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Another great win for the Cubs, and I just don’t know what to do with myself. The win marks the Cubs’ third in a row (hooray!) and ensures their first series win of the year (HOORAY!).

Jake Arrieta returned, and was every bit as good as you could reasonably have hoped. His command improved as the game went on, his two-seamer had nice movement, and both his curveball and slider were working for him. His outing was artificially shortened because it was his debut after a shoulder issue, but, in terms of stuff, he looked like he could have gone seven or eight.

Junior Lake provided most of the offense today (plus a homer from Anthony Rizzo off of a lefty, because naturally), which was very welcomed. Hector Rondon was once again called upon to close, further indicating that he’s the closer. He gave up a solid single to Yadier Molina and then a broken bat bloop single (on a good pitch) to Jhonny Peralta to get folks nervous at the outset of the inning. Rondon then started a double-play on the very next pitch, and then struck out Mark Ellis on a naaaaaasty cutter.

The end of the bullpen lined up Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon. I like it.

Aside: I try to very rarely mention specifically missed ball/strike calls, because they happen all the time, and they happen to both teams. It’s just not something that’s worth griping about.

But this is a rare one: with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, tied 0-0, Anthony Rizzo was at the plate on a 2-0 count. Michael Wacha’s pitch was pretty solidly low and out of the strike zone, but was called for a strike. It was a badly missed call, and completely changed the complexion of the bat – 3-0 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Want. 2-1 with the bases loaded to Rizzo? Still want, but much less. Rizzo ended up grounding out to first. Fortunately, it ended up not making a difference in the game, but it could have been huge.

may 3 box

Full box score.

  • Adventurecizin Justin

    Do you want to know what I like most about challenging calls? Seeing Angel Hernandez’s calls often reversed!!!

  • cubbiekoolaid2015

    Haha, winning today made me think of this quote from major league.

    “Alright you guys, let’s listen up. We won a game yesterday. We win one today that’s two in a row. We win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.” – Lou Brown, Major League

  • Espy

    Really liking what’s happening. You can just see the positive vibe this year, and the manager change from gloom and doom Sveum has a lot to do with it. Great times are a comin’!!!

  • Diehardthefirst

    Mgr Rick has that quixotic Don Zimmer like infectious quality that’s spreading throughout clubhouse

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      [img]http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140419174547/warframe/images/7/75/Jaw_drop.gif[/img]

  • cubs2015

    It was clear that Ramirez didn’t have his best stuff today (still solid of course). It was nice to see him still get 2 strikeouts and get out of the inning. Showed he can still be effective when he’s not throwing 96/97

  • The Real Wrigley

    Olt is batting .156. I know, I know…batting average is about as meaningless as a pitcher’s W-L around this board. Oh yeah, he walked, too. So, everything’s fine, right? I mean, who needs production from a corner infielder, when he his OBP improves on a game by game basis. Yes, thank God for walks.

    • Don Eaddy

      I dont think anyone says batting average is meaningless. Drawing walks is nice, but everyone thinks that batters need to hit.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Yeah for me it’s just that OBP & SLG say so much more than BA could ever… I just don’t understand the need for it except that it’s been programmed into us.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        And the really annoy part is that box scores use BA so you have to
        dig for the others

      • DarthHater

        The whole argument is asinine. Nobody says that walks are more important than hits. The problem is that AVG gives no weight at all to walks. That’s a serious flaw, because walks do have some value. There are stats like wOBA that give a proper relative weight to walks and hits. Just use those stats and move on.

    • Drew7

      Right. Olt is doing great. That’s exactly what everyone here thinks.

    • JCubs79

      Oh yay! More people ignoring math!

    • DarthHater

      “I mean, who needs production from a corner infielder, when he his OBP improves on a game by game basis. Yes, thank God for comments I pulled out of my ass.”

      FTFY

  • Don Eaddy

    I dont wanna sound like a jerk, but I cant help it here. I hate, hate, hate when people complain about umps. Singling out one particular pitch and saying it changed the game is lame. Saying that MLB umpires miss strike/ball calls all the time is lame. Those guys work their asses off. They make many more calls in a single game than most other sports officials. It is a tough gig. I realize you are allowed to criticize them, but I’m allowed to criticize you for criticizing them. lol

    Sorry about that. I’m a IHSA umpire and I respect the hell out of those guys. What they do is tough. I didnt see the pitch, but I’m sure it couldn’t have been too bad. The difference between a 3-0 and 2-1 isn’t complaint worthy to me.

    • CubFan Paul

      “I didnt see the pitch,”

      Then don’t comment and criticize hours later…

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        I think you missed the great issue his comment is addressing.

        • CubFan Paul

          You think wrong goatmeister

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            How? His greater point is that umps/refs have a no win job. They are always being yelled at but very few can do what they do. It’s not easy to call balls twisting nearly 100 mph over a plate where you don’t really have the best view of where it crossed plate, and you have less than a second to see if was a strike. That’s why pitch framing is important. I’m not saying we can’t and don’t yell at umps but it’s not a job we can do. Yes the pitch in question was badly called, but having respect for what they do isn’t a bad thing either.

            • Patrick W.

              After our semifinal softball game tonight I gave the ump TWO beers from my cooler so it’s not always a no win situation.

              • DarthHater

                So, your point is that umps can win by accepting bribes? :-P

        • itzscott

          What?? ….That umpires don’t actually see pitches and it’s all about a catcher’s slight of hand?

          • Don Eaddy

            Pitch framing plays a huge role in whether a pitch is called a strike or not. If a catcher cant catch the ball correctly, its gonna get called a ball. I know it doesnt work that way in little league, but ask any MLB manager and they will say the same thing; they want strikes called that way. Its just the way it works. If a catcher is reaching out of the zone for a pitch and doesnt catch it in the strike zone, then he failed. Thats the way the game is played. Umps call it that way because managers want it called that way.

      • Don Eaddy

        All I’m saying is that it is a very tough job and they get almost every call correct and they have only just this year been given access to replay to help them. Are there some umps that are better than others? Absolutely. But the majority of them are great umpires. And as far as the strike zone goes, they are tested and evaluated after every single game and must pass with a certain percentage of correct calls or they are downgraded. It might look low on TV or on a pitch tracker, but if they called it a strike on the field it was most likely a strike.

        • itzscott

          Managers make the rules? Since when??

          I thought there was a rule book that defines what a strike is.

          • Don Eaddy

            See, you clearly dont know how the game works. If umpires called those pitches strikes managers would throw a fit. So umps have to call the game that way. Plus, it makes the game look a whole lot cleaner when catchers can actually catch the ball

  • baldtaxguy

    Bryant 3-3 with HR

    :)

    • Seabee

      That’s 100 at bats at AA with a .300 BA and 6 HR. No more small sample talk. Can’t wait for a promotion.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        He could beat Baez to the bigs

        • itzscott

          Kinda gotta feeling that Alcantara’s gonna beat them both.

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

          Eh, I think Bryant and Baez get the call at the same time. Spread the attention and pressure out a bit.

      • Seabee

        Oh and for those of us that dislike BA, he has a .981 OPS.

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

          Thank you. The .981 OPS tells us a lot more than the .300 BA.

      • Jason P

        Today was literally the first game in 2 weeks Bryant hasn’t struck out. I think the K’s are the only thing right now keeping him from AAA.

        • Seabee

          Yeah, but his OBP above .420 and OPS above .980 kind of make up for that.

          • Jason P

            They absolutely do, but the K’s indicate that there is still something to be gained from a little more time in AA.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              There is too high a probability that altering Bryant’s swing in such a way to cut down on K’s would actually hurt his OPS.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                His K% should come down some more anyway without touching his swing just as he learns how pitchers will attack him at this level and what he needs to do to respond to that.

              • Rebuilding

                Yes, you don’t touch a kid that was college baseball’s player of the year, murdered A-ball, destroyed A+, was the AFL MVP with a 1.600 OPS, and is now doing whatever he wants at AA. His swing is fine – he’ll strikeout a lot, but will hit plenty of XBHs and walk over 10% of the time. Him hitting behind Rizzo is going to be amazing. You tinker with the swing he’s had since he was 5 years old and you’ll have another Castro situation from last year

                • Rebuilding

                  And from everyone I’ve talked to that’s scouted Bryant…he is a smart kid, understands the game and will be the face of the franchise. No one thinks he’ll stick at 3rd though, not because he isn’t athletic enough, but because he’s just too tall to be fluid at the position – name the last 6’5″ 3rd baseman. Everyone sees an all-star RF with the potential to be a Matt Holliday or Josh Hamilton type offensive player and be very good in RF

                  • Patrick W.

                    Scott Rolen.

      • Drew7

        Sorry, but that’s not how sample size and forecasting performance work.

        First, there is no magical number of PA’s where performance goes from “maybe a fluke” to “true talent-level” – only an increase in confidence level. In other words, the more data points we have, the less noise we have in the data (I believe most consider an r-squared of .5 is where we start to see things beginning to stabalize, but I could be mistaken).

        Second, different stats begin to stabalize at different rates. For example: a stat like contact-rate becomes reliable much faster than, say, batting average (which, incidentally, is why some of us are so pessimistic about Lake’s future).

        3rd, 100 PA’s really isn’t a big enough sample to tell us much of anything. Every pitch gets us closer though.

    • baldtaxguy

      4-4 .307

  • Seabee

    Anybody think Andreoli gets a call up to AAA to fill the hurting OF in Iowa. He had over 200 AB at AA last year and is killing it again this year with his hitting and those stolen bases.

    • itzscott

      I like what Andreoli’s done a lot in both AA and AAA, but I think he’s gotten lost in the shuffle and will likely be part of a Samardzjia trade.

      • Seabee

        I hope not, I would rather thin out our 2B overflow.

    • baldtaxguy

      I’d like to see him in Chicago. His speed is quite a weapon. Like his energy.

      • itzscott

        Kind of reminds me of a Tony Campana that can hit.

        • TimBeam

          So Billy Hamilton?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            No where near that fast.

            Compared to Campana, Andreoli is worse at raw speed better at baseball.

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

            Billy Hamilton wishes he had Campana’s hit tool.

        • baldtaxguy

          OBP is sick – .433. He just stole is 16th base.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I imagine Bryant and Andreoli will be promoted to Iowa soon.

    This Olt thing is a joke. He’s Brett Jackson all over again. At this point I think you either trade him out at Triple A with Villenueva or maybe just glue him to the major league bench to back up at 1st and 3rd.

    • Seabee

      Your right, I was just hoping between Vitters, Olt and Jackson, one would finally break out.

    • 70’s Cub

      Hey 63, Olt only has 50 AB’s he is not Brett Jackson the Cub farm system will have a hard producing players if fan snap after 50 AB’s. I for one take 4 HR’s 10 rbi’s first month production!

      • Seabee

        I would like to think that Bryant or Baez are the future at 3b. I like the fact he is getting more AB now, but really I think he will be another through in on a trade this July.

  • bobdawg78

    Well I guess the good thing if Olt doesn’t pan out, is that he was a throw in on the Garza deal, and we have plenty of 3B to take his place if need be. It’s still to early to give up on Olt, and I hope he continues to get steady playing time, until we have a large enough sample size to start drawing conclusions on what he is, or what he isn’t. Jackson is done, and would like to see him be a throw in player when we start dumping players like Hammell or Samardzija.

    I know adding Jackson won’t really net us much more in a deal when/if we trade him, but it would wash our hands of him, and open up a 40 man roster spot. Sounds like a win/win to me. Vitters I still hold out hope for him, that he can become a serviceable OF, and at worst become a 4th OF/pinch hitter for us down the road.

  • Funn Dave

    So. Earlier, after the win, we had people chiding those who have been critical of the FO for not commenting as much after wins, as though that somehow invalidates their objections. Then, when someone does make a well-reasoned criticism of today’s double switch, he gets his head torn off for supposedly digging to find something negative to say after a win. Does anyone see a disconnect here?

    It’d be great if these boards could become less volatile.

    • Karl Groucho

      +1

    • mjhurdle

      The point of that thread was not to “chide those who have been critical of the FO”. You can tell that because nowhere was the term “Front Office” or “FO” used. Someone else made the assumption that “college of complainers” meant “anyone that doesn’t agree with the FO”.

      The key in the original post was the word “absent”.

      ab·sent
      adjective
      ˈabsənt/
      1.not present in a place, at an occasion, or as part of something.

      The original post was pointing out that there is a certain segment that is very quick to comment/complainer/rip after a loss, whereas they are not present after a win. This suggests that the reason they come, or the enjoyment they take, is due to the losing/bad decisions/unfortunate events that happen to the Cubs.
      Now, one could debate if that is a bad thing, or if the size of the segment is exaggerated, or if it even exists at all. But one should not try to spin it as if the post was decrying anyone who dared to disagree with Theo and Co.

      — Friendly BN Clarification Guide

  • Blackhawks1963

    The Vitters ship has sailed. He’s Triple A filler at this point. Jackson will be cut or moved when the Cubs need a 40 man roster spot. Olt is validating why Texas tossed him into the Garza deal as a throw in. They clearly gave up on his major league future. Maybe he can morph into a utility player type, but more than likely he too is little more than Triple A filler. All of this just proves the old adage that the majority of top prospects simply never pan out.

    • BlackJeep

      I think I tend to disagree with almost all of your posts. You’re like Diehard harder and older maybe. Imagine if Rizzo would have been declared a bust after his first season or so. He’s still going through the adjustments, but he’s going to be a solid producer when its all said and done. Olt’s going to be fine too. Much like what Baez is going through, he’s just adjusting to another level. I think Olt will be an average 3B with some power, but his future is probably not with the Cubs.

    • 70’s Cub

      Vitters “glove” never panned out he can only play left and does not carry a big enough bat to invest much MLB development time. Jackson’s swing has gaping holes enough said. Olt as a top prospect should improve enough to get 350 Ab’s this year based on his power potential, decent batting eye and at this point is a better offensive threat when compared to Barney. Remember Olt had a serious head injury last year and really lost a lot of time. In general Cub fans need to get used to the break in process on developing prospects. Today’s young starter and set up pitcher were canned by Baltimore.

  • 70’s Cub

    Except for .1 inning from the lefty the rest of the shut-out came from new pitchers that have pop plus movement, all recently acquired and retrained to the new Cub way. Thank you FO.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Interesting. Olt has a BABIP of .167 (sample size alert). That seems on the low side for a guy with an ISO of .210.

    • Karl Groucho

      Regress Olt to a .270 BABIP and, even with his poor K/BB rate, he’s hitting .260 and getting on at a .310 rate, with higher SLG than his current .371 to boot. A low .700s OPS is far from amazing — especially when it’s got platoon help — but probably not garnering requests to send the guy back to Iowa.

      He’s below league avg in LD% and above it in FB% by equal measure, so perhaps the BABIP situation isn’t all bad luck. But even at that rate, obviously, .167 isn’t gonna stick. (Evan Gattis has similar batted ball figures and is around .288.)

      • Karl Groucho

        Which: a .167 BABIP isn’t sustainable, duh; just fleshing out a bit.

      • Kyle

        But then you are only regressing one thing. If you want to give him hits for BABIP, you might want to take a HR or two away from his HR/FB%.

        • Karl Groucho

          Yeah, a good point.

    • mjhurdle

      While I don’t think Olt’s contact issues are going to vanish and let him be a star, I do think that he is actually a bit better than he is showing.

      His LD% is the same this year as last, but he is showing more power. Last year with Texas he seemed to only hit singles. if he could find a way to grab some singles or walks in between his bombs, he might be able to be a productive player.

      • Spoda17

        Olt needs to start 15-20 games in a row. He is a rookie, so evaluating him on partial playing time is not an effective way to see what he can do. Lake is different, Lake had half a year in MLB last year, and now is somewhat starting to look better.

        Olt was injured, had a significant issue that is now resolved. All of his performance now is based on him being “healthy.” I just hate the way he is being judged; not fair in my book. As I have always said, he may ultimately suck, but I just don’t think he has been given a fair shot. I would rather send him back to Iowa and let him get regular starts than this spot start and PH stuff.

    • Kyle

      That is true.

      If you regress Olt’s peripherals into “true” superficial stats, you get all of the following:

      a) A higher batting average
      b) Fewer HRs
      c) More total production
      d) Insufficient total production to be worth a starting job in MLB

      • Jason P

        If he’s striking out 36% of the time, you could change D to “Insufficient total production to be worth a roster spot in MLB”.

  • Jason P

    In addition to the bevy of young bullpen arms the Cubs already have (damn, that feels good to type), Alberto Cabrera’s making quite the case at AAA for a big league job himself. There’s just no room. He’s got a 1.32 ERA, 12 K’s in 13.2 innings, and only 1 walk.

    I wonder how his stuff has looked. He used to be 94-95 on his fastball, but it was down late last year and this spring. If he’s got his velocity back, he could eventually be another late inning reliever with that nasty slider.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Bryant went 4 for five with a homer today. Baez continues to struggle and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. I think it’s getting close to the point where Bryant needs a promotion to Iowa. I find it to be ironic that a few months ago that Baez was to surplant Castro at SS and now Castro is tearing it up and Baez struggles to adjust to a higher level of pitching. I guess that goes to show why none of us are employed in any FO in MLB.

    • Jon

      3 strikeouts

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Baez always struggles when moving to a new level. He’ll do the exact same thing when he moves up to the majors eventually. That’s why many of were saying before spring training even started that there was absolutely no possible chance that Baez would start the year in Chicago.

    • Jason P

      And Baez still may become the superstar we all thought he would. But I think before the season, we tended to forget that he was still a prospect, and a prospect with a crappy K% at that. I was in the minority before the year when I said I’d trade him for Giancarlo Stanton or Josh Donaldson.

  • Seabee

    I think Villanueva has about one month to get going cause Bryant is coming up. He already is killing AA pitching and is a league leader in HR. He only had about 130 AB at A and A+ combined last year. So I think he gets about that many at AA before going to Iowa if he stays on this track.

  • Jason P

    Lol. Carlos Marmol just gave up a 2 run homer in the 11th to lose the game for the Marlins.

  • MightyBear

    The Cubs are undefeated in May.

  • Spoda17

    I think Vitters and Brett Jackson will be throw-ins in any trade the Cubs make this year. To call up Coghlan and have to put him on the 40-man is a pretty loud statement about how the FO feels about those two.

    • Ballrock20

      Jackson has been on the DL for the past few weeks. He was finally activated last night, so he wouldn’t have been able to play. And Vitters started off the year swinging a hot bat, but his past few weeks have been terrible too. I am not saying they won’t be traded because I can definitely see it happening. It’s not a loud statement when one has been injured and the other hasn’t made contact in the past few weeks. Those are not guys you would call up to the team.

    • ssckelley

      I am not ready to give up on Vitters just yet but I doubt Brett Jackson will remain on the 40 man roster for much longer.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Unfair to judge Olt on progress until 300 AB— also would like him to play 1B against tough starting lefties to give Rizzo breather once wk

    • gocatsgo2003

      I know I’m committing a cardinal sin in responding seriously, but… there’s no way in hell you take your best bat out of the lineup once a week for a struggling bat.

      • Diehardthefirst

        But to help the struggling bat and team need to create optimal scenarios for success- also Rizzo is not Superman

        • gocatsgo2003

          The “optimal scenario for success” right now is to let Rizzo bat against LHPs — his line against them is .394/.475/.697 compared to .246/.395/.431 vs RHPs.

          • Diehardthefirst

            If you want to better the team need to get Olt going so can have a Castro Rizzo Olt Lake 2345 for last 100 games

            • renegade4196

              Rizzo can’t be taken out of the lineup for anybody at this point. And I like Olt, and believe he should get AB’s, but you can’t take Rizzo out. Having Valbuena sit, who really isn’t any better, (Olt has a higher ceiling and lower floor) is one thing, but Rizzo has got to stay in

    • baldtaxguy

      Agreed. Let him get the ab’s before we disembowel his career.

      (saw Braveheart again last night)

    • cubbiehawkeye

      I disagree. He needs to be sent to Iowa. I’m not giving up on him but he needs to work on his at-bats and get some confidence going.

  • Spoda17

    … I’m pretty sure Ricky does not know what organic means… unless he means that the bullpen is made up of “pure home-grown” pitchers…

    • baldtaxguy

      Let the closer role develop naturally, with what the Team has been given to work with.

      • Spoda17

        Plausible…

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