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wrigley field from right bleachersSince the Cubs blew out the Nationals last night, I can only assume David DeJesus was their Kryptonite.

The Chris Rusin try-out tour continues tonight. Can he keep pulling this off? On the other side of the bump is the guy who was a Cub for about 15 minutes in November, Dan Haren. He was never actually a Cub (the front office backed out of the Marmol/Haren swap after reviewing Haren’s medicals), which has proved to be a relative good thing.

The lineup is interesting, featuring the return of Brian Bogusevic (also in a try-out) and Starlin Castro batting all the way down in the 8 spot.

On the Nats’ side, old friend Scott Hairston gets a start against the lefty, Rusin.

Game Info

Washington Nationals (60-64) at Chicago Cubs (54-70), 7:05 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Dan Haren (7-11, 4.79 ERA, 4.26 FIP)

versus

Chris Rusin (2-2, 3.06 ERA, 3.88 FIP)

Washington Nationals Lineup

1. Bryce Harper, CF

2. Ian Desmond, SS

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Jayson Werth, RF

5. Wilson Ramos, C

6. Tyler Moore, 1B

7. Anthony Rendon, 2B

8. Scott Hairston, LF

9. Dan Haren, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Junior Lake, CF

2. Darwin Barney, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Nate Schierholtz, RF

5. Donnie Murphy, 3B

6. Brian Bogusevic, LF

7. Welington Castillo, C

8. Starlin Castro, SS

9. Chris Rusin, P

  • cincycubfan

    It’s sad I can’t even argue batting Castro 8th in a lineup that has Barney batting 2nd and Murphy batting 5th. Really hope the kid turns it around this last month and a half.

  • ari gold

    I’m not so sure Castro can turn it around this year. Hopefully he comes back strong next year.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      The best thing for Castro is to get away from Sveum, Rowson and Chicago. He needs a change of scenery trade, for his own good.

      • BlameHendry

        agreed. I want him to put it together in Chicago but I dont think he will. He’s got an obvious beef with Sveum and the fans give him the Marmol treatment sometimes.

        • jon

          Anthony Rizzo can decide to show up.this 2nd half of the season whenever he wants. For a much crap.a Starlin takes( much of it deserved) it amazing how the “golden child” is immune from critics

          • Eternal Pessimist

            His performance was far superior to Castro’s this year, and while he got some criticism it seems more in proportion to his performance…including 130 point higher OPS for Rizzo (granted, playing a much easier position in the field). Also, the peripherals point to some bad luck for Rizzo…not so much for Castro.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              …and not saying we should beat the guy down. I hope for his success as much as the next Cub guy, but he took two big steps back this year and is frustrating to watch. I don’t doubt his character though, and will root for him to get it back together soon.

            • Can’t think of a cool name

              Pretty bad bar if comparing against Castro. Rizzo is ranked 21 out of 24 for all first baseman in MLB. I’m hoping next year is better for him as well.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          I don’t see any obvious beef…not being a mind-reader…but you could assume that no one likes getting benched, and assume that Castro felt betrayed in his benching, and assume that Castro didn’t his other mental errors in the games throughout the year, but I haven’t seen any obvious beef.

          By the way, I have no dislike for Castro. I dislike that he has taken a step back in his development and now instead of hoping for continued growth in his play we are hoping he could play like he did two years ago.

          • MichiganGoat

            Yeah I’m not sold on this narrative that Castro and Sveum can’t get along and therefore Castro has no confidence. Maybe the league has just figured him out and he is either slumping or unable to adjust- pinning his play on Sveum looks more like an excuse and a story that a disappointed fan base has latched onto to explain his poor performance. We will never know what is going on in Castro’s or Sveum’s mind during this year. Lets just call it what it is – a bad regression for Castro. Lets not spin yarn where there is no yarn.

            • willis

              I think it’s that Castro is insanely talented and since Sveum and company have come along he’s gotten worse and worse. He’s no where near where he was the first two years, and only becoming more and more frustrated. There may not be a rift, but something isn’t jiving. The fans see that and that leads to speculation there are issues.

              Whatever it is, it’s been pretty rough to watch.

              • MichiganGoat

                Oh I understand where it comes from but why fans love to latch onto speculative stories always confuses and disappoints me.

            • mjhurdle

              WAR may not tell the whole story, but the fact that Castro had the highest WAR of his career just last year seems to indicate the weakness of the “keeps getting worse and worse” line that people love to trot out to validate their opinions of Castro.

              This Castro-Sveum thing is going to follow the same story as the ‘Garza was a clubhouse cancer’ story, where everyone will repeat it as fact without much of anything to back it up.

              • MichiganGoat

                See how much easy everything is if we just look at verifiable stats and trends than trying to write a soap opera script to explain everything.

              • DarthHater

                Castro’s fielding improved last year and that helped sustain his WAR. But his hitting last year was not as good as the prior two years and, of course, is a lot worse this year.

            • DarthHater

              I dunno, MG. I was just googling old BN stories on Castro and found one from mid 2012 that had Castro f-ing up with a mental lapse, Sveum saying it was the “last straw,” Castro saying he was embarrassed and apologizing to his teammates. Sounds like a broken record…

              • MichiganGoat

                I know the stories and see what everyone is trying to connect but Sveum bring frustrated with Castro’s play does directly mean it’s the reason Castro is struggling. I understand why people want to discuss this drama to explain everything, I just believe speculation isn’t helping anything.

                • DarthHater

                  I’m in no position to speculate about causes. Castro obviously has trouble paying attention, at least sporadically, on defense and on the basepaths. But on the other hand, his overall defensive play has improved and I have not heard that his head isn’t in the game when he’s batting. I think the best explanation probably is that enough goats have not yet been sacrificed!

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Yeah that the reason most Cub fans eventually settle on. ;)

      • Can’t think of a cool name

        Rizzo, Castro and Barney have seen a decrease in batting average of .055, .041, and .036 with corresponding drops in OPS (Castro’s OPS drop is horrific). I know RIzzo only in his second year, Barney was never really a great hitter and Castro is a head case (being sarcastic here). However whatever Sveum and Rowson are teaching is not working for these 3.

        • BT

          So Rowson doesn’t get credit for Rizzo’s .282 OPS rise from 2011-2012, only his .055 drop from 2012-13? Dunno, seems insanely, unfairly selective to me.

          • Can’t think of a cool name

            Seeing that he has only one other year in the majors, not much to select.

            • willis

              And Rowson was only around for a bit last year. And full time this year, the results speak for themselves. The two “best” hitters are about as bad as it gets on this roster now. That’s where people shake their head and wonder why this has happened.

              • BT

                Rowson has been around for Rizzo’s entire Cubs major league career. He was named hitting coach 2 weeks before Rizzo was called up. So if he was only around “a bit” last year, so was Rizzo (for the record, it was June 13, which is a pretty long “bit”). If he is taking the fall for 2013, he deserves credit for 2012.

                • willis

                  But doesn’t it strike you (us) as funny at how far Castro has fallen since about half way through last season, and that a talented as hell bat like Rizzo is having a rough year? Sure, I’ll give Rowson all the credit he deserves. Last year Rizzo was great and this year Schierholtz, Castillo and Navarro are having good seasons, but the two prize pieces are plain awful. What went wrong there? It’s a huge head scratcher because both showed so much talent and promise. All on Rowson? Of course not. But there are issues there that are very concerning.

                  • BT

                    Castro is awful. That’s it. Rizzo is explainable, you don’t like the explanation. Three other guys you mention are having great years. Barney sucks ass every year, and shouldn’t be part of the conversation. Regardless, Rowson didn’t go from genius to idiot with Rizzo in the span of one season. Rowson simply isn’t the issue.

                    It’s very simple. Castro is having a terrible year, and fixing him isn’t as simple as changing the hitting instructor, because the hitting instructor isn’t responsible for his problems. Hitting instructors can tweak a player, they can’t overhaul them.

          • Can’t think of a cool name

            “Insanely unfair” really?

            • BT

              Yeah. Ignore the good results, pin the bad results on the coach. Pretty much the working definition of unfair.

        • Hansman1982

          Ya, I know, the increase in 2B, 3B and HR from Rizzo and Barney should e discounted. Oh and Schierholtz’s amazing season and Navarro being a bum. Just hang your hat on Barney and Rizzo having a reduced singles rate this year and Castro somehow being crappy.

          • willis

            Increase in HR for Rizzo?

            Look all I know is the two main pieces the organization is building around are having meh seasons and struggling mightily at the plate. I don’t see how anyone can argue that.

            • cubes

              duh nate and Navarro are the building blocks. Castro and Rizzo are just here for the next 6 years

            • Cubbie Blues

              Because Rizzo isn’t having a meh season. If you increase his BABIP back up to normal his AVG is right back up where you would expect it and his other numbers already look good.

              • willis

                If babip avg and singles rate don’t mean shit because they aren’t happening. What is happening is a bad second season for a huge piece of this rebuilding effort.

                It’s concerning and needs to improve. He’s been inked long term and is being counted on to help make this team a contender. His struggles are surprising and I think he can turn it around as he grows.

                • hansman1982

                  YA! RIZZO JUST NEEDS TO GET MORE GROUNDERS PAST THE INFIELDERS AND MOAR BLOOP HITS TO FALL!!!!!!! Nevermind he his hitting the ball for more XBH this year than last.

                  Seriously, the only thing worse for Rizzo this year than last his is singles rate. Give him the same number of singles as last year and he has an OPS over .900.

                  • jt

                    “Give him the same number of singles as last year and he has an OPS over .900.”
                    –hansman1982
                    *
                    Rizzo’s line in his last 346 PA’s 201/309/362
                    That is over a half years worth of continuous PA’s. He has walked 44 times in that period. That BB rate represents 42% of his OBP in those 346 PA’s. His x-basehit rate fell from 1 every 7.41 AB in his first 168 AB’s to 1 in every 10.00 AB in the above period.
                    NOT BAD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

            • True blue

              I’m with you Willis. We should be very concerned that the two most important pieces to our rebuild are not playing well. I read in the comments Rizzo is ranked 21 out of 24 for first basemen. If that’s true, he is doing much worse than I thought.

            • Mr. B. Patient

              Rizzo: AB per HR

              2012 – 22.5
              2013 – 25.6

              I’m not an expert, but that seems like a decrease.

              • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

                and doubles?
                per AB
                24.5 in 2012
                14.5 in 2013

                so lets call em extra base hits? hmmm

                AB per Xtra base hit
                2012 = 11.23
                2013 = 8.87

                How about walks?
                11.2% this year vs 7.3% last year
                ISO?
                .195 this year vs .178 last year

                The Bad: his K% is up 1.6% this year That’s 10 more for a full a season! or a Mike Olt double header!

                His Babip is down 55 points dipshits!

                And yes Rizzo has been slumping, but he isn’t terrible… or even bad yet. Barney has been terrible. Castro has been bad.

  • Johnny B Good

    Maybe that $13.65M savings this season was partly to pay off Edwin Jackson’s $8M signing bonus. Not to mention the $11M salary he’s earning this yr. no what ppl say I think the Edwin deal isn’t a bad one. Definitely not a great one for the cubs but that’s the FA market for starting pitchers these days

  • Michael Hammermeister

    Castro batting 8th? I guess Barney’s hot bat plays into this shift. Maybe a bump down for Rizzo would make it not so obvious that there are ego’s clashing somewhere between shortstop and the manager.

    • Corey

      Lol what ego?

      Have you ever seen Starlin say anything bad about Sveum?

      The person feeling the worst about starlin’s performance is Starlin, no need for high school attitudes about this between players and coaches.

      • MichiganGoat

        People are just grasping for reasons to justify his struggles- one of the most popular ones is that Sveum and Castro are butting heads. But this is nothing more than another attempt to connect dots that don’t exist. It’s gotten rather tiresome lately, but this is what happens when fans are disappointed with players performance.

        • cubes

          im fine with castro batting 8th… might help him take a walk/recognize bad pitches. he can be the best 8th hole hitter in the world if he wanted to be.

  • baseballet

    I had thought Haren was having a horrible season but looking at his stats, they aren’t too bad. His WHIP is lower than Shark’s, Edwin Jackson’s, and Villanueva’s.

    • jon

      Coulda ditched him for Marmol str 8 up an then we would not have had to send marmol and INT cap space to the Dodgers

      • jon

        Got him, not ditched I meant :)

  • Michael Hammermeister

    Honestly, I wasn’t speaking of Castro.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      I don’t think you are allowed to question the Rizzo.

  • turn two

    Seems a little odd that in a lost year we are using our final month to destroy our young shortstops confidence.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Well, Sveum said yesterday that they embarrassed Castro enough. I guess he forgot that, so he embarrassed him more today.

  • Die hard

    Told u Dempster would be suspended — what a tool

    • Blublud

      He should have gotten a bonus. Baseball can’t even get ARod suspension (211 games. What a joke. Should been more) but they suspend a man for doing something that is a normal part of baseball.

      • Die hard

        What he did was in violation of Chapman Rule

        • MichiganGoat

          The Champman “Rule” led to the requirement that umpires must discard balls that hit the dirt and Champman’s death help MLB require batting helmets and outlaw the spitball. So how was Dempster in violation of this “rule?.”

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            Cleveland SS Ray Chapman was beaned by Carl Mays, a sidearmer for the Yankees.

            Batting helmets appearance did not happen until 1941 – and then – was not mandatory until 1971. http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Batting_helmet

            The biggest influence of the beaning was the usage of cleaner baseballs, more of them. “While there is not a lot of specific data on the numbers, the September 1925 issue of Baseball Magazine noted that the National League used 43,224 balls in 1924, as opposed to only 14,772 in 1916. That’s a lot more bright targets for hitters than they had in the past” (S. Steinberg, The Spitter and the End of the Deadball Era Synopsis, Part 2 2003).

            1) So, cleaner baseballs
            2) Outlaw baseball manipulation, the spitter
            3) Gloss on the ball was removed by using a special mud
            4) It was also common practice then to retrieve balls in the stands and put them back into play. That practice gradually subsided.
            5) A change in the yarn produced a livelier ball between late 1919 going into 1920…
            6) And Ruth

            • jt

              If memory serves; after the 1967 game Tony Conigliaro took one in the eye Yaz took a helmet out of his locker and tried it on. The next day he wore it during the game. Soon other RS followed the lead. I believe the 1971 requirement was only for players new to MLB.

      • Edwin

        MLB suspended Ryan because he threw at another player. I think any pitcher that intentionally throws at a batter should be suspended. I don’t think MLB can make exceptions and reward certain pitchers for hitting a batter, and penalize others.

        Also, it’s not that baseball can’t suspend ARod. Arod gets due process, just like everyone else. He gets a right to appeal. Rules and rights are pretty meaningless if people can just decide that they don’t matter in certain cases.

        • Blublud

          There have been guys who intentionally threw at a batter and not get suspended. I also believe that baseball should take into account the situation. ARod brought this on himself and some of the heat should be past to him. Maybe fine Dempster, but a suspension is to much. And if I was a pitcher and I knew all Dempster got was 5 games, I would still hit the shit out of him in my next start.

          • jon

            God, your such the proverbial meathead it’s not even funny. I hate A-Rod as much as the next guy, but be doesn’t deserve 90mph fastballs thrown at him in every city

            • Blublud

              Not just him, I think Braun deserves the same. The steroid thing is not the problem. Its the part about defending themselves by any means, even if it means destroying the reputation of somebody else who is completely innocent, or who has nothing to do with your case.

              • turn two

                No one defends their actions, butfastballs to the head can never be tolerated and ryans pitch was way to up. You want to suspend him our ban him or whatever fine. but allowing the pitchers to just take turns attempting to bean him up and in is just plain silly. Of course you suspend demp and then you do whatever you can to suspend arod.

              • caryatid62

                The idea that violating the rules of baseball should be punished by having objects thrown at 90 miles an hour at you is nothing short of idiocy.

        • Hansman1982

          MLB suspended dempster to say “Enough!” To the league so he doesn’t get beaned in every city.

    • MNeuman

      Die Hard I’m with you. Just as I thought, suspension and a fine…good for Selig. I can’t wait to see if he appeals it that would be total irony!

  • willis

    Never thought I’d see Castro down to 8. Should put him 2nd where he’s had success and is comfortable. But the toilet bowl of a season he is having is getting worse and worse as his manager grasps blindly at imaginary straws. He’ll get a ton to hit batting in front of a strong bat like Rusin.

    • Die hard

      No place further to go but down to minors where belongs

  • jon

    I wonder if Dumpster would have any trouble beaning former teammate and substance abuse r Sammy Sosa?

  • Johnny B Good

    I feel like the modern day SS’s much less talented defensively then what they use to be. There is just so much emphasis now on finding a great offensive SS that they let these guys who probably 2nd baseman play SS. It’s just interesting

    • DarthHater

      I don’t know about shortstops in particular, but I thought I read somewhere that a lot of saber-ninjas think that there has been a steady improvement in baseball fielding quality over time.

      • Hansman1982

        Ooo, I like saber metrics, can I be a saber ninja?

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://i2.cpcache.com/product_zoom/380840781/nerd_ninja_baseball_jersey.jpg?color=BlackWhite&height=350&width=350[/img]

          • Hansman1982

            WOOHOO!

      • MichiganGoat

        I also think fans expectations have increased and the memories of SS of the past only remember the highlights.

        • DarthHater

          Hey, Ron Cey almost never made an error at third. Of course, he also never fielded a ball that wasn’t hit close to him.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            With the Cubs, yes, Cey was a becoming a poor fielder. His long time in LA – no. He was above league average on fielding. And overshadowed by HOF Schmidt. (Who wasn’t?)

            How many 3rd baseman had the Cubs tried before Cey but after Santo? Sandberg for one…

            At least for 4 seasons, the Cubs had a power hitting 3B that had a .254/.337/.447 total in his time in Chicago. Long after his LA prime.

            His OPS in Chicago would rank 7th in the MLB today among qualifiers – between Seager and Alvarez and above Machado…

            Point being, while we can crack on his Penguiny trot and declining fielding skills, the Cubs can’t field a 3B that is in the top half of MLB performers right now. Adjust those numbers for the livelier ball era, and Ron is probably 2.5-3.0 WAR player with the bad glove.

  • Werner

    Doesn’t Murphy know that he’s not supposed to be hitting like this?

  • Jacob

    Hack 3-0 here, Starlin… please..

    • Jacob

      Now don’t chase strike 3…

  • willis

    For those arguing that we shouldn’t cast judgment on the PTBNL from Washington, well it’s a little cash. No player.

  • willis

    Rizzo a strong 0-2 with RISP already tonight. It’s just amazing what’s happened to he and Castro this year. Hopefully they will have a bounce back year next season.

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Not watching the game. I’m assuming Rizzo’s 0-fer is just a matter of bad luck.

      • Drew7

        We get it…

        • willis

          Now 0-3 with risp and the last one was a nice strike out looking. Quite the slugger he is.

          • caryatid62

            Yep, one game makes a career. 2/3 of a season (at age 23) makes a career. He’s a bust.
            Total.

            Bust.

            • MichiganGoat

              At least they are citing stats ;)

            • willis

              Eh, no one said anything like that. It’s just another example of his huge struggles this year. Games like tonight have been happening way too much this season. It sucks to see.

              • caryatid62

                You criticized him holistically (“quite the slugger he IS”), not his season performance. The obvious insinuation is that he’s not a slugger, not that he’s “struggling” this season (which he isn’t nearly to the degree that most seem to think). The implication was pretty clear.

                • willis

                  Since you can read my mind, I guess you are right. And yes, he is struggling mightily this season. I think that’s clear to everyone. He’s had some ok moments but overall it’s a bad year for a franchise 1B. I think he has the tools and skill to bonce back, but this year he has been performing way below expectations.

                  A bust? I never said nor meant that. I am saying that he is struggling at the plate and missing out on opportunities to help his team win.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    …On a positive note, Lake looks like he knows how to handle the bat. Maybe we just need to bring up all the peripheral prospects and see if they just need to be on the ‘big stage’ to do something worth watching.

    J.C. Boscan bobblehead day coming to a stadium near you.

  • Chris

    Kris Bryant’s gf on twitter just said @jessicadelp :

    “@jessicadelp3: So excited @KrisBryant_23 got the invite to Arizona Fall League! Can’t wait!”

    • Mr. B. Patient

      Good news.

    • another JP

      That’s great… could be the FO thinking that Bryant might be ready for AA to start next season. Wonder if Almora or Soler would also go to the AFL- my guess it would have to be Soler. Vizcaino should be in the mix too…

  • mjhurdle

    Rusin looking solid…again. Guy is impressive

    • cubes

      lol @ C.rusin being impressive

  • mjhurdle

    WOOT!! A BogusBomb!!

    • DarthHater

      Bogus has left the building!

  • cub2014

    I have been questioning for a while now why OBP
    doesnt include getting on base via an error. I heard
    the stat tonight and on base by error leaders are all
    speed guys. Thus the reason to reward a player for
    reaching base via an error

  • Jason P

    And Castillo’s mental error that doesn’t go down as an error costs the Cubs a run. Insane how a NL team can fail to get an out on a guy caught between 2 bases.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      I saw Castillo and thought Castro. I was thinking what did he do now.

  • ssckelley

    Gregg obviously has no command tonight, why is he still out there?

    • ssckelley

      Ok, nvm…that was one hell of a pitch

  • caryatid62

    Man, the comment board tonight is just a shining microcosm of what’s wrong with people online.

    Every player/manager/coach on here is either 100% at fault or 100% not-at-fault. They’re either completely awful or totally blameless.

    Nuance is dead. Online, at least.

    • Hansman1982

      You are completely wrong.

      • caryatid62

        Or…

        100% correct?

        • MichiganGoat

          80% of the time it always works

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    Donnie Murphy…..maybe we’re stealing Cardinal mojo,

  • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

    Padres waive Headley! We pick him up right?

    • Jason P

      Meh, it’s kind of a non-story. As a free agent to be this offseason, he holds little to no value to the Cubs, and the Padres wouldn’t let him go without getting something notable back in a trade anyway.

      • turn two

        Free agent after next season, but still not a guy i think who fitsour window

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        I thought he had one more year of arb? and making 8.75 this year?

        • Johnny B Good

          Your right. Headley does have one more of arbitration. No way I’d trade for the guy bc the asking price is to high for him. Plus his career yr was probably last year. His home run to fly ball rate was insane and unsustainable

        • Jason P

          My bad, I was too lazy to look it up. Still would make no sense to give up much value, though. We’d be blocking Baez or Olt with an expensivish, under-performing soon to be 30-year-old. Not to mention his performance this year would be a *downgrade* from what we’ve gotten from Murphy/Valbuena/Ransom.

    • ari gold

      Sure we claim Headley. And then the Padres just pull him back

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        You’re right they’ll prolly want too much for him. I’d trade em for Olt and Jackson, Vitters, Szczur… what other 40 man fodder do we have?

  • pfk

    Rizzo’s comment about there being 8 other guys in the lineup who are also supposed to drive in runs was a very immature response to Sveum saying he needed to perform – especially on a night when he left runners in scoring position on 3 occasions. And when he is batting .173 for the season with runners in scoring position. At least Castro owns up to his struggles. I lost all kinds of respect for Rizzo tonight.

    • turn two

      I think I’m over it

    • willis

      That is really bad with risp. But he’s just unlucky and if his singles rate was better and if his babip was better and if the ball would have been once inch to hitting the bat on the right and if he would have swung a split second earlier and if he would have drank more Gatorade and if he would have eaten that third taco at lunch and if he would have tied his right shoe before his left shoe…well you get the idea. He’s not having a bad season. He’s just, well having a great season.

      This is pretty much the response you will get if you criticize him.

      • Jason P

        Exactly. Using BABIP alone without looking at K%, LD%, IFFB%, etc. produces inaccurate conclusions. Someone needs to develop BABIP+ — BABIP based on ball speed off the bat and scaled to 100. I think that would be a lot more useful and telling.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Willis. Well done.

        I don’t want Rizzo to fail,but if you need to dig that deep to find something that says he’s not that bad, he’s probably that bad.

        On a positive note, it seems that Sveum is an equal opportunity ass. Big, tough guy, airing his grievances in the press. He’s lost the clubhouse.

        I got it……David DeJesus as interim manager.

        • willis

          I surely don’t want him to fail either. I really like him at 1B. But I’m also not going to sugarcoat a bad season. He has every tool to be great. Let’s hope he finds it soon.

          To your Sveum point, I agree. This FO is smart enough to find better people to run things on the field.

      • BT

        exactly, because normalizing babip is the same thing as the nonsense you just quoted.

  • Jason P

    The bullpen should actually be pretty good next year. Parker, Strop, Villanueva, and Russell are a nice start, and a plethora of other guys — Cabrera, Lim, Fujikawa, Rosscup, Rusin, Gregg, Zych — could emerge as solid options. The starting rotation should be average again as well.

    The biggest question for the 2014 Cubs will again be where does the offense come from. Second base offensively is a black hole, and we don’t really have a Bona fide left field bat anymore. Sweeney and Lake are fine options, but both have a bat better suited for center.

    I think it all comes down to Castro and Rizzo. If they produce, 85-90 wins is plausible. If not, we’re basically back to the drawing board as far as offense is concerned. If we win <75 games again next year, the media will lose it's patience.

    • willis

      The bullpen has a chance to be really good next year. Russell is growing old on me and seems to be losing his mojo some, but there are plenty of very good and live arms to fill the 7 bullpen spots, and then a few more after that who will be waiting for their opportunity. Many good choices for next season.

      And that’s just the healthy options, imagine if a couple injury rebounds actually go the cubs’ way?

      • Jason P

        With Russell, you’re pretty much going to be a guy who posts an ERA around 3 every year with moderate to severe righty lefty splits. As a one out guy in the 7th or 8th, I think he’s fine.

        Vizcaino could be a hell of a reliever if he regains his form. It’s easy to forget that, pre-injury, this guy was a top-50 prospect with #2 starter upside.

      • Johnny B Good

        If we’re able to get a good prospect package for Russell I would have pulled the trigger. I think Theo/Jed overvalued him. He’s basically a glorified LOOGY, plus the shelf life on bullpen arms is short.

        • willis

          I agree. I wonder how much interest there was actually. He’s been exposed a bit more this season than last. I would think the package (s) being offered wasn’t all that great. Otherwise they would have pulled it like you said.

          Saying that, his 3ish ERA is going to be good for about 6th or 7th in next year’s bullpen. Lots of talent to plug in there.

      • hansman1982

        Or Russell has always been a LOOGY and ran into about 10 PA against righties where he had success this year and everyone thought he was the 2nd coming of Sean Marshall.

  • Johnny B Good

    Anyone else looking at the standings? All the top 10 draft picks are going to have very close records. Especially picks 3-10. On a personal level always root for the cubs every game but I seriously would mind if we lost every game from tomorrow to the end of the year.

  • Justin

    Probably the most depressing comment board I’ve ever read

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