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 hits...er, 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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In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.