It’s rare that I’m not able to watch or follow an entire Cubs game, but some of these later West Coast ones do me in. Even when the Cubs are crummy, I don’t like having to sleep while they’re playing.

But, there is an upside in missing the ends of Cubs games: it’s a lot easier to see the bright side in the morning.

Sure, Jeff Samardzija got smacked around a bit, and sure the Cubs’ offense crumbled with runners in scoring position. But Alfonso Soriano had another double (and took a walk!), the bullpen was great, and Darwin Barney got on base a couple times.


  • Leroy K.

    Sigh…I do believe teams have figured out Mr. Smardjia…

    • rcleven

      There was not a lot to figure out last night. Spellcheck was throwing fast ball after fastball. If your opponent sits on one pitch your going to get hit.
      Interesting graphic to me was how 1st time thru the line up Samarj was lights out. Second time thru the order hitters advanced in average by .100 pt. BA. Third time thru hitters were hitting him at a .345 clip. This shows me he is not able to adjust to the hitters to keep them off balance.

      • cubchymyst

        What about the idea of using a 4 man rotation and limiting the number of times through the line up? Sports illustrated just had an article saying the Rockies are going to try this.

        • rcleven

          This is not a long term solution for any staff. Having three to four pitchers throwing 35-40 each is more a reaction to not having a pitcher that who can go 100-120 pitches per game. This will kill your pen sooner than later.

  • Leroy K.

    20 people left on base???? absolutely horrible….Soto has a homerun, that’s nice. Does Soriano get traded before one of our pitchers? Dempza? or Garster? Sorry lol…

    • Diesel

      I’ve never liked the way box scores do runners left on base. The total they depict make is seem like we had at least 21 baserunners when we only had 13. One of those was Soto on his homerun. The same runner gets counted multiple times due to being on with less than 2 outs. For example: the Cubs load the bases with the first 3 batters of the game, the next three strike out, the box score then shows a total of 9 left on base despite only having three base runners. Also a guy can be counted as being left on base despite scoring because someone hitting behind him made an out before he was driven in. It’s one of those stats that should not be totalled up at the because it becomes misleading sort of like a relief pitcher’s era. Now that being said, 12 left on base is way too many.

      • Diesel

        Also in my example the Cubs only sent 6 batters to the plate.

        • Leroy K.

          Thanks, didn’t actually watch the game, so it’s nice to have the explanation.

  • Ben

    I just think Samardzija will never be more than a 150 inning pitcher…..I hope I am wrong but he looks to be wearing down….I fell asleep in about the 5th and woke up in top of 9th and don’t feel like I really missed much :(

    • BD

      He hasn’t pitched this much in this short a period of time. His body will adjust and he’ll be fine going forward (at least, fitness wise).

      I think like any young pitcher he just needs to attack hitters with strikes, so that he can avoid walks and bad pitches in hitters counts.

      • rcleven

        Until Jeff learns how to pitch rather than throw he will never make that next step forward.

        • Bric

          Yep, that’s the problem he’s always had. I’ve never been a big fan and wasn’t impressed by his early success this year. Trade him asap before he goes the way of Randy Wells.

          • MoneyBoy

            Sveum said that Shark shows signs of tiring at around 80 pitches.  Granted, this his first year in the rotation.  Why not do the same thing the Sox did with Sale – skip a start.  With an off day on Thursday, and Dempster due to come back on the 30th (I think) you could either bring up Lopez or use Coleman.

          • rcleven

            Shark has great talent but he has it in his head that he can over power every hitter he faces. Not until he learns to adjust to hitters by changing his pitch selection the second and third time threw the order will he be successful. He does have the stuff to be a better than average starting pitcher.

            • MoneyBoy

              good point rc … some of that “responsibility” rests with the catcher … not letting the hitter(s) get into a groove where they can anticipate certain pitches in certain situations (obvious counts aside).

              Some of that teaching has to be done by the pitching coach … during the game and between starts.

  • Curt

    no Brett and it figures on one of my fantasy teams I picked up Dorothea other day but it takes a couple days for the claim so of course he won’t be eligible until today so I got nothing last night lol, but keep it up anyways geo, make yrself valuable.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    These late starts are something MLB should find a better solution to. The games are long and the fanbase is aging. How about Blue-hair, early bird specials? It works for the restaurant industry. Old people and parents of little ones can only really follow West Coast games in the box scores.

    • TWC

      “Old people and parents of little ones can only really follow West Coast games in the box scores.”

      Unless, of course, you live on the West Coast…

      But, really, the Cubs have been playing West Coast teams at night (9PM Chicago starts) for, like, a half-century! NOW is the time to find a solution to it?

  • Jp

    Vitters 3-4 last night, raised his average to .287. I have to say it’s been great to see him healthy and producing the last 2 months. I think he has earned a September callup, anyone else like to see him man 3B for around the last 20 games or so?

  • nellie

    Dale Sveum = Brewers happy he is the cubs manager

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    So, who is the first to go?

  • Matty

    I know the talent is horrible, and Dale is not the reason the record is so bad, but how do you not adjust the lineup once Saunders was scratched? That just screams “who cares” to me.

    • Jp

      That was a big head scratcher last night. Maybe Sveum saw Brett had the lineup set on bleachernation and didn’t want to foul it up? Or maybe he has a man-crush on Bajer to start him against a RHP over Lahair

    • baldtaxguy

      I wondered the same.  I would have liked to have seen some last minute switches in the order and positions to counter the left-to-right hander, just to see how LaHair, Camp, and others responded.  Baker at first is simply getting stale, hell, Baker alone is just getting stale.  But maybe a last minute start for Clevenger gets him to relax a bit and focus.  I think Sveum missed an opportunity to manage and get creative.  Not sure what he was thinking here.  But that said, there is this whole #1 draft pick “goal” to never lose sight of.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        I think it is sad to say, but I think a lot of the moves on the field are determined by what will help the front office come July 31 the most. They would never admit to that, but there have been more instances over the last few weeks that scream that.

  • Steve

    Remember folks. #1 pick Let’s all say it together: #1 pick.

    • jp

      You are correct Steve! I don’t know why i get bent out of shape over these meaningless losses because i do know that the best goal to have this season is to gain that number 1 pick. I wish this coming draft had a bryce harper, strasburg types not looking that way though. Who’s the top few prospects?

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        There aren’t those Willie Mays type talents of Harper, or Gooden type pitching prospect like Gooden. But, there is a High School kid that gets consideration as a Josh Hamilton type. I would take that in a heart beat. I think we would all give anything to have Harper on this team for 15 years. Remember, Buxton hadn’t emerged by this time last year as a guaranteed top 5 pick. He still had more questions than answers. I think by the start of Fall, we should know who will be in the top 5. Obviously like the pitcher from California proved, a late injury can always change that too.

  • TSB

    Dale Sveum is just doing what most first year managers do:
    a) Stick with your game plan (even if the situation changes) so as not to seem unsure or have to make decisions that you haven’t pondered for hours.
    b) When in doubt, play veterans even if they stink, reasoning that their past performance will give you the best chance of winning some games.If the don’t, see (a) above.

  • Spencer

    At least the Reds lost last night so the Cubs didn’t lose any ground in the Central race.

    • TWC

      Bright side!

  • swaz46

    And let’s not sell short the fact that Soto appears to be hitting a little after his DL stint. If he produces in the next month, Theo & co. might be able to get something for him…

    These games are meaningless…look for individual performances (Sori, Soto, Garza) that will up their trade value.


  • Stu

    I think the CUBS are just showcasing as many of the veterans as possible before the trade deadline. What else could explain the obsession over playing Baker? They even bat him cleanup!!

    They were similarly obsessed with wheeling out BYRD day in and day out.

    I was thinking of taking my wife to a game here in Arizona this weekend, but I think I will just watch the FREE TV where I can witness the trade tryouts for nothing.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      There actually is a simpler explanation for why Sveum is playing Baker.  Against lefties, Baker is the best option at first base.  That is a pretty damning statement about the talent in an organization: but the truth is, we cannot be saying: “Play Player X instead of Baker!”: there simply is no Player X.

      • cubchymyst

        I just looked up Bakers splits for the year, and his average against Left handed starters this year is 0.236 with an OBP of 0.279. He isn’t putting up the numbers against lefties he has in the past. Bryan LaHair actually has a higher OBP with 0.304 with only a 0.111 batting average against left handers. I know past performances are the basis for the decision but some stock has to be placed on how they have preformed this season.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The sample size for this year is way, way too small for them to mean anything this year.  Baker has all of 52 PAs against lefties.  His OBP is 0.300 this year.  If his OBP was 0.350 (his 2011 OBP vs LHP), then he would have reached base a grand total of….

          ….. drumrolll…….

          …. 2 more times than he has.  Baker also has exactly as many HR and doubles as you expect given his performance last year.  That means that if just 2 more grounders go a couple of feet to the left or the right, then Baker’s performance would be identical to last year.

          • cubchymyst

            The small sample size is a fair arguement. However, Bakers batting average is 60 points lower then last year (I know he only needs 3 more hits then he currently has to make up the difference due to the sample size).

            Nevermind, just looked at Baker BABIP for this year its .263 vs LHP where as last year it was .340.

            Looking at LaHair numbers a little closer his BABIP against lefties is 0.167 but he has a 50% K rate. Once again small sample sizes, but it shows Baker is likely the better option.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              And “better” is the key word.  Awful is better than abysmal.  Poor is better than destitute.  Really, it’s just sort of sad that the Cubs do not have a better RHB in the system.

              However, the issue will be moot once RIzzo joins the team, as he is at least competent against LHP.  They’ll probably continue to platoon Johnson in RF with LaHair, but I think that replacing Baker with Rizzo will probably be worth, oh I don’t know… maybe a win or two over rest of the season?

  • willis

    Baker sucks anymore. Last year his splits were crazy but this year he hasn’t been effective at all. Bottom line is you may as well let LaHair see some LH pitching. Can he really do worse than what we are seeing?

    Sveum is an idiot. Sure he doesn’t have much talent but he also doesn’t manage to win. Not adjusting last night was simply him acting like an ass. He’s way over his head and I hope the front office realizes this sooner than later. He’s just not management ready. And it’s being proved day after day.

    This team is bad. But this team isn’t this bad. Pathetic.

    Oh, and I think it’s time to start worrying about Shark. I still say he’s a closer in this league. And could be a damn good one.

  • Stu

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. The league figured out how to pitch to Baker and he is unable to adjust. That ends his Ty Cobb-like stats against lefties.

    So I just assume that the THEO/Sveum supercomputer knows this and is spewing out reams of data to have them change. But no change. So that is why I assume that it is by design to do 2 things:

    1) Tank the season for top draft picks. The era of playing games with money in the draft with over slotting is over. Also, the signing of international phenoms is severely limited. What’s left? Signing high draft picks and developing your own.

    2) Parlay your marginal players as much as possible so you can “maximize” trading value.

    I know that I am not willing to shell out cash to see this sort of “game” going on. I pay money to see a team try their best to win every game. I don’t care about 2015 right now. It is FREE TV or nothing.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Baker’s numbers against LHP were never “Cobb like” unless you ignore the tiny sample sizes involved.  Baker routinely gets about 150 PAs against lefties a year.  If he’s a 0.350 OBP guy against lefties, then you expect his OBP against lefties to be somewhere between 0.320 and 0.375 in half of those seasons.  (Over just 50 PAs, we expect it to range from 0.280 to 0.400 purely by chance alone.)

      Again, if Baker had just 2 more singles, then his numbers would be as close as possible to identical to 2011’s numbers.

  • Stu

    I checked Baker’s stats and 2 more singles against lefties would make him hit about .276 in 2012 against lefties?

    It doesn’t matter what he has done in 2011, 2010 ….By that logic Byrd should still be hitting close to .300 because he has done it in the past? Players don’t always produce the same stats because they always have.

    I just don’t see CURRENT at-bats by Baker to warrant his return to great stats against lefties. Great managers have to be able to peel themselves away from the computer and see how players are actually hitting.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Give him 2 more singles, and Baker would have reached base in 18 of 52 PAs, for a 0.347 OBA.  SIngles have by far the biggest luck factor, and his doubles & HR are exactly on pace, so I used those.  Obviously, he’s take a walk or two more than you expect this year.

      And going over the last two years, Baker has about 350 PAs against LHP.  Quite frankly, that’s not enough to warrant solid conclusions: just ask any fantasy leaguer who drafts a guy based on a “hot” second half to the prior year only to see normality return!

  • #1lahairfan

    hope they trade baker for a half decent prospect

  • #1lahairfan

    Shark probably would kill as a closer. Maybe if he is a starter next year he will get used to throwing 150+ innings and start to show his real talent. Cubs need to take it slow here maybe they should add innings every year.

    2011: 80 innings
    2012:130 inniings
    2013:150 innings