Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 1, Dodgers 6 – August 3, 2012

Jeff Samardzija was in the zone all night, by which I mean the strike zone. That’s usually a good thing, but sometimes it gets you slapped around, which is what happened to Jeff last night. The Cubs’ bats didn’t do a whole lot against Chad Billingsley, which always seems to be the case against that guy.

Thus: loss.

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

38 responses to “Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 1, Dodgers 6 – August 3, 2012”

  1. fromthemitten

    hey Valbuena’s got himself right back on the Mendoza line!

    1. fromthemitten

      (still sucks tho)

    2. fortyonenorth

      He’s hitting over .300 with RISP. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough RISP to salvage his average. That’s probably why he’s still in the lineup, though.

      1. Drew7

        Yeah, in all of 29 AB’s. Expect those numbers to return to same level of suck the rest of his numbers are at.

  2. Curt

    get used to these games for the rest of the year “patience is a virtue” I think well see how much virtue cubs fans have. hey Brett what are the odds of soriano being traded this month and if so when is it likely to happen.

    1. hansman1982

      Oh god not sure I can handle a return of the boobird trolls.

  3. MaxM1908

    Brett,
    I haven’t had a chance to tell you yet what a wonderful job you did this past week. Your commitment to keeping us updated and your prose in high-stress, controversial dialogs at the deadline put you among the elite in the sports blagosphere. I still insist you are a journalist, but I know you don’t agree with me on that. Obviously, I don’t agree with all of your assesments regarding Dempster, but that doesn’t change my appreciation for you what you do here on a daily basis. Keep up the good work.

  4. Dave

    We need more of these losses, the Cubs are sitting 9.5 games behind the Astros for the #1 pick in the draft next year.

    1. MaxM1908

      Agreed. I hate to see the Cubs lose. But, every time I do, I think, “Well, that puts us closer to a better draft pick…”

      1. hansman1982

        Great season to be a cubs fan. You can cheer the outcome of every game!

        1. MaxM1908

          Exactly! Can’t remember a time I took as much solace in losing.

          1. Brad

            So, thoughts on sveum, just there for the losing and as soon as the cubbies can compete they bring in a new manager?

    2. PRcajun

      Is there that big of a gap in talent/potential expected in next year’s draft that it may make a difference between getting the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (…or even 4th) pick in the draft?

      1. Drew7

        Hard to say this early, but historically, yes: the 1st overall pick makes up something like 30% of the WAR produced from the first 10 picks if I remember right.

  5. MoistassAlou

    We need a good hitting coach!

  6. Cheryl

    Is it my imagination or is LaHair starting to come ou of his slump? i notice he had two doubles one night and a double and a walk another night.

    1. hogie

      Yeah, he seems to be hitting the ball harder in general. Long fly balls and hard groundouts are a good sign. This team becomes a lot more intimidating if he can hit. With Castro hitting better of late as well, 1-5 could look pretty darn good (not to mention cheap)!

    2. Drew7

      Its good to see him showing signs of life, but his BABIP and HR/FB rate are still showing he has a big chance of regressing even further.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, LaHair’s overall BABiP (0.367) is being heavily inflated by his ridiculous April. Here he is by month:

        Apr 0.621 (18/29)
        May 0.293 (17/58)
        Jun 0.324 (12/37)
        Jul 0.324 (11/34)

        The MLB average is about 0.300, so basically LaHair has had 1 more non-HR than expected since April. (April was absurd, obviously: Eris loved enough for 2 men, there…..)

      2. hogie

        I have never been a fan of hr/fb rates. If a guy hits the ball hard, a lot, then he is bound to have a higher rate. Bryan’s BABIP has been high since he “found it.” I know he is not the popular example right now, but look at Brett Jackson. He waits to swing at pitches that he can hit hard, and as a result has a huge BABIP and always has. LaHair is an all or nothing hitter, it has just been a whole lot more nothing lately.

        1. Drew7

          Sure, some guys will have higher rates, but we’re talking abot a rate over 2X league average. Not even a good approach sustains a rate like that.

          1. Scotti

            Drew, the issue of whether or not one can sustain X BABIP is not the same as whether or not a given BABIP is the result of “luck” or a hitter performing at a high level (and certainly, as hogie mentions, certain “types” of hitters hit for higher BABIP–lefty, sluggers, patient, speedy, etc.). Players go on hot streaks and players go on cold streaks. Over short (such as for a given calender month) stretches you’ll see awful BABIP when a player is scuffling and astronomical BABIP when he’s on top of his game. Of course, if you plot the actual streaks themselves (instead of arbitrary month long periods), you’d see even higher/lower BABIP?

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          HR/FB rates are useful for pitchers rather than batters: after you adjust for ballparks, all pitchers show the same HR/FB rates give or take error over the course of a few years.

          1. Drew7

            Damn…Doc’d twice in one afternoon! I bow to you, good Doctor…

          2. Drew7

            So out of curiosity, what would you make of a hitter vastly increasing his HR/FB rate over his career average? Josh Willingham comes to mind this year…

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Willingham is a good example. If you assume that his 2012 rate of 0.243 HR/FB is “novel” relative to a prior career rate of 0.145 HR/FB, then you expect one player in 26 to show this much change (positive or negative) by chance alone. Half the guys in the league are pitchers, so you expect about 15 guys to do this just by luck.

              If Willingham keeps this up for another year, then it will be far, far less probable that he’s just having “that year.” At that point, any explanation (stronger, improved swing, etc.) is just as likely as any other: we’d need some other data (possibly including scouting data) to then separate those ideas.

      3. DocPeterWimsey

        Oh, and if you are wondering about LaHair’s slugging, well, this, too, looks just like random flux. This gives HR per non-K AB.

        Apr 0.147 (5/34)
        May 0.079 (5/63)
        Jun 0.075 (3/40)
        Jul 0.029 (1/35)

        Overall, LaHair is homering in 8% of the balls he puts into play. That means that he basically did exactly as expected in May and Jun, with 2 more than expected in April and 2 fewer expected in July. If we insert random breaks into players seasons, then we expect 15% of them (i.e., more than one per lineup) to show as big a “shift” in performance (for good or ill) just by chance alone.

      4. PRcajun

        when did he hit his last HR? Seems like forever.

  7. DocPeterWimsey

    Also, we are dealing with tiny sample sizes. Because of LaHair’s high walk rate and inability to play against lefties, LaHair never has had more than 87 ABs in a month. His typical month has been 64 ABs. One hit at 64 ABs is worth 0.015 on BA. That is, 1 hit is the difference between batting 0.296 and 0.281; 2 hits is the difference between 0.296 and 0.271. Those alone look like they could be meaningful when they just report average: but when all of 4 hits (i.e., one ball per week dropping or being caught) is the difference between 0.271 and 0.326, we expect a ton of flux in batting average based on sheer luck.

    His slugging rate superficially looks to have gone down, but it is indistinguishable from a single rate over the whole season. July bordered on being a “down” month relative to the others: but it did not quite deviate far enough to justify adding new rates.

    1. @cubsfantroy

      You make my head hurt Doc, but in a good way. I’ve actually learned quite a bit from you and your stats since I have been coming here.

  8. Cheryl

    Doc, That’s interesting – never more than 87 ABs in a month.

    1. Cheryl

      And, of course, he would have been facing a lefty tonight so he sits in favor of Baker.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Well, most full time players average a little more than 100 ABs per month: 600+ ABs is typical for a season. A guy like LaHair would be on the low side: a lot of his PAs turn into walks. Add to this the fact that he’s a platoon guy and expected to start against 2/3rds of the pitchers, then it is not too surprising that his AB numbers look like that. (The fact that the Cubs are a low OBP club with middling power also means that nobody on the Cubs gets as many PAs as, say, guys on the Cardinals or DBacks.)

  9. die hard

    The Smardzja experiment is over….back to mid relief

  10. T

    come on BT, you surely know who the normally solid fielding infielder is correct? hhhmmmmm???

    keep up the good work. I’ll always enjoy the snarkiness. Please don’t (even with audience network/DirecTV) pressure ever change the format of the show. I have faith you’ll stick your nose to the sky if they make you attempt playXplay, or some form of it for this show on NBC. This is getting intense on Sirius, I am going to finish my sleep, talk at ya in a lil bit.

  11. T

    YA! we need a new hitting coach! hahahahahahahahaha