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The Cubs blasted the Cardinals today, and I got to watch a whole bunch of disappointed Cardinals fans’ faces in the process (about which, more later – or, if you missed it on Twitter, you can see a sampling here: #CardinalsBar). And all on the day the Cardinals had their World Series celebration.

The Cubs’ bats came alive early, and the greatest damage came courtesy of a three-run shot by Ian Stewart (his first since 2010), and a grand slam by Bryan LaHair. Every Cub but Geovany Soto had a hit, and Starlin Castro reached base four times. David DeJesus was a beast in right field, and Alfonso Soriano made another I’m-kind-of-diving-but-also-kind-of-just-laying-down catch. The bullpen was just about perfect (including a two-strikeout 9th from Carlos Marmol).

The only sour point was Jeff Samardzija, who labored all day with command issues (couldn’t get many of his pitches to do what he wanted them to do), and it caught up with him in the fifth inning when he gave up five runs on hit after hit after hit.

But, all in all, it was a good day.

  • Zogie

    DeJesus-1-4, 2b, BB. He had 1 great AB, 2 good, 1 ok, and one bad. Also played some great defense and still the most patient player the cubs have at the plate. Barney 2-5. Barney had 2 good ABs, 2 bad ABs, and 1 terrible AB. Castro 3-4, BB. He had 4 good ABs and 1 bad AB overall a very strong day for Castro. Soriano 1-5 had a tough day swinging early in the count. He had 1 good AB but only saw a total of 10 pitches in 5 ABs. 3 bad ABs and 1 terrible AB. Stewart had another solid day. So far Stewart and DeJesus are making Epstein and Hoyer look good. Stewart 1-2, 2 BB with a big 3-run HR. He did not even have a bad AB today. LaHair 1-4 3K. Luckily, he hit a grandslam otherwise this would have been a terrible day for him. Soto had another bad day. 0-4 2K and looked pretty bad at the plate today. Byrd did better today when he did not go after the first pitch. 1-3 today, but he still looks lost up there. DeWitt had another terrible pinch-hit AB today. The only pitch he saw resulted in a double-play. Mather had an ok AB, but I believe it is because of lack of ABs. He had a hot bat all spring and is rarely used. I would rather have Campana for his speed if we are not using Mather.

  • Ron Swanson

    Hilarious tweets from the Cards bar, Brett. I had to explain the one about the jorts to my wife because I laughed out loud.

    But seriously, I’m cautiously optimistic about what we have in Dolis. Dude may be legit.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Ron.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Brett’s Tips for Stalking: Make sure you “run into” the guy you with whom you hung out yesterday and then followed home, and do so the next day right outside the place he said he lived. Not at all sketchy. Good to see you again, Julio.

    • JulioZuleta

      I just checked behind the shower curtain when I got back to my apartment…..

      • JulioZuleta

        Good to see you again of course. Glad you found a Cardinals bar.

  • brittney

    The highlight of my day: getting home at 530pm and the cubs still on! I was so excited to see the score (8-0)and to see both LaHair and Stewart smack a HR. The cubs are riding a 2 game winning streak. Watch out folks this might be the longest of the season. And I would not suggest getting excited about the 2 games having a high run total. Not too sure how often that’ll happen but none-the-less I am a very happy cub fan today! Now tomorrows game the score is be 13-3 cubs win or will that be my dream tonight?

  • Cee-Dee-Vee

    Great defense from Dejesus so far this year after a few shakey fly balls in Wrigley. Love watching him bat too. He’s patient and goes after quality pitches. The same said with Stewart. And speaking of patience, if LaHair is patient at the plate, he’ll have a good year. All that aggresiveness is leading to those Ks.

    I know it’s just the beginning of the season but Byrd and Soto are sure pissing me off. I know guys, you’re struggling but let the pitchers throw some pitches to you! Getting out on the 1st or 2nd pitch is not helping yourselves, or the team.

    But hey…..”Cubs Win! ” (:

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, very funny tw posts, I thought you were in Birdtown. Great game for us today… Hey what’s with the umpires missing so many calls? Going both ways, top of the 3rd, Shark got 2 balls that were clearly strikes…? They gotta pickup their game!

  • Mike Foster

    BTW, if not for Lahair, what would have been the score?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      5-5?

  • Mike Foster

    Ah, 4-5? Lahair hit the go ahead runs, the other 1 run didn’t matter, c’mon Brett.

  • NoSup4u

    LaHair could go 1-4 every game all season, with 3k’s as long as the 1 hit is a GS.

    • art

      thank you.

  • Still Love the Cubs

    Was it just me or was the whole trucks bringing the players in with the bad organ music TERRIBLE for the Cards celebrating their home opener?

    I thought it was ridiculous looking and sounding. Well…maybe cheesy would be the better word.

  • Kyle

    I don’t care today, but the K rate for LaHair is extremely concerning. He can’t be a productive MLB hitter for a full season without taking care of that. I’m sure he can make some adjustments.

    • Hansman1982

      He won’t k 50% of the time and his minor league numbers suggest a 25% k rate but coupled with a 8-9% BB rate and somewhere around 25 homers it should even out

  • Ron

    The rabbit reigned on the cardinals!

    And my 6 yr old got his first start at shortstop, the destroyed the cardinals and he got the game ball. It was a good day.

  • Njriv

    The only thing that I question Sveum about is how he is handling Joe Mather. Did he forget he was on the roster? He was tearing it up in ST and I thought he was going to be using him a lot out of the gate while his confidence was up. He’s probably cooled off now, he only uses him for pinch running, might as well have Campana up to do that.

  • afinch

    6 SB’s for Castro already…maybe more than the entire team last April?

    • afinch

      Ok I had to check….6 sb’s so far this year for Castro, 6 SB’s in April, 2011 for the ENTIRE TEAM. I don’t know why, but I love this stat. Something refreshing about a manager letting his team actually get a little aggressive on the basepaths with some good ol’ fashioned base stealing. And it’s good to see Starlin 6 for 6 so far this year. I know, who cares, they’re only 3-5, but it’s the little things that count.

      • Kyle

        I have to admit, I’ve heard a whole lot of managers come and go talking about baserunning and such.

        But Sveum’s backed it up.

        There’s real value there. The Angels have been racking up 1-2 wins worth of runs (10-18) a season for years on their baserunning alone. It’s a small edge, but you want to take every small edge you can.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, no, it’s the big things that count.  For example, the team that hits the most HR in a game is 55-20 as of now.  In those 20 “upsets,” the stat that stands out is that winning team hit more doubles and triples than the loser in 16 of those (with the other 4 being even).

        So, 105 games into the season, and it’s Earl Weaver, not Gene Mauch, who is winning!

        • Ron

          Yeah, the big things like scoring more runs than your opponent. I think Dusty was the manager that just waited for “the big things”. I didn’t see how many steals the winning team had in those stats. If stealing didn’t matter or it didn’t effect the game noone would risk it. And my last point, the manager cannot hit a home run, there is no sign for it from the third base coach, but he can give a sign to steal. How you manage does not win a 10-0 game with 5 home runs, that is the players. Managers win the 3-2 games where a steal matters therefore the little things do count.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            No, it was Earl Weaver who said that.  What he said was: “Play for 1 run and you score 1 run; play for 3 runs and you win the game.”  A lot of good managers were like Earl: they didn’t risk stealing because a caught stealing is worth multiple stolen bases.  (The 2:1 ratio is an average: having your leadoff batter get caught stealing in front of good hitters is much worse than having your #8 hitter get caught in front of your pitcher.)

            In the 37 1-run games this year, the team with more HR is 14-9.  What stands out is that 1-run games are a disproportionate number of games in which both teams hit the same number of HR.  If we look at all extra base hits, then the team with the most is 17-9.  And if we look at total bases + walk, then the team with the most is 28-7 in 1-run games.  So, even in 1-run games, the team that allows the most slugging usually loses.

            The reason why these are so much more important than SB in close games is pretty simple: extra base hits generate instant runs, whereas SB come after PAs that don’t drive runners home from first and then still require another hit to get a run.

            • Ron

              That is a nice quote but I think book ends with “the mighty Casey struck out.” My point is that home runs are the result of the players on the field and the credit for slugging needs to go the GM for the team make up. You will see a team like the Yankees win more games over a season than the Giants.

              Dusty Baker was one of those managers who always waited for the 3 run homer but when the personel were not there for it he was run out of town (and the whole pitcher thing).

              So my question is, are the cubs currently constructed to continually out slug their opponents? I say no, and they have to look to other ways to win instead of hoping for the 3 run homer. This is where a good manager comes in. Also, speed effects the game other wise teams would not want good defensive catchers, pitchers would not care about pick offs and noone would ever statistically risk stealing.

              The stat for an elevated pitch that leads to a home run or double cannot be measured. Speeds effects how pitchers pitch.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Earl’s teams routinely competed and made post-season following this tactic.  And Dusty did not wait for the 3-run homer: doing that requires putting in high OBP guys, like Earl used.  (Earl was one of the first to call attention to this.)

                Gene Mauch, on the other hand, was a big proponent of what you advocate.  He got to post-season once.  At any rate, if your premise is correct, then there should be a correlation between stealing and winning.  There is not.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                For your edification, I did just check.  The team that has the most net steals (SB – CS) is 39-30.  That is indistinguishable from 0.500.  In 1-run games, the team with the most net steals is 13-14.  So, although there is a non-random association between slugging and winning close games, there is no association between successful steals and close games.

  • JulioZuleta

    I’ll say in advance before you read this, I absolutely love this kid and his cocky attitude and 100% acknowledge I would despise him if he was with any other organization:

    From the Cubs Reporter…

    “Baez stood at home plate for a couple of seconds after absolutely walloping the gopher ball 400+ feet and off the roof of a house on the north side of 8th Street (Baez did the exact same thing on Tuesday when he launched a three-run homer over the LF fence at Indian School Park in Scottsdale), at which point one of the Angel coaches yelled, “Run the bases!”

    Baez initially took the “advice” and he did run the bases (albeit a bit of a “Cadillac” trot that probably further irritated the opposition), but upon reaching home plate Baez stopped and yelled back at the Angel bench, “I can do whatever the fuck I want!”

    Trey Martin and Gioskar Amaya (who were on base in front of Baez) and on-deck hitter Rock Shoulders pulled Baez back to the Cubs bench, avoiding a potential bench-clearing brawl on the field. (BTW, having a big dude like Rock Shoulders on the field might be the best deterrent to violence since Mutually Assured Destruction).

    http://www.thecubreporter.com/2012/04/13/baez-can-do-whatever?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, that’s getting a mention in the Bullets tomorrow. I don’t like it one bit…

      • ty

        A minor leaguer does not call out an opposing coach. Coaches are very protective of each other. The kid has a date with Oneri Fleita and the Cubs should have sent him to the clubhouse. Oneri will rip a hole in all involved.

      • Kyle

        I totally get why some people, including probably Cubs coaches, don’t like it. But I absolutely love it.

        • ty

          Prospects breaking a finger or wrist in freaking extended spring training is frowned upon. A mgr. can lose his job also.

        • JulioZuleta

          I’m with you Kyle. To be fair, the coach kinda started it. Also, I’ve always been of the opinion that if you don’t want a guy to admire a long homerun….pitch better. Hopefully it’s just a one time deal; I’m not a fan of disrespecting coaches, but whoever the Angel coach was should have let our guys handle it. I like his fire and attitude, hopefully he can harness it a little better in the future.

          • ty

            Baez is really quiet and friendly at Fitch but probably has some highschool antics lingering. He will be just fine. Remember these games are for players to work on skills-pitchers may throw 20 fastballs in a row just to strengthen arm so a hitter can sit on one and hit it on my house.

  • JulioZuleta

    Small sample size but…..”And did I mention that he is 5-10 in his first three EXST games, with two three-run home runs, two trtiples, and a double? (He also took Paul Maholm deep in an intrasquad game at Fitch Park last week, hitting a two-run bomb). ”

    -That’s from AZPhil about Baez. He should not be in EXST

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    If DeJesus has a good season, I’m more than willing to eat my words. In fact, I’d be happy to do so. The first few games, I was someone suspicious that maybe DeJesus was nervous/uncomfortable, but since, he seems confident at the plate on every at bat, which is great to see. As far as Soto goes, it’s mostly bat speed and with Byrd, I believe it’s a medley of things. I do have high hopes for Mather and Clevenger. If you aren’t going to bring up Jackson, Rizzo and Castillo soon, then play the guys who are producing so we can see something encouraging. Anyways, it’s nice to see the team in general is hitting the ball so well and it’s nice to see the more aggressive base running by the team in general, especially Castro. He has the potential to become a consistent 20/20 player someday and it makes me happy to see the added effort. It’s also extremely encouraging to see Soriano pick up the pace this year. I’m guilty of being someone who’s said some harsh things about the man in the past. Maybe he isn’t worth his salary, but you can see that he’s really trying. It’s hard to live up to someones expectations, especially a Cubs fans expectations, but it’s great to see these players going the best they can. They’ve really looked alive the past couple days, let’s hope they keep it up.

    • ty

      DeJesus looked terrible all spring training–running bases, throwing, and turning wrong way in outfield. But I agree he has sure changed this week. Snowconing some catches but has been playing in hellish conditions. Looks like he is a keeper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Thank you for the reply. I feel a lot of my points have validity, but rarely get a response. I felt if anything being lucky enough to having almost the exact same name as the person who runs the site, I’d get a great deal of replies. I didn’t see that DeJesus was going to have a great season this year, coming off his worst statistical season to my recollection, but if he ends up coming back, I will be very happy. Us Cubs fans can be extremely abrasive, myself being one of them, but I don’t try to judge things too quickly usually. I’m happy for any player that has a good turn around. Essentially, all I want is for the Cubs to play hard and hopefully win at least 1 more game than last year. Considering the changes made to the team thus far, it’s not a lot to ask for, but is at the same time. Here’s to hoping for a brighter future.

    • drew

      I too believe you bring up good points, I just cant get through them entirely.

      It would benefit me, at least, if you organized your points and used paragraphs. Writing posts as long as yours is fine, but if its all one paragraph and jumping from one topic to the next, I almost always just drift to the next post.

      I get just as annoyed with the grammar police as anyone, so take it as advice, not a slight.

  • wernert

    I could only see the start of this game and will get to Twitter to see the Cardinal bar tweets. But, damn, is this a sweet win. I can’t express how happy it makes me for the smug Cardinal nation to have to sit down and stuff it. Yes, it is one win and there is a long season. Still.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

      Encouraging to say the least to beat the team that won the Championship.

  • PeterG

    I know this is the wrong place to post but Vitters is lighting it up!! My boy is taking care of his business but more power please!

    • ty

      Post about Vitters anytime.. What did he do tonight?

  • OkieCub

    I take all the credit for this win. I jinxed Wainwright by taking him in the contest. You’re welcome.

  • art

    what i like is that Dale, really, really is doing it his way. he doesn’t play by the so called Book. most managers do the same thing, robot like, automatic moves. he kinda does it the old way, real baseball. IMO.

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