View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



October 2017



Unicorns, Professors, and $1 Margaritas

Written by , Posted in General

I agree, our pen is not what it was last year.  Our post-season team Batting Average, well, it’s bobbing around below the Mendoza Line.  Hell, our manager is making weird decisions and in many ways I can’t blame him.  The runway is very short this post-season and errors in judgement are far easier to run into than they were last year.   We aren’t much further off than we were last season though.  A quick look back will serve you well.


The Dodgers are our unicorn…

This year the Dodgers immediately threw their two pitchers at us that we cant hit in Kershaw and Hill.  If you go back to 2016 real quick you will remember we had a few “dry spells” with the bats.  One of those was a 21 inning stint covering three games of the NLCS against these same Dodgers.  We managed 6 hits over 21 straight innings of baseball.  Games two, three and the start of game four made up this stretch.  I remember thinking, what the hell happened?  But if you dive in closer you will see that games 2 and 3 were especially awful.  Can anyone guess who pitched those games? How about Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill for a thousand Pat! Yes Chet, you are correct!!!! Guess who pitched the first two games of the 2017 NLCS? Exactly!

The frustration in the eyes of Cubs hitters against Rich Hill is visible.  They constantly left the batters box staring at their bat or looking off into the distance like they had never seen a 12-6 breaking ball before. This lineup still seems to struggle with off-speed stuff at times.

Now, tomorrow night is Yu Darvish and honestly I have no idea how this will go.  The one telling stat from this regular season is that we played LA six times and sported a .191 average against them.  What we need is magic, what we need is…


The Professor…

If we do win, it most likely will hinge on a dominant performance from a starter.  We need Hendricks to go deep.  Our pen is anything from 2013 Carlos Marmol to 1998 Rod Beck.  Never really shutting anyone down, always leaving us on the edge of our seats, but success hinging entirely on whether they throw strikes or cant find the plate if they were standing on it.

If I may digress slightly, of all the pitchers I hope we keep, Kyle Hendricks would be the guy I want to see locked up to a long term deal.  I honestly think he may be the second coming of Maddux. He isn’t a sexy option. He doesn’t throw 100, but I swear if I needed a guy to stop anybody over the last two seasons, Hendricks is the smart choice.  He may give up the house in game three, but I don’t care and it wont change my line of thinking.

Now, back to where we were, we need starters to run the table.  We didn’t hit that well last post-season either.  We had our share of low scoring wins sprinkled in.  If you think about it, that may be the difference between the two post-seasons.


The big picture…

I am going to go back to a mantra from last weeks post as a reminder. As fans we are quite spoiled these days. In three years our team just went -> NLCS (2015 -Lost) -> World Series Champs (2016) -> NLCS (2017-???).  We used to act like world beaters when we took a mid-season series from the Cardinals for crying out loud. We dined in the outhouse of baseball and got laughed at for it.  Now everybody hates us and wants to see us lose. Why, because they have to cheer on shit teams that have no hope of turning a corner anytime soon.  You don’t think the Tigers or the Phillies would kill to have what we have?

Crappy Story, but telling it anyway…..The other day I sat in an Applebees drinking $1 Margs for lunch while listening to two yahoo’s discuss their hatred for the Cubs…By the way, I am in Minnesota. (I realize how that whole sentence sounds, life isn’t that sad, but I did learn that those margaritas are apparently mostly water, which then made me sad.) They both agreed, they hate the Cubs because people seem to like them for no reason.  What does that shit mean? WTF is that? He actually said, “People like that team and they don’t even have a good reason for it.” Holy shit guys, I think we made it! People  outside of St. Louis and the South side of Chicago hate our Cubs for insane reasons.  This is the top of the mountain in the sporting world, you can’t go higher.

We probably didn’t fill all the wholes we needed to in the shortened off-season and we still got to the NLCS.  One of our biggest trades at the deadline to fill a weakness didn’t pan out and we still got to the NLCS. This team hasn’t, for any extended period of time, played their best ball all season long and still gets to the NLCS.

Think about all of that for a minute.




  • Brad Lyerla

    Chet, you are a philosopher of great wisdom. I cannot disagree with a word that you have written. (Except for the part about Applebees and $1 margaritas.)

    I am optimistic and look forward to seeing what color Joe Maddon’s hair is tonight. (The Chicago press has picked up that he appears to be using something on it.)

    • Even my inside-hat-ass-wearing self steers clear of Applebees.

  • Eddie Von White

    What we need is the manager to understand our starters need to go deep and leave them (mainly Kyle tonight) in until they show signs of weakness. The relievers are relievers for a reason. And good pitching is only as good as timely hitting.

    • Junior Von White

      I would say leave them in past signs of weakness. Let the starters pitch 110-130 pitches. A struggling Hendricks, Arrieta, Quintana, or Lester is better than any bullpen option (with the exception of Davis).

      • Sherm

        Pitchers are athletes, too. Start 9 pitchers all over the diamond and use them all game, situationally, as needed. Or not.

        Score a few runs and everything else falls into place. The Yankees are down 2-1, but have the momentum in their series. Cubs can do the same. Patience is a virtue…especially for a struggling offense.

      • Eddie Von White

        That’s actually a good idea. Didn’t Chet say our starting pitchers had a higher batting average than the position players? That’s what I heard.

      • cap’n realist

        One of the reasons I hated the first double switch Sunday night. Strop has shown himself to be a decent hitter, so even if he comes up again, in a game that’s looking like extra innings, why not let him take a swing a a low leverage situation? Runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, sure, go to Zobrist, but no need to double switch for the exercise.

      • Doc Raker

        Strop is a better hitter than Zobrist

      • I agree. Leaving them in there and potentially losing is way better than pulling them out and definitely losing. It would at least eliminate the daily “what if he stayed in” rumination.

  • Adam Peters

    This team has many wholes. As in, the whole bullpen sucks. The hitting, as a whole, has sucked. Maddon’s game management, on the whole, has sucked.

    And not to be an a-whole, but Rich Hill’s curve is not a 12-6.

    • Doesn’t really matter, they still couldn’t hit it.

      • Adam Peters

        Maybe if they used a unicorn horn instead of a bat…

    • Kyle

      I figured Seymore would be all over this one.

  • Adam Peters

    I thought a unicorn was good. Their horns have magical powers & all that.

    • Eddie Von White

      Except they’re not real.

      • Adam Peters

        Sez you.

        My point is, if the Dodgers were the Cubs unicorn, that would be a good thing. But they are clearly not.

        My God, is this conversation what we’ve been reduced to?

      • I assumed it was a Lackey joke of some sort.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I believe Lackey is the exact opposite of a unicorn.

      • I don’t know.. he has the teeth thing going for him.

      • Michael S.

        Those are closer to a Donkey than a Unicorn.

  • Karen Hirsh

    I hope they win tonight but let’s face it…this team is not the team that won the WS. Why hasn’t Maddon used Happ?? I don’t get his managing decisions at all. Taking pitchers out because they walked one batter or one got a hit. Crazy!! Lackey was the worst move ever!!

    • Doc Raker

      I want to party with you

  • Doc Raker

    JJ 4 for 18, .222
    Almora 3 for 13, .231
    And those are our 2 best hitters in the post season
    Zo 4 for 19, .211
    Russell 5 for 24, .208
    Bryant 5 for 28 and 13 K, .179
    Rizzo 4 for 26 and 9 K, .154
    Heyward 2 for 15, .133
    Schwarbs 1 for 8, .125
    Baez 0 for 19, .000

    How do you even make a line up with all of that putridness

    • Adam Peters

      That one hit that Schwarbs got was a BOMB!

      • Doc Raker

        Stewards may be hitting .125 but he is the best .125 hitter I have ever seen

  • Michael S.

    Whoever recommended moving Bryant and Rizzo down in the order, they’re batting 3-4 tonight instead of 2-3.

    Guess who’s hitting 2nd? Schwarber! And Zobrist leads off!

    This is a GREAT LINEUP GUYS!

    • Bryzzo1744

      That was me who recommended they hit 3-4. I don’t like the 1-2 punch at the top though

    • Adam Peters

      You’re being sarcastic, right?

      • Michael S.

        Never been sarcastic in my life. Don’t even know how.

    • looks like I’m grabbing beer on the way home..

    • Adam Peters

      How is it that Schwarber is a suitable 2-hole hitter and Russell is not, even though he’s the only one on the team who looks like he remembers how to hit?

      • Tim to Hit

        Yes Russell is the better hitter right now but it does not mean he should be hitting in the 2 hole instead of Schwarber. Two reasons for that:
        1) Schwarber in front of Bryant means he will see way better pitches to hit than if he was in the 7 spot. With an offense struggling to string hits together, it’s not such a bad idea to maximize your chances of hitting a homerun, and Schwarber in the 2-hole does that
        2) What it appears Maddon did here is used Jay (who has been arguably having the best at bats on the team) as a bridge between the big boppers and Russel, a real RBI threat to lengthen the lineup
        Definitely the right call to sit Baez today, hopefully they can get a lead and get him in the game