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Travis Wood did it all for the Cubs in this one, pitching fantastically (9 K and 0 BB? get outta here), and driving in four runs on a homer and a double. The Cubs ease their own woes slightly at the expense of the Diamondbacks’ continued woes. Good by me.

The box says that Ryan Sweeney was just 1 for 4, but I think it’s only fair – given how much he’s been struggling – to point out that he crushed the ball three times … into three outs, including two fantastic plays by Aaron Hill at second. His one hit came on the only ball he didn’t hit hard. Sweeney’s night should have been better.

Below Sweeney in the order, everyone had a couple hits. It was a good night to be a “lesser” hitter. Travis Wood looked so good with the bat that the Diamondbacks affirmatively changed pitchers with the bases loaded when Wood came up to the plate. Like, as in, Kirk Gibson wanted to bring on a situational reliever to face Wood.

Aside: It seemed innocuous enough at the time (and proved to be), but, in the bottom of the 6th inning, with the Cubs up 5-0, Welington Castillo singled to center with Starlin Castro on second base. Tony Campana doesn’t have much of an arm, so sending Castro seemed like a no-brainer. Instead, Castro was held, semi-understandably, with nobody out and Travis Wood’s bat lurking after Ryan Kalish. Still, I groused about the decision. A Kalish groundout and a Wood doubleplay later, and I was fairly annoyed that the Cubs had failed to score that run.

Back to the good stuff …

april 21 box

Full box score.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    The Cubs win with good starting pitching, good work by the bullpen, and a good showing by the offense.

    Is the chronic complaint crowd going to be reduced to grumbling about Olt and Lake being on the bench for another day? I’m not sure the Cubs left them many other talking points.

    • baldtaxguy

      Well, I don’t consider myself part of the whine-a-saurusi, but “a good showing by the offense” does not involve 4 of your 5 runs attributed from your pitcher. I see an improvement in taking walks, which is very good and notable of late, but if Jackson pitched this game would we be saying anything about the offense other than “we stinks”?

      Nice game, nice win, but getting 4 rbi from your pitcher probably happens 1 out of 80 times.

      • JM

        This is nice response. Yes, a win is a win, but by no means did the offsive production come from where it was expected.

      • ame1908

        Just curious, but where did the 1 out of 80 come from?

        • baldtaxguy

          My ass.

          • DarthHater

            I love candor.

    • E

      Without Wood (the pitcher), we would have head into the 9th in a one-run tie. I’m not sure why you think this was a positive offensive showing.

      People complain about things they care about. I see no reason to marginalize them. I’ve been guilty of it in the past. Things aren’t gumdrops and rainbows in Cubby land and there is no use pretending they are. Are brighter days ahead? Hopefully. But championships aren’t won on hopes and dreams. If they were, we wouldn’t be 100+ years without one.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “Without Wood (the pitcher), we would have head into the 9th in a one-run tie.”

        Well that’s not necessarily true. Setting aside the possibility that whatever other pitcher was in there may have produced a run, Wood grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in a spot where another pitcher may have been lifted for a pinch hitter.

        The offense produced a lot of base runners. That’s the point.

        • ssckelley

          But I think Luke could have ended his comment after the first sentence.

          I do not agree with the Olt/Lake grumblings either but most of those that do make a good point and I don’t think it is fair to bitch slap them after a game that the pitcher provided 2 out of the 3 hits with RISP.

      • CubFan Paul

        “People complain about things they care about. I see no reason to marginalize them”

        +1

        I couldn’t think of anything nice to say after reading Luke’s post but this works.

      • Karl Groucho

        +1

    • ThePope

      Yes. I will continue to be upset about Olt’s lack of playing time until he becomes the every day starter. This is not based on Valbuena’s numbers or the Cubs W/L record.
      I will never understand why legitimate prospects are brought up to sit on the bench. Never Ever. If you are not going to play a “prospect” every day (or at least most days), then move him to AAA and play him there. Sitting Olt on the bench is counterproductive to both his future and the Cubs’ future (in my opinion).
      I understand Lake sitting. He is “projected” to be a quality 4th outfielder. Olt could very easily be a quality everyday third baseman. That is the difference for me.
      Not a fan of posting an opinion and getting jumped on by a bunch of know-it-alls. Not directed toward you Luke, but some others…..

      • Head and Heart

        “Not a fan of posting an opinion and getting jumped on by a bunch of know-it-alls.”

        You may find then that the internet isn’t for you.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        “Not a fan of posting an opinion and getting jumped on by a bunch of know-it-alls.”

        So you’re allowed to post your opinion, but if someone disagrees with it, they’re not allowed to respond??

        • ThePope

          There is a difference between posting your opinion and telling someone they are stupid for having that opinion.

          • Kyle

            “There is a difference between posting your opinion and telling someone they are stupid for having that opinion.”

            I’ll never call anyone stupid. I will call a lot of opinions stupid. If anyone doesn’t like it, they should stop having stupid opinions.

            • ssckelley

              Right, so take your own advice and stop posting stupid opinions. Your argument on a 25 year old prospect today is completely stupid.

              • Kyle

                “prospect”

                • ssckelley

                  exactly

                  • Kyle

                    I’m glad that our team has a slightly more discriminating process for deciding to allocate playing time than just whether or not a player is a “prospect.”

            • ThePope

              A lot of players hit worse against one type of pitcher and still play every day. I don’t see Anthony Rizzo (who I think is great) sitting every time the other team starts a lefty. I know he is hitting LHP very well this year, but he has not for his career. I’m glad he has been given the opportunity to do so, since he is our future first baseman…..

              • Kyle

                Was this meant to be an example of a stupid argument? If so, I appreciate you taking one for the team.

                Having a platoon split isn’t the reason Mike Olt shouldn’t play against righties. HIs platoon split being so pronounced that his results against right-handers suggest he can’t hit them in the majors is.

                • ssckelley

                  “Was this meant to be an example of a stupid argument? If so, I appreciate you taking one for the team.”

                  Now you are just acting like an ass.

                  • Kyle

                    I explained why it was a stupid argument.

                    “Good players have platoon splits and are still good, so therefore you can’t use platoon split to show that a player isn’t good enough” is a stupid argument. If people wouldn’t make terrible arguments like that, we wouldn’t have half these problems.

                    The existence of Olt’s platoon split isn’t the problem. If he were OPSing 1.300 for his career vs. lefties and 1.000 vs. righties, there’d be no problem. It’s the combination of the severity of the split and his overall skill level.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      You’ve routinely contradicted yourself here, so just stop, we all know what you mean and the majority of us don’t agree with it

                      “HIs platoon split being so pronounced that his results against right-handers suggest he can’t hit them in the majors is”

                    • Kyle

                      Apparently several people still don’t understand the argument being made, since they think “X player has a platoon split in the majors” is a valid counterargument.

                      I’m glad I can count on you to understand it, at least.

                    • ThePope

                      I’m just making the point that you could substitute someone off the bench for Rizzo or Castro or ….. when the Cubs face a LHP/RHP that has a better career OPS than him.
                      It would be interesting to find out if players who are “platooned” become even worse against certain pitchers due to lack of at bats against them. It is hard to imagine that not being the case. Due to these players eventually facing these pitchers due to game circumstance, it seems even more counterproductive (almost wiping out the advantage in the first place). Just something to think about…….

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    Mike Olt in the minors: .790 OPS vs. righties, .960 vs. lefties. A difference of .170

                    Anthony Rizzo in the minors: .911 OPS vs. lefties, 1.134 ops vs. righties. A difference of .223

                    It is not how pronounced the split is that shows Mike Olt can’t hit righties, it is the number itself.

                    .790 isn’t a great minor league number, but giving up on him at this point, which are you are doing, is just ludicrous.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Not on the Internet there isn’t

      • ssckelley

        Pope, I think Olt is being “weaned” into the position. IMO, I think after the horrible season Olt had last year they are putting him in the best situations to succeed. I think as the season progresses we will see more of Olt at third. He has appeared in every game but 3.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        All of this whinning about Olt not playing every day is getting old.He has an opportunity to platoon and hit against lefties and when he accomplishes that goal he will get more chances against righties. He’s hitting a buck eighty nine for the time being in the platoon.

        • Head and Heart

          With a .182 BABIP

      • Kyle

        Maybe you need to reconsider what you decide is a “legitimate prospect.”

        Maybe your standards for that are too low.

        • Voice of Reason

          Call him a legit prospect or not is petty. He needs to play everyday. He could be our third basemen of the future or maybe not.

          There are certain truths: valbuena is not our future third baseman and the cubs are horrible.

          Two reasons Olt needs to play everyday. If he’s not the future after he has had enough at bats to make determination then bring one of our other third base prospects.

          Get valbuena out of third. Its a waste of at bats.

          • Kyle

            One reason he doesn’t need to play:

            We’re a baseball team and he’s not very good at baseball when the opponent fields a right-handed pitcher.

            • Head and Heart

              Such a massive sample size on that as well so we can say with a lot of certainty that you are right.

              • Kyle

                As is so often the case, someone stumbles into the truth when attempting to be sarcastic.

                First, there *is* a massive sample size. There’s 25 years of Mike Olt walking this earth in which he’s been evaluated as a baseball player. He didn’t just spring fully formed into the Cubs’ training facilities in February.

                Second, “sample size” is something a lot of fans quote these days without really understanding it. What is or is not a “small sample” depends heavily on what you are trying to measure and how you are trying to measure it. If we just wanted to read his slash line, yeah, it’s a small sample this year. If you combine deep peripherals with scouting, it’s a pretty decent sample.

                • Head and Heart

                  Where are all these scouting reports that he can’t hit right handed pitching?? Are there many former top 25 prospects who were evaluated as guys who couldn’t hit righties?

                  And I would think you would need to throw out a lot of the scouting reports that are from the first 5 maybe 6 years of Mike Olt walking the earth as a human as personally I believe a lot of development can happen after those years.

                  • Kyle

                    Well, the Cubs presumably have such a scouting report, seeing as how they aren’t playing him against right-handed pitching and I don’t think they’d do that based on a few games.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Just for some context.
                      Evan Longoria OPS splits: .799 versus righties. 950 versus lefties.
                      Josh Donaldson: .813 versus righties. 1.042 versus lefties.
                      Those two were top 5 among third basemen last season in OPS.

                      I think it’s too early to assert that a .790 milb OPS versus right handed pitching means Mike Olt can’t hit right handers. There’s a good chance you are right as we all know it is tougher to hit in the majors. But we don’t know for sure at this point. Not even close.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Appeal to authority? ;)

                    • Kyle

                      So once again we’re down to me having to explain that hitting right-handers for a .800ish OPS in the minors isn’t the same as doing it in the majors?

                    • Kyle

                      “Appeal to authority? ;)”

                      Yes, but that’s only a logical fallacy if one of the three following conditions are met:

                      1) The authority isn’t really an authority
                      2) You are using it to contradict objective evidence
                      3) You are using it in the context of deductive, rather than inductive, reasoning.

                    • Head and Heart

                      I am so sick of people like you Kyle. “So once again we’re down to me having to explain that hitting right-handers for a .800ish OPS in the minors isn’t the same as doing it in the majors?”

                      Show me where I said anything to that effect. Anywhere even close to insinuating that.

                      As you are certainly aware I was pointing out that almost all right handed hitters struggle with a platoon split like we’ve seen with Mike Olt. FFS, I even said you are most likely right that his .790 OPS versus righties in milb means he won’t hit righties enough in the majors to be an every day player. I mean I even said it’s tougher to hit in the majors. I acknowledged that fact right in my effing comment.

                      I was simply providing some context that having a platoon split doesn’t preclude a guy from being an everyday MLB player and that we can’t be sure at this point that Olt “can’t hit rightie”.

                    • ssckelley

                      “So once again we’re down to me having to explain that hitting right-handers for a .800ish OPS in the minors isn’t the same as doing it in the majors?”

                      Again, you are the one using minor league statistics to support your argument. Mike Olt was also a career .960 OPS against lefties and so far is hitting 1.080 in the majors this season.

                    • Kyle

                      There’s a point where you have to use inductive reasoning.

                      1) The Cubs, who are a pretty smart team, are not using Olt against right-handed pitching.
                      2) Olt has a pronounced platoon split against right-handed pitching his entire minor league career
                      3) Olt looks *awful* against right-handed pitching, both in ST and in the majors right now
                      4) Olt has terrible stats against right-handed pitching in the majors right now, including deep peripherals like contact rate and K-rate that do not need much of a sample to start yielding predictive results.

                      If you can look at the available evidence and *not* come to the conclusion that Olt can’t hit right-handed pitching, then it’s just because you desperately don’t want to for emotional reasons.

                  • TWC

                    “Where are all these scouting reports that he can’t hit right handed pitching??”

                    http://minorleaguecentral.com/player?pid=592609&split=3000

                    Good enough for you?

                    • Head and Heart

                      That’s not a scouting report.

                    • Kyle

                      Olt looks completely lost against right-handed pitching, with no ability to make contact even moderate breaking stuff in the zone. – Kyle

                      There’s your scouting report.

                    • TWC

                      You’re right. That’s not a scouting report. It’s just his entire professional baseball history showing a profound platoon split. Totally worthless.

                    • Head and Heart

                      TWC, I didn’t say it was worthless at all. I simply pointed out that I was looking for scouting reports from when Olt was a prospect in which those reports suggested he wouldn’t be able to hit righties at the major league level. Those stats are worth a lot. I was simply pointing out that it wasn’t what I was looking for.

                    • Kyle

                      So we were talking about a guy’s splits in the minors. You brought up a two guys’ splits in the majors. But you *weren’t* implying they were comparable situations? OK, then you’ve just admitted there’s no point in bringing up the stat? Cool, you invalidated your own argument.

                      I’m sick of people making awful arguments. They *think* they are making good arguments because Rob Neyer taught them back in the late 1990s to chant “sample size” in April. But analysis has passed them by and they aren’t adapting.

                    • Head and Heart

                      See Kyle you are one of these guys who took a logic class way back when in university and then pretends he doesn’t understand what a person actually meant so that you can invalidate their opinion without actually having to acknowledge their point.

                      You and I both know that I was showing that righties struggle to hit righties but that doesn’t preclude them from being very productive major league hitters. In no way was I trying to say that Mike Olt will succeed because of Josh Donaldson’s 2013 OPS splits. You know that yet you choose to ignore it rather than deal with the actual point.

                      The actual point is that Mike Olt doesn’t hit righties as well as he hits lefites and it looks likely that he won’t hit righties in the majors enough to be an everyday player. But we can’t know for sure until he gets more chances against righties.

                    • Kyle

                      “See Kyle you are one of these guys who took a logic class way back when in university and then pretends he doesn’t understand what a person actually meant so that you can invalidate their opinion without actually having to acknowledge their point.”

                      That’s because you are trying pretty hard to avoid making a point. You just want to try to create enough fuzziness in the points being made so that you can say “well, *maybe* he can hit right-handers, so let’s find out.”

                      We can’t know anything for sure, ever. But Mike Olt is 25 years old, closing in on 26. He’s got an entire minor league history and a growing Major League history. He’s got dozens of expert eyes on him every day in spring training, in batting practice, in games.

                      And you’re arguing that all that is not enough to make a judgment on him, what we really need is another 150 PAs or so against right-handed pitching. That’s absurd.

                    • Head and Heart

                      No that’s not the point I am making. And my point has been very clear all along. It seems likely that you are right (although that 2013 OPS comes with the eye sight caveat). I believe there is enough date to make a reasonable judgment on Olt’s true talent level and ability. But in a lost season with other talent on the way I see no reason not to throw him out there everyday to get even more date to make an even more informed decision. Coming up in the minors he was scouted a lot and the reports say he had a great ability for pitch recognition, lots of swing and miss, and plenty of power. I just see no reason to not chuck him on the field everyday and let him fail even if that’s the most likely option.

                    • Kyle

                      You don’t make upside plays on 25-year-olds. It’s just not a good bet.

                    • Head and Heart

                      “You don’t make upside plays on 25-year-olds. It’s just not a good bet.” Maybe not but as I see it the Cubs don’t have any other bet to make anyway so why not?

                    • Kyle

                      “” Maybe not but as I see it the Cubs don’t have any other bet to make anyway so why not?”

                      There’s always another bet to be made. Luis Valbuena has a non-zero chance of breaking out and accruing trade value. There’s a fairly linear correlation between wins and extra attendance revenue as well, so it’s worthwhile to try to win more games even in a bad season.

                      There’s always an opportunity cost.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Put Valbuena at second then. Even if Olt bats blindfolded he will OPS more than Barney does against righties. So then Valbuena is building trade value and the Cubs can see if maybe 2012 was the true Olt. And best of all I wouldn’t have to weep softly whenever Barney is about to take an at bat.

            • Voice of Reason

              He was once a top prospect who fell victim to eye trouble.

              That’s over. Now you see if he can find a full time job with the cubs.

              The only thing you said correctly is that the cubs are a baseball team. The other statement is your speculation based on a small sampling of hitting against righties. There is nothing to lose by playing him everyday. That way we will know and can move on. Either way the cubs, which is a baseball team, are very bad this year.

              • Kyle

                He had a fairly pronounced platoon split in the minors as well. From 2011 onward, he had just a .790 OPS against righties.

                • JB88

                  That’s somewhat surprising to read. I thought I recall his overall slash line was pretty impressive in 2012. How big of a platoon split did he put up that year in order to put together a nice slash line?

                  • Kyle

                    Not much of one in 2012, but that was the outlier. He had the clear split in 2011, 2013 and now 2014.

                    So as always with Mike Olt, believing in him requires believing that 2012 was the true talent and nothing else that happened before or since really counts.

                    • JB88

                      2013 and 2014 are hard for me to draw much of a conclusion on—2013 because he was so tragically bad and 2014 because he has 21 ABs against righties at this point.

                      I’m all in favor of trying to win games in April and all year long, but there is a point at which I’d like to go all in on the Mike Olt experiment to figure out what you have. Is 2012 really an outlier or is that player in there somewhere? If it is an outlier, let’s figure that out before Bryant is ready.

                    • Kyle

                      I hate the “figure out what you have” argument.

                      You’re telling me that with years of scouting reports and video tapes and stats, watching a guy every day in spring training, in batting practice, and playing him in more than half the games, the front office can’t figure out what they have without those extra 150 PAs?

                  • Kyle

                    “That .790 OPS also includes Olt’s 2013 year, which obviously happened, but I think many would explain away based on the eyesite and concussion-related issues.

                    I would definitely be curious to know what that OPS split looks like without the 2013 season being factored in.”

                    I reject the idea that we should be throwing out data because we feel like it and there might be a reasonable excuse. That’s a great way to get the data to lead you to the conclusion you want to make rather than the correct one.

                    But as noted, Olt showed a noticeable platoon split in 2011 and 2014 as well.

                    “Nor does it prove an inability to hit right handed pitching in the majors. Using minor league statistics to support your argument on Olt is a joke.”

                    So why do you want Olt to be a major-leaguer at all, if not for his minor league stats? Do you just like his name? Think he’s got dreamy eyes?

                    • JB88

                      I looked at the numbers for Olt’s minor league splits and this is what I found:

                      YEAR v RHP OPS v LHP OPS
                      2013 .600 .843
                      2012 .932 .925
                      2011 .794 1.027
                      2010 .818 .987

                      I don’t know what to think on these numbers. 2012 and/or 2013 could be aberrations, but Olt put up lines in 3 of his 4 seasons of over .850 (.854, .881, and .977, respectively), with what looks like to me an outlier season of .684 last year. I don’t see a tremendous platoon split, though one definitely exists.

                      Far from me trying to

                • ssckelley

                  That stat does not help your case, a .790 OPS against right handed pitchers would practically lead this team.

                  • Kyle

                    You do understand that it is generally agreed that the majors are more difficult than the minors to hit in, right?

                    I mean, that’s so basic I shouldn’t have to say it, but apparently I do.

                    • ssckelley

                      Of course, but you are the one using minor league statistics to support your argument in response to those that say he has a SSS at the major league level against right handed pitching. A .790 OPS is not bad at any level and would suggest that Olt can hit right handed pitching.

                    • Kyle

                      A .790 OPS in the minors is not generally indicative of an ability to hit in the majors.

                      Whether it’s “bad” or not is irrelevant. It’s not good enough to project major league success from.

                    • JB88

                      That .790 OPS also includes Olt’s 2013 year, which obviously happened, but I think many would explain away based on the eyesite and concussion-related issues.

                      I would definitely be curious to know what that OPS split looks like without the 2013 season being factored in.

                    • ssckelley

                      Nor does it prove an inability to hit right handed pitching in the majors. Using minor league statistics to support your argument on Olt is a joke.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Jesus…. so if the majors are more difficult than the minors and you understand this, why in the hell reference minor league stats to try and back up your debate that he can’t hit right handed pitching at the major league level??

                      Damn…. some people!

                    • Edwin

                      I think the idea is that if he hits for a certain OPS against RHP in the minors, it’s fair to project him to hit even worse against RHP in the majors. Minor league stats can help project and shape future expectations for players.

      • DarthHater

        “Not a fan of posting an opinion and getting jumped on by a bunch of know-it-alls.”

        Based on your evidently judgmental nature, I rather suspect that you are not actually The Pope. :-P

  • willis

    Travis Wood dude…Mr. everything.

    What was that about at the end of the game with Montero and Strop? That was odd.

  • Required

    Didn’t Rick Ankiel start as a great hitting starting pitcher? Woods home runs that I’ve seen have never been cheap.

    • johnnyp

      Ya. Then he started throwing like a dozen wild pitches a game and started taking hgh.

  • renegade4196

    Wood is a stud. Nuff said

  • BlameHendry

    fuck yeah travis wood!!!

    seriously, I’m so glad that trade ended up working out. I hope Wood gets a nice extension and stays a centerpiece in the Cubs rotation for many years. Granted, you have to attribute some of his performance tonight to the Dbacks unbelievable suckiness this year, but a good performance nonetheless.

    Strop and Rondon looked dominant too. But Montero staring down Strop in the 9th was bullshit. In a game with no tension and nobody hit by pitches, you’re gonna stare down a pitcher because he let one get away? The pitch was behind him but it wasn’t even close to hitting him…

  • willis

    When Wood starts he should hit cleanup. :)

  • ssckelley

    Good thing holding Castro in the 6th is a non story tonight, but in a close game calls like that can cost you ball games. I am sure you review who has what for an arm in the outfield. You run on Campana every chance you get, no way he throws Castro out at the plate.

    • Chad

      Agreed, I couldn’t believe it when Len said they held Castro, and I don’t think Len could either. You have to take those chances. Especially with the season the cubs are having and Campana in the OF.

  • waittilthisyear

    travis wood has been a personal favorite of mine since he arrived. i know that seems like cherry picking on a day like today, but its the truth. arkansas boy, swings it, runs the bases, and heckuva pitcher as well, it seems. like renegade said, a stud, especially in the NL. please o please, keep him in cubbie blue

  • bonger0493

    Do you think if a pitcher is a good hitter they receive a little more money than a pitcher with similar pitching numbers but can’t hit a beach ball? Or does pitchers offensive numbers have absolutely nothing to do with it at all

    • johnnyp

      No.

    • Brocktoon

      I don’t think they do at all. It’s a nice way to get some extra value at no cost when you have a guy like Zambrano.

      • ssckelley

        Just imagine how much better the Cubs offense would be if they had Zambrano and Wood in the outfield.

        • blublud

          Maybe we should sign all the good hitting starting pitchers to improve our lineup.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Zambrano and Wood were/are good hitting pitchers but would be terrible hitting outfielders.

          Granted, they might become acceptable if they actually focused on hitting.

          • ssckelley

            It was a tongue-in-cheek comment but have you seen how bad the Cubs outfielders are offensively? Outside of Bonifacio, who plays pretty much everywhere, the top OPS outfielder is Lake (.742) who does not even play every day.

  • OCCubFan

    Did anyone notice that most of the damage was done by right-handed hitters Castro, Castillo and Wood?
    I’m not knocking platoons. Platooning makes sense. Just sayin’.

  • andyb

    Where’s Lake been? Have I missed something? I know he hasn’t been playing everyday, but I feel like I haven’ seen him in a week or so.

  • Ivy Walls

    Two of the left-handed bats have been splintered and stuck in the middle of the lineup. This has to change. Got to move Schierholtz out of the clean up spot.

    As for the Castro brain crap…not sure what it happening there.

    • ssckelley

      I agree, Schierholtz is not that power hitting slugger everyone was hoping he could be. Last season was a nice break out year but it appears the clock struck midnight and he reverted back to being a pumpkin.

      Not sure what the Tigers were offering, or if they ever did, but any offer the Cubs might have passed on Schierholtz may have been a mistake. I was shocked they did not trade him last year at the trade deadline.

    • gratefulled

      “Got to move Schierholtz out of the clean up spot.”

      I have no idea what he is still doing there. Right now, I would rather have Barney up in a clutch situation.

      Let’s see if we can’t string a couple of these wins together and get back closer to .500

      Go Cubs!!!

  • CubFan Paul

    Montero appeared to be quite the framer back there.

    But then again, anybody looks better than Welly.

    • ssckelley

      this is getting old

      • CubFan Paul

        Because you don’t believe in it. You’ll eventually flip.

        • ssckelley

          Even if I did I would not beat everyone over the head with it every day. Besides, I do not disagree that Castillo is a bad pitch framer, I think he moves his glove around too much before catching the ball. But I don’t agree with the results that they attach to pitch framing.

          • E

            Totally agree. Lots of faith being put into incomplete data.

            • CubFan Paul

              What is incomplete about the years of data?

              • E

                The fact that there is no evidence that an umpire considers the position of the cather’s mitt whatsoever when making the call?

                • CubFan Paul

                  “there is no evidence that an umpire considers the position of the cather’s mitt whatsoever when making the call?”

                  …there’s *years* of video and statistical data that says the opposite …that’s why it’s called pitch ‘framing’, the catcher is framing the zone for the umpire

                  • E

                    No, there is years of video speculating that is what the umpire is considering.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “there is years of video speculating that is what the umpire is considering”

                      It’s not speculation when ‘strikes’ over the middle of the plate are called balls (repeatedly)

                    • bbmoney

                      There’s starting to be some pretty solid data on this. That catchers are able to repeat their pitch framing performances year after year and it’s not just luck. Pitch Fx data really makes it possible to get to the level of detail on what catchers are consistently getting more calls on borderline pitchers or pitches out of the zone.

                      I don’t think there’s a whole lot of debate in the statistical community that it’s a thing/skill, any more. How big of a skill or to what degree impacts the game I think is still being hashed out.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      It’s not speculation: it’s a proposition or hypothesis. Moreover, it is a hypothesis that is *likely* (given that it predicts copious amounts of data well), *probable* (alternative explanations require things that are either not known to be true or which we think happen much less frequently than framed pitches), and *parsimonious* (it’s a single explanation for patterns rather than a concatenation of explanations).

                      This is one of the rare cases where traditional baseball wisdom has been well-supported by proper statistical analyses. Remember, Johnny Bench was lauded for his ability to frame pitches nearly 50 years ago, and it was not a new concept then.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Remember, Johnny Bench was lauded for his ability to frame pitches nearly 50 years ago, and it was not a new concept then”

                      Boom goes the dynamite.

                    • ssckelley

                      “Boom goes the dynamite.”

                      Awwww you so proud….make sure you bring this up every friggin day.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Awwww you so proud….make sure you bring this up every friggin day”

                      Cry baby, cry baby, suck your mama’s…..

                  • chifords2000

                    Leo espoused the framing skill back to at least the early ’50s, and admired Randy Hundley’s ability to frame using the-then new one-handed catching method.

          • CubFan Paul

            “But I don’t agree with the results that they attach to pitch framing”

            Extra called ‘balls’, higher pitch counts, and shortened outings?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            The proposition is simple: good pitch-framing leads to a higher proportion of non-strikes being called strikes and a lower proportion of strikes being called balls; conversely, bad pitch-framing leads to a lower proportion of non-strikes being called strikes and a higher proportion of strikes being called balls.

            To this end, you have to ask: what else could it be? The one constant in the “excess strikes being called balls and too few non-strikes being called strikes when Welington Castillo catches” is Welington Castillo. Any explanation not involving Castillo is both improbable and unparsimonious, not matter how likely it might seem. (It’s also not going to be as likely as “Castillo frames pitches poorly” given that we define framing as a catcher’s ability to convince umpires that a pitch is a strike.)

            • ssckelley

              ok, Castillo sucks at pitch framing….got it. Did I not mention that I agreed with that fact?

              • CubFan Paul

                “Did I not mention that I agreed with that fact?…But I don’t agree with the results that they attach to pitch framing”

                Extra called ‘balls’, higher pitch counts, and shortened outings?

      • E

        This. ^

  • blublud

    Travis Wood keeps right on dealing. At some point, people will have to realize he’s a really good #2 pitcher.

    • Chad

      Thankfully he is not a FA until 2017

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    The only thing that makes sense on that 6th inning hold is that the 3rd base coach didn’t have a the scouting report on Campana, otherwise it’s an auto-send. There’s definitely no excuse for not doing your home work, but that must be it.

    Last year, according to all the peripherals, Travis Wood was lucky and Edwin Jackson was unlucky. This year, Wood is good, and Jackson blows. Maybe what my eyes saw last year was actually what happened???

    • Chad

      If you don’t have the scouting report on the OF and you are the 3B coach then your job should not be considered safe. Now did he think Castro got a bad jump? I don’t know, but not having a scouting report on the OF arms is a pretty big hiccup IMO.

    • ssckelley

      No way they do not go over this stuff before the game. The only thing I can come up with is instincts took over in that situation because if it is anybody else but Campana playing centerfield you do not send him.

    • Head and Heart

      Wood is a fly ball pitcher who had a low HR/FB rate last season. His FIP was 4.50 which is not great. Too early to draw conclusions this season but his K and BB rates will come more in line with his career averages. Can he continue to induce more groundballs than previous seasons with the same arsenal of pitches? Will his LOB% remain well above his career norms? Will his contact rates remain down? Right now batters are making contact 77% of the time. Woods career norm is roughly 85%. Does anyone know if he is throwing a new pitch or changed the way he is throwing his cutter? I haven’t heard anything along those lines but I watched yesterday’s game with the audio turned off.

      • Chad

        One thing to remember when comparing to career averages is that if a player truly continues to develop then they can be better than their average, especially when they have not pitched as many years. This is really only Travis Wood’s 3rd full season with 2 half seasons before that in Cincinnati. If he continues to pitch like last year this year, then maybe that is who Wood is as a pitcher and the first 3 years are not indicative of his abilities and expected performance. So it’s hard to say he will regress to his mean when we don’t know what his true average is yet.

        • Head and Heart

          Over 500 career innings for Wood now. There’s now way he is going to continue to strike out 10 guys per 9 innings when his previous career high was 7.5 in his first appearance in the league when hitters hadn’t seen him. His walk rate has also been pretty stable for his career. Those two stats will return to norms. I am not suggesting Wood is a bad pitcher or anything. Just that he isn’t going to continue to pitch as well as he has so far.

          • Chad

            You are kind of making my point. Yes he has 500 innings and 40% of those came last year. Last year would be more indicative of the pitcher we should expect than the 2 or 3 years before that right? Just because hitters hadn’t seen him doesn’t mean his stuff would play better. Perhaps he has developed his stuff. Shark sure is better now than he was when he first came up. So is Verlander, Kershaw etc. Pitchers develop. You have to look at different stages. I’m not saying last year was the Wood we should expect to see all the time, but I think it is more likely that is the pitcher he will be rather than the 2011 or 2012 Travis Wood. I don’t expect him to carry that K/9 rate either as he did not last year, but I don’t expect some of his other peripherals to go back to the 11/12 Wood and likely be more like last years Wood and the early 2014 Wood. It’s more about repeatability than averages.

            All I am saying is you have to be careful looking at averages. There are always outliers and many variables that can cause changes to this especially when you are talking about young players who are still developing. When you get to a guy who has been consistently in the show and has repeated his performance several times then you can get a truly indicative average value.

            • Head and Heart

              I think the part you may be missing here is that Wood was good last year but he certainly wasn’t great. And he’s far from what I would consider elite. He potentially also had some underlying luck in his performance. His K and BB rates have been consistent over his career. Whether the innings were last year or 4 years ago. Those numbers will return to normal. And when they do more balls will be put in play. Off a fly ball pitcher who had a suppressed HR/FB% last year.

              • Chad

                I’m not calling him elite and I for one am not interested in his extension at the moment. You are missing my point when you keep citing “normal” and “average”. We can’t say what is normal for Wood yet. I’m saying I don’t think 2011-2012 are indicative of what kind of pitcher he is. I think last year and this year are more indicative of the consistent pitcher Wood will be for the next few seasons. You expect him to regress to his normal, but we can’t say for certain what his normal is because he continues to improve. When he peaks and repeats his performance then we will know. I agree I think his K rate will come back down, but perhaps his control is just getting better and better. He may not regress to what he was, as I hope he won’t as he continues to develop.

                • Head and Heart

                  I’m not missing your point at all. I just happen to think it’s not a good point and doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can’t say for sure what his normals will be when his career ends. But I can say what they are so far. Over 500 innings. You keep making a distinction between 2011-12 and last season. In 2011 his FIP- was 104. Last year it was 100. His xFIP rates over the last three seasons are 4.61, 4.62, 4.50. His improvement from 2011-12 to last year was slight.

                  His cutter appears to have improved and that’s led to slight increases in o-contact and z-contact rates. But not enough to disregard his previous results.

        • CubsFaninMS

          I’m inclined to think that 1.2 seasons of Major League ball would certainly not fall into the “small sample size” category. Travis Wood is the real deal. Instead of wondering when he will “come down to earth”, I think we should all appreciate what he’s doing for our team here and now. He’s a great pitcher and athlete. Period. Wood is clearly our ace until Samardzija shows he can consistently deliver on his potential. An ace finds a way to deliver results. Wood’s art is pitch selection and accuracy. A 98-MPH fastball and/or wipeout curve is not an automatic prerequisite for being “an ace” in my book, it’s delivering results and keeping your team in the game every 5th day. NO starting pitcher in the Major Leagues did that better than Travis Wood last year. (I’m not arguing or chastising, btw, just wanted to throw in my two cents.)

          • CubsFaninMS

            I guess my “summation” on all of that is:

            Travis Wood does not have an elite pitch, but he has produced some elite results since the beginning of 2013.

            • Chad

              The biggest thing is you can’t use 2011 and 2012 to evaluate the Travis Wood of present. A lot of things changed throughout that period of time. I can’t say yet if 2013-2014 Wood is the real Wood either, but it is more likely to be true than what we saw 2 years ago when he couldn’t make the roster out of spring training.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Travis Wood’s Cutter is absolutely an elite pitch

          • Head and Heart

            Not to chastise either but burying your head in the sand and judging a pitcher based on quality starts is fine. But it doesn’t work for me personally. Wood benefited from some luck last year. And some of his numbers so far this year aren’t sustainable (understandable with it being so early in the season). Wood may be the Cubs “ace” but that doesn’t change that he was 45th in pitching WAR last season tied with Jeff Samardzija.

            • CubsFaninMS

              I guess part of my thoughts above are that… Wood is pitching like an elite starting pitcher right now. Sabermetrics may be right a large percentage of the time, but they are no guarantee. Instead of wondering when he will come down to earth, I just believe we should appreciate the fantastic results we’ve seen from him so far and give him credit for it. He may do this for another 10 years, sabermetrics be darned. He may suck starting in the next start and never be the same again. Either way, he’s been one of the best lefties in the game over the past 1.2 seasons. It’s something us typically pessimistic Cub fans can hang our hats on.

              • Head and Heart

                I don’t get this. I watched every pitch of yesterday’s game. I enjoyed everything Wood did on the mound. When he is pitching well it is a thing of beauty and incredibly fun to watch. I take no pleasure in seeing my team lose.

                I also look at stats to get a better understanding for the hows and whys of what is happening and if it is likely to continue. I honestly don’t see what the two things have to do with each other.

                • Chad

                  “Wood benefited from some luck last year. And some of his numbers so far this year aren’t sustainable (understandable with it being so early in the season).”

                  The thing is you don’t know it isn’t sustainable. Not every player comes into the ML at their peak. Most continue to develop and get better. If Wood continues to improve his command etc. why can’t he continue to produce the numbers he did last year and this year. Again, I agree his K rate is likely to come down, but ERA, BB rate, FIP etc. could all continue to improve. Previous performance is a good indicator of future performance, but when that performance continues to improve the trend says to expect improvement not reversion. We still don’t know what kind of pitcher travis wood will consistently be in his career (at least the next 3-4 years).

                  You also say you don’t see what stats and how he pitches have anything to do with each other, and to that I shake my head.

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    In fact, not all the peripherals point toward a regression. While his LOB% is high at 82.2, his babip is currently .338 (It was .248 in 2012 and .244 in 2011, with a career avg. of .267) so we can expect that to go down quite a bit.

                    • Head and Heart

                      But batters are swinging and missing more right now that ever before. With his stuff that isn’t likely sustainable. So while the BABIP again is likely to come down it’s also likely that more balls will be put in play.

                    • Jon

                      Head and Heart, rather than bemoan “unsustainable” numbers, why not stop and smell the roses and enjoy the moment. A rare positive aspect about this season. Like Bails17 just said, there is something to be said about the makeup of the player. Wood gets the job done, Edwin Jackson is a mental midget and always will be.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Jon. I literally just posted about how much I enjoy watching Wood pitch. It’s like three comments up so I am not sure how you missed it.

                      I appreciate the unsolicited advice though on how to be a “better” fan. Thank you.

                      My repeated comments that Wood is a good pitcher and fun to watch but unlikely to sustain his early season performance are not what I would considering “bemoaning”.

                  • Head and Heart

                    “You also say you don’t see what stats and how he pitches have anything to do with each other, and to that I shake my head.”

                    That’s not at all what i said. It’s so far from my point. I was in no way talking about how he pitches.

                    I was trying to point out that lots of people, myself included, can enjoy watching the performance on the field while at the same time understanding the underlying numbers. I was responding to this, ” Instead of wondering when he will come down to earth, I just believe we should appreciate the fantastic results we’ve seen from him so far”.

                • CubsFaninMS

                  People that read my comments on here can read into the fact that I view baseball performance in its more traditional sense but I also factor in the newer sabermetrics to balance my opinion on something at times. What I’m saying is… perhaps Travis Wood is “divergent”. Perhaps he slipped through your little sabermetric utopia, where anamolies cannot possibly occur. I’m emphasizing the positive.. that’s he’s been an all-star caliber starting pitcher for us. I don’t resign to what I would regard as a fatalistic view of Wood’s future as a starting pitcher and I refuse to marginalize how good he has been based on sabermetrics. Even if those numbers are forced down to the mean over time, he would still be a very solid pitcher in the rotation. I’m not ill-informed, I just have a different perspective as you do on this. Fair enough.

            • Bails17

              All that is fine and dandy. There are a few things that certainly will not show up on your stat sheet, or will at least show up as “luck” as you say. Let’s compare Wood to Jackson. How do each of these guys hold baserunners? How do they perform/pitch with guys in scoring position? Sometimes you just have to understand that some players are better when the chips are down. Wood is a competitor through and through. Jackson is soft. Better than average stuff but lacks that ability to perform when needed. You call this luck or unlucky. I call it competing or lack there of.

              • Jon

                Couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen enough to determine Jackson is a mental midget. All the talent in the world, but breaks down when pressure builds up.

                In his defense, he’ll eat up 200 innings this year, and maybe that makes him worth it because it saves younger arms, but when this team is ready to compete, do you want him on the mound in the NLCS? hell no.

                • Head and Heart

                  “but breaks down when pressure builds up.”

                  Do you have some stats to support that?

                  • Jon

                    Do you have stats to support the contrary?

                    • Head and Heart

                      I didn’t make the assertion. So it’s not on me to back it up. If you don’t want to that’s fine. I was just asking.

                    • Jon

                      It’s a pretty reasonable assertion. A hot topic around here the past few years has been the “curios case of Edwin Jackson”. We know he has the great stuff, we just don’t understand why it doesn’t manifest itself in more tangible results.

                      I’m one of the guys that actually thinks “ability to stay healhty” is an underrated value in the game these days. Ignore every other stat other than innings pitched, if he can stay healthy this year, that will be 7 straigh seasons of 180+ innings pitched. THat’s pretty damnn valuable. It saves your pen, and other arms over time. But the reality he’s pitched at best like a 3rd-4th starter his entire career despite the talents to be a #2. Something is missing there…

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    A LOB% of 63.3 and 66.7 last year and this year are a good indicator. Also, the time he takes in between pitches with men on base is another solid indicator.

  • terencemann

    Castro with a hit and a walk?

  • Medicos

    Last night 41-year-old RAUL IBAEZ doubled in 3-runs in the Angels 4-2 win over Washington. That gives him 15 RBIs already in 2014. Every time I see his name, I wonder if the Won-Loss history of the Chicago Cubs would have much different if former GM Jim Hendry would have signed him or Abreu in 2009 instead of MILTON BRADLEY?????

    • roz

      He’s also slashing .161/.224/.339 with a .252 wOBA, but sure, let’s give him some credit for all the hitters that got on base before him.

  • Medicos

    Last night 41-year-old RAUL IBAEZ doubled in 3-runs in the Angels 4-2 win over Washington. That gives him 15 RBIs already in 2014. Every time I see his name, I wonder if the Won-Loss history of the Chicago Cubs would have much different if former GM Jim Hendry would have signed him or Abreu in 2009 instead of MILTON BRADLEY?????

    • ssckelley

      OMW, that does not help my RBI argument at all. Every one of Ibanez’s hits must be with someone on base or in scoring position. He has an OPS of .563!

  • CubsFaninMS

    If Jeff Samardzija was such a gamer, he would do what Travis Wood does and create his OWN offense.

    *semi-sarcastic font*

    …*but maybe not*

    • ssckelley

      He did have his chances against the Reds.

  • Pingback: Travis Wood Extension Buzz Ticks Up and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Medicos

    BRETT: Len and JD were talking about some device whereby you could plug an MLB player’s stats, for let’s say year 2009, into a specific team’s record for that year and project what that player’s stats would have been had he played for that team.

    I’ve always wondered how the fortunes of our Cubs would have changed in 2009-2011 had JIM HENDRY signed RAUL IBANEZ instead of the infamous MILTON BRADLEY.

    Could someone on BN do that using I IBANEZ (still at age 41 driving big runs for the LA): stats while on the Phillies:

    2009: 34 HR 2010: 16 HR 2011: 20 HR
    93 RBI 83 RBI 84 RBI
    .272 BA .275 BA .245 BA
    .347 OBP .349 OBP .289 OPB
    .552 SLG .444 SLG .419 SLG
    .899 OPS .793 OPS .707 OPS

    What would these statistics have been if Raul Ibanez had played the OF for Cubs in 2009-2011???

    • ssckelley

      They were plugging players into different ERA’s, like some of today’s players on to the 1968 Brooklyn Dodgers team. I thought they said it was found at the bottom of BR’s page but I am not sure which link it is.

      • Medicos

        Thanks for info. I’m certain the Cubs W-L record in all 3 years would have improved if Hendry had signed Abreu or Ibanez.

        • ssckelley

          2009 is the only season Bradley played for the Cubs and he produced a .3 WAR while Ibanez produced a 2.9 WAR for Seattle (using BR). So I think it is safe to say the Cubs could have won an extra 2 or 3 games in 2009 if they had Ibanez.

  • Stu

    The way they are using Olt doesn’t say to me that he is a future Core player.

    • Kyle

      Because he’s not. He’s an about-to-be-26 spare part platoon player. A useful bench player, but a bench player nonetheless.

      • ssckelley

        WOW!!!!! Already condemning Olt to be a bench player has to be one of the dumbest things you have posted on here.

        • Head and Heart

          I want Olt to succeed because I want all Cubs players to succeed. Also he seems like a decent guy who went through a tough season last year. So it’s always nice to see a good story like that pan out. But mostly now I just want Kyle to be wrong. So very wrong.

          • Kyle

            Well, history’s not on your side. The last time BN had these arguments regularly, it was Brett Jackson. Before that it was Ian Stewart. All the same “just give him a chance, what do we have to lose?” arguments.

            But before that, it was me arguing to leave Samardzija in the pen. So you’ve got a 1-in-3 shot, I guess.

            • Head and Heart

              The beautiful thing is that I agree with you that Olt is unlikely to be anything more than a bench player/platoon player. So if and when he fails I can say I was right. But I also think he should play all the time right now anyway cause it’s worth the slim chance that I am wrong. So if he did become a productive every day player I could make a strong claim that I was right. I win either way!

              • Kyle

                I like my win-win setup better.

                I either get to be a) right or b) happy that the Cubs have an awesome player.

            • ssckelley

              Both of those arguments on BJax and Ian Stewart came in seasons the Cubs had no shot anyway, so the way I tally it you were wrong all 3 times. Since most prospects do not make it at the MLB level you are bound to be right more than wrong when you keep picking the prospect to fail.

              How about if you tell us which prospect will succeed?

              • Kyle

                If I could tell you that, I wouldn’t be wasting my time on here, I’d go work for an MLB team.

                Which is why I know better than to waste a bunch of time and energy getting irrationally attached to mediocre prospects.

                • Head and Heart

                  I doubt anyone on this board is attached to Mike Olt. Rationally or not. We want all Cubs players to succeed. I won’t speak for everyone but at this point in the season I see no other player worth playing ahead of Olt. So they may as well play him until he fails for sure and then move on with whoever is next on the list.

                  • Kyle

                    I think you underestimate the irrationality of others, though I completely buy that you are more rational than most. I just think you are oversimplifying the situation to get to a sort of min-maxing conclusion.

                    • Head and Heart

                      Yeah I probably am. To me it’s like saying w are 98% sure on Olt and we have a chance to be 99.99% sure. While there is little value in getting that last 1.99% at this point I don’t see anything else that is more valuable. From my perspective of wanting the Cubs to field a line up of major league caliber players soon anyway. From an owner/GM/coach perspective there are likely some other factors.

      • Chad

        I still want to see what happens if he gets a little more time. Somebody has to be moved off of second base for that to happen. Either Barney or Bonifacio gets traded. I don’t really care which one it is.

  • Stu

    The favoritism for former Red Sox castoffs is a little transparent.

  • roz

    With all of this Olt talk here, we should take a second to remember that Valbuena currently has an OPS of .635 against right handed pitchers, right in line with his career OPS of .645 against right handed pitchers. Even if Olt’s minor league numbers against righties aren’t great, they’re better than Valbuena’s.

    • Kyle

      Nobody is arguing we make decisions based on April OPS. (although if we were, Olt still loses).

      There’s a difference between saying “We can learn important information by looking at stats through April 22″ and “We can learn important information by looking at OPS thorugh April 22.”

      But you are wrong about Valbuena’s minor league numbers. From 2011 onward (that’s just what minorleaguecentral keeps track of), Valbuena has a. 921 OPS against righties in the minors, in 469 PAs.

      • roz

        That’s not Valbuena career minor league OPS against righties, it’s his career major league OPS. Valbuena has a ..645 OPS against righties in the majors, in 1329 PAs.

        And I picked OPS because it was just one stat. Olt’s triple slash is better than Valbuena’s. He K’s a bit more but also walks a bit more, and is ISO is 90 points higher.

        I guess my point is that while we can tear into Olt all we want for what he has or hasn’t done this year, we should keep in mind that Valbuena has not shown that he’s better against righties.

        • Kyle

          So when you said “Even if Olt’s minor league numbers against righties aren’t great, they’re better than Valbuena’s.”

          You meant that Olt’s minor league numbers against righties were better than Valbuen’s major league numbers against righties?

          • roz

            I did. I thought that would have been clear from the context.

            • Kyle

              So now we’re up to yet another person who needs to have it explained to them that it’s harder to hit in the majors than the minors?

              Awful lot of that going around this morning…

              • roz

                Well please continue being satisfied with Valbuena then.

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  Valbuena has a .404 on base percentage so far for a team that struggles mightily to get on base, so I will be satisfied with Valbuena.

                  • roz

                    Yea you’re right, that one was a dumb comment on my part. My main point is that Valbuena has not really shown that he is a great hitter against righties in his career, which we should keep in mind during any Olt discussion.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      I know, I was just being a smart ass. My belief is similar to Brett’s in this regard. The goal in April is to win baseball games, regardless of the expectations. RR believes that Valbuena currently gives the Cubs the best chance to win games against righties. As the season goes on, and the Cubs inevitably fall out of the face even further, the focus shifts from winning to looking toward the future, and that is when you will see Olt begin to get the majority of the playing time at third base.

  • Zoolander

    Is it true that for the Cubs to win…their starting pitchers not only need to pitch a great game but they also have to be the star hitter? Travis Wood would says “YES”. If this remains true, Shark needs to start taking more batting practice, while the manager needs to stop with the sacrifice bunt attempts. Let these boys pitch and hit…it may be the only way the will earn that W next to their name on the box score. Take matters into your own hands gentlemen.

  • DarthHater

    Gotta ask, Bert. Surely, giving Wood the W is a meaningful stat in this instance, is it not? :-D

  • Bric

    When you top 100 comments on a win in which the pitcher does 90% of the damage against the worst team in the league all you can do is scratch your head, admit this roster is crazy outclassed, and wonder about the immediate future of the Cubs.

    I’m not sure why you all are so busy sniping at each other when we all know the blame and angst for this situation lies squarely on the shoulders of Ricketts and Thedstein. Apparently all their jive PR campaigns, public appearances, and marketing mascots have provided a certain amount of immunity. But one more summer of hopelessness, bad, hard to watch baseball and extraneous, distracting issues all related money and this pot will finally start to blow over in the right direction. 80% attendance on a Saturday only two weeks into the season with fair weather and the day before Easter? Yeah, this is gonna get ugly by August…

    • E

      “Yeah, this is gonna get ugly by August…”

      As it should.

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