View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



September 2011



Game 159 – Oh Wells…

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 2, Cardinals 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What Went Right

All’s Wells That Ends Wells  – Let’s see how many Wells puns I can make in one post… In all seriousness, after a rough first half of the season, Randy Wells finished the year looking like the kind of pitcher we can expect him to be. He’s a serviceable end of the rotation guy who can get guys out without looking spectacular. We’ll get to the bad soon enough, but most days when you get eight innings and just three runs allowed out of Wells, you’re going to be happy.

Defensive Wizardry – Ok, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but the fact is that I’ve had ample opportunities to bag on the Cubs’ defensive problems all season. Today, however, Chicago didn’t record an error. Let’s hear it for lowered expectations!

Triple-Double – On a day when the Cubs managed just eight base runners, it is tough to find too many bright spots on the offensive side of the ledger. However, if we’re looking for the silver lining, Carlos Peña, Blake Dewitt, and Marlon Byrd were the only north-siders each reached base twice, accounting for 75% of the Cubs total baserunners and 100% of the team’s runs scored.            

What Went Wrong

Not Digging the Long Ball – Wells kept the big boppers in the Cards line-up from hurting him on Sunday, as Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday were a combined 1-10. It was the little guys doing the damage instead, with Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal hitting game-tying and game-winning homers in the 7th and 8th innings. This hasn’t been rare this season in games between these two teams, as Molina hit four of his career high 14 home runs against the Cubs.

Token Questionable Qall – I’m not sure what I would have done, but in hindsight, it sure is easy to question Mike Quade’s decision to trot Wells back out for the eighth inning. Heading into that inning, he was sitting on 96 pitches and had just given up the lead on a mistake pitch in the seventh. I’m not going to kill Q for that decision though, but it just seems like even when it’s a toss-up, he has made the wrong choice this season.

Missed Opportunities – The Cubs had opportunities to get a couple insurance runs in this one, but going 1-6 with runners in scoring position isn’t going to get the job done. Outside of Castro’s go-ahead single in the 7th, the Cubs batters couldn’t find a hole when they needed it. Randy Wells did account for two of those six at-bats, so a little bit of bad timing was also in play on Sunday.

Misc. Notes

  • Quade indicated that Monday’s series opener in San Diego will feature a “Kid’s Day” line-up, including the first MLB start for Steve Clevenger behind the plate.
  • Castro’s 7th-inning single was his 203rd hit, which should be more than enough to become the youngest player in history to lead the NL in that category. Matt Kemp sits 12 hits behind him.
  • Pujols received a nice ovation from the home fans in each of his at bats in the last regular season home game for St. Louis. I expect he’ll be hearing very similar cheers in the home opener at Busch Stadium next year.
  • With the Braves’ 3-0 loss to the Nationals, the Cardinals are just one game out of the Wild Card. Hooray…

The Takeaway

After the series opener on Friday, I was feeling pretty good about the opportunity to see the Cubs put an end to the Cardinals’ post-season aspirations. Of course, I didn’t count on Chicago simply handing two games to St. Louis while the Braves were struggling against Washington. So much for moral victories. Hot stove season officially starts in three days.


Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Rafael Furcal (.220 WPA)

2nd Star – Yadier Molina (.215 WPA)

3rd Star – Jason Motte (.153 WPA)

  • Buddy

    I’ll take eight innings and three runs from Randy Wells 32 times in 2012.


    Castro needs to keep hitting. Kemp is going for the triple crown


    Buddy, so would I.

  • Norm

    Just read that the Cards might keep it in the $22M/year area for Pujols…maybe he really will sign elsewhere.

  • Chuck

    The motion carrys Buddy!
    Generally speaking, a team should win the game if they only gave up 3 over 8 innings. The blame goes to the offense.
    The Dodgers sure have a strange team. They have Kemp, who is going for the triple crown and MVP, and Kershaw, who is going for the Cy, and the team is still mediocre. Without looking too deeply, they must have some really bad players at other positions.

  • Doc Raker

    I will take 3 runs in 8 innings also. The Cardinals would be smart not to to bid against themselves. The usual teams that run contracts up do not need a first baseman. Red Sox and the Yankees have top notch first baseman. The Cubs should not be in the free agent market this off season. The Dodgers are broke, the Mets are broke. TB, Royals, Pittsburgh, White Sox, Twins, Dbacks, Rocks and Detroit can’t afford Pujols. Toronto, Orioles, Mariners and Texas may be able to afford him but they would have to make a substantially higher offer to get Pujols to leave St Louis and they probably will not make such a large offer. In short, the Cardinals know they aren’t bidding against anyone who is able to bid much more than they are offering. Look for Pujols to stay in St Louis.

  • Chuck

    I am all for not splurging on big contracts this off-season and investing the saved $ on the draft and on player development coaches (I think that this is an area that can have a huge impact without a lot of $). However, Pujols is a player I would get in on. He is just so good. He brings the value of two good players in one. And that is what you are paying a premium for.
    This is his worst year ever and he is still hitting .300/.369/.547 AVG/OBP/SLG. Plop that in your 3 spot in the lineup and forget about it for 150 games a year. It would give the lineup the big thumper it needs.

  • The unspoken part of this discussion lies in what the Birds would be able to do with the Pujols contract…snag some pitching and still run at the top of a (mostly) weak division. Win/win. We cripple ourselves with that signing, and still have holes all over the roster. No thanks. Find two more Matt Garzas and a new Kid K, extend Rami’s contract, and see if anyone wants Reed and Jeff Untouchable. See what happens.

  • Jedi

    Best case scenario as far as I’m concerned:

    1. Pujols to the AL
    2. Pujols to anyone but the Cubs/Cards
    3. Pujols to the Cubs
    4. Pujols stays with Cards

    Don’t sleep on Boston either – I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see them make a run at him. They have a ton of money coming off the books, and just imagine a lineup with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Pujols, Gonzalez, Youkilis, and Crawford. The other three players almost don’t even matter.

  • ScottO

    My anti-spam word was suckage…can’t make this up as a Cubs fan. Well, for those of us that want Q to go, we of course have to sit through some extra time of suckage until a new G.M. gets appointed….and oh yea – what is the deal with rolling Demp, Garza and Wells out there for so long. Is it the Marmol effect? Geeez…Dusty Quade.

  • Interesting point, Jedi…that isn’t actually too much of a stretch. Maybe we should go undercover on a few Sox sites. “Cmon you wankahs, Pujols would be wicked hitting after Youk”

  • Doc Raker

    A long term deal is a big gamble even with Pujols, is this down year an abberation or is he in decline? I don’t want the Cubs to find out on their dime, or 100’s of millions.

  • Jedi

    jswanson – just between JD Drew, Ortiz, Papelbon, and Mike Cameron the Red Sox have more than $46mil coming off the books. If they could find someone who wants the final year of Daisuke, that’s another 10mil+ they could get rid of (depending on how much of that they are forced to eat).

    Yeah, Gonzalez and Ellsbury get a raises and they have some pitchers to pay. But Youkilis is the only other main part that would be up for a new deal next year. They could legitimately sign Pujols and sit back for 2-3 years only rounding out their roster with Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson-types.

    Who would you rather have if you’re Boston? Papelbon & Ortiz back or Pujols? Gonzalez and Pujols in the same lineup would be devastating. I think people expect Boston to be quieter this year because they did so much after 2010…but I expect them to make a serious run at Fielder or Pujols (and if neither works out, THEN they’d take back Big Papi).

  • Chuck

    How about this for a trade: cubs trade a B-grade prospect for Dice-K, a B+-Grade Prospect and 1/2 of Dice K’s salary. Basicly, the Sox would be paying the Cubs to dispose of Dice K.
    Upside: Got paid to take a middle of the rotation pitcher.
    Downside: He can’t be worse than Rodrigo Lopez, right? Right?!

  • Dusty Baylor

    Dice-K has pitched:
    2009 4-6, 5.76 ERA, 12 starts, 59.1 IP, 1.871 WHIP,
    2010 9-6, 4.69 ERA, 25 starts, 153.2 IP, 1.373 WHIP
    2011 3-3, 5.30 ERA, 7 starts, 37.1 IP, 1.473 WHIP

    I’m good, thanks… no dice.

  • Jedi

    Chuck, wouldn’t that make Daisuke a $5mil version of RoLo? I know that no one fancies RoLo or Coleman or any other minor league/AAAA player we might put on the mound in 2012. But frankly, considering the cost – I’m fine with it. Any dollar we can save is another dollar we can pay someone to take Soriano or Zambrano off our hands.

  • Buddy

    I don’t want Lopez or Coleman, but I’d take either of them over Dice K.

  • Doc Raker

    Jedi- Do you think either AG or Pujols would embrace the DH roll? Scary thought for them to have both of those guys.


    I’ve always thought Boston and NY would be in it bc of the DH. You just have them split 1B and DH

  • Doc Raker

    Those are some big ego’s to be accepting the DH roll.

  • Norm

    I don’t think the Yanks will be in on Pujols or Prince because they’ll eventually have to move Arod to DH.
    I guess Boston is a possibility…but I just don’t see them spending $100-$200M on a DH.

  • Jedi

    Doc – I don’t know that it’s an either/or proposition for Gonzalez and Pujols as the DH. Pujols played nearly 3 seasons in LF for the Cards and was by no means an embarrassment. And left field at Fenway doesn’t exactly require a fast player or a huge arm. Pujols isn’t an idiot, he could figure out how to play the carom of the wall. It seems ideal in a lot of ways – and imagine the damage that his line drive swing would do to the Monster. Remember, this is a team that had Manny Ramirez as their LF for 7+ seasons – and won two WS while he was out there. Pujols would be far from the worst LF in the league, especially with the Monster at his back.

  • Buddy

    So does Crawford move to RF in that scenario?

  • Jedi

    Buddy – I think that’s the only option, right? A championship team could do a lot worse than a defensive outfield of Pujols (LF), Ellsbury (CF), and Crawford (RF).

  • Chuck

    The Yanks are going to be a really old team very soon and unless they are going to eat a lot of salary to just waive guys, they are kind of stuck with them. Brett Gardner is the youngest every day guy at like 28. Most every other position player is on the wrong side of 30.
    The Phillies are in the same boat.

  • Buddy

    In that model I think you’re right Jedi. However, if I were a betting man, I’d bet on Albert playing 1B for the Cardinals in 2012 and beyond. As far as the Yankees go, it’s not as bad as you think. Here’s a quick list of NYY players age 30 and under (according to Baseball Reference): R. Cano, C. Granderson, N. Swisher, J. Montero, R. Martin, B. Gardner, C.C. Sabathia, I. Nova, P. Hughes, and D. Robertson.

  • Jedi

    Buddy – Pujols has just been so tight-lipped about the relationship that winning and money will have to do with where he signs. It’s hard to get a decent read on what he’ll value above all else when push comes to shove.

    In any case, I think the list is a lot smaller than most people. I think the Red Sox, Angels, Cards all have a great shot and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up on any of those rosters.

    Then I think you start looking at the teams who could overpay him (though they might not be willing to do so…they COULD theoretically). Cubs, Yankees, Mets, maybe the Rangers and Braves.

    I don’t really see the list being much deeper than that…if he doesn’t embark on an A-Rodesque search for every last cent, I do think the Cards probably still have the best chance. But if he wants the biggest payday he can get, I’d expect to see him in Anaheim or Boston. Arte Moreno in particular could put an end to a lot of the “he won’t pay the big money for the best players” complaints.

    I bet Pujols’ agent is the world’s biggest Rays fan right now.

  • Randy

    I think the Cubs will take a stab at him at seven years 175 million. Pujols is in a different category than Soriano, so if we get him at that price I’d be OK with it. In the end I think the Cardinals are going to give him what he wants, eight years 240 million. Only things I can see stopping this from happening would be if the Angels get desperate, or if Boston fully implodes.

  • Doc Raker

    I don’t think Pujols can throw very well, he would be servicable at Fenway but scary anywhere else. Forgot about the Angels, I would be surprised if the Angels spent that much money, they have had some bad luck with big contracts these past few years, somewhat like our beloved Cubs.

  • Buddy

    If we’re making official predictions, I’ll say Pujols stays in St. Louis and Fielder goes to Texas. What say you?

  • Jedi

    I think San Fran will take a long look at Fielder…he’ll be cheaper and he’s significantly younger so an 8-year deal for Fielder wouldn’t be a horrible idea. And if they could get Juan Uribe back they’d have the fattest infield of all time regardless of who they put at 2B.

  • Doc Raker

    I predict Pujols will stay in St Louis at a contract close to what St Louis has already offered. I predict Fielder will end up in the AL, either Texas or Anaheim, probably Anaheim so he can be close to all the other tofu freaks. If he goes to Texas I predict he will fall off the veggie wagon and get impaled by a live steer at the Ponderosa on a steak bender.


    I think Boston and NY are very much in the hunt for Pujols and Tubby Veggy. Even if they do already have stud 1B, the DH is still open, and I see no reason why they can’t split 1B and DH. it would keep borg guys fresher ad more productive, spending half their time at DH, half at 1B. I think the Yankees could move A-Rod to the OF once he can’t play 3rd anymore.

  • You know how East-coasters all lump the Midwest into the same category? I guess I made the same assumption in regards to Long Beach and Anaheim. They have Disney, you have Snoop Dogg. Pretty much the same thing in my book…sorry Doc.

  • Doc Raker

    Don’t be sorry jswanson, it’s the weather, not the people that make the left coast great. Just look at the fans at any Dodger or Raider game.

  • Doc Raker

    Lizzie- email me so I can send you my info for the JJ brothers.

  • Lizzie

    @Doc – Done!

  • Buddy

    The Giants have Belt, so I don’t think they’ll be signing a 1B. Also, here’s something you don’t see every day…

  • I, for one, cannot wait until BPLCAPS weighs in on this item. Get ’em man!


    Wow, no Sox manager has won more than 2 division titles? What a lousy history. I’m surprised Ozzie would leave his team with 2 games left to go, at least wait until the season ends. Once the Tigers swept the White Sox Labor Day Weekend, it was clear to me Ozzie would be gone. I said it last week, both Chicago teams will have new managers and GMs in 2012.