Cubs "Hits" Of The Week (For the Week of 4/21 through 4/27)

Quotation marks make their first appearance in the Hits of the Week headline since this week's list includes two walks.

So here they are, the five, that is, offensive events...that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):

#5 Big Hit:
Tuesday, v. the Mets, 4th inning-- With the bases loaded and two out and the Cubs already leading 1-0, Reed Johnson drives a single to left field, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco, and the Cubs' margin is three, which, on a day when the Mets can't seem to get an important hit, is more than margin enough. WPA .151

#4 Big Hit:
Thursday, v. Colorado, 8th inning-- The Cubs are down a run to Aaron Cook with two men aboard and nobody out, when pinch-hitter Daryle Ward works Cook for a walk to load the bases. (The promising inning will only produce one run and a tie, which the Rox will break in the last of the 8th). WPA .155

#3 Big Hit:
Friday, v.Washington, 8th inning -- In the Cubs' first game at new Nationals Park, Matt Murton, suffering from that uncomfortable allergy to base hits, is sent in to bat with the bases loaded, one out, and the Cubs down a run. Murton takes a walk and ties the game...which Washington catcher Wil Nieves will eventually untie with his game-winning home run one inning later. WPA .196

#2 Big Hit:
Wednesday, v. Colorado, 10th inning -- This, boys and girls, is what is meant by clutch. After Kerry Wood failed to protect a one-run lead in the last of the ninth inning, and after Reed Johnson failed to bring in the lead runner from second with one out in the top of the tenth, Theriot punches a run-scoring single to right field, scoring Mike Fontenot and giving the Cubs a second one-run lead, a lead which Carlos Marmol does not fail to protect. WPA .351

#1 Big Hit:
Wednesay, v. Colorado, 9th inning -- Wednesday's ninth and tenth innings were a swell couple of frames for Win Probabilty Added. Kerry Wood wouldn't have had a one-run lead to not protect and Ryan Theriot wouldn't have had a chance to plate the game-winning run were it not for the fact that in the top of the ninth, with the Cubs trailing 5-4, Aramis Ramirez lofted a two-run homer into the left field stands at Coors Field, scoring Felix Pie, giving the Cubs a brief 6-5 advantage, and knocking the Rockies' Manny Corpas right out of the Colorado closer's job. (This is what is meant by really clutch.) WPA .640

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Anyone else feel that just maybe Steve Rosenbloom might be blowing things a little out of proportion when he recommends that Lou should start putting the pitcher batting 8th behind Soto in the lineup? He acts as if Soto is some sort of Rob Bowen type.... He has had two bad games in a row. Don't get me wrong - they were pretty ugly, but the guy is still hitting over .300, and is ranked 3rd among rookies...

the NL-pitcher-8th thing is gaining a stupid amount of steam...2 teams already doing it and the national media is picking up on it more and more.

that's great stuff. soto's not doing well so let's put a guy who hits worse and with less power in his slot. brilliant. that guy should be damn good at getting a 2-3 run 450ft. bunt down with the 5/6/7 guys on base.

if soto needs protection so badly move HIS horrible hitting ass up to the 7 slot and let someone more selective handle the pitch-around slot. the pitch-around slot isn't going anywhere even if you move it up earlier.

it's gaining a "stupid amount of steam" probably because it's pretty solid statstical theory that is doing pretty well in practice. Pretty much most lineup analysis says put your worst hitter in the 8th spot.

Granted it goes against all things holy in baseball and it's possible dogs and cats will start living together soon, but it certainly hasn't done anything to hurt the two clubs employing it currently.  

the most important thing about these analysises i have issue with is most treat the #8 slot as if its the same as the #9 or #7 or #1 slots...

there is probably no greater "generalized" way to go about attacking 1 slot vs. another as there is the pitcher's slot vs. the batter directly before the pitcher.

the whole idea of getting the out over with by moving the slot up earlier and giving protection to your former weak hitter by giving him security later doesn't really do it for me.

i see the whole thing as a way to correct an issue with certain players, but i believe if you want to give that guy protection you put someone else in the 8 slot and move your troubled guy to the 7 slot if they really need that protection. a big problem for most teams is their 7 and 8 slot hitters are usually interchangle suck. i dont see sticking an even worse player higher up being an efficient way to tackle the issue, though.

besides, this is the NL...the double switch league...a pitcher's slot is the most mobile of all lineup slots.

Aren't we talking about a difference of 4 or 5 runs a year at most? I mean, that's half a win and those could be game-winning runs, sure. And I'm all in favor of maximizing runs. But I think this is one time where we don't have enough evidence to convict or acquit.

That is, batting your worst hitter 8th may be better on paper, but what about the stigma on the 9th hitter? Does his performance wane by more than the 4 or 5 runs a year in the new lineup? Can psychological factors affect his hitting that way?

Or, once everyone is hitting this way, does that stigma simply disappear--and we get his normal production?

I'm really not the best person to make this argument, given that I'm mostly a believer in the story the numbers tell. But for whatever reason, I'm curious about the psychological factor on this decision. Probably because I'm biased against it.

Probably because I can't stand Tony Larussa.

a lot of criticism points to it being a wash either way...

too many loose studies that totally ignore the impact of a hitter batting before a pitcher show a slight edge to batting the pitcher 8th. too many see it as a static that is influenced solely by batting position, not who's before or after you.

you pretty much trade off run production from your 5/6/7 hitters in exchange for giving top of the lineup guys more rbi chances.

on a cubs-08 specific level there's those that would welcome more rbi chances for soriano...there's also those who question why the guy who hits 30hr/40doubles with low ob% is batting first because he was a 30sb guy 2 seasons and 2 leg injuries ago who some believe has a mental block outside of the 1 slot...

all in all its considered a 'wash' by most observers...

The key point in all of this is that Rosenbloom is a douchebag.

Yeah, but what really seems silly is that his assertion that Soto is not hitting well is based on two games. Before that, if I recall correctly, Soto was on a tear.

Kryptonite sombrero? 5 is platinum.

I was reading over at Desipio and came across this info, prob old news by now...

A lot of us couldn’t figure out why Lou would pinch run for Derrek Lee with one out in a one run game on Wednesday night in Denver. Felix didn’t try to steal second, so why was he in? Hell, Lee could have jogged around the bases on E-ramis’ homer as well as Felix did. Lou explained that Rockies pitcher Manny Corpas tries to pitch with a slide step when there’s a basestealer on, and not only does Manny struggle with it, but he can’t throw his slider very well without his normal stride. Felix went in, Manny went to the slide step, E-ramis sat on the fastball and homered. How cool is that?

I think that is pretty cool. A manager who knows what the hell is going on.

Also Pie is hitting like .400 since Lou benched him and started working on his swing.

Just more things Dusty's fat ass couldnt be bothered to deal with or even know. Dusty managed on "instincts" damn it.

Wow -- that's awesome. Bob Brenley was basically berating Lou for not having Pie steal, as was I.

Berg, 23, struck out 10 batters and walked 11 in 28 1/3 innings, going six innings or more in three of his five starts this season. Opponents batted .264 against Berg.

“His record is not indicative of how he’s pitched here,” Tennessee pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn said of Berg. “He’s throwing the ball well and he has matured a lot as a person.”

Freel is not happy. Seems Dusty's loyalty to Patterson is partly to blame.

We never saw this coming.... Ha!

well to be fair, Corey won't wilt under the April heat...


This will shock you all:

I believe in having the pitcher bat 8th.

I don't have anything against it if there's a good reason to bat him eighth.

Jake Fox hitting 176/195/400
Fuld has only played in 6 games all year
Josh Kroeger hitting 292/363/473 in AAA
Gallagher with a 1.93 ERA, 25 K, 23.1 IP, 5 BB
Ascanio 2.03 ERA, Cotts 2.08 ERA, Holliman 4.12 ERA with 14 K, 9 BB and 19.2 IP

Doug Deeds 298/355/561 (new guy in the Monroe deal)
Colvin 250/317/424 24 K, 7 BB in 92 AB
Ryan Harvey 169/236/323 (start working on your breaking pitches)
Samardzija 3.12 ERA, 14 K, 12 BB, 26 IP
Veal 2.38 ERA, 17 K, 14 BB, 22.2 IP
Greg Reinhard 1.32 ERA, 16 K, 3 BB, 13.1 IP

Tony Thomas 274/337/386
Welington Castillo 286/314/347
Alessandro Maestri 1.31 ERA, 15 K, 6 BB, 20.2 IP
Jose Ceda 4.05 ERA, 24 K, 10 BB, 20 IP

Vitters 214/214/429 (been out 5 days w/ a hand injury though)
Kyler Burke 227/292/303

Iowa 11-11
Tennessee 9-15
Daytona 14-10
Peoria 8-15

hasn't been pretty so far in the minors

...and Galagher was cruising along for about 4 innings last night when the wheels came off. ERA now over 3.00

If Gallagher can keep up that 5:1 K:BB ratio he'll be a superstar. Likely to drop off a bit, and even more so when he eventually gets called up, but 3:1 would still be fantastic.

From the "Worse Move Than Matt Morris" Department:

"San Francisco moved $126 million ace Barry Zito into the bullpen on Monday, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney."

Brian Sabean has a job how, exactly?

Wow. You can point the finger at Sabean if you want, but there were several other teams (at least four) willing to shell out big bucks for Zito. If I remember correctly, he had a rough start last year, too. Maybe he's just a slow starter.

But still, that's a lot of money tied up in a mop-up guy. Blech.

Zito's strongest selling point was that he hadn't missed a single start since he broke into the league. Not taking advantage of his health and moving him to the bullpen where he's not nearly as likely to work out his struggles as if he stayed in the rotation, is idiotic. There's a reason why a team like the Giants has the luxury to keep sending struggling pitchers to the mound every five days: they're not contenders.

Well, Sabean can cheer up, they'll only have $102 mil left by the end of the season, and that even includes the $7 mil buyout for 2014 (assuming Zito doesn't opt out of that year; who knows, he has 5 years in the Giants pen to turn it around).

This could be the worst FA signing ever. Even Hampton, you can chalk it up to injury, and he did have a couple decent years in there.

I'm embarassed to say I was in favor of the Cubs signing Zito (although knowing he would stay on the west coast in all likelihood). Free agency is a crapshoot at best, and if you get 2 out of 3, or 3 out of 4 decent years you're lucky. Trades and farm system development is a safer bet if you can.

by the waiver deadline. The Mets need another arm and dont have the prospects to get a top guy, so they will just buy half of his contract and give up a marginal prospect or two and hope Peterson can rebulid him like he did once before.

I agree completely, assuming you mean the Tokyo Metropolitans or the Independent Frontier League Metropolitans.

Unless he learns a damn good knuckleball, Zito is finished.

Whatever Zito's problems are, they haven't just cropped up recently. Here's his ERA+ for his career:

2001: 125
2002: 158 <-- Cy Young year
2003: 134
2004: 101
2005: 113
2006: 116
2007: 98
2008: 54

Strikeout totals for the same period:

2001: 205
2002: 182
2003: 146
2004: 163
2005: 171
2006: 151
2007: 131

He's been on a steady decline for his entire career. The fact that he started from such a high spot has masked it somewhat, but he's been league-average or just over for the last four years.

Plus his walk rate has steadily risen on top of that. Not a good sign when you are supposed to be switching to the weaker offensive league.

zito's main issue is a loss in velocity and his "table dropping" curve has straightened out. guy's never been a fireballer, but he's struggling to his mid-80s much less consistant high-80s/low-90s. he has a change, but when you're throwing a 85mph fastball a crappy change isn't gonna fool too many (as if his change ever was good).

lefties are seeing him well and his stuff is more junk than deception.

so he's basically a soft tossing lefty without deception or control.


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  • 3ip 0h 0bb 3k for t.wood...nice.

    28 pitches.

    wonder if they'll let him go another.

    4ip 0h 0bb 4k...and probably done f'real this time. 43 pitches and in line for the win.

    crunch 17 min 54 sec ago view
  • And stay off the keyboard too

    Eric S 26 min 40 sec ago view
  • Depends how long he'd be gone but if not too long I would assume they'll use Wood or Cahill and limit them to 4 or 5 innings and call up a reliever to use in the bullpen.

    johann 44 min 58 sec ago view
  • hopefully it's a carlos-zambrano-special and he just needs to drink more water and less coffee+redbull before starts.

    crunch 50 min 40 sec ago view
  • Assuming Hammel needs some DL time for the hammy, who do the Cubs call up: Glasnow or Taillon? Too many starting pitching prospects at Iowa to choose from.

    Eric S 53 min 42 sec ago view
  • "cramping in right hamstring" according to the booth.

    btw, it was his left hamstring that was injured last year.

    crunch 55 min 7 sec ago view
  • hammel is injured and done..."leg cramp" or some other leg issue...was down behind the mound coming back from commercial and seemed to have injured himself warming up on the mound between innings.

    crunch 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • heyward with a bit of starlin castro're great D dude, but you can't range 200ft in all directions even if you're playing CF.

    that said, he almost had it...though zobrist or baez should have had it if heyward wasn't coming on at 100mph.

    hammel is quite wild today even if he got the first 2 outs on Ks that were result of swinging through stuff not in the zone.

    crunch 2 hours 58 sec ago view
  • she did fine, fwiw.

    bombs were bursting in the air...ramparts were watched...all that stuff.

    zoobrest kissed her afterwards and got about 20lbs of the 100lbs of makeup she was wearing on him.

    crunch 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • Cards still haven't been punished for hacking, "unlikely" to happen before June draft.

    CubbyBlue 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • i'd settle for him knocking it out the park...not settle, prefer...yeah.

    crunch 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • I'm sure she'll knock it out of the park.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 23 min ago view
  • Nice article on Willson Contreras in the DesMoines Register

    Cubster 7 hours 44 min ago view
  • Julianna Zobrist will sing national anthem (Memorial Day) at Wrigley today.

    Tribune interviews her...

    Cubster 7 hours 48 min ago view
  • Any word on Neil Ramirez?? Today is his 10th day where they have had to have done something with him, or are they not count today because it is a holiday??

    cubbies.4ever 9 hours 35 min ago view
  • if they dont win at least 130 games this season they can pack it all up, turn wrigley into a concert venue, and move the damn team to san jose.


    crunch 19 hours 7 min ago view