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Scott Feldman “scattered” 7 hits and a walk over his 6.2 innings of work (we get to say scattered because he didn’t give up any runs, and the hits were all singles), and pitched quite well once again. The Cubs’ bats exploded for eight runs, and Starlin Castro, of all players, was the only regular without a hit.

There is a lot of goodness to highlight today, but I’d like to point this out …

may 18 box

Full box.

  • Vince

    Rizzo is on a hot streak and is on pace for 38 home runs hopefully he keeps up the power and puts up more home runs than we thought

    • jay

      Short of falling off the cliff, I don’t think anyone expected less than 30 dongs from Rizzo this year. What’s really encouraging is how he’s clubbing lefties this year.

  • Mike

    And Feldman continues to do pretty good with the bat (along with Travis Wood). Nice to see a reason, here and there, for the DH to not be implemented in the National League (though I’m sure it will).

  • mudge

    Another blown shutout. Eight two, Brute?

    • Drew7

      Meh, the last thing you want is Round on nibbling with an 8-run lead in the ninth.

      • Drew7

        *crap – Round = Rondon

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Was it two runs, B? Or not 2, B?

      • Anonnifan

        Nice try Brett, but I can’t figure out what the B stands for. Mudge definitely wins the prize for cleverest Shakespeare pun. You’ll get em next time.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Mudge had the benefit of going first, B.

    • Rcleven

      Eight run lead? All I have to say about that is keep throwing strikes. Shut out be damned.

    • Wilbur

      Well played …

    • X The Cubs Fan

      Lol that was pretty crafty.

  • jamie

    Cubs win!! Been saying that a lot lately

  • Kyle

    Roughly 40 games is how long it takes for run differential to be more predictive than previous season’s record. At -2 through 42 games, the Cubs should essentially project to a .500 team from here on out, and that’s even before the addition of Garza.

    Now, the bad news is that there is no gambler’s fallacy at work. While we are projected to play like a .500 team going forward, we won’t automatically get six wins to make up for how far behind our projection we are at this point.

    But if we can get as lucky in the next 7 weeks as we were unlucky in the first seven, this could be a .500 team in early July and have a tough choice between buying and selling.

    • MichiganGoat

      Kyle I agree as the deadline approaches the way this team is projecting a sell off like last year will be a tough sell on the fans. I still think the plan is to sell off some pieces (DeJesus and Garza I think if a decent return is found). The wild cards are Feldman and TWood- are we seeing a sustainable level of achievement or are the crux of their success and they’ll never have better value than they do now? If we are buyers I’m not sure what’s out there that would be worth trading prospects, and we are decent to solid at everywhere except 2B, 3B, and maybe an OF spot. Should make for an interesting trade deadline blog-a-thon for Brett.

      • Kyle

        It has to be all or nothing on the impending free-agents, I think.

        Sometime in mid-July, they’ll have to make a call and not look back. Either you are holding and taking your shot, maybe with some very light buying, or everyone who is not under contract for 2014 gets dumped.

        In this case, I trust this front office’s ability to make that kind of tough call. This is where they are clearly light-years ahead of a guy like Hendry.

        • scorecardpaul

          I agree, I think?? We will trade away whatever we can. Still looking to the future. We will really suck, until we don’t suck anymore, and then it should get really fun.

        • jay

          And Hendry was light years ahead of Andy McPhail…..not to mention Ed Lynch.

      • Kyle

        If we were buying, I’d expect it to be very light. A reserve infielder and maybe a relief pitcher.

        • Jeffrey Wilson

          Sell Sell Sell! And Please, Get Someone With A Bat At 2B Next Yr. Barney Is A Utility Bench Player, At Best. There Is No Shot In Hell This Team Is Playoff Caliber. They Should Sell Even If They Are Over .500.

          • baldtaxguy

            Who would you put at 2B?

            • Bill

              Valbuena, but then who do you put at 3B? And no, the answer is not Ian Stewart.

              • J Wilson

                Figure it out after the season ends…FAs, it won’t be hard at all to find a bat better than Barney’s. I don’t care about his glove, it’s not possible for his glove to save more runs than the Run/RBI differential between Barney and an average 2B. And who knows, Alcantera, Vitters to 3B, Torreyes might continue to improve and surprise. My point is that it is easy to upgrade at second next year.

                • Anonnifan

                  I don’t think its true that its easy to upgrade at second. Look around the league, there are quite a few light hitting second basemen in the majors right now. Thing is, none of them have a Gold Glove. Barney currently has a .198 BABIP, and while part of that is not making solid contact, and popping it up too often, part of it is bad luck. I’m not saying we pass on Cano because we are set at second, but its pretty tough to find a good bat up the middle.

                  • jay

                    You could hide Barney if you had sticks at the other positions, but in most cases, we don’t.

      • JoeyCollins

        I can see us being a near .500 team come July, but i don’t believe that is enough to avoid a sell off. It took 88 wins last year for the Cards to get the 2nd wild card, .500 won’t be enough. Even if the FO thinks they have a shot at that second wild card do you stop the sell off plan for a chance to loose a one game wild card? It’s nice to win and see some promise but I think the sell off is unavoidable with the start we had.

        • Kyle

          You abso-freaking-lutely stop the selloff if you think you have a decent shot at the 2nd wild card.

          You don’t throw away a shot at a playoff berth for another pile of Christian Villanuevas and Kyle Hendrickses. It’s just not smart.

          • mudge

            I agree. A pitching staff can get hot in the playoffs. It seems like they’ll make moves but not gut the team for draft picks. They have depth behind whoever gets moved that they didn’t have last year.

          • hansman1982

            Therein lies the phrase of the day:

            ” if you think you have a decent shot at the 2nd wild card.”

            The question becomes, what is the real Cubs team? If it’s a .500 team and we project to be a .500 team the rest of the way out that still puts us in the 75 win territory.

            • Kyle

              Absolutely.

              Don’t get me wrong, this is all still a long shot. The Cubs are probably a .500 true talent team, give or take, but they don’t get gifted the six wins they are already in the hole just to get there.

              We’ve got about 60 games until the trade deadline. Using the online binomial calculator that replaced Doc, the odds of us getting at least 33 wins out of those 60, if we are a true-talent .500 team, would be 26%.

              There’s roughly a 3-in-4 chance, maybe even a bit higher, this is all moot and we’ll be selling again.

              • Kyle

                Or we could go even further.

                Fangraphs currently projects that it will take 86 wins to get the second wild card in the NL.

                The odds of a 50/50 shot hitting 68 out of the next 120 would be 8.5%, which not coincidentally is pretty close to Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds for us.

              • hansman1982

                Assuming .500 at the deadline-ish (the 100-game mark) there is a 12% chance of the Cubs then adding the 8 games needed to beat last year’s WC2 team.

                If we want to tie them and force a sudden-death: 21%.

                Now, I’m not sure if this is right but that seems to give us a .6% chance of making the playoffs right now (multiplying all of the chances together).

                • Kyle

                  Not quite. The first 26% includes a lot of scenarios where we are better than .500 at the deadline.

                  • jay

                    There is no scenario where Jed and Theo don’t blow up the team. Their long-term plan (and they’ve been very transparent about it) is to tread water and stock the farm for the next couple years. Of course they have to say this nonsense about not being sellers if the team is playing well blah blah blah but I mean really—take a look at this team. It isn’t even remotely close to playoff caliber outside of your starters.

                    • Kyle

                      I find your interpretation of their statements to be unlikely to be correct.

    • Wilbur

      I am of similar option, however if the FO thinks Feldman and Wood project out three years they are likely keepers.

  • sven-erik312

    Great win, every win is a great win. But, letting 2 runs come in when the preasure is off is not a good thing. The bull pen is still a problem. Should I really be a kiljoy? Naaa, CUBS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      At that point you are just supposed to throw strikes and worry about outs not runs.

  • Rebuilding

    I think they have to sell even if we are at .500. The Braves, Nationals, Cardinals, Reds and Giants are all clearly better. The Pirates and Diamondbacks probably are too. I just don’t see a scenario where we are even sniffing at the 2nd wildcard. It will be interesting to see who we move in regards to 2014

    • Kyle

      Cubs internet fandom is not prepared for the amazing levels of butthurt, impotent rage that I could muster up to direct toward the front office they white flag a .500 or better team in July.

      • Rebuilding

        Yeah, but they haven’t seemed inclined to bend towards Cubs fandom so far in their regime. Maybe declining attendance will have some effect. With the way we are playing a Top 10 protected pick next year seems dicey, which could affect what we do this offseason. We may end up in the dreaded middle

        • Kyle

          They also haven’t been nearly as averse to winning as it would take to pull something like that. They were the ones who spent all this money to put together a .500 team in the first place.

          I think Epstein chose his words very carefully when he said “There’s no glory in 78 wins instead of 73.” Both of those totals are below .500.

          • Rich H

            Do you think it is time to discuss being both buyers and sellers at the All Star break if they are sniffing the contention. There is always a deal to be had if the price is right for a piece that can help this year and the future.

            Say a Cliff Lee becomes available or maybe some other signed premier talent like the sell of from Boston last year. If the Cubs can pull it off it will definitely fast forward the rebuild process.

      • MichiganGoat

        I actually think we might see a combination of buy and sell, if there are player out there the FO likes but have yet to perform or other teams want to avoid arbitration with (I have no idea who these players could be), or young players that have just had a bad cup o’coffee (Rizzo) and a a team is willing to flip prospects for (again Rizzo) I’m sure Theo will make that move. On the other side any of our pitchers are up for trade (I’d even say Shark if the deal is right). I actually think this trade deadline will be quite interesting because this is really the last year the team can afford to be completely ineffective before Kyle’s butthurt replicates and takes over the interweb ;)

      • MichiganGoat

        I think this butthurt you speak of will replicate if that happens.

    • J Wilson

      I couldn’t agree more. Say the Cubs are .500 in early July, will that really make any reasonable fan believe the Cubs could win a series against a handful of teams in the NL? Edwin Jackson gave up 3ER to a pathetic Mets lineup yesterday and people are saying he pitched well…no he didn’t, he left 2 fastballs over the middle and gave up a double to the pitcher…come on, and these people think he can get through the better lineups allowing a couple runs max? Because we know the offense won’t muster much against top SPs.

  • Die hard

    Cubs would score more than 5 every game if Castro lead off as that’s where most comfortable

    • MichiganGoat

      So it was 6, then it was 4, now it’s 5 if Castro leads off. It’s amazing we scored 8 runs today.

      • Die hard

        More than ….was the qualifier — last I looked 6 follows 5 not counting fractions

    • Rcleven

      Castro has no bearing. To average 5 runs a game the back of the order would sure have to pick it up. That is where the luck comes in. In two years Castro should be hitting seventh or eighth. That’s when the Cubs will be scoring 5 runs a game.

      • Die hard

        I have suggested more than once that our several good hitting pitchers bat 8

  • Jim Crane

    Right now AGon, Votto, and Goldschmidt are probably leading the charge for starting 1B in the All Star game, but Rizzo is coming on! It is great to see the Cubs make a move that is paying dividends already!

  • JoyceDaddy

    It would be nice to see Feldman continue to pitch like this, I bet Thed Hoystein could find a good prospect out there in return for him. I’d like to see Garza extended (assuming he pitches well this season without any other injuries) and stick with Samardzija and Jackson when 2013 is over. I don’t know how I feel about Wood, he’s Bosio’s “project” this season and that seems to be working, but I don’t see T.Wood’s stuff getting any better than it is this year. Shark-Garza-Jackson-Appel/Gray-Wood/?? sounds like a pretty awesome pitching staff assuming Appel/Gray makes the jump to the big leagues pretty quickly. I’m also curious to see how Baker fits into the rotation when he’s ready this season.

  • Fastball

    If the Cubs are .500 at the deadline they will still trade DeJesus, Soriano and Barney. I don’t know that trading pitching gets us anywhere. I want to stockpile pitching because you can never have enough. Hell the Cubs should know that better than anyone. I keep Valbuena as a utility infielder who hits LH is hard to find. We get a ML ready 3b I’m happy. We have plenty OFer’s who can be a DJ replacement.

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

    June looks promising with a big opportunity to make up ground in our division with series against the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers. Not to mention we play the struggling Mets and Astros again, with two games against the DBacks and Angels (who may still be struggling by then) and then a 3 game series with the Mariners. If we win each series and split the 4 game and 2 game series, we’ll be:

    19-24 Mets, 21-25 Pirates, 23-26 Reds, 25-28 WSux, 27-29 DBacks, 28-30 Angels, 30-31 Pirates, 32-33 Reds, 34-34 Mets, 36-36 Cardinals, 38-37 Astros, 40-38 Brewers, 42-39 Mariners… by July.

    If Garza starts effectively and our bullpen gets stronger, we have a chance to improve. If we’re 48-44 going into the All-Star Break, we could become “buyers” depending on the rest of the NL Central. But that could change, because we have a 4 game series against the Dbacks and Brewers, with a 3 game series vs. the Giants in between right after the ASB.

    I’m sure if we trade off some pieces, we can still be competitive. Dealing DeJesus, Garza, Schierholtz, Soriano, and Villaneva can get us a haul. It’ll be hard to watch an OF with Borbon in LF, Jackson in CF, and Sweeney in RF, but that’s assuming a trade won’t get back a major-league ready outfielder.

    • Jason P

      Very unlikely we’ll win 2 series against the Reds, and I’m sure we won’t win every series against teams who are just as good as/ worse than us.

      It’s also very unlikely we deal all 3 of our outfielders simply because of the fact that it’s difficult to put together that many quality trades. It’ll probably be a lot like next year in that maybe we deal 2 starting pitchers and 2 position players.

      Here’s my (totally speculative) guess: teams won’t want to give up a lot for Villanueva, so we keep him. We deal Feldman. No one will want to deal a top prospect for 2+ months of Garza, so we keep – and hopefully extend – him. Russell will go, but nobody else in the bullpen will be worth dealing.

      I bet Dejesus goes, but Schierholtz and Soriano stay. If teams wouldn’t part with a solid prospect or 2 for Soriano in the offseason when we offered to eat $26 million of the $36 million remaining on his contract and when he was coming off a 32 HR – 108 RBI season, why would they do it now?

      • Jason P

        I meant to say a lot like last year in the 2nd paragraph.

      • Anonnifan

        I don’t see us trading Russell. He’s under team control until 2016, by which time the FO hopes to be in yearly contention.

  • deej34

    I understand the desire to nitpick giving up two runs, but a win is a win so enjoy it people. And talk about what it would take to avoid a sell-off… but let’s be realistic. We are going to sell. This team is playing well but has too many holes to make the playoffs. And for the longterm life of this club, it’s playoffs or rebuilding. Not spending for the sake of spending to ultimately finish in 3rd or 4th place year after year. That was the old FO and where did that get us?

    Celebrate the wins when they happen. But be prepared to trade away today’s talent for the greater good.

  • Rebuilding

    So with a quality start tomorrow Wood would have the best steak ever by a Cubs pitcher. Maybe we already traded for our lefthanded ace? Ok, I’ll put the blue koolaid down now

    • kuvihorken

      Wood only eats the finest, most expensive, steak.

  • Sam

    Don’t jinx him Brett!!!

  • mysterious4th

    Feldman might have a higher batting average than Barney soon.

    If your PBR is half full it means we have a decent hitting pitcher

    If your PBR is half empty it means…hell that’s just bad

    • Anonnifan

      If you’re drinking a PBR at all, you need to jump off the Hipster bandwagon and start branching out. Unless you are a good ole boy, in which case, carry on.

  • Josh Harrold

    Slightly off topic, got home from work and tried to watch the game on mlb.tv but it is acting up, is anybody else having problems with it?

  • Alb_daKID

    We’ve had a good run of late. IMO, if by the break, if we are not over .500 and climbing I think we are sellers. If the club is .500 why buy? The stars would have to align and team chemistry would have to be ubber perfect for this club to make a legitimate deep run in the playoffs.
    Can we beat the Braves in a playoff series?? No! Can we truly contend with the contenders?? No! I think we sell at .500. Maybe not sell off as much as originally thought, but definitely sell of the Sorianos, DDJ’s and the Feldmans of this club.
    I like the plan of this FO with trying to abundantly stock the farm to the point we are overflowing with talent. This way we can insert players in holes needed as well as have the chips to make impact trades to boost us over the hump to legitimate contenders.
    We have already seen the playoffs and the 1-n-done appearances. Quite frankly, making the playoffs is not enough anymore. Making a deep run with a legitimate chance of pushing through is the goal. This club would have to pick up some major pieces at the deadline to be such a contender. I think we stay pat, sell off the surplus value and see what we can pick up in terms of prospects and see where we stand in the Price/Stanton race if avail in the offseason.
    Add to that whatever pieces we can pick up in the offseason. By that time we should have another core player or two to add to the current core with a much brighter future for the almighty sustained success. Oh, and btw T.Wood is a non-trade candidate IMO. Lets extend him. 1 more year of selloff guys, lets not jump the GUN!!

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Watched some of the Pitt v Louisville game today and saw a nice catcher playing for Pitt who is a 21 year old draft eligible soph. His name is Elvin Soto and he is a switch hitter who has thrown out fifty percent of runners attempting to steal off him. He is hitting well over .300 with some decent power numbers. According to scouts he should be available in rounds 3/4. This would be a nice pick for the Cubs to start developing some catching depth.

  • Tony

    Is anyone paying attention to run differential? The Cubs are only -2 on the year in run differential, yet they are 6 games under .500. Nationals are -7, but are 4 games over .500. Oakland is only +1 and is 21-22. San Fran is only +8 and are 24-18. The Cubs are 6 games behind the Giants but only have a run differential difference from the Giants of 10. Maybe the Cubs are better than we think they are.

    • jt

      metrics like run differential are quick and dirty.
      quality quick and dirty indicators are important, though, both for screening and to point to questions that should be asked.

      • Kyle

        When you get into deeper metrics beyond run differential, the Cubs actually come off looking better. They are better than average in a lot of the peripheral predictors.

        • jt

          At least until recently so far 2013 has been a year of the pitchers. Cubs have been deep at SP’ing. Seems as the the recent consistency of Rizzo is for real. If so, he is turning into a monster. Seems Scherholtz, Valbuena and Castillo were under-valued. Castro has started to hit some balls over OF’ers heads.
          Yeah, there is a lot of good stuff happening. I just get the feeling that a lot of these guys are just now realizing how to effectively play at this level.
          RH hitting platoon needs to improve. Jury is out on the BP’s recent improvement. I think the defense will tighten up but who knows?
          I worry about depth. Do they have avg. replacement value in case of injury or sub-par performance?

          • Anonnifan

            I agree with you on Scherholtz and Valbuena, but Castillo looks like a .250 hitter to me. Always has.

    • Die hard

      You nailed it— Sveum mismanaging is why… Sandberg would have had team .500 by now

      • AB

        Prove it

      • Rich H

        Can we please put this to bed? I understand the reason that Sandberg was not a candidate. You understand why as well but you can not seem to get past it. The one thing that we did not want in a rebuild is a manger that has more nostalgia sentiment than experience. If he failed then the FO would have lost what ever goodwill they have built by the time the change was going to happen. It was the best for everyone involved that Sandberg was not interviewed. He may end up being a very good manager but let time decide whether or not this was a smart move and keep sentiment out of it.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Pierce Johnson threw tonite and got in six shutout innings with 9 K’s against Clinton for Kane County Cubs.

  • jt

    forgotten man is Baker. If he returns and pitches well at the end of June / begin of July they then have an extra pitcher with which to barter.
    Another forgotten man is Arodys. Does he contribute at all in the 2nd half?
    Perhaps we have to hurry up and wait.

    • Noah

      If Arodys pitches for the big league team in 2013, it will be as a reliever. Baker is still a couple of months away. You cross that bridge when you come to it.

      • jt

        I would think that getting 20 effective BP IP from Vizcaino total for August and September would be a major shot in the arm for the team? It could even obviate the need to trade for a BP arm.
        According to your time line, Baker could pitch July 19 (the day after The AS break) the 24th and 29th. They could then evaluate the need for Feldman an decide to pull the trigger on a deadline deal ( or not ).
        Sure, none of this is written in stone. But both are within the realm and both should be considered.

  • ssckelley

    Got to see Kane County play tonight, Pierce Johnson pitched a great game and his fastball was hitting 92 but he mixes his pitches real well. I’ve only seen one game but Rock Shoulders appears to be right up there with Vogs, I came away impressed with him. Ofc it helped seeing him knock it out to the deepest part of Perfect Game Stadium.

  • Nick

    Cano’s a FA next year…

  • 70’scub

    pass on Cano! right now were ahead in the standings compared to both LA teams plus the Blue Jays and the Brewers. Big money and many years on 30 something talent is fools gold, look at the Braves 2nd base situation very much like our left field situation.

  • 70’scub

    Sell big
    now to fill future needs this is not the year for the Cub! Get real we need gifted talent that is under 24-25 years old. That is and should be the main focus of this management team. Dale to me may be a future Bobby Cox type manager in terms of bringing on young talent.

  • Dustin S

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the top 2 draft picks are going to be Gray and Bryant, in either order. Gray has been pitching well lately, and Bryant just hit his almost ridiculous 30th HR this season in only 201 ABs. Last year as a Cubs fan was painful, but it’s going to be fun seeing who they end up getting.

    I just don’t see Appel going higher than #3 now. Appel’s recent starts haven’t been very good, and his previous signing problems are going to be a knock against him. I didn’t realize until I went back and took a closer look how difficult he was in dealing with the Pirates last year when they drafted him. Feel free to go back how that all went down and make up your own mind, but it didn’t put him in a very good light at all. The Pirates bent over backwards and offered as much as they could, almost 2/3 of their total draft allotment money, and he still turned them down.

    • Anonnifan

      The difference is that Appel no longer has the option to play college ball. He either signs, or he goes overseas. Unless you happen to know that he is stricken by wanderlust, the team that signs him will have more leverage than the Pirates had last year.

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  • Jason

    Brett, looks like you’re the Rizzo jinx…The day after you point out his 40 straight PA with no K’s, he whiffs three times today…

    Earlier you posted something about him having a great year despite his low BA, and he goes 0-for-5 I believe…Stop saying positive things about Rizzo! :)

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