Fragile (or not)

Happy 65th Birthday Lou Piniella!

I put together some historical perspecitve on how solid or fragile things can be now that the 2008 Cubs are 83-50 (+33) and have the best record in baseball.

The 1984 Cubs finished in first place at 96-65 (+31) and their high water mark was 90-58 (+32) on Sept. 15th.

Go, Dernier, Sandberg and Sutcliffe, Go.

They lost in the NLCS to San Diego, 3-2.

The 1969 Cubs won their 5th in a row and were 84-52 (+32) on Sept 2nd. They had just beaten the Cincy Reds after an 8-2 win, still holding  a 5 game lead over the Mets.

This was the high water mark for the season.
Go Williams, Santo and Banks, Go.

They proceeded to lose 8 in a row and 11-12.
They became one of the most remembered teams not to go to postseason competition.

The last time the Cubs had a team that was above +33 games over .500 was 1945.
The 1945 Cubs were 83-50 on Sept 9th. They finished in 1st place at 98-56 (+42).

Go Phil Cavaretta and Hank Borowy, Go.

They lost to the Tigers in the WS, 4-3. The franchise' last appearance in the WS.

The 1935 Cubs finished at 100-54 (+46), they were 83-52 on Sept 7th.
They had a 21 game winning streak in September including winning 21 of their last 23 games.

Go Gabby Hartnet and Charlie Root, Go.

They lost in the WS to the Tigers 4-2.

The high water mark for the 1932 Cubs was 89-60 (+29) on Sept. 20.

Go Lon Warneke and Kiki Cuyler, Go.

They lost in the WS to the Yankees 4-0.

The 1918 Cubs were 84-44 (+40) before losing the last game of that season.

Go Hippo Vaughn, Go.

They lost to Babe Ruth's Redsox in the World Series, 4-2.


The 1910 Cubs were 104-50 (+54) at season end to win the NL pennant.

Go King Cole, Go.

They lost to the Philadelphia A's in the WS, 4-1.


The 1908 Cubs were 99-55 (+44) for the season...including the Merkel tie game.
They were 83-51 on Sept. 13th.

Go Tinker to Evers to Chance, Go.

They beat the Tigers in the World Series, 4-1.
Paradise Lost?

The 1907 Cubs were 106-42 (+64) on Oct. 4th,  at their high water mark with 4 games left in the season.

Go Heinie Zimmerman, Go.

They won the World Series, beating the Tigers 4-0-1.


The 1906 Cubs were 116-36 (+80) at season finish. This is the franchise benchmark and the 116 wins was tied by Lou Piniella's Seattle Mariners in 2001 (116-46) although that team's high mark was "only"  +71.

Go Mordecai Brown, Go.

They lost in the WS, 4-2 to the Chicago junior circuit franchise.


thanks, corrected!

CUBSTER: To be fair to the 1984 Cubs, the team had earned home field advantage due to the record. However, because there were no lights at Wrigley, the Padres got the deciding game 5.

It was bullshit, and frankly, the same bullshit that Miserable Dan Uggla has caused the NL this year.

As I do believe somewhat in unique "Cubbie Occurances", I have dread that somehow Dan Uggla's fuckups will this year cost the Cubs home field advantage in the World Series, where the team has been pretty much unbeatable.

While it is true that World Series Games would have been moved to Comiskey if the Cubs had won, I don't believe home field was based on records in 1984.

As I recall it alternated. We did have the best record though. Same in '89.

We had home field advantange in 1989. Lost game 1, won game 2 at Wrigley, then lost all 3 in San Francisco.

NEAL, et. al.:

You guys are right, and my memory gets worse each year. HF advantage was alternating, so would not have made that much difference - but it was unfair.

I believe that if you have earned the best record over an entire season in any sport, you deserve the advantage of having the extra potential games in your backyard.

Even in the NCAA March Madness, teams are rewarded based on their records, with regional seeding.

Only a dickhead like Bud Selig would make an exhibition game mean the decisive factor in the all-important post season for his sport.

I don't mind the HF advantage determined by the all-star game. It wasn't determined by best record before anyway. The all-star game is less arbitrary than altnernating, which is what happened previously. If you give it to the team with the best record, then teams with weak schedules (the Angels, the D-Backs?) have an advantage. If you give it to the league with the best interleague record then the Cubs have to suffer because the Nationals suck.

The Cubs sent a shit load of players to the ASG, so they had an opportunity to influence the outcome. Plus, interleague games had made a joke out of the ASG, so I like the fact that they did something.

We did what we were supposed to do in August, which is beat up on the weak (18-6). Now it gets alot tougher, other than 3 at Cincy, it's all .500+ ballclubs.

E-Man: The one important trend I see is that the Cubs have won 13 of their last 14 ROAD games, including Az, Milw and Fla...but even if they friggin' win won't mean a thing when the post-season starts. I do agree though, that Lidge and Uggla should be flogged.

The Road trend truly is a pleasant new development.

Hope they can keep it going!

First NL teams to 83 wins:

2008: CHC (?); Aug. 27
2007: AZ (lost NLCS) and NYM (collapsed and missed playoffs); Sept. 12
2006: NYM (lost NLCS); Sept. 1
2005: STL (lost NLCS); Aug. 28
2004: STL (lost WS); Aug. 25
2003: ATL (lost NLDS); Aug. 23
2002: AZ (lost NLDS); Aug. 25
2001: HOU (lost NLDS); Sept. 7 and

Just looking at the decade, does that mean we only have a 1 in 8 chance of a pennant? our three top starters w/the staffs of the above.

Post Season is about pitching.

If you have the time, it'd be great to see comparisons.

As I have said all year, the only team that gives me pause for thought is the Phillies in the NL.

Should one use Good Zambrano or Evil Zambrano for the purpose of this comparison?

ha! good point. maybe "September Z"

I wonder if Z is like the Talking Krusty Doll from the Treehouse of Horror...

If so, perhaps Fontenot accidentally flipped his switch to evil during a piggyback ride?

I'm proud owner of that doll.

My kids and I love it.

I couldn't agree more, the postseason is about shut-down pitching, specifically the top 3 starters and top 3 bullpen guys on the staff.

By that measure, the Phillies though don't scare me. Beyond Hamels and Lidge, and maybe Durbin, they don't have the muscle I don't think.

The teams that scare me are the Brewers, because that's Sheets and Sabathia 4 times in a 7-game series, and Arizona, because Brandon Webb is money.

Are we built for the playoffs? If our pitching is basically Good Z, Demp, Harden, Marmol, Shark, Wood, I like our chances.......

'08 Cubs are much better equipped for the playoffs than '07 Cubs, imo. Not that '07 Cubs were bad or anything, but they were going to need to hit a hot streak for the playoffs. Instead they hit a cold streak. I think the '08 class will be a little bit more immune to a cold streak.

You know what's a real kick in the balls? Linking to a Sting video at work. I'd rather be RickRolled.

Later in the evening...

I'm an orthopod, not a urologist.

I probably better wear a cup.

Maybe it was a reference to Nuts on Clark?

mark clark disapproves.

I finally saw the highlights from last night's Cards-Brewers game - Villanueva really pissed off Pujols mightely with all of his jawing. That was just plain stupid. Pujols even said after that he "woke up a sleeping giant". They ended up scoring the next inning to win the game.

Well if the Cardinals are sleep walking through games agianst the team they're chasing for the wild card slot, they probably deserve to be laughed at.

Sort of reminds me of the time when Bonds said that Zambrano would learn respect. Barry, he's still waiting for his lesson.

I thought that was Prior? I remember Prior throwing inside on him or possibly hitting him and they're being words. Maybe it was both...

Upon further review the crew chief has determined that yes, in fact, it was Mark Prior.

Crew chief may have gotten this one wrong. I remember Prior not backing down to Barry, but I'm pretty sure the respect line was because of a Z fist pump:

It seems that the MLB umpires are not the only ones who need replay.

Yeah, I think Rob G. & myself are remembering one incident and you guys are remembering something else. My bad.

Well, this was Villaneuva walking off the mound after striking out a batter with the bases loaded. So the Cardinals weren't sleep walking, they were in the midst of a rally that came up short. Afterwards, Villaneuva looked right at the Cardinals dugout, threw both hands up in the air, held them up there, said something, punded his chest with both hands, said something else, etc. All while looking at, talking to, and walking towards by the Cardinals on his way off the field. Pujols walked from the on-deck circle towards him and kept telling him to shut the fuck up (easy to read his lips on sportscenter) and the home plate ump had to get between them and had to yell and Villaneuva to get his ass in the dugout.

More on the Alvarez deal from BP (can read a bit if a non-subscriber)

I hope that the Pirates can find a way to sue and beat Boras. If I were an MLB team I simply wouldn't deal with him. The only possible exception I would make is if I had the #1 overall pick. Otherwise there's just too little difference between a Boras and a non-Boras client to deal with the headache.

Prior hit Bonds, I think on his mega-elbow pad, and Bonds jawed at him.

Z, I think, got Baroid on a weak liner back to the mound, then pumped his fist and yelled.

I was in favor of both.

Sorry if this has already been covered.

I remember Wood got Bonds to swing on a strike three but to appeal at third and ump called it a check swing this was at Pac Bell.

Next pitch Bonds either double or homered and Wood got the ball back and you can see Wood looking at the third base ump and said "Fuck You".

And I do remember Prior not backing down to Bonds when he jawed at him.


when jay m. finally dies the sun-times are gonna take a trip to his grave to drink 40s and piss on his corpse after they dig it up.

not often a head writer with constant national exposure leaves and a paper goes head over heels to make damn sure they stick it to him publicly.

those "fan reactions" i "get it"...but printing a whole list of them that's pretty much nothing but

to Daytona...suppose to start tonight. Clearly a move to give him some experience in a more high pressure environment. Daytona is a half game up in the 2nd half standings with 5 to play. The last four against the team trailing them..Jupiter.

after walking 9 batters in his first 2.2 IP. He's "only" walked 9 in the next 13.2 IP. Baby steps...

He did have 16 K's in 16.1 IP.

Jay Jackson still pitching well in Daytona. 21 K's through 17 IP with a 1.58 ERA and 0 HR's. He's walked a few more folks and has 7 with Daytona.

Between Boise, Peoria and Daytona, he's thrown 50 IP with 72 K's, 13 BB's and 4 HR's with a 2.88 ERA.


had no idea the pitching matchup was Hamels vs Dempster tonight. Sweet.

You can really tell the difference in Kosuke's swing from this clip -- Lou must know what he's doing.

the clip shows about as much difference as other tape i've seen, fwiw.

Well whatever Fuku's been doing, I hope he's never going give it up.

that's the thing...all i see differently is maybe a few inches on his downstride while landing.

he's still got pretty much the same swing unless im missing something..right down to the leg kick and opening up his view "stepping away" from the pitch on his swing.

got a friend who's a little more adamant that he's not doing anything differently, but fuku's got so much unorthodox movement in his swing i dunno if im missing something.


btw, i dont have the numbers so it could all "blow up" on inspection...


the guy seems to really feast on crapballers...and a righty with a good slider is murder to him.

be interesting to see if he starts tonite vs. hamels. hamels is kinda vulnerable vs. lefties with his slider thing. he's always got his curve, his fastball is *meh*, but taking away his slider pretty much takes him down to 2 pitches vs. lefties.

that's the thing...all i see differently is maybe a few inches on his downstride while landing.

A few inches could make a big difference. Adjusting your swing or step by a few inches is a big adjustment.

he lands really wide, though. those few inches are in his follow though which leaves him well into 3-4' wide.

he's still got a lot of weird movement in his swing.

its kinda a hybrid of a popular japanese stance where some batters will even go as far as to set up nearly facing the pitcher rather than making it part of their swing. tony bautista had a variation on it if anyone remembers him.

you need to look at the posted video first.

"# Re: Fuku's Swing
Submitted by crunch on Thu, 08/28/2008 - 4:52pm.

the clip shows about as much difference as other tape i've seen, fwiw."

then you and I saw different things. cause the video i saw didn't have to do with baseball or swings.

its just a bad joke.

it means any pieces of video ive seen to compare fuku's swing to has lead to nothing.

it was clear as mud, evidently.

But more importantly, did you get my joke?

i think everyone who's been rickrolled 10,000 times (78% of america) got it. heh.

What does rickrolled mean? :D

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  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 1 min 44 sec ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 30 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 2 hours 55 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 3 hours 52 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 4 hours 41 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 7 hours 29 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 8 hours 42 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 9 hours 6 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 9 hours 11 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 13 hours 11 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 13 hours 58 min ago view