View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Tuesday

13

September 2011

56

COMMENTS

Game 147 – Cincy Slugfest

Written by , Posted in General


Cubs 12, Reds 8

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Starlin Castro actually walked! However, it was against Dontrelle Willis, so it probably shouldn’t count.
  • Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs an early lead with an RBI double in the 1st inning. Alfonso Soriano plated the Cubs second run with a single to left. Run number three came home on a fielder’s choice grounder from Geo Soto.
  • The Cubs added two more in the 3rd inning via a Jeff Baker homer and a Soto double.
  • The slugfest continued in the 4th. The Cubs knocked out Willis with three more runs on doubles by Castro and Soriano.
  • Castro flexed his muscles in the 5th inning with a two-run poke to left-center.
  • Ramirez smacked home run number 25 in the 6th.
  • The Cubs made it an even dozen when Reed Johnson singled in a run in the 8th.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • Lopez gave up a monstrous home run to Reds 3B Juan Francisco. I think that ball is still travelling. After Willis rifled a single to right (he can’t pitch anymore but he can still hit), Brandon Phillips tied the game with a two-run bomb. Phillips got Lopez again with a solo blast in the 5th.  Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco added another Reds homer in the 6th.  Despite throwing batting practice for most of his outing, Lopez got the ugly win.
  • Len Kasper spent what felt like forever giving us the heights and weights of Reds’ players. Maybe tomorrow he’ll tell us the color of their eyes.
  • My fantasy football team lost the season opener. Time to fire the GM!

WISH LIST

Is it too much to ask for the Cubs to find a 1B like Joey Votto? OK, it probably is, but I’m asking anyway.

With the Reds playing sub-.500 baseball in 2011, much of the country has ignored Votto’s MVP follow-up season. Through September 12th, Joey has ripped up the league to the tune of:

  • .320/.427/.553
  • 28 home runs
  • 35 doubles
  • 100 walks

Votto won’t even sniff the 2011 N.L. MVP award, but he’s having a similar season to his winning campaign (I won’t bore you again with my rant about the terrible job sports writers do with annual awards). Votto just turned 28, so he’ll be punishing opposing pitchers for quite some time.

Back to the Cubs. I know that many VFTB readers want Bryan LaHair at 1B next year, but let me ask you this…What if the Cubs decide to make him a corner OF? Or, what if LaHair turns out to be the next Michal Hoffpauir? Is there another 1B on your radar screen? Please share your thoughts and ideas for 2012.

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

1st Star – Brandon Phillips (.198 WPA)

2nd Star – Starlin Castro (.162 WPA)

3rd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.142 WPA)

  • Norm

    Lopez – Winning pitcher

    What does that tell us about how good or bad he pitched?
    I think the answer is ‘nothing’ and that’s the point some of us are trying to make about the “pitcher win”.
    TEAM Wins are important. Pitcher Wins, not so much.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Well I am pretty sure that LaHair won’t get enough at bats the rest of the way unless Soriano and Pena both get kidnapped. It’s nice to see him hitting so well…and showing such patience at the plate in a small sample size. I’d certainly think he’d be in the mix for at least a backup job next season at OF-1B..or even platooning with Soriano in LF. Pujols and Fielder are the 2 big fish available…with Fielder being more attractive just due to the age issue? But with all the holes this team has…is it worth signing a 1B to a big deal? Maybe? Taking into consideration that A-Gonz…Tex…etc are locked up long term already?

  • Chuck

    I am fine with having LaHair as the starting 1B to start next year (assuming he wins the job in spring training) but the Cubs better have a plan B because I suspect that he is a AAAA non-prospect player. He has spent 5 years in AAA and is 28 this year. My plan B would be Vitters. From all teh reports I have heard, Vitters can’t play the position of 3B and a switch to 1B to concentrate on hitting may be what he needs.
    My contentment with this situation is based on my belief that the Cubs won’t have the pitching to be good next year.

  • Dusty Baylor

    C’mon Chuck..all the Cubs need is 2 or 3 more good starting pitchers?
    Er..yeah.

  • Chuck

    If the Cubs had mediocre starting pitching, they would be up in the standings with the Cardnials. They have no legit ace and a bunch of #5 or #6 guys. That is no way to run a railroad. They can hit and score runs.
    I am also concerned that Cashner will be a bullpen guy because he can’t stay healthy as a starter. I am afraid it my be retread city until we can get the farm system churning out guys.

  • Randy

    Lopez takes pitching to contact to a new level. Those 85mph meatballs are going to get someone killed. Good to see Castro knocking the ball around, Barney swiping a bag, and Soriano at least trying to end the season with more hits than strikeouts.

  • May as well have tossed in innings two, seven, and nine for completion’s sake.

  • Chuck

    BTW: I made my case for Braun over Kemp for MVP. Votto is having another great year, but those two guys are just plain better. Defense matters and Kemp playing a good CF is much more valuable than a decent 1B.

  • Buddy

    Cubs pitching has been rotten this year, but so has the offense (just not quite as rotten). Last time I checked they were 10th in the league in onbase percentage.

  • Buddy

    J, had the Cubs scored in those innings, I definitely would have included them.

  • Tenth place in OBP seems low. We had our version of the Bash Brothers notching up walks together most of the year. Kosuke and Pena should have been chest bumping and throwing out high fives after their patient at-bats.

  • Doc Raker

    Count me in on the LaHair for 1b in 2012 band wagon. We need pitching, not a $20M first baseman.

  • Doc Raker

    Count me in on LeMehue at getting a shot in 2012. We need pitching, not a $20M first baseman.

  • Doc Raker

    Count me in on Campana getting a shot in 2012. We need pitching, not a $20M first baseman.

  • Doc Raker

    Count me in on Colvin getting more AB’s in 2012. We need pitching, not a $20M first baseman.

  • Doc Raker

    Count me in on giving any rookie who shows any kind of promise a shot in 2012. We need pitching, not a $20M first baseman.

  • Buddy

    It’s been almost a week since somebody told us that “D.J. LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the Cubs system.” What gives?

  • Chuck

    As of right now the Cubs have scored 608 runs putting them in 8th place in the NL. The Cubs have given up 705 Runs putting them at 15th in the NL.
    Thank God for the Astros.

  • LaHair’s triple.

  • Jedi

    Yeah, I’m with Doc on this – we need pitching, and we need it badly. If Sabathia opts out we should take a long, hard look.

    Also, who cares if we have a 2012 backup plan at first base? First baseman are often times quite easy to find even mid-year. Jeff Baker will be on the roster, and while I don’t like Baker at first – I’d happily watch that and not complain if it meant that the Cubs didn’t go out and buy another expensive first baseman during the off-season.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Buddy, DJ LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the Cubs’ system. Restart the clock.

    I like a lot of what Pena has to offer, and I wish the Cubs had crossed paths with him a few seasons ago. And even though he’s set up for a nice paycheck after Pujols and Fielder sign this offseason, he (weirdly) keeps affirming his desire to stay with the Cubs. I say we put it to the test–if he’ll stay for a couple years in the $4M-5M neighborhood, I don’t think I’d balk at that too much–barring some goofy postseason payout like he’s due this year. I don’t think he’d give us that deep of a discount, but if he does, I’d take it. Any more than that and I’d rather gamble on LaHair and the farm system grab bag at first and spend the cash on pitchers.

  • Chuck

    Free agent pitching signings are inherently tricky. Pitchers are much more likely to get hurt than a position player and they seem to bad investments. They tend to be a “go big or go home” investment. The cheap guys tend to either surprise in a good way or go away without much fuss. The expensive guys tend to deliver. If you give CC $20M a year he will probably not turn into a pumpkin. It is those middle of the pack guys that, to me at least, just seem to dissapoint. They get a bunch of money and they never seem to “earn” it.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I’m going to take the other side of that, and say that I’d rather see the following at 1B than Jeff Baker:
    Bryan LaHair
    Tyler Colvin
    Rebel Ridling
    Carlos Pena
    Larry Biittner
    Pete Lacock
    George Mitterwald

  • Chuck

    BTW: I think Pena is what he is. He is a low average, good (not great) OBP, good glove, strikes out a lot, hits with good power and seems like a good clubhouse guy. If that is what you want from your 1B, he is a good fit.
    Personally, I would give LaHair a chance. Save the money and spend it on the draft to get the best young guys you can. Pena is not going to take this bad club and make it good. Neither is not keeping Pena going to make this bad club crater to horrible. Good player, not a difference maker.

  • Buddy

    Thanks J.J. I feel better already!

  • BLPCB

    Jedi, would you really want to sign Sabathia at 20M+ a year for at least 5 years? Especially with the Cubs likely on the hook for 18M for Bozo?

    And yes, the pitcher who gets the win or loss means nothing. What if a pitcher gives up 1 run, leaves, his offense gives him nothing, the pen makes it a 10-0 game, but the offense rallies back but loses 10-9. Why should the starter get the loss when he only gave up 1 run and his team scored 9?

  • Noah

    Chuck- Ted Lilly says hello.

    I’d say the big issue is that sometimes people give ace type money to middle of the pack guys, or guys who have one great season after being in the middle of the pack most of their careers. If you give a mid-level guy like Ted Lilly mid-level money, then odds are you won’t be disappointed. At $10 million per year for four years, Lilly was a very good deal for the Cubs. According to FanGraphs, from 2007 to 2010 Lilly was worth nearly $55 million on the open market. Had the Cubs paid Lilly $15 million a year, though, suddenly his production wouldn’t have looked like such a great deal.

  • Norm

    CC is owed 4 years, $92M.
    If he opts out, it’s to get more years.
    Same salary, one more year would be 5 years, $115M
    Bidding against the Yanks, it’ll be more than that.

  • BLPCB

    I think he’ll get 5/125 at least, with the Phillies.

  • Buddy

    Captain Cheeseburger will remain a Yankee. Book it! Write it down! Bet the farm! Be the ball! Rock the vote! Roll the bones! Eat a carp!

  • Jedi

    I often think there’s a reading comprehension problem here sometimes. I said that I would “take a long, hard look.”

    What I didn’t say was that we should take the Kosuke approach, making him option 1, 2, and 3.

    And yes, if Sabathia opts out, he’s wanting another $100mil+ deal. And yes, the Yankees will be fighting like crazy to keep him. But the Cubs just don’t have an ace – and by 2013, we won’t have Zambrano or Dempster (we’ll likely only have Dempster in 2012 anyway). So yeah, it would be better if Sabathia was going to opt out next year; but that’s not the hand we’ve been dealt. And Sabathia-type players don’t always make it to the open market.

    I’d rather risk a lot on a guy like Sabathia who has proven to be great at times (a lefthanded ace is easier to get rid of than an overpaid LF who can’t field or a headcase No. 2 starter).

  • BLPCB

    I think CC is at the end of the line and is going to start breaking down. I don’t want him. Maybe 5 years ago I would say yes, but now, no, because it will be a huge liability down the line. I will remember to mark this thread though, in the event that the Cubs do sign CC and Jedi bitches about the contract down the road. Deal?

  • Norm

    jesus man, he just asked you a simple question:

    “Jedi, would you really want to sign Sabathia at 20M+ a year for at least 5 years?”

  • Jedi

    BLPCB – fair enough, even though I didn’t say I’d give him a blank check. It’s probably not going to matter much anyway, I can’t foresee a scenario where the Cubs get a new GM who wants to make his first order of business signing a new potential albatross. But I do think it’s worth the time to look into…and you may be right – he may very well break down soon; but that’s just par for the course with our current roster.

  • Jedi

    Norm – I’m not sure why you feel the need to police everything I say, it’d be fine with me if you stopped.

  • BLPCB

    Well it’s going to take a 9-figure contract to get him

  • Jedi

    Yep – it probably will…and at some point if we want an ace, we’ll need to shell out 9 figures to someone. I’m not convinced beyond doubt that CC is that guy, but he’s at least worth looking at. It’s hard to say when another one will be available.

  • BLPCB

    This team is not near contending status. In my book 2012 is already a lost cause, so let’s develop some talent. And who knows, we might even make the playoffs with the kids. We went for the quick fix in 2007 and 2008, and we are dealing with all these albatrosses of contracts now. I didn’t mind it then, and I wouldn’t mind it now either if it wins a World Series, but let’s try to make the playoffs on a consistent basis. Because once the playoffs start, it’s a crapshoot.

  • Jedi

    BLPCB – I’m with you on all of that…except as it relates to a No. 1 starter. If we get the chance at a No. 1, we need to really explore it. Not for the sake of 2012, but for the sake of 2013 and beyond.

    In fact, I would say that one of the mistakes of 2007 & 2008 was that we didn’t really effort making the big jump after an ace…we played the “our four No. 2s are better than your 1-2-3-4 starters”…it just didn’t work. Put a legit No. 1 on the mound to start the NLCS in either year, maybe things go a bit differently (the opposite being that in 2003 we felt like if we could just GET to the playoffs, our two No. 1s would vanquish any opponent…hence my desire for a No. 1).

  • BLPCB

    I’m with you on that. I really felt we could have won it all in 2004 if we made the playoffs because the 2004 team was loaded, and everyone was healthy and firing on all cylinders at the end. Freaking Hawkins

  • Doc Raker

    No $100M contracts to anyone this offseason. Rebuild, rebuild, youth, youth, get money off the books, get money off the books then fill your hole. Not you pie hole either.

  • BLPCB

    Doc: If that was a facebook post, you would get a like

  • Buddy

    Sabathia is 31, so I would pass on any deal that was more than four years.

  • Doc Raker

    Cool BLPCB, I get a DIG IT! Maybe even a Wizzie or Lizzie round these parts.

  • BLPCB

    Same. He is going to either opt out and get one final payday, or get the Yankees to tack on some more years and money to his contract. And to think the opt-out clause was put in in case him and his wife didn’t like NYC. In the words of Edna Krabappel: HA!

  • My delusions allow me to think that the Cubs are not very far out of the Central next year. Seriously, picture this club with suitable replacements for RoLo, Davis, Grabow, and the other clowns who had to eat innings so far…not hard to see us at .500 in hindsight. Replace those guys with B caliber pitchers, and we are right with the Cards. Let them and the Crew shell out huge for first basemen, snag some arms, and see what happens.

    Plus, that new guy is the reincarnate Mark Grace. We might have the whole division in our rear-view after game one.

  • Buddy

    If Mark Grace was 6’5″, weighed 240 pounds, struck out every four at bats, and slugged homers, I would be right there with you! Regarding your comments about not being far out of contention, I would agree on this level. In the current era of baseball, it’s nowhere near as hard to turn a team around as it used to be. A year ago, would we have predicted competitive seasons from Cleveland and Arizona? Parity is alive and well in MLB.

  • Gracey was 6’7″…almost no body fat at a ripped 235. He slugged 54 homers in 1993. He had a vertical jump of 58 inches, which saved Ryne Sandberg and his unpredictable arm dozens and dozens of errors. He struck out only *twice, both times as a Diamondback.
    *Both of Mark Grace’s K’s were against Randy Johnson in BP

  • Buddy

    Oh yeah. I forgot.

  • Seeing Butts (and Breasts) in the D.R.

    Found a dial up connection here and am listening to Keith and Pat as I write.
    Watched the Sunday night game on ESPN Deportes…in Spanish. I thought it was last year and Joe Morgan was having a stroke on air.
    I’ve seen at least 2 dead ringers for Sammy Sosa, 1 running for public office.
    I highly reccommend Jet Blue…bigger seats, and directv in every seat. Got to watch the Pack hold on on the redeye.

    Oh poop, game over…gotta check out another buffet (it’s all inclusive, and I can’t be cheated).

  • Doc Raker

    What resort you at Seymour? Love those all inclusive, over indulged at many.
    The Cubs could contend next year but that should not be their focus. Rebuilding should. Ironically 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003 and 2007 all followed dismal years for the Cubs.

  • Chuck

    Not even the Astros are out of it in the NL Central. It is because teh NL Central is not that tough of a division. OK, maybe the Astros are.
    Signing long term contracts to pitchers onthe wrong side of 30 is never a good idea. Ever.

  • Buddy

    “Exactamundo.”

  • Lizzie

    Dear Butts & Breasts,
    Good to hear from you. Hope you are scouting us some new talent at your all-inclusive. You will need to let us know who you’ve been having dinner with. And what you ordered.
    Safe travels,
    Lizzie

  • Seeing Butts (and Breasts) in the D.R.

    Majestic colonial in Punta Cana. Nice place, decent diving.
    Looks like nobody is throwing a no hitter there. many people from multiple nations. No problems with self esteem, judging from the enormous guts flying free in the sunshine.

  • lizzie

    Maybe you need to change to Butts and Guts (and breasts).