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

Recent comments

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 8 hours 2 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 8 hours 14 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 8 hours 23 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 8 hours 29 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 8 hours 47 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 9 hours 23 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 9 hours 41 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 9 hours 43 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 10 hours 1 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 10 hours 8 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 11 hours 3 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 11 hours 21 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 11 hours 26 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 12 hours 36 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 13 hours 15 min ago view