Reader Beware: May Contain Over-analysis of Meaningless Cubs Game

You just can't put too much stock into any of the games the Cubs play this week, even if they're against potential playoff opponents playing for everything as the Cubs play for nothing. But if you consider them the practice tests before the Cubs have to take the ACT's next week, I think a few members of the Cubs need to do a cram session this weekend.

- Ronny Cedeno continued to impress with his baseball instincts yesterday. He attempted a sac bunt and failed miserably and then was slow to get to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt to first by Jose Reyes. In isolation these events wouldn't mean much, but the pattern has been there for as long as he's been with the Cubbies. I can't wait until the game is on the line in the playoffs and it's up to Cedeno to come through. Sadly, the Cubs have little choice but to put him on the playoff roster. He's the only backup shortstop on the team (no Mark DeRosa does not count) and the Cubs can't risk Ryan Theriot getting hurt early in the series and not having a viable defensive option to play there. And even if you thought DeRosa counted, he's now nursing a left calf strain that you probably don't want him testing at an unfamiliar defensive position as demanding as shortstop.

- The bottom of the 8th inning sure was a weird one last night. I can excuse Samardzija for giving up hits to Carlos Delgada and Carlos Beltran, they're good hitters and well that's just gonna happen from time to time. All pitchers get themselves into trouble, it's their ability to get out of it that sets them apart from the pack.  And Samardzija executed wonderfully on Ryan Church for the strikeout and then got the clog-footed Ramon Castro to ground out. And this is where things got weird.

Lou decided to intentionally walk Endy Chavez for some reason. Now I understand wanting to face the right-handed hitter, but it's Endy Chavez. A career .270 hitter that's hitting .280 against righties this year. On top of that, Samardzija has actually done better versus lefties this year - .170 BA vs .268 BA for right-handed hitters in nearly the same amount of plate appearances. And the true crime of the intentional walk was that it completely cut-off Samardzija's escape route. He was now forced to throw strikes to Ramon Martinez, something that he's been struggling with over the last month.

I'd like to believe that Lou was just testing Samardzija to see if he can throw strikes and get an out when absolutely needed. In which case, Samardzija failed worse than I did on my high school trigonometry exams. But it's more likely that Lou thought he was playing the percentages when he really wasn't. Samardzija still should be able to get that out there, but it certainly wasn't putting your players in the best position to win.

- On the flip side, the Mets are terrible. The Cubs tried to give them a gift and even tore off half the wrapping paper and the Mets still couldn't guess what was inside. Three times the Mets got a runner on third with NOBODY out and could only score run out of it. And that one run was thanks to the previously mentioned poor managing/poor execution by the Cubs.

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"Now I understand wanting to face the right-handed hitter, but it's Endy Chavez. A career .270 hitter that's hitting .280 against righties this year."

It's not like he walked him to face Delgado.

Rip Cedeno all you want. I'd take him over that pathetic excuse for a short stop we call TheRiot.

No glove, no arm and now with no bat.

there's just no point in walking Endy Chavez, Lou set it up where Samardzija now HAD to throw strikes which hasn't been his strong suit lately. Plus Samardzija's been better versus lefties so far....

Weird move, hope Lou doesn't do it in the playoffs.

At the time, I thought that's exactly what Lou wanted to do. He wanted to force Jeff to have to get out of the situation while throwing strikes. He had to attack the guy with no margin of error.

On numerous other occassions this year, Lou has not walked the bases loaded with 1st empty...so I don't think we would see that same move in the playoffs. It was all about putting Jeff under fire and seeing what he could do when he had to throw strikes and had to get a guy out.

"On numerous other occassions this year, Lou has not walked the bases loaded with 1st empty"

ive seen it.

he's kinda fond of it...it usually cues up along with another thing some people bitch about...bringing the infield in.

fond of loading the bases? We were all bitching during the Cincy and Cards losses earlier this month when Lou didn't load the bases, and got burned.

i remember 2 instances in july off the top of my head including woody loading the bases with 0 out...that one really pops to mind.

this is something ive just assumed is part of lou's arsenal/style.

i dont see it as out of the ordinary for him, anyway.

well yeah, loading the bases to create a force at home in a close game makes sense. This was just done to have Samardzija face Martinez instead of Chavez or possibly the "see if Samardzija can throw a strike when he has to" theory.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Cedeno but Chad....You're an idiot!

Thanks for the insightful comentary. But let me lay this on you:

Theriot is a very poor defender. One of the worst in the league.

But it was possible to live with that when he was hitting. Unfortunately, he stopped doing that. After a red hot july, he cooled off in august and is ice cold in september.

He hits for ZERO power.

Ronnie might makes some mistakes but he's a far superior fielder.

I think Theriot is okay defensively, definitely good enough to live with and his .380 OBP in the lineup (and that is with his crap Sept).

for fun...Theriot's defensive numbers this year

.821 RZR (found at THT which is 3rd worse for regulars ahead of Keppinger and Drew)

only 35 plays Out of His Zone, which is by far the worst for the number of innings he's played there.

.858 RZR last year which would have been good for 5th if he qualified, still way down there on plays out of the zone

.974 FP% which is good for 8th, .980 FP last year which would be good for 7th

BP numbers give him 98 Rate2 this year (3 runs below average), 103 last year (saved 3 runs above average).

Average sums it up best for him on defense.

Cedeno can make more plays, but he's baseball retarded and hasn't been able to do anything close with the bat as Theriot has.

 

Not sure how Theriot can be considered average. The only number that places him around average would be the Rate2.

Here is on overview of the others:

Out of 11 qualifying NL SS’s, Theriot is:

-7th in Fielding %
- 11th in Range Factor
- 8th in Zone Rating
- 10th in RZR (which has 12 qualifiers)
- 12th in OOZ, which doesn’t have qualifiers

I don't put too much faith into one year's worth of defensive stats. Yeah, he's been below average this year on plays made, but he was slightly above average last year. That puts him average in my book.

From a scouting perspective, he's got an a slightly below average arm and slightly below average range. He also needs new cleats. If I see him slip one more time, I'll buy them myself. I think he turns a good double play though and is relatively sure-handed. He's not throwing routine balls away either or letting them get through his legs too often.

He has a terrible arm. What his throws. They have a bubble in it. It's like watching me throw a ball across a diamond. (Weak arm forced me to second base!)

He has a terrible instinct for where the ball is going to be. He double clutches and bobbles all the time.

He sucks!

Really.

I would be so happy with 30 points off his batting and on base for a guy who can field.

And his OBP doesn't count for much considering that he hits for no power and is a terrible base runner.

Chad speak for "stats only matter when they help my argument, otherwise they don't count for anything".

Quite simply, Chad, I think you are so far off the mark on your hate for Theriot it's hard to even comprehend what the heck you are talking about. I do think he is an awful baserunner, but he has been completely invaluable as a table setter for our 3,4,5 hitters to clear off the bases. When we have power from our lead off hitter, we can afford a #2 hitter who simply gets on base.

speaking of having the team's best power hitter leading off...how many solo homers soriano have this year?

he's benefitting greatly from 7/8 hitters who can actually hit, but i've seen a lotta solo shots outta the guy.

18 of 29 are the solo variety...62%

the rest of the team

Derrek: 15 of 20 75%

Edmonds: 14 of 19 73% (includes his 1 Padre HR)

DeRosa: 12 of 21 57%

Soto: 12 of 23 52%

Aramis: 11 of 27 41%

so maybe one or two more home runs with men on, but you're probably going to give more AB's to a worse hitter. 

thnx

fwiw, career % is 66.7 of Soriano's home runs are of the solo variety

Bonds: 59.8%

Pujols: 52.2%

Derrek Lee: 62.2%

Aramis: 51% (btw his #1 BR.com comparable for some reason)

Sosa: 53.9%

to this study correctly, you'd have to look at power hitters with similar contact rates

Like I said, he's not hitting now. You can say it's slump. I call it coming back down to earth. He also hits into tons of double plays. I would much rather he struck out more with soriano on first and lee and ramirez coming up.

When I argue with someone like you in politics, I note that one argue's only what is convienant for them.

Chad, you are bull headed, and never sway. When stats back you up. You use them. When stats don't support you, you don't change your opinion, you just ignore the stats.

You are making the absolute and complete opposite argument with Theriot as you did with Z and why you thought he should start Game 1.

i'm not really using stats. i'm actually asking you to ignore stats.

most retarded comment ever by you, Chad.

bullshit on 2 counts:

1. with his OBP and lack of slg, you would hope that he ran the bases well as so he could score more easily. But he can't. He runs into so many outs with his bad base running that it should count against his OBP.

2. that isn't even in the same area code of stupid bullshit i have stated here.

it lacks a basic understanding of the most important offensive aspect of baseball, not making outs. His CS should count and by my back of the envelope calculations shows to be about an OBP of .361. He's maybe thrown out 3-5 times on questionable other baserunning decisions and you could lower that a bit more. But then you have to add in SB's and extra bases he takes to his SLG. I would venture a pretty solid guess that it all evens out.

Hell, I'm not in love with the guy. I would love for the Cubs to go after Furcal, but your arguing points are somewhere between insane and retarded.

"it lacks a basic understanding of the most important offensive aspect of baseball, not making outs"

I'm so tired of this. There is more to baseball that OBP. If there wasn't, then the team that led the majors in OBP would win the world series. Almost never happens.

So, you say, that you are talking about offense. Well there is more to the entire game than offense. There is defense too. I have said openly that I would take a weaker offensive player at short if it meant that we had a better glove. What you fail to understand is that guys like Cesar Izturis still has a job in major league baseball.

And I hate the 'not making outs' crap anyway. Many times an out is a great outcome. You think that the mets would have taken an out producing run last night?

Joe Morgan has found an ally! Hello productive outs!

Except... Joe Morgan probably thinks that Ryan Theriot is good.

There are 16 teams in the National League. The shortstop with the most games played for each team yields the following list: Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, Jeff Keppinger, Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Angel Berroa, J.J. Hardy, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Jack Wilson, Khalil Greene, Omar Vizquel, Cesar Izturis, Christian Guzman.

Of those, the following are clearly better offensive players: Drew, Ramirez, Hardy, Reyes, and Rollins (even though he is having a down year). Guzman is having an awesome year and he has to go ahead of Theriot as well. Tejada and Escobar are right on par with Theriot offensively. Tejada has more pop but actually has a lower OPS than Theriot thanks to an atrocious OBP. Again, Escobar has more power, but Theriot beats him in virtually every other category. The rest are clearly worse than Theriot offensively. Wilson is hitting just .273, Keppinger, Izturis, and Tulowitzki are hitting in the .260s, Berroa is at .235, Vizquel is hitting an atrocious .215 only better by Greene’s .213 BA. So of the primary shortstops in the National League, 5 are better, 2 even, and 7 worse offensively.

Defensively, we can say for certain that Tejada, Escobar, Izturis, Greene, Tulowitzki, Wilson, Vizquel, Berroa, and Rollins are all better than Theriot. Keppinger has a better Fielding Percentage but a lower Zone Rating, Guzman has a higher ZR but a lower FP. Hardy is about equal in both counts. While they may look smoother or have stronger arms, all three are statistically about even with Theriot. Reyes actually has a lower FP and ZR than Theriot. Ramirez has more range, but has terrible hands and his low fielding percentage has spurred talks of moving him to the outfield. And Drew has put up equivalent or worse numbers than Theriot across the board. These three appear to be worse than Theriot defensively. So of the primary shortstops in the National League, 9 are better, 3 are even, and 3 worse defensively.

This is obviously a quick, subjective swipe at comparison, but in the end we see that Rollins is the only one who is clearly better both offensively and defensively. Obviously the argument can be made that the offensive advantages of someone like Ramirez more than make up for any advantage Theriot may have over him defensively. Despite my fondness for Theriot, one would be stupid to say they’d rather have him over Hanley. But what I think this shows is that Theriot is somewhat of a strange player these days. Most shortstops either fall into one of two categories. They are either Izturis-Jack Wilson types where they hit very little but are slick fielding, or they are fall into the Reyes, Ramirez, Hardy mode of stellar athletes who can handle shortstop sufficiently and hit the hell out of the ball. Theriot falls into the middle and so we don’t really know what to do with him. He doesn’t have great range or a strong arm, but yet makes most of the plays he needs to make. He doesn’t hit for power at all, but manages bat .300 and to get on base over 38% of the time. He is essentially average. There are a handful of guys I’d take in a heartbeat over him, but I’d sure has hell want Theriot over someone like Greene or an aging Vizquel. But although just an average big league shortstop, he stays healthy, he can run, he can bunt, he can take pitches and draw a walk, he makes contact, he is comfortably batting up or down in the lineup, he appears to be a good teammate and does whatever Lou asks of him. He is also incredibly cheap. Considering the Cubs have WELL-above average players at almost every other position, having an average shortstop making 428K this year is a huge advantage for the team. But of course, this is all just my opinion.

And Cedeno is retarded. He is not average. He is one of the top retards at his position.

I think Hardy has something like 70 plays out of his zone though, I think that's a huge advantage in his defense as his other numbers are comparable.

Ronny Cedeno is baseball retarded.

He slides into first.
Double clutches on just about every throw.
Caught stealing on a walk.
Swings at first pitch after previous batter all walked.

He's dumb.

My money is on him being involved in a play that will cost the Cubs the playoffs. God forbid it happens.

A couple weeks ago you could have substituted the word "Cubs" for the word "Mets" and most everyone here would've agreed with you.

The Riot is six for his last nine. Maybe he's turned it around.

heh...

Meanwhile, defending a comfortable 600-0 lead in the top of ninth, the
Mets decided to rest up Carlos Voltron by moving him to the outfield
and replacing him with reliever Aaron Heilman, who lost the lead and
eventually the game after giving up 618 runs to close the inning.

think they needed to actually photoshop together the Carlos Voltron instead of using the pic from the old show.

(use the link in the Upcoming Games block on the right)...

shows rain tonight, some showers around 7pm local time and hitting hard around 10 through the night.

Maybe they'll get 5 in...which would be perfect for Rich Harden.

If they do have to make this up Monday, Cubs should just send the scrubs on the plane trip to NY and let the regulars go home from Milwaukee.

Ronny Cedeno is to baseball IQ what Moises Alou is to baserunning.

Lou put Samardzija in the position he did last night not to test him, but to prepare him. Last night's game was essentially meaningless to the Cubs, but the moment was "un-reproducible" in practice as far as tension, crowd, and situation. Either Samardzija was going to succeed, which is good; or he was going to (hopefully) learn something about what to do or what not to do next time.

maybe he did, but I think 1st/3rd 0 outs was enough of a test...he didn't need to add loading the bases and I don't really think his motivation was to see if Samardzija would not walk the batter. Getting out of the jam should have been enough. He didn't need to add an extra degree of difficulty.

Rob,

It was a weird move on Piniella's part, but, like you, I also suspect it was some kind of training ground to see how Samardzija fared. Clearly, walking Martinez was not the outcome we all wanted, but I think your evaluation of Samardzija's performance is too harsh. Keep in mind:

1. He didn't fall apart after the Martinez walk.

2. He kept the game TIED by retiring a MUCH better hitter in Jose Reyes (right after walking in a run).

I'd call these results inconclusive, but I'm also willing to be encouraged by them, if aynthing, for the sake of the experience Samardzija went through.

And just for fun-- did anyone doubt that we'd win this game when it was tied? The Mets' bullpen implosion is just a matter of counting down to the fatal moment in each game. If we're paired against them for the playoffs, I'm fucking overjoyed.

rock on,

ROMERO

he didn't hold the lead and that was the real test.  As I just mentioned in a previous comment, I don't think Lou needed to add a degree of difficulty to it.

Like I said remember the days not long ago, of not scoring a guy from third with nobody out with the Cubs.

Like I said remember the days not long ago, of not scoring a guy from third with nobody out with the Cubs.

lou loading the bases for a force is nothing new or surprising, imo.

lineup construction aside, what he's been doing lately looks a lot like what he does anyway.

It's tough to extole the alleged virtues of Cedeno and then criticize The Riot's baserunning....Cedeno is a bonehead on the bases.

According to ESPN 1000 and Suntimes. com-
Lou said Dempster will start game 1.

http://www.intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current....

radar looks like rain in Philly before NYC

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