MVP – Starlin Castro (.349 WPA)
Admit it, you went into watching last nights game and being tempted to turn the television right off when the Mets scored three runs in the top of the 1st and Edwin Jackson was on the mound. I’m not ashamed to say that it was something I considered, but I hung in (though I did have the iPad with me and I was messing around on that while I watched). Based on what we’ve seen from this offense, you had every right to feel defeated before the Cubs even came to bat because, let’s face it, it’s hard to even tell when they come to bat because their bats are so silent. I tweeted as I watched the lineup flash on the screen for the Cubs:
— ViewFromTheBleachers (@vftb) June 5, 2014
It’s hard to win ballgames consistently when that’s the case, nonetheless, the Cubs did what they needed to do and grabbed enough offense to counteract Jackson’s early exit due to wildness and held on to a lead. There were a couple things that stood out:
Bullpen Usage – I continue to harp of the eight man pen. I think it serves as training wheels for a manager who I think has no idea how to use a bullpen. Last night the game was close and Jackson had to leave after just five innings. Instead of trying to conserve the pen a little in case the game stayed close and, God forbid, went into extra innings, Renteria was running guys out there in LOOGY fashion. Look at the usage report in the sidebar. Had that game gone into extras, he would have had just two pitchers to use, assuming Rondon wouldn’t throw a second inning. Both of those guys had thrown the day before. It’s irresponsible. Why can’t we leave a guy out there for more than an inning or even more than a batter? I can’t stand bullpen usage these days, especially by Renteria.
Continued Usage of Bonifacio at the Top – Granted, I’m not quite sure who else would be an ideal candidate based on the fact that the offense really doesn’t boast many good options, but the failure to see that since his hot start, Bonifacio is hitting just .220 / .270 / .295. Not really the kind of numbers you want out of your leadoff man, but the kind of numbers I felt were coming as I stayed off the bandwagon. At this point, I think you have to consider starting Justin Ruggiano in CF and putting him in the leadoff spot given his ability to draw walks and then platoon at 2b with Bonifacio and Darwin Barney and then platoon at third with Mike Olt and Luis Valbuena. Either way, neither position is pretty right now.
Throwback Thursday – Everyone on Twitter is doing this now. Apparently you’re supposed to post something from the past. Well, in honor of Don Zimmer, who passed away yesterday, I will post the video of his legendary encounter with Pedro Martinez. Zim was the manager when I first really started watching the Cubs. He’ll be missed.