The Cubs' Woes with Runners in Scoring Position and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Woes with Runners in Scoring Position and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

dale sveum mediaYasiel Puig sure would be an interesting player to write about – not just the performance, but the unique disposition. He got pulled yesterday against the Cubs for apparently nonchalanting a few plays, and I wonder how that kind of thing would go over among Cubs fans … given how well he’s performing.

  • Dale Sveum underscores something that has killed the Cubs all year: failure to perform with runners in scoring position. Per Patrick Mooney: “You hate to keep beating it up, because the players hear it. But the bottom line is when you hit .220 with men in scoring position, in those close games you just can’t add on. You get people out there, and you lose by two, you lose by one. The ‘cyber’ [aka ‘saber’] people don’t say it’s a big, big stat. But it’s a big stat. It’s timely hitting that’s going to end up winning a lot of games for you.”
  • It’s not that sabermetrically-inclined folks say BA/RISP isn’t a big stat; we say it’s a stat over which players have very little control, and thus it is not a useful stat in predicting future performance or describing true talent level. It’s plenty useful as a hindsight tool – i.e., the Cubs have lost a X number of games despite underlying performances that suggest they should have lost only Y number of games; the reason, in part, is negative variance in performance with runners in scoring position. I think it’s probably true that some guys clam up with runners on base, but, generally speaking, the stats have never borne out the idea of “clutch.” The only tried and true method for improving a team’s performance with runners in scoring position (other than just waiting for regression) is by getting better overall hitters. Good hitters tend to perform well regardless of the situation.
  • (All of that said, I actually think Sveum is more sabermetrically-inclined than he may think or admit.)
  • On his ejection yesterday for the Yasiel Puig non-call on a check swing, Dale Sveum says it wasn’t the initial argument that got him bounced – it was the umpire “[keeping] his head in the dugout” for a long time, waiting for someone else to say something. Sveum said that, unfortunately, he said something. (Per We’ve said it before: don’t eyeball Dale Sveum.
  • Scott Baker threw five scoreless yesterday at Kane County, giving up just one hit in the process. It was probably the best outing of his rehab stretches, and we’ll see if it sets him up for one more quality minor league outing. From there, it’s possible he makes his debut with the Cubs.
  • A fun read from Patrick Mooney on the Cubs facing big-time starters, and the evolution of the game.
  • The Cubs have increased their sales team, and expanded their sponsorship efforts (presumably in the wake of receiving permission to add more advertising space in and around the ballpark).
  • Javier Baez talks about the Smokies making the playoffs, and his breakout season.
  • BN’er Patrick takes a look at the last decade of Cubs first round picks – a mixed bag, to be sure.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.