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Well, the Cubs walked off twice against the Cardinals at Wrigley, so I suppose this was fair.

The Cubs got to Kyle Lohse early and tacked on a couple more after that, but – wait for it – the bullpen blew the game late. Kerry Wood let in the tying run in the 7th(after the usual bout of control problems), and James Russell gave up a solo homer in the 8th. He also gave up a triple, which was one of the more interesting discussiong pieces in the game. The “triple” was an easy double down the line to left, that Alfonso Soriano jogged casually to – not because he’s lazy, but because his legs are obviously bothering him. It seemed criminal at that moment to keep Soriano in the lineup. What possible reason could there be to suffer his obvious injury? It’s not like he’s hitting dingers at the plate or anything.

And then he hit a game-tying homer the very next inning.

Unfortunately, all it did was extend our pain, because Rafael Dolis gave up a couple ground ball singles in the 9th, well-placed and well-timed, which won the game for the Cardinals. Eff.

Paul Maholm wasn’t at his best, but he kept the Cubs in the game long enough to give them a chance (which tends to be a thing you say about a pitcher’s performance when the offense scored about as many as he gave up (“Garza was wild today, but kept the Cubs in the game by holding the Giants to seven runs. Coincidentally, the Cubs scored eight runs.”)).

But Soriano was the story, even in the loss…

  • rcleven

    “Well, the Cubs walked off twice against the Cardinals at Wrigley, so I suppose this was fair.”

    Never fair. Never will be.

  • magilljl

    Eff. The best way to describe this game. Eff the Molina, The Cardinals, the city of St. Louis, and the state of Missouri. Eff em all.

  • CapnCub

    These games are painful when they are a loss, even more painful against the Cardinals. The split was still nice though, almost out of that rough starting schedule and near .500 like you said earlier this year if they are even near .500 you will be happy. I for one am happy so far with the outcome overall this year after a rough start.

  • rbreeze

    I like what I’m seeing with some of these players now.  But this bullpen is disheartening.  Even though Soriano hit a big homer today, if his legs are bothering him maybe he needs to sit a couple of days a week and let Mather get some time.

  • MaxM1908

    We really have to learn to hit homers with runners on. I think LaHair’s two run blast last night was the first in a while. Oh well, this one was tough to bear, but I suppose the solace is that we are 4-4 against the Cards on the year. That is pretty impressive. We now have two months to get better before meeting them again.

    • MichiganGoat

      I feel like we’ve been saying that for years, I wonder how we actually compare to other teams about hitting solo HR.

      • Edwin

        It’s probably a combination of hitting a lot of home runs, and having a high team OBP. I don’t think hitting a home run with runners on base as opposed to hitting a solo home run is something that is learned.

      • Edwin

        From 2005-2012 the Cubs have hit 678 solo home runs. The Yankees are first with 850. The Cubs solo home run % is 57.7%, which ranks 20th (lower percentage ranking higher). The Phillies are first with 54.5%. The Pirates and Rays are last with 60%.

        I used spreadsheets from Fangraphs.

        • Rick Vaughn

          Thanks Edwin, I was on my way to look all that up. You’re a scholar and a gentleman, sir.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The analyses have been done a few times.  Basically, teams hit solo, 2-run, 3-run and 4-run HR in numbers fitting the proportion of ABs with the bases empty, 1-on, 2-on, etc.  Usually there are slightly fewer solo HR than you would expect, although last year was an exception: 57.6% of ABs were with the bases empty and 58.6% of HR were with the bases empty.

        The Cubs numbers are completely in line with everyone else’s numbers.  For example, last year they had 57.2% of their ABs with the bases empty and 55.4% of their HR with the bases empty.  They superficially are “better” at hitting HR with men on base than are other teams, but that’s obviously just a bit of luck.  (We expect one team in 3 to do as well as the Cubs did with men on base in 2011: they hit 66 HR when we expected 63 or 64.

        • Bric

          There’s luck in statistics?

          • Trent

            I believe that’s referred to as “randomness”.

            • Bric

              Yep, kind of like the guy who keeps playing that one slot machine because it’s “lucky”. What he doesn’t realise is there is no luck involved. The odds of hitting a million dollars on a machine are the same if it happens twice in a row as if it were to happen every millionth time. The machine doesn’t know it just gave out a million dollars. Hence the randomness.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            “Luck” in probability is a summary of the chances of getting a “cool” result given a simple, uncool process.  That is, I can say that one team in 3 would be as “clutch” as the Cubs were in 2011 (concerning homering with men on base) if we just assumed that the Cubs really homered at the same rate with men on base and nobody on base.

            Obviously, it is more complicated than this in reality: but the complicating factors are so weak that we would require much bigger sample sizes than a single season to identify them.

            • Bric

              I also didn’t know there was any assuming in statistics either. Either it’s it’s a 1 or it isn’t.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                If I understand correctly, then, no, that’s Booleanism, which really is a special case of probability where the probability of one outcome is 1.0 and the probability of all others is 0.0.

                Strictly speaking, a statistic is a summary of data: averages, medians, standard deviations, frequencies etc.  Most baseball statistics are frequencies of some sort, although you do get more complicated ones like FIP or runs-created which basically are weighted averages.  Probability gets linked to statistics because you can estimate the probability of those data distributions given models like the normal, Poisson, binomial, etc.  (That’s where the assumptions really start!)

                Those models are simplifications, but you can get a ton of mileage out of them, for baseball and even less important things like, say, science, medicine or industrial safety standards.  For example, you can estimate the probability of the Cubs getting their solo HR and non-solo HR using binomial probability assuming one “rate” and two rates (“clutch” and “non-clutch” for lack of a better phrase).  In this case, the data are only about 10% more probable given the “clutch vs. non-clutch” model vs. the simpler “one Cub fits all” model.  So, although the statistics (here, frequencies) differ, they do not differ by so much that we can say that the Cubs really “knew” how to “save” HR for men on base.  After all, it was only 2-3 “extra” HR!

            • rcleven

              If the Cubs were high @ 57% and they sucked. How do those numbers correlate to winning?

              • DocPeterWimsey

                How “clutch” you are with your HR is largely random with respect to winning because not all teams hit or give up the same numbers of HR or baserunners.  Teams that hit more HR than they allow are usually winning teams.  Teams that get more men on base than they allow usually are winning teams.  Teams that do both will hit more homers with men on base than do their opponents just being the same “in the clutch” and “otherwise”: and thus they can outscore their opponents 3 times every 5 games.  (That might not sound like much, but it’s 97 wins.)

                Again, the 2011 Cubs hit 3-4 more HR with men on base than you’d expect by chance alone.  That’s probably 4-6 more runs than you’d expect: i.e., maybe a single victory.

                • rcleven

                  Thank you. So in putting a team together you are look for high slugging but not necessarily HR hitters.

        • MichiganGoat

          That’s kind of what I expected, it just seems like the team you follow is doing something you don’t want at a rate that exceeds the norm. It’s the nature of fandom, you always expect and want more than you witness and think someone your team’s luck is cursed. Thanks for all the statistics everybody, great discussion and responses.

          BUT, if we still had Z we’d have 10 additional solo shots, 20 assaulted water cooler, 2 punched catches, and 1 empty locker – those facts are indisputable.

  • Josh

    What can I say about this game? Good to finally see Fonsi get a bomb but a good bullpen would have won this game. You’ve got think that the bullpen will be one of the biggest issues to look at for the rest of the season via trades etc and into next offseason

  • ReiCow

    Fjord, I hate Molina. I really hate him.

    Moo.

    • Zach R.

      *Molina

      You can atleast spell his name right.

      • ReiCow

        Oops, I’m sorry. I fixed it.

        In addition, atleast is not a word.

        • Brady

          Grammer Heil!

          • MaxM1908

            I believe you meant “Grammar Heil!”

            Tee hee hee.

            • Ogyu

              Spell Heil!

    • wernert

      You are a genius cow.

  • Joel

    Everyone seems to think Sveum letting Dolis pitch to Molina — instead of walking him to get to Carpenter — was the dumbest move since Grady Little left in Pedro Martinez. But this season, Carpenter is batting .348 w/ RISP, while Molina is at .240. Also, Carpenter homered earlier in the game. What am I missing here?

    • Tom

      Hindsight :)

      • Njriv

        Hindsight is always 20/20

    • rcleven

      That pitch from Dolis to Molina was an excellent pitch. Down and away. Got to tip your cap to Molina for even getting wood on the ball. Even got the result you want, ground ball. Barny was playing him to hit it up the middle. Positioning back fired.

      • Bric

        I’m thinking Molina gets wood at the sight of a lot of balls. Is he wearing eye shadow or fake eye lashes? Whatever it is, it always looks weird.

        • rcleven

          Man is UGLY.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      What you are missing is that Molina is about 5 times a better player and hitter than a punk rookie like Carpenter. It was Dale’s worst move of the year.

      • Joel

        The numbers say otherwise. And you’d have a hard time convincing many people it was worse than bunting Starlin Castro. As rcleven said, it was a good pitch. Sometimes good players make good plays.

        • SirCub

          Another aspect that I’ve always hated about the IBB in that situation, is that then you take a young pitcher like Dolis out of his rhythm, and ask him to attack the next batter, because he really can’t afford to walk the bases loaded (and the hitter knows that). Much better off (except in the case of the Josh Hamilton’s of the world (of which, Yadier Molina is not one)) letting the pitcher concentrate on making quality pitches to the guy at the plate, which Dolis did. Just didn’t work out in the end.

          • cubfanincardinalland

            Much better off getting relief pitchers that could give a free pass and not have it effect him in any way.

          • rcleven

            What I am really happy about Dolis is he attacked hitters after giving up the single.Earlier this year he would have lost all concentration.

      • goatbusters

        I don’t know about the “punk” part, as molina is one of the few catchers to stand up and make sure batters are ok after getting hit. But, I agree that molina knows what he is doing at the plate. I had to watch the game with the cardinal announcers – as I live in centeral Il.- and they knw exactly what dolis was doing. They called it pitch for pitch, right down to backing molina off of the plate by pitching inside and then the away pitch. Molina knew what was coming also and connected with it. I think we may have had a different outcome if we had walked him.

    • drew

      Molina is 6-28 while Carpenter is 8-27…pretty small sample

  • Evan

    I really hope Wood retires before we all end up hating him. Could just be going through a rough stretch, but he is getting up there.

    • MichiganGoat

      Agreed, it’s not shaping up for a glorious ride into the sunset

      • Edwin

        It’s the Cubs way. Productive players get ran out of town. The most productive hitters on the Cubs from 2000-2010 according to Fangraphs WAR?

        Sammy Sosa, Aramis Ramirez, D-Lee, Soriano, Alou, Soto, Theriot, Barrett, Corey Patterson, and Carlos Zambrano. Yes, Zambrano was the 10th most productive hitter for the Cubs from 2000-2010. Other than D-Lee, I don’t see too many fan favorites.

        The most productive pitchers?

        Zambrano, Wood, Prior, Dempster, Lieber, Lilly, Clement, Maddux, Wells, Marmol.

        Prior has been the 4th most productive Cub since 1990. When he actually pitched for the Cubs, he pitched good.

        • SirCub

          Those are such depressing lists.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          You know, it’s not like the loading dock where you put in your thirty years. What did they do when they got run out of town as you call it. Not much, they were on the tail end. So is Wood and he knows it. He looks like he is in pain out there, because he knows he can’t do what he used too. Getting old sucks.

        • hansman1982

          Here’s the problem, none of these guys were “run out of town” when they were productive. Really the only players to have a significant career after the Cubs are Patterson and Lilly. Z is all of 10 months removed from his Cubs career after he pulled a Sosa by pitching a fit and walking out on the team.

          Literally the only Cub on your lists that I would like to have kept is Lilly (we still have Soto). Your proposition is like stating the Mariners should have signed Griffey to a 5-year deal rather than let him retire because he is one of their most productive hitters in history.

  • ottoCub

    Ouch. Effin’ Cardinals.
    Can’t wait ’til July…

    CF Brett Jackson
    RF David DeJesus
    SS Starlin Castro
    LF Bryan LaHair
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    C Geovany Soto/Steve Clevenger
    3B Ian Stewart
    2B Darwin Barney/Adrian Cardenas

    With a the current pitching rotation options and a couple decent bullpen pitchers, this club could play .530 ball.

  • RY34

    we have absolutely no leaders in this bullpen, just a bunch of guys that get lucky every now and then, no shutdown guys, just gets old watching reliever after reliever blow leads! so frustrating. amazes me that after all these years wood cannot find the freakin strike zone. if he is hurt get him the hell out of there already!

  • rcleven

    What Impressed me most was 26 hits in two game series against two pretty good pitchers. Hope this is only the start.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    If it’s any consolation, I went to the game last night, and it is becoming quite clear that the Cardinals really are not all that good. Pitching is average, old and brittle team, lot of streaky hitters. We will be better than them by next season, and then for a long time.

  • Njriv

    I wasn’t able to watch the end of the game, but I see Dolis got the loss, was it all on him?

    • rcleven

      Absolutely not. Gave up a solid single. Came back after that fairly well. Ground ball by Molina was a seeing eye.

      • SirCub

        That ball hit to Stewart was crushed, and he made a great play. But if he hadn’t bobbled it just a bit… he may have turned two and almost certainly could’ve gotten the lead runner. Either one probably would’ve allowed Dolis to get out of the inning. Then Darwin came within inches of making a play on that grounder to at least keep it in the infield and keep the runner from scoring. And if this and if that…

        • rcleven

          Not sure which play you are talking about but the one he came home with ann cut down the runner at the plate I will not argue it was the right move.

  • Len Marszalek

    Absolutely positively the WORST Sveum move of the year. No one blew this game but him. How anyone can justify pitching to Molina with first base open is ridiculous. You set the force play up and pitch to Carpenter. End of story.

    • drew

      I did disagree with pitching to Molina, but the worst? Did you watch last night’s game?

  • AK

    Yeah, this one hurt. Any guesses on what kind of ‘pen moves will happen in the coming weeks/months?

    Was anyone listening to the St. Louis broadcast on MLBTV? How horrible was that! All they kept talking about how Jim “Henry” made all these bad moves and how Theo “Epstine” shouldn’t have traded away Marshall because they didn’t get a good return. Then they went on to discuss, for I believe a whole inning, how St. Louis has the best fans in the world and proceeded to discuss this at great length…very seriously. Vom.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      Cracker is as Cracker does.

      Al Hrabosky makes Hawk Harrelson seem like Vin Scully in comparison. I’m surprised we can even understand a word he says since he has all of Cardinal Nation (or at least the non-hermaphrodites) in his mouth.

    • Brady

      I was forced by Mlb.tv to listen to yesterdays game from them (was at work today so had to watch via gameday) and I was raging in the Message board comments about it. They started with small annoying dumbass comments and wound up at a comment that made me wanna stab someone. They said something along the lines of “I dont get Cubs fans. God bless them for being loyal but why dont they just change their colors to red and feel like winners rather then cheer for a losing team”. Obviously they know nothing about team loyalty. Also any good play made by the Cubs was retorted by how their player messed up and that it was a freak of nature and never happens. Also the reverse was true. Their player makes a good play and they wont shut-up about how great that play was. GAH! It is nearly as bad as Red Sox commentary (which I cant listen to for more than 5 min without getting angry).

      • rcleven

        Law of gravity what goes up will come down. Two years and we will bury them.

  • Cardfan

    So it used to be Pujols as the alpha dog in this series. Now it’s some guy named LaHair? Where the hell did that come from? Who is this guy?

    • Spoda17

      Love the post bro… but it is more like Molina is the stud… and I don’t like it!!!

    • Ogyu

      “Who is this guy?”

      The Cubs combed the Wrigley shower drains for hair samples from visiting sluggers, then synthesized some slugger DNA and cloned their own super-slugger — whom they have aptly named LaHair.

      • cubchymyst

        Nice!!!

      • Cardfan

        excellent

      • rcleven

        Even on my bad days you make laugh.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Beautiful.

  • brittney

    Motte: blown save AND the win. Another oddity seen again this year (blown save and win by same pitcher)
    Soriano I think you shall go to the disabled list with old legs syndrome. And we will move Mr. Cardnial masher (LaHair) to left and call mr first baseman of the future, Rizzo up just to give all of us diehards a glimpse of our next power guy (and probably send him back down after sori’s DL stint)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Blown save wins are not odd at all. Historically, they were called Vultures. I think that something like a third of reliever W’s are vultures.

  • Carew

    Right when I heard sory dropped an ounce on his bat, i felt like he was gonna get a dinger quick. Im so glad he finally has. That bein said, hes needs a couple days off for his knees.

    Also LaHair is on pace for 35-45 HRs…i freakin love LaHair

    • die hard

      yep..the late bloomer showing his stuff…could see him having 3-5 solid years before age finds him

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    the cubs have 2 grand slams so far, those count

  • calicubsfan007

    Damn bullpen. Hope Theo addresses that in the offseason. Wood isn’t the answer. Surprised with Russell and I understand that every young closer has off days. But, arghh, why did the Cards win!?!?!?! Oh, and Sveum did a good job managing the game this time.

  • #1lahairfan

    Can anyone please tell me where Jorge Soler is?

    • Ogyu

      He’s filming his new PBS program: Where In the World Is Jorge Soler?

  • #1lahairfan

    when will he be able to sign

  • ColoCubFan

    OK, I’m an old fogey I guess. What is a 1/1 club???

    • TWC

      Think 40/40 club.  But suckier.

      • ColoCubFan

        OK, got it. (DUH) Thanks!

  • http://facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

    If anyone knows, could they tell me how long until we can call up Jackson/Rizzo? I’d like to see those two in the line up with LaHair in left and try to get what little bit we can for Soriano.

    • Mrp

      Rizzo could be at the end of June at the earliest. I don’t think you want Jackson up any time soon. He has been looking lost at the plate lately and is leading the PCL in strikeouts. He needs to get this ironed out before a call up. Quite honestly, I could see him staying down until September if he doesn’t turn the corner here soon.

      • Carew

        Theyll call up Sappelt before Jackson

        • Mrp

          Although Sappelt isn’t exactly setting the world on fire right now. Actually his numbers are worse.

          • calicubsfan007

            Can’t they just call him up to be a spot starter or something? There are plenty of guys called up who weren’t rocking the minors at that time and they ended up just fine.

            • Mrp

              If you’re talking about Jackson, they would first need to make room for him on the 40 man roster. I don’t see any reason to do that considering his current struggles. The strikeout rate is astronomically high right now.

              • Drew7

                I dont know if I’d call it astronomically high, (29% vs a 25% career rate) but it does need to come down.

  • MaxM1908

    Today’s loss sucked. But, on a brighter note, the Cubs are still 12-11 since April 21. I’ll take an extended stretch of .500 baseball from this team any day–especially against the schedule they’ve had in that span. If we could some how put together a solid winning streak against the likes of the White Sox, Astros, Bucs, and Padres, we could really turn a corner. Keep it up, Cubs. It’s so much more enjoyable to watch good baseball.

  • Mike Foster

    hey, 2 more beers down here, and peanuts!

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Can’t bring up someone who couldn’t live up to anyone’s expectations. Max might need to go back down to AA. He’s hitting. 235. That’s terrible. His chances of being called up this year. Are dwindling.

  • Spencer

    I was expecting the tagline to this post to be “Screw you, Cardinals.”

  • mark

    “Jackson … has been looking lost at the plate lately and is leading the PCL in strikeouts.”

    He just may be leading organized baseball in strikeouts right now. How’s that for running down Cubs prospects? Maybe some numbers geek can check that out.

    On the bright side, I really like the way Theojed are turning over all the stones, looking for useable or tradeable people.

    • Njriv

      I dont know whats going on with him, I would guess that he’s pressing to much, They were saying that he seemed ready at the end of last season and before Byrd got traded Svuem said BJax could have made the team out of ST if he had somewhere to play everyday.

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