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Tuesday

11

June 2013

30

COMMENTS

Game 61 – Insert Fog Pun Here

Written by , Posted in General

Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Brandon Phillips – .293 (WPA)


Javier Baez went 4 for 4 with FOUR (4) homeruns for Daytona tonight. This would be exciting in any case, but it’s even more exciting in that it’s part of a recent upward trend in Baez’s performance. He’s now up to .291/.339/.570 with 13 HR and 44 RBI this season playing in what’s known as a pitcher’s league.

Oh…wait. I’m supposed to be recapping the CHICAGO Cubs game tonight. I guess I thought I’d start off with something positive.

Brandon Phillips almost single-handedly defeated the Cubs tonight. He drove in 6 runs and hit a grand slam in the third inning. Scott Feldman actually pitched decently except for that third inning.

Homer Bailey was dominant tonight, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 8 in 8 innings of work. He missed his spots in a few times, but his stuff was so good it didn’t matter.

Honestly, the fog was the most interesting part of this game. There just isn’t much else to say – the Cubs were dominated by the opposing starting pitcher. They did do the “fake rally” in the ninth again. [I feel like I type “fake rally” every time I do a game recap – but that’s truly because the Cubs always give us a teaser in the ninth.]

Starlin Castro

I don’t want to do a bit on Starlin Castro with every recap, but his development is so important to the future of the club, and so much speculation has been swirling about him lately, I just feel the need to write a bit more. Castro actually had a double (which was just fair – but hey, he’s due for good luck) in the ninth to pair with a hard lineout earlier in the game (he was robbed by Brandon Phillips, of course).  The look on Castro’s face after he hit the double was priceless – he looked to the heavens and let out a big sigh as to say, “about time, bro.”

Relatedly, I was listening to the Fringe Average podcast with Mike Ferrin of MLB Radio Network and Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus today (I highly recommend it if you haven’t checked it out). Parks was discussing organizations’ hitting philosophies and how he disagrees with instilling a “blanket” hitting philosophy on all the hitters in an organization. He said that some hitters are naturally aggressive, instinctive, “see-ball-hit-ball” hitters, and that he believed that it was misguided to try to turn those guys into high OBP players who take tons of walks – this takes away what makes the player great in the first place. Does this sound like anyone we know? After I listened to the podcast, I took to Twitter to ask Jason Parks about how that idea applied to Castro – here’s our Twitter conversation:

@powell_sean @ProfessorParks on latest FA ep. you mentioned not applying blanket philosophy to all hitters. How do you think that applies to Castro/Cubs?

@ProfessorParks @powell_sean I think its very applicable to Castro; he’s an aggressive hitter that makes a lot of contact and doesn’t walk. That’s who he is

@powell_sean @ProfessorParks I was thinking Castro during that segment. Just hope Cubs haven’t tinkered past the point of no return

For the record, I don’t think we’re close to past the point of no return with Castro, since he’s only 23. Even though I would love to see him increase his walk rate a little, we know he’s never going to take tons of walks, so I’d rather have the old Castro who is making contact (and getting hits in the process), even if he’ll never be the high OBP player we thought he might be. Time will tell in this process, but it’s always interesting to see a “national” prospect expert weigh-in on Cub-related matters. OK dear readers, I’m off to sleep – hopefully, I will dream of Baez bombs landing on Waveland Avenue.

  • Chuck

    I firmly believe that by the time a player hits the Majors it is far too late to change the hitters approach. You can tinker around the edges a bit by encouraging him to be more selective, but a free swinging Vladimir Guerrero type is not going to morph into a selective hitter. I think we all know who Castro is at this point. He is (could be) a high AVG, lowish OBP free swinging hitter that makes a lot of contact with some pop. There are worse things to be. As long as he continues to play a solid SS, that player has a lot of value. I just think all the losing is starting to get to him.

    • Eddie Von White

      In the book Money Ball, Billy Bean repeated the common phrase to the upcoming Domincan players: “You’re never going to walk off the island.” That philosophy is instilled in the players from before they can walk (pun intended). They say a walk is as good as a hit, but a hit feels a lot better.

    • Noah_I

      The thing is Vlad isn’t really a good comp to Castro. First, Vlad hit 38 home runs in his age 23 season, which is where Castro is now. So Vlad wasn’t just making contact with pitches out of the zone, he was taking them out of the park. Second, Vlad actually did walk a fair amount over the course of his career. Even in the early phases of his career Vlad was walking more than Castro, and Vlad spent several years of his career with walk rates near or above 10%. For his career, Vlad walked in 8.1% of his plate appearances, compared to just a 10.9% walk rate.

      The question is still out regarding how good Castro is at shortstop as well. If Castro is a league average hitter (across all positions) based largely on contact ability who can technically handle shortstop, he’s a fine player, but with limited ceiling. At this point, though, I doubt he’ll ever be a “plus” defender at the position. I’d say above average is about the best you could expect. So you either settle for what Castro was (in which case I would argue the Cubs should not have extended him) or you try to make him better.

      Another issue: it’s impossible to tell if Castro’s struggles are because the Cubs are tinkering, or because the “see ball/hit ball” way of hitting is a young man’s game that is easily exploited. Check out the see ball/hit ball players of history and look at how early (and short) their peaks are.

      I also don’t think that saying the Cubs are trying to turn Castro into a walk machine is quite fair. However, I think the Cubs realize that Castro has to either add more power or more OBP to take his game to the next level offensively, and the odds of him hitting for power are greatly diminished if he is swinging at pitches 6 inches outside in hitters or neutral counts.

  • Chuck

    I firmly believe that by the time a player hits the Majors it is far too late to change the hitters approach. You can tinker around the edges a bit by encouraging him to be more selective, but a free swinging Vladimir Guerrero type is not going to morph into a selective hitter. I think we all know who Castro is at this point. He is (could be) a high AVG, lowish OBP free swinging hitter that makes a lot of contact with some pop. There are worse things to be. As long as he continues to play a solid SS, that player has a lot of value. I just think all the losing is starting to get to him.

    • Eddie Von White

      In the book Money Ball, Billy Bean repeated the common phrase to the upcoming Domincan players: “You’re never going to walk off the island.” That philosophy is instilled in the players from before they can walk (pun intended). They say a walk is as good as a hit, but a hit feels a lot better.

    • Noah_I

      The thing is Vlad isn’t really a good comp to Castro. First, Vlad hit 38 home runs in his age 23 season, which is where Castro is now. So Vlad wasn’t just making contact with pitches out of the zone, he was taking them out of the park. Second, Vlad actually did walk a fair amount over the course of his career. Even in the early phases of his career Vlad was walking more than Castro, and Vlad spent several years of his career with walk rates near or above 10%. For his career, Vlad walked in 8.1% of his plate appearances, compared to just a 10.9% walk rate.

      The question is still out regarding how good Castro is at shortstop as well. If Castro is a league average hitter (across all positions) based largely on contact ability who can technically handle shortstop, he’s a fine player, but with limited ceiling. At this point, though, I doubt he’ll ever be a “plus” defender at the position. I’d say above average is about the best you could expect. So you either settle for what Castro was (in which case I would argue the Cubs should not have extended him) or you try to make him better.

      Another issue: it’s impossible to tell if Castro’s struggles are because the Cubs are tinkering, or because the “see ball/hit ball” way of hitting is a young man’s game that is easily exploited. Check out the see ball/hit ball players of history and look at how early (and short) their peaks are.

      I also don’t think that saying the Cubs are trying to turn Castro into a walk machine is quite fair. However, I think the Cubs realize that Castro has to either add more power or more OBP to take his game to the next level offensively, and the odds of him hitting for power are greatly diminished if he is swinging at pitches 6 inches outside in hitters or neutral counts.

  • Doug S.

    Was just in Seattle for 3 Yankees/Mariners games. The Mariners are featuring 3 series this year. Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs. All weekend long they were plugging the upcoming Cubs series. Friday June 28 will be the first post game fireworks in Safeco history. Saturday will be turn back the clock day, the teams will wear vintage unis. They didn’t say much about Sunday. I’ll be at all 3. 2010 and 2002 were the only other Cub visits.

    • Eddie Von White

      Obviously, the Cubs are a market draw.

      • BLPCB

        In 2004, we were 1/10th of the Brewers home games, but we provided 1/4th of their home attendance that year.

    • Seymour Butts

      I’ll be there as well. The Saturday game they are wearing old timey uniforms. I don’t think I have one of those in my closet.

      • BLPCB

        You wouldn’t want to get any ranch dressing or meatball sauce on it

    • Doc Raker

      I hope the Cubs were those light blue with blue pinstripes road uniforms from the 70’s. I have a Larry Biittner jersey from back in the day.

  • Doug S.

    Was just in Seattle for 3 Yankees/Mariners games. The Mariners are featuring 3 series this year. Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs. All weekend long they were plugging the upcoming Cubs series. Friday June 28 will be the first post game fireworks in Safeco history. Saturday will be turn back the clock day, the teams will wear vintage unis. They didn’t say much about Sunday. I’ll be at all 3. 2010 and 2002 were the only other Cub visits.

    • Eddie Von White

      Obviously, the Cubs are a market draw.

      • AC0000000

        In 2004, we were 1/10th of the Brewers home games, but we provided 1/4th of their home attendance that year.

    • Seymour Butts

      I’ll be there as well. The Saturday game they are wearing old timey uniforms. I don’t think I have one of those in my closet.

      • AC0000000

        You wouldn’t want to get any ranch dressing or meatball sauce on it

    • Doc Raker

      I hope the Cubs were those light blue with blue pinstripes road uniforms from the 70’s. I have a Larry Biittner jersey from back in the day.

  • BLPCB

    Dusty just gave a fog pun on SportsCenter: I didn’t know what the F was for

  • AC0000000

    Dusty just gave a fog pun on SportsCenter: I didn’t know what the F was for

  • That is a ridiculous line…Javy needs to start taking more walks.

  • That is a ridiculous line…Javy needs to start taking more walks.

  • Sean Powell

    This is an interesting piece on Starlin from BP http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20899

  • Sean Powell

    This is an interesting piece on Starlin from BP http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20899

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I was at the Fog Bowl it was one of the wildest things I have seen. The fog rolled in quickly at half time. I was getting a couple of beers at the time the fog came in. I was sitting in the North end zone, was able to see the both balls go through the uprights, but had no idea who kicked them.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I was at the Fog Bowl it was one of the wildest things I have seen. The fog rolled in quickly at half time. I was getting a couple of beers at the time the fog came in. I was sitting in the North end zone, was able to see the both balls go through the uprights, but had no idea who kicked them.

  • Buddy

    How is Ian Stewart doing? I wish he would Tweet something.

    • CAPS keyed us into the fact that he rampaged the shit out of Twitter.

      In serious news, looks like we might get to keep Garz after all. He pulled a Dempster and put up an eight-spot…clearly our franchise pitcher.

  • Buddy

    How is Ian Stewart doing? I wish he would Tweet something.

    • CAPS keyed us into the fact that he rampaged the shit out of Twitter.

      In serious news, looks like we might get to keep Garz after all. He pulled a Dempster and put up an eight-spot…clearly our franchise pitcher.