Hey Stropie! Don't You Know How Much I Hate Losing to the Reds?!? Reds 4, Cubs 2

Hey Stropie! Don't You Know How Much I Hate Losing to the Reds?!? Reds 4, Cubs 2

Coming into tonight's game against the Reds, Cubs hitters had hit 30 home runs off of Cincinnati pitching this season.  One might be inclined to feel bad for them if it weren't for whining Brennamans and the fact that they similarly pummeled the Cubs a few seasons back when roles were reversed.  Though the Cubs have earned a little breathing room during a short five-game winning streak, you'd like for them to take advantage of a team they've dominated over the past three seasons.

Jake Arrieta took the mound tonight looking to continue his recent success against yet another young Reds pitcher, Sal "Don't Call Me Corky" Romano.  Both pitchers were pretty solid, though Arrieta struggled in the fifth and sixth innings.  Though both had solid nights, this one came down to the bullpens, where the Cubs faltered late.

Let's get to it.

Arrieta looked like 2015 Jake in the first three innings, striking out six, and not allowing a single Red to reach base.  He looked to have good, late movement on his fastball and good command.  He was given a lead in the second when Ian Happ drove his 19th home run of the season to the right field bleachers. The University of Cincinnati alum was immediately mobbed for an interview by Tommy LaStella, who may potentially be preparing for his next career move when the Cubs sign Chris Coghlan for the stretch run (okay, this is a bad joke).

Jake's shot at a no-hitter ended in the fourth inning with one out, after a Zack Cozart smash got through Kris Bryant's glove and down the left field line.  The play was ruled an error, and resulted in Cozart advancing to scoring position.  Joey Votto followed with a base hit down the right field line.  While Jason Heyward cut the ball off quickly and held Votto to a single, Cozart scored easily.  The score was tied, 1-1.  Arrieta got Adam Duvall and Ryan Gennett (I refuse to call him that other name) to line and fly out, respectively.

In the fifth, Arrieta would allow the first two batters to reach, but bore down to strike out Tucker Barnhart.  He then got some luck, as the pitcher Romano fell victim to the fearless Anthony Rizzo, who pounced on an attempted sacrifice bunt and threw to third for the force.  I love the aggressiveness of Rizzo on those plays, though there's part of me that just knows some day he'll get burned or injured on that "Butcher Boy," pull-the-bat-back-and-swing deals.  Thank God, Orel Hershiser is retired and in his 90s (I think this is correct).  At any rate, Arrieta struck out Billy Hamilton to end the threat, and the Cubs grabbed their bats.

After Kyle Schwarber just missed on a home run and flew out, Bryant doubled down the left field line.  With two outs, Romano intentionally walked Happ to get to Javy Baez - so of course, Javy did Javy things, and lined a single to left to drive in Bryant to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.  We've gotten pretty spoiled by his play during Addison Russell's injury absence, and he is just oozing confidence right now.  Heyward grounded out to end the inning.

Javy wasn't done making plays.  Cozart led off the bottom of the sixth and singled to left.  Votto then hit a shot to left that beat Kyle Schwarber, and bounced off the wall.  Knowing that the Cubs would have to make a perfect relay, third base coach Billy Hatcher waved Cozart around third.  Though he'd been beaten on the play, AND the ball having bounced past him, Schwarber got to the ball quickly and threw a rope to Baez, who quickly whipped it to catcher Rene Rivera to get Cozart trying to score.  After getting Adam Duvall to fly out, Arrieta intentionally walked Gennett to get to Eugenio Suarez.  Arrieta was unable to coax him into an out, and with the pitch count rising and the bases loaded, Joe Maddon called on Brian Duensing to get the final out.  Four pitches later the Cubs were out of the inning with the lead intact, as Jesse Winker grounded into a force out.

Sal Romano pitched a scoreless top of the seventh for the Reds (with the benefit of an overturned safe-call at second base), and Carl Edwards Jr. returned the favor in the bottom.  Michael Lorenzen struck out a side of Cubs in the top of the eighth...and then Pedro happened.

I like Pedro Strop.  I love to hear the whiners complain about his hat.  He's been as good in the bullpen since he joined the club in 2013 as anyone.

And he didn't have it tonight.

He got the first two men out, though he got some help on a nice diving play by Heyward on a rapidly sinking ball hit by Votto.  Then Duvall singled to center.  And Gennett doubled down the line.  "We still have a great shot to get out of the inning," thought I, as Duvall was not waved home on the play.  Suarez was walked intentionally to load the bases, and then Jose Peraza smoked a ground-rule double to center field to give the Reds the lead.  With runners at second and third, Strop beat Rivera's five-hole for a wild pitch, allowing Suarez to run home, increasing the lead to 4-2.

The Cubs whimpered through the ninth inning, though Jon Jay briefly offered up a ray of hope...which was dashed when he was easily caught stealing with Alex Avila pinch-hitting.  Raisel Iglesias struck out Avila to end it.  On a side note, I will enjoy watching him close games for the Yankees when the Reds can no longer afford him.

Yuck.  I hate losing to the Reds.

Hey, Looky Here!


Shout out to this guy, who shook the mothballs off this mid-90s beauty for tonight's game, and was seated behind every right-handed batter in the game.  I've seen an awful lot of 2003 player gear (read: bandwagon) over the past few seasons, but it takes a REAL fan to wear a jersey so unpopular that it only lasted two seasons.  Also, who wore it better: Him, or Yours Truly in '95?
(Image has been altered to protect my childrens' pride)

The Division Race and Tomorrow's Matchup

The Cubs got some more help from the Padres, who beat St. Louis 4-3.  Meanwhile, the Brewers had the night off and gained a half-game in the standings.  The Cubs' lead in the division over Milwaukee is now at 3, and 4.5 over the Cardinals.

The Cubs will move on to Philadelphia tomorrow where Jose Quintana will match up against "Distancing Myself from Subway Jared" Jerad Eickhoff.




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  • fb_avatar

    Our 8th innings are like the first half 1st innings. How many runs have we given up? It's not second guessing to put Albert A in CF and even put Happ in LF, but look what defense does for us. Without another great catch and throw by Javy they have at least one more run and JHey made another GG catch. Defense wins games and that was a difficult but catchable ball in CF--Happ almost had it but I know that Albert would have.
    We're in the final run now and every game is important.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't think that anything other than different positioning would have gotten Almora to that ball. That being said, positioning decisions are still on Maddon and his staff.

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    In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    That ball missed Happ's glove by an inch or two and I think Albert would have made up that distance.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Maddon has to put the best defensive line up out there. Who is better in CF???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Which is what I said. However, I don't see how anyone can say with certainty that Almora gets to that ball.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    You have to put the defender out there who is the best. Joe didn't do that.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I talked about this in the recap I did for another blog. Almora would not have caught that ball, no-one would have. The Cubs made a strategic decision to play the outfield shallow. With Jose Peraza batting they decided the odds of Peraza hittng a bloop single were much higher than a deep fly ball. They were wrong and or Strop made a mistake and gave up hard contact. Happ who is according to stat-cast the fastest runner on the Cubs went on a straight sprint to center and just missed the ball. He didn't have a late break or took a bad route, the ball was smoked. The only player I believe would catch that is Billy Hamilton.

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    In reply to Sean Holland:

    So it was more positioning than personnel? You could be right. It just hurts to have 2 out and let it get away. We've been doing everything right in the last week or so, had won 5 in a row and I think 8 of 10, and with some stellar defensive work tonight I just thought we would catch that. Games will get away. It was more that we didn't score more runs than just 2. That pitcher was good and we couldn't do anything. We had 11 RISP left on base too.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    After a game like that it's cold comfort to say you can't win them all. But you really can't, things tend to even out a bit. If you think about it the Cubs had no business winning the final Blue Jays game. The Cubs are still in a good position especially if they win 2 or 3 in Philly. Tomorrow is a brand new game.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Exactly Sean.......sometimes chit just happens and you can't just pencil wins in against any team. They are all major league for a reason. We only scored 2, their pitching was good, etc.
    If anyone wants to be superstitious just keep Pedro away from teams that have red in their uniform or whatever.
    I'd question Maddon more than anything about this game, maybe he did cost us which he has maybe 5 times this year but what about the 5 or more he has actually won by the moves he has made?
    Good question by Urge, "who else would he have used"?

    We are in good's really the Brewers and the Cardinals who are running out of time.....

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    You or anyone else can't make the assumption that Almora wouldn't have caught it. We will never know. All we know is Happ didn't and the true best defensive cf was on the bench. It doesn't matter if Happ is a faster base runner. Almora has more experience to make that play.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Sean, did you see the bench positioning Happ? Did you see Happ's initial reaction? Have you seen analysis on his route?
    Because it looked to me like that ball is in Almora"s back pocket. Thet ball hung up there. Happ's reaction even suggested that he knew he should have had it.

    There is no justification -- NONE -- for Almora not being in CF in that situation. Joe really sheet the bed there. It is mind boggling how such a great manager fails to make the most basic of moves -- and that seems to happen to often with Genius Joe.

    That loss is entirely on Joe. Because Almora would have ended the inning.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Could not agree more. This is on Maddon. The thing that bothers me most is he will never admit he made a mistake. Genius Joe SMH.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He has admitted mistakes before. You can disagree with his reasoning all you want. I certainly have before. But one thing you can say about him is that he always has a reason for his moves. That's more than 90% of MLB managers.

  • In reply to TTP:

    It wasn't who was in CF, it was where the CF was positioned. Almora positioned where Happ was does not come any closer to catching that ball. Look at where Happ was when the ball was hit. Billy Hamilton might have caught it....maybe.

  • In reply to TTP:

    "That loss is entirely on Joe"

    That's a ridiculous statement. The Cubs scored TWO runs. The #2 and #4 hitters went hitless, as did Heyward. The loss isn't on the offense? I get that Joe isn't everyone's favorite, but to act like the game was a sure win except for Maddon's mismanagement of his players - based solely on a subjective "what if" scenario, is crazy.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You are gonna have games where 2 runs is good enough to win games. Last night was one of those games. When offense scored 8 runs a manager doesn't have to do much. This is one of those game where a manager has to make right moves and calls. This is absolutely on Joe.

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    In reply to Sean Holland:

    Almora would have caught that ball. Happ is a terrible center fielder and he actually got to that ball so yes the superior defensive player Almora would have caught that ball. Why do some of you people continue to be apologist for one of the worst mgr in baseball?

  • fb_avatar

    The only good thing that comes from a Cubs loss is the activity in the comments section.

    After a win, its like you can hear a mouse fart, but after a loss, its like a large angry party !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yep.....for some being in first place and having their largest division lead of the year just isn't good enough......

    Jake pitched well again....was just too bad Strop coughed it up.

    Ticked another game off the calendar and the Cards and Pirates went down.....but, still.....another series win.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Your right there JO. I'm very quilty of that . LOL

  • Strop has not been good as you claim, particularly in clutch situations. On at leas 8 occasions he has given up late 1 run leads in the last 3 years. He just doesn't have the late inning stones. But hey, Joe likes him so what the heck. Run him out there anyway.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Okay, I'll bite. Who do you run out there in that situation tonight? Rondon? Uehara? Wilson? Stretch Edwards out for another inning?

    We're pretty spoiled as fans if a bullpen guy has only given up a 1-run lead 8 times in 3 seasons.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Once it got to 2 outs and we still had the lead and obviously stropp was struggling. I thought about Davis for a 4 out save attempt.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    How about Davis??? Don't think that he's pitched for 3 days and if he can't finish the 9th, then bring in the other closer, Wilson. Duck!

  • In reply to willycat:

    So let me get this straight, Wade has been used wisely by Joe all year, and is 26 for 26 on save opportunities and now in late August you want to differ from that good routine?

    Sounds to me like something he would get tarred and feathered for if it didn't work.

  • In reply to veteran:

    I'm with Urge here. If we're going to rip a guy for giving up 1 run leads 8 times in 3 years then I think our expectations are way too high. Bullpens are inconsistent almost by definition. Strop is good more than he's bad. That's a good pen arm in my book.

  • I still have the disadvantage of being in the Philippines so I can't watch. I might not know the true circumstances. But what is Jay doing stealing down 2 runs with 1 out?
    1) Avila does have some pop
    2) If Jay scored from second, and is the only run, the Cubs save some face and lose 4-3?

    That play for me has to be about 100% chance of success.

  • And the Magic Number for clinching the division remain at 33.

  • Why was jay trying to steal a base?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes! Another blunder by Joe. I couldn't believe he was running there. Basic.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Len and JD are real pros, but have they ever questioned, let alone criticized, one of Joe's moves? Milk toast. I couldn't believe JD defending Jay running in that situation.

  • In reply to TTP:

    He wasn't being held by Votto. Jay was likely going on his own. If he makes it safely, everyone applauds him for taking the double play away.
    Again, the hindsight managers in here are so smart.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TTP:

    We can't really blame Joe on that. We don't know for sure he sent him. Although there is plenty of things to blame him for. They(Len and JD) say Jay ran on his own because he thought they wouldn't throw thru. They are right about one thing, you don't try to steal there unless your 100% sure your going to make it.

    Len and JD are solid in what they do, but they are spineless because you know what they are going to say and what side they are going to take. That's not a real journalist, thats a yes man w no opinions of there own or even worse, so scared to have one. This is why I never understood the sentiment from some that we have the best booth in the MLB. They aren't even in the top 5.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Who says they're journalists? They talk about a game while it's going on, paid by the team. They're not reporters, and there's zero requirement to be unbiased. Do you call Pete Rose a journalist? Or Harry Caray?

    Len and JD are LIGHT YEARS better than anyone we've had since...Brickhouse? Please please please stop bashing them.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Pat Hughes aside, that is. That man has golden pipes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Stubbs:

    If someone is not being objective, they are not being fair to their audience. If all you want to hear is positive good things whether true or false, they are perfect for that audience.

    Maybe they are not journalists, but are they not supposed to report to audience what they are seeing? Not what they expected to say from their bosses?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    They work for the team. If they start questioning what the team is doing they are fire. That is how it works. See Montero, same thing.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Couldn't disagree more.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    So I now understand that Jay did in fact run on his there. What an #$%^& I&^$%#! He is in fact slow as molasses.

    And BTW, I did say Len and DJ are real pros. We are lucky to have them. But Len is milk toasty for sure. JD is really good and knows the game and I like his dry wit.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Jay admitted he was running on his own. Can't blame Maddon for this one.

    Man, the pitchforks are out today!

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    I didn't blame Joe for that one. I ask why jay stealing?
    I will add last year when Joe made dumb moves the team saved his rear.

  • I am glad to see a discussion about Happ in CF. I was watching via gamecast last night and had the impression Happ's D may be an issue.

    Could anyone tell me about the 2 out single. On gamecast that one appeared to be completely catchable based on where they claimed it landed. The Perlaza hit appeared to be on the wall so I wasn't sure that one was catchable.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Gamecast is terrible about where balls are hit or pitched. The single was a pure hit as they were playing no doubles at that time. Heck, the second out was almost a single because Heyward was playing no doubles defense.

    Our defensive positioning has been stellar all year long. Only complaint is the positioning on the double and I can live with a few mistakes when they have been so good at it all year. I do believe Davey Martinez is who sets that defense.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Thanks KJ. I appreciate it.

    When a ball is hit hard, gamecast usually has it moving quickly to the area hit. The 2 out single was a blooper on gamecast and fell in a normal CF/LCF spot, so it wasn't a Texas Leaguer, as they say.

    8th inning of a 1 run game, I would prefer to have the best defender on the field though.

  • The game was one that got away. With runners on second and third before the walk and double I was looking for Davis for a four out save. Strop was done. I wondered at the start of the inning where Almora was. I like Joe. He's a good manager and baseball lifer. He dropped the ball tonight.

  • 2 runs doesn't win you many ballgames in the juiced ball era!

  • BTW a nice article about Jose Albertos.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Nice article. Thanks

  • Fangraphs was able to eloquently put what I've been noticing all year. I didn't realize it was a problem last year for Bryant too.

    It's funny to think in a high leverage position, I groan when I see reining MVP Bryant due up. But that's how bad he's been in that situation.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Have to agree with you's not often you see the words "walk-off and Bryant" in the same sentence....

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    These are tiny sample sizes. If I recall correctly, he crushed the ball in those situations as a rookie. He's too good to think this is the way it will always be.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Sullivan should have given me a writing credit on his article. I mentioned the same thing here on this blog 2 days earlier on Tuesday just as the Reds series was starting. He referenced the same statistics that I was looking at off of Baseball Reference.

    It's painful to watch him this year. I was laughing last week when the Cubs won that game against the Reds on the wild pitch because the pitcher really didn't need to get that creative with that pitch. Bryant was able to come through (sort of) without actually swinging the bat, probably the best outcome for all of us because I was thinking when he came up that they were headed for extras. Until he starts coming through in these situations, he's earning the moniker of "late inning feather-bat".

  • In reply to joparks:

    You're talking about the same guy who tied up game 3 of the NLDS with a 2-run homer in the 9th. He also had an .834 OPS for the entire playoffs last year. This isn't someone who shies away from pressure moments. The Cubs have had good offensive players in the past who came up flat in the playoffs, but no so with KB.

    The next time KB comes up big again in the late innings with his bat (don't worry it will happen soon), I hope you and Senator Mendoza will say something good about him then.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Hef, my points about Bryant are not that I dislike the guy. It's simply pointing out that he's not been very clutch this year or to a degree last year. Most of us who have watched this season have felt this. Statistically, the numbers are hidden because you look at the slash line and it looks healthy. The numbers about clutch are hidden with the only outward sign being the relatively low RBI number compared to his OPS. Clutch or performing un-clutch is not a stat that tends to carry over through a whole career and yes, there are instances where he came through in big spots but that was last year. When he comes through again (hopefully) I'll be there rooting for him but right now, the numbers speak for themselves that he "right now" is not that guy you want up in a high leverage situation. Don't take what I wrote meaning the guy stinks and we should trade him because that wasn't the intent.

  • In reply to joparks:

    I agree with you about his RISP/late inning numbers. They don't look very good this year. I don't know what last year's were like.

    I really think, however, in KB's case, that they are an anomaly, and time alone will bear that out. I also believe that the way RISP hitting is used in late innings does not remotely define what clutch hitting is like. Every single at bat that a player has in the MLB playoffs, regardless of the inning or score, has more pressure in it, than RISP in late innings (with score within 3 runs, what a joke). I don't think the conventional definition of clutch hitting has anything to do with clutch hitting (it includes so many "non-clutch" at bats that it becomes just a random statistic with no meaning).

    I do believe in clutch hitting, though. I was wrong about KB's playoff OPS. It was actually higher last year, at .923 OPS. OPS doesn't usually lie, if you have a large enough sample size. It doesn't make sense to me that if a guy can't hit in the clutch that he would hit so well in the most important games for his team.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the conventional definition of clutch hitting is wrong. Those #s show that players will have a wide variance when measured from one year to another year, because they are mostly random stats that do not measure anything.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I really hope I have to eat my words soon. Nothing would make me happier. It was just my observation that our reigning MVP coming up in a big spot doesn't give me any confidence. Basically the opposite. And I noticed his terrible RBI total given his excellent overall offensive numbers.

    And given all the crap that gets tossed Javy's way for every mistake he makes, I think its only fair to point out Bryant's flaw.

    I like Bryant a lot. His 3B D has been very good, and he improved his K% beyond a point I thought was possible for him.

    He did nearly hit a HR to CF in the 7th against the Jays, and I do remember his near HR in game 7 of the World Series too.

    I don't know if overall the problems is a matter of him pressing in these spots. But he's too good a hitter to be the 2nd worst hitter in MLB in clutch spots.

  • For me, half the loss goes to Strop, the other half is on Maddon.

    Maddon should have put Almora in for Happ, in the bottom of the 8th. Happ had just been up, Maddon could have slotted the pitcher into his position while putting in a better defensive OF. Or even better, he could have taken Schwarber out, slotted the pitcher in his spot. Moved Happ to LF, and put Almora in CF. Protecting a 1 run lead, should have been the focus. Props to Schwarber, for cutting off Gennett's 2B to left and keeping the runner from scoring.

    Also, it was pretty clear Strop didn't have it going on. He faced 4 batters, and had 4 reasonably hard hit balls, 2 for outs. This is before the bases clearing 2B. Strop should have been out of the game then. Could have brought in just about anyone, given them the base open to play with. But know, Strop served up another one, and Happ couldn't bring it in. I think Almora comes up with that ball. I think most CF come up with that ball.

  • I love how despite the season being 162 games long, each loss feels a bit like dying. Passion!

    Great write up, Sinister.

    Get 'em tonight fellas. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Exactly. I noted a few days ago that being in a pennant race, instead of running away with it, makes each game much more intense and dramatic. Greater joy in the wins, greater agony with the losses. And, last night, did definitely feel like dying a little bit.

  • In reply to TTP:

    The only thing that feels like dying is dying. A little perspective is needed.

  • In reply to midwestlefty:

    You're funny. It is obviously poetic license. I've had people in my family die awful deaths. The Cubs losing to the Reds on a Thursday night in the middle of August was not quite as painful. Thanks, Captain obvious.

  • BTW, and way OT, but are there no U2 fans here? I did a riff on "Some Days Are Better Than Others" yesterday, that, quite disappointingly, feel on deaf years.

    BarelyPop? Et tu? Were are you?

  • In reply to TTP:

    Me quoque, TTP. I noticed the original "recap" riff but didn't comment. Well done, but I'm not a U2 fan. My attempts often meet a similar fate, but much like a tough loss, you dust yourself off and try again.

    Go Cubs!

  • They are talking about the Yankee Tiger brawl now on High Heat and Eric Byrnes comes out with the "Rizzo cheap shot" comment describing the fight.......what the hell is that??????

  • A few observations: Since the All Star Break

    1. 2 runs - When you score 2 runs and your starters are only going 6, you are asking your BP (technically not as good of pitchers because they aren't starters) to be perfect for 9 outs. Tonight, they needed 10 and they couldn't hold it. Part of me says that's asking a lot. It would be nice if they had a starter go deep to take the pressure off. Then again, they had a leverage free game yesterday and the day before for the most part but when you score 2, the pitching has not been good enough to win those games this year.

    2. Since the ASB - The Cubs have gone 25-13 and have played .657 ball. They have scored 222 runs and given up 160. This averages out to 5.84 - 4.21 per game. In their 25 wins, they have scored 183 runs - 7.32/gm and they have given up 84 runs - 3.36/gm. In their 13 losses, they have scored 39 runs - 3.0/gm and given up 76 runs - 5.85/gm. Their offensive numbers are skewed a bit as there were 2 games where they scored 8 and 10 runs and still lost. They have only won 2 games in this stretch since the ASB where they won by scoring 3 runs or less. The last time was on 7/29 at Milwaukee when they won 2-1. On the other hand, they have lost 7 games when their opponents scored 4 or less.

    3. Records: Runs Scored
    a. Scoring 8 runs or more: 10-2
    b. Scoring 5-7 runs: 10-0
    c. Scoring 3-4 runs: 4-3
    d. Scoring 2 or less runs: 1-8
    4. Records: Runs Allowed
    a. Allowing 2 runs or less: 8-2
    b. Allowing 3-4 runs: 12-5
    c. Allowing 5-7 runs: 3-2
    d. Allowing 8 runs or more: 2-4

    Assumptions: While the hitting has definitely improved and the pitching has also improved to a degree, the pitching is still not good enough when the offense goes into the tank which we have seen happens a little less than 25% of the time during this stretch.

    Additional observation: Somebody please step up and own that 8th inning. Just as the 1st inning was the Bermuda triangle for the starters in the first half, the 8th inning has been the Bermuda Triangle for the Bullpen in the 2nd half. Of the 13 losses they have had since the ASB, they have given up runs in the 8th inning in 12 of the 13 games. That’s ridiculous! 5 of their 13 losses, the Cubs were either winning or tied when the 8th inning began and they ended up losing after falling apart in the 8th. 6 times, the bull-pen allowed insurance runs in the 8th inning that either put the game out of reach or made a deficit highly improbable to come back from.

    Last note: The defensive positioning was correct given Perazza’s spray chart. The problem was the execution of the pitch which was right over the middle of the plate. Had Strop executed the pitch on either of the corners jamming him on the inside or having him reach on the outside, they probably would have gotten the result they were looking for. It’s a game of inches and Strop missed by a few with his pitch and Happ missed by a few with his glove. Whether Happ or Almora are in there, they needed Strop to execute and it didn’t happen.

  • In reply to joparks:

    Excellent legwork there nailed it ^^^^^^^^^^^^^5's !

  • I'm sorry but I don't think it's passion when fans live and die by each game, I think it's an embarrassment. We're better than this. Who do we think we are Red Sox fans? We have a good team, it's probably not our year but we can't say that for sure yet. We're more than likely to make the playoffs for the third year in a row and when I read the comments here after a loss it's all seething anger. I expected to lose one game against the Reds because I don't ever expect sweeps. After the first two I hoped for the sweep but expected the loss. I went to bed fine last night, no anger no recriminations against Strop or Maddon and now I'm ready for another game. Baseball is about joy, to many this season has been about angst and I don't think it reflects very well on us as a fanbase.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The gloom and doomers are always gonna be around TC even more so now with the instant gratification that some are used to. It's just the sign of the times that unfortunately holds people back instead of letting them progress.
    A baseball season is a GRIND and always has been. Is why you can't really get a good handle on how teams will be or really are after the first 40 games. Watch next year....look at them after the first 40 and then check at the end of the year......most teams are WAY different.
    The playoffs are a crapshoot as well......records mean nothing, it's how well those playoff team perform over that 2 week period. Can you imagine the pressure the Dodgers are going to be under to win it all? No one knows now how well their starters will do and as it stands now they sure aren't 100%.
    I'm enjoyin' the hell out of this year, I like the way it's shaping up and October looks as promising for us as anyone else......and what's even better (if you can or put value on it) is we've been there before.......RECENTLY.

  • In reply to TC154:

    TC, I would like to apologize if I embarrassed you. I think it is important to never criticize the players or manager or the front office if the have a bad game or make a bad decision. Only compliment them when they do good things. I think we all should be the kind of fan you are. Thank You for sharing.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I didn't single anyone out so I'm not sure why you think this was about you and I'm not sure the snark is necessary. I also didn't say never criticize. I criticize. I think the FO made a huge mistake going into the season with the pitching staff that they did, they fixed it more or less with the Quintana trade but a deal like that should have been have been made in the offseason and I blame a lot of the early hitting woes on consistently having to come from behind. I've also been critical of Addison Russell for clearly letting his personal issues into the clubhouse. I also think it's OK to criticize a decision, and I think Maddon makes some mistakes. I tire of him being labeled as a bad manager though when I think he's probalby one of the top four or five in the game at worst. I'm not a day to day guy when it comes to the games though. If I was that way I'd stop watching. I love baseball, as do all of us here, and I don't let individual games take away my joy. After Boston won it all their fans were pilloried for having ridiculous expectations and becoming awful fans when they had been so good for so long. I don't want to see that here. We have had three years of incredible baseball and I think we'll have at least three more. I just want us to enjoy it. That's all.

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