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.")

Comments

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:
Wood
Marmol
Howry
Wuertz
Hart
Lieber
Eyre/Tiggy

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.

MikeC:
"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.

LNL:
"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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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 4 hours 16 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 13 hours 57 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 16 hours 55 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 17 hours 7 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 17 hours 16 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 17 hours 22 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 17 hours 40 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 18 hours 16 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 18 hours 34 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 18 hours 36 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 18 hours 53 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 19 hours 1 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 19 hours 56 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 20 hours 14 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 20 hours 19 min ago view