Enhanced Box Score: Diamondbacks 2, Cubs 7 – May 31, 2013

That’s a five-game winning streak, boys and girls. And they’re coming in impressive fashion lately.

Matt Garza cruised through his seven innings of work today, running into only a touch of trouble in the sixth when the Diamondbacks strung some hits together. It wasn’t nearly enough to beat the Cubs who homered three times today, including another grand slam (this one by Scott Hairston, not a pitcher – lame).

may 31 box

Full box.

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

220 responses to “Enhanced Box Score: Diamondbacks 2, Cubs 7 – May 31, 2013”

  1. JulioZuleta

    Seven runs and two LOB. Not bad. I’d be interested to see how they’re hitting with RISP over the last few weeks.

    1. wkranz54

      Got you, over the course of the winning streak 15/38. .395

      1. Kyle

        Can’t be. They weren’t getting unlucky before, they were just gutless chokers who didn’t know how to hit with RISP.

        1. SirCub

          Is it coincidence that the Cubs have responded to hit so well with RISP since Dave Cameron calling them out for their lack of hustling / grit / determination / ability to control sequencing?

          Seems like another instance of the media challenging the athletes to step up their performance, a la Stephen A. Smith and Lebron James.

        2. randy jones

          Gutless chokers– What an assclown… You make Cubs fans look bad….

          1. TWC

            Uh, that was sarcasm, kid.

            The assclowns that make Cubs fans look bad are the ones trying to do the wave in the stands.

            1. randy jones

              I am certainly not a kid. I dare say I am older an a life long Cubs fan who gets a little tired of crapping on the team when they actually play well.

              1. TWC

                Well, I don’t know any adults who use the word “assclown” in regular parlance, son. And many — though not all — are able to interpret sarcasm.

                1. DarthHater


                  1. N8theGr8

                    Thanks, Darth. Best one ever, job well done, sir.

                2. Kyle

                  In his defense, I am a *total* assclown.

                  1. TWC

                    I can grant that exception.

              2. frank

                And you obviously haven’t been paying attention to some of the other discussions–hence not being able to pick up the sarcasm.

            2. cubmig

              Soooooo GLAD you pointed that out TWC. I hate the FF’en wave!

              1. TWC

                Totally embarrassing.

                1. @cubsfantroy

                  I love doing the wave. One of my many joys of going to Wrigley Stadium. I remember doing it and getting a thumbs up from Ryan Sandburg once.

                  1. TWC

                    Oh, my. This was so subtle that I almost freaked out.

                    Well done.

                  2. Thompsonville, Il_Cubs

                    Ok Jeff Gordon its Wrigley field not stadiam, just giving ya shit no hate!

          2. DarthHater

            Good thing you’re here to make them look so much better.

        3. jt

          Barney returned April 16 essentially replacing Lillybridge +0.540 OPS
          Ranson joined Cubs April 23 essentially replacing Gonzalez +0.196 OPS
          Borbon joined Cubs April 19 essentially replacing Sappelt +0.149 OPS
          Before his HR in 3 tries today Hairston’s May OPS was 0.127 higher than his April OPS. His May OPS prior to May 31 was 0.506. It is not that he got lucky in May. It is more that he has just plain sucked all year.
          Rizzo has shortened his swing. His 8 April HR’s have fallen to a count of 2 in May while his BA has risen 0.040 points. RISP is more dependent upon AB than SLG.
          And then there are the cookies the pitchers have been eating.
          The May Cubs offensive team has been better than the one they fielded in April.

          1. Mysterious4th

            It is cookies they are eating? Well damn I am trading in my Wheaties for cookies!

    2. wkranz54

      And actually .309 since the start of the WSH series

  2. Kyle

    There’s like a 30-40% chance this team gets to .500 sometime between now and the trade deadline. I look forward to the epic arguments about whether we should sell or not.

    1. Jason P

      You think so? 30-40% seems still too high for me. We’d still have to go 24-15 to make that happen, and this is a team that has been known to pull 6-game losing streaks out of nowhere. I’d say 10-15% chance at best.

      1. BT

        If the starting pitching continues to perform as well as they have, and as long as we can avoid playing the NL Central, it’s certainly possible. Not probable, but possible. The fact remains we should be sellers though, as .500 would still leave us 6 or 7 games out, behind a number of probably superior teams more inclined to sell assets to go for it this year.

      2. JulioZuleta

        Today is exactly 2 months from the deadline. 24-15 would be 39 games. They’ll play a lot more than that over the next 2 months. Also, they’re 7 under, not 9.

        1. Jason P

          But the decision to sell would have to be made a while before the actual trade deadline. The 39 games I was using are what’s left in the first half — probably the absolute latest the decision of whether to buy or sell could be made. We’re 7 under, so going 23-16 the rest of the half would put us at exactly .500. At that point, in this division, you’ve got to figure it really wouldn’t even be a decision. So 24-15 is what it would take to get us over. I probably should have clarified better.

          1. Kyle

            You most certainly can wait longer than that to decide. You scout as if you plan to sell, but you don’t have to pull the trigger until the last minute.

            1. Jason P

              If you do decide to go into all out sell mode, there’s no way you can put together as many quality deals as you’d like at the last minute. More importantly, if a contender calls asking about Feldman, Dejesus, or even Garza on July 15th, you have to have your mind made up. You can’t just say, “sorry, come back in 2 weeks, and I’ll let you know if they’re available” because there’s a good chance they’ll go elsewhere.

              Wait until the final minute, and you’re almost guaranteed not to get the type of return you want. It happened with Demspter last year. We waited until the final minute, we got desperate to unload him, and we got a mediocre (at best) return.

              It’s probably better to know whether you’re buying or selling even before the allstar break.

              In our case, it shouldn’t be a problem. The chance that we gain 9.5 games on a clearly more talented Cincinnati team just to get back into 3rd is miniscule.

              1. Kyle

                Sure you can. That’s *exactly* how major deals work. They call on July 15. You tell them “they might be available. Here’s about what level of return we are looking for if they are.” Then you do some finalized scouting reports on the names they list back as possibly available. They call back a few days later, you tell them “we’re still waiting to see if we’re in it or not. If we sell, then we want X, Y and Z.”

                Then on July 30, you call back and pull the trigger.

                There’s absolutely no reason you have to make the decision to trade them before the All-Star break.

                I’d say Pittsburgh is a more likely target than the Reds. We’re roughly equally talented with the Pirates.

      3. Kyle

        I’ve got us at 51 games until the deadline (not including the game on July 31 itself).

        To get to .500 on that date (ignoring the possibility that we get there at sometime before it), we’d have to go 29-22, just two wins better than our projection based on our peripherals.

        1. willis

          Definitely doable if the starting pitching can keep this up. Seeing that this team has just won 5 in a row, thinking they could go 7 games over .500 in the next 51 isn’t that far fetched.

          1. Rebuilding

            We maybe have one of the Top 4 starting staffs in the NL. Unfortunately, the Top 3 seem to be the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates. It’s really amazing how good the Central has gotten

            1. Die hard

              If this were a stock forum would be irrational exuberance over 5 up days

              1. TWC


                But it feels good.

                1. Die hard

                  But let’s dig deeper into the books- Castro and Bellyfire not contributing much which is bad over long haul for RE- lucky does not increase P/E and no dividends likely on Jackson investment

                  1. TWC

                    Meh. I’ll live in the moment, if only for today.

                  2. DarthHater

                    “We are all wrong so often that it amazes me that we can have any conviction at all over the direction of things to come. But we must.”
                    – Jim Cramer

              2. davidalanu

                But a week ago it would have been a good time to buy low on a stock that had gotten beaten up despite good fundamentals.

    2. JulioZuleta

      I’d like to see it, but they’d have to go 30-23 between now and then. I’d be a little bit surprised, but it’s possible. Even if they were at .500, I still say sell. As weird as it sounds, the NL CENTRAL…is…stacked? They’re at leas 9.5 GB of 3 different teams. I wouldn’t hold on to valuable pieces for an outside shot at a 1 game playoff to see if I even get in the playoffs. PS, the one game wild card playoff is dumb, partly for this reason. One game means nothing, except this rule makes it mean everything.

      1. Kyle

        That’s why I think this is so fascinating.

        Even if we play over our heads, that might not be enough to gain ground on the Pirates, who are good but not as good as the other two and really the only realistic hope to falter.

        Let’s say we get really hot and go 31-20 through July 30. We could be 54-50, but still 8 or 9 games out of the second wild card. Can you really firesale a 54-50 team?

        1. ssckelley

          I think the Cubs FO is hoping this scenario does not happen. I want to win as much as anybody and I cannot root for them to lose, but unless they are getting to the playoffs there is no difference between winning 60 games versus winning 81. All finishing .500 does for you is put you in the middle of the draft and cost them international pool money.

          Unless the Cubs can put together a crazy streak where they win another 10 in a row or something there is no way they will be buyers at the deadline. For me it is playoffs or bust and so far it looks like busts.

    3. Timothy Scarbrough

      Unless the three teams ahead of us drop by that time, .500 really wouldn’t be good enough to justify all out buying.

    4. DarthHater

      If the Cubs get to .500 this season, I’ll eat my lightsaber.

      1. cooter


    5. Cubs_Questions

      I disagree. The Cubs won’t reach 0.500 this season because as great as they can look at times- like the current streak they’re on- they have also looked totally inept in every way, like the six game losing streak they had immediately preceding this five game winning streak.

      I would love to see them reach 0.500 at some point because 1) All of the people who don’t understand the rebuilding plan with Theo and Jed might relax for a hot minute and 2) I truly believe in Sveum as a manager (although sometimes he baffles me). I think that’s a pipe dream for this season though.

  3. Jay

    There’s no argument. In fact, I bet Jed and Theo are crapping their pants with every win. This team was not built to compete this year, does not have the horses to compete, and will be dismantled in a month for whatever we can get for whoever we can move. That is the grand plan and there’s no way this team can win enough to make the front office change their minds on their long term plans. They’re already getting lambasted enough by the fanbase—a white flag trading spree isn’t going to hurt their public image any.

    1. MichiganGoat

      It all comes down to what they get offered vs. what value they believe these players (Garza & Feldman specifically) could have if extended through 2015/16.

      1. wkranz54

        You aren’t even a little thinking 14 yet?

    2. Timothy Scarbrough

      That must be awkward to explain to the janitors.

    3. another JP

      Your post clearly shows how little you understand about this team and the game of baseball in general.

      1. Jay

        I hope you’re not talking to me because what I said was dead on and any Cubs or baseball fan with half a brain knows the plan that’s in place. If you don’t think so, you haven’t been paying any attention at all the past year and a half—to either the “product” being trotted out on the field, or to what the front office has been repeating about building a foundation for long-term success. If they or Ricketts were concerned with short-term success, you’d see a completely different team on the field. With the new limits imposed on signing draft picks and international talent (something Theo didn’t see coming), the quickest way to re-stock your farm system is to tank for a few years, get high drafts picks, and deal away anything of value at the trade deadline every year to get other teams’ prospects.

        1. wkranz54

          This front office made it very clear that they thought this team was not bad. They will sell, I agree with that, but they didn’t come into this year thinking, “At least we will get a top 5 pick again”

          1. nkniacc13

            But remember Theo has mentioned there isn’t anything worth being middle of the pack.

            1. Kyle

              He said “no difference between 73 and 78 wins.” I think he’d take 88.

              1. davidalanu

                Right. There’s no difference between sucking pretty bad and sucking real bad, but there’s a difference between sucking and showing promise. I believe that there’s a level between firesale and playoffs.

                Look back a ways to the Rondell White trade. The Cubs were going nowhere in 2000, but MacPhail made the trade looking ahead to 2001.

                This is an area that i don’t think enough teams look at. Just because you’re not contending this year doesn’t mean that aren’t bargains out that that can benefit you the next.

        2. TWC

          Well, those with half a brain may think that, but some of us with a whole brain feel differently.

          1. Die hard

            Whole bran? Fiber is good for you but irrelevant to buying/ selling

            1. TWC

              ::chuckles, tousles Die hard’s hair::

        3. Kyle

          I’m a baseball fan with a full brain, and I’m telling you that you are wildly incorrect.

          This front office committed almost $100 million to free agents this offseason because they wanted to build a competitive team in the short-term. And they’ve succeeded.

        4. another JP

          I am talking to you and thanks for doubling down on your original post to prove me right.

          1. Jay

            The only thing I’ve proven is that I can make a reasoned argument for what I’m saying. Prove me wrong with the same kind of argument.

            1. willis

              I’d say going pitching heavy in the offseason (bringing in 4 rotation quality arms) while already having Shark, Wood, and Garza was a sign that they are going to try and compete. Everything starts with pitching. Now, the lineup was somewhat patch work but I don’t think they built this team just to suck and sell. That very well may happen, but I’m not sure that was the end all plan.

              1. Kyle

                If you didn’t want to compete, you wouldn’t sign so many pitchers to mid-range contracts. And you’d put guys like Brett Jackson in CF rather than unearth hidden gems like Schierholtz.

                1. Jay

                  Mid-range contracts? Every one of those deals (except Jackson) were explicitly designed so they could be easily flipped without a problem.

                  1. Kyle

                    What evidence do you have that they were signed for flipping purposes and not to try to put a competitive team on the field, with the possibility of flipping being a backup plan?

                    There’s this urge by Cubs fans to try to squeeze everything that happens into some sort of “master plan.” No one runs a baseball team that way. The master plan is much broader and involves a lot more waiting and reacting in the short-term.

                    1. Jay

                      The only people reacting in the short-term are the people I’m dealing with here who think the Cubs are designed to win anything this year. I’m the one looking long-term. The plan is to not be particularly concerned about results at the major-league level this year, and acquire players that other teams might want on contractual terms that make them easy to trade without having to eat salary in the process. If you think these guys in the front office are making this up as they go and “hoping” we win with what we have now, well then the Cubs thank you for your support.

                    2. Kyle

                      It’s not a bad thing to look at the short-term.

                      Smart teams, including our front office, look at both. They made this explicit in one of those many quotes from them that you ignore.

                      Yes, you are the one looking at the long-term and ignoring the short-term. You shouldn’t be proud of that. It’s a bad thing.

                    3. hansman1982

                      The hope was that you get a bunch of guys who can succeed. If everything goes right (this year was about 6 things) you contend, if not, then some of those things go right and you have guys you can sell off at the deadline.

                  2. wkranz54

                    Obviously we aren’t thinking WS this year, but we won’t just spend $200 Mill in one off season and say, “We’re ready”. This team is putting more and more pieces together which leads to more and more wins in the future and NOW. They expected to be more competitive and they have been.

                    1. Kyle

                      I think this is the “parallel fronts” approach they talked about this year.

                      They didn’t have enough payroll or enough pre-existing talent to build a sure-fire 90+ game winner.

                      But they still did the best they could to use the money they had, and put together an average-to-solid team that could compete with some positive variance, or could finish poorly with negative variance.

                      If they got the former, they’d be very happy. If they get the latter, then they will be will be willing to sell expiring contracts for some interesting prospects.

                      But there was no machiavellian plan to try to make the team bad this year while flipping everyone they bought. That was an invention in fans’ minds.

              2. Jay

                Have you been paying attention to what Jed and Theo have been saying about having to take lumps in the short term, that there’s no difference between winning 73 and 78 games, and that there’s no shortcut for long-term sustained success? If that’s not telegraphing your intentions that you’re really not concerned about success at the major league level right now, then I don’t know what is.

                1. Kyle

                  You are only reading half of that quote, and it’s the half you want to read.

                  First, notice that they said “73 and 78.” They said that *if* the team is bad, they don’t want to try to make it less bad. They didn’t say “there’s no point in winning 85 games.”

                  Second, in that very same quote, Epstein went on to say that they thought the team was better than that and had a chance to surprise people. But conveniently, you think he was telling the truth on the half you agree with and lying for the half you don’t.

                  1. Jay

                    What do you think they”re supposed to say? That the team is even worse than it looks but, hey, come on down to Wrigley Field anyhow where we think the ticket prices are worth it because of the “Wrigley Experience”. I think if you pay attention these guys have served notice that it’s going to be ugly for a while. But, at the same time–they can’t just say “sorry that we’re going to suck for another couple years at least. Please be even more patient”. It’s getting hard enough to get people in the park as it is, and in another month and a half when they’ve gutted the team, it’ll be even more difficult.

                    Also, winning 85 games and somehow sneaking into the playoffs as second wild card by the skin of your ass when you have no chance against the real playoff teams is counter-productive in the long-term if it means you didn’t flip players for prospects when you had the chance.

                    1. Kyle

                      Of course you think they’ve “served notice.” You’ve made up your mind that everything they say or do that goes against that is a lie or isn’t real. That’s called confirmation bias.

                      And anyone who makes the playoffs has a chance against everyone else. This isn’t football.

                      Missed the chance to flip for prospects? Yes. So what? I don’t know if many have noticed, but we got very little from the deadline last year.

                      If we miss a chance to get another sore-armed Angel Guzman clone, a no-power 3b whose upside is a fringe-average starter in the big leagues, and a soft-tossing righty whom you hope might be a fifth starter someday, I think we can live with that.

                  2. Eternal Pessimist

                    I wouldn’t be too thrilled with 85 wins and a fourth place finish. If we win 85 but have few of the players under team control after the year we will not be able to take as big a step forward next year. I think we need these trades to bring some longer term, cost controlled pieces that we can build on. Or we just need to win the division somehow!

            2. DarthHater

              Okay, here goes: I am right and you are wrong. Anybody with half a brain agrees with me and those who disagree are not paying attention and crap their own pants. QED.

              1. frank

                QED? Thank you, Mr. Aquinas.

            3. another JP

              That’s the problem- how can anyone know what you’re saying when you obviously don’t have any idea of what you’re talking about? Theo & Jed crapping their pants with every win? You nuts or something? Not built to compete?? Cubs have had an opportunity to win virtually every game this season and have a run differential of +11… same as the NY Yankees. Where’s your empirical evidence that the team is going be dismantled in a month for everyone they can move and anything they can get? Give specifics to all my points instead of making wild generalizations of how well-reasoned you are just because you say so.

    4. Kyle

      Very little of this was true.

      The front office most explicitly stated that they thought this team was better than people were giving them credit for, and they’ve been proven right in the underlying statistics.

      There’s no “grand plan” that involves dumping every season for X seasons. You don’t even get that much for dumping. It’s not as big a deal as some seem to think. We’ll miss out on a few C prospects and maybe one or two guys who would be in our top 10. Big whoop.

      1. Jay

        You don’t put out a team filled with other teams retreads and guys that would have a hard time making a winning team’s bench and then tell me that’s NOT the grand plan.

        1. Kyle

          They didn’t do that.

          1. Jay

            Sure they did. What team are YOU looking at. Valbuena?? Schierholz?? Hairston?? Navarro?? Barney??? Not to mention the bullpen. C’mon dude. None of these guys would start or even make the team of most playoff contenders. Even players like Dejesus or Wellington are not going to make anyone’s all-star team. Some of these guys are playing WAY over their lifetime averages right now—doesn’t mean they’re playoff caliber.

            1. Kyle

              Valbuena has an .800+ OPS. Navarro is a backup catcher, nobody has a good backup catcher. Of course they’d make the team on most teams. All five of those guys would make the majority of teams in the NL, and there’s only a few limited exceptions for any given player.

              Your argument boils down to listing a bunch of players, putting some random number of punctuation marks after them, and saying “No way any good team would want them!” or something along those lines. That’s not an argument, that’s just indignation in paragraph form.

              1. Jay

                I appreciate your methodical approach. I’m aware of Valbuena’s OPS. Now compare it to his career stats. My point is this—if you look at this lineup and compare it to the teams that are over .500 and/or playoff bound, does it really stack up in a way that makes you think they have a good chance to win on any given day?

                1. Kyle


                  As of right now, we’ve scored more runs per game than two of the teams who are currently occupying NL playoff spots.

                  1. Jay

                    Ok–what’s your theory for why that is? And don’t tell me bad luck.

                    1. Kyle

                      Why we’ve outscored them?

                      Because our offense is better. The front office has found a few nice diamonds in the rough, kept some pre-existing pieces, made savvy use of platoons and seen the payoff to their approach of looking for high pitches to drive (which is why we lead the NL in XBH and ISO).

                    2. Jay

                      No, your sabermetric explanation for why we’re stuck in the back of the pack if our offense is what you say it is. I’m not even going to get into with you over the platoon thing. And then there’s the whole RISP thing…..

                    3. Kyle

                      Negative variance. You can choose to not believe it if you wish, but the statistical evidence is overwhelming. You’ve got quite a talent for ignoring evidence that goes against what you want to believe.

                    4. MichiganGoat

                      If your going to ignore sabermetrics your going to have a hard time making your point. The FO believes in them and they are here to stay for a reason- THEY WORK.

                    5. wkranz54

                      This team was built to be in the conversation. This team has gone on to lose 7 games that the bullpen blew. The FO and everyone else felt much better about the bullpen going into the year (Marmol looked great to end the year, Fujikawa, Camp, and Russell). Say this bullpen blew 2 that we went on to lose (they also blew 2 others that we went on to win) you are talking about a team that is 28-25 this year. THey were built to win some games this year.

                    6. MichiganGoat

                      Jay could it be you are more frustrated that this team doesn’t have any All-Star names? Because outside of injuries the FA they Cubs signed have been very good because they are being played based on their strengths according to Sabermetrics.

                    7. DarthHater

                      Oh, stop licking Theo’s toilet handle, Goat. ;-)

            2. X the Cubs Fan

              Technically Navarro and Schierholtz was on a winning teams bench with the Reds and Giants. Contending teams were looking to get guys like Hairston and Barney last season. Plus id rather take one more year of Valbuena than trading our top prospects for 1 year of Chase Headly.

        2. Jay

          Are you kidding me?? The front office has to say poppycock like that. You can’t just out-and-tell your fanbase that “this team is going to suck, but bear with us”. Plus on top of all that, Ricketts is in debt up to his ass so he’s not going to be pulling the trigger on any major free agent signings until he gets his new signage and a sweet new TV deal. As a Cubs fan for 38 years, I’ve resigned myself to sitting thru another couple years of this until they get their house in order.

          1. Kyle

            We signed the fifth most expensive free agent of last offseason. That’s not “major” to you?

            1. Jay

              Not for pitching it isn’t. And I think everyone in town is scratching their heads over that one.

              1. Kyle

                You have a very weird definition of major.

                It was the third most expensive starting pitching signing on the market.

                I would say that definition is convenient because you don’t want to admit you were wrong that they won’t sign major free agents.

                1. Jay

                  When I think of major I think of the kind of length and money deal they threw at Soriano. In this market, 4 years and 52 million for a starter is not out of bounds (although giving it to Jackson was puzzling–and I thought this before the season started). Plus, they have money coming off the books next year with the end of Marmol’s contract and (praying) Soriano gets shipped out of town. So the money to sign Jackson wasn’t above or beyond their budget. I’m talking about going out and getting an impact player at a cost that forces your budget up.

                  1. Kyle

                    OK, so if we take that very narrow definition of “major free agent,” we’ve only signed one in team history.

                    Why is it so important that we sign another one?

                    1. DarthHater

                      It isn’t a major signing unless it cripples the team for the better part of a decade.

                  2. wkranz54

                    We aren’t going to get hardly any money back for Soriano, we are hoping for a prospect, but him being shipped isn’t going to mean more money to spend, at least not much.

                  3. wkranz54

                    An unfortunate example for you to use in this argument as that has turned out to be one of the worst moves most Cubs fans will remember for years.

                    1. Jay

                      And they knew it at the time—Hendry has gone on record as saying he knew that signing would come back to bite them in the back half of the contract, but at the time Stanton Cook pushed it through in the hopes of giving some hope for the season following the debacle of 2006.

                      I didn’t say we necessarily HAD to sign another one—that’s part of the point of this whole rebuild, right. My point is the money isn’t there now and isn’t going to be for a while.

                    2. Kyle

                      I wish there were more money, to be sure. But there’s clearly enough money to not be hopelessly bad in the meantime. We can, and are, building on “parallel fronts.”

        3. wkranz54

          these “retreads” as you call them, everyone signs them. SF last year signed Gregor Blanco who didn’t even play in the majors the year before, or the Cardinals signed a guy named Lance Berkman who everyone knew was over the hill and “a waste of a move”. The fact is every team signs what another team formerly considered trash for a discounted rate. You have to do it whether rebuilding or going for a championship. It’s just about making smart moves and I would say most of this FOs moves have played out well so far.

          1. Jay

            Oh, I agree with that. My point is that you don’t do just that and then tell people you plan on competing seriously this year. SF proved you don’t need to have all-stars at every position to win if you’ve got the pitching, but you can’t have scrubs at half your starting 8. I’m actually pleased with some of them but the backs of baseball cards don’t lie. You don’t go to the postseason wishing and hoping that ham-and-eggers suddenly have career years.

            1. Kyle

              Apparently they can and did, because they are out-OPSing their opponents by over 50 points with those retreads and scrubs.

            2. wkranz54

              Cubs this year are 5th in SP ERA, 7th in Runs scored.
              Last year the World Series Champ SF 5th in SP ERA, 6th in runs scored.

              Our bull pen way underperformed early, we have had rotten luck with RISP and Jackson has struggled.

              By the way no one is saying the FO really thought this was a playoff team just a competitive team.

              Your statement is just not accurate.

              1. Jay

                Rotten LUCK? Have you seen these guys hit with RISP? It’s not luck, it’s approach.

                And the pen didn’t underperform. They did basically what their abilities allowed. We knew the deal with Marmol, Camp threw BP last year and got away with it–this year he didn’t, and aside from Russell we had a bunch of middle relievers. Then Fuji got hurt. If it wasn’t for the miracle of Gregg somehow learning to pitch, we’d be totally hosed.

                1. Kyle

                  Hitting worse with RISP compared with how you hit in other situations is negative variance, or luck if you prefer.

                  You may act as indignant as you want toward this fact, but it is still a fact. And notice that they’ve hit extremely well with RISP this week. The players didn’t change. They didn’t change their approach. It was simple regression to the mean, or “good luck” in layman’s terms.

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    Logic, math, facts … these words don’t make any sense.

                  2. Pat

                    A fair point to consider when talking about the negative variance the team has had is the positive variance they have had in regards to injuries. Sure Garza was out, but the replacement performances were above what his projections were, so no real net loss. Stewart was out but Valbuena outperformed both Stewarts and his own projections. Essentially this team was built as an around .500 team assuming no deterioration due to injuries. So far they have avoided that, but I still think you have to sell because you can’t count on continued god luck on that front.

                2. MichiganGoat

                  Go to Fangraphs research BABIP (an easy one to start with) and the other indicators that show that this team was better than the record displays. Or don’t and just read baseball cards and trust your subjective fan eye to say why this team is so horrible, but I suggest you do some research but then again I’m just a goat.

                  1. Jay

                    Ok, when they sell off in six weeks, everyone here can continue to explain why it was such a bad idea since the team was so much better than their record. Then see what Jed and Theo say about it and see if it sounds anything like the things I was saying today. Peace, out—Go Cubs!

                    1. Kyle

                      You aren’t listening.

                      If this team doesn’t get some *very* good luck in the next 6 weeks, then selling is absolutely the right move, regardless of the fact that it’s a decent team on paper and could have been better.

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      That’s not the question here. Yes selling off will most likely happen the problem is you keep ignore what stats tell us.

                    3. wkranz54

                      Just to be clear that we were all on the same page…we will sell off this team, no one likes the statement though that the plan was always be terrible and sell the little shreds of decency the way you depicted.

            3. JoeyCollins

              You actually referenced baseball cards as a defense for an argument?

              1. Jay

                Quit it. I’m saying that if you’re a career .227 hitter over the course of over 1000 at bats, you’re not suddenly going to figure it out.

                1. Kyle

                  Who cares about batting average?

                  1. DarthHater

                    But it’s on the back of baseball cards!

              2. TWC

                Well, in ol’ Jay’s defense, *this* baseball card is the beginning AND end of all arguments:


                1. Die hard

                  Enuf said– he’s next GM–mark this post

                2. Tobias

                  81 Topps was one of their best ever baseball card designs.

                  1. Die hard

                    That set may have Sandberg rookie card

          2. randy jones

            Yes every team does it but they also have good players to go with it..
            Man I dont get some of you. Yes they spent some money in the winter to improve. But they didnt spend enough money to compete. Take a hard look at who will be here down the road…. Rizzo, Castro maybe, Castillo and some starters. no LF, CF,RF, 2B or 3B down the road. You cant have that many castoffs on your team and win for the long term.

            1. wkranz54

              What do you mean nothing down the road, we have a top 5 system now. Who do you people wish we got? BJ Upton? Bourn? Neither of those guys would have added a lick for us this year. Did you want to pay what LA payed Greinke? Did you want Hamilton’s “huge” bat this year? Swisher maybe has been the best of that group with .272 and 7 HR? I would say none of this year’s FA have been great wherever they went.

            2. Jay

              THANK YOU Randy Jones.

              1. wkranz54

                Please answer the question. Even if we wanted to be competitive this year, who was there to sign that would have helped?

      2. Corey

        Man, i love all your comments. You seem like the very few who actually get it.

  4. MichiganGoat

    I blame Sveum for this win

    1. @cubsfantroy

      You’re not allowed to, you can only blame him for losses.

  5. Seth

    What is this team and what have they done with my Cubs? I love the high powered offense during this win streak.

  6. dying cubs fan's last request

    As long as the Cubs continue to score enough to prevent from Dale and the bullpen blowing it all, the Cubs will keep winning games.

  7. Melrosepad

    Last 10 games

    Games 1 to 5
    Runs Scored: 12
    Runs Allowed: 22
    Record: 0-5

    Games 6-10
    Runs Scored: 36
    Runs Allowed: 12
    Record: 5-0

    Now to just keep this run going!

  8. Die hard

    Buyers at All-Star break if .500

    1. caryatid62


      1. Die hard

        Big if… Another big if– Cards only play .500 rest of season and still win 90

  9. willis

    5 in a row, didn’t think I’d say that all year. I love the way the team is playing. Pitching well, hitting timely, expanding leads so there isn’t much of a chance to blow the game. The last four games, 31-8. Who knew they had it in them?

    Best thing about today was Garza working like he did. For all the right reasons.

    Shark tomorrow and I’m in Chicago. Hell yes.

  10. caryatid62

    Great to see Garza throwing and healthy.

    Samardzija, Wood, Appel and possibly Baker would make up a solid core in 2014, which makes the possibility of trading Garza and Feldman for B or better prospects an enticing one. Given Hoyer and Epstein’s ability to piece together solid 3s, 4s, and 5s in a rotation, I think dealing these two for good OF or 3B prospects that might help next year could make next year one of those fun “we’re not there yet, but we’re close” year.

    1. wkranz54

      Did you just say Baker, not counting on that. Nor would I count on Appel day 1. And you have to add Jackson to that core, he is not going anywhere.

      1. caryatid62

        Baker as a #5 next year is reasonable. If not, it’s not really a huge loss.

        I’d like to see Appel, assuming the Cubs draft him, in the major leagues day one of 2014; with young polished pitchers, there’s no reason to waste innings in AAA, especially when there is a finite number of innings in their arms as is.

        I had forgotten about Jackson, actually–Samardzija, Appel, Jackson, Wood, Baker (or TBA) is a very solid rotation. Garza and Feldman are certainly expendable (for the right price).

        1. willis

          Of course Baker isn’t a huge loss. He won’t throw for the Cubs this year. You can’t lose what you never had. :)

          1. Rich H

            He will be ready in August. Hopefully a healthy Baker in the dog days will help avoid the starting pitching crash we had last year after the sell off.

  11. Kyle N

    It’s really odd.

    The people we expected to do well (or at the very worst, not be a detriment) have been either hurt (Garza, Fujikawa), have been unlucky according to advanced metrics (EJax, Barney), surprisingly regressed to this point (Castro), and uh. . . Soriano being Soriano (despite a slight decline in power.) Even the reclamation projects/scrapheap acquisitions (Kevin Gregg aside to this point) have either suffered setbacks or not done well. Samardzija and Rizzo are really your only main cogs performing like we hoped.

    It’s a bunch of other players playing well, playing over their heads, or a combination of both.

    DeJesus, Feldman, Wood, Villanueva, Valbuena, Schierholtz.

    *IF* Jackson can bounce back to the mean, Barney hits up to his BABIP (since his contact numbers have been near career norms), and Garza gives us even 75-80% of his 2011 form going forward (for however long that is), this team could really make some noise. But. . . best case scenarios *rarely* work out like that. It’s likely that a surge from one or more will be offset by slumps by others. That damn “singles” luck.

    It’s will be interesting (or absolutely maddening, depending on the person) to see how the rest of the season shakes out.

    Although 5% of me still holds out hope that this team will surge from below .500 through the All-Star break and get a second wild card. That is why I am a Cubs fan.

    1. Jay

      Good–explain this to other Kyle on here.

    2. Kyle

      We don’t need best-case scenario. We just need to keep playing the way we’ve played on average this year, with the regressions from overachievers being balanced out by regressions from underachievers.

    3. another JP

      What’s wrong with your assumptions that certain players are “playing over their heads” or are “unlucky” is that you can’t always predict future results on past performance. Your post totally ignores the fact that many players have a peak performance period and the ability to improve based on any number of factors.

      Valbuena and Wood appear to be two players that have broken out and playing to their ability. Valbuena put up great numbers in the minors and needed some time at the ML level to show what he could do. If not for Cincy’s need for a bullpen arm Wood might be having this nice season for them instead. Jed & Theo have concentrated on giving opportunities to role players entering their middle to late 20s for a reason- some of them break out to become core pieces. Chris Carpenter might be the best example of a scuffling player that had a change of scenery in his late 20s and look what happened with his career. David Ortiz was a 27 y/o replacement level player for the Twins when Theo acquired him as a FA in 2003 and look what happened afterward– a guy with 58 career homers now has 410 and two W.S. rings. There’s a reason why Theo & Jed are acquiring players and we’re all talking about it.

      1. Jay

        Regardless of what Valbuena is doing now, apparently the front office didn’t have any more faith in him than I did/do or they never would have bothered with the Ian Stewart experiment a second time.

        1. Kyle

          Smart teams cover all their bases.

          It’s not about having “faith” or not having “faith.” It’s about playing the probabilities. As Epstein has said, everyone’s going to be wrong a lot. They try to be wrong just a little less often than the other teams.

          Do I have a ton of faith in Valbuena to keep hitting like he has? Not really. I think he can be fringe-average, but he’s probably not an .800 OPS guy long-term. He might be, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

          But you can’t just cherrypick the positive variance and say “a-ha, they can’t keep this up!” Because I also don’t think Starlin Castro is a sub-.300 OBP guy long-term, nor do I think Edwin Jackson is a terrible pitcher long-term, nor do I think Scott Hairston will have a .1xx BABIP long-term.

          1. Jay

            Agree with all that.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Then you agree with everything you’ve been arguing against

      2. Kyle N

        “It’s a bunch of other players playing well, playing over their heads, or a combination of both.”

        *THIS* is what I said. I wasn’t accusing them of *not* playing well, or not having the potential to be better in the future. I was merely saying that the advanced metrics point to regression a number of those players based on what we have already seen.

        Feldman is outperforming his FIP by a whole run. His K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 (along with his FIP/xFIP) are nearly identical to his 2012 figures, yet he had an ERA over five due to a higher BABIP and a lower than average LOB%.

        Wood is in a similar situation, outperforming his xFIP by a run and a half. His GB% is up a bit, but as a flyball pitcher that generates more contact than strikeouts playing in Wrigley Field, there is the possibility that his susceptibility to the long ball could pose a problem.

        Was the Feldman signing a good one!? I believe so. Dave Cameron @ FanGraphs wrote about how it was a solid move to get a back-of-the-rotation starter with a FIP in the low 4s. And Wood? I loved the trade, as a solid, cheap, cost-effective starter is ideal in the rotation as well. (And whatever he adds with the bat is just gravy)

        Could they improve and “break-out” in their late 20s? Always possible, but not probable. Guys like Ortiz, Bautista, and Carpenter are the exception, not the rule.

        1. Kyle

          Here’s where we disagree though.

          In net, I don’t think the Cubs are overperforming as a team.

          You can list those guys. I’ll counter with underachievers who we should expect more from in the future than we’ve gotten to date:

          Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza, Kyuji Fujikawa (at least before the injury :( ).

          I don’t think we’ve overperformed much in sum, outside of one or two breakout performances. And having one or two of those isn’t that unreasonable.

          1. Kyle N

            I don’t disagree with you at all. We never disagreed about anything on this subject.

            The point of my original post was that it’s tempting to expect those underachievers to bounce back to the mean while expecting that the overachievers continue to do what they have been doing. That was my “best case scenario” talk. Maybe I wasn’t clear on that.

            I was merely pointing out that baseball fans tend to have moments where they expect everyone on the roster to click together at the same time for long periods of time, especially in times of plenty with people you didn’t expect. Yet a small bit of us holds out hope, because it’s baseball and sometimes you have those rare moments where think work out.

            I echo your sentiments about how it will be an interesting trading deadline with this team.

            1. Kyle N

              *those rare moments where THINGS work out

            2. Kyle

              OK, cool, I see now that we are on the same page.

              I’m not asking for the Cubs to play better. They just need to keep playing like they have on average this year, and they’ll be expected to rack up a lot of wins.

              1. Kygavin

                So i read through all of this and the only thing I could come up with is who the hell was counting on offense from Barney? Obviously he isnt the 205/289/341 (at least batting average wise) that his line shows today but this is a guy who has a career OBP of 303, which driven up by his “career” year in 2011 when it was a robust 313. He brings the glove (guess i shouldnt forget SCRAP) and provides a lot of value with it but the value of his bat is minimal at best

            3. Die hard

              Quit apologizing for what u believe in– this is not purgatory

  12. North Side Irish

    Garza was on Jim Bowden’s Sirius show today…I don’t have Sirius, so I don’t know what all he said, but Bowden Tweeted this after:

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 22s
    Garza would not tell us if he preferred to resign with Cubs or get traded by July 31st…said he’s just worried about 5 days from now #Cubs

  13. Rebuilding

    At this point I’m really starting to waver on moving DeJesus. He gives you so much production for so little. If we are going to make any kind of run next year his production would be awfully hard to replace

    1. UCF

      It would be nice to replace his production with Brett Jacskon. Jackson would hit for a lower average, but have a little more pop, that would make up for it. Wishful thinking, I know.

      1. Kyle

        Brett Jackson is struggling to OPS .700 at AAA. It’s probably over for him.

        1. Jay

          Finally me and Kyle agree. Jackson is not figuring it out as of yet, even with all the highly-touted swing changes designed to make him at least make contact more than once a game. Counting on him is not the answer.

        2. JoeyCollins

          I hope not, he’s still young but i’m really not counting on him for anything at this point. It’s too bad too. He has a lot to offer just can’t put it all together.

  14. Mike

    Agreed 100% on DeJesus. One of the most underrated players in the league.

  15. Kyle

    Hey look, we’re already having the argument. Dance, my puppets :)

    1. TWC

      Oooh, the iron fist of logic opens to reveal dextrous fingers of marionette twirling!!

  16. another JP

    Did Garza get a pie in the face today? If not he deserves it, he had a good game.

    At some point it’s going to become apparent to the FO that Garza has the ability to be a leader on this team and might be worth keeping around. One point we’ve been missing is that it’s tough to put together a team where 1/3 of the guys are new this season and expect them to play as a “team” right away. I imagine it’s a lot of fun to have Garza around the clubhouse and with a different hero every day this week it has to be great for morale. Sabermetric types probably don’t put much stock in team personality when figuring the worth of a player, but positive reinforcement is always the best motivator and I’m happy for the guys that have been busting their tails to improve their game and are now being rewarded with victories.

  17. Fastball

    I don’t trade any of our Starting Pitchers. Resign them and we have a decent staff. Draft the 3b and then more pitching. The trades we make nneed to be for real bullpen arms. Why tear down a staff of starters that we will need next year. We will have a better chance getting a few good FA’s this offseason with good pitching locked up.

    1. Rich H

      At most we are trading Garza, and Feldman. That is not even half of our staff. Every year teams make some changes to their rotation having 2 spots open the second half of the season is not a bad thing especially if Baker comes back and one of the AAA arms takes a step. Unless we totally get shellacked again with injuries we are going to be in alright shape even after trading some of our rotation.

  18. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    If we’re at .500 by the ASB, we can both be buyers and sellers.


    Call up:
    Soler to replace Schierholtz in RF
    Bogusevic to replace Soriano in LF
    Rusin to join Villanueva in the rotation
    Parker to replace Gregg in the bullpen
    Vitters to play 3B full time, move Valbuena/Ransom platoon to 2B
    Rosscup to replace Marmol

    CF DeJesus (L) / Borbon (L)
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo (L)
    RF Soler
    2B Valbuena (L) / Ransom
    C Castillo / Navarro (S)
    LF Bogusevic (L) / Hairston
    3B Vitters

    SP Samardzija
    SP Jackson
    SP Wood (L)
    SP Villanueva
    SP Rusin (L)

    LR Negrin
    LR Rondon
    RP Putnam
    RP Dolis
    RP Rosscup (L)
    SU Russell (L)
    CL Parker

    1. Schrodinger's Cat

      eek, what did the Cubs buy?

      1. AB

        Apparently a bunch of contracts of organizational filler at Iowa

    2. Rebuilding

      Sorry, you lost me when you said call up Soler. That just isn’t happening this year except for possibly a few ABs in September. Sweeney would be the guy in RF or LF

      1. Jay

        That’s the quickest way back below .500 I can think of.

        1. Rich H

          I think he is related to Jim Hendry because this move makes no sense unless a front office is wanting to get fired.

  19. Die hard

    Streak is suckers rally creating euphoria that clouds judgment

    1. DarthHater

      You should publish a book of haiku. I’m sure Brett would promote it like crazy! ;-)

      1. TWC

        I’d buy it. I might just go back through the last few years’ worth of comments and edit one together.

        1. DarthHater


  20. JoeyCollins

    Playing .500 ball really isn’t that great and referencing it is basically a cliche. It is no more relevant than saying someone is a .300 hitter without any other context. It’s nice to play .500 ball and finishing above .500 is a decent season, but in all truth it takes around 88 wins for a wild card spot. With the wild card now just a one game playoff winning the division is really what you have to shoot for. I’d hate to sell off talent in the farm system that can help make us competitive for a long time just to loose a play in game.

    1. Kyle

      There are other benefits to being .500.

      If the Cubs were a .500 team in 2012, we might be looking at Anibal Sanchez and Jason Grilli instead of Edwin Jackson and Kyuji Fujikawa. The former two talking very seriously with the Cubs, but insisting on a premium for going to such a bad team rather than staying with the team they knew.

      1. Featherstone

        You’re right Kyle, but if were a .500 team in 2012 we wouldn’t be discussing Appel vs Gray vs Bryant right now.

        1. Bill

          True, but the Cubs aren’t going to get one of those top picks in next year’s draft. Even if Theo has a fire sale, they aren’t catching Hous and Marlins for those top 2 picks.

          1. nkniacc13

            True they wont catch either of those but if Houston goes cheap again this year they may just do it again

      2. another JP

        On a related topic, much has been made about Theo stating that it’s better to lose big and get the higher draft pick than to be a .500 team. But has anyone thought that is what he really believes, or just what he wanted everyone to hear? My point is that it’s much better to keep your competitors guessing of what your true strategy is and I’ve always felt that Cub ownership wanted to field a winning team as soon as possible in spite of what Theo said this spring. The EJax signing and attempted acquisitions of Sanchez and Darvish aren’t exactly consistent with a lose big philosophy. I guess I’m old enough to not always believe what I read or hear from upper management when discussing strategic decision-making in a highly competitive sporting environment.

        1. MichiganGoat

          It’s a little more complex than that. Yes you build a team to win and when July comes around you evaluate if the team can make the playoffs and then hold steady and/or buy BUT the team is not playoff bound then you sell off the moveable pieces you have to make the organization better for the upcoming years. You always make moves to build a better organization but to hover around the .500 level is worse than selling for a better future.

        2. Bill

          Kyle has made a good point about how Theo chooses his words very carefully. He said there’s no difference between 73 and 78 wins, but he didn’t say 80+ wins. Much easier to go from 80 wins to 88 wins in one season than to go from 65 to 88 wins in a season.

  21. Bill

    It would depend on what you are buying and what prospects you are giving up. I’d have no problem giving up Baez for a guy who can play 3B next year. Valbuena looks like a solid player at 2B, but Barney’s bat hurts you when he’s playing 3B.

    I wouldn’t trade Schierholtz. He’s under contract for next year and is a nice platoon player at a reasonable price. Trading guys whose contract expires at the end of the season makes sense, but I’m not sure about the other players. Even Soriano isn’t worth giving away unless we get a prospect that has a legit chance of making the majors. Nobody is going to take Soriano unless the Cubs eat almost all the money, so why give him up for a longshot prospect? If the Cubs had some legit OF prospects in AAA it would make sense but I don’t see Jackson being anything more than a backup, he just strikes out too much.

    I wonder if Baker would consider signing a 1-2 year deal with the Cubs after the season. I’d still take a chance on him in a short term deal, but wouldn’t want to go any more than 2 years.

  22. Mike

    Need to stick with finding the core group age 25 and younger so they can try to have that 5-7 year run. I’d keep trying to add as many 20-22 year old pieces as possible. I love Shark but I would explore the return on him at the deadline. The Pirates are going to be desperate to make big impact if they continue to play like they are. I wonder if they would be willing to give up a big prospect return for Shark? By big I would be asking for 4 of their 10 which starts with Cole and Tallion.

    1. Rich H

      Trade Shark? Either you are not very high on what level you think he will achieve or you want us to be the Marlins, KC and Oakland. You KEEP your developed pitchers unless you get a deal that really blows you away. Probably just about the level that KC got for Shields. If it is not that much AT LEAST you hang up the dang phone( like Theo did when AZ called about Castro for Upton).

  23. Ivy Walls

    Scoring runs always makes starting pitching look great…Cubs are scoring runs because they are hitting HR’s with men on base. Now 23-30 thru April-May, 10-16 thru April, 13-14 in May….April 1-April 16 4-9

    Thus the Cubs have been playing .500 since April April 21st when they were 5-12…

    I think they are .500 at July 28th but sell and sign…

  24. Die hard

    Scouts aren’t as blind as Theo may hope — they see how the Cubs are counting Garza’s pitches — let’s see how recovers from today’s 93

  25. Oswego Chris

    I am wondering why Svuem did not install this Grandslam everyday strategy sooner…they say hindsight is 20/20…

  26. Corey

    I dont understand why most of you guys wanna trade Barney. You dont find defense like that in just any player. His average is coming up.

    1. mudge

      I like Barney on this team. He helps the pitching staff and I think his offense will continue to improve (meaning over last year). The main reason I can’t see this team going to the playoffs, given the bullpen is shored up, is inexperience at catcher.

      1. Corey

        Only way to fix that is to play, Castillo is already light years better then he was last year. He just needs to play.

        1. mudge

          I agree. Play him. But don’t expect to make the playoffs this year.

          1. Corey


  27. someday...2015?

    Baez just drew a walk. Nice to see.

    1. TWC

      I’m pretty sure the only way Baez draws walks is with a pencil and paper.

  28. someday...2015?

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this yet, but Almora is back tonight and in the starting lineup for KC. He grounded out in his first at-bat… Soler 2-2 with 2 walks and 4 runs tonight as well.

  29. Mattm

    I just wanna point out that the cubs are pretty good production out of right fiel. Right now they are sitting on 10 hrs and 32 rbis. I think only first base is putting up better production. Someone check my stats.

    1. Hansman1982

      Of you could check it yourself with one of the multitude of stat websites.

  30. jt

    Barney came back Apr 16; Burbon and Gregg arrived Apr 19; Ranson wore Cubby blue for the first time Apr 23.
    Since Apr 19 the club has a 17W 17L record
    Since Apr 19 they have a record of 4W and 13L vs teams with a record above 0.500
    Since Apr 19 they have a record of 13W and 4L vs teams with a record of 0.500 or below.
    Recently they have come off a 6 game L streak followed by the current 5 game W streak.
    They have made some changes.
    Some players have changed their approach.
    They have recently beaten a crappy WS team and came back against The Reds when Chapman was not available.
    Yeah, they are a much better team than that they fielded in the 2nd half of 2012.
    But let us not put them in the friggun 7th game of the World Series just yet.

    1. TWC

      “Yeah, they are a much better team than that they fielded in the 2nd half of 2012.
      But let us not put them in the friggun 7th game of the World Series just yet.”

      My, what a lovely straw man you’ve put forth for everyone to see.

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