Nothing grinds my gears quite like when the Cubs come back late – and, say, tie the game in the 7th – only to lose it soon thereafter. Well, nothing except a team that consistently outhits its opponents, but keeps losing games.

Er, make that except losing to the damn Cardinals, particularly on a night when Chris Carpenter was beatable.

  • Jeff

    Is it possible Koyie Hill single handedly lost this game? 6 men left on base on top of that showing of his “interesting” defensive abilities. Why do the Cubs always seem to have someone who absolutely can’t play baseball on the team?

    • wax_eagle

      Because they have committed a ton of salary to players who don’t produce. Some of these were wise investments at the time, others were fools errands. If they had proper resources they would have the money to sign competent backups.

      The second reason is because the Cubs don’t seem to put much faith into the well developed field of market research and statistical analysis. They seem to put a lot of stock into subjective methods and personalities. These are the kinds of things that losing clubs spend money on.

      The Cubs are on the following edge of trends rather then being on the leading edge of them (see Oakland in the 90s as a great example of the leading edge of a trend). If they cannot bring in some innovative thinkers who will find trends as they begin instead of grabbing their coat tails as they pass, they may compete occasionally, but they will not be regular contenders like the Rays and Red Sox have become.

      • Jeff

        That trend is obviously going to have to be to develop their own players. They have proven willing to spend, but not like the Red Sox and Yankees do. Those two teams still have good farm systems and spend more to cover up the mistakes they made in past free agency. The Cubs are stuck with any bad decision they make out of fear of making it worse.

        It seems to me that the Cubs are slowly turning into the Cubs of the past. Rickets is demanding lower payroll, the team is losing, fans are not coming, the team loses money, more payroll is cut, the team gets even worse. I could see this cycle keep going until the Cubs are annual cellar dwellers again and have an owner crying poor when he has the most marketable stadium and team in baseball outside of the Yankees.

        • wax_eagle

          Bulls eye. The only way to lower payroll and actually get better is to develop players. However, the Cubs seem to be an organization that is incredibly torn. They talk about cutting payroll and developing homegrown players then trade 4 guys for a pitcher and a minor league outfielder.

          Until they can unify their organizational approach they are really just like the Pirates except they spend enough to play .500 baseball.

        • wax_eagle

          Had a thought on what the next baseball market trend may be (I feel they tend to be reactionary to some degree, sort of over compensation you mights say).

          If the league stops signing free agents to conserve draft picks and home grow players there may be an exploitable market imbalance in free agency (I think this will be the next trend you see, although it will be a short one). If guys like Jermaine Dye who have a serviceable year or two left continue to go unsigned then teams may realize that a year of middling production from an aging superstar when they are on the verge of contention may fill a gap their farm system is unable to. I feel like the Rays may have tried to get out in front of this trend with Manny and Damon (obviously you can get burned here).

  • Michigan Goat

    Here is my major problem with Q, remember how he talk about this team getting aggressive on the base paths ie stealing, hit and run, stretching singles into doubles, it was a comment that really got me excited, and when we started the season with Castro and Barney at the top of the order, I thought we were finally going to start getting aggressive. BUT we are the one of the worse teams in steals, attempts, etc., combine that with a team that only hits singles and you have this. We are doing nothing to generate runs, we just keep think we will hit homers runs like we have juiced up power hitters. I am so disappointed with the way Q has managed this team and especially how he has used the youngsters… And I thought this was his strength.

    • wax_eagle

      You have to be able to succeed something like 62% of the time for a steal to be a positive thing. I don’t feel confident in anyone except maybe Castro or Barney succeeding that often. The guys you would expect to be fast (ie outfielders) are all slow, either from bad knees, age or size. The other guys you would expect to run are the middle infielders and they are the ones who have run thus far this year. Barney has never run much (most steals were 11 last year) and Castro gets caught a fair amound (stole 28 in 2009 was caught 11 times).

      This team just doesn’t have stolen base speed. The best we can do is hope that these guys run intelligently on the base paths when the guys behind them get hits.

      • Jeff

        They don’t even try to steal bases, how would any of us know how good they can be at it. It’s not all about steals either, it’s about stretching singles to doubles, going from first to third on a single, advancing runners with bunts and ground balls. I can understand that Cub’s fans aren’t familiar with this style, they have never played that way. They all make immature base running decisions, they don’t move runners over, and don’t try for extra bases. For a team with aging veterans who are slow footed and don’t have much pop, and young players that aren’t experienced, you would think that with a new manager who is a lifetime coach would be pulling out all the stops to score runs, but they seem to just sit back and hope good things happen. This was supposed to change under Quade, it hasn’t, and he doesn’t seem interested in trying, so the team loses more and the fans get screwed again.

        • Michigan Goat

          Exactly! Q said he was going “to be aggressive” but we have done nothing but get singles and wait, and wait, and wait till we lose. There is no “pep” to this team and we can’t use the “we’re old and slow” line as an excuse. We can have team speed and be aggressive, be, be, aggressive (couldn’t help myself) with the team we have… Q just chooses not to.

          • wax_eagle

            Just to comment one more time. I just pulled up the Baseball Prospectus report on team baserunning this year. You know what the difference between the best running team and the Cubs is? 6.4 runs. That’s it. That is all that team baserunning means.

            If the Cubs ran the bases as well as the best team in baseball (The Nats at 7.6 runs added). They would have scored 6.4 more runs than they have so far this season.

            Currently the Cubs are outperforming their Pythagorean w/l ratio by two games. Adding 6.4 runs over the course of the first 34 games would really only bring their expected win percentage up to where they are actually playing. At most those runs really only mean the difference between where this team is right now and .500 baseball.

            • pfk

              That may not sound like much but those 6.4 runs could mean 3 more wins and 3 less losses in those 1-run games. And, over the course of a year that would mean at least a 15 game swing. Plus, the formula does not take not account the disturbance it causes a pitcher even if an attempt isn’t made. Nor does it take into account the extra base hit because of speed. Speed is relevant.

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