Damn You Cubs
The Cubs win two of three over the weekend,and are going the wrong way in terms of earning a better draft pick. There's some blame for this that can fall on Q-Ball, who says he'll mostly play the veterans and try to win as much as he can, but I expect the latter from any manager or team, and considering the way the Cubs played most of the year, the former is probably a better environment for the Cubs to lose some games.
I watched about two innings of last night's game and I finally got to see a Bryan LaHair at-bat. You hate to read too much into these things, but he did seem to have a nice, compact swing and obviously he has some power in that bat. The Cubs certainly shouldn't be passing up on Pujols or Fielders for him, but he might deserve a tryout in left field during spring training with Tyler Colvin. Oh you say, we have Alfonso Soriano there for the next year, which I say, Soriano should be nothing more than the short side of a platoon. I presume as well, and it could be a faulty presumption, that LaHair doesn't have the arm for right that anyone would be willing to put out there. At worst, he certainly deserves a look at a bench spot.
Otherwise, news is light around Cubsville. Daytona won the Florida State League Championship by sweeping the St. Lucie Mets. It was their first championship since 2008. Tennessee swept their first round series and await tonight's winner between Birmingham (White Sox affiliate) and Mobile (DBacks affiliate). It's Tennesee's third straight trip to the finals, losing the last two to Jacksonville (Marlins affiliate).
Baseball Prospectus and ESPN Insider take a look at what the Cubs could do in 2012. Goldstein talks about what no one with the Cubs or many fans want to hear. Rebuilding with the farm system is great and all, if there's quality there to rebuild with.
The Cubs have a strange minor league system. It's more deep than star-studded, with plenty of potential big leaguers but few who can actually help turn around a moribund franchise. The most likely player to help in 2012 is center fielder Brett Jackson, the club's 2009 first-round pick who hit .274 with 20 home runs in 23 stolen bases in 115 games split between Double- and Triple-A. He'll fight for a job next spring and likely have one by midseason, and although he's an outstanding athlete with above-average power and speed, his alarming strikeout rate (138 in 431 at-bats this year) prevents scouts from seeing him as a true impact player in the big leagues. (Kevin Goldstein)
Cubs venture into Dustyville tonight with Rodrigo Lopez getting the start.
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.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.