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white win flag wrigleyI can’t help myself …

With yesterday’s blowout win, the Cubs now have a +1 run differential on the year, meaning that they’ve scored one more run this year than they’ve given up. That’s the hallmark of a .500 or better team, and yet the Cubs have a losing record, at 21-30.

Know how many other teams have a positive run differential and a losing record?

Yup: none.

The Cubs – who are nine games below .500 – are the only team that has outscored its opponents and doesn’t have a winning record to show for it. The Nationals and Giants have a negative run differential, and they have winning records. Hell, the Mariners have a -43 run differential(!!!), and they have a better winning percentage than the Cubs!

It should be unsurprising, then, to learn that Baseball Prospectus still has the Cubs as the unluckiest team in baseball when studying the underlying statistics, and calculates that the Cubs’ record should be right around 28-23. Wrap your head around that.

… but then I remind you that even a 28-23 Cubs team would be five games behind the Pirates and Reds for second place in the NL Central and the wistfulness fades slightly. The NL Central appears to be crazy tough this year, and, even if the Cubs were recording wins at a pace commensurate with their performance, they’d still be fighting for 4th place.

To reasonable stave off a mid-season sell-off, the Cubs will need to be a little over .500 by the All-Star break – let’s say 47-45. Otherwise, given the division and the struggles early, it would be counterproductive to keep this team together just so that it has the privilege of finishing with 75 wins instead of 70 (frankly, even at 47-45, I’m not so sure keeping the team together is the right move unless the Cubs are going to BUY). To get to those 47 wins by the All-Star break, the Cubs have to go 26-15 over the next 41. Doable? Yes. They play a weaker schedule ahead than they have so far.

But even the underlying stats don’t suggest the Cubs are that good. Which means that, if the Cubs are going to make that kind of run, they’re going to need a lot of good luck. And luck hasn’t been on their side so far.

  • Mark

    One reason why the Cubs have that record….one reason…two words. Carlos Marmol.

    • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

      I think you misspelled Shawn Camp.

      • SirCub

        That’s warmer. Camp had a negative WPA in 9 games this year, 7 of which the Cubs went on to lose. But if you really look at it, you can only really give him credit for two of the losses (and even then, you can’t give him all the credit (though that grand salami against Pittsburg was pretty bad (but even in that case, he wasn’t the one that loaded the bases))).

        Long story short: we want to blame bullpen meltdowns because they are the most egregious examples of Cubs suckitude, but they do not account for how badly the Cubs have been under-performing their numbers to this point in the season.

        • Kyle

          There are other teams with very bad bullpens, and they mostly don’t have the same negative variance that we have.

          • B_Scwared

            I don’t think it is necessarily “bad luck”. Luck, good or bad, is some kind of unintended consequence. We are intentionally letting players continue to play, in spite of playing poorly, because of the potential to create trade value. These players are contributing in a larger way to these weird stats. I think teams that are rebuilding and trying to shed undesirable contracts are more likely to have these type of bizzare statistics.

            All that being said, I continue to support what the FO is doing. I just think this is in some way brought on by the larger strategic decisions regarding what we are trying to get out of these players. I don’t think its pure coincidence.

            • Kyle

              I don’t think we are doing that, and if we were, that would be accounted for in things like OPS and run differential.

            • SirCub

              Pfft, runs. What a weird stat.

        • mak

          I agree with your point. The bullpen is the easiest problem to “see,” but the poor defense and “unlucky” hitting with RISP are equally to blame.

    • SirCub

      Carlos Marmol has had a negative WPA in a total of four games this year, two of which the Cubs went on to win. At the most, you can credit him with two losses.

      Not the difference between 21-30 and 28-23.

  • Rich

    There a lot of smart people that comment about statistics and offer good analysis…I am not one of those people..this stat, to me is less relevant…than others..

    It seems that if a team has good offense and scores a ton of runs but has average pitching would have a higher + total..vs..a good pitching team with average hitting can still be winning games by a lower margin …

    sometimes is it analysis paralysis….I am curious about the comments to this stat / article…

    • Kyle

      History tells us something very simple: a team’s run-differential does a better job of predicting their future than their actual record.

      So if you knew nothing else about the Cubs, the fact that they have a +1 run differential tells you more about how they are likely to do for the rest of the season than their 21-30 record.

      There’s still a ton of room for analysis beyond knowing just those two things, of course.

      • SirCub

        I happen to think the Cubs are more likely to perform closer to the 21-30 record the rest of the way though, for two reasons:

        1. regression
        2. trade deadline

        • Kyle

          That’s very possible.

      • http://Isa Voice of reason

        I’ve said it before and I will say it again. This cubs team is overachieving. The starting pitching is by far better than anyone expected. The offense, the defense and the bullpen are bad as expected. Just the nugget of the starters performing the way they are has lead to this better than I expected record at this point.

        While sveum takes some heat and I give him heat, too, You actually have to give him credit for, in some strange way, turning mud into semi wine.

        • Kyle

          No, it isn’t. A lot of us expected the starting pitching to be good.

          In fact, pretty much all of us who did any sort of real analysis expected it. The only people who didn’t were the ones whose idea of projecting the Cubs is moaning “No hope! No hope!” over and over again.

          • http://Isa Voice of reason

            So you expected wood and Feldman to come out of the gate and pitch this well? Seriously?

            If you did and you can project things like that then you should be working in a from office some where.

            I’d like for you to go on record and say if they will continue to pitch this way? Feldman and wood should be pitching in the all star game. You really said that they would do this well?

            • SirCub

              Nope, but everybody expected Jackson’s results to be *much* better than they have been thus far.

              Villenueva and Samardzija’s performances have been pretty much in-line with projections. And Feldman and Wood were both expected to be good, if not this good.

              So, on the balance, yea this is about what we expected from this group.

              • Cubbie Blues

                agreed

            • andoalex

              Can’t forget that everyone expected Garza to be back pretty much opening day until his injury in spring training. So I would say starting pitching is right about where it should be, total. Although obviously some have performed better than expected while others not so much

            • Kyle

              Wood and Feldman haven’t pitched that well. Don’t be fooled by the ERA, look deeper.

              But if you count them as surprises, they are easily balanced out by Garza’s injury and Jackson’s “ineffectiveness.”

              • http://Isa Voice of reason

                Yet there was another study on this website a couple weeks ago that said Jackson hasn’t pitched that poorly based on stats.

                That’s the thing about stats. While many are very useful they can be spun and turned to spit out crazy figures like isn’t pitching that poorly. Now that’s ridiculous.

                I’m sure you can show me a stat that dejesus is the best leadoff hitter on Thursday nights during 9pm central time starts when there are over 6,0000 people in attendance.

                The bottom line is wins and losses. And, based on those numbers right now the cubs are over achieving. Now, dig in and tell us why……

                • Edwin

                  It’s not that Jackson isn’t getting poor results. He is. It’s that based on advanced statistical metrics, we can expect Jackson to perform better going forward.

                  • Bric

                    Ed, I’ll remember this comment and will respectfully bring it back up to you in Oct. for two reasons:
                    1.- It might suck but Jackson’s probably headed to the DL as soon as a spot opens up because right now he just aint right.
                    2- There’s a big difference between sabermatricians and sabermagicians.

                • Edwin

                  To quote Dave Cameron :

                  “The word luck undermines the actual point of DIPS, which is not that the pitcher has no control over the outcome of a ball in play, but that variations in outcomes on balls in play don’t tell us much about what to expect from a pitcher’s future outcomes on balls in play. It’s not so much about being lucky as it is about doing something that isn’t likely to repeat in future. It’s more about repeatability or sustainability than what most people consider to be luck”

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/tim-lincecum-bad-luck-or-bad-pitches/

                  This is similar to what people are talking about when they say that Jackson has “performed well” or been “unlucky”. Same with Wood and Feldman (from across the hall).

      • Timmy

        This is true, but numbers can be misleading, especially when they’re not exceptionally differentiated. The Cubs could have won a game 12-3 and then lost 5 games in a row in which they never had a chance 4-2 and only come up -1.

        WAR is interesting in this way, but all of these arguments that Miggy was somehow inferior to Trout after winning the triple crown struck me as fantasy baseball stats geeks not actually watching games. WAR can’t broach intangibles, such as how they pitch around players, how the lineup is consolidated by a guy who’s that amazing thus accentuating talents of other players, etc. In the end a team just needs durable, experienced, ambitious players who play well together. Tampa are geniuses at putting teams like that in order.

        • Kyle

          “This is true, but numbers can be misleading, especially when they’re not exceptionally differentiated. The Cubs could have won a game 12-3 and then lost 5 games in a row in which they never had a chance 4-2 and only come up -1.”

          History tells us that a team that does that is more likely to perform like a .500 team than a .166 team in their remaining games. That’s not the stat being misleading, that’s you resisting what the stat is teaching you.

          ” such as how they pitch around players,”

          Stats can definitely measure that.

          “how the lineup is consolidated by a guy who’s that amazing thus accentuating talents of other players”

          I’m not sure that actually means anything, literally. It’s vague and sounds wise, but I can’t decide what it’s actually supposed to mean.

          ” In the end a team just needs durable, experienced, ambitious players who play well together.”

          Same as above.

          “Tampa are geniuses at putting teams like that in order.”

          That didn’t stop Tampa from winning five games fewer than their run differential suggested they should last year, a margin that cost them a playoff spot.

          • Timmy

            Demarcating my points may remove their context but the basic point stands. The Cubs aren’t losing because of bad luck or a curse. It’s cause the team sucks, ownership won’t bring in experienced players, and our current players aren’t motivated right now. A stat is indicative of a process but doesn’t explain the tenor of that process.

            • TWC

              “our current players aren’t motivated right now”

              Oh man, my bullshit meter just flew off my desk. Aren’t motivated? And you know this how? (Please please please say it’s the “eyeball test”.)

              • Cyranojoe

                TWTW!!!!!!!!!

            • mak

              I think, actually, demarcating all of your points means your point does not stand. The Cubs aren’t losing because of experience (see Tampa) or motivation (come on).

              “Luck” has a different meaning in sabermeterics. It really means “irregular according to the information we have” and, therefore, performance is likely to regress to the mean (what the stats say the mean should be). If you can grasp this concept, the points made by Brett, Kyle, etc. become irrefutable.

              • Timmy

                You guys must be right, our team is built to complete with the best and we’ve just had a couple of aw shucks moments. The stats tell us so…

                • BT

                  because that’s what everyone is saying….

                • TWC

                  Yeah! Reductio ad absurdum! Solid way to make a point.

                  Perhaps you just “aren’t motivated right now”?

                • Kyle

                  Actually, yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying.

                  Well, maybe not the best. But we are built to compete with the pretty goods.

                  • Timmy

                    This is just wrong. The team is openly and deliberately built to _not_ complete, so says Theo multiple times so he can get higher draft picks, so the Ricketts can profit before they have to put revenues into the organization, and until Soriano’s contract is over.

                    I always root for the team but I don’t understand the bizarre complacency with losing on purpose and then blaming other factors that aren’t the causal reasons. Maybe it’s just fan optimism though, which is fine of course.

                    • Kyle

                      I’m going to need the precise quotes where Theo said that, please.

                      (Hint: He didn’t. )

                    • BT

                      How about some VAGUE quotes where Theo said that? Timmy, it’s certainly possibly you’ve completely misunderstood literally everything that’s come out of Theo’s mouth, but that’s not his fault. Saying that the team with have no problem pulling the trigger on trades IF they are not competing is NOT the same thing as saying they are purposefully not competing.

        • willis

          I think the pitching has been about what we expected. If you balance out Jackson’s results and Garza’s injury and results so far, coupled with Wood and Feldman’s strong starts, it’s about what we thought. I expected Jackson to be much better and to be getting more from Garza at this point. I had no idea Feldman would be this effective, nor Wood. Overall though, the rotation ERA can’t really surprise too many of us. Hopefully it will continue.

          • Bric

            Agreed. I felt very confident in Wood and not at all confident in Feldman. I also felt much more confident in Jackson and much less confident in Shark. And Garza’s been a question mark all along. Every year there are players that exceed expectations and players that falter.

            But all in all I’m pretty happy the Cubs are only 7 games under .500. It could be a lot worse and few of us expected it to be much better.

      • randy jones

        predicting is correct. You know like playing the stock market.. Numbers arent everything

        • Cubbie Blues

          The numbers are everything. Would you like to lose 10%, but show a lot of heart and hustle while doing it? How about lose 4-3 with grit and determination?

  • Rich

    where is Doc Peter W…

  • JB88

    I’ll be honest, this is sort of the best of both worlds to me. The Cubs are clearly improving—and frankly doing it by leaps and bounds over last year—and they are going to bank another top 10 draft pick. Maybe a top 5 draft pick.

    Now, what I am particularly hopeful for is that management realizes this is a team on the rise and doesn’t perform a complete sell-off. I’m all for trading DeJesus, Soriano, Marmol (anybody willing), but I’d love to see if they can keep Feldman and Garza around. Well, at least, Garza if they can land him for a team friendly deal. My biggest fear is that management sells off these pieces and what they bring in next year isn’t as good.

    • BluBlud

      I concur

    • frank

      That’s what I was thinking–if the team’s record is largely a product of bad luck, wouldn’t it be counterproductive, in the long run, to implement a major sell-off?

      • Kyle

        I will be very disappointed if we do any major selling of pieces that are under control for 2014.

        The problem with extending Garza and Feldman is that they are getting up there in age for pitchers and are going to want multi-year deals. It’s going to be hard to let them go, but I think it’s for the best.

        • BluBlud

          Yeah. Trade garza if there is a good return, trade Feldman(recently changed my mind on this one), Sori if we can and Marmol if at all possible. Those would be my only four trade pieces, unless someone gives us something for Gregg.

  • BluBlud

    I honestly don’t think 47-45 is out of the question. The Cubs would have to go 26-15 over that stretch, but I have seen enough from this team to think it’s possible. I doubt it happens, but it is possible.

    • mak

      While I agree that they are playing the type of ball that .500 teams play, they’ve dug themselves pretty deep. They’ve got Cincy, Pit and STL along with AZ in June. They’d have to really get hot.

  • EQ76

    If they go on a little run, say 8 of 10 or so, it wouldn’t surprise me. Then the record will start looking more like it should. It will be interesting to see what they do if they are a .500 team at the deadline but far behind the top 3 division teams still. I’d predict a few players get traded and that’s it.. (Feldman, DeJesus, Old Gregg)

  • Kyle

    I think the Pirates will come back to the pack quite a bit, but the fact that the NL Central is brutal this year is definitely not helping our case.

    If we’re a true .549 win team (28-23), then the odds of winning at least 26 of our next 41 are 17.4%. That’s not insignificant.

    It’ll be fascinating to see if this front office would fire sale a team that is above .500 but, say, 7-9 games out of the wild cards.

    • Kyle

      If you want to see something really cute, find a Brewer fan site and just lurk. Among the NL Central, they have the worst MLB team, the worst farm system, the second worst front office (not a bad one, this is just a tough division full of smart FOs) and probably the second-worst financial situation. But they cling to the hope that it’s not that bad.

      • SirCub

        It’s hard to revel in Brewer horribleness while the Reds and Cards are so good, though.

        • Kyle

          That makes it *easier*. I have to revel in somebody’s horribleness. The rest of the division is pretty scary.

          The Pirates’ window should be open for another year, maybe two, after this one. If they want it to last longer, they need to have very high hit rates with their top prospects and FA moves. Their front office is pretty solid, but they have little margin for error.

          The Reds are loaded with MLB talent, have a very smart front office, and have a solid farm system.

          And then there’s the #$%#@$ Cardinals. I’m terrified of having them in the division for the next decade. It’s going to suck six ways from Sunday. They have everything you could possibly want in building a franchise. An elite MLB roster, the best farm system in baseball (possibly by a very wide margin), a very savvy front office, plenty of financial flexibility.

          • SirCub

            What angers me most about the Cardinals is that they both have a loaded farm system and a ridiculously high hit rate on their prospects (and non-prospects). Basically, if anyone puts on a Cardinals jersey, they’re instantly awesome. Its not fair.

          • Werner

            I so despise the Cardinals. So, so, so much. But where does this elite farm system come from? Just the draft? Coaching? Where?

            • Edwin

              All over. They draft well. They trade well. They sign well. They develope well. They even coach well. I’ll bet they even chew gum better than the Cubs.

          • Jarder

            You forgot to mention that they are probably the best team at player development too. How are they able to get guys like Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams to be quality major leaguers when teams like the Royals and Mariners can’t get their best prospects to develop into average players.

            • Kyle

              Ugh. That’s also true.

              And keep in mind, the wild card is now split in half. Winning the division matters a lot. And that’s something Epstein and Co. were never able to do in Boston, iirc.

          • Rebuilding

            I think the Pirates window is going to be open for awhile. With Cole and Taillion and the development of Locke they are going to have a solid rotation. Not to mention that they seem to be pretty good at picking up arms off the scrap heap. Then you have the explosion of Marte this year along with McCutcheon . That’s a beautiful ballpark so if they continue winning they should be able to lock up their own guys

            • Kyle

              TINSTAAPP should be very concerning to them.

            • Dave

              I agree the Pirates most likely will be getting better not worse.
              Throw in the Reds and Cards and it is going to be very difficult for the Cubs to make the playoffs much less have sustained success in this division in the foreseeable future.

          • patrick

            I disagree I actually hope the Cards are solid for the next decade that would make some classic matchups. I have no doubt the Cubs can/will go toe-to-toe (if not better) then the cards over the next decade. Obviously I am drinking the Kool-Aid but with our farm our picks, our $$ has me hopeful for the next decade.

            • SirCub

              Oh, I would *love* for the Cubs to battle it out with a great Cards team atop the division year-in year-out, Yankees-Red Sox style.

              But until we get there… it’s painful.

              • TWC

                “Oh, I would *love* for the Cubs to BEAT a great Cards team atop the division year-in year-out, Yankees-Red Sox style.”

                FTFY.

            • Kyle

              I have a lot of doubt. Their farm >>> our farm.

      • @cubsfantroy

        But, but, but, Ryan Braun, Corey (can’t stay healthy) Hart, Jean Segura, they will lead us to the promised land.

        I live in Wisconsin and my fiancé’s family is all Brewer fans. I hear this crap on a daily basis. I also hear about how much better they are than the Cubs.

      • hansman1982

        I think you just described the Cubs blogosphere from about 2-3 years ago.

        • Kyle

          Well, at the time, we thought we had money.

          • hansman1982

            The Cubs brokeness has been greatly exaggerated.

            • pete

              Yeah, it’s kind of like a lot of the austerity programs in Europe – more self-imposed than anything else.

        • MichaelD

          The current Brewers situation reminds me a lot of where the Cubs were in 2010, even down to the calling up of a hot-shot SS prospect.

  • Jacob

    Also, if the Cubs were sitting at 28-23, chances are, that some of those wins would be against the three teams at the top of the division.. so it wouldn’t be *as* far of a gap.

    • SirCub

      Good point, Jacob.

      • Jacob

        Thanks, SirCub.

        I’m okay with this stat though. It seems to me like the Cubs are improving (by the eye test and by the numbers), but they still will get a good draft pick next year. I really am starting to believe they can surprise some people next year.. but who knows. We’ll see.

        • FFP

          Am I more pissed that Jacob beat me to this point or that SirCub beat me to telling him so?

          Your additional point that “the Cubs are improving” is not a minor one, it is only hidden by that big fat Win Loss record. That’s why many (other) people will be surprised by the change that’s coming.

          • Jacob

            I agree completely. I am starting to expect a competitive team next year, W/L wise (because really they are competitive right now), and most people will see it as an A’s or Orioles thing… but we will see it coming! haha.

  • Alex

    Burnett sent down, Putnam called up.

  • another JP

    I’m not of the opinion that the Cubs will falter like last season if they deal some of their players. Garza has been a non-factor to this point and we have other options to replace Dejesus (Sweeney, Bogs) and Feldman (Villanueva) that won’t severely affect our record. This FO has been aggressive about building talent depth overall and that will eventually pay off in wins despite a trade deadline sell-off.

  • Kyle

    When Doc ran his analysis, the Cubs’ net OPS was .032.

    Now it’s up to .041. I don’t even want to imagine how awful the differential would look like now.

  • Rebuilding

    Let’s not forget about the 2nd wildcard. Right now it’s the Pirates, but they have had two straight years of total collapse in the 2nd half and are playing way above their heads right now. After that it’s the Giants at 28-25. So, right about where we “should be”. I expect the Nationals and one team out of the West to pick it up, however.

    No matter what I think this team needs to be smart sellers with the idea of competing in 2014. We aren’t that far away

  • David

    Imagine If the cubs would’ve been able to sign Grilli and his 22 saves instead of Pitts. Does that make the Cubs 3 or 4 games better and the Pirates 4 or 5 games worse? Cubs are 11 games behind Pitts, perhaps Grilli would have made it 3 games? 4? Aggghr. Why didn’t we get him, again?

    • Hookers or Cake

      We didn’t get him because he was a 36 yr old reliever with 1 1/2 year of success (90 innings) who wanted a 3 year contract to leave Pittsburgh. No one was really upset about it at the time.

  • Rebuilding

    Also, with our seeming surplus of SP it’s interesting that yesterday 3 true contenders (WAS, SF and BAL) all had rookies making their major league debuts get pounded. You also have LA and KC that went all-in this year and need SP. Looks like a seller’s market

    • Cubbie Blues

      You never really have a surplus of SP.

      • Rebuilding

        Agreed. That’s why I said seeming. At least this year we have a few guys to replace those traded away. If Baker can pitch in the second half it would really help

        • willis

          Doubtful he does much, and if he does, he won’t be effective.

  • Bob Johnson

    Kyle, I think most baseball people that get paid to evaluate players would not agree with you that Wood & Feldman haven’t done that well, regardless of what stats are used.

    • Kyle

      I bet you they wouldn’t.

      • SirCub

        Feldman: 2.82 ERA 3.92 FIP 3.78 xFIP
        Wood: 2.73 ERA 3.76 FIP 4.59 xFIP

        Wood is a career low BABIP guy though, so we can believe some of his ERA, but if/when his HR rates come back up, it’s going to get uglier. Overall though, they’ve both been solid, if not excellent.

        • Kyle

          Sure. They’ve been better than average, which I think was a reasonable expectation for both coming into the season.

          • SirCub

            Yup. Any team would love to have one of these guys rounding out the back of their rotation. As I’m sure we’ll see come July.

  • 70′scub

    Guys Wood is young, ERA, Wins and getting deep in games is what matters for starters and he is improving in both areas. Feldman is pitching great and he is staying healthy what more do you want! The FO does not have alot of money tied up in these two. Total run difference is a non issue, it is about winning one run games!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Don’t forget about belly-fire and wanting it more than the next guy. W/L for a pitcher is meaningless. They can only control a portion of the game. They don’t field the ball and can’t control how many runs his team puts on the board. A pitcher’s W/L record is a team stat and should *never* be looked at to tell if a pitcher is doing well or not.

      • http://Isa Voice of reason

        What if there are two starters and….

        The first finishes the year 26 and 1 with a 4.55 era and in 190 innings gave up 191 hits. He started 35 games.
        By the way, that team won it’s division.

        Pitcher number two finishes the year 15 and 15 with a 3.05 era and in 190 innings gave up 145 hits. He started 35 games.
        His team finished in last place.

        Knowing that you are saying that you should not look at won-loss records who had the better year?

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Probably pitcher #2.

    • randy jones

      agree

  • john

    I think this record is a combination of poor bullpen performance and poor managerial decisions. Bad luck? Sounds like an excuse….

  • john

    if only Dale couldve restrained from using Marmol and Camp in tight games….

  • john

    “given the division and the struggles early, it would be counterproductive to keep this team together just so that it has the privilege of finishing with 75 wins instead of 70 (frankly, even at 47-45, I’m not so sure keeping the team together is the right move unless the Cubs are going to BUY). ”

    THIS MENTALITY IS WHY WE LOSE SO MANY CLOSE GAMES. THIS FRONT OFFICE SHOWS A DISGUSTING LACK OF URGENCY. PEOPLE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. MARMOL, CAMP, SVEUM, SHOULD ALL BE GONE

    • Cubbie Blues

      Pssst. Your caps lock is on.

  • Dustin S

    The schedule for the next 3 weeks is the real gut check time IMO. Other than a 3 game stint vs. the Mets, the upcoming series in that time all look tough. Even a game against NYM with Harvey won’t be easy. The rest over the next 3 weeks are Arizona, the Angels, Pittsburgh, the Reds again (that one will be fun), and a 4 game set with the Cardinals. The Cubs get an easier stretch after that, but we should know the verdict on sell or don’t sell by the end of that Cards series. It’s probably also going to take an amazing win streak over those 3 weeks to change the current trajectory. Just treading water and being still 9 games under .500 on June 21st likely won’t avoid a sell-off. But somehow against all odds going say 14-4 or 13-5 over those games and getting to .500 by then would give them a tough decision.

  • Kyle

    The last team I remember making these same arguments for was the 2002 Cubs. I remember ESPN (I think via Baseball Prospectus) did an article showing how astonishingly unlucky that team was. They had a run differential of -56 despite an OPS differential of just -.004, and they finished a shocking seven wins below their run differential expectation.

    The article concluded that whoever was hired to manage the Cubs in 2003 would look like a genius when the team made a stunningly rapid turnaround.

    • Cubbie Blues

      That kind of analysis could not have come from ESPN.

      • Kyle

        Sure it could. Don’t forget this was when Rob Neyer was one of the leading voices in sabermetrics, at least to the fans.

        • JB88

          It still saddens me to my core that ESPN decided to promote Buster Olney as its voice for baseball at the expense of Rob Neyer …

  • another JP

    For those of us that have believed in the plan Theo & the FO have devised, the improvement of the team was expected but just hasn’t resulted in a dramatic improvement in wins. Even the most optimistic fans, which would probably include myself, never suggested this team was going to make the playoffs (I figured this team was good for 77 wins). But when Konerko is reduced to admitting today that the Cubs beat the Sox in every facet of the game, that’s fairly significant. The Cubs not only beat Danks & Peavy, they had Sale beat until the rain arrived. And playing in a division where we trail three teams with the best record in the league doesn’t help matters either. The Cubs are playing good ball right now and it’s incredible how much of this fan base is still bitching.

  • 70′scub

    @another JP I expect the FO to build impact players from A-Ball up! 2-4 year process. So far I for one like the every day effort out of the new Cub management organization. The Cub organizational goal should be to surpass it’s division rivals from the bottom up A-ball to the MLB level.

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