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It’s rare that a team “story” so fully develops within five games, but, man, the Cubs played their part perfectly again today. Great starting pitching? Check. Very good bullpen performance? Check. Some hits from Emilio Bonifacio? Check. Lots of baserunners? Check. Zero hits with runners in scoring position? Big fat bleeping check.

The Cubs are now 4 for 40 with runners in scoring position this year, which is fairly insane. If there were hitting just .250 with RISP, they’d have six more hits in that situation, and would likely have a couple more wins. Instead, they’re 1-4.

At least Starlin Castro had a good game, Anthony Rizzo had a couple hits, Justin Grimm looked fantastic, and Jeff Samardzija was nails. Not that it translated to a win.

So many things to be tired of already this year. Pesky second baseman on opposing teams are a big one, too.

april 5 box

Full box score.

  • Darth Ivy

    Good to see Rizzo do well against a tough lefty. That was nice

  • Kyle

    I’m still not crazy with how Castro looks at the plate, but three hits are better than none.

    Rizzo looks great.

    Olt’s OPS is correlated negatively with how much clamoring there is for him to play.

    • Spoda17

      He’s a rooky and is not getting enough plate appearance to get comfortable. RR needs to stop this platooning crap and get these guys in and see what they can do. It’s not about wins (I do want to win), he was brought in as a “great” communicator and a “great” developer… I know it’s early, but I’m struggling to see his (RR) value. I am was/am a fan of his hire. But I am frustrated already with the roster management.

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    The only Cub walk taken today was by Lake and they couldn’t produce consecutive hits. Hope that changes after some of the prospects are called up later this season.

  • E

    When Lake plays, he performs. It’s going to be a long season.

  • nwicubfan

    forgot to highlight our RISP… 0-7 GO AWAY

  • Jon

    Tomorrow AJ Burnett will finish off the sweep and we can sit back and all laugh at what an awful organization Philly is

    • Bill

      And boast how much better the Cubs are this season. :-)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        As an organization, the Cubs are in much better shape than Philly. As a major league team in 2014, I’d say it’s a little early to make that call for certain, but Philly has certainly taken the early lead.

        • Jon

          Big advantage to the Cubs in terms of farm system but Philly just did sign a 2.5 billion TV deal while the Cubs are hoping and praying a similar one will be there 6 years from now

        • Diehardthefirst

          Well- Phil’s have Sandberg and players want to play for him because they know he knows what’s he doing

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      But you think the Cubs are terrible, so why wouldn’t the Phillies beat them even if the Phillies are bad?

      Sometimes you don’t make the point you think you’re making.

  • Medicos

    It was sad to see thousands of fans leaving the Friendly Confines in the 8th inning because they realized the Cubs offense wasn’t going to tally any runs. On the way home I heard someone on WGN say that blame for the offensive woes should be placed on Mueller, the new hitting coach, and RR. That’;s ridiculous. This roster is comprised of mostly TRIPLE AAA hitters. If an individual is making hundreds of thousands of $$$$, he should be able to hit MLB pitching. If not, this 2014 team will be lucky to win 50-games.

    • nwicubfan

      While it’s too early for me to lay blame on anyone, we have had this problem for how long now? I agree with you, if you are getting a hefty salary you should be able to hit.. The one thing I wonder is if the Cubs think that opposite field is an out? Maybe, that should be stressed more than walks

    • Karl Groucho

      Triple AAA…does that mean AAAAAAAAA? And how does that stack up against ML?

      ;)

  • V23

    Right when I saw the lineup I was peeved. Why in any MLB lineup is Ruggiano batting 3rd? Insane. Look what he did….6 LOB.

    This righty/lefty splits is being taken to a level where it’s harmful and annoying.
    Please stop.

    • TK

      That stood out very much to me, also. Real head-scratcher. I think everyone in any way related to the Cubs thinks a bit too highly of Ruggs.

      • JadeBos

        Yeah don’t look into it and find out Ruggiano has a lifetime .821 OPS vs lefties or that he is achieving that with a 20 point lower BAbip for his career.

    • TommyK

      The Cubs don’t have an MLB lineup.

      • Medicos

        TommyK: That was an extremely astute remark. I think the only 3 players other than pitchers who’d possibly be in the starting lineup for another MLB team are: Castro, Rizzo and maybe Castillo. Within 2-3 years all of the others will GONE. But that’s all in line with the FO philosophy of constructing an MLB team that will be competitive for many years. I’ve been a fan since 1952 and have seen only 17 winning seasons!!! So I’m in line with whatever Jed and Theo want to do.

  • another JP

    Ten hits and no runs happens to teams like the Cubs that just can’t seem to buy a key hit. It will turn around at some point, but probably in about 5 weeks when they are hopelessly out of it.

    It’s all about the prospects anyway and Hanemann just went yard for KC. Skulina was also tough today in the first game.

    • another JP

      And our phantom catcher Daniel Canela just went yard for KC too. Didn’t even know who he was, but apparently he caught for Rodon @ NC State. Dude looks like he can really hit.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Undrafted free agent signed by the Cubs after he turned the Frontier League into his own private batting practice.

        Right now I’d label him organizational depth looking for a promotion to the fringe prospect list.

        • JadeBos

          Yeah he is an interesting story.

  • Jon

    Posted in the game thread but 30K in attendance is pretty troublesome considering it’s the day after the opener and a Saturday. Yeah it was a bit chilly but it was sunshine all day.

    • Darth Ivy

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sbFhOeqTzY

      Just looking for an excuses to post this. It kinda fits…ok, not really. But it’s the best I could do

    • Spoda17

      I bet if you looked at all of the clubs, the Cubs would still be near the top. Pitt second day… like 10k

    • fortyonenorth

      More fans there today–with similar temps–than last year’s #2 home game. The 2013 home opener had 1,800 more in attendance, but it was 22 degrees warmer. I don’t see the negative trend you’re seeing, Jon. I guess it’s a “glass half-filled” kind of thing.

      2013
      April 8th
      60 degrees, partly cloudy
      40,083

      April 9th
      39 degrees, cloudy
      30,065

      2014

      April 4th
      38 degrees, overcast
      38,283

      April 5th
      39 degrees, sunny
      30,651

      • Jon

        April 9th 2013 was a Tuesday not a Saturday. That’s a big difference. Especially in April

        • baldtaxguy

          I agree. The first Sat. home game last year was 4/13 and they drew 34,778, the temp was 39 degrees, same as yesterday.

  • http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/salazlu01.shtml Luis Salazar

    I think RR should have them hit batting practice with men on second and third every day so they can at least “imagine” what it is to hit a ball hard with RISP.

  • fromthemitten

    top two hitters go 5-9 and still can’t score a single damn run wow

    • nkniacc13

      that would be because the bottom 4 in the order had an avg of .118 for lower coming into game. kinda giving away outs?

  • MightyBear

    I have the utmost confidence in the FO but right now our three big offseason acquisitions other than Hammels look terrible. Veras has no command, Wesley Wright is terrible and Ruggiano couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. I’d rather have Parker, Rosscup and Vitters on the roster to see what they can do.

    • Voice of Reason

      “Big 3″ off season acquisitions? Let’s not call any of our off season acquisitions “big”.

      • Jon

        Ha just the other day someone was raving about how Theo heisted Miami(because Bosevich got waived)

        • Kyle

          That was silly. It was mostly a salary dump for Miami.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Doesn’t sound you are confident

  • Diehardthefirst

    Yes Castro may have had hits but not when needed and the kid has no power. Shark had decent stuff but his celebrating strikeouts is going to invite baseball earrings. With Phil’s back up catcher Cubs plan should’ve been to work for walks and steal. And the Philly announcers rightfully mocked Rizzo for trying to bunt.

    • TK

      Man, ive been pretty critical of Castro . . . As recently as about noon today. But dude, baby steps. 3H is 3H. And in the case of CASTRO, its monumental. I’ll take it for now.

  • 5412

    Hi,

    10 hits, 11 total bases.

    Not much else to say.

    Regards,

    5412

  • mjhurdle

    Again with the no offense!!! If only Renteria had started Olt and Lake, then we would have scored some runs!!!!

    oh….wait…..

    • Spoda17

      Yeah, cuz the alternatives are killing it! You are a winner sir.

    • craigp

      Your posts are stupid… Mjhurdle

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    The pre-game with Ricketts made me want to puke. To stand there and pretend like they have fielded a good team this year. They had better hurry up and hire a new team shrink because these guys need theraphy. Yes the pitching and defense is above average, but it does little good when you have an offense that averages two runs or less per game. This can’t be what Theo signed up for! To be outspent by the Cards, Reds and Brewers. Ricketts wants to talk smack about what he should be able to do with his outfield. News Flash Tom, they have a legal binding contract. Was it stupid to give them the deal? Hell yes it was, but the deal he made with Zell was brokered by Satan. So now we know that the restrictions expire in 2019 at about the same time as the half assed TV deal does with Comcast. I thought the money for the renovations was already taken care of and now we learn that there will need to be some shares sold to raise that money. Zell f%%ked the ballclub for the next ten years with his wacky deal that Cuban wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I’m gonna make a bold prediction here. Theo must be on carrer builder polishing up his resume. I’ll say no more!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I really can’t get over folks – who are predisposed to looking for reasons to bash ownership – saying that selling shares of the Cubs to fund the renovation is somehow a sign they don’t have money. They are converting a family asset to liquid cash. It’s literally the same thing as selling Ameritrade stock. This *is* them having the money.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        I don’t pretend to know all of the details of the sale, but it is well documented that restrictions exist and Ricketts even mentioned in the pregame that, thay would be the case until 2019. I have read the reports of the sale and by most account Ricketts was “forced” to take on more debt than he wanted to comply with the conditions emposed by Zell’s cockamamie tax avoidance scheme. From an investment point of view it’s probably good business to finance a profitable franchise and in ten years time retain full ownership of a franchise that could well be worth more than 2 billion dollars in 2019. But the stuff about the restrictions to my knowledge didn’t surface until this last winter. But correct me if I am wrong if this is not more or less the case?
        On to my other point. When Ricketts came up with the ideas with the signage to create the extra revenue he knew he had binding contracts with the said rooftop owners. Did he think these people were just going to roll over? The reality is that come October of this year he will be half way through his ten year deal which as it stands without the additional revenue forces the team to operate on a small market business plan like The Brewers or the Reds. As far as selling minority shares in the team that’s his right to do as he pleases. I am just really frustrated right now and there were two things about the interview that rubbed me the wrong way. First saying that he was pleased by the team they have fielded this year. And secondly being vocal about his inability to be able to do what he wants with his own outfield and property. That was part of the deal when he bought the team. He took on the contracts so he knew that they had existing rights to their livelyhood. I am not bashing Ricketts as a person, but this rebuild/renovation just keeps dragging on. By the looks of things if this team doesn’t turn it around there will be a selloff come July and next winters meeting will come and with the exception of Baez or Alcantara most of the prospects will still be in the minors. Theo will be in the fourth year of his contract and probably nothing will have been done on the renovations. And 2015 will be another year where the finish line gets pushed farther down the road. So from my standpoint nearly five years into the ten year terms of the sale and zilch accomplished with the business plan why wouldn’t anyone not question ownership? The only bright spot has been Theo and Jed’s good work in aquiring talent. I just have this bad feeling that the way things stand that it may be 2017 or later until we field a team that is truelly competative. And fans will be asked to continue to be patient and be on a restricted cookie diet.

        • Medicos

          Woody: Well written explanation concerning the Rickett’s purchase of the Cubs. I also heard Rickett’s say this weekend that Jed and Theo could easily have put together a roster of players that could win 82-83 games a year but they’re going to stay on course with Plan A and build for the future a team comprised basically of young players whom the Cubs have within their farm system and future draft picks. It’s sad that he’s under the impression that it’s so easy to put together a team that wins more than it loses.

        • benjamin

          Ok.

      • baldtaxguy

        Heard ESPN 1000 yesterday running an errand and Huebner and Murphy had Jesse Rogers on – and for the 15 minutes I heard, all three portrayed the minority selling as 100% evidence that “Ricketts is broke.” I guess I wouldn’t be surprised that at least half of the fans would draw the same conclusion.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I guess they would rather the Ricketts use Cubs revenues for the reno. Because that would prove … they have money?

          It’s kind of unfathomable to me how simple this issue is, and how wrong so many people are getting it.

          • Kyle

            You are probably more corporately attuned than I am, but selling off chunks of equity to generate cash doesn’t seem like a NBD situation. It may be a good idea if it allows critical investment that couldn’t be undertaken otherwise, but it isn’t the equivalent of just going to the ATM and taking some cash out.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              It really is. Where do you think mega rich people keep their cash? In invested assets. And when they need cash, they sell assets. Stocks, real estate, whatever. The asset they’re selling in this case happens to be a portion of the Cubs, one of their biggest assets that has appreciated like crazy over the past few years.

              (And then you throw in everything else I laid out here, and you can see that this is not only completely standard practice in baseball, it’s 100% NBD: http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/04/04/ricketts-family-considering-sale-of-minority-interest-in-chicago-cubs/)

              • Rebuilding

                I don’t necessarily disagree with you, Brett. Obviously, insiders sell stock of even the best companies from time to time to raise cash. However, to play devil’s advocate, they don’t usually do so right before an expected “explosion in revenues” of the company. Also, this doesn’t seem like something that was planned when they bought the team – because why not bring on minority investors then? It just seems odd to wait 3 years and then right when revenue enhancements are about to hit to sell a stake. I think people are right to be cautious about the timing.

                If the Ricketts really need cash why not sell some TD Ameritrade stock? With the market in bubble-icious territory again Ameritrade has gone from $15 in December 2012 to almost $31 now netting them probably $1-3 billion at least.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  “However, to play devil’s advocate, they don’t usually do so right before an expected “explosion in revenues” of the company.”

                  Actually, that’s when your financial advisor would tell you is the perfect time to sell a little slice. If everyone believes incredible financial times are ahead, the price will reflect that.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Actually, that’s not really true. Usually you see prices run up like crazy, people think they will go higher, but insiders know they have likely peaked and that’s when they sell a slice. You see that in the stock market now. To use the stock market analogy, selling a piece of the Cubs now is like selling a slice of a company in 2009 before the big gains of the last several years.

                    Also, usually big insiders like a Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, etc… have a set selling pattern as to not spook the market. Whole funds have made their living shorting stocks where the insiders unexpectedly start selling. I can’t believe this was the Ricketts plan all along.

                    And finally, I think this gets to a major beef many have with the Ricketts. They are now likely the richest owners in baseball worth at least $5 billion. Yet they don’t seem willing to put one dime of their own money (after the initial purchase) into the product. I hate to use the name Mark Cuban – because it’s a lightning rod – but him or others who would have bought likely would have spent their own funds and not just relied on Cubs revenue

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      So what you’re saying is that you have a better understanding of the future value of the Cubs than the Ricketts or the would-be buyers?

                      What a bunch of bozos these guys are!

                      (Non-sarcastic point: there is nothing that you or I know or could say here that the market does not already know. Times ten.)

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      “Yet they don’t seem willing to put one dime of their own money (after the initial purchase) into the product.”

                      I still don’t understand this argument. How would you describe selling away some of your personal assets (the Cubs) to fund the renovation? Isn’t that the definition of putting your own money into the product?

                    • Rebuilding

                      No, what I’m saying is that they seemingly will do anything to not spend a dime outside of Cubs revenue, despite being worth billions of dollars. That is a problem many people have with them. Also, there were a lot of smart people who lost a lot of money in 2001 and 2007-8. Just because they are deciding to sell now doesn’t make it smart.

                      I’m surprised by your snakiness at someone who’s trying to have a serious conversation, Brett. I specifically said I didn’t necessarily disagree with you. But for a blogger it seems you are often way too willing to just say “Move along, nothing to see here.”

              • Kyle

                “It really is. Where do you think mega rich people keep their cash? In invested assets. And when they need cash, they sell assets. Stocks, real estate, whatever. The asset they’re selling in this case happens to be a portion of the Cubs, one of their biggest assets that has appreciated like crazy over the past few years.”

                Some assets are fungible, others are not. Selling a chunk of the Cubs isn’t the same as liquidating some generic assets.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Why?

                  (In other words, explain to me the differences that actually matter here.)

                  • Kyle

                    I sell 10% of the index funds I own. Later, I decide I want to buy back some index funds. Easy peasy.

                    I sell 10% of the Cubs. Later, I decide I want to bu back some of the Cubs. I better hope the guy I sold to wants to sell back.

                    Selling off fungible assets is repeatable and reversible. Selling off a chunk of the Cubs is likely neither.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      See my parenthetical. Why does that distinction matter here?

                      I’ll save us the rhetorical back and forth – it doesn’t. They want to take a little off the table because they’ve got an asset that appreciated like crazy. Whether you’re able to later buy back that portion matters not, because you didn’t give up any control.

                      You’re climbing uphill here, because you want to grind your ax. But there’s nothing there – the “they can’t afford it” angle is so insanely inaccurate it defies understanding that people are even trying to find a way in.

                    • Rebuilding

                      That is also a very good point

                    • Darth Ivy

                      Your last comment is 100% right on, brett.

                    • Kyle

                      You’re reading waaaaay too much into what I said.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Well, all right. Wouldn’t be the first time.

                  • Darth Ivy

                    Liquidity. But I do think the ricketts are smart for selling minority interests in the cubs.

        • BT

          The fact that you are basing ANYTHING off of something Mike Murphy said should be your first indicator that you’ve made a terrible mistake.

  • ssckelley

    Hey Steadman, Jeimer hit his first homer!

  • NorthSideIrish

    Daytona Cubs ‏@daytonacubs 12m
    .@albertalmora is now 3-for-3 and on third after a @Flowbro3 single. 5-0 Cubs T5, 2nd and 3rd 1 out. Listen live http://bit.ly/1dZBp91

    Almora is 3-for-3…so, there’s that. That’s about all I got in the way of positive things today.

  • Dustin S

    What’s nutty is that the Braves so far are actually hitting even worse than the Cubs with RISP (.077), but are somehow 3-1.

    Improving hitting with RISP is Ricky’s first big challenge as a manager. It’s not exactly like they didn’t know it was a problem going into this season after last year. I don’t know how it can be done from his standpoint (motivation, plate approach?), but if he can’t improve it and it’s just a skill level problem where low .200s with RISP is the best this roster can do – it’s going to be a long frustrating year. Maybe it’s just me but they don’t really even seem to be doing the basics like trying to go to right with a runner on 2nd and less than 2 out to move him over (Ryno was always automatic at that, ironically).

    • Medicos

      Dustin: i agree with everything u stated. RR just has to deal with whatever roster of hitters he’s been given. With a decent pitching staff and having hitters, who are unable to produce many runs, then one has to “manufacture” runs any way possible. It that means using the bunt, hit-and-run, stealing bases , hitting behind the runners , etc then so be it. I am well aware that the SABERMETRICS-MONEYBALL exponents feel that’s no way to manage a ball team but what other choice does the new manager have????

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There is a false premise in your argument: that there is another choice. If you cannot OPS your opponents, then you are probably going to lose. Teams that win (or lose) more than expected given OPS do not have any particular way of doing it: usually largely the same team does much worse (or better) with similar performances the years immediately before and after.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “What’s nutty is that the Braves so far are actually hitting even worse than the Cubs with RISP (.077), but are somehow 3-1.”

      Actually, it’s not nutty. The Braves Team line is .217/.269/.349. That’s not stellar, but they’ve held the other teams to .195/.271/.262. When a team’s net OPS is (0.619-0.533)= 0.086, then you expect them to have won most of their games. Net OPS explains over 80% of variation in W-L record, and BAwRiSP does not have a particular strong correlation with the residuals, either.

  • another JP

    Now Almora with big catch on fly ball… Scott with no-hitter through 6.

  • Kyle

    Gerardo Concepcion sighting with Kane County!

    2/3 IP, 3 ER, 40.50 ERA

    Baez whiffs wildly at a few pitches and strikes out in the first, giving him 5 Ks in 9 AAA PAs.

    Nothing in the world is good. Except Almora.

    • Jon

      We’ve paid him close to 4 million already

      • Matty Ice

        What a joke

        • Karl Groucho

          These are the types of risks I like to see them taking! Not every prospect is gonna work out, but I’m much happier to burn 4M there than on a middling FA (or not at all).

          The Soler injury is still a bummer, but otw it’s far too early to say much about our prospects (even if it’s hard not to get pumped about Bryant, who has been a real pleasure).

    • ssckelley

      Well Bryant has been great.

      • TommyK

        Bryant has 4 Ks in 11 plate appearances this season (as I type this). That ain’t great.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Almora had 5 hits in 6 plate appearances. Wow!

        • JCubs79

          Seriously, TommyK, do you not understand sample sizes or know what they are?

  • Diehardthefirst

    NSync fails when trying to mesh saber metrics with deficits

  • ssckelley

    Arrietta is looking good so far in his rehab start.

  • ChrisFChi

    Well, I hope its just the cold weather holding things up. Still thinking of taking in the game tomorrow, thou sitting at a bar and shedding tears into my beer may be cheaper.

    • spearman

      Well there’s always some excuse.

  • Jon

    Baez K’s again. (Heroine needle to forehead )

    • Matty Ice

      66% k rate so far.
      And he gets ejected

      • Jon

        Guessing he took strike 3 looking and didn’t like it

        • Matty Ice

          Swinging strike

    • Kyle

      And ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

      I’m taking solace in the fact that he always does this for the first 20 PAs or so at a new level before going into God Mode.

  • baldtaxguy

    Baez – 2 K’s and an ejection.

  • TommyK

    One extra base hit, and it was a double. What an anemic lineup. The best thing about this game is I didn’t watch a second of it.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Even the double would have been a hard hit ground out with most 1Bmen other than Howard. (Well, or Cabrera or Fielder.) However, Howard’s mobility at 1st has not come back since his Achilles’ injury, which is hardly that surprising when you think on it.

      At some point, the Cubs have got to stop waiting back in hopes of a 4 or 5 single inning: if you don’t slug the ball, you aren’t going to score no matter what your BAwRiSP is like. (The Sox had scored twice as many runs as the Cubs while going 4 for 25 wRiSP before tonight’s game.)

      • Voice of Reason

        Docwhimsey typed:
        “At some point the cubs have got to stop waiting in hopes of a 5 or 5 single inning. If you don’t slug the ball you ain’t going to score.”

        So, which slugger is sitting on the bench that renteria should be playing? They would like some singles or home runs. They just need to get hits. The problem is the team sucks. They have nobody who can slug the ball and its nearly impossible for them to get 4 or 5 hits in an inning. It will go down as the worst offensive team in cub history.

        • Bill

          “It will go down as the worst offensive team in cub history.”

          I was wondering about this myself. I’ve been following the Cubs since the early 70′s and I can’t remember a worse offensive Cub team, but maybe they had some bigger stinkers before then.

  • another JP

    Bad night for Javy, great night for Almora…. 5 for 6.

    • Kyle

      Tennesee getting ripped up by the Reds’ top pitching prospect. Hendricks getting hit around pretty good.

      This night sucks.

      • Jason P

        We need a new soft tossing minor leaguer to hype up as the next Greg Maddux. Hello, Taylor Scott.

  • Funn Dave

    Boni’s down to .542? Cut him.

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