View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Thursday

29

September 2011

64

COMMENTS

Game 162 – The End

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 2, Padres 9

Box Score / Highlights

The final game of 2011 plays just like the rest of the season as the Cubs finish with a 71-91 record. Ryan Dempster finishes the season at 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA as he gives up 9 earned runs in less than 6 innings, capped off by a Will Venable grand slam.
The offense couldn’t get anything going with only 6 hits and 2 walks. The first run scored on an infield single by Tony Campana and Starlin Castro added a sac fly in the 5th. But that was it. 9-2 Padres and the end of a rough season.

What went right:

The Cubs season ended and with it Mike Quade’s managerial career in Chicago.

What went wrong:

This season can be summed up pretty well with this game. Starting pitching was weak. The manager left the starter in too long. Starlin Castro and DJ Lemahieu made an error each. The team was 1-7 with runners in scoring position. The only thing missing was a Carlos Marmol walk or two in the ninth.
That’s all that needs to be said about this game, I’m sure there will be a season recap at some point, but we all know how 2011 went. Let the offseason begin!

Around the League:

The wild card races were unbelievable tonight and might be the most exciting night of baseball I’ve ever seen (Cubs games excluded). In the National League, the Cardinals easily put away the Astros 8-0. The Phillies/Braves started an hour earlier, but the Phils tied the game in the 9th inning and into extra innings they go allowing the Cards to sit by their lockers and watch their destiny unfold. In the 13th inning, the trade deadline addition of the year, Hunter Pence, comes through with an RBI single to put the Phillies up 4-3. Freddie Freeman would ground into a game ending double play a few minutes later, allowing the St. Louis Cardinals into the postseason one more time.

In the American League, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays were tied in the standings with both games starting at the same time. Tampa Bay’s David Price got roughed up early and the Yankees jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind two home runs and five RBI’s for Mark Teixeira.
Over in Baltimore, the Red Sox jump up 1-0 in the third inning but the Orioles strike back for two of their own. Boston would score one run in each of the 4th and 5th innings and it would remain 3-2 while scoreboard watching the Yankees-Rays game.
Back in Tampa Bay, with the Yankees on top with a commanding 7-0 lead, the Rays score SIX runs in the 8th inning  including a 3-run home run by Evan Longoria and one more in the 9th and send it into extras!
In Baltimore, the Red Sox bring in Jonathon Papelbon to close it out in the 9th, but with two outs, Nolan Reimold doubles in the tying run! Robert Andino comes up next with a single and the O’s score two in the 9th to put the Red Sox fate in the Rays hands.
The crowd in Tampa Bay realizes that the O’s have beaten the Red Sox and erupt during a BJ Upton at bat in the 12th inning. He would strike out for the first out. The next batter…Evan Longoria. Line drive down the left field line over the fence for a walk off wild card clinching home run, sending the Red Sox home after one of most epic September collapses in history.

I love baseball!

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

1st Star – Nick Hundley (.207 WPA)

2nd Star – Wade LeBlanc (.145 WPA)

3rd Star – Cameron Maybin (.109 WPA)

  • BLPCB

    What a day in baseball! So happy Boston blew it!
    Was it announced that Quade has been canned?

  • Jedi

    Quade’s been fired?

  • Norm

    I’m psychic.

  • Buddy

    Very surprised how bad Dempster was this year.

  • chet

    No, Quade was not fired, yet at least.

  • On espn.com Quade says he’s confident he’ll be back next year. What else can the schmuck say? But if this clown is still around next March there’ll be none of the “can’t wait for Cubs baseball” excitement for this fan.

  • Buddy

    I’ll be disappointed if Quade returns, but I won’t be surprised.

  • Katie

    Let’s go Rays! I went to one of their games in the end of May at the Trop. BJ Upton gave me a baseball. No Cubs player has ever done that. Highlight of my life.
    Hopefully Quade won’t be back. It wouldn’t make sense for a new GM to come in and keep the old manager (especially one like Q). I’m banking on him NOT returning.

  • Buddy

    It’s a little easier for Rays players to do things like that. There’s only like 40 fans at a TB home game.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Lol..one of my favorite memories is Larry Biittner throwing me a baseball in the RF bleachers….ah memories…

  • Katie

    Buddy, it’s crazy. For a team that’s going to the playoffs, their fanbase is weak. The Cubs have been losing for 103 years and counting, and Wrigley is almost always full. Crazy.

  • Buddy

    You’re right Katie. That’s why I chuckled every time somebody mentioned the Cubs so-called “attendance problem” this year. They drew 3 million fans yet again. The Rays drew 1.5 million.

  • Seymour Butts

    I’ll root for the Rays too,,just because of Katie’s smile.
    Of course our rooting for them dooms them.

  • Jedi

    Just think about Adrian Gonzalez for a second. Last year he played for a team that led their division for the vast majority of the year, only to see it come down to the final game of the year where his team (the Padres) were eliminated by the eventual WS champion.

    This year, his team started slow but built a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Wild Card. Only to see his closer blow it with two outs in the final game of the year. Still never been to the playoffs, but he hasn’t played a single “meaningless” game in two years.

  • Doc Raker

    I have some highlights from attending the Cubs game at Petco.
    * We saw Carlos Pena having lunch prior to the game in the Gas Lamp district which is the Wrigleyville like entertainment neighborhood next to Petco. My son wanted a picture with him but chickened out. This didn’t qualify as a ‘I had dinner with Seymour’ but fun.
    * We said hello to Kerry Wood, Jeff Smarja and James Russell as they walked through the Gas Lamp district to Petco before the game. Again, no picture because my son is a chicken.
    * I got to meet Jeremiah and Jedi at Petco. That was fun to finally meet some peoples behind the VFTB. Again, no picture because my son chickened out.
    * Please teach Campana to hit, what a catalyst he could be. When Campana was in the on deck circle I couldn’t help but yell to him, “Take him deep Tony!” He turned to me and said, “I just may, they are going to let me hit from second base.”
    * After the opposing pitcher squared Dempster up for a hit it was time to take him out. Two hitters later after another grand salami Dempster was removed, all after 2 outs and no one on. Dempster seems to give up grand slams, not a good thing for a pitcher.
    * An ugly loss and the Cardinals make the playoffs, why ruin a perfectly lousy season now.

    • Maybe we just need to have Jedi and Norm meet and then they won’t hate each other anymore. =)

  • Mark

    I agree with you Katie, go Rays!

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    It was great to meet Doc before the game, but the Cubs sprinted through the loss so fast I didn’t have time to make it over to his seats to chat some more. (I won’t blame Doc’s son though–that one’s on me and my poor clock management.)

    We sat out in the sandbox area–cheap and enjoyable, and the obstructed view isn’t as bad as you might think–directly adjacent to where they set off the fireworks after a Padres home run. Thanks to Ryan Dempster and his BP-quality stuff last night, my nephew is borderline shell-shocked.

    Here’s hoping the Cubs overthrow the Quade regime like a corrupt dictator: quickly, and with little concern for human life.

  • Norm
  • Steve

    I saw that some in the Braves organization might consider trading Heyward and maximize value for him. Let’s get him! That would be awesome! He was hurt by 2 things this year: 1)A very low batting average of balls in play (BABIP) of .260 (average is .300). 2)A manager who really belongs in Chicago, Fredi Gonzalez, due to his unwillingness to play a young player who needs to play every day to develop. You can’t play a young guy every other day and expect him to be good! Heyward will have a great career if someone will give him the chance, and I’d love to see him in Cubbie blue.

  • Dusty Baylor

    That’s an excellent idea, but I’m not sure if we have anything the Braves would want for Heyward…other than Castro.
    Meh…

  • Jerry

    I haven’t seen this written anywhere so maybe I am misinformed. I was rooting for the Cubs to lose all 3 of their last games. I thought draft order was in reverse order as to how the team finished. We had 71 wins.
    Houston 56 wins
    Minnesota 63 wins
    Seattle 67 wins
    Baltimore 69 wins
    Tied for 71 Cubs- San Diego-Kansas City
    Pittsburgh – Florida 72 wins

    So we should have 5th or 6th or 7th draft choice.

  • Requested meet and greets:
    Norm and Jedi
    Norm and JJ
    All of you and Quade
    Marmol and strike zone

  • Jedi

    Raker it was very nice to meet you too!

    And Doc touched on it, but just look at Dempster’s head-to-head against the pitcher last night. LeBlanc went 1-for-2, 2 runs scored, and a walk.

    For the record, LeBlanc has 101 career plate appearances. Three total walks. But Dempster WALKED the pitcher with two outs and the bases empty! They scored four runs in that inning.

    With two outs in the 6th he gave up a hit to LeBlanc. That led to a grand slam! I kind of felt like Dempster v. the pitcher was really what went wrong last night.

  • Jedi

    Joe – Doc’s as likable in person as he comes off here. If that holds true for all of us, perhaps it’s just better to keep me and Norm separated.

  • chet

    I think we have squeezed all we can out of Dempster. He came over as a reclamation project, one of Hendry’s famous Million dollar Tommy John bargains off the scrap heap, and he gave us 3 or 4 good solid years plus. Anything else we get is a plus and I am not expecting much past 2011.

  • Doc Raker

    It was nice meeting the JJ brothers for sure. Thanks for the kind words, yous are likeable sorts also. Did you guys drive back home after the game? Long haul. I always enjoy Petco and the surrounding Gas Lamp district, it has a Wrigleyville feel to it so it brings me back home in a sense. Next year we should plan a day off and all go Wrigleyville in the Gas Lamp.

  • Doc Raker

    Heyward is a big no in my book. The text book example of the big strapping athlete that can’t miss but can miss, another Billy Beane special. For 2011 he was .227/ .319/ .389, worse than Carlos Pena and I wouldn’t want Pena back even though I almost had lunch with him.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Doc, yeah we drove back home after the game. Next year we’ll carve out some more time hang around–the Gas Lamp area is a lesser-but-still-acceptable stand-in for Wrigleyville. We’ll see you then, if not sooner at a Blackhawks game.

  • Buddy

    It will be interesting to read opinions about Heyward a year from now.

  • Chuck

    Dempster is just plain old. Looking at his stats, he was below-average more than bad. It speaks volumes about the state of the Cubs pitching when he is the #2 for the team. This is why we lost a lot this year. Bad starting pitching.

  • Norm,
    Those are fun to look at graphs, thanks.
    I can’t help buyt post the link to the Cubs graph.
    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/MLB/National/NLCentral/Cubs_ChanceWillMakePlayoffs.html
    Pretty desperate looking.

  • Norm

    Don’t know how much Heyward’s shoulder affected him, but I think he has a much higher peak than Castro, but a shorter career.

    Dempster was almost the exact same pitcher this year as he was last year…I think he rebounds a bit.

  • Doc Raker

    Norm- What is it about Heyward that you like so much?

  • BLPCB

    He hit a HR on the first ever MLB pitch he saw against Bozo?

  • Doc Raker

    I don’t think Dempster will be an effective starter. Maybe a bullpen guy but not a starter. Dempster used to have a pretty effective slider and now it is mostly hanging split fingers and hanging change ups, maybe if he is only throwing an inning he can increase his velocity and work a sharper breaking pitch in his mix, his current bag of tricks will not get outs at a winning rate as witnessed in 2011 and 2010.

  • Doc Raker

    Castro went yard in his first big league AB but and it was off a real pitcher.

  • BLPCB

    I thought it was a 3-run 2B?

  • BLPCB

    Never mind, a 3-run jack in the first AB, a 3-run triple later in the game

  • Norm

    Doc, the only thing NOT to like about Heyward are his results from this year, and as a 21 year old that had a shoulder problem, I can give him a pass.

    Looking at 2010, he put up one of the 15 best seasons in terms of OPS+ in the history of the game.
    He showed he has patience (3rd most walks ever, 8th in OBP ever for 20 and younger)
    He showed he has power (15th best ISO ever and 13th in HR)

    It’s pretty rare company, and anyone can have a bad year and rebound…especially at 21 years old. Guys his (and Castro’s) age are usually no higher than AA.

  • Jedi

    If he played RF for us, we’d be saying the league figured him out or he was injury prone.

  • Buddy

    I’m with Norm on Heyward. If he isn’t injured again next year, I think he’ll rebound in a big way. Then the talking heads will be punching his hall of fame ticket again just like they did last season.

  • Doc Raker

    Surprise, Norm and Buddy agree. That’s what turns me off about Heyward, not that Norm and Buddy agree on him, the fact that the talking heads love him on potential, not on his results. Heyward was the media darling for ROY in 2010, did not deserve it and did not win it. In 2011 a sophomore slump or an injury. He has holes in his swing, he is over rated and therefore the Cubs would need to give away to much to get him. No deal.

  • Norm

    I’d say his results in 2010 were pretty spectacular.

  • Jedi

    In two full seasons Heyward has 32 HRs and 47 2Bs – (Soriano had 50 HRs and 67 2Bs). His walk rate slipped from 15% to 11% while he still struck out 20% of the time in both of his first two seasons. For a guy that strikes out a lot of the time and after two seasons is SLG basically the same as Starlin Castro – Heyward gets a lot of press about being an eventual middle of the order guy.

    Aramis had perhaps his second worst season as a Cub this year – and yet it was much better than Heyward’s “spectacular” 2010. Bottom line for me is that Heyward needs to produce like a middle of the order guy before I’d be willing to take him – because he IS going to be paid like a middle of the order kind of guy. He reminds me of a 24-year old Casey Kotchman, only he has the press of 24-year old Ken Griffey Jr.

  • Norm

    How old was Soriano his first two season?
    What was Ramirez hitting at age 20? How about age 21? Let’s also look at age 22 for him?

    ISO is a better measure of power than slugging.

  • Jedi

    In your opinion it’s a much better measure (cue all the Hardball Times articles about how it’s actually fact).

    All I’m saying Norm is that Heyward hasn’t hit like a middle of the order guy, and he IS going to be paid like it sooner rather than later because of the love he gets from scouts. I’d rather explore guys who are underrated, rather than those who are at this point very overrated.

  • Norm

    SLG include singles, ISO does not. Take your pick.

    I’d much rather get a guy BEFORE he develops into a middle of the order hitter because he will be much cheaper. If you wait until after he does it, he’ll cost you that much more.

  • Jedi

    I don’t think that holds true with Heyward. It’d cost a fortune to pry him from Atlanta, he’ll wind up being overpaid when he finally does get a deal. That’s the kind of move you make for Evan Longoria-type players.

    I’m well aware of what each stat tracks, you seem to mistake my differing opinion for ignorance.

  • Norm

    my apologies, then I guess I don’t understand why you’d prefer to use a stat that includes singles when trying to describe power.

  • Jedi

    I don’t understand why you say Mike Quade’s time with the Cubs is over when he’s still in their employ.

    I don’t understand why you’d use a stat that simply reports who was merely involved when trying to explain who added to the probability of a win.

    The world is full of mysteries Norm. Disagreement doesn’t equate to ignorance or lack of understanding.

  • Doc Raker

    Norm- Do you think Heyward is under rated or over rated at this point in time?

  • Norm

    Well Jedi, do you mind enlightening me as to why you prefer Slugging % to ISO when looking for power?

    Doc, neither. I don’t think Heyward is overrated or underrated.

  • Jedi

    So predictable.

  • Buddy

    If you put a gun to my head, I’d probably say Heyward is a little over-rated at this point, but I honestly don’t care very much about that kind of perception. Those are usually the opinions of self-promoting sports writers and fans, and those opinions don’t really mean anything when it comes to evaluating baseball players. I don’t care even a little bit what Skip Bayless or “Bob from Baltimore” think about player X.

  • Norm

    So, no answer as to how including singles is a better indicator of ‘power’ than not including singles?

  • Jedi

    Norm, if you’d like to stay on point (you know, the one about Heyward), that’s fine. But I’m not getting into another stat argument with you – you clearly place far more emphasis on newer metrics than I ever will.

  • Doc Raker

    Has anyone ever seen Norm and Buddy in a room at the same time? I think they are one person. If you aren’t ever trading other people’s perception doesn’t matter, but if trading other peoples perception sets value, just like the stock market, which is pertinent. I don’t care what people think of my hair cut but if I am a GM I do care what other GMs think about ballplayers. Over rated or under rated is pertinent.

  • Until Raker met the brothers J, I had a sneeking suspicion that Jedi and Norm were the brain children of a psych student’s thesis…

  • Buddy

    I probably didn’t choose my words well. Of course the perceptions of other GM’s and managers matter when it comes to making trades, etc. What I said, or at least tried to say, is that the perceptions of fans and the media don’t matter, especially when it comes to player evaluation.

  • Doc Raker

    Of course they don’t Buddy. The question of over rated or under rated was meant as in the baseball world, as in other front offices, not in the world of UPS drivers. Sorry if the question wasn’t specific enough. But now that you understand the question, do you think Heyward is over or under rated in the baseball world.

  • Buddy

    Neither? I’m guessing of course, but I’ll bet GM’s have him rated about perfectly: a very talented young player who had a fabulous rookie season followed by a disappointing, injury-filled sophomore campaign. To try and better answer your question, I’ll bet the Braves GM has him rated higher than any other GM in the league. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much. Heyward isn’t going anywhere.

  • Doc Raker

    I will bet the Braves GM has Heyward rated higher than other GMs also, thus making him over rated, thus making him someone we would not want the Cubs trading for. Steve posted that the Braves will entertain trades for Heyward. Steve liked the idea of trading for him, so did you and Norm. I do not since he is over rated as we agree.

  • Buddy

    My head is starting to hurt! Just kidding. Anyway, I’d love it if the Cubs traded for Heyward. I’m just not sure why the Braves would deal him. I’d also love for the Cubs to trade for Dustin Ackley. Not sure why the Mariners would deal him. Same for Mike Stanton and the Marlins, Mike Trout and the Angels, Matt Moore and the Rays, Eric Hosmer and the Royals…you get the idea.