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October 2017

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COMMENTS

NLCS Game 2 – Enough Already

Written by , Posted in General

Gonna make this one short and not so sweet.

I’m tired of watching our offense look anemic and fail to capitalize on opportunities with runners in scoring position. The only way we’re scoring, which is already too sparse, is by the home run. I’m tired of that. It seems like that’s the narrative every series in these last three years and I’m sick of it.

I’m tired of watching our bullpen fail to get the job done.

I’m tired of losing.

Enjoy your day off from frustrating baseball.

  • Junior Von White

    With the bullpen as miserable as it is, I’m not sure why the starters aren’t pitching at least 100 pitches. The longer they pitch the better, even when they’re struggling. The bullpen sucks. When Maddon burns up Montgomery, Edwards, and Duensing in inning 5-8, we get stuck with Lackey for critical outs in the ninth, or Davis has to go 2+ innings. That’s not good.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Maddon on not pitching Davis: I wanted him for the save

  • Adam Peters

    Joe Maddon: “We needed [Wade Davis] for the save.

    This has to go up there with, “Walks clog up the bases.”

  • Kyle

    I didn’t realize every single Dodger pitcher had Cy Young potential…

    And with Turner on deck, you gotta give Taylor something to hit.

  • Sherm

    Oddly enough, I think the pressure is getting to this team. You’d have thought that last year it would’ve – but they were loose. They are all so young and most likely? None of them grew up as big Cub fans…so they didn’t own the pressure and anxiety of generations of players (and fans) past. And the 108 year weight. Now they face they pressure of trying to repeat – I’ll call it “The Weight of Reign” and THAT seems to weighing them down as a group.

    Those at bats near the end? Swinging at pitches that are neck high? Nerves. Even extreme talent can not overcome bad decisions made under extreme pressure.

    • cap’n realist

      It really comes down to this…if your pitchers don’t throw strikes, and your hitters don’t put the ball in play, you’re going to lose. I know that no matter how ugly it looks, we’re stuck with years of Maddon’s bad decision making. When players THIS talented pitch and hit as poorly as they have for this long, it’s time to take a hard look at the pitching and hitting coaches.

      Dodger Stadium was rocking last night. The fans went bananas, as Joe astutely pointed out on twitter, every time the scoreboard told them to. I enjoyed being there, right up until the last pitch. Then, not so much. Near as I could tell, the Dodgers clinched the series last night. A lot of ‘our year’ and ‘this team DID it’ talk on the drunk bus back to the beach. I thought it was a seven game series, but kept my mouth shut…because this Cub team can’t throw strikes and can’t put the ball in play. It’s really that simple.

      • Adam Peters

        Yeah cap. Last night Lester threw 55 strikes and 48 balls–53%. That’s a Little League ratio! Pitiful. And with walking 5 it was a miracle he only gave up the one run.

        Justin Verlander threw 93 strikes and 31 balls the other day–75%! I realize that was particularly outstanding, but WTF!

        Quintana also blew Game 1 with walks.

      • cap’n realist

        Cub pitchers issued 9 walks last night. Cub hitters struck out 12 times. That’s a recipe for disaster.

      • Adam Peters

        Oh, and note that Verlander’s pitch total is a whopping 124! Maddon freaks out when someone approached 100.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Don’t be too hard on Quintana. He throws way more strikes than anybody else on this team. It hurt us that he lost the feel for the strike zone for two hitters in a row in the fifth, but that happens. What was avoidable was the over-reaction to it by the manager.

        Q’s command was fine and he deserved another inning, in my view.

    • Adam Peters

      I don’t know if I buy your pressure theory, Sherm. They’re just playing shitty. You’re not going to win a ton of games when you’re averaging 1.5 runs/game.

      And I didn’t have a chance to comment yesterday, but you are absolutely right about Maddon’s new obsession with the double switch. Almora’s the only one hitting? I should take him out in the 5th inning, as we will have no further need of offense, because this 2 run lead will surely hold up with our rock solid bullpen.

      And WTF happened to Kris Bryant? He looks as bad as Baez. And don’t get me started on Mr. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

      • Sherm

        My theory is based on the inability to NOT swing at bad pitches. Anxiousness usually equals nerves.

        Aretha Frankin called. Told Rizzo to man up or shut up.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Otis Redding first recorded RESPECT. Aretha stole it from him, or so he claimed. And Otis ain’t calling anybody.

        I think nerves are a factor. But everyone in the playoffs is nervous.

        My guess is that the Cubs sense that they are not as good as they were last year. That is affecting them. And individuals try to be heroes instead of part of a team that is just trying to be good enough tonight.

      • Sherm

        I was just trying to be humorous, and not going for musical historical accuracy. For the record, Aretha didn’t call, either.

        They should all be better than last year – or at least a year smarter and more experienced, but you would not guess that was the case from the wild at bats toward the end of the game. These are the times that a good manager and coaching staff call a meeting and tell these guys, “hey, just go up there and have some good at bats. Put the ball in play. Work the count. We’ll be fine.” But I’m not hearing anything of the sort.

        I did hear that Maddon and Bosio went to dinner at Captain Jack’s in Sunset Beach. Maddon had the King Crab and a side of slaw with a baked potato. Two bites into the baked potato, he called the waiter over and asked to have him replace the potato with fries, and then ordered dessert and sent the slaw away.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I know. I was just goofing around about RESPECT.

      • Sherm

        Me, too. Didn’t know the Redding trivia…enjoyed that.

        I’m still boggled by the irony of Rizzo SCREAMING that (after a very lucky bloop hit) and not having a hit since.

      • Sherm
      • Brad Lyerla

        Nice.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Ironic, yes. Usually Rizzo is level-headed. That was like trash talk in the NBA or NFL.

      • Sherm

        And the baseball Gods have smited him. (Or is it smote?) Whatever. And he was SO hot early in that series until that point.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Maybe embarrassed?

  • Buddy

    I have to admit I was pretty shocked to see Lackey trot in from the bullpen instead of Wade Davis. Didn’t understand that move on any level.

    • Michael S.

      I understand it–it’s the same thing that Buck Showalter got lambasted for last year, not using Zach Britton in the Wild Card game in extras. Saving the closer for a save chance that never comes up. It’s a bad look when the only thing you should worry about is making sure the other guys don’t score.

      • Buddy

        Yep, also a headscratcher. Didn’t understand that move either.

  • Doc Raker

    The Dodgers are the better team right now and they seem not likely to make the kind of mistakes the Nationals made to give us any victories. It is hard to complain about Maddon’s use of the bullpen when we only score 1 run. We had a man on third with 1 out and could not score him. I didn’t think we should dog pitched to Turner for his first RBI. Man on third, 2 outs Turner up. Pitch around him, Turner had a nice oppo swing to just get the run home. When is the last time you saw a Cub hitter try and take an outside pitch oppo?

    I thought Maddon could of kept each reliever in longer than he did. CJ looked good and had a stress free inning, I thought he could go another inning. I also thought Duensing could of gotten out of the 9th but we still had to score. Maddon may over manage but you have to score some runs.

    • Michael S.

      He pulls the guys who can still go, for fear they’re going to give it up…and puts in a guy who should be able to go, but ultimately *will* give it up.

  • Doc Raker

    THE DOUBLE SWITCH: A double switch is useful when you plan on keeping the relief pitcher in longer than when his AB comes up in the order. If you aren’t going to keep the relief pitcher in when his AB comes up you might as well not double switch and just pinch hit.

    When Maddon double switched with Zobrist and removed Heyward what did he really accomplish. He weakened the defense and he did not improve the offense. Zo is no better a hitter than Heyward and Zo is worse than Heyward if he bats right handed, which he did. So Maddon double switched for an inferior defensive replacement and an inferior offensive replacement instead of just pinch hitting for the pitcher. Because Maddon did not leave the relief pitcher in all he really needed to do was send up a pinch hitter when the pitchers spot in the order came up.

    Someone check my work to make sure my circumstances above are correct, I am going by memory but to double switch every time you change pitchers is not always the best thing to do.

    • Michael S.

      I think–not 100% sure, but I think–he’s double-switched twice in the same inning at some point. Too lazy to look at box scores and some of these defensive innings have been so long that I’m not 100% sure I’m not blending innings together any longer.

      • Doc Raker

        But isn’t this theory correct: If you don’t plan on throwing the pitcher the next inning than the double switch isn’t needed, just a pinch hitter is needed.

      • Michael S.

        Spot on.

      • Adam Peters

        You are correct. And when you take out a good player, like Almora, to do it it’s just stupid.

      • Doc Raker

        So he double switched twice, once taking Almora out and then taking Heyward out. Making both our defense and our offense worse while not keeping the pitcher in for the following inning. Is that accurate?

      • Adam Peters

        I’m not sure about last night. He took Almora out in the 5th inning of Game one after Almora provided the only offense they got in the game. Genius.

      • Michael S.

        Last night, he swapped Zobrist for Heyward in the 7th when he brought in Edwards, then Martin for Almora in the 9th when he brought in Glue Boy. The latter isn’t a horrible defensive move, but…they’re a reason we got Martin for basically nothing.

      • Doc Raker

        There was no need for a double switch because he didn’t keep CJ in for more than the one inning. He could have since CJ had an easy low pitch inning. If he wouldn’t let CJ pitch a second inning after that easy inning than a double switch was unnecessary.

        I could see him stretching Lackey out a few innings in a tie game so a double switch in that situation made sense.

  • Michael S.

    There are…some interesting divisions in the Cubs fanbase developing.

    You’ve got a vocal group ready to tar and feather Maddon because of pitching moves made/not made/made badly, you’ve got another, slightly less vocal group that want to tar and feather Bryzzo for swinging at pitches that seem to be destined for their melons, yet more who want to toss most of the bullpen into the Pacific never to be seen again.

    Hell of it is, they all have a good idea of what the problem is–they’re all friggin right. NOTHING is working the way it should. We shouldn’t have a pitcher batting .500 in the NLCS while no one else is above the Mendoza line. ERAs shouldn’t be running into double digits. A starter giving up 1 run in 5 innings shouldn’t be worrisome. Maddon shouldn’t be putting guys in position to fail. The front office should have done more to shore up the relief corps, but aren’t yet willing to give up MLB talent to do it (and the Wilson trade is probably going to scare them off doing that in the offseason and next year to boot).

    The people you don’t see, though, are the ‘It’s only 2-0, and they’re heading home, no need to panic yet’ crowd that were always glass half full, deluded as though they may be. Those folks were ALWAYS there it seemed, but…not anymore, and that’s kinda sad.

    • Time to Hit

      I’m one of those– with the obvious caveat that a win in Game 3 is absolutely necessary. There’s a part of me that thinks getting their asses kicked a bit with Hendricks and Arrieta at home to fall back on is not the worst thing in the world.
      IF we can start hitting then the starting pitching we’ve had coudcombine to give us a chance to win 4 of 5

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I believe that this series will go one of two ways, either a dodgers sweep or it will go seven games.

  • I think someone needs to have a long talk with Joe Maddon about pitcher
    management during postseason games — or take that responsibility away
    from him and his peculiar thoughts.

    • Sadly, Bosio is just as hopeless. I’m fairly convinced he’s not talking about baseball during those mound visits.. looking for a misplaced Dodger Dog.

      • Agreed. Bosio is the pitching coach. He needs to be able to say “this isn’t a good idea Joe” when it isn’t. I believe Bosio owns this piece of misplaced Cubs philosophy.

      • Hey Jhon.. did you see a Dodger Dog in the pen? Sonofabitch.. okay, throw strikes.

    • Adam Peters
      • Doc Raker

        Stat rat. Funny sheet

  • …someone needs a nap

  • Colin Kruse

    I went to the game with two buddies of mine rooting for the Cubs. We sat in the dugout club. Ricketts, Ryne Sandberg, and Dave Winfield all sat near us. I would say the split of fans was about 70-30 with Dodgers and Cubs fans. When Turner hit the walk-off, I bolted to the parking lot, but there was some heckling. Hopefully, the Cubs can use the crowd at Wrigley and get these next three.

  • Brad Lyerla

    We did not hit well all year. We did not pitch well for much of the year.

    We kind of got it together after the all star break, but that was mostly pitching (Arrieta, Lackey, Hendricks and Quintana) and some good hitting from Rizzo in August and the same from Baez in September.

    Now, no one is hitting except Russell. The starting pitching ain’t bad, but is not lasting deep enough into the game. And the bull pen, which is not awful, is operating on a margin too thin for the level of talent we have.

    It seems to me that there is no cause for despair. We need two things to change. The starters have to last to the sixth (or longer) and some of the guys have got to start hitting. In particular, Bryant, Contreras and Baez have had truly awful at bats. Bryant acts like he is not seeing the ball well at all. Some of his swings look like he is feeling for the ball. And last night, Contreras and Baez both were swinging at balls above their neck.

    Only Jay has had consistently good at bats, and he doesn’t have much to show for it.

    As cap’n says, if we don’t hit, then we are going to lose. That’s the biggest problem facing us right now.

    But don’t despair. First of all, it’s not manly. Second of all, it doesn’t do any good. Just remember that we were in almost exactly the same spot last year. Didn’t we go 21 innings without scoring a run against the Dodgers during the LCS last year, or something like that?

    Either the guys get better at bats, or the season will end for us. And that’s baseball.

    • Adam Peters

      We scored more runs than anyone else after the All-Star break, so something was positive happening with the offense those last several months.

      I’m not going to bother to look it up, but I’m pretty sure Kris Bryant didn’t bat .179 with a 46% strikeout rate (when even exceeds Javy Baez’s 42%) during the season like he has in the post.

      Rizzo needs Matt Szczur’s bat, and maybe his underwear. I knew we would regret trading him.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I am not going to look it up either because I am at a Subway using my phone, not a desk using my laptop. But I think we scored a lot because guys hitting in the mid-200s or lower hit >20 HRs against non-elite pitching.
        Which does not continue in the play offs generally.

      • Let me guess.. meatball sub with ranch?

      • Adam Peters

        That is an excellent point, Brad.

      • cap’n realist

        none of the remaining games will be played against the Reds, OR at Great American Ball Park.

      • Adam Peters

        That’s a shame. I like our chances there.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I think he needs Szczur’s cape!

  • SouthCarolinaCubFan1991

    So…….? This year’s motto is “Take 17” right…. Can 2018 be “Arm up for 18”

    • Bryzzo1744

      I think MLB sets the slogans. Send that to their marketing department. That’s a good one.

    • Adam Peters

      Take 17 and shove it up your ***!

      • Brad Lyerla

        Last year, I proposed — kind of like Banks used to do — that the slogan should be: “The Cubs will be funky in the year of the monkey.” (It was the year of the monkey in the Chinese calendar.) Someone accused me of being racist?? That’s one of many reasons why I quit twitter.

      • Adam Peters

        How about, “The Cubs Will Be Fried in the Year of the Rooster.” (2017)

      • Michael S.

        Mmm…fried rooster…

      • Bryzzo1744

        I don’t like my chickens live. I like them dead and deep-fried. Ever heard of Popeye’s? – Carter in Rush Hour 2

      • Brad Lyerla

        Good. But better if it rhymes.

      • 17 – Walk the Walk in the Year of the Cock

      • Sherm

        Year of the Cock seems to favor the Yankees…

      • Adam Peters

        Racist against monkeys?

      • Brad Lyerla

        Who knows? Twitter is not the place to turn to for sober, logical contemplation of important matters like racial insensitivity. It’s really just a place where fools go to yell at each other, as Charles Barkley once famously said.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I like the part in Remember the Titans where Denzel Washington throws a banana at the other coach after he called him a monkey

      • Sherm

        Do you have any life references that don’t come from TV or Movies? Have you SEEN Cable Guy?

    • Sherm

      Maybe they’ll be fine by one-nine?

      Hopefully they’ll have plenty in twenty twenty?

  • Kyle

    Has Baez had an at bat this post season where he wasn’t down 0-2?

    • Michael S.

      I think he’s had a first-pitch groundout or two.