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Dale Sveum GollySportsCenter has been running this montage of military personel surprising their families on their return home from service and you’d pretty much have to be made of stone not to melt when you watch it. The sports connection is a bit tenuous, but … whatever. It’s sweet.

  • With yesterday’s win, the Cubs have now won three straight series (yes, against bad teams – but that’s what you’re supposed to do), and are just 10 games under .500. No, that doesn’t mean it’s time to start dreaming about a hot streak that turns things around. The Cubs are still 13.5 games out in the Central and the sell-off is coming. There is no stopping it at this point, nor should there be. That said, I thought it worth checking back in on Baseball Prospectus’s adjusted standings, which calculate what a team’s record should be, based on underlying statistics and the opponents they’ve faced. Updated as of this morning, those adjusted standings have the Cubs as still one of the unluckiest teams in baseball, five games worse than they should be. Flip those five games, and the Cubs are a .500 team, as BP says they “should” be. Further, when the rest of the NL is adjusted, the Cubs wind up just 5.5 games behind the Pirates for the second Wild Card spot. That makes me wonder: how different are our conversations today if the Cubs are at .500 and just 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. Are we still guaranteeing a sell-off for the Cubs? Would you still want them to sell? Stand pat? Buy?
  • Speaking of that win, it came in Edwin Jackson’s third quality start in June. It was of the “just barely a quality start” variety (6 IP, 3 ER), but it’s a continued step in the right direction from where his season started. It sounds like that “conviction” hullabaloo from earlier in the season was Dale Sveum’s way of saying, simply, he wanted Jackson to throw with more velocity. While Jackson’s velocity has bounced around a bit, I still think the primary reason Jackson’s results haven’t been great is negative variance. Which is to say: he’s had bad luck. The underlying numbers are right around his career averages, and his FIP remains solid (3.77, which is top 50 in baseball).
  • Theo Epstein knows his manager has received a lot of heat for how Carlos Marmol was used prior to the reliever being designated for assignment last week, and he doesn’t think it’s fair. “The manager often times takes heat for things that are beyond their control,” Epstein said, per Cubs.com. “We’ve given him an imperfect roster. We have a lot of talented players, but it’s an imperfect roster, and he’s often times put in situations where he has to chose between imperfect solutions. He didn’t want to necessarily use Marmol in certain situations, but there comes a point where other guys need rest or have already been used, or he’s looking a day ahead. I think it’s unfair, with only partial information, to jump to conclusions about Dale’s managerial ability based on using Marmol in a certain spot.” I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing that same thing, but that doesn’t make it any less true. For me, there was scarcely a time when I thought Sveum’s use of Marmol – or any other reliever – was beyond justification when you consider the whole of the situation (where the Cubs are, how the bullpen is constructed, etc.).
  • Epstein also said that, if you were summing up the Cubs’ season so far, you’d note how well the first seven innings go, and then how it kind of falls off in the last two innings.
  • Epstein was asked about the status of negotiations with top draft pick Kris Bryant, the last of the Cubs’ top ten picks to sign, but Epstein declined to address the matter beyond the boiler plate. There isn’t much upside in saying too much, and there isn’t much legitimate concern that a deal won’t be completed, so that’s what you’d expect.
  • fromthemitten

    It’s not fair to judge Sveum on his management of Marmol specifically… it IS fair to judge him on how he manages the bullpen. Camp’s shot this year due to being abused last season and this season James Russell is the new Shawn Camp. I may be wrong, but I think he got used four days in a row recently and has coincidentally struggled. Meanwhile some guys like Rondon and Rodriguiez have sat stretches without being used. It’s really frustrating to watch him bungle this.

    • Chad

      Classic. You come on here after a game where Russell wasn’t used and it’s Dale’s fault for not using. Now he’s over using him. Why not put Rondon and Rodriguez in there. Well cause they’re not very good, that’s why. So why have them on the roster? I don’t know. But to say it’s Sveum’s fault. Blah Blah Blah. If he puts Rondon in and he blows it then it’s Dale’s fault for putting an inexperienced guy in there. It never ends, and I know it never will for any manager, but man it’s difficult to watch on here every single day.

      • Jay

        Or he runs to the bullpen like a robot after a certain pitch count no matter how well his starter is mowing down the opposing batters….even when he knows his bullpen is a trash can fire.

        • Dob2812

          Dusty Baker. Never forget.

    • Ivy Walls

      Screw the idea of fair, as the saying goes ‘there’s no crying in baseball’ meaning either you win or lose regardless of what appears to be fair for some eyes.

      It is unfair that Sveum is given this unbalanced very expensive, holdover roster of misfits, journeymen, false hopes and trade baits. So what. What the metrics is saying is either…

      A) Cubs players have underperformed in game situations
      B) Cubs on field management have underperformed in game situations
      C) Upper management decisions
      D) the metrics are not reliable.

      You chose for what the metrics are saying is that the Cubs should have won five more games, (flip five games out of the hundred), that is 5%. So let us start out and find the teams performing worse. Miami (.363) Houston (.366), Milw (.400), ChiSox (.405), NYM (.423), Sea (.427), then the Cubs at (.438) behind Minn, LAD, Phil, SF, KC, LAA, SD, CO, all whom are below .500

      Which five games could the players or management or combination could have performed differently. Let us start with Marmol….when should he have actually been DFA’d in that he was so it was more a matter of timing than anything…Marmol had 3 blown saves this year and 4 losses in 27 IP, last year 3 blown saves in 55 IP with 3 losses. I say two games were his…which ones. Atl early on when they hit 2 HR’s in the 9th? okay no more closer, but how about May 4th Cinci when he gave up 3 runs in the 8th and Cubs lost 6-4. Then June 1st against AZ Cubs took the lead in the 7th and Marmol comes in and gives up a Grand Slam after loading the bases. That is two and then June 16th he recorded a blown save and loss when he gave up 2 HR’s in the 9th to the lowly Mets.

      I say June 1 and 16 belong to management knowing that Marmol was done and shouldn’t be in there….

      But what about the other three? I think you can point to scoring runs, how about a few squeezes Sveum?

  • Cedlandrum

    I agree with Theo, but at this point lets stop the charade with Camp too. Get rid of him and bring up Schlitter, Coleman, Sanchez, Zych, or Rosscup. I would rather see them go young to see if some of these guys are legit. Or as fromthemitten said use Rondon or Rodriquez in late innings. What is the worst that can happen? We lose? We already do that late.

    • Jay

      Couldn’t agree more. If you’re going to dump Marmol then there’s no reason Camp is still here either–particularly since he’s making peanuts.

      • willis

        Completely agree. That Camp bullcrap yesterday almost blew the game. Thankfully it didn’t but Sveum hasn’t learned a thing to this point. We are all supposed to learn from our mistakes and build from them. He keeps doing the same thing.

        Camp is through. If you’re going to rebuild the bullpen, with moves like dumping Marmol, you can do the same with Camp. It’s more than time.

  • Scott

    The Yankees have a run differential of -16 and are 3 games over .500. The Cubs have a run differential of -10 and are 10 under. Go figure.

  • Werner

    I think we’d be seriously questioning a sell-off if we happened to play in any other division this year.

    • bbmoney

      Tough to question a sell-off when you’re 10 games under .500, no matter what the underlying #’s say. Even in another division we’d likely have to play .600 ball the rest of the way to sniff the playoffs, that’d get us to 84 or 85 wins.

    • Rcleven

      Even at .500 I wouldn’t think twice about selling.
      This team should be built to win at least 90+ wins a year.
      If you can’t beat the teams in your division your not going to the playoffs.
      Pitt,Cincy,St Louis aren’t standing still.

  • Webb

    In my humble opinion, this Cubs team “should” have exactly as many wins as the currently have.

    I’m not so foolish as to say “Advanced metrics be damned!!!” But if you’ve watched this team play would you assess them as a middle of the road, even record team? I certainly would not. They play like a bad team, their record reflects that, and they “should” have the record they have. The adjusted standings reflect impartial aggregated number sets that “predict” win-loss records in a vacuum based on historical data. They don’t reflect the Cubs getting the snot kicked out of them by the Cards, Bucs and Reds.

    The Orioles were a good team last year, and the Cubs are a bad team this year. That’s reality. Let’s enjoy the game as we try and learn more about it instead of screaming WAR is law and missing out on the simple beauties of this wonderful game.

    • Edwin

      It’s not about how many wins the Cubs “should” have so far, as much as it’s what to expect going forward. Based on what they’ve done so far this year, I’d expect the Cubs to play more like a .500 team going forward than what they’ve done so far.

      • Webb

        I understand that principle as well. I wouldn’t expect this version of the Cubs to play like a .500 team moving forward either, however. The BAIP may be down, the BARISP is unsustainable low, and we can’t even blame Carlos Marmol any more, but it’s the bad rundowns between third and home that better illustrate why this team is 10 games under .500 than the next plate appearance after another league-leading double.

        Again, I understand the utility of these new tools we have to understand the game, I just don’t believe in using them to explain everything. My point is more of a bigger picture argument about not loosing sight of the game two feet in front of our nose by analyzing it from 30,000 feet.

        “The game is best understood at 10,000 feet, it is best enjoyed from the front row”

      • Jay

        However, the team that’s going to be on the field for most of the second half isn’t the one you’re looking at now, so .500 the rest of the way is a pipe dream.

    • hansman1982

      Even the most scary, deepest, darkest, most mythological of advanced metrics (RS vs. RA) says we should be close to .500!

      • Webb

        There probably aren’t any other examples of statistical outliers to this metric in the 120-year history of baseball either!!

  • Edwin

    The frustrating thing though is that the Cubs are getting a lot of production right now from players who will be very iffy to keep producing that value going forward. The Cubs have gotten 1.1 WAR out of Cody Ransom, .8 from Ryan Sweeney, and .8 from Dioneer Navarro. They’ve gotten .8 WAR (hitting) from their pitching spot. I think it will be pretty rare to keep getting that kind of production out of these players.

    Even players that might be part of the Cubs in 2014/2015 (Valbuena, Schierholtz, and DeJesus), these players are much more likely to regress going forward than to sustain their current level of production.

    Looking at the “core” players, the ones that should keep getting better over the years and the players the Cubs can build around, it’s tough to be optimistic. Rizzo has been a solid hitter, but nothing special. Castro has been a disaster this year. I expect both players to perform better, but at this point it’s hard to label either player as a huge difference maker going forward.

    I think the Cubs’ .500 expected record is more mirage than oasis at this point. The Cubs are a better team going forward than they’ve played so far, but they’re probably farther away from contention than their on paper performance indicates.

    • Rich H

      Depending on what is the returns from trades I think the underlying metrix say just the opposite Edwin. They say this team is learning the new way and trying to figure out how to win.
      Castro 3.88 pitches per AB(top 20 in the NL), Sheirholtz 3.77, Rizzo 3.75. (I don’t even mention Soriano or DeJesus being right around the same point because they are not really part of the future).
      I know that is just one stat but it is very telling. They are learning a new approach and the results so far are suspect. Eventually they will also be able to recognize what is “their pitch” while still remaining that patient.
      This is a process. Baby steps were needed when it started and they are still needed. I think what the stats are telling us is 2 things one this team is better on paper than it is in the field right now and the other is that even after the sell off we are going to be a better team at the end of the year than anyone thought was possible because of the baby steps that are being taken right now.

      • Edwin

        Could be, and I’d love for that to happen.

    • ssckelley

      But the good news is these players that are playing above what is expected of them may get the Cubs prospects at the trade deadline. Hot hitting veteran players are expendable for a non contending team like the Cubs. I doubt come August players like Ransom, Navarro, DeJesus, and Schierholtz will all still be on the Cubs roster.

      • Edwin

        It’s great that they’re playing better than expected, and I’m sure the Cubs will try and get whatever prospects they can. I’m happy about that. But I think it’s doubtful the prospects the Cubs get back at this point will contribute much in 2014.

        For the Cubs to be a better team next year, they need to make net gains somewhere. Most of the players who have been providing the most value this year probably wont’ be back next year, which means the Cubs will need to replace their value. I just think it will be tough to make any huge net gains this offseason. I’m sure Theo/Jed will make some nice moves and surprise me, but they’ll have to pull off quite the magic act to turn the Cubs into serious contenders in 2014.

        • ssckelley

          I think the Cubs will approach 2014 the same way they did this season, put together enough pieces to give them a shot at winning and see what happens. The Cubs had a shot at winning this year but who could have predicted Marmol falling apart (that Haron deal sure looks good now), Camp falling apart, and Fujikawa getting hurt all who were counted on to be key pieces in the bullpen. The FO keep making moves to acquire value, both tradeable and long term pieces.

          Honestly all the moves I see the FO making all seems to point towards when they get Wrigley renovated. That is when the farm system should start pumping out talent along with the long term pieces they have signed on the MLB roster (Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija, ect). I think once Wrigley gets done the expectations from the top will skyrocket and all the moves they make have one eye on when they think this gets done. I get the feeling while the Cubs are not throwing away these seasons right now they are just tinkering to see what works, if it does not they blow it all up while keeping the organization moving forward. Honestly I think the one place this FO does not want to be in is having a team hovering around the .500 mark only 5 games out of first place.

  • The Dude Abides

    The Cubs have the worst record in the majors in one run games 10 -17 .370 winning percentage. That generally falls to the bullpen and defense. Who is responsible for who is pitching and playing defense?

    Sveum has to play the players he was given but the failure to win the one run game is the difference more than “bad breaks” for their record at the mid-point of the season.

    The ability to win one run games is the difference between good managers and bad, not saying the Cubs are a good team this year but the worst record in baseball??

    • Edwin

      If you look at team performance in 1 run games, it can vary quite a bit year to year. One year a team might be great, the next terrible. Basically the same players/defense, same manager, same bullpen, but different results each year.

      Managers certainly play a role, as does the quality of the bullpen and defense, but obviously luck and run sequencing plays a role as well.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That generally falls to the bullpen and defense. Who is responsible for who is pitching and playing defense?

      Losing 1-run games falls 50:50 on offense and defense. If the batters generate 2 more runs, then the team wins; if the pitchers (and, to a much lesser extent, fielders) prevent 2 more runs, then the team wins. If the batters produce one more and the pitchers prevent one more, then the team wins.

      If you look at 1-run games, then the single biggest difference is numbers of HR hit: the winning team hits more. That is one for the batters on the winning team and one against the pitchers on the losing team.

      The other thing is that 27 games is a meaninglessly small sample size. If all 30 teams were 0.500 teams in 1-run games, then 3 or 4 of them would deviate from 0.500 by as much as 10-17. If the Cubs played 0.500 ball, then they would be 13-14 or 14-13: and even a 39-41 record is well out of contention in the NLC.

      • The Dude Abides

        Doc – what is the correct sample size? Also 39 – 41 is right at the .500 record the article states we should be at for the year.

        1/3 of our games to date are one run, we have the worst record. If your looking for a breakdown on where we need to improve that is a great starting point.

      • True(ly) Blue

        Doc, Is there a way to determine how many 1 run (or close) games the Cubs lost because of errors? I’ve watched most of the Cub games this year and I don’t remember a lot of losses due to errors, mostly bullpen failures. Thanks.

        • hansman1982

          The Cubs have lost the 1-run games because they have been terrible at scoring in those games (3.1 r/g).

          • The Dude Abides

            Actually it’s 3.3 in one run losses and 2.8 in the remaining losses so that really is not it.

            The defense is ranked 25 in fielding percentage which doesn’t include the balls we don’t get to with a corner outfielder playing CF and a DH playing LF. Also can’t forget Castro leading or near the lead in errors by a SS.

            Cubs FO has repeatedly said they were not calling the game for Sveum and forcing him to pitch Marmol and to a degree Camp but time after time they were out there and let the team down.

            Sveum may have been trying to play the good soldier and attempt to pump Marmol’s & Soriano’s stats so he could get a decent prospect in return for the team.

            Either the FO lied about telling Sveum who to play or Sveum made the decision on his own, in the end it won’t matter because if they are looking for someone to blame, and eventually they will, Sveum will be their guy.

        • bbmoney

          I mean it’s kind of hard to determine exactly what is the “cause” of a loss. Sure maybe the bullpen gives up 2 runs in the 8th or 9th and we blame them.

          But maybe in that same game the offense failed to score in the 6th with the bases loaded and 1 out, and then again in the 7th with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. Or some such other failures. We’d all first point to the bullpen, because it was the last thing we remember, but the offense really shares quite a bit of the blame for not padding an earlier lead. It’s some combination of factors.

          • bbmoney

            Heck it could have even been the bad defensive play in the 3rd that wasn’t scored an error that allowed a run or two to score…….

    • Josh C.

      I kind of agree with your statement here, but last year the Orioles had a crazy record in one run games (like 24/7) or something silly like that, this year they are .500 in 1 run games. Did Buck get dumber this year than last, sometimes guys, it is just as simple as getting bad breaks. You can throw around this BABIP and andvanced WAR and any other dumbass acronym you can imiagine and it still comes down to luck in this case. At least thats what this guys thinks!!

  • Zorag

    This is a pet peeve of mine. The adjusted standings are obviously missing some variables. These may be harder to identify and collect, but they exist. If all variables are accounted for, the Cubs would have the exact record they have.

    • cubchymyst

      The main variable missing is known, it is the sequence of the hits.

    • Edwin

      They might be missing some variables that may lead to better expected/adjusted standings, but it would never be perfect because you can’t account for the impact that luck/run sequencing has on the game.

  • ssckelley

    Great, the Cubs have a manager that needs a perfect roster in order to win.

    • bbmoney

      Secret for you. Most ‘great’ coaches, also have the most talented teams. It’s funny how that works, seems to hold true across all sports as well.

      • Rich H

        Great Point look at Torre. In StL and Atl he was ran out on a rail because of sub standard talent. He gets to the Yankees and pushes all the right buttons.

      • ssckelley

        It takes more to be a great coach than having the most talented team. In baseball LaRussa did not always have the most talented team but he always managed to get the Cardinals into the playoffs. In the NBA very few people would refer to Erik Spoelstra as a great coach but everyone seen what happened to the Lakers after Phil Jackson left and in Chicago I have been very impressed with the job Tom Thibodeau has done especially this past season without their best player. A good coach does not need a perfect roster in order to succeed.

        • Edwin

          Tonly LaRussa had some pretty damn talented teams.

          Also, I think baseball is different than Basketball or Football, where a coach definitely does have more influence on the outcome due to being able to call plays or utilized more strategy.

          • ssckelley

            True but LaRussa has also led some teams not so talented and won the World Series with them. It seemed like every year the Cardinals got gutted and somehow at the end of the season they were always in contention.

        • Rich H

          Tony Larussa;s A’s teams had more talent than anyone else and it took God to shake the earth for them to win it all. Remember what the label on Larussa was when he came to StL? Won’t win it all! That should tell you all you need to know about the great Tony Larussa.

          Disclaimer: Grew up loving the A’s and the Cubs. My hatred for Sir Tony runs DEEP!

        • bbmoney

          That kind of makes my point, the Spoelstra thing. Coach’s importance in most sports is frankly overrated. You can win without a great coach. You can’t win without great talent. Perfect roster? No such thing, but they need lots more talent than the current Cubs team has.

          Don’t dog LaRussa’s Cardinal teams, they were pretty darn talented. As much as that makes me want to vomit in my mouth to say.

          • ssckelley

            Not really, if people thought great teams make a great coach then more people would be saying Spoelstra is a great coach. I even had to look his name up before making my original comment to you. Phil Jackson has coached some of the greatest to have ever played the game and through that I (among others) still consider him to be a great coach.

            • King Jeff

              I’ve actually heard and read a lot of people who are calling Spoelstra a “great coach”, as ridiculous as it seems.

              • hansman1982

                It’s the same reason some people won’t label Manning a GREAT quarterback.

                ESPN.

        • hansman1982

          LaRussa also went from having Mark McGwire to having Albert Pujols on his teams.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Tony LaRussa is in my opinion one of the most underachieving managers in baseball history based on the talent he was given to work with. Make a list of the hall of fame players he had on his clubs. Getting swept by the Dodgers was one of the all time choke jobs.
          And secondly, would it even make a difference if the Cubs were winning? This geek fan approach that winning now really doesn’t make a difference long term is lunacy. It makes a huge difference. Changing a losing culture in anything is done in increments. To think that it’s ok for the Cubs to lose 95 games every year until the prospects arrive, and then they will just take off, well it’s dumb. It just doesn’t work that way.

    • Rich H

      He was not saying that. Theo has taken the bullet for the lack of a bullpen all year. They knew going it that it was a weak point and will continue to be one. What he is saying is that no matter what decision was made as far as the bullpen is concerned the options were not pretty.

  • Frank

    Brett, Since you brought up the piece that’s been running on ESPN about the kids being surprised by the fathers coming home from the war, I’m going to use this opportunity for my soapbox.

    Number one, those scenes make me sick. Every time it ran, it broke my heart. I never want to see a child crying because they haven’t seen their father/mother for a year or whatever coming home from a war. Vietnam.. done that, wasn’t pretty.

    If your heart melted when that piece was run, think about the kids that cried because they saw their father come home in a casket. War sucks. Peace.

    • Jeff

      Well said Frank! Unfortunately War doesn’t suck for all the politicians and businessman who profit off of putting our brave men and women in harms way.

      • willis

        Here we go….BN Politics!! Oy.

        Slippery slope here, let’s try and keep it here or it could get ugly.

      • Frank

        If the politicians had to send “their” kids off to a war zone, there wouldn’t be any wars. I’m in favor of a limited draft. If your elected to the Senate or the House, your eligible son or daughter is drafted. All settled, no more wars.

        • Frank

          Sorry for the rants. My mouth is now shut.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the thoughts. I don’t think there’s anything inconsistent with desiring peace and simultaneously being moved by servicemen and women returning home from service to see their families.

    • hansman1982

      They remind the folks at home that there are still men and women out there every day sacrificing a big chunk of their lives so that it is slightly more safe for you to come on a website and post this.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    “The adjusted standings reflect impartial aggregated number sets that “predict” win-loss records in a vacuum based on historical data.”

    Which is it, a vacuum or historical data? Historical data are not a vacuum: they are hundreds of other teams that (between them) experienced everything the Cubs have experienced hundreds of times!

    “They don’t reflect the Cubs getting the snot kicked out of them by the Cards, Bucs and Reds.”

    If the Cubs were losing by “getting the snot kicked out of them” by a small number of teams but still had their core stats, then the Cubs would have a winning record. The Cubs problem is the opposite: losing too many close games where they actually outperformed the opponent in core stats.

    That written, the Cubs did as well in June as some of their peripherals suggest. They posted a team OPS of -0.091, which translates to about 0.475 ball. The most probable record in 27 games is 13-14; the 2nd most (and nearly as) probable outcome was 12-15, which is what we got. So, all of the stories that people concocted about why the Cubs underperformed relative to OPS the first two months obviously took a break in June…

    • jt

      The weak link!
      The chain must balance the load and distribute the tension.
      The loss of a lot of close games indicates that this has not been done.
      Perhaps the defense has been good and at times the BP has been good (though add 2 or 3 elite arms and the W/L would have looked a whole lot diff)
      But there is also an element of “inexperience play” on the team.
      Long and short: maybe Rizzo, Castro and Castillo will become consistently in their offensive production.
      But, the BP does suck

  • Kyle

    It does feel like they’ve treaded water 10 games under .500 for the month or so we’ve been having these “real talent” expectations.

  • Colocubfan

    I personally have been hoping for huge losing streaks. This is not a World Series winning team, and if they can’t pull off the Big One, they just as well go for the worst record. Increased signing revenue, increased odds of a shouldn’t miss player, etc.

    I don’t think we’ll be able to really tell what kind of manager Dale is. By the time the Cubs are finally close to contention, he’ll probably be long gone. The bullpen disaster has left him with confusing choices to make, and as you all know, if it’s the Cubs, they’ll screw it up.

    The big stat that I personally see besides the bullpen that is not helping this team is RISP. 2 for 11 and 3 for 15 RISP doesn’t cut it. That’s what I miss about Aramis Ramirez. He seemed to be able to come through in the clutch a lot. Maybe it’s my imagination, I haven’t combed over his stats.

    Just my 2 cents worth. You can bash me now.

    • Timmy

      This is right, he’s certainly going to be the first to take the fall sometime next year for being dealt a pair of deuces.

      Metrics are so good at abstracting from what’s going on that we can be placated into believing that this is a decent team. We’re awful. The hitting is awful. Starting pitching is decent and will improve. I think the record reflects how poor this team has been restructured just fine. Does anyone actually watch games anymore or do they just read bylines at espn? We look terrible and unconfident.

    • OCCubFan

      “The big stat that I personally see besides the bullpen that is not helping this team is RISP. 2 for 11 and 3 for 15 RISP doesn’t cut it. That’s what I miss about Aramis Ramirez. He seemed to be able to come through in the clutch a lot. Maybe it’s my imagination, I haven’t combed over his stats.”

      (1) If a team is hitting about .250 overall, then you should expect about 3 hits for 11 ABs with RISP. 2 hits is well within expectations. Likewise, you should expect a bit less than 4 hits in 15 ABs with RISP. Again, 3 is well within expectations.

      (2) The last few years Ramirez was with the Cubs, message boards were filled with complaints about how he “never” hit when it counted. Let’s examine the facts.

      In 2013, Ramirez’s OPS is .777 overall, .650 with RISP.
      In 2012, Ramirez’s OPS was .901 overall, .817 with RISP.
      For his entire career, Ramirez’s OPS is .845 overall, .900 with RISP.

      Studies have repeatedly shown that “clutch” performance in one period is not predictive of such performance in a following period.

  • Webb

    I’m glad you responded, I respect and enjoy your input. The “vacuum” I intended to refer to was based on the exclusion of the opponents the Cubs have faced this season (NL central). You are right that those three teams contribute to a relatively small percentage of the Cubs’ losses on the season, and that point may have been overstated.

    Your historical data comment is spot-on. This has happened hundreds of times to hundreds of teams, it’s just really freaking rare. I suppose what I’m trying to say is the reason this team happens to be one of those statistical outliers is because of the baseball talent on the field, or lack thereof.

    • Webb

      This was meant to be addressed to DocPete. Oops.

  • Tim

    Jair jurrjens DFA. Good chance the cubs pick him up?

    • Bric

      I’m sure Thed will look into it. He’s exactly the type of guy thed likes to pick up and when he was good, he was very good. You can’t have too many arms if the price is right.

  • Die hard

    Sandburg has team .500

    • Patrick W.

      nailed it.

  • Bric

    Brett, your bullets are always good for a Monday morning (kind of a recap of the important events or updates over the weekend) but todays was really good. You touched on the few things that are on everybody’s minds.

    The first thing is Marmol and the bullpen. I’m not totally sold on Svuem’s coaching ability but one thing I’m sure of is he doesn’t point fingers and he’d doing the best he can with what he’s got. He’s just trying to win games like everybody else and right now he doesn’t have that much to work with past a good win here and a good win there. He just doesn’t have the depth and talent (especially in arms) to realistically string together 6 or 7 wins at a time so we just gotta accept it for what it is.

    The other thing is Marmol himself. His implosion started with Hendry and Lou. Thedstein and Svuem had nothing to do with it. He’s like an old car that you really love but everything’s breaking down and it’s just too expensive to hold onto and fix. He was a hot mess and there was no “good situation” to put him in to try to build up his trade value because no other team wanted him anyway. Even if he had been a little better, so what? You get a borderline C prospect in return so you can feel better about yourself? He had to go. Nobody’s fault, good luck to him, and thanks for a few good saves. No thanks on all the gray hairs. Let’s just move on. Go Cubs!

    • http://msn Sacko

      I agree with the good luck to Marmal and thanks for the good times. I just get sick of the management down playing on what choices we had at the time. The entire BP needed rest?
      Marmal was struggling in this 2nd year new management had seen him, “Hey Marmol you are middle relief now and that’s it.” Now they are making those late inning choices w/o him anyway. Good grief, out of the 20 some games we had the lead and lost? (a leading MLB category) That’s horsesh*t management. Even winning 25% of those leads we have a different team that were looking at now.

  • jt

    Rizzo is using a shorter stroke that that which he used at the beginning of the year.
    He effectively used it to go to LF for a while but lost power.
    Recently he has been using that stroke to pull pitches with a lot less success. But when he does get it down he has the potential to be a monster.
    *
    Castro keeps putting the outside corner at the knees pitch in play and he keeps making outs with it. He needs to learn to foul that pitch off and force pitchers to toss in areas he can use his body. If that happens he could become a monster.
    *
    Soriano has had a recent stretch of good games. But he is not the answer for the cleanup spot. They need a monster in LF.
    *
    They need 3 monster arms in the BP.
    *
    That is how close they are to being a good team.

  • cubmig

    From this non-stat fan……….it just goes to show that “the numbers” don’t always serve as the measure to show why the Cubs are the kind of team they are. By extension, Individual stats should be read with great skepticism. I don’t know how one measures the personal intangibles that make up a player—but maybe that’s where ‘old school’ scrutiny based on observation needs to be given great weight. In this age of sabermetrics, stats seem to dictate moves. And yet, baseball, after all, values the instinct-response trait —– something I tend to believe is assessed more completely by observing than by analyzing numbers. Just my personal opinion.

    • jt

      The stats should guide the “scrutiny”. The “scrutiny” should guide where to look in the stats.
      Kind of a recursively refine thing.
      These guys are saying that behind the losses there is something good happening.
      Just what?
      Do the recursive refine to bring the apparent chaos into a bit more focus.

      • http://msn Sacko

        FO is saying the good happening about loosing again is that we are going try to and trade at least 6 players by the end of July.

  • dying cubs fan’s last request

    Give this crap Cubs team in the hands of a real manager like Bruce Bochy or Tony Larussa and you instantly get at least 10 more wins in a single season just by managing your bullpen the right way.

    • Cubbie Blues

      False.

    • Hansman1982

      The same guys who needed superstars on their teams to win the World Series?

  • Voice of Reason

    I believe these are the same stats that say Edwin Jackson hasn’t pitched that bad all year and that valbuena is an ideal choice to be the third baseman of then future when the cubs are ready to compete?

    If they are the same stats then it makes sense that they say the cubs should be at .500 right now.

    • DarthWolf

      Perhaps the stats are gay.

      • cubchymyst

        I don’t believe that numbers can be happy or sad.

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