and Raul Ibanez of Philly are two other NL #6 hitters with a similar number of at-bats and Young has had 95 ROB in a 144 PA and Ibanez has had 90 ROB in a 130 PA.
Now let's add a column of OBI% or Others Batted In. When we talk about a guy being a run producer, this is where they should be excelling at, driving in the other guys on base in front of them (16-17% is the average). Granted, it's a number that fluctuates quite a bit from year-to-year, but you gotta take advantage of the hot hitters.
I wouldn't worry about Soto much, he just gets walked whenever someone is on-base so they can face the pitchers, but while Lee and Ramirez struggle, Soriano is basically just being back to a leadoff man in the middle of the order. Maybe that was Lou's plan all along.
Today, nothing changes with Theriot, Byrd, Lee, Nady, Ramirez, Soriano, Soto, Castro and Gorzelanny set to battle the Pirates lefty Brian Burres.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on
#Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.