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The Cubs were hitting the ball hard early against Mike Minor, they just weren’t getting any of them to fall. Their BABIP luck this year has been crap (not that I’m saying this is a potent offense or anything). Anthony Rizzo’s struggles against lefties continue, as he looked completely lost against Minor (three ugly Ks).

I’m going to pick on Scott Feldman a bit, but I’m admitting up front that this is picking. In the first inning, he was cruising. He got the first two guys quickly, and had Justin Upton down 0-2. Welington Castillo called for three different outside pitches, all of which Feldman shook off. Finally, Castillo allowed Feldman to throw what he obviously wanted to throw: an inside fastball. The problem? Justin Upton feasts on inside pitches, even those off the plate (see the TAv chart). Upton’s hands quickly got around on the ball (which was down and in, not up and in as it should have been (if it was to be inside at all)), and he lasered it out to left. It struck me immediately as both a physical and mental mistake, especially 0-2 on a hitter like Upton.

Obviously it was a rough debut for Feldman, who clearly has good stuff, but made little mistakes all night. He certainly filled up the stat sheet.

april 5 box

 

  • EB

    Rondon’s stuff looked a lot better tonight. Bowden was impressive as well. Rizzo looked atrocious against the lefties tonight. Oh, and why in the hell was Navarro trying to steal second base, especially with the Cubs losing 4-1? I hope that was a missed hit-and-run on Valbuena.

    • Rcleven

      Even if it was a hit and run it would have been a bad call by Sveum.
      Just too risky that late in the game with a slumping hitter up.

      • EB

        Oh, no doubt. It was stupid either way. I was just searching for a reason that Navarro would be trying to steal.

  • Edwin

    Interesting that Feldman went with an 0-2 fastball. I think there is some really interesting research going on looking at Game Theory applied to pitch selection. From the brief amount I read, it sounds like fastballs are under used in no strike counts, and over used in 2 strike counts.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/game-theory-is-the-next-moneyball/

  • Zogie

    It was a very rough day at the plate today. The cubs are yet to figure out lefties. From observation, I believe the cubs only had 6 good ABs tonight which is horrendous. To start with, I like how Castillo is swinging the bat. He seems relaxed and also willing to go the other way if needed. The rest of the line-up just needs to show up. Hairston had a few good swings as well with a Solo shot. Throughout the start of the season, opposing pitchers have gone right after our hitters and the cubbies have helped them out by making quick outs. If the leadoff hitter makes an out in 3 pitches or less then the next hitter usually is supposed to make that pitcher throw more pitches. This is why you see a lot of cubs hitters taking fastballs down the middle and getting behind in the count. An example of a good leadoff AB, Lillibridge worked a good AB seeing 7 pitches leading off the 3rd inning. It resulted in an out, but Gonzalez was allowed to be in attack mode on the next pitch and stroked a double. So our young hitters need to grow on how to fight off tough pitches. On the pitching side of things, Feldman was ok, but he just could not locate his pitches which led into trouble. The bullpen on the other hand has looked good so far this season with the exception of Marmol. Bowden and Rondon both pitched well tonight. My shout out goes to Michael Bowden tonight. 2.1IP with 3K, 0H. Better luck tomorrow cubbies. Let’s get some hits.

  • Kyle

    So much big talk about the Cubs Way and outworking everyone else, so much little stuff getting wrong.

    The second Braves run is the one that drove me nuts.

    First, walk the leadoff man.

    Then, our defense-only veteran utility man can’t figure out how to position himself to receive a throw on a stolen-base attempt.

    Then, for about the fourth time this season, Castillo tries to hero-catch a ball in the dirt rather than getting his glove down and blocking it, and this time he didn’t get away with it.

    Finally, Hairston makes a terrible throw (probably wouldn’t have gotten him anyway).

    All just so annoying. But every team has moments like that.

    Once the BABIP starts going our way, we’ll score more than two runs a game. We won’t be good, but we’ll score more than 324 runs this year.

    Hairston’s homer was nice because dang if we weren’t owed one like that. Some percentage of fly balls between 340 and 390 feet are going to go out, but we weren’t getting any of them to that point.

    I can definitely see why Feldman inspires some imaginations and scouts might feel like there could be more to him. The fastball is there, the breaking pitch is there, the third pitch is acceptable. Just no consistency with any of them tonight.

    • Rebuilding

      Your last paragraph is so true. You can see why no one would be surprised if Feldman became a solid MLB starting pitcher, but tonight shows why he will always have 4.50 + ERA. The Upton homer is what frustrated me – Feldman looked sharp over the first two batters, heavy 92 MPH fastball on the outside corner and a sharp spiky curve. He even mixed in a nice change to Heyward. He then gets ahead of Upton who is swinging from the heels and then throws him a lollipop offspead pitch on the inside corner. It was literally the only pitch and placement that Upton was going to hit

  • Coolbeans

    Brett:
    For the Cubs to even compete in 2014, 2015, or hell even 2016, there needs to be some obvious upgrades. They need a LF, CF, RF, 3B, 2B, and at least 3 real quality big league SPs. This is assuming Starlin, Rizzo, and Castillo even progress to be what they are “projected” to be. I believe we only have 2 major league quality bats in the lineup and 2 major league SPs. I’m aware that Soler, Baez, and Almora are projected to fill the lineup, but realistically we may only got one league average player out of the bunch. I don’t see the Cubs competing until 2017 and that may be optimistic. I hope to God they prove me wrong.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      So. What was your question beansie?

    • Tom A.

      Competing is 87 or 88 wins. I think that they will reach that level by as early as 2015. If you would have said win (not the word compete), I would agree 2017.

      • Coolbeans

        I guess my question is not really a question. Someone tell me that I’m wing! Please tell me that my high school baseball team isn’t better than this shit product that they call the cubs!

        • Coolbeans

          Wrong*

          • Tom A.

            Yes, the Cubs likely are not very good this year. It will be hard to watch them, if you don’t see a light at the end of this rebuilding tunnel.

            Earlier you said they would not compete until 2017. I see them getting to 72 wins this year only if they get an everyday 3rd baseman. They will get there given the team’s pitching alone. If a couple prospects develop and when we get Marmol off our payroll next year (with that money better spent), I can see .500 in 2014. After that I hope the Cubs start to compete with 87 or 88 wins in 2015.

            • Rcleven

              I don’t see the pitching as good enough. The back end of the rotation is really not dependable and only good for four to five innings a start. The pen has been very good so far but that won’t last for ever. When the fire sale starts I don’t think they reach seventy wins.

        • Kyle

          OK, you are wrong.

    • MightyBear

      Jesus H Christ they are 2-2 after 4 games and you’re throwing in the towel until 2017? You’re wrong.

      • ari gold

        haaa. I can’t stop laughing at your reply Bear. I love us Cub fans

  • another JP

    Feldman made it 1.2 innings more than I thought… but man our offense looks bad. Egads

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    If Feldman could have made that last out it would have been a successful start to my low expectations. Great to see Bowden/Rondon pitching well.

    • Rcleven

      Congrats on the Twitt. Len made you a star.

    • EB

      Yeah, congrats man!

    • MichiganGoat

      Here’s Justin’s 15 min http://telly.com/C6BVXC

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Thanks guys!

  • Kyle

    I also love that Lillibridge has managed to account for 12 outs in 11 PAs. I literally could have done better at the plate so far this season, because I would have only made 11 outs.

    -0.3 WAR for the season and counting in his race to out-suck Mather.

    • spearman

      He hasn’t been stellar in the field either.

  • Kubphan82

    At least I was given a break from Marmol’s theatrics? I think that’s the positive from today: Marmol didn’t hurt his value ;) all jokes aside, this team will have days where they surprise people, click on all cylinders… And others where they get exposed by a pitcher where they can’t see the ball off the arm or a lineup that can work thru you in one inning…

  • Dustin S

    Not sure what happened with Navarro running. Someone goofed a sign there.

    Bowden and Rondon were probably the highlights, trying to stay positive. As much attention as the rotation gets, the offense is really what has been deficient for the past few years. It’s easy to forget all the games last year that this team scored 2 runs or less.

    • Rcleven

      Said he was trying to catch them napping. Went on his own.
      Navarro is a train. A freight and not the express.

  • Rcleven

    What gets me the most is Minor only threw 84 pitches in 7.1 Innings. He wasn’t over powering or fooling anybody. The Cub hitters are swinging at anything and not looking for their pitch to drive.

    • Kyle

      They weren’t perfect, but Minor was throwing a ton of strikes. If the guy isn’t issuing walks, and he wasn’t, the only way to punish him is to hit him, and they didn’t.

  • Willie Smith

    Feldman and baker equals wasted money!

    • Rcleven

      Feldman I will agree. Baker, if you ever seen him pitch healthy, is the second best pitcher on this staff. Let’s hope he comes back healthy.

      • Bea Arthur’s husband.

        Right on. Thank you!

        • Willie Smith

          yes, baker is good if healthy. ian stewart used to have some decent yrs too when healthy too. have we seen those yet? something is wrong if baker is still hurt. TJ players typically don’t have setbacks. and theo/jed need to stop getting injured players, stewart, baker, Vizcaino. enough is enough.

  • Die hard

    Maybe we need weather above 70 and sunny to hit?

  • Roger Roper

    Right now we are making every opposing pitcher look like a Cy Young candidate.

  • Dan

    I hate to agree but your right

  • Die hard

    There must be truth to rumors Theo on short spending leash cause gambling on Bakers broken wing to fly the Cubs to the playoffs is nonsensical

  • Die hard

    Cincy hitting too — 15 —- can’t see Cubs doing that at all any time this year

  • Roger Roper

    For anyone that cares, Haren gave up 6 earned runs in 4 innings of work. I’d still take him over Marmol. Just sayin.

  • DPRagen

    Cubs have to start platooning at first. Rizzo looks pitiful!

    • Roger Roper

      Hate to say it but he’s tied for the lead for RBIs on the team.

    • baldtaxguy

      ha. Panic after 4 games.

  • Roger Roper

    My last rant of the night. I would rather see the youngsters play than the team we have now offensively. I know it’s early but the bats just aren’t there nor are they going to be. Nate S. is a bright spot and Rizzo I think may adjust but you look at this roster and there is no reason not to throw strikes to this team. Baez needs to be in the bigs. That is all.

  • Tim

    The marmol rule should be in effect throughout the entire organization. NEVER SHAKE OFF THE CATCHER!!!

  • Bea Arthur’s husband.

    Feldman’s act is already had become my least favorite Cub. Which remarkable on team filled with some many tiresome and marginal guys. I’m in love the ‘pen and most starters not named Feldman. Anyone who will shipped to AAA or DFA’d upon a regulars return from DL-land doesn’t count. So really, the should be playing with Willis and Vlad Guerrero in Long Island Brent Lillibridge and Feldman are the most maddening guys. I have no clue why the cubs couldn’t find a better hitter for the role–was Mather better (different role, but similar)? Anyway, he can’t hit. But, he doesn’t drive me to distraction and throw things at the TV like Scottie. How is it that when he gets blasted for 12 runs in ST he has an excuse (just workin on some stuff). Or that he hasn’t played in cold weather. Wait, the are no AL teams that had cold weather? Excuse, excuse. Shaking off your catcher. Making stupid plays.

    You can hate Marmol all you want, but he doesn’t make excuses. Doesn’t whine. Or so it seems. Occasionally, listens to a coach. Not always of course.

    Bottom line on Feldman. Only Feldman thinks he is good. To me, any guy who isn’t helped by Mike Maddux is hopeless. Bosio does good work, but how will we know? Will he do a Marmol by penalizing him for shaking off the catcher? Feldman would ignore it. I understand why they thought he would be a decent 5th guy, but is he a shorter Volstead. Maybe a mop up guy but Rondon may turn out better. I wish it was July so the Cubs could dump him but I think asking for a bucket of balls might be too much. Waive him. They will be glad they did.

    Is this absurd? Of course it is. But, so is Feldman pathetic inability to take responsibility and his ego. It only gets worse folks from here. I can only see Jon Daniels laughing.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      I love rondon. I think he’s so dreamy.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Feldman had a lot of movement to his pitches, trouble with that is, he threw 103 of them in 5 IP and was lucky to get out of jams. I think he was done around 75. I think Dale knew the way Minor was pitching tonight (and the way we were hacking at everything), there was no use in using our bullpen early. 105 was probably his limit and let’s face it, Feldman with a high ERA looks a lot better to trade partners if his number of innings is high as well. Hopefully, he does better and doesn’t shake off the catcher next outing.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Feldmans high era makes him more attractive to trade partners if his innings are high as well? Did you really just post that? Lol!

  • gutshot5820

    Is it me or are the Cubs just so boring to watch this year. For me to watch any sports event, there has to be some drama and I guess in the back of my mind, no matter what the outcome of the game I know the team stinks and we will be lucky to get 70 wins. At least we had Theo at the helm for the time time last year and I was waiting for some magic to rub off of him, Rizzo and Jackson and Vitters, mid-season trades, all of which kept me occupied. This year…meh.

    The Cubs are going to have some of the lowest attendance figures since the 80’s. The stadium would probably be a tomb if it wasn’t for all the season ticket holders, who themselves are hoping that future years of success will help them re-coup some of their investments So much for the Wrigley cash cow theories. And for any remaining fans of the RTO, every ticket to the rooftops sold is money lost for every empty seat in Wrigley. The Cubs are not gaining so much as they are losing money to the rooftops for customers. So ridiculous that the cubs will be competing with themselves. What a bungled mess. The only time the relationship is somewhat beneficial to the Cubs are when the games are totally sold out.

  • Eric

    The overreactions after 4 games in a year where the Cubs aren’t likely to compete are great. Thanks for the late-night comedy.

    • Hookers or Cake

      Yeah, anyone remember 0-15 in 97? That was pretty grim.

  • Ron Swanson

    Who gets bumped from the starting rotation when Garza gets back?

  • Cub2014

    Cubs are into a tough stretch I will be surprised if they win 3 of
    their next 9. That would put them at 5-8 which translates to
    63 wins ouch!!

    Man do I miss the Astros.

  • TampaCubsPhan35

    Lillibridge looks lost at the plate, I would hope we don’t plan on playing him to much longer!!!!

  • Cub2014

    I hear some saying we won’t be competitive until 2017
    That crazy talk. how close are we to being a contender consider
    This: sign a #1 starter (not easy but show them the money)
    #2 samardizja. #3 garza or baker #4 Jackson
    #5 wood or vizcaino or Rusin or?
    I think they will trade Fledman and or Villanueva, dejesus
    Soriano, Barney and Stewart if he comes back and proves
    anything. Soriano they might keep if they can’t get any
    Value and to wait 1 more year on Solar. That leaves holes
    at 3b and RF they will need to spend money on free agents
    (3B will be difficult and they will need left handed power in right)
    at those 2 spots. For CF I think they are counting on Jackson
    And at 2b they have many that are close to ready: alcantera,
    Villanueva, Watkins,Baez, So see not so far away.

  • BD

    It’s not that the Cubbies were so badly outhit- it’s that they had the error, and 2 wild pitches, and a hit batter, and allowed 3 stolen bases…. the more of these different things that pile up, plus you allow a HR on a bad idea pitch, it will pile up and eventually they are going to score some runs.

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