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October 2017

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How the Cubs can come back in this series. Part II

Written by , Posted in General

Yesterday I broke down what the Cubs pitchers needed to do in order for us to get back into, and even win this series against the Dodgers.  Yes, pitching and defense win championships.  But so does being disciplined at the plate and not looking like a fool on every pitch that you see.  Is it me or does every other team look like they know what they are doing at the plate other than the Cubs?  Starting with Yu Darvish tonight, the Cubs need to have the right mindset at the plate and get the bats going.

Jon Jay:  Mr. Jay has his moments.  One minute he looks like the center fielder/lead off hitter that we needed all season and the next minute he looks as if he took a few pages out of Jason Heyward’s hitting playbook from last season.  No matter where he hits in the lineup, Jay needs to be constantly hitting to where the pitch is thrown.  Quit trying to pull the ball on outside pitches.  Get on base and trust the other guys behind you.  Trust is the key word.

Kris Bryant:  Boy, O, Boy.  Kris looks as lost as I have ever seen him at the plate (take away the 4 strike out performance his first game in the majors).  His confidence is at an all time low.  Every pitch that he gets, as a strike, he cannot make contact.  Runner on third, less than two outs….put the ball in play and get the runner home.  You know it only takes one swing of the bat to turn his confidence around.  Let’s start tonight.

Anthony Rizzo:  Couple him with Bryant and this has been a horrid playoff run (.154 and .179 avg. respectively).  Last week during the Nationals series they asked Joe Maddon who was the one person in the locker room that is trying to fill the void of David Ross with leadership.  The closest player he could name was Rizzo.  Rizzo, being the elder in terms of years with the Cubs, needs to grasp this leadership role and have others follow his lead.  Again, one swing can turn his confidence around.

Willson Contreras:  Fast balls around your eye balls does not equal hits too often.  This is a player that wants to do way too much at the plate.  Down four runs and wanting to jack a ball out of the park is not the great approach at the plate.  Be the “stringer”.  Start the string of hits that puts crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

Albert Almora, Jr.:  Albert is probably our most consistent player at putting the ball in play.  Problem is: 1) he doesn’t know, along with us fans, whether he will play day-to-day 2) not the most disciplined player at the plate as he swings at balls out of the strike zone which leads to little dinkers in the infield.  This kid has potential.  He, along with Rizzo and Bryant, can do some damage if their pitch selection is better.

Jason Heyward:  Granted, Jason is better than he was last year.  He is still pulling off the ball quite a bit which leads to easy ground ball outs.  Jason is not going to threaten a team with his power.  When he squares on a pitch he can hit it sharply.  Starting tonight, taking the speeches out of the game, Jason will need to execute both foul lines and get the extra base hits.

Addison Russell:  Addison is probably our most consistent performer of the series thus far.  He enters the game with a .208 avg. but also provides the pop that others in the line up have failed to produce.  He has provided the key hit to get runners in to help us advance in the playoffs.  We will need his clutch hitting moving forward.

Javier Baez:  Hmmmm…..well…..uh……swing at strikes (not from your ass) and see what happens.

Ben Zobrist:  In my opinion, Ben needs to be in the lineup.  Yes, he has had a down year.  But when October rolls around it seems like his bat comes to life.  Plus, it never hurts when you have a player who had the playoff experience he has.  He isn’t going to win gold gloves in the outfield…but the last I checked we haven’t scored runs.  Get him in the lineup.

Kyle Schwarber:  Pretty sad how much this kid has regressed in the course of a year.  Yes, he was out all of last year with the injury but did at least provide that “oh god he’s up” moment for opposing teams.  Now, other than the pee rod against the wall during the Nationals series, Kyle doesn’t bring much fear to opposing teams.  Kyle needs to be ready coming off the bench to hit.  One can only hope.

Ian Happ:  Wonder where this guy has been?  I’m still wondering.  Probably will continue to wonder for the rest of the postseason.  4 at bats this postseason after hitting .253 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI’s.  This during a short stint in the show this year.  He needs to be hitting more often.  One swing from this kid can make a difference in the outcome of a game.

Alex Avila:  The true veteran of the team after coming over from the Tigers with that Wilson guy.  0 at bats this postseason but can provide pop after hitting 14 home runs this season between Detroit and Chicago.  I was thinking back to our loud mouthed back up catcher last year and the granny he hit against the Dodgers.  Was also thinking this could be Avila as well.

Leonys Martin:  Run, baby, run.  Keep you legs loose and your hammy’s fresh.  A gapper will score you with your speed.  Defensively we hear that you have the best arm of our outfielders.  There will come a time, late in the game, when Zobrist will get on and you will pinch run.  Head down and run like hell.  We will need you.

Tommy La Stella:  You seem to be clutch.  Some people call you 3 A.M.  Whatever it is, please be disciplined in your approach and get on base.

 

Last year’s team used to pride itself in working the pitchers into high pitch counts early in the game.  This is not the case anymore.  They have to make the pitchers labor on the mound and get gassed.  They have to be very selective in their pitch recognition.  They have to do a lot of things.   If we are to get out of this hole and past the Dodgers, our plate discipline and bats have to wake up.  Whatever line up Joe decides to throw out there, every one of our guys needs to be ready.  Soon there will be no tomorrow.

  • Eddie Von White

    Now all we need is to get Joe to read this to the boys before the game tonight. It’s not about just having fun anymore. The only way to have fun is to win.

  • Sherm

    Ni Hao. Greetings from Guangzhou. Even from here I could smell that game. Thanks to the guys who kept me up to date on that shitshow. Glad I missed it. You’re lucky that I’m not writing the recap because it wouldn’t be nice.

    And for the record, it doesn’t make it better that they won it all last year or won the division again. Those accomplishments mean little or nothing now – they’re history. I want to see good baseball. This team does not play quality baseball. It’s frustrating and unfortunate.

    • CubbieBlue023

      Come on Sherm. Give Edwards credit for going out and giving 100%. Even against their pitcher at the plate that has a batting average equal to my 2 year old. He is young. He makes more than what all of us on this board make combined in a year. He is super duper nice and throws fast. Is there a ribbon we can give him? That’s my idea for next year…VFTB ribbon of the game. We are all winners.

      • Seymour Butts

        Edwards makes a paultry 500k a year ( same as kb). Pretty sure we surpass this.
        The shitshow was unwatchable. Not sure how much i cam stomach tonight.

    • Everything they’ve achieved this year has been in spite of themselves (and because the rest of the division shit the bed.) People who stop drinking the kool aid and honestly assess this team immediately recognize they don’t belong at this table. Like EVW said, I’m hoping the end comes swiftly.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I am too, but what is it going to take to get Maddon fired? A 72-90 season?

      • I’m not advocating a Maddon firing. I mean, they can fire him if they want, I don’t really care. But a change in management won’t work without a change in management philosophy. Two very different things.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I agree with you that a change in the culture is needed. Now the question is how to achieve it? My solution is the above, but what are other ways to change the culture?

      • Time to Hit

        Agreed some of the culture needs to change but this is also something you are going to get with such a young team. It’s not giving them an excuse but fans should not freak about because of the immaturity and think everything needs to be blown up. The negativity around the young players is crazy, they are way better than 25ish year olds are supposed to be so let’s let them develop some…

    • Adam Peters

      There’s not much to say at this point. I mean, we could all bitch until the cows come home, but who even feels like doing that?

      When they didn’t score more in the first I thought, “this will come back to haunt them.” And lo and behold.

      This series has been eerily reminiscent of the 2015 NLCS.

      When we were down 3-1 in the WS last year I really, truly felt we could still win with our best 3 pitchers lined up to go those last 3 games. Needless to say, I have no such confidence now. That would just be delusional.

      • Kyle

        Ya, they got the hits in the wrong order in the first inning.

        At least they’ll get an extra couple of weeks rest and be fresh for next year!

  • Buddy

    Yes the bullpen has imploded. Yes Joe has made some questionable moves. But none of that matters much when you score one freakin’ run per game. At the end of the day, this offense is mostly built on walks and homers, which served the Cubs pretty well during the regular season (second in the league in runs scored). The problem is, when they’re not walking and hitting homers, this is what you get.

    • Brad Lyerla

      And you don’t get a lot of walks and homers against elite pitching.

  • Doc Raker

    Big game tonight, Blackhawks and Blues, should be fun the Blackhawks have started out well.

    I am not heartbroken about the Cubs, I am surprised they got this far. We scored 9 runs on the Nationals in game 5 with one solid RBI hit, all the other runs were gifts from the Nationals. We got to the NLCS because of the Dusty curse of bad baseball or the bad baseball a Dusty team plays when it matters.

    All season long we beat up on mediocre pitching and got shut down by quality pitching, why should October be any different. It tires me to see every Cub hitter trying to pull pull pull pull pull pull on every swing. Go the other way on an outside pitch, lay down a bunt against the shift, get on base.

    The 4 pitch walk to Darvish by CJ with the bases loaded was a perfect summary of our bullpen. This team really misses Travis Wood. Wood gave us a lot of important outs in games that could of gotten away from the Cubs, he bridged the starter to closer gap often and we miss him or a guy like him. I didn’t like letting him go, I don’t know if 2017 Wood would of been as good as 2016 but we miss the 2016 Wood A LOT.

    We need 2 stud starters, a new bullpen, Zo needs to be a pinch hitter and not an everyday player, Heyward needs to take his face guard off and start leaning into pitches again and not away from them when he swings, Schwarbs needs to be traded to the AL for a stud pitcher- sorry buddy you will always be a legend in Chicago but you aren’t a left fielder and 120mph HR doesn’t make up for the .125 BA-and every other hitter in the line up needs to show up at spring training and go oppo with every AB until
    it is part of their game.

    • Michael S.

      Agree Schwarber needs to be traded–but it should have been done this past offseason when his value was high, not the upcoming one where his value will be a fraction of what it was.

      • Doc Raker

        I think his value is very high as a DH. You keep him and use him sparingly against righties until you can trade him for a stud pitcher, this off season or at the trade deadline. Schwarbs for Verlander would of been good but we would of still had this nagging problem of not scoring runs. Schwarbs is a special hitter. He hit 30 bombs in 400AB’s and he has always hit well as a DH. I love watching Schwarbs make contact but he is a DH. In 2016 having him only as a DH and playing 4 games in Cleveland was a blessing from the Baseball Gods along with the 17 minute rain delay.

    • Karen Hirsh

      You are right on the spot. There is no more to be said. “Wait till next year”.