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Having just lost a series to the woeful Brewers, and another series to the woeful Marlins, why wouldn’t the Cubs come into Cincinnati and convincingly beat the very good Reds in back-to-back games?

Edwin Jackson was solid (and homered), and Welington Castillo went deep twice (and one of them was deeeeeeeep). The rest of the Cubs muscled up, and this one was a laugher early. So much of a laugher that it started to resemble a mid-March game …

sept 10 box

Full box.

  • Chris S

    Donnie Murphy now has 10 HRs? Whodathunkit?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Seriously.

  • The Cleanup Poster

    Damn, i love the Cubs! I cant wait till we do this on a regular basis. Especially to those evil wizards from St. Louis.

  • SenorCub

    At some point Junior Lake will have to make adjustments but until then he is hitting over .300 but more importantly those are quality at bats in my opinion. I don’t know if he has earned a starting spot for next year but he should be given every benefit of the doubt in that effort. Defensively he has to get better however he is learning the outfield positions on the fly. Could he play 2nd base? I would be really bummed out if Barney came back. He doesn’t belong with the Cubs, he would be better with the Reds or Cards who have plenty of pop in their line-up.

    • The Cleanup Poster

      I’d like to see Barney remain in at least a bench role.

      • EQ76

        agreed… if Barney goes to STL, it will add at least .45 pts to his batting average.. don’t want to see that stupid voodoo crap.

    • mdavis

      Lake is 6’3″ 215 and still filling out. He’s way too big to play 2B. his future is in LF or CF.

      • http://Bleachernation Jay

        How big was Sandberg?

        • http://www.facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

          6’1 and 175 according to bbref

          • MichiganGoat

            jinx

        • MichiganGoat

          According to BR: Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 175 lb.

          • Jay

            They’ll start ragging on Lake to see more pitches per at bat and mess up his head just like they did Castro. Or maybe they’ve learned something from that…..

            That home Beef hit was a Herman Munster job. Holy Crap!

            • Jay

              homer.

              • willis

                That first one he hit, Brennaman called it a home run the second it left his bat. It was that big of a shot. And let me tell you, it was joyful to hear a crying like tone from the Reds announcers.

  • Voice of Reason

    Murphy is 30 so he’s no kid, but maybe he is the one to keep 3b warm until one of the young turks is ready. He is making the most of his chances. That’s nice to see.

    • Rich H

      You got to love these type stories that happen from time to time but the reality is that guys like Murphy never maintain.
      Enjoy the success now and get him a minor league invite next spring. That truthfully is all he earned.

    • cubmig

      So much for the issue of age.

      Think Diane Nyat too; 64 yrs old and her many failures. It’s all relative to the individual who has drive and using the experience from them to “make it”. Sometimes it takes longer than one wants to wait out. And in baseball, time is money. The kicker is having FO personnel who recognize the resiliency factor (capacity to adjust) in a player (despite a troubled past — or bad clubhouse “chemistry”). Young players can ensure longevity, but sometimes “youth is wasted on the young” —- to use a phrase I’ve coined. So…I tip my hat to those in the FO who see beyond age for the sake of the value they see a player still has and the contribution that player can make. I’m sure that’s probably part of the FO’s m.o., but with the quickness with how, here, we urge the FO to move or dump this or that player because of age may show how apt we are to throwing out a diamond in the rough just needing a bit more “polishing”.

      Murphy surprised me. I didn’t know him or what his value might be to a club in a rebuild process. I ‘m pleased by what he’s shown. But….Can he keep it up? After all, he is “up there in age” — as it’s been noted. And what about our “reclamation projects” waiting in the wings like Scott Baker? Age may not be the factor there, but it’s still risking $$$ resources.

      All this is to say judgments in who stays and who goes is an imprecise science at the mercy of human foibles. Old school bias, sabermetric, whatever. A player’s inner make-up is still an elusive item that eludes quantification. I don’t envy those who have the responsibility to make the calls they have to make. I just hope they/we don’t act too precipitously and miss the value and experience in “old” players by age driven judgments.

      Just my 10 cents worth.

      (I accept any loftiness, obviousness of thought or reasoning inherent in my morning comments. Fire away.)

  • Nate Dawg

    I’m not sure where I read this, but I think Castillo has a relatively high avg batted ball distance, which means he should have more home runs than just 6. He sure looks like he has more power in that bat. Really pleased with this guy. Here’s to hoping the power shows itself next year.

    • cub2014

      Couple different articles compared Castillo
      to Molina at this stage in his career. The
      power for Molina came later. Their numbers
      are enticingly similar.

      • Nate Dawg

        They are similar except for the fact that Molina has always had a ridiculously low K rate. Castillo doesn’t have the same contact skills, but it seems like he has some real pop.

        • cub2014

          Your right Castillos K rate is way higher. Even
          early in their careers. Castillo avg & obp actually
          better at this stage though.

          • Nate Dawg

            I think he has the potential to be just as effective as Molina at the plate.

            • CubFan Paul

              I’m not buying it.

              • Nate Dawg

                Why not? No one said Castillo will be as good defensively as Molina. And until about 2 years ago, Molina was a below average hitter. Castillo is already a league average hitter according to wRC+.

                • CubFan Paul

                  “..the potential to be just as effective as Molina *at the plate”

                  Sorry, i thought you said “behind the plate”.

  • David

    Lake has to be the top priority this offseason, going into spring training, at least for the position players. I hope they pick a position and “work him to death” over the fall/ winter. I think he MUST be developed into a starter going into next year. Not a big fan of being labeled a 4th outfielder so young in a guy’s career. A 4th outfielder should be a 32/ 34 year old guy.

  • ssckelley

    If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that 3rd base was going to hit 30 homers with Valbuena getting most of the starts I would have thought you were crazy.

    • Werner

      The shared 3rd base power has to be one of the biggest surprises of the year. Again, I’d love to hear what others think will happen to Donnie Ballgame next year. Bench? Platoon role? Back to AAA?

      • ssckelley

        Personally I hope it is an open competition between Olt, Villaneuva, and Murphy. It would be nice to have Murphy coming off the bench with some pop and he can play multiple positions.

        • Werner

          Yeah, good point about him playing various places. I figure you are right, a decent, cheap bench bat. Unless between now and end of spring training he realizes he’s Donnie Murphy and goes back to being a pumpkin.

        • cub2014

          Unless Olt does horrible in Spring
          Training. He will be at 3rd with
          Valbuena and Murphy for the bench.

          Here are some fun if’s:
          if Baez plays 3rd in AFL
          if Olt & Murphy struggle in spring
          if Baez kills it in spring
          could we see Baez opening day?

          • MichiganGoat

            I highly doubt the FO would pull the trigger on starting Baez regardless of how he looks over the winter or spring training. They are going to keep him in Iowa until we get that extra year of control. If they decided to start him opening day its because everyone has decided that he’s needed to help sell tickets and I don’t think the short term gain is worth an extra year of control. Baez should still see AAA pitching and dominate that level before moving him to the show. Remember he has always struggled in the first few month of a callup before going into beast mash mode, I’d rather he struggle at AAA then have the pressure of playing in Chicago.

          • http://Bleachernation Jay

            I just don’t see Theo & Jed allowing him to skip AAA. I would think they would treat it like Rizzo & bring him up in late June (at absolute best).

          • Hansman1982

            No. There is nearly no circumstance where we see Baez on opening day.

            • cubbiesOHcubbies

              I think if you bought a ticket to opening day, and Javier bought a ticket to opening day, and those two tickets happened to be right next to each other. I think you might see him on opening day then…..

          • ssckelley

            I also can’t help but wonder if Vitters will be in the mix at 3rd as well next spring.

            • Jay

              Only if he kill it at Winter Ball AND find a way to stay out of the trainer’s room.

            • Danny Ballgame

              Vitters has never been solid defensively at 3B. Give him a shot at LF maybe.

    • Coop

      If you told me we were getting 30 HR from 3B, I would have assumed an implausibly good season from Ian Stewart…

  • Honey nut Sorianos

    Is anyone else concerned about Rizzo? He really looks lost at the plate. Great defense, above average power, everything else…. Meh.

    • Feeney

      His OBP is almost 100 points higher than his BA. His BB% is up from last year and so is his ISO while his BABIP is down substantially. I wouldn’t say he looks lost.

      Interestingly, the going market rate for WAR in free agency is around 4.7 million per war. Which means Rizzo would be worth ~9.4 million this season for his 2 wins above replacement. He won’t make more 7 million on his extension until 2019.

      • MichiganGoat

        Yup Rizzo is fine if his BA was higher people wouldn’t be so concerned, its amazing how one stat changes the general understanding of a player.

        • jt

          “its amazing how one stat changes the general understanding of a player.”
          –MG
          JD mentioned it last night so I feel free to mention it today (yeah, like the rest of us I see what I want to see so my hitting opinion like the rest of us is not worth much):
          Rizzo is not mashing the inside fastball. Until he does he is going to have trouble. Recently he golfed a couple a zillion miles that were not that far from the foul pole so maybe and I stress maybe he is slowly making an adjustment in there.

          • BigPappa

            Why does he swing at so many balls that hit or almost hit him? He almost swung at that ball that drilled him in the leg last night.

          • Feeney

            I believe they specifically mentioned the inside fastball that is elevated. Rizzo will simply have to learn to lay off that pitch. Make a pitcher prove he can throw up there consistently for strikes. And when they miss their spot a little over the plate that’s when Rizzo attacks. He has made a lot of adjustments in the last two years and I am sure he will continue to make them.

            • Jay

              And he’s only 23 in his first full year. And if we’re going to have a team who’s approach is all about OBP and OPS, then they can’t have it both ways and freak out about his .230 BA.

    • SenorCub

      I see Rizzo as a Dunn in the southside. I guess you just have to live with his quite low batting average and his high strike out as long as he is hitting the long ball. Vogelbach in the minors is quite similar. I would like to see Derek Lee numbers coming out of first base.

      • MichiganGoat

        It would be great if Rizzo mirrors Dunn’s production at the same age. Dunn was a consistently had an OPS of .900+ and a OPS+ of 130 range. This is a good player but again his BA and K rates make people think he is less than a great in his prime years.

        What Rizzo has over Dunn is plus defense and I doubt his K rate will ever consistently match what Dunn accomplished. Rizzo can realistically be a better Dunn and that would be great.

        • Jay

          His K rate isn’t terrible, and his gets a lot of walks along with it. Like it or not, this is the profile of the modern power hitter.

    • Hansman1982

      What are you basing this on?

      • MichiganGoat

        batting average

        • ssckelley

          Or maybe he is watching the games. Not everyone needs a stat to justify everything they see in a game.

          • mjhurdle

            very true. dam the facts! Eye test > all!!!

      • jt

        What are you basing this on?
        –Hansman1982
        look at Rizzo’s bip location numbers.
        His HR’s are to RF but his BA is to LF and CF.
        and he is pulling the ball almost 40% of the time.
        and his swing rate is down to 44.5% in 2013 from 50.5% in 2012.
        He is looking for that inside pitch to drive and not getting it done.
        If and when he can maintain his kitchen he’d become a monster.

        • CubFan Paul

          jt is correct with his bip & other stats. The adjustment rizzo made to golf outside pitches into Left/Left-Center is noticeable to the naked eye. Now he’s trying to incorporate/make adjustments on the inside/borderline pitch as well. Fuck laying off it, adjust and hammer it over the RF bleachers.

          • Feeney

            Yeah!! Fuck. Baseball is so easy! Just adjust and hammer!

            • CubFan Paul

              He’s done it before, just not consistently, hence his visible frustration lastnite.

  • spearman

    Reminds me of Carlos Pena.

    • itzscott

      Carlos Pena … Ugh!

      That guy was a total stroke.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anotherspacesong Bret Epic

        If he can come close to career year Carlos Pena (46 HR, 121 RBI, .282 AVG and 1.037 OPS) then I would be more than pleased. I know he’s fallen off since, but he did have some pretty good years in the MLB. OBP .115 higher than your career average is crazy, though sadly, his career AVG is a mere .233.

    • Hansman1982

      Rizzo has something neither Pena nor Dunn had, good contact skills. He has a better than average BB rate this year and an average K rate. He is suffering from a depressed singles rate this year and, had he been singling close to the rate he was last year, would be putting up starting all-star caliber numbers.

      • Featherstone

        Out of curiosity if his singles rate matched what it was last year what would his line look like?

        • hansman1982

          If I remember correctly, just giving him the same BABIP (adding all of the extra hits as singles) as last year (and this was 45 days-ish ago, gave him a +.900 OPS.

          The same exact singles rate (which would be really tough) would put him north of 1.000 OPS.

          • Cubbie Blues

            His low and in contact rate is concerning though. I haven’t looked at the actual numbers, but just by eye it looks bad.

      • Rich H

        The question then is he selling out to get more power? I do not know the answer to that but the increase in FB% and the lack of singles makes you wonder if he is trying to get an upward plane on his swing and it is costing him BA.

      • jt

        “had he been..”
        – Hans
        a wordy form of “if”.
        I think it better that “if” be replaced with “why not?” or “why ain’t it there?”.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Lovin’ the Cubs right now. Where was this team in June and July? And August? Is anyone else dismayed by the low number of butts in the seats at Great American ball park? Yikes. If the Cubs were having the kind of season the Reds are having, Wrigley would be packed to its ancient rafters! Speaking of RizzOMG, that last double play catch was poetry. Totally Baryshnikov!

  • Jay

    If Rizzo hits the age of 26 and we’re still seeing the exact same thing, then I’ll worry. Until then, I have a lot of faith in him.

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    He needs to clean up his swing.

    He has a high-maintenance timing device with a lot of pre-swing movement. That can really affect the consistency and quality of his contact from swing to swing, game to game, week to week, etc.

    He is also striding closed and not turning his hips very well. That is what gets him eaten up on inside pitches…and sometimes even pitches down the middle.

    So a couple of adjustments are necessary.

  • mjhurdle

    EJax has had a pretty good second half of the season.
    Hopefully going forward we see more of second half EJax and less of first half EJax.

    • willis

      He has been more effective. Still some duds that I’d like to see erased overall. But he’s had some starts that made me salivate. Which has always been the case with him. Shows greatness and then gets blown up from time to time.

      Last night he was pretty damn good.

  • Big Joe

    Rizzo: another 0-fer, grounded into a double play, and left 3 men on base. BUT, HE DID WALK….so, I’d better get off his case, because we ALL KNOW that OBP is the most important stat for a 3/4 hole hitter, right??? I don’t want to catch the wrath of those I might offend.
    Starting 1st baseman is now batting .229.
    He is 6-31, in September.
    He’s hit .207, since the All-Star break.
    Good to see a nice win…despite any contribution from a “building block of the future”.
    I realize the stat-heads will be out, in full force, to correct me. They’ll tell me that batting average doesn’t me squat. They’ll point to walks, and OBP. Someone will place a “+”, or a “-” on either side of a stat, and *poof*, it’ll make everything better.
    “He’s unlucky”.
    Give me a break.
    All I see is a guy that cannot consistently hit major league pitching. Last time I checked, that was part of the job description.

    • willis

      Big Joe…walks are WAY more important than hits. Duh :)

      But in all seriousness, yeah you just unleashed the saber hounds. Multiple BA mentions AND his hits/ABs in September, you done did it man. Good luck.

  • Big Joe

    Not worried about it, at all.
    You see, I have this season to point to. They have “he’s only 24″, “he walks a lot”, “he was born in the 90s”, and “his first car was a Taurus”…all PERFECT indicators that he’ll have a break-out 2nd year in the majors.
    You know, you hear people say that, just maybe, the coaching staff has “messed with” Castro’s swing. “Maybe” that’s what’s wrong with him.
    “Maybe” Rizzo was “tinkered with” a little too much, and they “broke” him, too.
    Or…..”maybe”, the FO is just not as great at evaluating talent as we all thought/hoped they were.
    Just “maybe” these two guys are going to TOP OUT at “ok”.
    I’m not sure. Let me borrow a magic 8 ball, and a voodoo doll from a saber stat-head.
    All I see is .229.
    Have a good day, all…

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