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facepalm catThe Chicago Cubs are 9-17. In the month of April (and that game in March), they did not win a single series. It was not an auspicious start for a team that didn’t figure to have one.

They ended on a high note, flashing offensive hope and a great bullpen in a big win over the Reds. But, to keep things in perspective: last night’s win brought the Cubs to within 10 games of the division-leading Brewers. Of course, that says as much about the Brewers’ hot start as it does about the Cubs’ struggles. Even the Cardinals are just three games better than the Cubs in the loss column, and they’re 5.5 games behind the Brewers. The Central would be all bunched up if not for the Brewers.

Consider: the Cubs are now just a game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, whom they could have beat about four times earlier this year in close games. That is/was a pretty clear playoff roster right there, and the Cubs are right there with them.

The Cubs’ expected record, based on runs scored and runs allowed is actually 12-14, suggesting they’ve been (you guessed it) pretty unlucky in sequencing and close games. Guess how many other teams in baseball are three games worse than their expected record? Just one. The Los Angeles Angels are about 3.4 wins short of where they “should” be, based on runs scored and allowed. But they’re not crying too much – they still have a winning record.

If the records in the NL Central were what we expected them to be, based on runs scored and allowed, the Brewers would still be on top, at 16-12, a half game better than the Cardinals. The Cubs and Pirates would be tied for last, but at 12-14, they’d be just three games out of first. If the Cubs are 12-14 today, three games behind the Brewers (only two back in the loss column), how differently are we discussing the season? My s, u, r, p, i, and e keys would probably get worn out from typing “surprise” so many times.

… but the record is what matters when the accounting is done at the end of the year. You can shoulda-woulda-coulda all day long, and finagle a positive sheen for literally every bad team in the league (or a dusty one for every good team). It’s always useful to have context, so long as you keep a proper head on your shoulders. The Cubs are 9-17. That’s a fact.

And it’s a fact that stings when it comes to playoff projections. The Cubs were never particularly high, but their playoff odds have fallen all the way to 1.6%, according to BP. It’s even worse at FanGraphs: just 0.9%.

The Cubs have scored the 6th fewest runs in baseball, and have allowed the 15th most. No, it’s probably not “fair” that they’ve got one of the three worst records in baseball at this point, but those aren’t the marks of a “good” team, either.

Expectations play such a huge role in how we interpret this kind of information. Were the Cubs expected to be a playoff-caliber team this year, and these were numbers, you’d be doubly frustrated: first, that the Cubs were underperforming, and second, that the Cubs were really unlucky.

But, since the Cubs were expected to be bad, no one really wants to hear about the unlucky part … but they’re really quick to tell you how poorly the team is performing. It can be both, though, and we saw it last year for the Cubs (bad and unlucky), and we’re seeing it again this year. It, well, sucks.

Hopefully some better bounces come the Cubs’ way in May, though I remain less interested in that than I am in the fantastic performances turned in so far by Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo, Emilio Bonifacio, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, and the young arms in the bullpen. If we see more of that – and maybe a breakout for Mike Olt, and a great stretch by Jake Arrieta and Edwin Jackson – I don’t much think I’ll care about the Cubs’ record and luck in May.

  • WernerT

    Yes you can’t ignore the offense when doling out the blame. But having the bullpen throw the team into reverse yet again is the hardest pill to swallow.

    • willis

      This is 3 years in a row that the team has put itself in position to win many early games only to have the pen blow it, starting the season in the crapper. Hopefully those issues are being worked out and the shitty arms are gone soon.

      • Karl Groucho

        Signing Veras undercuts this theory (though fangraphs had us as the 22nd-best bullpen even after we got him), but a bad bullpen is a decent way to make sure you lose games (e.g. don’t get stuck in mediocre, maybe not protected draft pick limbo) while watching the important parts of your team develop.

        There’s a lot of bashing of the idea that you can go from worst-to-first simply with prospects, and there’s a lot of truth in that. But if you lost a lot of close games by design, patching a bullpen might turn an “unlucky”/terrible team into a normal luck/middling team; then the prospects just need to lift from middling to wild card contention.

        • Karl Groucho

          (Though Brett’s article on the quality of our bullpen the other day might make this whole notion moot. Though I don’t think it’s a bad approach in the abstract, all things considered…)

        • JasonP

          I’m curious if there is any evidence that quality bullpen = lucky team?

          • Karl Groucho

            This is old but, it noted ~3 games difference between the best and worst bullpens w/r/t their expected W/L: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=347

            Not huge, but it’s something.

            • Karl Groucho

              An effect that slight does make the bad bullpen idea less compelling. But three games was the difference between the Phillies picking at 1.7 and picking at 1.14.

              • Karl Groucho

                1.15* even; forgot the Jays had a second first-rounder this year.

                • Karl Groucho

                  Wait no I was right the first time. Basic math, what a challenge.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Ah, I remember this piece: a lot of people hated it 15 years ago! This might have been one of the first works to quantify the facts that: a) when good teams win, they tend to make it close; and, b) when bad teams win, they tend to make it close!

              The other chief point was the the association between bullpen performance and “cheating” on Pythagorean wins was less than the expected SD on wins given the binomial theorem.

              The one interesting debate that it re-ignited was, how much of this was bad bullpen use? That is, how many of the “bad bullpen loses” happen because a manager left a middle reliever in to face a Bonds or Griffey or Sosa in the 7th inning in order to save his two best relievers for the 8th and 9th?

              • Karl Groucho

                Heh, was a quick Google search. Any better analysis on this?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Think we’ll see any trades in May?

    • http://BN Sacko

      If teams take the same approach as they did prior to the Winter Mgtings seeing a lot of action, teams in general I would guess yes. For the Cubs..I’d like the obvious to get traded.
      In addition to the early noise on our pitching..are some possibles.. I really hope we hang on to Shark and Wood.

    • blars82

      I still could really see Barney getting traded this month. I guess I don’t know who the backup SS would be with Barney gone, but I’m sure Baez could handle that role.

      • Cubs_Questions

        I could see Bonifacio back up at short. He has a decent history there. I would also be curious to see if Alcantara would get a call up in that scenario given his success thus far at Iowa.

        • Joshua Edwards

          If Alcantara puts in more of the same Barney had to go sooner than later. And I think we see more of Bonifacio pushing other guys out of PT.

          Can the Cubs afford to trade Bonifacio? He is lights out and no one can pay the current price. What’s a reasonable return of we see this another month? What are the odds Cubs can keep him around? He seems to fit somewhere everyday. ..

  • itzscott

    Still trying to rationalize how an admittedly bad team can also be unlucky.

    A team on paper that appears to be mediocre, or good might be said to be unlucky if their record is worse than their capabilities.

    But a bad team on paper that’s just bad and plays down to their capabilities is just plain old bad.

    Expecting more would be like flipping a coin and expecting it to land on its rim.

    …. and that’s either unrealistic, being out of touch with reality or grounds to be psychologically evaluated.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      It’s actually pretty simple, and if you read the article, it’s laid out nicely. Based on runs scored and runs allowed they should be 12-14. They are instead 9-17. What’s not to understand??

      Yes the Cubs are bad, but there are different levels of bad. A 30 win team, a 50 win team, and a 70 win team are all bad. Maybe that 30 win team should have won 40 games but due to some unlucky breaks and circumstance, they won 30. Does this not make them unlucky?

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

        Duh…luck has no place in this game. Only Grit, sCRAP+ and TWTW!

      • itzscott

        Admit it…. They were bad on paper, they were bad going into the season, they played like a bad team and all the luck in the world wasn’t about to change that.

        To me that indicates what was expected and to lament over anything else is being out of touch with reality.

        Do you love them any less? No.

        Does the future look any less rosy? No.

        Would 12-14 be akin to a false positive? Yes.

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

          “Admit it…. They were bad on paper, they were bad going into the season, they played like a bad team and all the luck in the world wasn’t about to change that.”

          Well, no one is saying they are/were/are going to be a good team.

          However, just as the random distribution of runs has left us 3 games under what you would expect, they could be 3 games over just due to random distribution.

          • itzscott

            >> just as the random distribution of runs has left us 3 games under what you would expect, they could be 3 games over just due to random distribution. <<

            I understand that it's somewhat human nature to want to live in a world where everything is predictable. We'd like to predict everything…. the stock market, the job market, the economy, the weather, actuaries try to predict longevity, you name it.

            But just because someone laid out some elegant model for why a team should be expected to win a certain number of games by a certain time….. and it doesn't end up that way…. and then rationalizes it as a function of luck is delusional. Maybe the model itself was wrong and needs to be tweeked.

            When a weatherman predicts sun and 80 degrees and it turns out to be rain and 45 degrees…. is it bad luck or the model he based his prediction on?

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

              I don’t know, is his weather prediction model based on thousands of data points? Or is he living in Barrow Point?

              Then again, I am not sure what you are arguing about. No one has said this is a good team. The question was asked, how much differently would you feel about the team had they gone 12-14 instead of 9-17?

              The reason why the expected w/l is used so that when you evaluate the question, you realize that it isn’t an absurd supposition.

            • Edwin

              It’s probably both.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              I don’t think you understand what a mathematical prediction is all about. You seem to hate it because it says something different than reality but that is not the job of prediction… it doesn’t forecast reality it predict what outcome would happen if you rolled the season over and over it would approach the predition. There would be lows and highs but the outcomes would be near the prediction a majority of the time.

              Getting mad because a prediction did result in reality is misunderstand the concept of statistical probability.

        • Edwin

          Imagine you’re taking a multiple choice test, one which you did no studying for. You decide your basic strategy is to just blindly guess on each question. By just guessing on every question, you’d assume your score would be around 25%, since on every question you have a 1/4 chance at guessing the right answer. That’s a bad score. Now, lets say you score 10%. That’s a worse score, but it’s probably worse than what you’d expect to be, going into the test. So you were unlucky.

          • Darth Ivy

            Thats a perfect explanation. Ill give a 90%. The other 10% would’ve been earned with a meme. A link to a simpsons clip would’ve been extra credit

          • Funn Dave

            Nice analogy.

      • YourResidentJag

        Except that it doesn’t matter right now. Now when the farm comes up and they’re an 86 win team when everyone thinks they should be a 94 win team…say 2019. We’ll talk.

    • Funn Dave

      “It’s actually pretty simple, and if you read the article, it’s laid out nicely.”

      Yup.

      • itzscott

        If you believe it, obviously it must be true. To you.

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

          To put it another way…

          The Brewers are on pace to win 115 games this year.

          Were they THAT good on paper before the season that they should be considered one of the best baseball teams of all time? Did ALL of the analysts miss that horribly on figuring out their team?

          Or was there something else at work?

    • DarthHater

      Yes, because bad is a completely unitary concept. It has a single, uniform, unequivocal meaning and is not subject to any degrees of variation – at least, that’s the case if one is unrealistic, out of touch with reality, and in need of psychological evaluation.

      • willis

        The Dark Side is bad…BAD!

        • DarthHater

          Careful, or I’ll incinerate your entire moon and its race of gerbils! :-P

          • TWC

            Pfft. That moon was destroyed when the wreckage of your blown-up space station crashed into it. You’d remember this if you hadn’t been destroyed in the explosion.

            Jeez.

            • DarthHater

              That was my cousin Vader, idiot.

              And at the end of the movie everyone was clearly on the surface of the moon celebrating, so I don’t think it was destroyed.

              • TWC

                Hey, man, it’s just physics: http://www.theforce.net/swtc/holocaust.html

              • willis

                That was one hell of a party. I was this close to getting it with Leia and then that stupid Han Solo character came and c-blocked me.

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

                  I’m guessing the thought of having relations with you is what drove her to a decade long bender on drugs.

                • itzscott

                  Wow… give a nerd an opening and it invariably becomes a Star Wars parable taking on its own life.

                  • DarthHater

                    Wow. Give an asshole an opening and he invariably seizes the opportunity to make an asshole remark. Give a dumb asshole an opening and he tries to use the word “parable,” even though he obviously has no idea what it means.

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

                      Give a SithLord the chance to destroy an entire world and you get some dude in his mom’s basement posting memes in his underwear.

                    • itzscott

                      So I take it you’ll be taking your cousin to the prom or sitting home watching Star Wars.

                    • willis

                      itzscott-stop making fun of us Mississippi people. We take our cousins to the prom AND afterwards watch star wars. :)

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

                      It doesn’t matter. Star wars is dumb.

                      STAR TREK FOR LIFE

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/500x/49276468.jpg[/img]

    • ssckelley

      The Cubs are a mediocre team with bad results so far. If you think the Cubs are bad check out the Astros, they are horrible and have the same amount of wins as the Cubs. The Cubs still have a pretty good first baseman in Rizzo and are above average at shortstop in Castro, add in a decent starting rotation and intriguing arms in the bullpen and you are considerably better than a bad team like the Astros.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I do find it odd that there seems to be a belief that a team that loses a lot of close games is somehow worse than a team that is constantly getting clobbered. It basically seems to be predicated on the idea that when a team loses a close game, then it was some gestalt aspect of the team that caused them to lose, whereas the Astros and DBacks of the world are just untalented or something.

        It works the same way in reverse: a team with lots of wins despite a low run-differential is somehow considered to be a more “fundamentally sound” team than one with a high run-differential but not many more wins. For example, the Rangers must somehow be a better “team” than the A’s by this assumption. And yet it’s the latter teams who tend to keep winning at the same frequencies, not the former teams….

        • Darth Ivy

          2012 orioles come to mind. Their run differential wasn’t nearly as good as their record indicated. And I don’t remember exactly, but 2013 was not as good for them. I remember brian kenny strongly suggesting at the end of 2012 that they wouldn’t be as good in 2013 based on run differential, but all the old school guys had the other view

      • itzscott

        Let’s compare the concept of “cold” to bad….

        If the temperature is -1 below zero and it goes down to -2 below zero is it twice as cold as before?

        NO!

        It’s freaking cold no matter which it it!

        Same concept holds for “bad”…. The Cubs and Astros are BOTH bad teams. There’s no such thing as being “badder”.

        If you disagree, define the different degrees of badness.

        ie: Level 1 Bad, Level 2 Bad, Level 3 Bad……

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

          Depending on what temperature scale you are using…it might be twice as “cold” but temperature doesn’t really measure hot or cold.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Cold is not an absolute and neither is bad.

          Would you say that 0 is cold? Yes
          Would you say that negative 50 is colder? Yes

          If you wanted to say the Cubs were the worst, then yes that is an absolute.

          Different degrees of bad in baseball:

          90 losses-kind of bad
          120 losses downright awful
          162 losses-worst team ever

        • Funn Dave

          You’re making less sense with every post.

        • ssckelley

          So every team below .500 are equal or do you have a different measurement for bad? Take the Cubs out of the equation, you feel the Diamondbacks and the Astros are both the same, simply bad?

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

            Even the White Sox led by ABC GM Rick “The Dreamweaver” Hahn.

  • JakeMac

    Off-topic here, but John Sickels just released an updated Top 150 Prospect List. Some interesting notes in the comments section from him so far:

    1. Corey Black doesn’t have the control to be ranked in Top 150
    2. Hendricks is more of a “sleeper” than a Top 150 type (think Mike Fiers)
    3. Paul Blackburn wasn’t considered for the list, but he seems to like the potential
    4. Vogelbach, although not on the list, originally considered around the 130 mark.

    Nothing seemed overly surprising, as Cubs Top 6 all still on the list in relatively same spots/orders as expected.

  • Medicos

    No such thing as being lucky. MLB games are won or lost based on what occurs on the field of play. You can’t say the Cubs have been unlucky for 108 years. They have not had the talent on the field to get into the World Series year after year after year.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      And yet there have been numerous years where the WS featured teams with less talent than the Cubs.

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

      Your right, the cubs haven’t been unlucky for 108 years.

      However, I am guessing you mean SUCKZ! for 108 years, in which case, no, they haven’t sucked for 108 years. It was really only the period from 1940-1982 and then brief bits since then.

  • Seabee

    Wada pitched game 1 of the Iowa double header today and finished with 5 innings of 2 hit ball with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk. So far through 5 games he is 4-1 with a 0.57 ERA, 31.1 inn, 16 hits, only 2 ER off of two solo homeruns, with 37 Strikeouts to 4 walks. Chicago has to make room on their 40 man for this guy and get him up there. He is not even being challenged at AAA. Who can we trade now!!!!!!

  • Medicos

    Good point DOC:

    1969 Cubs; 1. Kessinger—–SS
    2. Beckert—–2B
    3. Wiliiams—–LF
    4. Banks—–1B
    5. Santo—-3B
    6. Hickman—-RF
    7. Hundley—-C
    8. Young—–CF

    SP—–Jenkins—Holtzman—Hands—–Selma
    RP—–Abernathy—Regan—–Nye—–Aguirre

    This was roster filled with HOFers. Through the end of August the record was 83-52. In Sept. record was 8-17. Durocher rarely used any of the players on the bench and the Mets with much less talent led by Seaver and Koosman just blew past the Cubs into the WS.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      And 1984: the 1984 Padres were nowhere near as talented as the 1984 Cubs. In fact, the 1984 Padres were nowhere near as talented as the 1984 Mets. And NONE of those teams were as talented as the 1984 Phillies.

      Talent alone does not determine who makes post-season. Now, lack of talent greately increases the probability of not making the WS, but it doesn’t eliminate it, either.

      • itzscott

        Well, I guess it was just that the Cubs were unlucky to have to play all those day games in ’69 as opposed to the GM (John Holland?) not providing a deep bench so these future HOFers could be rested from time to time.

        And I guess Leon Durham was unlucky that the ball went through his legs instead of being prepared for the ball to be hit to him and focused on that not being an option or maybe it was just unlucky that the ball wasn’t hit to Dunston instead.

        And I suppose it was simply bad luck that Gonzalez made a key error after Alou threw his fit at Bartman and not that he also lost focus or maybe it was just unlucky that Baker didn’t come out to calm his team down or it was just bad managing.

        I guess it’s all how you look at it and deal with it afterwards.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Again your missing the point of statistical predictions. Just because probability & predictions says to shift against a batter, or throw low and outside breaking pitches doesn’t mean that the batter will hit away from the shit or drive a pitch into the upper decks. It just means the better gamble is X does mean it works everytime but it is the most likely outcome.

          • lyanreese

            Well, if I was hitting I would certainly try to hit away from the shit.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Well it’s always good to hit away from the “shit” there are only so many balls

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Nobody wants there balls covered in shit.

                • Fishin Phil

                  Not that there’s anything wrong with that…….

                • Funn Dave

                  Michael Pineda only pitches balls that are covered in shit.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              You could try: but for most batters, that would mean frequent bad contact or even no contact at all.

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                But could they avoid the piles of “shit?”

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The ball hit to Durham skipped very low. Remember, the field was in awful shape due to a football game played there the prior week: there were a lot of bad hops in that series. The very next batted ball jumped 5′ up and almost decapitated Sandberg!

          The Padres probably would have come in 4th had they been in the NL East: they actually are among the worst teams to reach the WS.

      • Darth Ivy

        A little random, but this is my take on how to succeed in the post season:

        1 really hot hitter, a couple or few clutch hitters, 4 starting pitchers who can go deep into games and keep you in the game vs strong lineups (2nd tier starters), and a lock down back of the bullpen.

        • Funn Dave

          This post is silly.

          • Darth Ivy

            Thanks. Nice discussion.

            • Funn Dave

              I just meant that the whole concept seems misleading….You want everyone on your team to be talented. You can’t control who’s hot going into the postseason. Clutch hitting is essentially a myth. A team without four starting pitchers that can go deep won’t even make it to the postseason. As for the bullpen, the back of the bullpen won’t be much help if the front of the bullpen gives up a bunch of runs.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          What you want, at least in the first round, is a team that was playing well in September. When you have teams that had bad Septembers (e.g., the ’08 Cubs, ChiSox and Brewers), then you rarely have 2nd rounds. By the LCS, you often are down to 4 hot teams.

          The only other pattern I have found is that teams that have unusually good records in 1-run games relative to their overall records usually get bounced in Round 1.

          • TWC

            “[T]eams that have unusually good records in 1-run games relative to their overall records usually get bounced in Round 1.”

            That’s bizarre. Why is that, do you suppose?

            To clarify: you’re not saying that these teams necessarily *have* more 1-run wins, just that they tend to win them at a higher rate (relative to their records) than other teams do?

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              I think he means they win an inflated amount of 1-run games and that catches up to you in the playoffs

              • 1060Ivy

                Can recall reading that one of the better predictors of playoff teams was a team’s record in 1 run games

                So if your team wins 1 run games it’s more likely to be in the playoffs but it’s more likely to lose?

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  Idk that a question for Doc but I think that’s what he’s saying.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  If you’ve got a link for that, I’d be interested in seeing it. That strikes me as counter-intuitive.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    I do think teams that win 1-run games are likely to be competitive but if that team lacks in 2+-run wins and a large amount are 1-run wind then eventually that won’t be sustainable especially when facing teams that are hot or more sustainable win margins.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Yeah, basically those few teams (the ’04 Dodgers, ’08 Angels, ’12 Orioles come to mind: I have a slightly longer list somewhere), who have winning percentages in 1-run games that you’d expect about one team in 20 to have given their record in 2+ run games. They get bounced in the first round most of the time. (The sample size is pretty damn tiny, though: not many teams get to post-season without doing well in 2+ run games.)

          • Brocktoon

            Too bad this didn’t hold for the ’06 Cardinals. “Hot teams” in September usually do well in the playoffs because most teams in the playoffs are “hot” year round.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, it did. Yes, the Cards beat the “hot” Padres. However, the Mets were ice-cold: they had nearly a -17 run differential in September, compared to the Cards +5. (Teams with negative September run-differentials are something like 3-19 in post-season series since 2000!)

              The Cards then got to play the equally “meh” Tigers, who themselves got there because they got to play one of the other two teams with a negative September run-differential to eke into the LCS: the A’s. (The A’s got to play the Twins: and if you take the Twins out, then September Run differential goes from predicting 75% of LDS to predicting over 80% of LDS! The Twins are by far the outlier there, and in the bad sort of way.)

              Remember, “hot” and “cold” are relative; yes, the Pads should have beaten the Cards (and probably would have three series in four), but the Cards were playing much better ball than the Mets and equally good ball as the Tigers.

              • Brocktoon

                Yet those ice cold Mets managed to sweep a Dodgers team with a +13 in September.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Yeah, the Mets did something that you expect to see about once in every seven tries. Or does the fact that it happen at all falsify the statement that they had about a one in seven chance of winning somehow?

                  If you remember the series, the Mets won one game as a direct result of a crazy baserunning mixup and another on a blown call. That stuff happens in baseball: but that’s also why teams doing as poorly as the Mets were doing don’t win often. They need crazy stuff to win.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    You can’t just pin the bad start on the bullpen. Aside from a few games that hasn’t been as problematic as last year. And over all the starting pitching has been good. Last year the over achieving third base platoon and the first half success of Schierholtz combined with Soriano kind of cancelled out the off year for Rizzo and Castro. The bullpen was pathetic. This year there are a lot of positives and give RR credit for having the balls to pull the plug on Veres and to not trott him out there game after game like Sveum did with Marmol. So as I see it now the third base and the outfield are the achilles heel of this ball club. There is not one starting caliber outfielder on this team. Personally if Olt doesn’t turn it around in the next month I think we should flip flop him and Villanueva. If one of them don’t grab the bull by the horns then it is a no brainer to try Baez there. And then we can bring up Alcantara to play second which is a serious upgrade at that position.

  • Medicos

    This is going to be a boring evening: the Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs, the Hawks don’t continue the search for the Stanley Cup until tomorrow night, both the White sox and Cubs are idle tonite, and my gorgeous GF just left for her pilates class. Maybe I’ll drive over to SuperDawg for dinner and then stop at ABT in Glenview to buy a new Boom Box for Sammy and then send it it to him in appreciation for all the great memories he gave Cub fans. Do any BNers have Sosa’s address????

    • Diehardthefirst

      No but we have his number and its up for lying and cheating his way into our hearts

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Oh die hard I love how you want the myth of “game purity” to exist

        • Medicos

          MG: I’ve come to believe that everybody believes in certain myths. I know myth making is truly how individuals humanize and describe the realities that happen in their lives. Therefore how would you as an extremely educated Cubs fan describe the reality of what in the hell is occurring on the corner of Clark&Addsion???

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Easy we suck. That has nothing to do statistical predictions they don’t describe what is happening only giving the most likely outcome if you do something over and over again everything would center around the prediction. It’s not an excuse for losing games or a promise of winning games. It’s the most likely outcome based on mathematical formulas that come from real data. Not sure what you are fishing for here. There no myth to build right now, but in years to come this season will become mythical.

            • Medicos

              So is it therefore is it realistic to say that prior to the Hoystein regime arriving at the Friendly Confines, the previous FOs were continually operating basically the same way and therefore if one continues to do the same thing again and again and there’s no progress, there never will any success until operating changes occur.

              I checked out teamfums.org and made a donation.

              • Kyle

                That’s not even remotely realistic to say.

                The Cubs have been run by many different front offices with many different styles and plans.

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                Thx buddy, but no you can’t compare the previous FO to this one. Before we had one of the smallest FO and there was never really a complete organization plan. Now we have huge FO of great minds that have a specific plan. Now we can argue if the plan is good or not but it is not the same as before. I don’t think we are doing the same thing this is a whole new process.

                And thank you for supporting teamfums.org it means a lot

                • Patrick W.

                  Too many cooks spoil the pot?

                  :::sorry DieHard:::

  • Blackhawks1963

    Hard to win games when there is not a single viable starting outfielder on the roster. That and a dubious bullpen.

    • ssckelley

      I disagree about the bullpen, outside of Veras and Russell I think it has been pretty good. But the Cubs do need to acquire an outfielder and I still think the Dodgers are a good team to target for a potential trade. Kemp would be my first target if they were willing to eat some of his contract. But another is Scott Van Slyke, they really have no place to put him and he has done nothing but hit the past couple of seasons. I can’t help but wonder if they would entertain an Olt for Van Slyke deal, both teams would be dealing from surplus and could help both teams long term.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Also, how much longer until the Mike Olt experiment needs to end and we call up Christian Villenueva? Coincidental to Kris Bryant being promoted to Triple A?

    • ssckelley

      CV is struggling to hit AAA pitching, no need to rush him. Might as well stick with Olt until either CV or Bryant are ready.

      • baldtaxguy

        Rush up a .188 PCL hitter? Explain.

        • Brocktoon

          It’s working so well for Olt…

          • baldtaxguy

            So you further suggest to cut Olt and bring up another like hitting 3B to further the experiment that is being criticized? Make a point.

            • Brocktoon

              It was sarcasm. I was agreeing with you, settle down.

      • baldtaxguy

        Meant as a reply to Blackhawk down

  • Voice of Reason

    This is just more proof that games aren’t won and lost on paper.

    The cubs are a horrible team. Maybe you can show numbers that they are above .500 when a guy named Bob sits in the fifth row behind the dugout and wears a light blue shirt?

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

      I don’t know what I’m more shocked about…that games aren’t won/lost on paper or that Bob has a .500 winning percentage.

      • Head and Heart

        Do we know Bob? Does anyone know what he does for a living? Maybe we could pool our money and get him some more light blue shirts? Help cover his costs cause 5th row isn’t cheap? We need to get on this Bob situation.

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

          If he were a better fan, he’d have a .750 winning percentage and then we could bump him up to the 2nd or 3rd row. Depends on what fan we have sitting in rows 1 and 2.

          • Head and Heart

            That data does seem to suggest that you want your best fan in that second row. So they see the most at bats up close.

          • Head and Heart

            Although maybe Bob is providing protection for the 4th row fan?

            • Fishin Phil

              Row protection is a myth.

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

                Well, it works backwards.

                Big fans in front help keep batted balls from reaching the fans in back. The old school adage had it backwards.

                • Head and Heart

                  There must be some fans in the second deck that are performing well enough to deserve a promotion though? Let’s demote the old guy in row 8 and get some of these exciting prospects into the lineup.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    Don’t mess with the sitting order just yet. With Bob we’re a .500 team. We need more of a sample size. Not to mentioned bobs coming off the d.l. with those hemerroids. Wait till he is quicker to stand up to let people through to go to the bathroom. You’ll see better production.

                    • Jed Jam Band

                      Yes, but what is really the difference between the OPTIMAL sitting order and one picked out of a hat? Maybe two, three rally chants over the course of a season?

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

                      So you’re telling me that Rally Chants have any impact on anything?

                      This is just a new-agey thing that all you stat-heads are coming up with.

                      Have you ever sat in the stands? I have, I know more than you.

  • Orval Overall

    This is at least the second or third year of this rebuild in which the actual record is less than the “expected record.” Are they just the unluckiest little team on the face of the planet, or does expected record not fully capture how bad this team is?

    Methinks the latter, even if I can’t prove it.

    • Jed Jam Band

      I think it’s safe to say it is a bit of both. Also, our bullpen has been consistently bad since last season, which tends to be one of the major ways teams underachieve their third-order winning percentage.

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