Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Cubs Are One Step Closer

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

We’re steadily inching closer to the impossible. After winning the NLDS, the Chicago Cubs are one step closer to the World Series. They narrowly escaped a tough series against Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants thanks to some terrific performances by Javier Baez and clutch pitching from Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Now, the team is taking on Clayton Kershaw (who just recorded his first-ever professional save) and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

The Cubs have been pegged as the favorites to win it all since the beginning of the year and they’re living up to those lofty expectations. It’s been an incredible 108 years since the Cubs last won the World Series—the same number of stitches in a baseball!—and fans are trying to remain as optimistic as possible. But they’re also avoiding potentially jinxing the team. Based on Chicago’s post-season play so far, though, Cubs fans are riding high with plenty to be excited about.

No one denies that the Chicago Cubs have one of the most talented rosters in baseball, if not the most talented. Jake Arrieta has been on fire this post-season and is still among the favorites to take this year’s NL Cy Young Player Award. The 30-year-old pitcher began the season with 6/1 odds of winning his second Cy Young and continues to perform well down the stretch. That includes a notable three-run homer off Bumgarner that actually ended Madbum’s streak for scoreless innings in the playoffs. Other members of Chicago’s terrifying bullpen are also in contention with both Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks making their own cases for the award.

However, some of the biggest talk of the postseason has been about Javier Baez. He has been positively electric for the Cubs on both offense and defense so far, and we have a feeling that the 23-year-old Puerto Rican infielder is just getting warmed up. Baez rocked a solo home-run off of Johnny Cueto in the bottom of the eighth to sew up Game 1 for the Cubs. The homer marked the first time the Cubs had won a playoff game 1-0 since the 1906 World Series. Baez became a hero once again when he managed to clinch Game 4 with a crucial single. He has become a human highlight reel during the playoffs through his reliable hitting and acrobatic throws.

As the series with the Dodgers gets underway, we can only hope the Cubs will continue their run of terrific form all the way through to the World Championships. Regardless of what happens, it’s going to be the end of a long drought for either ball club. The Cubs are trying to earn their first National League championship since 1945, and the Dodgers are aiming for their first since 1988.

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The Official “I Hate Clayton Kershaw” Thread

Monday, October 17th, 2016

There isn’t much to say about last night’s game to break it down.

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NLCS Game 1 Thoughts

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Dodgers 4 @ Cubs 8 (Box Score)

Well, that was an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening. My day was a long one, so when the time came to sit down and watch, I was a little sleepy, but did not sleep. I’m glad I didn’t. My thinks from the game:

  • I’ve been harping on Miguel Montero and how I felt like the idea of taking two catchers to the playoffs was silly. The move to insert him last night in the 8th showed us why we were wrong. Montero can go the whole series and not do another productive thing, and that grand slam in the 8th inning of game one will make the move worth it. He was clutch.
  • I didn’t agree with the decision to remove Jon Lester after just six innings of work. It put us in an position, once the Dodgers tied the game in the 8th, where we very well could have run short on pitchers had the game gone deep into extras. There was nothing that warranted that move, and sometimes managers over-manage the game and make themselves more of a factor than they need to be. It’s sort of like an instance of an ump show, where the umpire makes himself an unnecessary part of the game. Let Lester continue to throw. That’s two playoff starts now for him and two exits before 100 pitches.
  • If you look at the box score, it looks like Aroldis Chapman had a nice, clean inning of work. That isn’t the case at all. I don’t like bringing him in for a dirty inning, especially one with bases loaded and no outs, but he’s the guy you paid for to shut it down. He did enough to keep it to just a tie score, which is amazing considering the mess he was dealt. It ended up being inconsequential, but at the time it looked huge.
  • Javier Baez continues to be a stud and Addison Russell continues to struggle. If I’m Joe, I move Russell down in that order. He’s been hitting him 5th for quite some time now and I don’t think he’s had the production to warrant it. I move him to the 7th spot and move someone like Javy or even Jorge Soler, if he gets in there in relief of Jason Heyward against a lefty.
  • At some point, Anthony Rizzo needs to start hitting. Maybe we won’t need it to win this series. Maybe we won’t need it if we get to the World Series, but I’d rather not take that chance.
  • Dexter Fowler was my MVP last night.  He flashed the leather in the outfield and produced at the plate. Player of the game goes to Dex.


Clayton Kershaw vs Kyle Hendricks

Kershaw is slated to start Game 2 on Sunday three days after his NLDS Game 5 relief appearance and five days after throwing 6 2/3 innings in Game 4 against Washington. He didn’t face the Cubs this season. Hendricks exited Game 2 of the NLDS after getting hit by comebacker after throwing only 52 pitches. He won his lone start against L.A. this season, allowing two runs in eight innings.

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Game 1 Morning Notes

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

We’ve had to wait a little bit, but today begins the NLCS. Before we get lineups and things of that nature this afternoon, let’s hit on a couple quick notes:

  • Joe Maddon says his playoff rotation will be the same as we saw in the NLDS, which means we’ll see Kyle Hendricks in game two at Wrigley and Jake Arrieta in game three in LA. Chris Kamka noted that Arrieta, in his last seven starts in California, has an ERA of 0.53, a WHIP of 0.608, in 51 innings of work while allowing just 21 hits and striking out 49.
  • MLB Trade Rumors mentioned that Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez could be a candidate for for the vacant managerial job in Colorado. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would take a job there other than the fact that it’s fun to look at the mountains. That’s a tough place to manage.
  • There is a really good article on Tim Wilken’s faith in Javier Baez back when the Cubs drafted him. Ken Rosenthal’s piece is worth a read.

That’s all we’ve got for now. I’m excited about tonight. The playoff beard is coming in nicely.

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Who are the 2016 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I)

Friday, October 14th, 2016

by John Dewan

For the next two weeks we will be writing a two-part series examining who the likely 2016 Fielding Bible Award contenders are. We will also be giving our predictions for the Gold Glove winners at every position in each league. This week, for Part I, we will be looking at catchers and infielders. Next week, in part II, we will examine who the contenders are for the pitcher, outfielders, and multi-positional awards. (Note: In all of the tables below, the numbers next to the players’ names represent their Defensive Runs Saved totals.)


No catcher came close to Buster Posey this season in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). The 2015 Fielding Bible Award winner led all catchers this year with 23. Posey saved runs in every single category for catchers. The only other catcher to do this was Carlos Perez. Almost half of Posey’s DRS came from his ability to frame pitches (11) to obtain extra strike calls from the umpire. He was tied with Russell Martin for third in this ability behind Yasmani Grandal and Tyler Flowers.

While Posey should be a clear-cut winner for the Gold Glove in the National League, will his defensive performance be enough for Rawlings to replace their entrenched eight-time winner, Yadier Molina? Molina finished 14th in DRS in 2016. Over in the American League, Salvador Perez has won the Gold Glove for each of the past three seasons despite his overall DRS catcher rankings of 12th in 2014 and 18th in 2015. In 2016, Salvador Perez had another pedestrian season defensively. He finished tied for 13th overall with only three Runs Saved. The skill that Perez struggled the most with was his pitch framing, costing his team eight runs with that aspect of his game.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Buster Posey (23) Yasmani Grandal (13)
Derek Norris (15)
AL Gold Glove Salvador Perez (3) James McCann (9)
Russell Martin (7)
NL Gold Glove Yadier Molina (2) Buster Posey (23)
Yasmani Grandal (13)


First Baseman:

This season’s top contender, Anthony Rizzo, is in line for his first ever Fielding Bible Award. Last season’s Fielding Bible Award winner, Paul Goldschmidt, finished 9th in DRS this season. Rizzo finished first with 11 DRS, 9 of which were due to his range and positioning.

Eric Hosmer won the AL Golden Glove for the last three seasons, despite being ranked no higher than 13th at first base in DRS. This season, he ranked 33rd, costing his team six runs. With such a bad defensive season, this year’s winner should be someone else. A likely candidate is Chris Davis with his eight runs saved split evenly between his range and positioning and his Good Fielding Plays, Defensive Misplays, and Errors (GFP/DME).

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Anthony Rizzo (11) Freddie Freeman (9)
Brandon Belt (9)
AL Gold Glove Chris Davis (8) Mitch Moreland (7)
Eric Hosmer (-6)
NL Gold Glove Anthony Rizzo (11) Freddie Freeman (9)
Paul Goldschmidt (4)


Second Baseman:

In 2015, there was a clear-cut leader for the Fielding Bible Award at second base, Ian Kinsler with 19 DRS. However, in 2016, Dustin Pedroia was healthy again, making it a close race between the two. Both finished with 12 DRS, followed closely by Robinson Cano and Javier Baez who finished with 11. It is worth mentioning that Javier Baez saved 11 runs in only 383 innings played at second base, less than a third of the innings by any of the other three candidates. Due to this outstanding performance in his limited playing time, he could be a contender.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Ian Kinsler (12) Dustin Pedroia (12)
Robinson Cano (11)
AL Gold Glove Dustin Pedroia (12) Ian Kinsler (12)
Robinson Cano (11)
NL Gold Glove DJ LeMahieu (3) Javier Baez (11)
Joe Panik (3)


Third Baseman:

The 2015 winner, Nolan Arenado, was dominant again defensively in 2016. His 20 DRS topped both Kyle Seager and Adrian Beltre, who were tied for second with 15. He saved 18 runs due to range and positioning, leading all third-basemen and trailing only Addison Russell for all infielders in the league. Due to splitting his time between third base and shortstop, Manny Machado dropped to fourth overall in DRS in 2016 with 13. However, his 13 Runs Saved in 998 innings still gave him a higher rate than both Adrian Beltre with 15 in 1,219 innings and Kyle Seager with 15 in 1,400 innings. It will be a close race between Machado, Beltre, and Seager for the AL Gold Glove.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Nolan Arenado (20) Manny Machado (13)
Adrian Beltre (15)
AL Gold Glove Manny Machado (13) Adrian Beltre (15)
Kyle Seager (15)
NL Gold Glove Nolan Arenado (20) Anthony Rendon (8)
Matt Duffy (11)



This season’s race at shortstop is a close one between four players: Andrelton Simmons, Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell, and Francisco Lindor. Out of the four, the slight edge goes to Simmons, who played only 1045 innings (at least 217.2 fewer than the other three), and still managed to only trail by two Runs Saved. Also, Simmons and Crawford were the only two to not cost their teams runs in any of the three categories that comprise Runs Saved for middle infielders – Range and Positioning, GFP/DME, and GDP.

Favorite Other Contenders
Fielding Bible Award Andrelton Simmons (18) Brandon Crawford (20)
Addison Russell (19)
AL Gold Glove Andrelton Simmons (18) Francisco Lindor (17)
J.J. Hardy (6)
NL Gold Glove Brandon Crawford (20) Addison Russell (19)
Zack Cozart (8)

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,

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