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.")
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible