Giancarlo Stanton and the Looming Specter of Greg Dobbs and Other Bullets

Dale Sveum GollyThis Friday, be in the right field bleachers and come hang out, because that’s where I’ll be. I’d also like to get together with anyone who’s interested after the game.

  • So, about that whole “pitching to Giancarlo Stanton” thing yesterday: did either Dale Sveum or Carlos Villanueva have a compelling explanation? No, not really. They said what you would expect them to say: we thought we could get him. First, on the decision to pitch to Stanton with first base open and the tying run on second in the 6th inning: did Sveum think of calling for the intentional walk? ”Not in that situation,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. Stanton went on to single. “I just felt [Villanueva] had the pitches to pitch around him and keep the ball away from him. I didn’t have my left-hander [James Russell]. He was down today, so I didn’t have anybody for [left-handed-hitting Greg] Dobbs, and I didn’t want to put the winning run on either.” For the most part, I think Sveum has pushed all of the right buttons in his tenure as manager (he just hasn’t had much of a roster). On this one, though, I’m really left scratching my head. You wanted to pitch to Stanton with first base open because you didn’t have a lefty to face Greg Dobbs? If Greg Dobbs and his .674 in 1203 plate appearances since 2009 (.620 OPS against righties this year) scares you more than Giancarlo Stanton, you have out-thunk yourself. In that same vein, not putting the winning run on doesn’t much matter when you’re exposed to a Stanton bomb anyway.
  • As for Villanueva, he gets a bit more of a pass. In that at bat, and in the earlier at bat in which he gave up a homer to Stanton, it wasn’t like Villanueva was coming right at Stanton. ”I made a couple of mistakes, and he took advantage of it,” Villanueva said, per Cubs.com. “Hitters like that are supposed to. You don’t want to get in a situation for a guy like that to beat you, but I tried to make a pitch and he got it. In the first inning, just a bad changeup. It just came back to his bat. In the sixth inning, I felt like I had to put him away there, and just left one where he could reach and he did what he’s supposed to do.” So, it wasn’t a bad approach either time – just a couple poorly executed pitches. It isn’t Villanueva’s decision on whether to walk a guy, so he did the best he could. Stanton’s good, and will kill you if you screw up.
  • Keeping the lights on: if you’re looking for a spot to get a sense of the best sports betting sites, check out www.topbettingreviews.com.
  • Dale Sveum says he’s not sure if his dual set of “play better or get demoted”/”we’re all accountable” comments to the media last week have had an impact on the team’s play, though they have had their best week so far this season. Shrug – it seems to me that the Cubs just happened to play the Marlins. That’ll make any team look better. And the Reds series … well, yes, the Cubs played better, but they still scored just eight runs total in the series, and lost two of three. What exactly are we celebrating about that one?
  • Sveum has no intention of naming a closer any time soon. Why mess with it if the current match-up-based, closer by committee approach is working?
  • Paul Sullivan writes about fan expectations and how the fans express their frustration at Wrigley Field. Knowing that the season was never likely to be competitive, Sullivan wonders, should fans just chill out and enjoy the games they go to see, rather than getting up in arms at every (inevitable) screw up?
  • Today is the 30th anniversary of former Cubs manager Lee Elia’s famous rant. If you’re by yourself and want to hear a crazy number of swear words, you can listen here.
  • The Jets have reportedly released Tim Tebow. If the Cubs really want to distract fans from any losing over the next few months, they will sign Tebow immediately.

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

39 responses to “Giancarlo Stanton and the Looming Specter of Greg Dobbs and Other Bullets”

  1. Cubbie Blues

    Why, that is down right logical from Sullivan. Who’d a thunk it?

  2. Cubbie Blues

    Tebow has the belly-fire that would rival the stache of he who shall not be named.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Hah didn’t see this when I posted. Seriously though, Tim Tebow is one of my top 5 favorite human beings in history.

  3. JulioZuleta

    Tim Tebow’s got serious TWTW, he could make it work.

    1. Andrewmoore4isu

      Teedubyateedubya?

  4. ichabod

    sure you have, but there is video of the legendary t. campana stealing three bases in one at bat. thats second, third, and home. if only he could hit or walk and also throw it from the outfield, he would be an asset

  5. Kirbs414

    Tebow’s fBELLY+ could rival Campana…

  6. Katie

    Would you be willing to explain (because you seem smart, and I genuinely don’t know) the absolute OBSESSION people have about handedness of pitchers vs. hitters? I mean, I suppose I could see someone saying that it is potentially a *factor* in overall strategy, but “what was I going to do, I didn’t have a left-handed pitcher” seems sort of ridiculous. You were going to pitch. the. ball. To. the. hitter. Did this used to happen in the “good old days”? Were people concerned about finding the correct-handed-pitchers to pitch against, say, Babe Ruth, or Mickey Mantle? I mean, man up, people. I’m way out-of-market for the Cubs – I get more Twins or Rockies TV where I’m at (grrr…), but it really doesn’t matter what team I’m watching – all anyone can talk about is whether you’ve got the guy pitching or hitting with the correct hand and how that is apparently the silver bullet to rescue us all from the depths of baseball perdition. I don’t understand…

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      By Mantle’s day, yes, they were obsessing about such matchups. That turned up in platooning a lot: remember, Casey Stengall was big on platoons, and he initially wanted to platoon Mantle as a lefty (Stengall didn’t believe that there were true switch-hitters). Going back further, Mantle’s father made him become a switch-hitter because they were already aware of matchup issues then.

      But even if they had not been aware of these things by Mantle’s day, it still would be moot. The reason why managers started worrying about matchups was that the ones who did won more games than the ones who did not. It is no different from the “why don’t starters complete as many games as they used to do?”. Again, teams that used bullpens effectively won more frequently than teams that did not.

      So, it really is just the Red Queen again.

  7. fortyonenorth

    I remember Elia’s classic rant very well–though I didn’t remember it being so early in the year. I figured it was a frustrated late season diatribe.

    1. Spriggs

      I was at the game the next day vs LA. When he went out to the mound, he was boo’d extremely hard! I thought he was in physical danger, but thank goodness nothing happened.

  8. forlines

    If Tim Tebow is signed by the Cubs, I’m becoming an Expos fan…

  9. hansman1982

    “Today is the 30th anniversary of former Cubs manager Lee Elia’s famous rant. If you’re by yourself and want to hear a crazy number of swear words, you can listen here. ”

    Is it just me, or could he make that same rant today and it would all fit?

    “The Jets have reportedly released Tim Tebow. If the Cubs really want to distract fans from any losing over the next few months, they will sign Tebow immediately. ”

    That wouldn’t work because over the next few months, the Cubs wouldn’t lose so there would be no distraction needed.

    1. Rcleven

      As I kneel and thank my maker.

  10. Spencer

    I’m halfway surprised the Cubs don’t carry 17 pitchers so Sveum can have a lefty face a righty and vice versa as many times as possible throughout the game. Sometimes it’s not necessary. Just like taking out Schierholtz yesterday in favor of Scott Hairston who has the same amount of hits on the season as Villanueva probably wasn’t a good idea. Can’t wait to see him and Dave Sappelt’s .219 OBP in the lineup tonight.

    1. willis

      Ugh, I haven’t looked at the game preview, do they face a lefty tonight? I still think Hairston can get it going a little, but I think right now, sitting down Dejesus is insane. He’s locked in and having very good ABs.

      1. willis

        That bunched together, I don’t mind seeing Hairston in Right, but playing Sappelt over Dejesus kinda bugs.

        1. Cedlandrum

          Sappelt has played much better as of late. 5 for his last 12 and has made some very nice plays in center.

          1. willis

            I do agree there. But DeJesus is arguably the hottest hitter right now. I just wouldn’t mind seeing him get a shot against a lefty here and there.

    2. Jay

      The whole lefty/righty thing is mostly so managers have a way to explain away their dumb moves. Unless a guy’s splits scream platoon, you should just play the best guy. Classic overmanaging—kind of like taking out your starter even while he’s still mowing down the opposition just because it’s time for your “closer”……

      1. Kyle

        Fortunately, Hairston’s splits do scream platoon.

        Small-sample failures don’t matter, it’s still the right move.

  11. Spriggs

    I still get a kick out of the Elia thing. I have a live recording (cassette tape) from the WLS reporter who was in the locker room at the time.

    About a month after, I was down by the dugout, a few yards from Elia who was walking by. I told him it looked like he was about to join us “dumb 15 fuckin’ %”. He actually chuckled.

    1. scorecardpaul

      I actually bought an autographed ball on Ebay about a year ago. It has an inscription that says print it on it. It is pretty cool and it comes with a dvd that has the recording on it. it was well worth the $30 or $40 I spent on it. I am quite sure you could still buy one like it. He did a show for the guy and pretty sure he still has a bunch left to sell??

      1. Spriggs

        I might have to hunt one down!

  12. curt

    come on dale there’s one guy and only one guy in that marlins lineup that scares you and you let him kill you multiple times really?

    1. aCubsFan

      Like you’re God’s gift to baseball managers? Yet, another armchair manager.

      As JD stated yesterday during the broadcast, it’s not like Stanton is Barry Bonds, and up until the home runs Saturday and Sunday Stanton wasn’t doing much in the way of hitting.

      You don’t think Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa, Earl Weaver, Jim Leyland, and every other manager — past and present — haven’t made strategic decisions during a game that didn’t always work out because a pitcher made a mistake?

    2. Rcleven

      #1) Dale is not Dumb. The pitchers had the right game plan thru the series for Stanton. Games one and two were executed flawlessly. Game three Wood hung one pitch which still has not come down. Game four Villanueva hung three. The coaching staff came up with a good game plan. Villanueva did not execute.

      #2) Dale says stupid stuff all the time but I got to believe he’s deflecting heat away from his players. If you want to blame Dale for something, leaving Villanueva in to pitch that inning(high pitch count) is one. Leaving Loe in after he showed he was ineffective.

  13. Idaho Razorback

    My two favorite sports rants of all-time are Lee Elia’s and Tommy Lasorda’s when he was asked by longtime sports reporter/announcer Paul Olden his opinion of Dave Kingman’s performance when he hit three homeruns to beat the Dodgers.

    1. Spriggs

      The Lasorda – Kingman thing is absolutely hilarious!!!

      1. JulioZuleta

        The following story may or may not be true…

        One of my best friend’s cousins in Tommy Lasorda’s agent. At a graduation partywhen we were about 16 we took his phone and looked up Lasorda’s number and wrote it down. I’ll skip a lot of details and just say…imagine how Tommy Lasorda reacts to prank calls….We were young and dumb.

        1. JulioZuleta

          May not be his agent anymore, I should look that up. PS, Tommy Lasorda’s voicemail said at one point, “If you don’t bleed Dodger Blue, don’t both leaving a voicemail.”

          1. JulioZuleta

            *Bother

  14. DarthHater

    Best thing about listening again to the Elia rant was that the page had a link to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsELQmqZwAw

    :-D

  15. curt

    Bite me “a cubs fan” dosent take an armchair qb to realize you don’t pitch to Stanton you have no need to dumbazz.

    1. SirCub

      Well, considering the fact that he’s been “pitched to” (meaning not walked) 70 times this year out of 83 plate appearances, obviously a lot of MLB managers must fall in the dumbazz category.

      And 12 of the 13 times he did walk were unintentional, so it’s hard to say he wasn’t pitched to in those PA’s either.

      1. JulioZuleta

        And if you intentionally walk him and he scores later in the inning, the comments today say “I can’t believe they walked a guy hitting .200.”

    2. Cubbie Blues

      I agree I don’t want a QB to make those decisions either. I would prefer those decisions to be made by baseball personnel and not someone from a different sport altogether.

  16. Idaho Razorback

    Hey Darth, the fake Hitler things are hilarious. Lots of them on youtube for ever sports team. My personal favorite is Hitler reacting to Bobby Petrino wrecking his motorcycle with blondie Jessica Dorrell as his passenger. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkRa1HKlAaU

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