Draft Pick Standings Update
The Cubs have been playing out the string since about May...maybe June, but they can 'eff with the Pirates and Cardinals playoff jockeying this week. More importantly though, they're trying to at the very least maintain the 4th pick in the draft. The Astros clinched the #1 spot for the third year running yesterday and Miami and the White Sox should wrap up the #2 spot here by mid-week with a 4.5 game lead over the White Sox, who are 3.5 ahead of the Cubs. The Cubs could very well drop to the 5th spot in the draft as they own just a half game lead over the Twins, although the Cubs do own the tiebreaker against both the Twins and White Sox. Mathematically they could drop farther than the 5th spot, but that seems unlikely at this point (full draft pick standings in the left sidebar).
Remaining schedules for the candidates after the break...
White Sox (7) - vs. Toronto, 2 @ Clevelenad, 4 vs. Kansas City
Cubs (6) - 3 vs. Pittsburgh, 3 @ St. Louis
Twins (7) - 3 vs. Detroit, 4 vs. Cleveland
Royals could be eliminated by the weekend as they stand 3.5 back at the moment from a wild card spot and the Tigers could have the division wrapped up as early as tonight. Tigers are 3.5 back of the Red Sox for home field and 2 back of the A's for any home field considerations, but they'll certainly be making their best effort for the bulk of the Twins series you would think.
The AL Wild Card and NL Central/Wild Card races should last through the bulk of the weekend.
Cubs will throw Samardzija against Morton tonight, then Rusin vs. Cole followed by Arrieta vs Liriano. Then they have a day off Thursday and T. Wood vs. Lynn, E. Jackson vs Kelly and Samardzija vs Wainwright to finish the season, although they'll certainly skip Wainwright if the game proves meaningless in the standings or they know they'll need him for the wild card game.
There's not much in the statistical mile markers to watch for either this week, Rizzo and Schierholtz will battle for the team home run title (22 vs 21 at the moment). Despite the off-year, Castro will lead the team in hits (155 at the moment) and if he can manage a stolen base, tie the departed Alfonso Soriano for the team lead there, 2 will give it to Castro outright. Rizzo will lead the team in runs (70), doubles (39), walks (74), on-base percentage (.323 amongst those with enough plate appearances) and potentially home runs. Schierholtz will take the batting average (.252) and slugging percentage crowns(.475).
On the pitching side, Travis Wood and Samardzija will both get a chance at 10 wins this week, Samardzija will need to win both his starts and Wood his sole opportunity. Regardless, both will end up with below .500 win-loss records, not as meaningful as it's just ugly to look at. Samardzija will of course take the strikeout crown for the team and is 4th in the NL overall at 203. He won't catch up to Kershaw(224) for the league lead, but he has a legit shot at the #2 spot...Cliff Lee(209) and Burnett(203) should have just one more start this week and Wainwright(209) may just have one more start.
Anyway, sort of a can't lose week this week for the Cubs, they win and they screw with their division rivals, they lose and they do well in the draft.
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).