Ol' Times with Ronny Cedeno / Game #78 Preview
I watched the game intermittently last night, and one of my tune-ins happened in the top of the 7th. The Cubs were leading 3-1 but Pedro Alvarez had connected for a one-out single and then Ryan Doumit ripped a 3-1 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double that moved Alvarez to third. The visitors had the tying runs on base with just one out and roughly 100 pitches into the evening, Ted Lilly looked like he might be out of gas. Len Kasper surmised that this was probably the game's defining moment.
Then Ronny Cedeno stepped into the batter's box.
Cedeno swung at Lilly's very first pitch, a fastball inside, off the plate, and popped out to Starlin Castro. The runners remained planted at second and third.
According to FanGraphs, Cedeno's failed at-bat increased the Cubs' probability of winning by 11.3%, making it the most damaging Pittsburgh at-bat of the night (even more costly than the Ryan Church strikeout which followed). And it was all so Ronny.
Cedeno and his 59 OPS+ are back in the Pirates lineup against Tom Gorzelanny, who is returning to the Cub rotation this afternoon because he's the guy who does NOT have anger management issues.
The offensively-challenged Cubs are sitting Colvin (893 OPS) and Soto (.402 OBP, 862 OPS) in favor of Fukudome (.320 SLG with 1 HR since May 1st) and Hill (586 OPS) because...well, I don't know why.
Buccos vs. Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.41; 1-0, 5.23 all-time vs. Pirates)
Tabata 7, LaRoche 4, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Doumit 2, Alvarez 5, Milledge 9, Cedeno 6, Lincoln 1
Cubs vs. Brad Lincoln (0-2, 6.00; first appearance vs. Cubs)
Fukudome 9, Fontenot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Hill 2, Castro 6, Gorzelanny 1
Don't know if Cubs will recover from "spanking" Gordo
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.