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Tuesday

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April 2014

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COMMENTS

What Should We Accept From the Cubs in 2014

Written by , Posted in General

I posted yesterday in my 10 bold predictions that I felt like it was certainly a possibility that the Cubs would finish the season with a record of 81-81. Not quite a winning season, but certainly a huge improvement on the road toward respectability. After sitting down later and thinking about that statement, it occurred to me that I never really thought about what I’m actually expecting to see this team do in 2014. Sure, bold predictions are fun and they generate readers, but when it comes right down to it, it’s a lofty goal and may not happen. That said, what should be the acceptable result when all is said and done in 2014? Allow me a short semi-political rant to explain.

As many of you may or may not know, my day job is as an independent insurance agent. One of the things I help people with is health insurance with Blue Cross & Blue Shield. Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last six months, you’ve undoubtedly seen that the deadline to enroll in a new plan was yesterday. People have known this deadline was coming for months and yet they still waited to the last minute. One such case was a guy who came to me for assistance around 4pm. I try to help everyone, but this joker was the straw that broke this camel’s back. As I patiently tried to guide him through the process, we got to a place where he had to establish a username and password for his online account. Thankfully, this was early in the process so I didn’t waste a whole lot of time with this guy. When I asked him what password he wanted to use, he replied “Deeznutz”. Annoyed, I asked him how he would like to spell that. He spelled it out, with no realization at the fact that may not be the best password or that the person helping may be annoyed with him. At that point, he needed to verify his account in his e-mail. When I asked him to do that, he said he didn’t know the password for his e-mail. Needless to say, that guy probably is not going to get coverage by the end of the day today, because I can’t fix stupid.

Where I’m going with that is this. When I talked to that guy, I had an idea based on observations and social clues what I could expect from him. The Cubs in 2014 seem to be a lot like that. I look up and down the team and know not to get too excited. The question then becomes: What can we accept? When we go into the season knowing the team is going to still be bad, can we accept worse than 2013 when everyone says 2015 is the year we’re supposed to compete? What is acceptable this year? For me, I think 75 wins is a realistic mid-level goal, but for me, the worst I would accept is 72 wins. That’s six more than last year and it’s my floor. What about you?


W – Bryan Morris (1-0)
LCarlos Villanueva (0-1)
HR Neil Walker (1)

  • Overall, I thought the pitching looked good. Jeff Samardzija didn’t disappoint. What I liked the most about his start was his ability to work seven innings with only 89 pitches. Usually when we’ve seen great pitching performances by Samardzija, they’ve been laced with strikeouts. Today’s game was different. He didn’t have the overpowering stuff that Francisco Liriano had, but in my opinion, he had the better outing because he was more effective. If we can see this kind of stuff from him consistently, I’d be thrilled. From the bullpen, I will say it again. Pedro Strop will be the eventual closer of this team and he looked fantastic today. Facing Starling Marte, he made him look silly in the first two swings and misses.
  • I was disappointed in the lack of offense. By no means to I expect this to be a team that puts up crooked numbers on a regular basis, but there were several opportunities to jump out to a lead and we simply could not capitalize and a lot of that blame falls on the heart of the order. 3-4-5 in the lineup combined to go 0-for-10 with 5 K’s. Unacceptable.
  • I was a little confused by two moves by Rick Renteria today. The first was the batting order. I was OK with Emilio Bonifacio getting the not in the leadoff spot, but what confused me was why Junior Lake, a guy not even average when it comes to making contact, is hitting in the 2 spot. Castro is much more suited for that role given the difference in each one’s contact %. The second move that confused me was the move to use Villanueva in the 10th. It’s not a matter of Monday morning QB’ing it, I generally don’t agree with the move. I understand why he did it, but I don’t think it was the right call. Villanueva has relatively little to no experience in that role. Use a guy who has experience there.

Grade the Umpire – A look at the accuracy of the judgement pitch calls.

John Hirschbeck is our first victim. We started this last year a little. I want to look at how the ump did on pitches that were not swung at. These are pitches the umpire had to made a decision on. League average on correct calls is 88%. Our boy Hirsh had himself an 85% correct call rate today, which would be considered worst in the league if he did that every game. Here is a breakdown of his rate by zone.


 

Off day today so we leave you with a video from one of my favorite bands, Nickel Creek, who have a new album out today.

  • LVCubFan

    Overreaction Tuesday, but Rizzo looked b-a-d bad on some of those ABs.After hearing such good praise about his spring training ABs against lefties, I hate spring training even more.

    • Darlin_Starlin

      Yes. Yes he did. But I chock up a lot of that to Liriano being basically unhittable for lefties.

  • LVCubFan

    Overreaction Tuesday, but Rizzo looked b-a-d bad on some of those ABs.After hearing such good praise about his spring training ABs against lefties, I hate spring training even more.

    • Darlin_Starlin

      Yes. Yes he did. But I chock up a lot of that to Liriano being basically unhittable for lefties.

  • LVCubFan

    Plus, poor Welington Castillo had the hardest ball hit all day by a Cub, too bad he was playing defense.

    • PLCB3

      Was it hit harder than the one that hit Barrett and ended his 2006 season?

    • Eddie Von White

      You have to admit, it made you laugh.

  • LVCubFan

    Plus, poor Welington Castillo had the hardest ball hit all day by a Cub, too bad he was playing defense.

    • AC0000000

      Was it hit harder than the one that hit Barrett and ended his 2006 season?

    • Eddie Von White

      You have to admit, it made you laugh.

  • CORYgranata

    I think one thing overlooked yesterday was the at-bat of Grimm vs. McCutchen. He had him sitting down on 4 pitches and he stuff looked filthy. To your point on Rizzo, he batted .181 last season vs. lefties. To be considered Top-10 in NL MVP voting that average HAS to come up. Lirano had him looking silly yesterday. To sound off on the “bold predictions” list…Castro could get traded and the contract he is under is a “trade-able” contract, but I could see Baez up soon and starting SS with Castro moving over to 2nd. For what he’s doing (Castro), they’re not over-paying him. Barney needs to kick boots anyways.

  • CORYgranata

    I think one thing overlooked yesterday was the at-bat of Grimm vs. McCutchen. He had him sitting down on 4 pitches and he stuff looked filthy. To your point on Rizzo, he batted .181 last season vs. lefties. To be considered Top-10 in NL MVP voting that average HAS to come up. Lirano had him looking silly yesterday. To sound off on the “bold predictions” list…Castro could get traded and the contract he is under is a “trade-able” contract, but I could see Baez up soon and starting SS with Castro moving over to 2nd. For what he’s doing (Castro), they’re not over-paying him. Barney needs to kick boots anyways.

  • Doc Raker

    At what happens if you don’t accept whatever record the Cubs deliver? You go root for the White Sox? This roster has a lot of developing to do. I was disappointed in the lack of production from the meat of the order. Your pitching staff throws a shutout threw 9 and you lose, that is a tough loss.

    On the bright side of things we are only 1 game out of first, we are still in contention just as I predicted.

    • PLCB3

      Root for the White Sox? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

      • Doc Raker

        But section 208 at Cell has a concession named ‘Sox’s Sub’s’ and their specialty is the meatball with marinara and ranch dressing.

      • PLCB3

        I told you I don’t eat that crap anymore

  • Doc Raker

    At what happens if you don’t accept whatever record the Cubs deliver? You go root for the White Sox? This roster has a lot of developing to do. I was disappointed in the lack of production from the meat of the order. Your pitching staff throws a shutout threw 9 and you lose, that is a tough loss.

    On the bright side of things we are only 1 game out of first, we are still in contention just as I predicted.

    • AC0000000

      Root for the White Sox? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

      • Doc Raker

        But section 208 at Cell has a concession named ‘Sox’s Sub’s’ and their specialty is the meatball with marinara and ranch dressing.

      • AC0000000

        I told you I don’t eat that crap anymore

  • Seymour Butz

    Wait a minute…I thought you took yesterday off…as a holiday…so how does this deeznutz guy interact with you?

    • Eddie Von White

      I was wondering that same thing. I took a whole half of day off because of that. What gives?

    • Joe Aiello

      Because I have too big a heart and will answer my phone.

      • PLCB3

        Even during the game?

  • Seymour Butz

    Wait a minute…I thought you took yesterday off…as a holiday…so how does this deeznutz guy interact with you?

    • Eddie Von White

      I was wondering that same thing. I took a whole half of day off because of that. What gives?

    • Joe Aiello

      Because I have too big a heart and will answer my phone.

      • AC0000000

        Even during the game?

  • PLCB3

    Is the post supposed to say accept or expect?

    • Joe Aiello

      My guess is that you haven’t read the post.

      • Spot on there.

      • Seymour Butts

        Is that required?

  • AC0000000

    Is the post supposed to say accept or expect?

    • Joe Aiello

      My guess is that you haven’t read the post.

      • Spot on there.

      • Seymour Butts

        Is that required?

  • Imbecile D”Avril

    Hot off the wire:
    Castro and Bryant to Detroit for Verlander.

    • PLCB3

      It’s April 1. Lousy attempt at an April Fool’s joke. At least make a trade that’s plausible if you want to fool people.

      • Imbiclie D’Avril

        OK…CAPS to the White Sox blog for a plate of ribs.

      • PLCB3

        The trash veto the trade for fear of CAPS being a troll on their blog.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Too late, we already ate the ribs!

      • PLCB3

        The trash figured this would happen. That’s why the ribs they sent were the ones Golden Corral left by the dumpster before their inspection.

      • Doug S.

        You guys in the U.S. get all the best restaurants.

      • PLCB3

        The White Sox are not a representative of American dining. Pig sized rats have been known to infest the cesspool that they call a stadium on the South Side of Chiraq.

  • Imbecile D”Avril

    Hot off the wire:
    Castro and Bryant to Detroit for Verlander.

    • AC0000000

      It’s April 1. Lousy attempt at an April Fool’s joke. At least make a trade that’s plausible if you want to fool people.

      • Imbiclie D’Avril

        OK…CAPS to the White Sox blog for a plate of ribs.

      • AC0000000

        The trash veto the trade for fear of CAPS being a troll on their blog.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Too late, we already ate the ribs!

      • AC0000000

        The trash figured this would happen. That’s why the ribs they sent were the ones Golden Corral left by the dumpster before their inspection.

      • Doug S.

        You guys in the U.S. get all the best restaurants.

      • AC0000000

        The White Sox are not a representative of American dining. Pig sized rats have been known to infest the cesspool that they call a stadium on the South Side of Chiraq.

  • Doug S.

    While the hitting was disappointing, some cred should go to the ace of a team that made that playoffs last year. It should get better.

  • Doug S.

    While the hitting was disappointing, some cred should go to the ace of a team that made that playoffs last year. It should get better.

  • verncrowe5

    I didn’t see the game, but it sounds like our defense behind Samardzija played pretty well. Some good, smart plays by Castro as well.

  • Travis

    I didn’t see the game, but it sounds like our defense behind Samardzija played pretty well. Some good, smart plays by Castro as well.

  • Michael Hoffman

    Our weakness will continue to be the bat production of 2B and 3B. Confident Rizzo will be a 270 hitter this year. Get rid of Barney for a stick. Liriano got so many calls on the outside of the plate yesterday it was horrible. Hopefully the ump will see he was pathetic. His calls killed us in the 6th.

  • Michael Hoffman

    Our weakness will continue to be the bat production of 2B and 3B. Confident Rizzo will be a 270 hitter this year. Get rid of Barney for a stick. Liriano got so many calls on the outside of the plate yesterday it was horrible. Hopefully the ump will see he was pathetic. His calls killed us in the 6th.

  • Sad anecdote on all sorts of levels.

  • Sad anecdote on all sorts of levels.

  • Darlin_Starlin

    Those graphs of odds of winning over a game kill me. The amount of games the cubs lost last year when they were above 90% was ridiculous.

  • Darlin_Starlin

    Those graphs of odds of winning over a game kill me. The amount of games the cubs lost last year when they were above 90% was ridiculous.

  • Doc Raker

    Stupid people you say? Who did you expect to deal with when helping people under the law with the moniker of Obamacare?

    • PLCB3

      Obamorons! Such as Miley Cyrus and the Cleveland cell phone lady.

  • Doc Raker

    Stupid people you say? Who did you expect to deal with when helping people under the law with the moniker of Obamacare?

    • AC0000000

      Obamorons! Such as Miley Cyrus and the Cleveland cell phone lady.