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Wednesday

30

August 2017

46

COMMENTS

The Cubs Won (And Not Just In My Dreams)

Written by , Posted in General

Between Brad’s proclamation that Tuesday’s game would be a loss, and a new comfy blanket, I didn’t end up catching much of this game from the comfort of my couch this evening.  I picked up my phone after my nap, promptly commented on the wrong post on Facebook, and then took a look at the score:  Cubs 4, Pirates 1, Bottom 8th.

Which meant Wade Davis was coming.  Wade Davis hasn’t blown a save all year.  Wade Davis is going to get us a series win, and himself a shiny franchise record (27 consecutive saves!) to boot.

Wade Davis did not disappoint, and this is likely the last nail in Pittsburgh’s hope of mounting a furious comeback to try to make the postseason (being 7 back, with 7 games against the Cubs in a short time period, there was a glimmer of hope there).  Add to that, Milwaukee and St. Louis are getting a chance to pound on each other, so if they just go back and forth a bit while the Cubs keep winning…maybe they can get some distance late and coast into October.  I’m not holding my breath, though.

The postgame review on Jake Arrieta’s performace weren’t real hot; his command was off, he was getting behind, all that…but he did give 6 innings scoreless, with just a couple hits and walks.  Not Monday’s Mike Montgomery, but far from even the best John Lackey can give us lately.  Koji Uehara did what he seems to do best–give up a dinger–coming on after Jake, which made Strop enter the game a bit early, which led to him getting himself a chance to swing the bat.

Based on the video, I think we start him in left over Kyle Schwarber.

Anyway, that’s it for this game.

Joe Maddon’s Maddening Lineup Machine

ESPN ran an article that went over Joe Maddon’s strategy for putting his lineup together day to day.  tl;dr version, he uses his iPad, has a list of who he wants to use that day with color coding for their batting handedness (I guess he doesn’t keep track of their throwing hand, which might be handy), and uses a little widget of some sort to give him a number that tells him good idea or bad idea for that guy, and off he goes.  All from the comfort of his hotel room.

A couple problems:  this magic formula that gives him numbers that tell him whether or not he should play a guy, or it’d be a good idea, or whatever exactly that’s supposed to mean, obviously isn’t giving good weight to recent performance, and definitely not the eye test.  Otherwise Kyle Schwarber wouldn’t be in the lineup every day.  Other problem, lineup gets set early, everything is all set to go based on the matchups…so what does he do if the other team decides to change their starting pitcher at the last minute?  That’d probably mess with any manager, but this looks like a good way to hamstring Maddon in particular.

Houston, Florida

Once again, the devastation of a hurricane will cause the Houston Astros to be relocated, similar to Hurricane Ike back in ’08.  Unfortunately, the process of moving them hasn’t been the smoothest, as the Texas Rangers (who call Arlington, TX home) decided they didn’t want to just simply swap series, wanting instead to just take the Astros’ home series at their ballpark (with the provision that the money would be provided to the Astros).  Naturally, the Astros didn’t want to give Texas an extra 3 games home advantage.  So, the Astros will instead head to Tropicana Field for that series on neutral ground, with the possibility that their subsequent series against the Mets would also be there.  Hoepfully, the city of Houston can recover enough to start getting back to normal, and all affected–including the sports teams in the area–can recover as quickly as possible.

  • Brad Lyerla

    Glad to be wrong about the outcome, Michael.

    I didn’t see anything new in this game worth commenting on.

    Some quick and obvious observations: Arrieta was very good. Rizzo stayed hot. (We gave him a standing O for the $3.5 he donated to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital yesterday.) LaStella is slow turning the double play. Schwarber is still searching for something at the plate, and not finding it. There is no way he should be hitting second. Bryant is searching too, I think. 2 Ks and 2 BBs?? He did have the defensive play of the night, diving to his left to snare a wicked ground ball and making the throw to second from his knees. Got him a fist bump from Javy.

    I hated the outfield we started yesterday: Schwarber, Heyward and Zobrist, left to right. But I have to say that Zobrist looked good at the plate. He wound up playing three positions last night, rf, lf and 2b.

    Avila seemed pretty solid, but we are going to need Contreras before this is over.

    As for Maddon’s way of making out the lineup, this is discussed in Tom Verducci’s book, The Cubs Zen. It came out last spring and I thought it was very good. Also, I read Scott Simon’s My Cubs: A Love Story a few days ago. It’s very good too.

    • Kyle

      Avila seems to be getting some clutch hits in his small sample size so far. How are his defensive/pitch framing metrics?

      • Brad Lyerla

        Not sure about his metrics. But Jakes stuff was off a bit. And they worked thru it together.

    • Doug S.

      Glad you got to witness a W.
      Game seemed to drag on TV, hope it was better live.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Pace was ok. Avg I would say. Maybe even routine.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      The thing that I noticed in the story is that Maddon decided who was playing before he looked at the metric to decide the order. I also heard the reporter on ESPN say that there were some proprietary items in the decisions that he could not put in the story, so there is most probably more to making this lineup than what we read.

      • cap’n realist

        Proprietary items. I’m calling BS. Tell us what they are or they don’t exist.

        Best part of last night was an out. Strop hit a ROCKET, but it was right at McCutchen. Good looking swing. He could be, and should be this year’s Travis Wood. Give me that swing over Schwarber’s every day. The iPad will probably disagree with what my experienced human brain knows.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I don’t know what is proprietary, but Verducci says that Maddon focuses on current trends, not career or season statistics. Someone in the front office loads new data every day and the quants in the front office tweak the algos as needed.

      • Kyle

        How does this software tell him that Schwarber is trending so well he should bat 2nd?

      • Doc Raker

        This makes no sense, Schwarbers trend has been down all year long yet he stays at the top of the lineup. Garbage In Garbage Out.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Top secret G-14 classified probably

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Jessie, the reporter, also said that he was told not to include some of his pictures as the showed some of the proprietary information. The Cubs might have the British MI division on their payroll.

      • Michael S.

        That would actually explain alot. Those blokes don’t know baseball, but they know cricket. Unfortunately, the two are definitely not the same.

        Though I wonder what baseball would be like with cricket bats…

      • Bryzzo1744

        Bryant and Rizzo would have a ton of 6s if they played cricket. Baez would get his wicket broken easily. Zobrist would probably have a bunch of 4s

      • Seymour Butts

        Strop was a shortstop when he came up. He spent a season in Low A in the city I live in. He was domiciled by one of my buds. My bud got as divorce after that. Just saying.

      • Doug S.

        Don’t give Maddon ideas.

      • Adam Peters

        Proprietary items: quarter for coin flip. magic 8-ball.

      • Sherm
      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        That is some proprietary information! You better watch your back there may be a British spy following you.

  • Doc Raker

    Maddon needs to trust his eyes over his I Pad eyes.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Are you trying to suggest his i pad needs glasses?

  • Bryzzo1744

    I don’t like how Maddon is sucking up to John “if I get sent to the bullpen I’m going home” Lackey. I don’t see how this is any different than what LaStella did last year except for the fact Lackey hasn’t carried out his threats.

    • Adam Peters

      LaStella wasn’t a highly paid veteran.

      • Bryzzo1744

        This is the problem with players managers. We need a hard ass to be the manager. If this was Ozzie or LaRussa, they’d say you’re going to the pen whether you like it or not.

      • Eddie Von White

        And he’d be playing on the White Sox or the Cardinals (or maybe the A’s).

      • Bryzzo1744

        A manager in the mold of them is what this team needs. Call me crazy, and be shocked with this statement, but I wouldn’t mind if Ozzie was the manager of this team. I think he would be able to manage the talent on this roster.

      • Bryzzo1744

        All the more reason to be a hard-ass with Lackey

  • Adam Peters

    However he arrives at them Maddon’s lineups suck. Schwarber in left *AND* Zobrist in right?! WTF?!!!!!!

    If you’re going to do that, might as well have Happ in center. Or better yet, Bryant.

    i would say the Cubs believe outfield defense doesn’t matter, but Heyward is the highest paid dude on the club and he’s getting that primarily for his defense. So… I ask again. WTF?!

    • Sherm

      It adds a dimension that we haven’t discussed yet, too, which is the pitcher’s mindset taking the mound knowing that he’s got Schwarber in left, and in some cases, Zobrist in right.

      It’s tough enough getting hitters out – are they now having to say to themselves, “Holy Shit, I have to be extra careful NOT to let anything get hit to left if I can help it…” Jake was all over the place yesterday? Maybe thinking I have to either get grounders…or strike people out, or we’ve in trouble. Bad enough you take the mound knowing that there are gaps in the lineup that CAN’T hit…but some can’t field, either…

      Meanwhile, St. Louis clears $$ reportedly to add pitching for next year. I bet they take a run at Arrieta in the off-season. Who wants to see him pitch for St. Louis?

      • Brad Lyerla

        That would be a nightmare.

      • Adam Peters

        I would LOVE to see the stinkbirds sign Arrieta for BIG $$$. He’s already losing his control. He’s going to suck in another year or two. That would be sweet if he became a C.C. Sabathia-esque albatross around their neck for the next 7 years.

      • Sherm

        Completely disagree. He’s in great shape and should fare quite well for the next few years. He may not be the extreme power pitcher he once was, but if he gets with an organization that stresses and teaches finesse? I wouldn’t want to face him.

        I don’t see how you can possibly compare Jake Arrieta and CC Sabathia. One is in great shape and the other, well, the other IS a shape.

        I’d say he compares better to guys like Verlander (who is 34, Scherzer 33, Grienke 33, Lester 33 and even Wainright 35) and Jake is still just 31.

        No reason that he wouldn’t continue to be very good, if not dominant, at least until his age 35 or 36 season given his conditioning.

      • Adam Peters

        With all due respect, Sherm, I beg to differ. Arrieta’s screwy pitching motion requires him to make about a million physical and mental adjustments in about a quarter of a second for him to deliver the ball accurately. As he gets older his ability to do that consistently is going to deteriorate. Just a fact of getting older. And we’re already seeing it. He’s already walked more guys this year than he did in all of 2015. His excellent physical conditioning certainly helps him, but it’s not going to prevent this.

        And I didn’t mean Arrieta was like Sabathia, per se. I just meant that the Yankees gave C.C. a LONG expensive contract and he was good for about a year and a half of it, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cardinals get into that kind of a fix with Arrieta. Especially because they don’t have the money to just up their payroll to compensate.

      • Sherm

        Understand the counter argument completely, I just think that Jake is the anomaly who will beat the odds…especially if he ends up with a good pitching coach. I think he’s got an “x” factor personality, too, so if he stays healthy? I see him as a top of the rotation guy for at least 4 or 5 more years. Time will tell!

  • Doc Raker

    GENIUS JOE: I Pad I Pad on the wall, what is the best line up of them all.
    I PAD: ( I can’t believe he keeps asking me this same question every day.) Ben Zobrist leading off, put him in RF. (You want a slow guy with a mediocre arm in right field hitting .210) (Giggle)
    I PAD: Kyle Schwarber batting second in LF. ( I can’t believe he keep falling for this. DUH!)
    GENIUS JOE: That’s what I was thinking, Schwarbrist in the 1-2.
    I PAD: Bryant batting 3rd at 3rd. (Even Genius Joe can’t screw this on up)
    I PAD: Rizzo batting 4th at 1b. Unless up by 8 late then move to 3rd base. (I love telling him that crazy stuff- so gullible)
    I PAD: La Stella batting 5th at 2nd. (This kid deserves some AB’s)
    I PAD: Avila batting 6th catching. (Caratini is not one of my data choices so what can i do)
    I PAD: Heyward batting 7th playing CF (Better get ready to cover some ground buddy with the corner outfielders you got today.
    I PAD: The pitcher batting 8th (He falls for this schtick every time)
    I PAD; Baez batting 9th playing short stop. (The free swinging second leadoff guy)
    Genius Joe: Brilliant again. What about Almora? He has looked pretty good.
    I PAD: Don’t question the I PAD on the wall!
    Genius Joe: Sorry, sorry.
    I PAD; (I love scaring him like that) Go Forth and Have Fun

    • Seymour Butts

      So what you are saying is that Joe should switch to a Galaxy tab, right?

      • Michael S.

        Joe: “OK Google, who should bat leadoff?”
        Tab: *ding ding*…”Here’s results for St. Louis Cardinals starting lineup for today:”
        Joe: “Excellent! Wow! This thing is fast!”

        *5 hours later*
        Joe: “Hey, Angel, how ya doin’, here’s the lineup card, brought to you by Binny’s!”
        Angel Hernandez: “Uh, these guys…aren’t on the team I bet agai–I mean your team, Joe…”
        Joe: “Whaddya mean? Are you out of your mind? My tablet told me these are the guys!”
        Mike Matheny: “Those guys are in my dugout Joe…hey, aren’t you supposed to be in Chicago playing the Pirates right now?”

    • Doug S.

      Great stuff, Doc

  • Karen Hirsh

    Maddon needs to use his managerial wisdom not an IPad. I am so tired of seeing Schwarber in the lineup. What sane manager would put a 200 hitter in the line up and even bat second or even 9th. And his defense stinks. What is wrong with the Cubs organization. I guess they are just interested in filling the seats. Can’t wait to see Quintana pitch tonight. Another loser.

    • Eddie Von White

      My oh my Karen. Why don’t you tell us what you really think? Even though I can’t disagree.

      • Karen Hirsh

        Sorry but I get angry when good players are substituted for poor ones in the lineup and good players are traded for bad ones. Glad you agree with me.

  • Doc Raker

    POST GAME INTERVIEW:
    REAL NEWS REPORTER: Why is Schwarber, a .197 hitter, batting second again?
    GENIUS JOE: It’s the I Pad stupid!

    • Seymour Butts

      Because he Rakes!

  • Doug S.

    Baez is so electric, I’m thinking he causes the opposition to react abnormally. What a sequence. Error, SB, error, SB to tie the game.

    • Sherm

      Baez is amazing – certainly one of…if not THE most entertaining players in baseball.

      Realized this tonight – doesn’t it seems as if BOTH the Cardinals and Pirates are really stinking it up ever since their game at the Little League World Series? Both teams are 3-7 in their last ten games. Probably has nothing to do with anything, but interesting, nonetheless.

  • Karen Hirsh

    Wonderful game last night. I still think Almora should be a regular and Schwarber should be on the bench. Baez is a great defensive player. Still needs to be better offensively. Cubs need to keep Arrieta not matter what the price. Great pitchers are hard to come by.