ABH - Anybody But Hamels

I think I'm taking the 2008 Cubs for granted. I headed to my car for my commute home last night just as the Phillies were scoring three runs in the sixth. And even with Cole Hamels carving up the lineup, I never thought we were out of it. I tuned into XM radio by that point and it had Pat and Ron going and Pat was carrying on that the Phils bullpen has been worked hard lately. If the Cubs could just work up  that pitch count up on Hamels. If he could go eight, the Phils would just go to Brad Lidge which probably wouldn't have done the Cubs much good considering he's a perfect 31 for 31 in save opportunities. The key was to get into the pen before that. After seven, Hamels was up to 108 pitches but due up third, and Charlie Manuel obliged by pinch hitting for him.

Boom. Mike Fontenot goes yard on Ryan Madson. As I heard Bob Brenly say on the replay, "ABH - Anybody but Hamels".

Next up, Soriano sounds like he just missed one for a double. After the Theriot single, Derrek Lee stepped up and I'm sure many the skeptical Cub fan were expecting the double play that he seems to be so prone to hitting to this year. But he already had two hits on the night and his one out sounded like a well-struck ball to the outfield. He's also managed a .923 OPS over the last 7 days. Chad Durbin left his control in the bullpen though and the bases were loaded for tonight's hero.

Whenever a Cub hits one deep, you can always tell with Pat if it's going out or not by the first or second word. He tries to put some excitement in any ball that looks like it has any chance but there's just this little extra inflection he puts in his voice when a ball is definitely going out. When Soriano hit his double, it wasn't there. When Fontenot and Ramirez hit there blasts, I could tell right away just by the subtle change in Pat's voice.

After missing on the first pitch to Ramirez and considering Durbin just walked Lee, I figured Ramirez would be taking. Instead I'm listening to Pat Hughes calling yet another Cubs comeback victory. 

Ramirez is certainly the game's hero, but let's be sure to give Kerry Wood his deserved praise. Working on his fourth straight game against the four best Phillies hitters was no small task. He had a bit of breathing room, but an outstanding outing by him as well to navigate the ninth inning for his 28th save.

The Win Probability chart after the jump...

phils_cubs fangraph

Not quite as impressive as a few weeks back (.647 WPA vs .414 for Aramis's home run), but impressive nonetheless.


Neat, that leadoff single in the 9th caused that little dip, and if you factor in who was coming up behind Rollins it probably should have been more pronounced. Kerry didn't look too sharp, but he got the job done, and Marmol can close it out today if necessary so all's good in Cubdom. Eyeballing the chart it looks like AramRam got about .4 of a WPA for that HR - that would move him from 6th to 5th among NL guys (not counting Carlos Lee). Still a ways behind Albert and Lance for the lead league, though. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all...

good eye, it was .414 as I mentioned in the last line of the post.

Yeah I saw that after I posted, but was too lazy to edit.

I thought the only guy who used the word "Cubdom" just resigned from the Sun-Times.

Looks like Matt Stairs is back in the NL helping to decide if the Cubs will make the playoffs. He'll be doing it for the Phillies, though, according to Rosenthal. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8501292/So...

Interesting...according to the graph, the Cubs were favorites after the walk to Lee, despite still trailing by two runs in the eighth. Very cool.

Bases loaded, none out, someone in parachat said that the run expectancy at that point was 2.4 runs, which would support the probability chart. Cool stuff.

The Cubs are much better suited for the playoffs this year with a lineup that gets on base more and makes pitchers run up their pitch counts. Without that kind of lineup Hamels goes 9 innings on us.

True that, and we also have the type of shut down pitching that can get us through spots when the offense is struggling.

Honestly, I think Hamels goes at least one more inning if this game is played in October, even with the pitch count. Mebbe we get to him in the 8th instead, but I don't think there's any way he doesn't start the 8th in a playoff series. I think most of the advantage of being able to get into bullpens is lost in October.

yeah, I'm sure Hamels does go out for the 8th in a playoff series. I'll take the lucky break though. 

The Phils bullpen has been quite good this year for the most part. Durbin had 1.96 ERA entering the game. 

"Whenever a Cub hits one deep, you can always tell with Pat if it's going out or not by the first or second word." Very true and observant. Now if we can find how the Cubs are doing against #1 pitchers this year. :-)

It seems that Hamels always pitches lights - out against us, both here and in Philly. Hate to use an hoary sports cliche', but this team never seems to believe they're out of any game, despite the score, opposing pitcher, late innings, etc. Can't remember the last time a Cubs team showed this much confidence in their abilities - maybe 1984.

Cubs are the thousand pound gorilla in the NL. I cruised the Phillies blogs yesterday, and as hot as the Phils been this last week or so, their fans were just desparately hoping for the split. I'm so used to thinking as the Cubs as the underdogs, it's hard to picture them as the favorites. Cats and dogs, living together...

What's that line from? I am really enjoying the Cubs being the beast of the league - I think in yesterday's game post it said no one has a winning record against us now - which is pretty damned impressive. It would probably take a couple years of just kicking the crap out of everyone before I'd get tired of it, and start to feel a little embarrassed (assuming we do it with league leading payrolls - Yankees style).

Ghostbusters. Here's Dero doing long interview with Waddle and Silvy here in Chicago yesterday- http://stations.espn.go.com/stations/espnradi... Funny story in there- 2nd game of season last year Dero was not in lineup and he went to Lou's office. He opened door and Lou was doing crossword puzzle. Lou looked up saw Dero and said "This is why I didn't want to get back into managing." Dero said he should be the every day 2nd baseman, Lou said "Do you son?" Lou got up went to lineup erased Theriots name and put in Dero's. Dero said Theriot is mad at him and now the pressure is on for him to perform. Gotta to listen to it.

great interview...

telling quote:

"Everybody snaps...I'm on my 4th helmet this year, just no one can see it when I snap."

good stuff about Z in there and his personality. And the Lou story is good too. 

Looks like that's true as far as the NL is concerned: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/standings/grid Tampa rolled us in interleague, but whatchagonnado?

Nice Ghostbusters reference.

the win probability chart has buried treasure under the "Big" W... it's a Mad, mad, mad, mad world. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057193/ Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Milton Berle, Jimmy Durante, Spencer Tracy, Ethyl Merman, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Jim Backus ...all Cub fans (alive and mostly dead)

I just noticed this, but it seems Eyre is still on our side. I miss him even more: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5869/news So Chase Utley sat next to him on the flight to Chicago and asked for advice about how to attack the Cubs' pitchers. Eyre wasn't much help. "Chase was like, 'How's Dempster going to try to strike me out?'" Eyre said. "I was like, 'He's probably going to get you to swing and miss three times.' I said, 'I really don't know, man. I didn't watch that closely. I was in the bullpen. I didn't pay that close attention.'"...Three weeks ago, Eyre was designated for assignment by the Cubs and dealt to the Phillies. In 7 2/3 innings for the Phillies, he hasn't allowed a run. Opponents are batting .087 against him. "The best thing was to get this opportunity," Eyre said. "Jim Hendry didn't send me somewhere that doesn't mean anything. He sent me to a playoff contender, and I'll be forever grateful."

That quote and the scrabble joke had me laughing pretty hard. Thanks guys.