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The Cubs removed all suspense and drama from the Sunday finale by losing the first two games of their set with the Brewers. Coming into this series, the Cubs had a chance to win the majority of their series on the final day of each series, they just, you know, didn’t.

The Cubs got a couple homers, but it wasn’t enough, as Travis Wood had a rare, strongly ineffective game on the mound (and no hits at the plate, either! My stars!).

The offense was actually worse than you may have noticed at first.

april 26 box

Full box score.

  • Diehardthefirst

    When Mgr Rick has to ask Sink or Sveum for advice on lineups then its time to panic- until then slow and steady

  • David

    What’s up with Kris Bryant’s stolen bases this year? He has 5 in 22 games. Is he fast? Are his stolen bases legit? Botched hit and runs? Is he projected to steal 10 to 15 bases in Chicago?

    • jp3

      I hope 2 things as far as his speed goes, 1) hope he’s really fast, 2)

      • jp3

        2) I hope he doesn’t attempt many and end up pulling something trying to steal any bases. He’s too important for
        Many of those

        • Diehardthefirst

          Big Dave Winfield did both ok- ditto Willie Mays Hank Aaron et al

  • itzscott

    The losing was to be expected, but the hard part for me is that I see no year over year improvement and even worse I see no overall improvement over the first month of the season.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To me, the team’s record (in terms of improvement) doesn’t matter at all. It’s just about individual players – and, for that, it’s still way too early to tell.

      • itzscott

        I agree… To me the record doesn’t matter. There’s no difference between 90 and 100+ losses. But I don’t see the improvement in individual players on a consistent basis to affect a positive team difference.

        While I don’t want to see Baez, Bryant, etc brought up until they’re obviously ready, I find the excuse not to because the Cubs don’t want to put the pressure of expectations upon them to be bogus. I think that’s unfair to Rizzo & Castro since the Cubs don’t appear to care that it’s pretty much all on them without relief right now.

      • Kyle

        It’s not too early to have some interesting data on player improvement.

        But at this point, I think it’s not at all too early to have a strong suspicion of this: The front office has failed to properly prepare this team for the first wave of prospects. They could get good seasons in 2015 from Bryant, Baez, Alcantara *and* Hendricks and still not be good enough, just because the MLB team is such a swirling vortex of suck.

        • jp3

          Speaking of Alcantara, he’s been almora-like with a .301 avg and .310 obp. 2 BB in about 90 ABs, SSS alert I guess

          • Kyle

            The power has been there, but the OBP has been propped up to meh levels by a high BABIP.

            He needs to get better if he wants to be an MLB regular in the next year. And he certainly doesn’t look like any sort of solution to our ongoing OBP problems.

            • jp3

              I agree, other than Bryant, it’s tough to get some of these prospects to take a BB here and there. I guess Vogulbomb has been better in the last week I guess…

      • cubmig

        ??????Brett???????

        “To me, the team’s record (in terms of improvement) doesn’t matter at all. It’s just about individual players – and, for that, it’s still way too early to tell.”

        I’m puzzled…..team record is not important as a measure of improvement? Isn’t seeing the record saying something about how the players are coalescing (or have coalesced) as a team?

      • cubmig

        Brett: Expanding on the point you make……I am left to wonder if the: “It’s just about individual players…” part of your statement is saying the Cubs is still in an “experiment” stage? —-it seems that way from the context. How long is that going to continue if that’s where we’re at? What doesn’t the FO or RR know about the players they signed and field? ………just asking to clear up my frustration for why” it is what it is”—to quote Dusty.

  • arta

    Ditto!

  • Dustin S

    Olt’s hit last night was hard off the RF wall and most times would have been an easy double, but had bad luck on the bounce and so it was a very long single. Also nice to see Castillo with his 4th HR. His big question has been power and if he can keep up 4 HR a month we’ll take that for sure. But overall it was another incredibly painful night to watch offensively against very average SP with a lifetime 4.09 ERA.

    “Pitch your way out of there.”, brutal. Et tu, Garza?

    And Sweeney, I know someday he’ll warm up but running out a no speed, modest power, and now .191 LF most days is just so rough. I keep asking myself if really in all the minors and OF guys they’ve drafted, the waiver wire, and unsigned free agents…that’s the best hitting LF we can come up with to start everyday? He had 6 HR last year in ~200 AB and I think the front office made the mistake of extrapolating that into 20 HR power if he were full time. But prior to last year he only had 14 HR in 1700 AB, which are light-hitting IF power numbers. By comparison, Barney has averaged more HR per career AB than that.

    • Kyle

      His power isn’t in question. His ability to get his OBP over .250 is.

    • salesguy

      Garza said he lost “30 some wins” when he was here. Dear asshat, the reason you lost those wins might have had something to do with your firing the ball into the first base stands every time you fielded a bunt, sure our crappy bullpen helped, but seriously man, you bear no responsibility? The more he opens his mouth, the less of a fan I am of Garza, and the more I hear from him, the less of a fan I am of Jeff. I would just as soon win 61 games with people who believe in what we’re doing, than 75 wins with with garza, Jeff, and Ram (saw his comments as well). I just love how these overpaid windbags believe that their play (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with the current state we find ourselves in. So happy both of them are gone, will be even happier when Jeff is gone as well, just hope he stays away from Wood.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Need to cut Garza some slack as not used to Chicago weather in April which put him in funk until July

      • Brocktoon

        Yeah, let’s bring in guys who are happy to lose.

        • Jon

          It’s all part of the plan. shark will be gone by July and salesguy can be happy that is replacement in the rotation, Villenueva is keeping his mouth shut

          • Jon

            And Aram was nothing but productive when he was here so I have no idea what the F he is talking about

            • salesguy

              Please Jon, Aram was productive in garbage time, his stats looked ok at the end while he was here, but I can remember him flailing away early in the season when we needed him, only to finish with decent stats to close the year when it didn’t matter. So happy to hear that he and Garza could’ve played better, and just chose not to.

              • Kyle

                Hoooorsepoooooooop

              • Jon

                That is just absolute nonsense

                • Jon

                  Later today I think I’ll post 3 or 4 Aram walk off bombs, horse shit indeed

                  • salesguy

                    Again if you check the stats it’s the when, in when that production occurred, he was a notorious “hit collector” to coin a term from Sveum. Either way it’s doesn’t matter, you have your narrative that you spout here constantly, I have facts, but don’t let that get in your way, please continue your trolling rampage, throwing bombs, and generalizations with nothing to back it up. And, by the way go ahead and post the Aram walkoffs, Garza threw a couple of one hitters too, but on the whole, getting rid of that type of player (Jeff included) is addition by subtraction.

                    • Jon

                      Getting rid of productive players and replacing them with worse players makes you better? If Aram was a hit collector, what does that make Mike Olt? An out collector ? Please tell more Mr Rickey

                    • Brocktoon

                      Facts? Would love to hear them Because you’ve just spouted nonsense talking points thus far.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Checked the stats regarding the “when”

                      Low Leverage: .279/.335/.497
                      Med Leverage: .281/.342/.486
                      High Leverage: .306/.367/.535

                    • Brocktoon

                      lol addition by subtraction.

                      Think of how much worse this team would be with Ramirez instead of Olt and Garza instead of Villanueva. I can’t wait to see how much we improve once we replace Samardzija with Chris Rusin for the last 2.5 months of the season.

                    • salesguy

                      @ Brocktoon at least Rusin wants to be here.

                    • Brocktoon

                      I want to pitch for the Cubs too.

              • Brocktoon

                You’re right. Why do I even bother?

            • FortyFour

              Aram pre-booked his flight home after game 6 of the Championship in 2003 so I would not agree that he was “nothing but productive” while a Cub. I also don’t recall him being very productive in the playoffs either in 2007 or 2008 (just checked and he was only 2 for 23 collectively in both post-seasons).

              • Jon

                Stats would indicate otherwise but continue with your bullshit narrative

              • Brocktoon

                So his numbers in ’03 don’t matter?

                • FortyFour

                  His full postseason batting average is .194 so if you want to conclude that he was “nothing but productive” I’d say that is the real bullshit narrative.

                • salesguy

                  Numbers from 03 matter, but when you pre-book your flight after game six, it’s part of a larger narrative.

                  • Brocktoon

                    What insane narrative is that? That he didn’t want to win game 7? Why’d he bother trying in the playoffs at all? He just waited until game 7 to stop because he wanted to get home?

                    Or is it possible that a guy who made 6M that year after being away from home for 8 months might have wanted to get home as soon as his season was over, and the 500 bucks it cost him to eat the ticket was worth it?

                    • Jon

                      Did Kerry Wood also pre book a flight home? He shit the bed in game 7 and was the real reason we lost that day

                  • Rebuilding

                    I’m pretty sure Aram has an Amex Black so he could have changed the flight for no fee. Do you really think a guy making a flight reservation in case it was needed tells the whole story about his career. Aramis was a beast while here, hit more walk off HRs than anyone I’ve ever seen, and was a player involved in maybe the best trade in Cubs history. He helped carry them offensively to within an Alex Gonzalez error of the WS. Geez

                    • Rebuilding

                      Not to mention, I doubt Aram was on Expedia booking the best fare. These guys are multi-millionaires. They have “people” that do that stuff for them

                  • Kyle

                    The pro-booking was and remains a completely normal thing for baseball players to do.

                    The local media seizing on it is another fantastic example of their glee to demonize Hispanic players.

                    • Jon

                      Of all the players that get blamed for games 6 and games 7..Alou, Gonzales even the manager, the guy who took the mound in game 7 and shit the bed against Mark fckn Redmond never gets an ounce of it

                    • Brocktoon

                      Kerry probably heard that Ramirez booked his flight home and it got into his head.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      If you want to blame one person, then blame Dusty: he left Prior in Game 2 for at least one and probably two more innings than necessary.

                      As for blaming Wood, he actually didn’t pitch that badly: few people seem to remember than Miggy actually hit a good slider that had broken well below his knees. Again, Dusty probably left Wood in too long in that game, too. Of course, the Cubs bullpen in 2003 was not great. Indeed, we forgot in our angst and rage, but what almost happened is that the Cubs *almost* got away with beating a superior team in the 2003 NLCS. It’s hard to call it a “choke” when the better team won.

                    • jp3

                      The gonzo error I feel like never gets remembered by marginal Cubs fans which is ridiculous. Why do people freak out he prebooked a flight? Damn it’s October in Chicago, of course he wanted to be ready when we were bounced to go somewhere warm and tropical

                    • renegade4196

                      Blame Dusty. Dusty should have, no doubt, put in Matt Clement to finish Game 7, the only guy the Marlins couldn’t hit for shit. But he was “saving him for the World Series”. And Prior was left in too long in both games, Gonzales’ error…and a really mediocre bullpen. Trusting a lead to Mark Guthrie is never good.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Doc,

                      The Marlins were 2 games better by Pythag, and 3 games better by their record. Caling a team definitively better based on that is asinine.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Add in that the Marlins had a 5th starter of actual worth and the Cubs were able to shuffle Shawn Estes to the pits of hell for the postseason and you’re pretty much even.

                    • Brocktoon

                      The worst thing Dusty did was in game 1. Top of the 10th, pinch hitter spot due up. He brings in Mark Guthrie despite the fact that Mike Lowell is sitting on the Marlins bench. Why did he do this? Because if he brought in Dave Veres, he knew the Marlins would counter with Lenny Harris

                      Just appalling.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Given that none of the Cubs were productive then (particularly in ’08, when the entire team stopped hitting at the end of August), it’s tough to point the finger solely at ARam.

                Here is the deal: you are all wrong. ARam was exactly the same hitter “when it mattered” as he was when it didn’t. I.e., a very solid hitter with very good power. He was neither the mythical “Mr. Clutch” nor the equally mythical “Mr. Choke.” He had some big post-season series and some bad post-season series. He had a couple of good contention-season Septembers and at least one bad one. All in all, it doesn’t seem like the situation predicted his performance at all.

                • Brocktoon

                  No, we’re not all wrong. Nobody said Ramirez was Mr. Clutch, we said salesguy is just continuing the dumbass Kaplan narrative.

    • salesguy

      @ brocktoon ya that’s exactly what I’m saying, seriously man, you read that whole thing and that was your takeaway? Seriously why do you even bother?

    • Spriggs

      That’s why Sweeney’s nickname is “Swingles”. He is not a slugger.

  • Diehardthefirst

    At least Sandberg looks pissed when Phillies fail- Mgr Rick needs to work on scowl to placate Cub finicky fans

  • Jon

    Additionally, Aram walking netted us the pick that got Blackburn. So I want more clarity on how he is the reason we are in the position we are today. That or he could admit he was talking out is his ass. Either way

    • Brocktoon

      Even better, we got Johnson for ARam. I believe Blackburn was from Pena.

    • ssckelley

      Perhaps if you bitch enough he will magically reappear wearing a Cubs uniform tonight instead of a Brewers one.

      • Jon

        If me correcting the ignorance regarding Ramirez is bitching then I’m happy to bitch

        • ssckelley

          What’s the point? Nothing is going to bring him back. I was not a big fan of ARam either towards the end of his Cubs career, but he was past his prime. But he did have some good years here and was part of some good Cubs teams. ARam is still a decent supporting player, he is no longer the guy that can carry a team which is what the Cubs needed him to do in his final years in Chicago.

          • Brocktoon

            Ramirez put up 3.3 fWAR his last season with the Cubs and put up 2.1 in half a season the last time the Cubs were remotely competitive. He put up 5.7 in his first season with the Brewers. You’re acting like he’s Ty Wigginton.

            • ssckelley

              Going back to salesguy point he put up a ton of numbers after the Cubs were pretty much out of it. I watched the 2010 and 2011 seasons and I remember how much he struggled the first 2 months of the season. Once the Cubs were all but out of it he came on and had an outstanding 2nd half of the season.

              Feel free to check those stats.

              • Brocktoon

                Ramirez was probably the worst player in baseball in April-May 2010, he wasn’t terrible in 2011, but was worse at the start of the year.

                What I never get about this is don’t the games in April count the same as games in August? The Cubs were 6 games out of first on June 1st, 2010. They were 8.5 games out on 6-1-11 Why were these insurmountable pits of despair?

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  ARam was playing while hurt in early 2010. He and DLee were getting reamed for their lack of “clutch” hitting then, as their BAwRiSP numbers were awful. However, what people failed to note is that their numbers otherwise were worse!

                  That is part of the reason why I’ve been pleasantly surprised that ARam played so well in 2012 and why he might have a good year this year: the injuries seemed to just keep happening, and playing 3B is not a good way to avoid them given all the diving, etc., involved.

                  • Brocktoon

                    The biggest surprise to me was his defensive turnaround. My only hesitation with bringing him back was the concern that he wouldn’t be able to competently field the 3B position much longer. Then he goes out in ’12 and puts up a positive UZR. He fell back down to a negative last year, but wasn’t really much worse than he was in ’11, and early returns for this year has him as in the very least competent.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Historically, 3Bmen like ARam haven’t aged well: usually that type gets moved to 1B a while ago. So, he’s beaten the odds by hanging in there, to which I write: good on him. However, he’s also beaten the odds: I would have let him go after 2011, too. You lose with the odds much less often than you beat them.

                      However, adding ARam to the 2012 Cubs wasn’t going to make that a winning team, or even an interesting one: and no doubt that vocal “it’s about attitude” contingent would have blamed the Cubs bad record on ARam watching doubles instead of hustling because, you know, that costs you 15-20 wins a year somehow….

                • ssckelley

                  Not really, those August games do not matter much if you are already out of the playoff race.

                  But I am glad you dug into ARam’s numbers for the 2011 season. Obviously you seen he had a good June and you are correct the Cubs were only 8.5 games out. Now dig a little deeper into his numbers you will see he went on a tear the last 2 weeks of the month and the Cubs were well below .500 and pretty much out of the playoff race by then.

                  He is not the total blame for that season, again the Cubs were asking a little much out of someone past his prime.

                  • Brocktoon

                    The April games don’t matter much if you finish 71-91 either.

              • Kyle

                It’s funny. Usually a player being great in the second half is considered a good thing.

                I don’t recall Sandberg getting this level of hate for the exact same stat pattern. I wonder what the difference is…

                • Jon

                  Surnames that end in vowels or the letter ‘z’

                • ssckelley

                  Were you playing the race card on me?

          • Jon

            I feel like Walter yelling at Donny in the bowling alley right now….

            • jp3

              The Venezuelan is not the issue here dude!! Please it’s Venezuelan-American

              • Brocktoon

                Aramis is Dominican…

                • jp3

                  Excuse me I was merely just trying to do the Asian American joke from lebowski… My apologies for not doing his bio research.

          • Brocktoon

            And what’s the point? It’s correcting ignorance.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Miggy Cabrera could not have carried the 2010 or 2011 Cubs to contention: those teams were multiple good players away from being contenders. ARam was part of the problem in 2009 and 2010: not by “choking” but because of injuries greatly reducing the amount of time he could play well.

            I like ARam (no, I don’t give a rats gluteus about guys breaking out of the box slowly on deep flyballs), and I’m pleased for his sake that he had a good 2012 and might have a good 2014. However, I’m also a little surprised: he did seem to be declining, and he has had increasing difficulties staying on the field. I was sad to see him go in the nostalgic sense rather than in a “well, that hurts our chances for 2012.” (I deemed the Cubs chances in 2012 to be non-existent long before the end of the 2011 season: I saw the Cubs as 5 years away from contention even with competent FO work.)

            • ssckelley

              True, but ARam getting off to a slow start really hurt those years. But in his defense the Cubs should have had other pieces in place and not expected a 32+ year old to be the guy to carry the team. He is doing well with the Brewers but he is not expected to carry the team.

              I would gladly take another ARam though, he was outstanding through the prime years of his career.

              • Brocktoon

                Wouldn’t Aram’s hot finish help just as much as the slow start? It’s a zerosum game. If Aramis playing poorer than his final numbers hurt the team in the beginning of the year, playing better than his final numbers would help later on.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                His slow starts hurt: but they didn’t *really* hurt. That is, an ARam playing on top of his game would have gotten the Cubs (maybe) 2-3 more wins early on. The 2010 Cubs were a team built to win 2-3 years before: they needed upgrades at 1B, 2B, CF and RF (Soto and Sori were still acceptable), two more good starters, and several good relievers.

      • Brocktoon

        Who are you talking to here?

  • Rebuilding

    Or we could have just re-signed him for the ridiculously low 3/36 he got and booked his 7.2 oWAR he’s put up over the last 2 years at a position of need

  • Diehardthefirst

    Ideally waiting until a hitter is 25 with 1000 minor league AB or 1000 innings pitched is time to give a shot- maybe that is Theos matrix ?

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