Yeah That One Hurt
“We had a plethora of wasted opportunities.”You don't say. Before we play the blame game, let's look at a few positives: - Ted Lilly threw yet another quality start and on a night when it seemed he didn't have his best stuff. At least early on he seemed to be missing his locations by quite a bit and getting hit hard, a cruddy Pirate offense certainly a contributing factor. - The top two spots in the order continued to produce going 6 for 13 with a run, three RBI's and two stolen bases. Unfortunately the middle of the order decided to take the night off. - Some nice defensive plays to keep the game going by Soriano and Theriot, although both looked like they were umpire-aided calls. The umps owed us a few from earlier in the year so file it under baseball karma. - Will Ohman performed his LOOGY duties to perfection and has only allowed one hit to a lefty all season on top of four walks in 19 plate appearances. It's the righties that have been giving him more trouble than usual. - Scott Eyre's three shutout innings lowered his ERA to 8.47. - Lou Piniella actually had a relief pitcher left for the 15th inning and a pinch-hitter for the 14th. Baby steps. Oh but much went wrong, beginning with the eight inning: - Lou brings Felix Pie into the game in the top of the 8th as a defensive upgrade over Cliff Floyd. One-run lead, a flyball pitcher and the middle of the Pirates lineup due up, seems like a smart move. But Lou negates all that in the bottom of the inning. Lee and Ramirez reach to start the inning and the Pirates bring in a lefty to face Pie. Lou, going for the kill, brings in Murton to counter and he pops out rather unceremoniously. If you're playing for defense in the top of the inning, why change your mind in the bottom half? With zero outs and runners on second and third, it would have been a good time to try the squeeze with Pie for that insurance run. If it fails, the team should still have a runner on third with less than two outs and you would have set yourself up with a better defensive outfield for the 9th even with a groundball pitcher coming to the mound. And of course... - Ryan Dempster issues a one-out walk to Nate McClouth although I didn't think it was a bad 3-2 pitch. Tailing two-seamer that just missed the plate that most lefties will chase thinking it's going to be a strike. A single later and Jack Wilson hits a flyball to right field. Jones should be out there if not for Lou's substituting in the eighth and while he may have just thrown it ten feet to either side of the plate or in front of him, he does have a stronger arm that would have had a better shot to nail McClouth. - More adventures on the basepaths that I could do without. Soriano gets thrown out at third when a ball doesn't get far away enough from the catcher. Theriot gets doubled off second when a liner by Murton that is in FRONT of him gets caught and Barrett gets thrown out at second base on a missed hit and run by Jacque Jones. - Neil Cotts is no longer invulnerable giving up his first run of the year. I'll pass out equal shares of blame on the offensive ineptitude in the eight to add insurance runs when we had two runners in scoring position and zero outs and Ryan Dempster for blowing his first save of the year against the bottom of the Pirates lineup. And of course Lou for some more questionable decision-making which of course would have been less questionable had Dempster, Murton or Jones done their jobs. While I wasn't nearly as up in arms about Sunday's game as some were, I did understand the concern. The concern was for games like today. Using up bench guys when you're losing to gain just the slightest advantage has a sort of Old West nobility about it. Better to go down with no bullets in the chamber than be left with a loaded gun and a bloody corpse. But when you're ahead or tied, I think the roster shuffling has to be more controlled. That's the time to save those bullets until you have an absolute clear shot and make sure that bloody corpse is in the opposing team's dugout. Well last time we blew a win against the Pirates we reeled off five straight, I'll take that trade-off.
crunch 1 hour 34 min ago (view)
umpire eric cooper has died...complications from knee surgery (blood clot)...52 years old
crunch 13 hours 6 min ago (view)
"MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."
espada's had 2 interviews. for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work. SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.
JustSayin' 14 hours 31 min ago (view)
That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter. MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent. They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players. In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted. For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col
Hagsag 14 hours 55 min ago (view)
Thanks Mr. Phil.
Arizona Phil 15 hours 57 min ago (view)
HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll.
crunch 16 hours 23 min ago (view)
The discussions on this matter have been quite varried. There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.
It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.
Hagsag 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.
crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic. wow.
altuve continues to build his astros legend.
bradsbeard 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen.
bradsbeard 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab.
JustSayin' 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday? Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?) Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back?
Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.
Charlie 2 days 15 hours ago (view)
Who are you all rooting for in the World Series? I'm rooting for the Nats to face and defeat Houston, I think, but with very mild interest. Let them get that championship out of the way and then maybe go the way of the post-2016 Cubs.
bradsbeard 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, what do you think the Cubs will do with Oscar de la Cruz if they don’t add him back to the 40 man? Can they try to re-sign him but wait until after the Rule 5 to make it official? Do you think they will try to keep him in the organization in some fashion?
bradsbeard 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
Angels also make sense as a destination for Kris Bryant.
azbobbop 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
I wonder if Maddon will take any of the coaches with him.