The Little Girl brought home a “My Daddy” sheet from school yesterday – the kind that says the things that she knows about me. When I wasn’t intermittently holding back tears and stifling laughs about some of the answers (My Daddy’s favorite food is … “Uh, I don’t know. He likes all the food. He likes bugs.”), I was pretty darn impressed at how much she knows about what I do. My Daddy’s favorite house chore is “to type things about the Cubs game,” and My Daddy’s job is to “Write about the Cubs game.” She gets me.
- In the post-game take on Jeff Samardzija’s performance, it sounds like neither he nor Rick Renteria felt like the stuff was bad – just the command (Cubs.com). Sometimes good stuff is enough to get you through a start like that, and sometimes it’s not. And you get ripped on your mistakes, as Samardzija did last night.
- If you wanted to check in on the various MLB odds for playoff contention after the Cubs dropped three of four in Pittsburgh, let me save you the trouble. After a nice little stretch that saw the Cubs’ playoff odds reach a robust 3, maybe 4%, BP has the Cubs back down to just 0.9%. Yes, that’s the worst mark in all of baseball.
- I love me some Carlos Villanueva pontification. The guy is smart, eloquent, and thoughtful. So it takes a lot for me to say that this is totally bunk, man (Cubs.com): “Of all the places I’ve played – I don’t know if it’s the red seats and even if they’re empty, they feel like they’re packed – but the best baseball atmosphere is in St. Louis. They don’t boo anybody. They know baseball, they cheer for the opposing team if they do something well.” There is just no way that’s true. This doesn’t exist if Cardinals fans were half the baseball Gandhis they’re made out to be.
- Rick Renteria openly acknowledges that Starlin Castro is not a number four hitter, even though he’s been the Cubs’ number four hitter for months now (Cubs.com). There’s not really an obviously better formulation of the Cubs’ lineup right now, and if Castro is comfortable, then so be it.
- Poor Ryne Sandberg. Patrick Mooney writes about the mess that is the Philadelphia Phillies’ $160 million roster, and discusses comments from the Phillies’ own bench coach ripping the performance of individual players. Yikes. Even as some pine for the Cubs to spend like the Phillies did three/four/five years ago, and even as some rip the organization for its spendthrift rebuild, the Phillies are the current shining example of the price that comes after a spending binge: a bloated, aging, declining roster. And it can be very hard to bounce back from that quickly, even if you’ve got a ton of money to paper over the mistakes.
- Speaking of the Phillies, and mistakes, and the roster bloat … GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is something of a punchline in the Internet baseball writer world, frequently sent up as the poster child for anti-statistical sentiment. I tend to think that’s a bit overblown – you can’t be the GM of a big league team for this long and be as dim as Amaro is portrayed – but, boy, he didn’t do himself any favors this week when he appeared to have trouble grasping the difference between “at-bats” and “plate appearances,” the latter of which obviously includes every trip to the plate, whereas the former excludes things like walks, HBP, sacrifices and sac flies. While discussing Jimmy Rollins approaching Mike Schmidt’s Phillies hit record, and how Rollins is going to get to the mark more quickly than did Schmidt, Amaro remarked that, “I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of weird. I don’t quite understand it.” I’m sure it was just a brain fart and/or a slip of the tongue, but it’s not like we’re talking about the subtle differences between ERA+ and ERA- or FIP and xFIP. That’s the GM of an MLB organization, for a moment at least, clearly failing to grasp the significant and basic distinction between at-bats and plate appearances.
- … and even the Phillies won the damn World Series five years ago. Fist —-> face.