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May 2012

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COMMENTS

Game 23: Same Volstad, Different Day

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 4 @ Phillies 6

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Nonstarter – These Chris Volstad recaps are beginning to write themselves.  He threw 5 good innings for the Cubs tonight against the Phillies–unfortunately, he pitched for 6 innings.  At least this time he got it out of his system early.  Here’s his first inning: infield single, strikeout, infield single, run-scoring single to center, strikeout, walk, another two runs come in on a single to right, followed by another run-scoring single to right (with a Soto error throw in for fun), and a groundout by the pitcher to end the inning.  After facing a gruesome 9 batters in the first inning, he kept it down to 3 or 4 for most of the rest of his day, until he faced 5 in the sixth.  Take away that first inning, and this might have been his best start of the season.  I’m inclined to feel sorry for Volstad, since every time he takes the mound he’s got to face down the whole “he’s going for his first win since July 10th” storyline, but honestly he’s really his own worst enemy.  Tonight might have been particularly tough, since he was able to calm it down and throw 5 good innings, keeping the Cubs within reach.

Forget About Juan Pierre and Throw Strikes! – Seven simple words that should have come out of either Chris Bosio’s or Dale’s mouth at some point during the bottom of the eighth.  Pierre pinch hit with one out, and spent most of the next couple at-bats jumping around at first base and causing Scott Maine and Rafael Dolis great distress and anguish.  The nefarious base-stealer and former Cub never actually took off for second, but he was certainly in the heads of our relief pitchers.  Pierre and Jimmy Rollins–who singled over the out-stretched glove of a leaping Darwin Barney–both scored on Placido Domingo Polanco’s double to left.  I don’t know if we could have added on again in the ninth if our bullpen could have held the tie–sadly, we don’t have the kind of relieving corps you need for that kind of thing.  Still, we took two of four from the Phillies on the road–I’m not inclined to grouse about losing a game in which we trailed for all but about an inning.

Stranded in Scoring Position – That’s not to say the Cubs didn’t have their share of missed scoring opportunities tonight.  In the top of the seventh, they had the bases loaded with no outs, and only got one run out of it.  All told, they stranded 7 runners on base.  It wasn’t all bad though–Starlin Castro had a pair of singles and an RBI, and Bryan LaHair hit a double and a two-run bomb over the right field wall.  Many people have pointed out that LaHair has quietly put up a great April, and they’re right.  But this team can’t count on him or the absentee Alfonso Soriano to provide all the offense.  Stranding runners is a sure way to kill our chances for a win.

Fast TonyTony Campana stole another base tonight–his 7th of the year.  He was in the process of stealing his 8th when Castro fired a single through the gap into left field.  Campana was already in full stride, so he simply came around to score the Cubs’ first run of the night.  I’ll admit Campana is a one-trick pony, but it is a pretty fantastic trick.  And he hasn’t had to rely too heavily on the drag bunt single to get on base.  Count me as increasingly optimistic about his chances to make it in the majors.

Other NewsKerry Wood’s rehab is coming along as planned.  He threw a simulated game on Monday and is projected to return to the bullpen on Thursday or Friday, although he won’t go right back to the set-up role…… Soon-to-be-free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels sounds like he might be interested in signing with the Cubs.  I don’t know if a big-money pitcher is part of Theo and Jed’s plan next season, or if they want to tie up money in both Hamels and Matt Garza (as Gordon Wittmeyer suggests), but it would make the Cubs’ rotation significantly more formidable…… Jonah Keri ranks all 30 MLB teams each Monday for Grantland.com.  Here’s what he wrote about the 27th-ranked Cubs this week: “This is as interesting a no. 27 team as you could hope to find.  Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija are a treat to watch every five days, Starlin Castro might have the quickest wrists in the game, and Bryan LaHair is one of the best stories in baseball.  LaHair’s .607 (.607!!!) BABIP will regulate just a tad, which should bring down his overall numbers.  Still, this is a guy forever labeled a Quadruple-A player, a journeyman who hit and hit in the minors but could never get a clean break.  Comes up to the majors … and posts a 1.197 OPS.  If you don’t like the Bryan LaHair story, you’re either a Cardinals fan or you’re not trying.”

  • Buddy

    If only it was as easy as telling a pitcher to throw strikes or telling a hitter to only swing at strikes. 

  • Buddy

    If only it was as easy as telling a pitcher to throw strikes or telling a hitter to only swing at strikes. 

  • Eddie Von White

    Nice recap JJ. You made it a very interesting loss. 

  • Eddie Von White

    Nice recap JJ. You made it a very interesting loss. 

  • Norm Bothwell

    The nerve of Jonah Keri saying LaHair’s BABIP will fall without looking into what kind of adjustments he’s made at the plate…

    • Wrong brother.  

      • Eddie Von White

        Kerry Wood should be under “Old News” – ‘rehab coming along as planned…’ 

    • Jedi

      I thought it was a reasoned approach – LaHair probably won’t stay as hot as he’s been in April…his BABIP, along with his other numbers, will drop as his performance crashes back to earth.  What Keri didn’t say was that LaHair had a very lucky April; there’s a massive difference between being hot and being lucky (at least in some minds).

      • Norm Bothwell

         Me to Jonah Keri:
        @nbothwell11:twitter : Wow on that LaHair BABIP. Luck?
        @jonahkeri:twitter : Yeah. Strikeout out once every 2.4 AB. Yikes.

        better?

      • Jedi

        Hysterical…what did you expect him to say?  ‘No, not luck…LaHair is going to keep these ridiculous numbers for a season.’  Your question provides zero context.  To expect a different answer on Twitter you must be a complete fool.

      • Jedi

        Hysterical…what did you expect him to say?  ‘No, not luck…LaHair is going to keep these ridiculous numbers for a season.’  Your question provides zero context.  To expect a different answer on Twitter you must be a complete fool.

    • Doc Raker

      Don’t tell me LaHair has been just lucky, the guy is raking.

      • Norm Bothwell

        He’s definitely been raking.

      • Seymour Butts

        If you say a guy will come down to earth and he does, maybe he feels like it’s normal and doesn’t continue to push and fall further. If you say  “I hope he can keep up his current pace”, he’s more likely to fail by placing extra pressure on himself.
        Plan for the negative, and be happy with better than planned for results.

      • Jedi

        So you’re just picking fights with me to pick fights then?  What is your problem.

      • Norm Bothwell

        There’s the problem. You think things are so absolute. no one, NO ONE, has said anything about being ALL luck or ALL skill. There can be both, and there is with LaHair.

      • Jedi

        Glad to see you’ve finally come around.

      • Jedi

        Glad to see you’ve finally come around.

      • Seymour Butts

        If you say a guy will come down to earth and he does, maybe he feels like it’s normal and doesn’t continue to push and fall further. If you say  “I hope he can keep up his current pace”, he’s more likely to fail by placing extra pressure on himself.
        Plan for the negative, and be happy with better than planned for results.

      • Jedi

        So you’re just picking fights with me to pick fights then?  What is your problem.

  • Norm Bothwell

    The nerve of Jonah Keri saying LaHair’s BABIP will fall without looking into what kind of adjustments he’s made at the plate…

    • Wrong brother.  

    • Jedi

      I thought it was a reasoned approach – LaHair probably won’t stay as hot as he’s been in April…his BABIP, along with his other numbers, will drop as his performance crashes back to earth.  What Keri didn’t say was that LaHair had a very lucky April; there’s a massive difference between being hot and being lucky (at least in some minds).

    • Doc Raker

      Don’t tell me LaHair has been just lucky, the guy is raking.

  • BLPCB

    I’m not sure if I want to sign Hamels. IIRC, he’s had some arm troubles in the past. And he’s getting pretty up there in age.

    • Katie

       Age is just a number. Look at Randy Johnson and Satchel Paige and Jamie Moyer. Ok… maybe not Moyer’s numbers this season. But pitchers usually last longer than everyday players. I think he’d be fine. If he thinks he can be a miracle-worker in Chicago, let’s have him. What have we got to lose?

      • Katie

        David Freese and Bryan LaHair are also both 29… maybe we should build a team of 29 year olds… seems to be their year.

      • Katie

         this darn commenting format is kicking my butt…

      • Definitely not Norm

        Hit the reply tab on the comment you want to reply to . not the last comment made. The above replying to your self implies either schizophrenia, or your last name is Johnson.

      • Jedi

        That’s bull Seymour.

      • Jedi

        I never reply to my_self.

      • Doc Raker

        Money and a roster spot is what we have to lose. Age does mean something, even in a May December romance age means something even though the ditzy May debutant will proclaim age is just a number. I know you are young Katie and unaware of changes the body goes through over time but age is more than just a number, it is mileage. I used to hit a ball 500 feet, now I can hardly hit it past 468, things change.

      • I don’t even think Glenallen Hill could take a Mesa pitching machine or 70 y/o tax attorney 468, Raker.  Nice try.  

      • Seymour Butts

        I did actually see Raker hit a ball 468 feet just this past January. It took him just 3 strokes for a par.

    • Katie

       Age is just a number. Look at Randy Johnson and Satchel Paige and Jamie Moyer. Ok… maybe not Moyer’s numbers this season. But pitchers usually last longer than everyday players. I think he’d be fine. If he thinks he can be a miracle-worker in Chicago, let’s have him. What have we got to lose?

      • Katie

        David Freese and Bryan LaHair are also both 29… maybe we should build a team of 29 year olds… seems to be their year.

      • Katie

         this darn commenting format is kicking my butt…

      • Definitely not Norm

        Hit the reply tab on the comment you want to reply to . not the last comment made. The above replying to your self implies either schizophrenia, or your last name is Johnson.

      • Jedi

        That’s bull Seymour.

      • Jedi

        I never reply to my_self.

      • Doc Raker

        Money and a roster spot is what we have to lose. Age does mean something, even in a May December romance age means something even though the ditzy May debutant will proclaim age is just a number. I know you are young Katie and unaware of changes the body goes through over time but age is more than just a number, it is mileage. I used to hit a ball 500 feet, now I can hardly hit it past 468, things change.

      • I don’t even think Glenallen Hill could take a Mesa pitching machine or 70 y/o tax attorney 468, Raker.  Nice try.  

      • Seymour Butts

        I did actually see Raker hit a ball 468 feet just this past January. It took him just 3 strokes for a par.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Hamels is Garza’s age, 29 in December,  has made 30+ starts each of the last 4 seasons, and 28 starts in the season before that streak.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Hamels is Garza’s age, 29 in December,  has made 30+ starts each of the last 4 seasons, and 28 starts in the season before that streak.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    So novice question here… how come the graph doesn’t show the percent chance of winning at 50% after the LaHair homer?

    • IMO we never have a 50% chance of winning anything. Heh.

    • Cubs had one fewer out…wild guess.  

  • mrbaseball2usa

    So novice question here… how come the graph doesn’t show the percent chance of winning at 50% after the LaHair homer?

    • IMO we never have a 50% chance of winning anything. Heh.

    • Cubs had one fewer out…wild guess.  

  • tacrowe

    One of the most exciting losses for the Cubs this season. Not much more I can say on the matter, since we still got the W. It was one of those games I was ready to turn off at the end of the 7th, saw the best of our batting order was up, decided to watch and couldn’t turn it off until the game was over.

    • tacrowe

      To clarify, we got the “L,” not the W. I guess I was just too optimistic in my post, haha

      • Doc Raker

        I thought you were a Phillie’s fan which seemed confusing since your sentence structure was grammatically correct.

  • tacrowe

    One of the most exciting losses for the Cubs this season. Not much more I can say on the matter, since we still got the W. It was one of those games I was ready to turn off at the end of the 7th, saw the best of our batting order was up, decided to watch and couldn’t turn it off until the game was over.

    • tacrowe

      To clarify, we got the “L,” not the W. I guess I was just too optimistic in my post, haha

      • Doc Raker

        I thought you were a Phillie’s fan which seemed confusing since your sentence structure was grammatically correct.

  • Doug S.

    Quoting USA Today “Manager Sveum says he’s losing patience with Carls Marmol”
    Losing patience……..LOSING patience?????
    How many blown saves and near misses does it take to lose it?
    Toast this bum.

  • Doug S.

    Quoting USA Today “Manager Sveum says he’s losing patience with Carls Marmol”
    Losing patience……..LOSING patience?????
    How many blown saves and near misses does it take to lose it?
    Toast this bum.

  • Eddie Von White

    Kerry Wood should be under “Old News” – ‘rehab coming along as planned…’