View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Tuesday

13

September 2011

43

COMMENTS

Game 148 – Cubs Lose in a Bore

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 1, Reds 2

Box Score / Highlights

Reds pitcher Mike Leake carved up the Cubs in this yawn fest, leading the Reds to a 2-1 victory. His last two starts have been against the hacktastic Northsiders and he’s went 17 innings while throwing a combined 181 pitches; Ryan Dempster would throw 128 in just 7 innings tonight.

What went right:

  • Starlin Castro opened the game with a walk and did NOT get tagged out after nearly getting faked out by Joey Votto.
  • Darwin Barney knocked two hits to get that OPS up to .674. Remember in April when some people were calling him ‘untouchable’?
  • Bryan LaHair played.
  • We’re one game closer to the end of Mike Quade.

What went wrong:

  • Speaking of Mike Quade, with the Cubs down one and 8 outs remaining, he decided to let Dempster hit despite already having thrown 100 pitches. This is September. There are 14 pitchers on the staff and plenty of position players to pinch hit. Dempster would finish the game with an unnecessary 128 pitches; third most in his career and most pitches in a decade.
  • Tyler Colvin has 4 hits against Mike Leake, all of them home runs. He did not get an at bat. Also not getting an at bat were D.J. LeMahieu and Tony Campana.
  • The Cubs offense. The impatience of the entire organization is unbelievable:
      • Major League: 29 out of 30 in walks
      • AAA: 16 out of 16
      • AA: 10 out of 10
      • A+: 9 out of 12
      • A: 16 out of 16
      • A-: 2 out of 8
      • Rookie/AZL: 13 out of 13

Notes:


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

1st Star – Mike Leake (.471 WPA)

2nd Star – Francisco Cordero (.165 WPA)

3rd Star – Brandon Phillips (.146 WPA)

  • Doc Raker

    The Reds broadcasters were commenting on how they were surprised Tyler Colvin wasn’t in the line up with his 4 HR’s off of Leake. That’s bad when the opposing broadcasters understand your foolishness.

  • Doc Raker

    The Reds broadcasters also commented on allowing Dempster to hit late in the game. Maybe Quade is mentally fatigued from this season of hell. I know I am.

  • BLPCB

    I’ll have to look into that show on MLB Network. I finally got it just last week. I hope they’re playing This Old Cub some time. I have yet to see it.

  • Chuck

    I listened to portions of the game on the radio and it was Night of the Living Dead Hitters. No energy. Just one of those games where nothing goes right.
    Another example of why the pitcher win is useless. Cubs lose 2-1, it was the pitchers fault. Right?

  • Norm

    So it sounds like Quade left Dempster in so he can reach a goal of 200 innings.

  • The last three guys we brought in for plate discipline: Milton, Fuke, and Pena. I would rather watch the kids swing at bad pitches.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Yeah let’s blow out Dempster’s shoulder/elbow.both to try to get him 200 IP…a meaningless stat in a meaningless season. Bye Quade, don’t let the door hit you, where the good lord split you.

  • Contract incentive, likely.

  • Doc Raker

    BLPCB- MLB network is great. I like the historical shows, Top Nine Best….stuff like that.

  • Chuck

    I am pretty sure that Dempster was not overworked or in danger of iminent blowout. He will probably make another few starts so he would get 200 IP either way. He is at 183 2/3 right now so 16 1/3 to get to 200 is pretty easy to get in 3 starts.
    He has a player option for 2012 that has already vested. If he picks up the option, he is a good middle of the rotation guy. If he does not, let him walk because long term (3 years or more) deals for pitchers on the wrong side of 30 are always a bad idea. Dempster will be 35 next year.

  • Dusty Baylor

    128 pitches in a meaningless game, at the end of the season.
    Fuck…..still stupid. 1 less inning, so he’d have to pitch 17 1/3 in 3 starts?

  • chris in illinois

    I’d much, much, much, much rather watch Pena at first and Kosuke in right next year than watch Campana (.295 OB%) or Colvin (.209) or DeWitt (.301) or Hill (.277) ever pick up a bat as a Cub ever again. OB%=runs. Outs are bad.

  • Buddy

    I would also be happy if Campana, Colvin, DeWitt, and Hill played elsewhere next year.

  • Are you serious? If Dempster was in any trouble, Riggs would have had him yanked. I would be willing to bet that Demp doens’t want another arm reconstruction…he isn’t going to hurt himself. Blast Q for not bringing in a pinch hitter all day, but citing pitch count for a veteran like that is a retarded argument.

  • The Game 148 headline struck me for some reason. 148.
    Out of 162.
    It’s almost over.
    In a weird sort of way I’m gonna miss these guys.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Yep. I’m serious. Demp is not going to take himself out.
    What the plus for throwing him another 25 pitches? It’s not like he was cruising 7 innings, 6 hits, 6 walks.

  • Norm

    Give me a John Gaub appearance or a Scott Maine appearance in a tight game against the Brandon Phillips or Joey Votto’s of the league over an individual goal for a a veteran.
    You don’t think seeing quality hitters for these rookies/young guys would be more beneficial to the team than Dempster getting an extra inning?

  • Buddy

    An interesting bit from MLB Trade Rumors…

    “Numerous Japanese teams have been scouting and are prepared to make offers to Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair, reports Levine. LaHair is intrigued but hopes to remain in the Majors. The 28-year-old snagged Pacific Coast League MVP honors by hitting .331/.405/.664 with 38 home runs in 523 plate appearances, and he’s carried that success to the bigs in an eight-game stint. Former Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir went the Japan route a year ago, but is hitting .245/.325/.429 for the Nippon Ham Fighters this year.”

  • I don’t like seeing Demp on the mound either…Cash or Gaub or McNutt or whoever else would be fine by me. I just don’t think that he is going to Tommy John himself out of another contract. Riggins and Q would both be tarred and feathered if they pulled a Dusty Baker on our ‘ace.’

  • Hoffpauir and LeHair both playing for the Ham Fighters…sounds like a sitcom premise. Bobby Scales could cameo as the wacky neighbor.

  • Jedi

    Chris – the Blue Jays have scored 84 more runs than the Cubs while having essentially the exact same OBP. It has more to do with timely hitting than just getting a guy on base.

    We’re 4th in BA, and 8th in OBP – when no one is on base.

    We’re 26th in BA, and 28th in OBP – with runners in scoring position.

    It’s the RISP that’s killing this team – and our bad OBP is the result of an even more hideous RISP.

  • Buddy

    Toronto’s extra 40 homers may have something to do with those runs.

  • Jedi

    Exactly – timely HITTING…not just drawing a walk.

  • Norm

    So if you’re looking to upgrade a position, do you target free agents that have a good AVG w/RISP?

  • Jedi

    Oh here we go…

  • Norm

    If you don’t want to answer, don’t answer, just asking you a question on how you would go about getting better next year.

  • Noah

    I think Norm has a legitimate question Jedi. If you were the GM, would you specifically target guys who have put up high average with RISP? In other words, if you were the GM would the place you tried to look for value be with guys who have over the past few years only hit something like .260/.320/.400 overall, but have been .300/.380./.450 with RISP?

    I think his question is legitimate because you talk about timely hitting A LOT, but no one has ever been able to take this idea of “timely hitting” and find that it’s a predictor of future team success. They more find that it’s either dumb luck or good old fashioned randomness. In other words, you could pick a whole bunch of guys who have performed better with RISP over the past three years, and the next year they could look very pedestrian with RISP. This is just because players don’t see enough situations with RISP. Most players see few enough at bats with RISP where an extra 5 hits over the course of a season can raise a batting average 30 points.

  • Jedi

    I wouldn’t look at one single stat to the exclusion of all others that’s for sure. Not OBP, not RISP, not anything.

    I really don’t think it’s possible to get THAT much better, especially in the field, this off-season. About the only thing worth spending big money on would be an ace – be it via a trade or free agency.

    I also think that some of our troubles with RISP will correct themselves. Having that wide of a split between no one on and RISP is at least in part a fluke.

    Basically, I’d like us to be patient – target specific players and do what it takes to get them…instead of looking at what’s available and then seeing what we think might fit into the budget.

  • Noah

    Jedi, I don’t think Norm or I would say we look at one stat at the exclusion of others. I know I don’t look at RISP because I don’t think the sample size is large enough for the number to be meaningful. But I look at OBP, average, slugging, isolated power, the more advanced stats based on those numbers, as well as the defensive stats that admittedly aren’t as accurate or advanced. I know I believe that, of all the individual stats, I think OBP is the best indicator of how many runs a player contributes on offense, but it’s nowhere near the only indicator, and average typically is the largest part of a player’s OBP.

    I do have to say, though, while I think the idea of targetting specific players irregardless of annual budgets is a nice one, it’s a lot easier to say that about someone else’s money.

  • Jedi

    Noah, I’m not saying that RISP is the holy grail of stats. I’m saying the Cubs failings in 2011 specifically as it relates to RISP is a big part of why we’ve been putrid.

    I think you need a balance of both – guys who have been able to produce with guys on base, and guys who are able to get on base.

  • Norm

    “I also think that some of our troubles with RISP will correct themselves. Having that wide of a split between no one on and RISP is at least in part a fluke.”

    That’s all I’m getting at. hitting w/RISP is beyond anyone’s control….as Noah said, it’s randomness. Good overall hitters will usually do good in RISP situations and bad overall hitters will usually do bad in RISP situations.

  • Buddy

    Excellent point regarding RISP Noah. I agree with you 100 percent.

  • Randy

    Do we have the number of at bats each player has taken with RISP and what the result was? I have a feeling that we have a disproportional number of at bats by bad hitters when we have RISP.

  • Norm
  • Noah

    Jedi, I completely agree with you that the Cubs have been truly awful with RISP this season. I just don’t happen to think that’s something you can predict with any sort of accuracy. Would you be surprised if Carlos Pena goes .250/.400/.550 with RISP next season? Aramis Ramirez has had RISP the most in front of him, with about 170 PAs. That’s just over a quarter of a season of plate appearances from the 3 hole. It’s just not a big enough sample size to be predictive.

  • BLPCB

    Randy, I feel the same way. Whenever we get a rally going, we get someone to come up and kill the rally.

  • Jedi

    Noah – one season isn’t always enough, but a career can be. And Marlon Byrd’s career RISP is .272 (he’s a .282 hitter overall). Carlos Pena’s career RISP is .242 (he’s a .240 hitter overall). Soriano’s career RISP is .255 (.274 overall). None of these guys should’ve been considered a “middle of the order solution.”

    Conversely, Aramis’ career is .300 with RISP. Castro, in two seasons, is at .308.

    There are other guys out there who hit better with men on base. One that always comes to my mind is Yadier Molina. Molina is a .271 hitter who turns into a .295 hitter with RISP. These guys are out there. (Molina’s OBP is also fairly mediocre – .328 – but I’d much rather see him up there with guys on base instead of a guy like Pena with his .352 OBP).

    I’m not saying Molina is there for the taking – and I’m not saying we need to load up guys who only hit when there are runners on base. I’m saying that we’ve been negligent for some time in looking at anything other than overall BA or OBP when we grab guys in free agency. Kosuke, Bradley, Byrd, Pena all came with reports of either a good average, a good OBP, or both…I dare say not many Cubs fans would be sad if we went back in time and avoided each of those signings.

  • Jedi

    Randy, not really…check out the link Norm put up. Of our seven true regulars (no RF included), all seven guys have between 100-145 ABs with RISP. Aramis has the most. And Byrd checks in with 123 ABs, even though he’s missed a bunch of games. Every single regular is averaging at least one opportunity per game – that’s not a small sample.

  • Norm

    *most* players hit better with men on base than no men on base (I would think RISP has similar results as ‘men on base’)

  • chris in illinois

    OB% is a skill, a repeatable, dependable skill. Hitting w/ runners in scoring position is basically your batting average—when there is a large delta in overall average and average w/risp it’s probably a sample size error.
    .
    .
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    That being said the Cubs have been undeniably putrid in that category this year. I also think the ‘Cub Way’ of hacking at every last freaking pitch thrown to you contributes to that poor performance. If you had Darwin Barney at the plate with a man on second and you were a pitcher, would you throw him a strike? I’d be tempted to roll a few up there…

  • chris in illinois

    Oh yeah, outs are bad.

  • BLPCB

    @chris – And if you’re the Dust Bag, walks are bad too, because they clog the bases for guys who can run. But somehow, giving them up is also bad. Something doesn’t compute here. Taking walks = bad. Shouldn’t that then mean giving up walks = good?

  • BLPCB

    And how come walks clog the bases, but singles don’t?