Cubs Hits Of The Week (For The Week Ending 4/5)

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning this week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):

#5 Big Hit:
Saturday v. Houston, 3rd inning--Derrek Lee cracks a solo home run off Roy Oswalt to tie the Astros, 2-2. Lee would later employ his game-tying skills to more good use. (See #4 Big Hit.) WPA .120

#4 Big Hit:
Saturday v. Houston, 7th inning--Lee collects his fourth hit of the day, a single to plate Mike Fontenot and erase the 5-3 deficit the Cubs faced at the beginning of the seventh inning. WPA .200

#3 Big Hit:
Friday v. Houston, 7th inning--Geovany Soto had only three hits in the season's opening week, but this two-out, two-run single against Astros starter Chris Sampson got the Cubs on the board and even with the visitors at 2-2. WPA .294

#2 Big Hit:
Saturday v. Houston, 7th inning--With 40,000 people chanting his name, Kosuke Fukudome worked the count full against the Astros' Wesley Wright, then pounded a two-out, tie-breaking double into left field. This could have been the defining moment of Fukudome's first week as a Chicago Cub, if it wasn't for what happened five days earlier... WPA .304

#1 Big Hit:
Monday v. Milwaukee, 9th inning--The Cubs were down to their final three outs when Fukudome launched a 3-1 pitch from Eric Gagne into the right-center field bleachers, sending the Opening Day matchup into extra innings. WPA .454

Through Saturday, Fukudome led all of MLB with a personal WPA of .98. Alfonso Soriano (-.55), Ryan Theriot (-.43), and Felix Pie (-.33) were all down near the bottom.

Update: Reader big_lowitzki points out that Derrek Lee's seventh-inning homer on Sunday (WPA .217) would occupy the fourth slot on the list, but the list is based on games through Saturday only. Will Lee's bomb make it into next week's list? Be sure to return to this space next Sunday to find out! (I believe the technical name for this is a "tease.")


You are missing Lee's home run yesterday, which would have fit in at #4.

At the time I wrote this, those numbers weren't up yet (thus the date designation in the headline), but yes, you're right. A great week for Derrek Lee and seventh-inning Cub rallies.

Great job by Big Z this week!! 2 outstanding pitching performances (now start drinking water and no caffeine and we will be all set!). If we can get Z to step up and pitch like a true #1, this team could be looking at 90 wins. Besides K-Fuk, he has been the Cub giving me the best hope for the rest of the season. Now we just need Pie, Theriot, and Soto to step up and actually start playing like real MLB players.

That throw from Fukudome yesterday to home plate was beautiful. He would have easily had Backe at home, but Backe stopped.

Just wanted to say - really like the schedule on the sidebar with ESPN links, as well as the expanded TCR approved section. Well done.

I agree. This new site just keeps getting better and better.

Yeah but the writers on this new site are still not as good as the writers on the old site.

I couldn't agree more. (All site design kudos should be directed to Rob G., who, by learning how to exist without sleep, has been able to improve the design on an almost constant basis.)

Its nice to see 2 OFer's with strong accurate arms. Soriano nails a guy at home to save a run and if Jaque Jones was in RF Backe would have gone and probably made it home. Instead its Fukudome with a perfect strike to the plate and makes the Astro's think twice.

Thats the kind of crap that doesn't show up in boxscores with Fukudome and why he is in Chicago.

Wood is the dominate closer we have needed for years. Sure he is gonna have his bad games but he already makes it look easy compared to Dempster.

And it sure helps a lot to have a Marmol in the wings just in case Woody needs backup.

Good Point MikeC! When Pie is playing too we really have 3 very good throwing OF's. RF especially is a big upgrade from last year with Floyd/Murton/JJ/Wardasauraus roaming out there.

As for Wood it is nice to see him rebound from his horrendous first outing, but the biggest thing with me is not can he do the job, as I think he will be an adequate closer, it is can he stay healthy as we are now again counting on him.

Levine said on ESPN 1000 today, Marmol will close today if needed.

There is nothing wrong with counting on Wood, so long as you have an adequate back up.

Well, I would argue there is something wrong counting on Wood with his vast injury background. And while we do hav e aback up plan of likely moving Marmol into the closer role, then what happens with Marmol's setup role? There will be a HUGE dropoff as to whoever takes that slot. If Wood stays healthy he will be fine as a closer, but that is a BIG "if", and if he does go down, it will hurt the team overall, no question.

Name another team that has the bullpen depth that the Cubs have, especially with the righties.

Most teams would LOVE to have a bullpen that consisted of:

b_l: I'm not so sure "most teams would LOVE" to have Howry given (a) his salary and (b) his inability to get anyone out the first two months of the season.

Well... first of all, he pitches well enough to deserve his salary.

Second, I never said teams would love to have individual players. I said teams would love to have that bullpen.

If Marmol ends up having to move into the closer role, then Wuertz will do a great job taking over his set up role with no dropoff in production.

So we should trade for a closer Manny on the possibility of Wood getting injured?

Any injury to a star player hurts the team, duh.

"So we should trade for a closer Manny on the possibility of Wood getting injured?"

No, I just wouldn't have resigned Wood as I personally didn't feel we would have been able to count on him. He very well might stay healthy and have a very good year as a closer. I truly hope so, but I wouldn't bet on it that is for sure.

Ok, so if you count of Wood you might need to replace him if he gets hurt. If you don't count on Wood you MUST replace him. Given his salary (only $1.8 million), you are not going to be able to get a replacement player close to the production that Wood could give you if healthy. Seems like a pretty good gamble to me.

Ron Richardson:
"Ok, so if you count of Wood you might need to replace him if he gets hurt. If you don't count on Wood you MUST replace him."

Or you could have done nothing and left the guy you signed as a closer there.

Using that logic, if Wood gets hurt you can always move Dempster back to the closer.

The problem in both cases is that Dempster doesn't want to be a closer.

Rob Richardson:
"The problem in both cases is that Dempster doesn't want to be a closer."

Well, then he shouldn't have signed a 3 year contract with the Cubs to be the closer at the end of the 2005 season. he should have looked for a team who was willing to have him start right away.

I am not sure what Dempster's contract has to do with Wood being the closer, but wasn't Dempster coming off of Tommy John surgery when the Cubs signed him? Maybe he was looking for a team that would be willing to give him a shot at starting when he had fully rehabed. Kind of like John Smoltz.

Who were you going to sign as closer? Did you see Cordero's contract? I'll took Wood.

"Who were you going to sign as closer?"

I would not have signed a closer. I would have left Dempster there.

But Dempster sucks....Wood is better.

I would have signed Wood and made Marmol the closer.

Wood could set up.

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.