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After yesterday’s loss, the Cubs are now an hilarious 3-16 against lefty starters on the year. They return home today to face, of course, lefty Johan Santana.

  • Wow. Gordon Wittenmyer absolutely exploded Cubs management for its Wrigley Field-related business decisions over the past few weeks, in particular the decision to have Wrigley Field host a couple concerts the week before a nationally-televised game against the Red Sox (because of the risk that the concerts would destroy the outfield grass, which they did). The outfield looked terrible for that game (and was only recently re-sodded), and the Cubs continued to host non-baseball activities at Wrigley Field during this most recent road trip, despite the ongoing process of fixing the grass. Gordon might have been a bit hard on the Cubs, but he’s got a point: in a season that’s all about asking the fans to look ahead to the future while simultaneously overlooking the team’s current struggles, the perception of priorities really matters. And, when money is the issue – considering the Cubs are still hoping to secure public funds to renovate Wrigley, and considering the Cubs’ on-field payroll this year is the lowest it’s been in years – the Cubs have to be especially careful about those perceptions. (One defense of the Cubs: they’ve had many concerts at Wrigley over the years, and I’m not sure this extreme level of grass damage has happened before.)
  • A quote from Scott Boras in that article: “Any executive who for a $1 million profit takes one of the grandest museums of our country and mars the dignity and appearance of that museum needs to re-examine his decision-making.” Harsh, bro. You’ll note the Cubs regularly negotiate with Boras, including presently, with respect to first round pick Albert Almora.
  • You can feel the despondency and resignation in Dale Sveum’s voice when you read quotes like these (this one offered after the Cubs’ loss in Arizona yesterday, completing a sweep): “Obviously we’ve done a lot better at home, not that it’s all that great, but it’s better than we’ve done on the road, that’s for sure. We’ve got some left-handed pitching coming up so we’ve got to start doing something against left-handed pitching, or it could be a long homestand.” After every loss, he’s just gotta thinking to himself, “Seriously, what the hell am I going to talk about this time?”
  • Alfonso Soriano says the constant losing is mentally draining, which, like, duh. The Cubs are literally losing two out of every three games right now, and are on pace for a franchise-worst 108 losses. What happens when guys like Soriano are dumped?
  • RizzOMG: For a national perspective, Buster Olney believes Anthony Rizzo will be called up this week (probably Tuesday), and Dave Kaplan agrees with the Tuesday speculation.
  • NESN’s Will O’Toole put together an editorial cartoon about Theo Epstein, which I imagine has some kind of point or joke, but hell if I can figure it out. Must be a Northeast thing.
  • A closer look at former first round pick Hayden Simpson. You can’t say he isn’t working hard to try and regain the form he lost after falling ill two years ago.
  • MLBullets at BCB look at the Kevin Youkilis trade. The return was pretty terrible for the Red Sox – is that primarily because of the corner they were backed into (and because Youkilis’s performance this year has been so bad), or is it another whiff that the trade market has changed even for dump deals?
  • jr5

    Hey, maybe the all-righty lineup thing might be worth examining? Maybe? Just a thought.

    Edit: That was directed at Dale, not BN. Sorry for the possible confusion.

    • magilljl

      I agree completely. What the hell is the point of having a “lefty lineup” if it doesn’t freakin work!? Just play your best dang players and if you lose, you lose. At least you can say the best guys were out there. (a lot of swearing was edited from the original draft of this post)

  • Cedlandrum

    Interesting article about Simpson. Hope it works out for him.

  • UrbanTed

    I don’t understand that all righty lineup. Assuming LaHair is going to be an every day player (for us, or someone else if we trade him), don’t you have to give some reps vs. lefties? Baker and Mather have been pretty worthless when not pinch-hitting, and Mather is a defensive downgrade wherever he plays. It also leaves them without righty options off the bench for pinch hit situations. I know Sveum doesn’t have much to work with this year, but I’m not sure I totally agree with the way he’s using what he does have.

    • cincycubfan

      I agree 100% percent. If I have to see Jeff Baker out there batting 5th and playing 1st base one more time I might go mad. Is this not the kind of thing Quade did last year? I mean what do we have to lose playing LaHair everyday? I just don’t get it.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Again, LaHair had 8 years of batting against lefties with nothing to show for it.  Old dogs, new tricks, etc.  The “all righty” lineup is not why (per se) the Cubs lose to lefties; the fact that all of the Cubs regulars except for Castro do worse (and typically a lot worse) against LHP is the real culprit.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’d argue the real culprit is a weak lineup (but it would be even weaker with LaHair/Campana/DeJesus in there) and a mild statistical fluke.

        • Brady

          I completely agree and its not always that we lack getting people on base. It’s that we can’t string together enough in a row to bring people across the plate.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, I have to think Barney having an an OPS of 0.57 agains LHP vs. an OPS of 0.75 against RHP is a fluke.  Sori’s OPS of 0.78 against LHP vs. an OPS of 0.82 against RHP is a small fluke.  Soto’s really low 0.231 OPS (in 21 PAs) against LHP is a fluke.

          But it does hurt when regulars who should be do better against LHP (and who will do better against LHP over a long haul) all do so poorly.  Really, only Castro seems to be doing the normal thing!

      • King Jeff

        I’m not buying this until someone puts up his career minor league splits. I can only find his last two seasons in the minors and he hit over .280 against lefties during that period. If he could manage even something in that vicinity, I think he’s a better option than Jeff Baker at first if it gives him at bats every day.

        • Kyle
          • King Jeff

            They don’t look that good, but he has improved every year. I still think it’s worth giving him a shot to play every day, but I will quit harassing Doc about his struggles against lefties.

          • GoldFist

            So, according to those numbers, I get the following stats for LaHair against LHP in the Minors:

            720 PA
            654 AB
            136 H
            55 BB
            201 SO

            Good for a .208 Avg, 7.6% BB-rate and 28% K-rate

            Translation: Awful. Its not like these numbers were weighed down by struggles early in his career – 2011 brought us a .222 Avg 5.7% BB-rate and 25% K-rate. Hes always been bad against them, and it wont get better in the majors (as indicated by his perfmance against them thus far).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Now why would you do that to your name? People will think bad things about you, even though I know the good person that you are.

              • TWC

                Emotional gravitas, perhaps?

              • Drew7

                I have no idea why my computer saved that name…

                I did it over a week ago as a joke, and forgot to log back in.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Yes, but MLB is like going to the Wall in Game of Thrones. All of your past sins are absolved.  You also wear only black, swear off women and get cool fight scenes with the undead (i.e., interviews with Tim McCarver).

              Or maybe not…..

              • Greyfury

                You get my undying admiration for the baseball/Game of Thrones compairison.

                Priceless!!
                :)

            • King Jeff

              “2011 brought us a .222 Avg”

              I’m not sure where you got this from. In 2011 he hit .284 against lefties with a near 8% walk rate for Iowa. He has been bad most of his career against lefties, but he has shown improvement.

              • Drew7

                You got me, KJ – I meant to type 2010…just using the link Kyle provided

      • Jeff1969

        I don’t think fans should care if a guy is platooned, or whether of not he is an everyday player. Aren’t there loads of World Series teams where there were platoons all over? The Stengel era Yankees, the 1979 Pirates immediately come to mind, and there are more. If LaHair only faces righties, and hits .290 20+ homers 65+ rbi in that role, what’s wrong with finding a productive righty to platoon him with? The Cubs problem is that they don’t have that other guy. Seeing Jeff Baker’s name in the lineup immediately depresses. Players might not like it so much because it would lessen their money making power, but winning is a magic elixir.

        • UrbanTed

          Yea – I’m not saying I’m against platoons. I’m saying I’d rather see LaHair and Valbuena in there instead of Mather and Baker.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The 1986 Mets platooned their #1 & #2 hitters (Dykstra/Wilson & Backman/Teufel).

          • Spriggs

            And Wilson and Backman were switch hitters, too.

  • BD

    In that article, Wittenmeyer mentions how Jaramillo “took the fall for a flawed lineup.”

    How am I supposed to believe him when he still doesn’t get that Rudy wasn’t a scapegoat? He just didn’t fit the new mentality.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, that part is just flat-out wrong.

  • SirCub

    STATZ & DATA, NO MATTAH!

    What’s not to get?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha. Exactly.

      • Ash

        Perhaps Will “Not Quite Ready for The New Yorka” O’Toole is using “Mattah” as a synonym for substance? So he’s saying that basically the statistical data is worthless if your team is a wreck?

  • Stu

    This article is what I have been saying for awhile. The goal for this year is to make as much as possible for Ricketts. Look at their actions, not what they are saying.

    If diehards want to shell out hard earned cash to go to Wrigley and get their “experience”, so be it. Just realize what you are purchasing.

    Until real Cub fans starve the beast of cash, why would they change? 2015? Really?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Yeah, that $30M on Soler and $7M on Concepcion REEKS of only caring about making money.

      • Dave

        That money for both players is spread out over many seasons. Per season it averages out to the cost of a decent middle reliever so not it’s not that big a financial commitment.

    • MichiganGoat

      so I can assume you wanted us to spend 200M on Fielder?

      • Brady

        I’d rather see a bad season where we don’t pay as much instead of like last year where we watched a bad team that made what, like the 3rd highest salary in baseball or some nonsense like that?!

    • TWC

      “Until real Cub fans starve the beast of cash, why would they change?”

      Ah!  Thanks, Stu, for being the arbiter of “real” and wannabe Cubs fans.  A dirty job, but somebody had to do it, eh?

      • MichiganGoat

        Does only having 10 vs. 12 old style starve the beast enough?

  • rbreeze

    With Soriano playing so well lately I wonder was he working hard to help the Cubs win or to help get himself out of here and traded to a contender?  I think the latter.

    • Brady

      Personally I don’t care because either way he helps the team. It is really refreshing seeing him actually try (I still dont get all the fuss over watching the linedrive. Should he have run, yes but one lapse amongst the many more “diving” (more like falling) catches and other such good defensive plays doesnt change my mind that he is trying more).

    • Edwin

      Can’t he do both?

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  • http://www.cubsbythenumbers.com Kasey Ignarski

    As long as the City of Chicago and the City Council do not allow the Cubs to do improvements to Wrigley to increase revenue, the Cubs and the Ricketts family have no other choice than to rent out the park for whatever money making enterprises as possible. The CUbs are hamstrung by the city council in not being allowed to add more advertising to get revenue. Ticket prices can only go up so far before people stop buying them (though this year may not be the indication, next years sales probably will be). THey are already losing money due to the no-shows not coming into the par and buying the beer and hot dogs they would otherwise. WIth no additional income from parking, not additional income from advertising, no big time naming rights to the park, and being stuck with a bad radio and tv contract, having concerts is the only way to get more money.

  • Steve

    I’m rather confused Cub fans. “Starve the beast of cash”???. When the Rickett’s bought this club and Wrigley, both were in disarray.
    The way I look at it, Tom and Co are asking you, as fans, to support them as you usually do so they can afford to do what you ask, which is bring us a winner. If you chose not to believe a World Series is the goal of this family, then you disappoint me.
    I live in Atlanta, so I cannot get to Wrigley often. I can, and do, buy hats and T-shirts etc etc. I do have MLB Extra innings on Direct TV…
    Starve the organization of cash and you starve yourself the chance to win. I have no respect for anyone who says this.
    When I was bitten by the Cubs bug back in the early 80′s, I was infected by something that will NEVER go away.

    • Brady

      Just like something else you got in the 80′s *budum tish* but I understand where you come from. I watch the Cubs from Hawaii on MLB.tv and have yet to get to see a game at Wrigley (only times I have been in Chicago for an extended period it was always winter). I watch as many games as I can for the little things that make me happy. I will voice my opinion at displeasure (more like piss and rant when I am drunk) but would never not support them out of spite. It is just counter productive.

  • Stu

    The $30M for Soler is over 9 years. And he will be ready for Wrigley in 2016-2017….

    I have no problem in investing for the future. That is the way it should be done. But why does it have to be one or the other?

    The Cubs could have spent at least another $10-$15M on the current club to make it more compatible for THIS year. Sign a couple more players like DeJesus and make watching a game a little more interesting for the ticket prices that you are charging.

    When your long term strategy finally comes to fruition, they will be gone.

    • Kyle

      Epstein has more or less admitted that they didn’t go this route because he was tired of all the pressure to win he faced in Boston and wanted to be free to play Farm System Hero for a few years.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That is not really what Epstein said, at least not in the interview I saw.  What I read is that Theo admitted that he probably goofed on a couple of the latter free agent signings (Crawford in particular) because he felt under constant pressure to be doing something, anything, to improve the team and to outdo the Yankees. (Remember, the Yankees were thought to be in on Crawford: but that turned out to be Cashman playing Theo!)  His admission was that even when he thought he could stand pat, he felt that he needed to be doing something.

        Now he is in a situation where he really does have to be doing something, anything to improve the team.  Brain and heart can unite here, so to speak. (It’s all brain, meatbags….)

    • Rob M

      Soler is 20 years old already..It’s not going to take him 4-5 years to be on the major league roster..

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      So…spend $10-$15 million this year on WHAT exactly?
      And what is that $10-$15M going to get you? 70 wins instead of 65?

      That’s what you call a waste of money.

      • King Jeff

        In hindsight, spending another 10 to 15 million on the bullpen would have been a brilliant move. I do agree with your point though.

        • UrbanTed

          I don’t see any point in spending money to take a team from bad to mediocre. If you aren’t going to make the playoffs, you aren’t going to make the playoffs. They will continue to gut this team for prospects, and then sign free agents once we have a few real pieces on the field. Honestly right now, counting position players, outside of Castro, DeJesus, and maybe Barney, we don’t have anyone who would start for most other teams (LaHair is a platoon player until they start using him vs. lefties, Soriano can really only DH at this point). Adding 1-2 more average players to this team won’t fix anything. A better bullpen might have translated to a few more wins, or it might not have. They hoped to get more out of Wood, and Marmol is, well, Marmol.

          This is my first year as a season ticket holder (after waiting since 2003), and even with the godawful record and the possibility of losing the most games ever, I’ve had a lot of fun. The team is 7-9 so far in games I’ve been to, and even though we’re losing a lot we’ve been in a lot of these home games. If the team was bad with no plan moving forward, I’d be hesitant to support them. At this point, I think Theo and co deserve a few more years.

      • Kyle

        A relief pitcher and a third baseman would have gone a long, long way.

        This team was built from day one to lose as many games as possible. I don’t think it’s self-evident that if they’d been trying, they would have only won 70 games.

    • Edwin

      I think I kind of agree with you. I’m fine with building through the draft, but I don’t see why the team can’t build through the draft and build through free agency at the same time.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Sign a couple more players like DeJesus and make watching a game a little more interesting for the ticket prices that you are charging.”

      This always sounds good, but baseball works on specifics, not generalizations.  Which players should Theo & Jed have signed?  Beltran?  He’s old, he always breaks down, and he wanted multiple years.  Chavez?  He goes on the DL for misquito bites.  Ibanez?  Ludwick?

      Really, about the only thing that Jed & Theo might have done was to retain ARam.  (Of course, even his OPS is 0.07 lower against LHP!  Still, a 0.78 OPS might make the Cubs 6-11 or something….)

      There simply was not much out there that was going to help bridge the Cubs from 2011 to 2014.

      • Edwin

        Edwin Jackson.
        Coco Crisp.
        Ryan Madson.
        Beltran for 2 years isn’t so bad.

        Edit: I’m fine with the Cubs not spending every offseason. This last offseason didn’t have a lot of great options, but there were some options, nonetheless. I don’t want to wait for the Baez or other prospects to be ready for the Cubs to become competitive. I wasn’t expecting the Cubs to compete this year, and I don’t think they’ll compete next year. But if there are moves that will help the team get better in the short and long term, the Cubs should be making those moves.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Ah, now that could have helped. I was thinking about the Cubs problems with hitting lefties more than anything else. But, yeah, he could have helped the pitching for a year.  That being said, he would have taken the 1-year offer from the Nats (a possible competitor) over the Cubs (who were not).

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            But with Edwin Jackson, the Cubs WOULD have been a competitor!

            • Edwin

              I’m not saying that Jackson would make the Cubs a competitior this year. I understand. But Jackson would have been another player with good trade value, if the Cubs were so inclinded to dump him. And he could still be valuable in 2 or 3 years, when the Cubs plan on competing.

              Plus, who knows. Maybe Ian Stewart would have panned out, Jackson and Rizzo come up firing, Castro finds his power stroke, and suddenly the Cubs have the option to move up their plans a year or two. Signing a player like Edwin Jackson gives you this option.

              Edwin Jackson more of an example of the type of player I’d like to see the Cubs go after. If the Cubs think that the market is currently undervaluing a player by a substantial margin, the Cubs should sign that player. If the Cubs see a FA that can help in the short term that won’t sacrifice the long term plans, the Cubs should sign that player.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I was just giving you grief. I know you know. And I’m on that side of things for 2013, for sure.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            And might also have banished Samardzija to the bullpen…

            • Edwin

              Or banished Chris Volstad to AAA sooner…

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Well, Obviously this team ZERO as in 0 confidence. When Rizzo comes up is he going to make him sit because he is a lefty in LH pitcher scenario’s? I don’t believe that Sveum is taking the correct approach on the Lefty vs. Lefty thing. First off I don’t believe in the Lefty vs Lefty non sense. I was a lefthanded pitcher and I have coached teams for 30 years. I have pitched batting practice forever and my lefthanded hitters became pretty damned good at hitting lefties. I never babied them in batting practice and they learned how to hit. IMO it’s a matter of stereo typing. The age old myth is something that is overcome with practice. I’ll bet the Cubs don’t even have a good Lefty throwing batting practice. I taught my kids how to hit lefties by going to the opposite field until that pitcher hung something inside that they could pull. There is no excuse for the coaching staff and the hitting coach allowing this kind of performance. LaHair and others won’t get better at hitting lefties in game situations until they practice, practice, practice. Simply getting in the batting cage against a lefty who throws pitches down the middle doesn’t get it done either. Pre-game batting practice is a show for most of these guys. Real batting practice is work. I am convinced that is something the Cubs need badly. They can’t even make contact with the ball in game situations more than 50% of the time. Another thing they are terrible at is advancing runners on base. They never hit behind their runners, never hit a sac fly with a runner on 3rd and the strike out all the time with runners in scoring position with 0 or 1 out. That’s just unacceptable and shows that these guys have not been working on fundamental baseball. They never go to the plate with a game plan / approach to their at bats. Situational hitting on this team is something nobody has ever heard of! I would think that Sveum would understand that concept having been a hitting coach for a long time. IMO he learned a lot of bad habits with regard to managing and coaching in Milwaukee. He had power hitters who hit a lot of home runs and they played to the HR as a big part of the offense. I don’t know if he even understands the concept of manufacturing runs. The Cubs have lost more than 17 games this year by a run. They have lost a lot of games where they have left twice as many runners on base in scoring position as their opponent. That is absolutely ridiculous. I never talk about Ryne Sandberg and his managing style. But one thing he did was produce winners in the Cubs farm system and he had his teams coached up to play solid fundamental baseball and he made his guys think about the situation and took advantage of his opportunities. When a team like this is losing so badly day after day it’s time for Sveum to stand up and say okay boys.. this sh*t is over. We are going to start from scratch and we going to do all of these things and I would go right down the bullet points and RESET everything. At this point he has no option. They are going to bring up Rizzo and interject him into all of this negativity and losing? What in the world are we to expect? I don’t expect much because he is not Jesus Christ our savior. Sveum needs to hit the RESET Button today and get the mindset changed today. Throwing a temper tantrum will probably get some attention but he better put forth the bullet points and RESET expectations or he is drowning with the ship.

    • Brady

      You should really add a table of contents at the beginning of this. Just teasing, I’ll actually read it now.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t really get this. People complain that the team can’t manufacture runs and that they don’t do anything with RISP, but earlier this year when the team was running more often and trying to utilize sacrifice bunting, everyone was all over Svuem for “taking the bat out of our run producers hands”. I don’t think that there is anything this team can do to make some fans happy.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Those were different fans.  I was (and am) in the “making outs is bad baseball, period” crowd.  I do not criticize the platoons, and I do not blame them for the Cubs poor record against lefties.  But, yes, there is no pleasing everyone: my basic premise that “making outs is bad baseball” is one that many people here dispute!

        • King Jeff

          I don’t disagree with the general notion. It does seem that a team that hits so poorly with RISP, when they don’t get that many anyway, is going to have to resort to drastic measures to score runs. I don’t like sacrificing outs either, but if it means choosing between Jeff Baker bunting a guy over to second and Jeff Baker striking out or hitting into a donkey punch, or hitting a weak popup to second, I’m going to ask Baker to bunt.

      • Brady

        I think that earlier in the season we were a lot better manufacturing runs but as of late it just seems we havent been able to hit with RISP and when you got a guy on 2nd 0 outs and the next 2 batters strikeout.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Again, the BAwRiSP is a complete strawman. Here are the two RiSP stats that tell you why the Cubs are bad: 677 and 15.  That’s the Cubs plate appearances with runners in scoring position (677) and their rank among the 16 NL teams.  Only the Pirates bat less frequently with RiSP. (If the Pirates had even an average offense, then they would be blowing out the NLC.)  The average NL team gets 1 more hits per 50 AB w RiSP than do the Cubs.  However, the average NL team also has 60 more PA with runners in scoring position.  So, they are getting more hits not by doing much better in the situation, but doing much better at creating the situation.

    • GoldFist

      oops

    • Drew7

      The name change was unintentional, I promise!

      Where to start…

      I’m in the same boat with Doc philisophically here: Outs are bad. “fundamental Baseball” is bad. “situational hitting approaches” are bad. They don’t win games. Go look at the best indicators of winning baseball games, and you wont see any one of those things there. These all fall into that “age-old baseball myth” category you speak of.

      There is no such thing as “living by the HR”; Its about being selectively-aggressive, picking your pitch, and driving it. It doesnt work everytime; nothing does. But it has certainly been proven more effective than “small-ball”.

      You are making an insane allegation by saying a Major League ballclub doesnt throw enough BP. Have you seen them practice? Hit in the cage? It wouldnt help with pitch-recognition anyway.

      Also, Lefty Vs Lefty is a myth? This year, all of baseball’s lefty hitters have produced a .651 OPS against LHP. Righty hitters vs LHP – .742. Look back, and you’ll see similar results. It is far from a myth.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    LOL…. I know… Can’t help being passionate about baseball and how the game is played on the field everyday. If we played the game correctly we wouldn’t have this bad of a record. As the manager you can’t just sit back and go Whoa Is Me. Sveum has to be the leader. He is a spectator like the rest of us. He quit managing these games over a month ago.

  • Stu

    Another great post about practice, practice, practice.

    Is it really that hard to find a batting practice pitcher who has a little “stuff” to work on hitting left-handed pitching? We’re not talking about turning a .230 hitter against lefties into .330 hitters. How about turning those .230 hitters against lefties into .260-.270 hitters?

    I bet you if LaHair, etc. would take 300 swings a day in this scenario, they would improve. I just don’t like the defeatist attitude that if they can’t do it, well that’s that.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yes, it is.  Any lefty with any stuff at all is in MLB.  (Heck, a few with no stuff are in MLB….)  And consider your request: 300 swings a day would be 600 or so pitches; i.e., a full start from 6 guys.  Do that every day, and you need 24 guys.  (I’ll give them a 4-man rotation because it’s not a “real” game.)

      But you misunderstand the point of batting practice.  It is not to work on pitch recognition.  It is to work on swinging mechanics.  LaHair’s problem (and nearly all LHB’s problems) with LHP is that he does not pick up the pitch quickly and thus takes a fraction of a second longer to trigger his swing.  Batting practice pitching won’t help for that.

      • cubchymyst

        Doc, This seems to be a bigger deal with LHB facing LHP. Is pitch recognition also a problem for RHB vs RHP? If it is there does not seem to be as much of an effort to take out all of the RHB when facing RHP.

        • Andrew

          I don’t know if this is completely true, but my guess is that RHB face a lot more RHP throughout their development. I’m talking before the minors like in highschool and before. Since there are much fewer LHP combined with the fact that many left handed hitters learn to bat lefty because it is so much easier to feast on the righties are more prevalent, rather than that being the more natural swing. All of this adds to much more practice for righties facing righties along with lefties just not being as good of hitters on average.

          • King Jeff

            There has to be something to this. We had a lefty who threw a nice slider in high school and we always hit well against lefties in games. You just don’t come across that many of them until you start getting to the higher levels of competition. I do think having a few different BP pitchers who threw from different sides with different angles would help the team, but it would be a drastic change in tradition and might cross some players up due to overthinking/analyzing.

          • cubchymyst

            Makes sense, simply due to the amount of at bats against RHP that only those that can hit RHP survive to make the majors. If we follow that line of though then we get back to the original point, more practice against LHP should help LHB. However, when do those at bats need to take place; high school, before high school, minors? Trying to get it done in the Majors and even AAA probably is to late.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I think Andrew nails it.  RHB who cannot hit RHP well at some point rarely get to the pros at all because so much pitching is RH.  Lefties, on the other hand, can feast on RHP and obscure poor numbers against LHP.  LaHair is a pretty good case of that.  Teams usually promote on overall performance: so, guys are not kept in A ball until they can hit both lefties and righties, but instead promoted if their overall stats (mostly against RHP) look good.

          Now, it is possible that this starts early and that what teams need to do is maximize LHB vs. LHP PAs.  For example, LaHair’s numbers suggest that he was playing only about 2/3rds of the time against LHP.

  • RY34

    in all honesty, the only things the cubs do well is f*ck things up! they are the best at that!

  • RoughRiider

    At this point, as much as I would like to see Rizzo play in Wrigley, it may be better to wait until the September call ups for him. Soriano said it, He’s tired and it’s not much fun. I’d hate to see Rizzo come up and face the expectations and the inevitable let down that comes with it on a team such as this.

  • Andrew

    Anyone mad at the Cubs for renting out Wrigley for concerts is ridiculous. Seriously who cares if there are spots of brown grass, its grass it can be re sodded It doesnt change the look of the stadium nearly as much as the increased advertisements which I dont mind either since they have all been relatively low key to me at least. My sister went to one of those concerts and had a great time because it was cool to see a concert in wrigley, especially for people with seats on the field. The cubs are in the business of entertaining people, and if they can do that by putting on a concert, then that is better for everyone involved to me. Screw the national broadcast, they should be more concerned about putting on events for the people of Chicago, not the people that tune into ESPN or Fox.

  • Spriggs

    My gosh, what the heck did you guys expect from these guys this year? In my opinion, they are playing better fundamental baseball than they have in several years. They’re mainly suffering from a lack of talent, and there isn’t really a whole lot more that Svuem or his coaches can do right now. There just isn’t. I don’t like some of the lefty-righty matchups – and the opposition always seems to have the matchup advantages at the end of the games, but again, lack of talent is the main problem and I beleive that Theo and Jed are taking the right approach to fixing that.

    I’ve been around many spring training camps, observing almost every day in Feb and Mar… and this was by far, the best run Cubs camp I have ever seen (which goes back over 5 different regimes). They worked their asses off, coaches and players alike.

    PS… would have liked to have seen Rizzo and Jackson come up at the same time to take away some pressure from both. May not be the perfect time to bring up Jackson, but would like to see it anyway.

  • Ash

    I guess I’ll defend the Wrigley ground crew by asking this… If you live in Chicago, how’s your yard looking? I water twice a day and still have to wear thick rubber soles to keep from impaling my feet on dried grass. Of course, I realize a MLB field is different than my yard, but the point is that the Cubs have held concerts during the season every year for the past few years, and it’s never been this big of an issue. But it also hasn’t been 80 F+ with zero rain since the beginning of May in any of those years. Could it be that the drought and high heat has just exacerbated the condition of the damaged grass?

    • Spriggs

      Well, they do have a working irrigation system…

  • Jp

    What kind of velocity is Hayden Simpson looking at right now?

    • Spriggs

      I read that he was around 89 his last game.

      • Jp

        Damn mono took 8 mph off his fastball? That’s got to be frustrating if you’re him… Or the cubs scout who stuck his neck out for drafting a D-II prospect

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          The same scout who found Simpson also found two other guys pitching in relative obscurity in out of the way places of the South: Trey McNutt and Ben Wells.

          I think Jim Crawford is one of the more patient and meticulous scouts at cross checking and monitoring guys late into the season.  That diligence may not always pay off, but it did help the Cubs land two of their better current pitching prospects.

          • Jp

            Even still, just rotten luck then. McNutt not looking as good as he had last year, Wells TJ surgery and Simpson who is still fighting to get back his lost fastball. He did a great job finding diamonds in the rough but right now none are really panning out as we hoped this season.

  • Karena

    The dead grass appears worse than it is because of the “dead team” that plays on it. :(

  • MightyBear

    I’m really pulling for that kid Hayden Simpson. I agree with most of the folks on here that picking him at 16 in the first round was a poor choice by the former regime but he did get sick and he seems like a good kid. I hope he gets his fastball back and makes it to the show in any capacity.

  • Big Joe

    Simpson got Mono, ummm…two years ago. I understand he’s working hard to regain form. That’s admirable. It’s also his job. Forgive me if I’m not there to pat him on the back for effort. The guy was a risky pick – at full strength – and, although a bad break has taken it’s toll on the kid, he was never going to be outstanding.

    Concerts? Probably the most entertaining events going on at Wrigley this year. At least they give people value for their dollar. The turn is SO FAR DOWN THE LIST of “things that need attentention”, it is ridiculous to even bring up. Shit turf, shit players…not an issues for me. When the team has some actual talent, then talk to me about the field.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I’ll say this. You can take batting practice from somebody throwing 50 mph and it’s nothing but exercise. If LHB don’t face LHP they simply never get used to seeing the ball coming from that side. It works the same for RHB if they never see the ball coming from the Left side they don’t have the perception either. I don’t care what level a hitter is at. This has to be practiced all the time. This Cubs team can’t hit a LHP to save it’s life. You can look at all the stats on things you want. It’s a physical and psychological at the same time. Guys who don’t face lefties in batting practice have very little reference and therefore very little confidence when they try to pick up the ball. I’ve coached for 30 years and I know the difference. If the Cubs hired a few guys to pitch LH batting practice they would improve.

    • GoldFist

      Dammit

    • Drew7

      ” I’ve coached for 30 years and I know the difference. If the Cubs hired a few guys to pitch LH batting practice they would improve.”

      Not to sound disrespectful, but years of experience have no effect on me decided whether or not I support someone’s opinion. A countless number of coaches, for decades, have taught things like, “take a level swing”, “keep your back elbow up”, and “watch the ball hit the bat”. Just because something is preached for a long time doesnt mean its the least bit valid.

      Unless you have witnessed the Cubs practice for an extended period of time and have the insider’s view on those things, you have no idea what they do to get better.

       “You can look at all the stats on things you want. It’s a physical and psychological at the same time.”

      Its ridiculous to ignore statistics, especially in this case. Claim “old-school” all you want, but these are the best baseball players in the world. I dont think the difference in OPS would be so much different if it were as easy as “practice”.

    • Edwin

      You could have a point, in a way. If you never platoon players in the minors, you might be able to weed out players with large platoon splits by exposing them to their weaker split more often. This might theoretically keep their numbers down, and allow other players who don’t share as strong a platoon split to advance.

      Of course, they might do this already. Or maybe the benefit is so small that it doesn’t matter. Or maybe there are 50 other reasons it won’t work.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I don’t think Jackson is going to be making a ML debut anytime this year and if he keeps things as they are currently he never will. He has a long swing and it’s been exposed. Pitchers that aren’t even MLB ready have the scouting report on him and pitch right through him.

    • Glotzbach

      You never know, it can just be an off year. With the All-Star break coming for Iowa if he collects himself and gets his head together now that the whole Rizzo fiasco is over with and puts up a better second half of the season and starts off well next year he might get the call.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I hope it works out for him.

  • Doctor_Blair

    Regarding the cartoon from Will O’Toole… That’s the kind of humor one can expect when you spend part of your childhood stuck in a well in Springfield. Give him a break.

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