Darwin Barney Playing “Real Well” of Late and Other Inaccurate Bullets

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’.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

20 responses to “Darwin Barney Playing “Real Well” of Late and Other Inaccurate Bullets”

  1. MichiganGoat

    I promise this: next year someone else will be the starting 2B and unless that person is an All-Star we trade for (unlikely), as soon as that player starts to struggle the message board and the main site will explode with Barney Love (and not NPH “How I Met” Barney Love). This will last for the entire year just like the Hoff Love did at first base a couple of years ago. Mark my words there will be calls for him to get more playing time as soon as he moves to the bench, just as there will always be calls for Campana to start.

  2. LARRY

    Goat, good job yesterday.  It was interesting to go back and see how you described certain things; your reaction to Lee’s second HR was spot on, even though there had to be some lag time between seeing and typing your outburst.

    As to Barney, Brett, I think you have me coming around to your way of thinking, especially after seeing some of his ABs against Cueto.  Darwin must become better at walking.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Thanks Larry, it fun to do but exhausting to do more than a couple of games per month, unless I’m able to give up 3-4hrs a day being frustrated by the Cubs, but I have other things in my life.  I hope that next year more people will be willing to lead game day threads, they really are fun to read and watch.

      1. Jeff

        I only lasted 3 or 4 innings, I have to commend Goat for his efforts.  I will be able to help more next season, but I have too many classes during the afternoon games, and don’t really have time for the night games yet.  It is pretty fun to be involved though, it’s like the MG enhanced broadcast.  Now, if only he came in HD quality.

  3. Jeff

    I really like Barney, but it’s obvious that he’s either over worked or he hasn’t made any adjustments. This is by far his career high for innings and at bats, but he also hasn’t changed his approach, and seems to be flailing away at times. I think with the right hitting coach and manager, he could be a decent starting second baseman, maybe. The way he has tailed of though, he should definitely be giving up some starts to LeMahieu or the new right fielder Jeff Baker(don’t we have a couple of younger, unproven outfielders that need some time?) Of course, since the Cubs are playing all these contenders and Quade has finally set a goal of catching the Pirates, I suspect call ups are going to find playing time hard to come by. Just to harp on Barney some more, his line over the past 28 days; .172/.207/.218 yikes…. Sometimes I think Quade is an actor who was hired to play manager for a year, the guy sticks his foot in his mouth more than any other manager I’ve ever seen. Someone needs to tell this guy to shut up, he makes the entire organization look bad.

  4. TWC

    Is Quade just dumb, or does he think everyone else is? Does he not have the capacity to comprehend the ignorance of his statements, or does he think he’s pulling the wool over everyone else’s eyes?

    I could imagine Quade saying that Barney has been “playing real well” with the same level of sincerity that he’d say that his hair is “beginning to thin” a little bit.

  5. Jiujitsu411420

    What are the chances Brandon Phillips option is declined and he comes to the cubs. I really like him and he hates the redbirds which makes him more likable. Gold glove D and he’s got pop in his bat.

  6. Jamesjones

    Ill say it again…. Riggins = Lou Brown, former coach of the Toledo Mud Hens and the Cleveland Indians. Yeah.

  7. Nomar's Left Glove

    …..but Darwin’s scrappy………

    1. Joe Cartwright

      I thought that was only a white guy description?

      1. Nomar's Left Glove

        He’s white-ish, plus i’m not sure there is a proper name for light hitting Hawaiians.

        1. Jeff

          BJ Penn???

          1. Nomar's Left Glove

            Victorino?

  8. MichiganGoat

    Okay so I started a unseatme account and posted it on BleacherNation’s facebook page, please go over there and LIKE my post https://www.facebook.com/BleacherNation its getting cold here in Michigan and I need a new fleece or hoodie.

  9. Deez

    Baker, Barney, & Dewitt are all one in the same player. MLB 4th infielder talent/Utility Talent w/ the occasional “special flash.” You gain no advantage w/ either on the field. Right Flaherty & LeMahieu look about the same as well. We need to trade at 3 of these guys & move on.

  10. die hard

    If Barney concentrated hitting to right field at least 2 at bats and bunting either sacrifice or for hit one at bat, his failure to walk could be overlooked because his strikeouts and pop ups would decrease….would make him a perfect #2 hitter and could easily hit .290 or above with this discipline…..he should watch clips of Nellie Fox and pattern his game after this all time great….his fielding around 2nd base could use tweaking but otherwise decent…..who else do we got…and besides hes a proven winner from h.s forward every year (until Cubs curse got him too)

    1. LARRY

      It’s interesting that you would bring up Nellie Fox in your post because that’s exactly who I was thinking of when, in my earlier post, I tried to make the point that Barney needed to improve his walking.  Let me clarify, he needs improvement in taking walks.  He needs to start swinging more like Nellie and less like Sandberg, he’ll never develop that kind of power, so he has to continue with good defense and change his approach somewhat at bat. Is he too old of a player to do that?  I don’t think so.

  11. Internet Random

    If it’s convincing, I’ll not only post it here, I’ll give you my shoes.

    What kind of shoes are we talking? And what size?

    They’d better be damn nice for the kind of miracle you’re asking for here.

    I never really hated Quade until the roster expansion and his refusal to give opportunities to the up-and-comers. It really is like he’s not satisfied with having made a mockery of the 2011 Cubs; he’s got to dick us over for 2012 too.

  12. Super Fan Bill Swerski

    Great post Brett!

    I jumped off the Barney bandwagon in June. I got tired of watching him make 1st pitch outs in the late innings of ball games. If he would be a little more patient at the plate and work a count, he would get better pitches to hit.

    Just for grins, I checked the box score in the game earlier today (9/17) and saw that in 4 plate appearances for Barney, he saw 10 pitches and ZERO balls. In the 1st inning, Sosa had walked 3 batters and had the bases loaded with 2 outs when Barney ended the inning with a force out at home plate. Barney did get 2 hits though. I’m not ragging on his ability, just his plate discipline. The point is that with Sosa struggling, Barney had a terrible at bat and let him off the hook.

    On the flip side in 4 AB’s, LaHair saw 19 pitches, saw 9 balls (had 2 walks) and a HR.

    I think the Cubs as an organization haven’t developed patient hitters in their system. I hope that changes in the future.

    2nd Base isn’t one of the Cubs biggest problems. So if Barney is there for another season, it wouldn’t be terrible. After the Cubs address more pressing issues, they should look at other options for the long term.