From this morning's Tribune and Steve Rosenbloom...
If you're rating the last 10 games for each team, the Sox get more style points than the Cubs. Sure, the Cubs went 8-2 while the Sox went 7-3, but the Sox did that on the West Coast, while the Cubs were at home.
Sure, the Cubs played better, won more games, faced teams with a higher combined winning percentage (.488 to .455) and outscored their opponents by a wider margin (+27 to +13), but the White Sox did it while they were sleeping with their road groupies and the Cubs players got to sleep in their own beds. That makes all the difference in the world...because this is the NBA all of a sudden.
The Sox also did it against the one good team that either team
played, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of
California of the United States of the Northern Hemisphere of Earth,
Haha, see what Steve did there? He took a joke that's three years old and recycled it.
coming back in the last two games to get a split.
Wow, the White Sox split a four-game series on the road versus a good team that just got back its best starter for that series and is still missing Kelvim Escobar, Howie Kendrick and Chone Figgins. That's incredible work there by the White Sox. I mean they managed to play .500 baseball versus a depleted team. Print up the playoff tickets for winning 5 of 6 against two teams with winning percentages at or below .400.
To be fair, The Cubs did play against some lightweights in the last series, the just-below .500 Pirates, the woeful Padres and the Diamondbacks, who just happen to have the best record in baseball.
Now, you can tell me that the Cubs' first opponent on this
homestand, Arizona, is a first-place team, and I'll tell you that the
Diamondbacks play like a last-place team. Like the last-place Padres,
the Cubs' second opponent, for instance. Specifically, the D-Backs play
like slugs outside of the NL Worst.
Haha, NL Worst? Get it? That's a little word play there by Rosenbloom because the Diamondbacks and Padres play in the NL West. See what he did there? And that's why Rosenbloom gets paid the big newpapers dollars.
It's also one of the reasons the newspaper business is crumbling...terrible writing and poor research.
The Diamonbacks have played the second softest schedule in the majors, but Rosenbloom didn't want to seem to bother researching that the White Sox have played a pretty soft schedules themselves. Specifically, the 6th easiest in the majors. BUT THEY MANAGED A SPLIT versus the Angels. Great work, "Hawk" Harrelson is appalled by that level of homerism.
Here's the deal: Against NL Central and NL East teams, Arizona and
San Diego each have won a measly six games. San Diego beats up its own
division, but nobody out west can win outside of its own sandbox.
Except the Dodgers who are 10-10 versus the rest of the NL. And the Diamonbacks were still a respectable 6-7 versus the rest of the NL before the Cubs series. And what about the +52 run differential the Snakes are sporting, 2nd best to the Cubs? But they've beat the crap out of the crappy teams in their division, clearly they're an inferior team.
I guess Rosebloom's article basically boils down to whether a four-game
road split versus the Angels is more impressive than a three-game home sweep
versus the Diamondbacks. And of course it's not. The Diamondbacks are ahead of the Angels in ESPN's RPI Index and way ahead of them in BP's adjusted standings (look for the W3 and L3 numbers). The Angels are just a +6 in run differential compared to the Snakes at +52. The Angels have been fighting injuries all season, while the Diamonbacks were just missing Doug Davis and I guess Chad Tracy, if he even counts.
And would this be a good time to mention the AL Central that Rosenbloom's beloved White Sox are riding on top of? Wait, that's not nearly as clever as NL Worst, and I'd really like a newspaper writing job one of these days. Let's see what I can come up with here...AL Entrail. See, it rhymes with Central and it's considered disgusting. Damn, that's awesome...AL Entrail it is. I can't wait to write for the Trib.
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.