Myles Monday Meltdown: Stealing Signs, A Win Streak, Beanballs, and Albert

Phew, what a weekend. Not only are the Cubs on a little mini win streak, but the first round of the NBA playoffs has been, in a word, awesome. In recent years, the first round of the NBA playoffs have been dreadful. Poor play, weak storylines...but this year, we've got all of the intrigue. Lebron was down 2-1 to the freaking Pacers coming into Sunday! Anyway, it's fun. I'm a huge NBA fan and am trying to gather those who were displaced following the Jordan years. Come back. We'll welcome you with open arms.

Stealing Signs
Javy Baez has been talked about a lot so far in 2018. I love it. Because as Jared and I discussed on the most recent episode of The Den Podcast, we think he's finally arrived. And it's glorious. But on Sunday, it seems like anyone not a Cubs fan was lambasting him for the decision to stand in front of Rockies third baseman, DJ LeMahieu while he was on second base. Here's the rundown from Yahoo sports:

While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

Here's the thing, if the umpires want to tell Baez to get set before the pitch is thrown, fine. But for the Rockies and everyone else to be upset that Baez even attempted to block Lemahieu? That's ridiculous. Here's the one argument I keep hearing: "Sign stealing is part of the game! Change your signs!" Alright. But if stealing signs is part of baseball, why shouldn't preventing others from stealing signs also be part of baseball? Neither of which is the actual game of baseball as it's written. So what's the difference?

A Win Streak
Sure, the winning is fun. But I'll simply take being able to complete series at this point. Before the Rockies series, only two complete series had been played for the Cubs in 2018. Stupid weather.

Beanballs
I don't think the Rockies hitting of Kris Bryant in the head was at all intentional. And I'm glad the the Cubs didn't retaliate. It's just not their thing. And, really, it shouldn't be anyone's thing. But while tempers flared in Denver this weekend, I'm happy to see that cooler heads prevailed when it came time to playing the game. There's not spot in this sport for beanballs.

Albert
Albert Almora made not one, not two, but three incredible defensive plays over the weekend. With the struggling Happ relegated to the bench for the time being, Almora has made the most of it both in the field and at the plate and now has a wRC+ of 146 for the season.

Filed under: Myles' Monday Meltdown

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  • Didn't see Albert's catches yesterday, I was at my son's college ball game. I did see the highlights and what impressed me most on the diving catch was that he caught the ball, rolled, got up and immediately fired the ball back in just in case there were base runner issues. Such a smart player.

  • In reply to ps577:

    I think the kid may have a future in this game.

    Seriously, it's not just his positioning, reads, and routes, it's his toughness. It just feels good seeing him there in center.

  • In reply to ps577:

    Albert was incredible on all three catches.

  • In reply to ps577:

    Tough fits.

  • The entire Baez vs. LeMahieu argument is silly if anyone for a minute thinks Baez was wrong. If Baez has ANY inkling the guy is stealing signs, then he is well within his right to stop it. The umps for intervening at all are WRONG too. Baez can stand wherever the heck he wants. I would have loved for Baez to stand in front and have LaStella sneak in for a pick-off attempt with a very hard tag on LeMahieu's hand or ankle. I will be watching the first pitch of the game when the Rockies come to Chicago and LeMahieu leads off the game.

    Myles, sorry, this brand of NBA basketball sucks. I can no longer sit through an entire game uninterrupted. 1 guys drives with 4 guys standing at the 3 point line. Either lay it in or kick it out and swing it around until someone jacks up a 3. No thanks. Awful basketball.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    (Hopefully not a comment we see in 20 years):

    rbrucato, sorry, this brand of MLB sucks. A bunch of jacked-up dudes striking out, walking, or occasionally hitting a ball 450 feet. If they do walk, they stand at the base watching to see which of those three outcomes the next hitter delivers, while the defenders practice their swings anticipating their next AB because they don't matter anyway. No thanks. Awful baseball.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    There are some who would say that now and not wait 20 years. LOL!!!!

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    There are other ways to deal with if someone is stealing signs. Standing in front of a guy seems very bush league to me. I have never seen that and hope I never see it again.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Why is that bush league? He ended something on the spot that he thought could cost his team runs. Just because you have never seen it? Not a very good reason to call it bush league.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Never seeing it doesn’t make it bush league. I never said that was the reason. But there is a reason nobody ever does it. Change sign and move on.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    So you call it bush league and then don’t elaborate when asked? OK.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Bush league pretty much sums it up. It doesn’t need further explaining. There are different ways to handle it then standing in front of a guy with your back to him.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Your opinion. Changing signs is not worth a mound visit so this was a creative option.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Your opinion as well. If so worried Rockies are gaining a advantage then yes it is worth a mound visit.

  • With Bryant Rizzo Baez Schwarber Contreras Lastella Caratini Russell Happ and Almora that is a ridiculous good young core.

    And to think that Candelario Jiminez Torres Bour Leimehue Soler Villanueva Vogelbach Mckinney and Castillo were all sent on their way. Its crazy, i have to think this is the best 5 year stretch of hitters that any franchise has had in their system. At least in a long while.

  • Unrelated to any of the above, there is a fascinating article on Nate Silver's 538 website entitled "Everyone Wants To Go Home During Extra Innings — Maybe Even The Umps", https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/everyone-wants-to-go-home-during-extra-innings-maybe-even-the-umps/?ex_cid=Weekly4, it gives convincing data supporting the notion that umps, quite possibly unconsciously, make incorrect calls that will lead to the ending of the game. This is but one more argument for the installation of Robo-Ump, making the home-plate ump's life easier and baseball better overall.

  • Re: Baez. the issue is not Javy or DJ, nor the over the top ROX announcers that periodically I have to put up with, but the umpires.

    No reason to get involved unless something more comes of it like DJ physically shoving Javy. Telling us to change the signs is well a thank you and possibly might be a window into some of those big middle innings. Something is up, but the umps should not have been involved. This might be part of the limited visits to he mound.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Javy had to see something LeMahieu was doing to trigger this. Javy had a right to that spot on the field and should be allowed to stand there if he wants. No need for the umps to get involved unless it becomes physical.

    I am unaware of position players having to be set when a pitch is thrown. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Your last sentence explains the reason for the altercation.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    It is the same reason Chili got tossed. Chili (according to his interview with ESPN) was blowing off steam, and the ump came over and basically said "knock it off or else". Chili was like "or else what??" And then found out what else. Maddon was mad cause he wanted the ump to stay out of his dugout and not go looking for problems. 2nd base ump was doing the same thing...just looking for problems and a confrontation.

  • In reply to Pappy:

    When you throw coffee at a ump you are gonna get tossed

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Right, and that wasn't chili...that was his assistant...after chili got tossed...well played as usual by you...

  • In reply to Pappy:

    You said Maddon didn’t like ump interfering in his dugout and was looking for problems. That one can’t be ignored. Not sure on sarcastic comment ???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Right. So read what I posted. Chili blew off some steam in the dugout. Ump told him to knock it off or else (read: looking for a problem). Chili said or else what? Chili got tossed. Adam threw coffee, got tossed too. Neither ejections happen if the ump just ignores the dudes in the dugout being pissed cause their stud just got torched int he head. Of course the dude throwing coffee can't be ignored...it is the comment into the dugout at Chili...that should not have happened. Have some situational awareness and understand (talking about the ump now) that the guys in the dugout are pissed...let them blow off a bit, and move on. Its like the umps that jump out from behind the plate and take their masks off baiting the pitcher when they question a call. No place for that.

  • In reply to Pappy:

    I see no issue with ump saying that is enough. The umps are not gonna let the hitting coach and assistant hitting coach blow off steam nor should they. Umps and refs put up with way too much blowing off steam. If joe wanted to then fine but not every single coach. That was a scary scary deal with KB. I don’t think it was intentional.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Intentionally or not, he’s the best player on the Cubs. The ump needed to put his bunny ears down & play ball. Just like you, the umps need thicker skin.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Remember, the Rockies had just recently brawled with the Padres over their retaliation for hitting multiple San Diego batters. There is a precedent, and there isn't a thing wrong with Chili Davis (or anyone else on the Cubs bench) stating an opinion that the ump should have done more when Bryant was hit in the head. The idea that "only" the manager can express an opinion is ridiculous.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Ump have every right to step in. When they are exchanging words the next step is to get physical. Umps have to be in a preventative mode so more tempers don’t flare.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    No. Wrong. This is bs. KB got hit in the head. You have whiffed on the context of the situation. You think the guys need to sit on the bench and break into prayer holding hands? Of course they are going to be mad and say some stuff. The ump ignores it and everything dies down. It wasn’t like the Cubs dugout charged the field. Terrible take.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Just because you don’t like it isn’t bs. That isn’t a very good reason cause you think it is bs. You have whiffed on the content if you think that hard feelings will just go away. Ump did the right thing and stopped the jawing back and forth.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Has nothing to do with me liking it or not. What is bs is your failure to understand the context and make a blanket statement that the ump did the right thing. He didn’t. You will “WaitTilNextYear” and beyond if you don’t think the dugout of a guy hit in the head will be silent. The ump did a poor job. Context is everything. It’s not like there was continued chirping over a bad call.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Keep it civil, everyone, please.

    We really need today's game to be played.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don’t know who made you angry but man. That is not a blanket statement anymore then you disagreeing with the ump. I thought with the play at 2nd the ump did the right thing so it didn’t get out of hand and players get ejected. I thought you did a nice job including my screen name in your comment.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not angry. Our best player got hit IN THE HEAD and you defend an umpire who throws out two coaches for venting frustration? That is crazy, IMO. Context is everything and you do not recognize it.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don’t get why you are making it about KB getting hit in the head. Frustration needs to be directed at Rockies if truly upset. I’ve been defending the umps in the situation at 2nd base. I can’t decend cub coaches when one throws coffee and the other ask or what. You know what is coming next.

  • Is there a rule that the player can't stand in front of the runner? I'm pretty sure there isn't. Runners often try to stay in front of a grounder to block a defenders view of it until the last second. Also with shifts nowadays you have guys standing all over the place. The umpire has no business telling Javy how to position himself. Am I missing something?

  • Just look at where players are when playing the infield in. Case closed.

  • There are several rules governing right-of-way and obstruction between defenders and base runners, none of which Javy was breaking. Just another example of him being a mental step or two ahead of everyone else on the field and causing chaos and confusion, this time dumbfounding even the umpires.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Being ahead of everyone mentally??? That why he didn’t run with 2 outs??

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Clearly a case where he wasn't ahead mentally...but you already know that, you are just trying to be argumentative again. Does not change the fact that in this case with DJ, he was indeed clearly ahead of the game mentally. I love watching you post...lol...someone says the sky is blue, and you say "but the clouds are white" as if that is going to prove the sky isn't blue :)

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Just because I don’t agree with you or others doesn’t make one argumentative. When one makes a comment that isn’t 100% true then I see no issue in expressing my opinion. I don’t agree with what javy did but because I am the minority on that I must be arguing. Great analogy on sky.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    That is a fair statement. It is also a fair statement that you don't agree with others quite a bit. Like I said, I love watching you post. It is a pleasure watching you work :)

  • In reply to Pappy:

    I don’t know why u memorize my comments but I haven’t posted much lately so you must be getting my confused with someone else but I appreciate having you as a admirer.

  • In reply to Pappy:

    That guy is Worst poster on here. Ultimate contrarian, very miserable

  • In reply to bolla:

    When you start your post with "that guy," there's a good chance it will be interpreted as a personal attack. "That guy" has been at Cubs Den for a long time and makes some very good points. He and I have disagreed in the past, but he's never made it personal.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I didn’t say the hitting coach and assistant hitting coach can’t express their opinion. They just aren’t gonna be able to get away with it. You know as a assistant coach you have a shorter leash then manager. How can the ump prevent KB getting hit in the head? I didn’t think their was any bad blood????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Didn't a Padres player end up on the DL after being hit by a Rockies pitcher? I don't think Davis was out of line for asking the ump for warnings after they hit one of our best hitters, after the brawl between the Rockies and Padres that started the same way. The umpire simply overreacted. Haines deserved to be ejected after throwing his coffee in exasperation, but it never would have gotten to that point if the ump had been reasonable.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yep

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Why would Davis ask for a warning? That would make me angrier if the gave us a warning and we hadn’t done anything. Why warn if it wasn’t intentional? Why would he throw at KB when he was way ahead in the count? Not sure what padres series has to do with us. You can’t always go
    on past history.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Clearly he can't get into LeMahieus running path. But I don't think there are rules about where a player might stand that that doesn't interfere with the baserunner's ability to run to the next base. And Javy was careful not to do that.

  • The whole Javy situation happened because of the new mound visit rule. The cubs don't want to waste a timeout to change up signs so why not have Javy block his view. If stealing signs is part of the game then so is blocking those signs and avoiding the mound visit that might be needed later on.

  • In reply to AndrewMolley:

    I agree... One other possibility with this whole situation is in regards to Caratini. This is no excuse for him, but with much less MLB experience, especially in one-to-one time in calling a game for Q, perhaps he isn't quite as developed in how they change up their signs, or maybe he wasn't even privy to that matter that it may be happening right in that moment because he's concentrating on calling for the right pitch with a runner in scoring position. Where Baez is standing, he can easily see if the batter's eyes are cheating and looking toward the runner on 2nd for help, while he should be focused on the pitcher and his own act of hitting. I'd bet that Javy saw just that happening and knew he needed to stand in front of DJ so he isn't easily picking up signs. It was an easy, and entertaining way to solve that problem.

    If baseball is trying to limit chess moves like that in order to speed up the game, then they've failed all who are a big fan of the game now and the intangibles involved with a game that was developed without the use of a clock, and has developed strategically over the years.
    On another note, has anyone noticed that now that teams are limited to 6 mound visits, each one now usually involves the entire infield instead of just pitcher and catcher (sometimes with an extra infielder), and essentially, they now take as much time possible (to get value) till the ump breaks it up and then more time as players return to their position. While it's nice that it limits these extra stoppages in play, the length of time of the break seems to have increased and thus minimized the impact of the 6 mound visit limit anyway.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Agreed on Caratini. In general I wonder how much him being the exclusive catcher has affected Q's numbers. Caratini hasn't been catching for very long and I noticed in general that the organization didn't seem particularly comfortable throwing him out there at Catcher. I like caratini as a player and prospect for his potential but I do wonder if it's in the teams/pitching staff's best interests to have 2 offensive minded inexperienced young catchers handling the entire staff. David Ross showed all of us 1st hand the value of having a veteran, intelligent minded catcher on the roster as I don't know what our record was exactly when he started, but I know that we won a crazy amount of games when he was behind the plate.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    *Didn't seem comfortable putting him at C last year

  • fb_avatar

    You know me as I won't apologize for a multi million dollar athlete as i expect them to perform, but even I noticed how Yu was treated a lot different then other Cubs who have struggled. The manager, FO, and some teammates backed up Arrieta and Lester when he struggled last year. All we have heard about Heywards struggles is support and excuses because of the speech. Why? I dunno?

    Perhaps Yu hasn't earned the respect of being a Cub since its his first year? Even so, he has earned the respect of his peers and the league w his 4 all star appearances. So why is a 25 yr old catcher calling him out and even worse shining a light on whats perhaps may be a weakness for fans and opponents to use as ammunition against the team? Where is his backup?

    When Jake was struggling throwing the ball to home plate and holding runners as teams were running on him at will, nobody on the team ripped on him? One guy, a catcher was being blamed for like 7-8 bases being stolen on him by a reporter and he gave the truth. Immediately after that, he was in the doghouse. He was called a clubhouse cancer, a me 1st player, blah blah and was shipped out of town ASAP. Strange huh? Double standard? I hope not,

    Regardless of anything I said above, Yu needs to pitch better and not meltdown esp when tiny things go wrong for him, but he also needs the support of his teammates and organization like his peers.

  • Good summary but I believe Almora had 4 excellent catches this weekend. Three on Sunday and the fourth ,I believe Saturday when he ran into the right center field/center field wall at full speed.

  • In reply to stix:

    He had three amazing catches: the one Saturday night and the two diving catches Sunday. Have to disagree that the one when he slammed into the wall in the 9th yesterday was a great catch. He was drifting on the ball instead of getting to the spot on it and could’ve gotten injured on the play for no reason. As Michael pointed out in the comments for the minors recap that is the one area defensively he needs to improve on.

  • It's never a bad time for a compliment, but now seems particularly appropriate. I've been reading and listening to a lot of Cubs news the last few days that involves click-bait drama, and the subsequent comments. Hurdle and the bat flip, Contreras calling out Yu, Bryant getting beaned, Javy vs. D.J., etc.

    It all makes me appreciate Cubs Den that much more. Thank you to the writers and this wonderful community. Also, of course, "Pappa Den" John, for creating the whole thing.

    "Wish you were here."

  • fb_avatar

    I know that I am not being political correct but I don't totally agree about the brush back pitch to Bryant. Intentional no careless yes and I don't think the Rockies and the pitcher worried too much if it was careless. I think that if teams aren't worried about brush back pitches they will continue to brush Bryant and etc. I am of the old school you protect your teammates intentional hitting no but a warning pitch is appropriate in my opinion. I know when I played we respected the teammate who made sure it was understood inside ok at the head no. You can come inside if you have the proper control but a wild 96 fastball inside at the head is not tolerated. This site is impossible to comment. Please tell me what the post means something weird happened when you tried to post.

  • No need to apologize for your point of view. I agree. I'm not advocating all-out beanball, but you have to protect your teammates. We are getting drilled at an alarming rate, and the opposition hasn't felt (literally) the need to quit doing it. I would hate to see anyone get hurt, but sometimes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Your last point wasn't real clear to me, but I think you may have been complaining about a comment caught in the filter? Join the crowd. If you are talking about trying to comment, and seeing a message saying something to the effect of "Thanks for commenting, but...", please know it happens to all of us and is frustrating. It's something to do with the ChicagoNow site, not the staff here at Cubs Den. I think it has something to do with keywords, because I can pretty much trigger it on demand. It's not you and not Cubs Den.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    My experience is the you can also stimulate the filter with a longish reply.

  • Barley, can you provide a few of the key words that cause a comment to go into the trash. It would help us all a lot. Thanks.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to veteran:

    The "Seven words you can't write on Cubs Den"?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The seven forbidden words?

    "Trade Javier Baez and keep Jorge Soler."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    "Torres for Chapman was a great trade."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Good to see soler off to a solid start tho.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to veteran:

    Anything that almost sounds like a swear. You can't say the star of the movie "Predator" "Commando" Terminator" aka the former governor of cali because it sounds like a bad word

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Arnold?

  • In reply to veteran:

    Sorry I'm just now seeing this, veteran. The other commenters pretty much have it covered. Length of comment is certainly an issue, though I'm using a new device that seems to help with that. Sometimes full personal names seem to cause it. I've never had any luck trying to link anything posted on twitter.

    To your point, no, I haven't figured out a way around it or what to avoid. It seems pretty random. I'm by no means a tech guru, but perhaps someone who is could bring it up with the host site, ChicagoNow?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    In fact, I'll try doing some research and send an email to ChicagoNow. Perhaps others could do the same, respectfully, of course. It's very possible the staff here has tried before, I have no idea. But it's worth a shot. I don't know what I'm talking about, but if someone who does could offer suggestions to whoever runs the site it would be greatly appreciated by everyone here.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm not sure that anything in particular triggers it. I've made comments both long and small that are gobbled up with nothing even remotely negative.
    I have briefly commented that something was detained and usually it gets released pretty soon.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maybe it has to do with number of responces on a given comment? Seems like I get caught when I'm commenting on a poster that has several already. If one is interrupted or has a lengthy comment forget about it, the filter will nail it.

  • fb_avatar

    Not ready to call it a winning streak:
    WLWLLWLWWLWLLWLWWLW

    That's the season so far. I want them to win at least 3 in a row before I will call it a winning streak. As such, they haven't had one yet this year.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I like what you did there... and it points out that at least we've won 4 of the last 6. I'll take that, but now, like you want, let's add a winning streak to that too. Now winning 7 of 10 along with a 5-game winning streak would be something to really build on.

  • Prayers for the White Sox pitcher fighting for his life.....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Absolutely. It is truly a fight for his life. Things seem to be going as well as can be reasonably expected, but from what I understand, the next couple weeks are crucial. Best wishes.

    I also saw that he used to play for Seattle. The Mariners have hung an old Farquhar Mariners jersey in their clubhouse for their series against the Sox. Classy move.

  • Joe said calling up gimenez is not an option. Hickey acknowledged they will work with darvish to help him and see why he seems to have that one bad inning every start.

    and heyward hitting #'s are decent to start(wrc,less ground balls,top 20 in mlb in exit velocity,batted balls locations more distributed instead of pulling) they've trended up compared to his 1st 2 seasons. I think this is a result of working with davis. I really hope he continues to trend up or at least maintain

  • In reply to bolla:

    I was thinking that getting Gimenez up soon was a good idea, but I can see where it could be interpreted as a bit of a panic move. His one bad inning is frustrating, but is also a little disrespectful to Yu, Willy, Vic, and the coaches, without a block of time let them work out the issue. Plus, it might not be as simple as trading receivers.

  • My favorite almora catch was the willie maysesque catch over the shoulder running full speed.I thought that ball was about to ricochet off the wall for a triple. Great catch and yes almora should be the everyday cf.

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