Today’s another travel day for me, but you hopefully won’t notice, as there should be relatively normal posting today.
- Here’s a thought experiment about the Cubs’ woes with runners in scoring position. I haven’t run the numbers in any formal sense, so I’m open to – and interested in – any mathematical corrections/thoughts/applications/etc. in the comments. I’m just thinking through this very simplistically. The Cubs have just 44 hits in 243 collective at bats with runners in scoring position, netting a .181 batting average, by far the worst in baseball. I wondered: if that number was, instead, the same as their overall team batting average – .238 (which is dragged down by the former number, but whatever) – how many more runs would they have scored this year? And how many more games might they have won? Well, a .238 average in those 243 at bats is about 58 hits. The Cubs have scored 63 runs on their 44 hits with RISP, or about 1.43 runs per hit with RISP. Translating that to 58 hits yields about 83 runs, an increase of 20 runs. 10 runs is generally considered an additional win, though given the extreme number of close losses the Cubs have suffered, I can help but suspect – again, I’m not doing a whole lot of math here – that those 20 additional runs could easily have turned three of four losses into wins. Suddenly, the 11-20 Cubs are 15-16. And that’s at a mere .238 average with RISP. It’s fair to ask: are the Cubs really as bad as we think they are? Or just unlucky?
- Edwin Jackson feels like he threw a better game yesterday than the previous time out, in which he was blasted by the Padres. “I had a different mind frame today,” Jackson said, per Cubs.com. “I felt I could go out and throw strikes and challenge the hitters, and we did that for the most part. They came out in the fourth inning and strung together a few timely hits where there were balls down the line or finding holes in the infield, and they were able to get people on base and score.” In a piece forthcoming later this morning, I dig into Jackson’s season, and I think his comments here are pretty prescient.
- Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio on Carlos Marmol’s problems, per Carrie Muskat: “He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem. He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.” It would simultaneously be encouraging and discouraging to know that the root of Marmol’s issues are in his mental approach.
- Tony Andracki at CSN notes how demoralizing the Cubs’ series of losses has been, and how down Dale Sveum seems to feel at this point.
- As Luke mentioned in the Minor League Daily this morning, Kyuji Fujikawa pitched a successful inning with Iowa last night, and it’s fair to wonder, because of the roster implications, if the Cubs will activate him sooner rather than later. That is to say, if the Cubs activate Fujikawa today and release/outright Kameron Loe, for example, then they would not have to waive/outright Dave Sappelt to make room on the 40-man roster for Ryan Sweeney. Sappelt could merely be optioned, and there would be no risk of losing him in the waiver process (assuming there’s any risk there anyway).
- Speaking of rehabbing pitchers at Iowa, Matt Garza’s second rehab assignment is scheduled for this afternoon’s game at Iowa.