It’s pretty incredible that, despite it being a 12-inning game, and despite the Cubs having an expanded roster due to September call-ups, the Cubs still used only three pitchers. The Astros used eight. It was probably for the best for the Cubs, who were playing in their second-straight extra inning game.
- Mike Quade on the Cubs’ win yesterday (he might as well be talking about the last 20 years, at least): “We don’t do anything the easy way around here.”
- Does pitching coach Mark Riggins deserve the credit for Matt Garza’s solid season? ESPNChicago’s Sahadev Sharma thinks so. He says Riggins’ suggestion that Garza reduce his reliance on his fastball has made Garza a more well-rounded pitcher, and a more effective one. It’s a good read, and notes that Garza has indeed dramatically reduced his reliance on his fastball (historically, about 70% of his pitches were fastballs; this year that number is closer to 50%), but I’m not sure his “success” this year can be attributed to anything other than (1) he’s a good pitcher, and (2) he’s now in the NL Central. His ERA+ (league and ballpark adjusted) is just about his career average this year (111 this year, 107 career average), which suggests he’s just doing what he’s always done.
- The Cubs’ bullpen is getting a healthy amount of work this year, which was probably a given once Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner both went down, only to be replaced by a variety of ineffective fill-ins. Sean Marshall is already at 71 innings on the year. Jeff Samardzija is at 85.1. Those are huge numbers for relievers.
- Mike Quade says Darwin Barney’s at bats have been “getting better.” That’s usually a sign that a guy is not hitting very well. But, Quade isn’t going to start DJ LeMahieu over Barney with regularity any time soon. “DJ is in a tough spot because Barney has been playing real well and Rami,’’ Quade said. Even if I’m *exceedingly* generous, and grab the best games I can, here’s Barney’s line since he started “playing real well”: .267/.267/.333 in his last six games. That’s “real well,” folks. I beg someone to defend Barney’s starting job. In fact, start a Message Board post about it. If it’s convincing, I’ll not only post it here, I’ll give you my shoes.
- Don’t forget: there’s still plenty of time (and little competition) to win a $50 gift card to MLB.com (where they sell copious amounts of Cubs gear). Details here. The gist: create an unseat.me page, post the link to your unseat.me page on Bleacher Nation’s Facebook Wall, get your friends to “like” your link, and you can win. That’s it. I believe there are currently just two entries. Might not be too hard to win. Just sayin’.