View From The Bleachers

June 22, 2011

Game 73 – Hard Fought Loss

Filed under: Featured,General — Jedi Johnson @ 7:28 am

Cubs 2, White Sox 3

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

What went right:

Garza kept the Cubs in it, even if he did make two bad pitches that led to the first two White Sox runs.

The rain delay came at the perfect time for the Cubs.  Getting Buehrle out early and with guys on base was important. It’s a shame that it couldn’t have come BEFORE Jeff Baker wasted his 6th inning at-bat.

Castro is physically unable to allow the ball to pass him by and yet seemingly finds himself perpetually on base and in the middle of things.  One of these days Castro is going to get 4 hits while seeing only 3 pitches in a game, don’t ask me how, but he’s going to do it.

What went wrong:

Did Garza forget the part of Pierre’s scouting report where he can’t get the ball out of the infield?  A more obvious squeeze situation I cannot conceive, and yet Garza just flings an easy pitch up and over the plate.  Pierre might have had a harder time bunting from a tee.

Jeff Samardzija threw 24 pitches.  He has thrown 24 or more pitches 16 times this year; in 9 of those games he has surrendered at least a run.  Conversely, in his other 14 appearances where he has thrown fewer than 24 pitches, he’s surrendered exactly 1 run – total.  However, the rest of the bullpen isn’t exactly lights out, so I do somewhat understand the adversarial relationship that Quade has with the bullpen phone.

No antics from Ozzie.  I find myself openly rooting for an umpiring blunder egregious enough to elicit a classic Guillen tirade.  The best reason to play for the White Sox would be so you could sit in the dugout and feed Ozzie’s bloodlust for the umps.  On any questionable call he can be persuaded that the White Sox were royally screwed – it’d be fun to help push him to that point.  Tonight I felt cheated.

Do thine eyes deceive me?

Are the advance scouts for the Cubs THAT bad?  Or is our pitching staff just THAT dumb?  Someone please explain why Paul Konerko is still seeing pitches.  Before the Cubs series started, he was 30-for-68 since May 28th – that’s only a .441 average.  He’d also hit 9 homers in that stretch.  Garza just grooved one, middle in, like Konerko is some unknown rookie.  He’s being “protected” in the lineup by Adam Dunn.  Dunn is hitting .177 (which is to say he could bat 3rd for the Cubs).  Yes, Dunn has particularly terrorized the Cubs throughout his career, but he doesn’t have a two-hit game since May 14th and he’s only hit 3 HRs in that span.  If they could find Ruben Sierra, even at 46 years old he’d provide better “protection” than Adam Dunn.  (Kenny Williams picks up his phone) There is ONE person in the White Sox lineup that can beat you on his own right now – he has HRs in five straight days – DON’T PITCH TO HIM!!!

Was that really the best lineup we could’ve fielded?  And who was the unlucky guy who had to tell Soriano that even though it was an AL park, he needed to bring his glove today?  We can’t let Montanez, LeMahieu, Johnson, Castro, and Baker appear in order at any point in the lineup.  Pena needs to be hitting higher than 7th, even against a lefty (and he proved it in the 5th with his HR).  Baker’s at-bat prior to the rain delay was awful.  If that’s what he brings as a DH, get Zambrano out there, at least he’ll swing the bat.  Somewhere Tyler Colvin is playing phone tag with Matt Murton, in desperate search of a sympathetic ear.  Colvin deserves better than to see every light-hitting OF get his spot on the Cubs roster; and he’d be a welcome upgrade over Montanez, hitting eighth and playing RF – or over Campana who is waiting for someone else to get on base so he can pinch run.

Hope for tomorrow:

There are signs of life, and tomorrow is another chance to win the series.  Garza looked pretty good.  Aramis’ at-bat after the rain delay was clutch; he obviously remembered that Pierre possesses the throwing arm of an 8-year old boy and targeted him for the RBI sac fly.  It’s also nice to see some aggressive baserunning – Johnson going 1st to 3rd on Castro’s bloop in the 6th is the reason why Aramis was able to tie it up.

Post-script:

Has anyone else noticed AJ Pierzynski celebrating like a schoolgirl after each Cubs’ strikeout?  If vanquishing Montanez is fist pump worthy, then I wanna see Doug Davis with a celebratory point to the heavens if he’s lucky enough to retire the rotting corpse of Omar Vizquel on Wednesday.

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

1st Star – Sergio Santos (.278 WPA)

2nd Star – Starlin Castro (.178 WPA)

3rd Star – Paul Konerko (.126 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: -.491 WPA

Cubs Pitching: -.009 WPA

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  • Buddy

    Nice recap Jedi. For what it’s worth, I’ve always felt that good hitters like Konerko protect themselves with knowledge of the strike zone.

  • Chet

    yah, but you still should be throwing away, away, away from Konerko right now…..we have fed him two gopher balls inside and he has deposited each into the seats…. next pitcher to throw inside to Konerko should do push-ups on the mound.

  • Buddy

    Yes. Two different discussions. Nobody is saying groove strikes to Konerko.

  • Aaron

    Jeff Samardzija’s mullet and facial hair remind me of someone, but I can’t quite place it. Maybe someone from a pirate movie? I was even thinking Timothy Dalton’s character in the Rocketeer (Neville Sinclair – http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1076006400/ch0016875) but he had short hair and no beard.

    This is really bothering me. Almost as much as his pitching.

  • PackerCubBull

    The Cubs are going to do exactly what they did to Murton with Colvin, and it’s awful. I always felt Murton could have been a big part of a Cubs team, and he showed it last year in Japan.

    As for Pierzynski, don’t go nuts after retiring Grandpa Vizquel. Give AJ a 100 mph fastball in the ribs. Or the head.

  • http://twitter.com/vftb Joe Aiello

    @PackerCubBull – You never throw at a guy’s head.

  • PackerCubBull

    You’re right. I’m sorry. I have a lot of anger in me. But I still think you he needs to take a 100 mph fastball in the ribs.

  • Jedi

    Thanks, Buddy.

    PackerCubBull – At least Murton got a legit shot to play everyday for more than a month. And it’s not like the other OFs we’ve brought up from the minors are making it hard on Hendry to demote them. The way we’ve treated Colvin is despicable.

  • http://swantron.com jswanson

    Colvin has hundred at bats, and is halfway to the Mendoza line. I would argue that his stats in 2011 are despicable.

  • Norm

    I would give Colvin the RF job when Fukudome is traded. Until then, I have no issue with him getting everyday at bats in AAA…especially since he’s not hitting down there either.

  • Jedi

    His numbers are bad because he played exactly 4 complete games between April 12th and June 1st. For a guy who broke camp with the team, he was given virtually no shot (except as a pinch hitter), and then told to go down to AAA and work on his swing. That’s how you build confidence Hendry-style.

  • http://swantron.com jswanson

    Wrong. See: Koyie Hill, Blake Dewitt.

  • Buddy

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t (and didn’t when they drafted him) expect much from Colvin. Good athlete, but he swings at everything.

  • Jedi

    Hill’s role is purely a backup, he knows this. When he plays, it’s nearly always for a complete game – not as a pinch hitter. And Koyie Hill isn’t exactly a picture of confidence at the plate, what with that .216 lifetime average.

    DeWitt thought he would be an everyday player for the Cubs, broke camp with the team, and completely sucked as a role player/pinch hitter. Sound like anyone else? The difference is that DeWitt was finally afforded the opportunity to play everyday for more than a week.

    Did anyone ever think that maybe, just maybe a guy who got stabbed with a broken bat might be the ONE GUY on the team whose confidence should be protected as much as possible?

  • http://swantron.com jswanson

    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22. Colvin can’t play because he can’t hit, and can’t hit because he can’t play. Sounds like a demotion to get at-bats is precisely what this situation warrants.

  • Buddy

    Fair point Jedi. As I say, I hope I’m wrong about Colvin’s development potential.

  • Jedi

    I just think we’ve got a much better chance hoping that Colvin becomes a lineup mainstay, than we do flushing at-bats down the Campana/Montanez toilet. I mean even if Colvin winds up being left-handed Matt Murton; isn’t that better than two more Jose Macias’?

  • Buddy

    I agree with your thoughts about Campana and Montanez. I hope I never have to watch either of them hit again.

  • Jedi

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t have to see them hit again – but we’ll probably have to watch them get a few more plate appearances.

  • Buddy

    Yeah, I didn’t phrase that properly.

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