Five--Cubs 6 White Sox 1

"This ballgame is ovah." The words are familiar after all these years and the inflection conveyed the scoreline. The entire afternoon was a fitting end for the career of longtime broadcaster on the Southside. There was something poetic in a caricature whom the game had long passed by having his moment spoiled by his most hated foe. I'm sure Ken Harrelson has been a perfectly nice man to many people and if you want to look back nostalgicly at the career of Hawk there are plenty of places to find them. However, I am not going to pretend to be sad about a man who spent 30 years in the booth because he sent his beloved franchise back a decade in a year as GM. My initial dislike was based almost certainly on him being the archetype for the White Sox fan more concerned with the fate of the Northside nine than that of his beloved Chicago side. However, the game is better off without analysis in the vein of A.J. Pierzynski was lucky that Michaell Barrett "punches like a girl" this afternoon, and it is certainly better off without the various racist dogwhistles throughout the years. You are allowed to be sad about your racist grandpa retiring, but I don't have to memorialize it here.

The game on the field was certainly needed for the Cubs as they lowered their magic number down to five. Carlos Rodón had pitched well since coming back from arm injury, but the Cubs lineup sprung to life early. The old man daily double of Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist delivered back to back singles to start the game. Rodón blew a high heater past Javier Báez for the first out. Anthony Rizzo doubled to drive in Murphy to open the scoring for the Cubs. Zobrist scored on an Albert Almora Jr. groundout. David Bote hit a groundball single to drive in Rizzo to put the Cubs up 3-0. That would be more than enough for Kyle Hendricks. Willson Contreras flew out to end the inning.

The largest positive of the afternoon was Kyle Hendricks reverting back to Greg Maddux form. Hendricks threw 7.2 innings and was in command in every sense of the word throughout the afternoon. A three run lead would have felt insurmountable with the way the Professor was dealing. A two out single to the Beef Castle in the second inning removed any perfect game watch. The shutout was lost in the fifth inning with Welington Castillo again coming through. This time it was a double, and he scored on Tim Anderson's two out double. But the game was largely out of reach by that point.

Kyle Schwarber hit a moonshot to start the second inning. It was perfectly timed to occur during the first of many gifts given to Harrelson on the afternoon. The Cubs ended Rodón's day in the third inning. Almora started the inning with a single and David Bote was hit by a pitch. Schwarber doubled to drive in Almora after Contreras struck out swinging. David Bote hit a groundball out against Aaron Bummer. That was a bit of a bummer for Rodón who was charged another un with Bote crossing home plate. The promising lefty gave up six runs in 2.1 innings of work.

The Cubs bats produced a lot of baserunners against White Sox relievers. 11 Cubs reached in the 6.2 innings thrown, but they never could punch in any more insurance runs. That looked like it might be an issue in the seventh inning. Tim Anderson singled with one out in the seventh inning. Hendricks struck out Adam Engel for the second out of the inning, and Joe Maddon elected to go to Jorge de la Rosa for the final out. Joe was rewarded with four straight retired to end the game. Cubs win a meaningless cup. Hendricks is great again and the only cloud on the afternoon was Kris Bryant sitting for "precautionary" reasons with a sore shoulder.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
I debated talking about Ken Harrelson here, and I am certain more than a few probably dislike the words I chose. I did think about saying nothing. The inner monologue I had was pretty similar to this clip. As you can see I made the same choice as Captain Holt did and I feel the same way he did.

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  • Let’s wrap this up Wednesday and then put the Cardinals out of their misery this weekend....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Amen!

  • I know it's related to yesterday's game, but does anyone know what the exit velocity was on Javy's homer?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I don't know how to make the infinity sign on a keyboard.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Seriously though statcast had it at 104.4 MPH.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Schwarber crushed his today, too

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Nice.......

  • I've never cared enough about specific announcers to form a strong opinion either way, with two notable exceptions: Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan. Both have a tendency to point out flaws to make themselves look better, and that's a trait I don't care for. Hawk has his fans and detractors, and that's fine by me. I do know that we took two out of three, knocked a few more days off the calendar, and shrank the magic number. For that I say:

    You can put it on the boooaard... Yes!

    Thank you! May I have another?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    That was a duck snort of a post BP. I’ll leave the other part up to Jonathan... but we all do know the answer to that inquiry.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    One of these days he could say no.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    You know what Hawk was saying as he was leaving today--dadgumit, we lost again! Grab some permanent bench! Stretch that drive to the hole! A can of corn birdie! and my favorite, those Bleepin
    Cubs!

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yes You May!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You gotta respect the longevity of him having that job. I will always use his corn lines when coaching or watching a game. I purposely flipped over to listen to the last 3 innings of Hawk. It took me back to my childhood. Seemed half my friends were Sox fans and the other half was Cubs fans and we argue about the team, stadium and announcers. Wish nothing but the best for hawk.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    MLB should pass a ruling prohibiting ANY offspring of former announcers from being foisted upon the general public too lol.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    But yet the Cubs hired Chip Caray because he wanted to work with his grampa.

  • In reply to jack:

    Chip Caray was terrible. I still can’t even listen to him today. In fact, any time I see highlights of Kerry’s 20 K game, I cringe upon hearing him.

  • In these last 2 starts by Kyle Hendricks, we’ve seen him look about as good as we’ve ever seen him look. Hopefully he can sustain these kind of performances for another 5 weeks!

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    8 2/3 and 7 2/3 with two garbage runs. We all fret and try to predict postseason rotations and batting orders in June. We're fans; that's what we do. But it really doesn't matter until now. Hendricks is on a roll and the rest of the rotation looks pretty good, which none of us could say most of the season. We need a few more bats to heat up, Schwarber looked good today, and a couple pen guys to become heros.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just reminded myself of a pet peeve. Seven and two-thirds of an inning is not 7.2. Eight and two-thirds is not 8.2.
    While I'm at it, I don't like Maddon calling runs in baseball "points", or the powers-that-be replaying the same sanitized, over-produced version of Harry singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on the jumbotron. He left us plenty of raw material.

    As I'm typing this, one speaker went out so I can only hear half of Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary". Maybe a sign. I'll quit now.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    How many times I figured ERA wrong as a kid because of that convention. However, it is a convention used by all the sites that record these statistics. I conform to the majority on this one.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Do you mean "conversion"? It's all silly, and that's all I'm trying to be. I'm actually impressed you were doing the sophisticated baseball mathematics as a kid, but I'm not surprised. I was sitting in my underwear at age 7 with 2000 baseball cards in front of me forming crude versions of OBP and SLG before the world, or I, had heard of Bill James.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    No I meant convention as in a norm that is followed but yes I was a weird kid. I liked baseball statistic math a lot because that was about as complex of stuff I could grapple with (it wasn't much longer I discovered my calling lay in history as opposed to a STEM based future).

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Gotcha. I kinda knew that but you can see how the two words are interchangeable in that context. I can't tell you the number of times I have used baseball statistics to get kids interested in math, and the joy on their faces (and mine) when it works.

    Speaking of those baseball cards, this was long past my half-naked Bill-James-wannabe days, but that is Bellhorn, right? My phone isn't clear.I was a big fan. I loved his old-school play, and old-school stirrups, but that 27-bomb season raised questions in that era.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yeah it is Mark Bellhorn. He was one of my favorite Cubs for a variety of reasons, and I use it sort of as a joke that he is my all time favorite player.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    I was pretty similar. I was frustrated that my preferred NES baseball game (Bases Loaded) didn't keep statistics for my players, so I actually kept book for every game I played. It was there that I taught myself to calculate ERA. I didn't think much of OBP or SLG at the time, and just kept track of BA, HR, RBI, doubles, triples, and stolen bases.

    I sometimes wonder what exactly happened to all of those notebooks filled with baseball seasons that never really happened. I don't consciously remember throwing them away, or stashing them somewhere for safe keeping. By now they're about 30 years gone, I'd imagine...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I was playing All-Star baseball by myself in my room with the windows open and hoping bugs wouldn’t get through the screens at night (no A/C back then for us)......WORE those spinners OUT!

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    In reply to Wickdipper:

    that is an awesome memory Wick,,

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree 7 2/3 is still how I prefer it over 7.2. Afterall. .2 isn’t even a full out. Shouldn’t it be 7.333 or 7.666?

  • You nailed it, Mike.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I mean with the article.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Thank you.

  • Looks like Schwarber is getting healthy and heating up at a good time. :-)

  • Cubs magic number to clinch a WC birth is uno.

    "Put it on the board" and nail it shut. Cubs win the season series 4-2, win Hawk's last professional game, so "HE GONE". Sorry Harrelson was such a resentful "homer" that he was not really respected by his profession, unlike Harry and the childhood announer "Jack".

    This is what baseball offers more than other sports because the broadcast announcer becomes the verbal personality of the franchise. But the broadcaster does take an at bat nor field a ground ball so anyway, "he gone".

    Big picture: Cubs won their 91st game so the pre season bets are coming into focus. They can finish with 98 or something less. Milwaukee has 89, (helleva an accomplishment) but they can only reach 95, plus they play the Cardinals in St Louis. Kind of figure that series is at best 2 wins, most likely 1 win hanging on to the home field advantage for the expectant Wild Card match up, with the Cards.

    Cards finish with the Brewers and Cubs and are 4.5 games out, 5 in the loss column with six games to play. So they definitely still possess their own destiny if the Cubs the best the Cards can do is win 93 games, thus even if they sweep the Brewers if the Cubs win 3/4 vs the Pirates at home, Cards lose their destiny.

    This is how the final week shakes out. My best guess is the Cubs win 4/ 7, best probably possible, 5/7 or finish 95-96 wins. Cubs project Hamels, Montgomery, Quintana and Lester vs Pittsburgh who reply with Taillion, Archer, Nova an Williams. Look to see a lot of LH bats in the OF and possibly Caratini behind the plate 2/4 games.

    They are alright, 3 games up on Milwaukee in the loss column and the NL Central will probably field 3 teams in the playoffs where the Cubs are leading the division and NL. Not too shabby.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    We are a community, rnemanich, and I wanted to mention this earlier: I hope you enjoy your time here, although I know the circumstances aren't ideal. It does sound like you caught the game today, or at least the highlights. Mom would want you to.

    To your point, Javy had a great quote: "We have to stay away from the other teams. We don't have to look at them, they have to look at us."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. We were celebrating my wife's mother, a Mom to me as years pressed on. She lived just short of 90 yrs, a signed artist of some recognition, a teacher and progressive and she became a Cubs fan. I will tell you all, I traveled much on business in the late 80s and thru the 90s, hated it then. But every time I have to travel now it is 'worser'. Just a friggin 2 hour flight from Chicago to CO takes total time door to door six plus hours. Up at 4:45 AM to catch a 9 AM flight, (8:36 board), leave 5:45 from just outside of Hinsdale, arrived at O'Hare, return rental, (PROBLEMS, fixed), shuttle in traffic jam, check in, then TSA (son is a supervisor but the line was still creeping, because we are in the Intl terminal and there is stupidity and more diligence), finally through by 8:09, walk to coffee then gate, to board almost 4 hours from wake up, got on flight. I like either the bulk head or wing for more inches, got bulk head but Frontier AirBus does not recline seats anymore. SMASHED but only 2 hour flight. But the other issue is you pay for check and carry on bags, unbelievable. If there was a bullet train I would take it. Anyway glad I don't travel on business anymore.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Must be a fast drinker to get smashed on a 2 hour flight! : )

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    My thoughts are with you, friend.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I share your sentiments 1000% but Letroy Hawkins and Shea Stadium are still stuck in my head vividly...I was there. Still sittin’ on my hands until it’s official....

  • I understand Mike. I couldn't do school math to save my soul, especially at a Catholic school, but could tell you the BA or ERA of almost every Cub and most of the rest of baseball thanks to baseball cards and Strat-O-Matic. I found history around the same time also and I'm still teaching it 41 years later. But to me, baseball and history are intertwined. I grew to love both from reading baseball history. I think it is the rich history of baseball. I think I knew who Babe Ruth was before I knew who Thomas Jefferson was. Sorry to all of you Bear fans, but I'm a GB Packer fan also. I don't know why or how I cheer for the two teams, but I love the history of both. I am weird but so are most fans.

  • In reply to dad1:

    Dad1, I love the interweaving of baseball and history as well. Not sure what you have read but a couple of short fun reads are Pitching in a Pinch by Christy Mathewson, and Busting ‘em by Ty Cobb.

    Awesome to read th geniuses of their time talk about the game.

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    In reply to dad1:

    My father grew up in Milwaukee, but we moved to Chicago. I was a Braves fan until they moved to Atlanta. That was around 1969, so I embraced the Cubs. My brother stuck with the Braves in Atlanta. My dad stuck with his hometown, so was a Brewers fan until his passing. Interesting that the three of us went our separate ways in baseball. But football was a different story! We all remained Packer fans. So I am with you—it’s the Cubs and the Packers all the way.

  • Cubs win, as well as all the other closest pursuers, MIL, StL, COL.

    The Magic Number for clinching the division, as already stated, is 5. This is a decrease of 6 this past week, in line with the average decrease in the 5 weeks of the Countdown.

    The Magic Number for clinching a playoff berth is 2. The Cubs can potentially clinch a playoff berth tonite.

    Although it depends on winning the division, the Magic Number for homefield advantage in the NL playoffs is 4.

    We all know that the Cubs host PIT for 4, while MIL is in StL for a 3-game set. COL hosts PHI.

    The fan in me would really like to see the whole thing wrapped up before this weekend’s series, StL vs, our Cubs and DET at MIL.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    To me the most important number you mentioned was 4, for home field. I hadn't thought of it before, mainly because we've had the best record in the NL league that I just forgot about it. Even though Cleveland won here and we won there I'd much prefer it. Let's take care of business and then watch everyone else fight for the rest. I like our starting pitchers now and that prediction by Joe that we might have the best starters he's had is coming true only not with the starters he was talking about.
    Like everyone else I learned math by figuring BA and ERA and didn't even realize that's what I was doing. I hope kids are doing it now, but with all the electronics they don't have to--it's done for them. That's a shame and we've all lost something by not doing it ourselves.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Great point Jonathan, I have maintained for the last three years that home field is a big advantage in the LCS rounds. Why? Because you get the wild card winner who burned a top starter often their ace. Their bullpen is less rested. It gives an inside track to an easier series that can roll into the LCS. In 2016 I am convinced we get to the Dodgers pen in games 4 and 5 as the accumulated affect of their Washington series. I also feel like we were just a notch off last year from our epic battle with the Nationals.

    Home field guarantees us nothing but with the current format it is a clear edge to make the WS.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I never really thought about it much until you just said it.....I actually learned math more as a kid by computing BA’s and percentages by doing it with pencil and paper.....
    Don’t look up videos on YouTube on how to fix things people, get on the phones and call your Dad instead......

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Aloha CubsFanInNorway- I have always hoped that our Cubbies could win out the remaining series, that way they have the division wrapped up. Having said that, the 2 latest series against the Brewers didn't go as planned but the AZ one was a nice surprise. So, I hope our Cubs can take 3 out of 4 from them Pirates. Right now we have a slim lead of 8-7 in the regular season series and the Pirates have very good pitching. The Cards and Brewers will duke it out these next 3 games. Will be exciting but hope the team is focused on winning out the rest of the regular season as it sets them up well for the post season. By the way, did you used to comment on the Cubs/MLB site before they shut the comments section down? Mahalo & Go Cubs!

  • In reply to daaboss:

    No, I have never commented on any other site, since any intelligent discourse is drowned out by the yelling and name-calling. It’s Cubs Den or nothing for me.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Norway, one question... I believe the magic number for the division and home field both should be five, if they don’t win the division they can’t get home field?

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    You are right, and, as I pointed out, it depends on winning the division, but I just wanted to mention that home field can still be clinched, that the Cubs have a nice little lead for the home field.

  • I rather face the dodgers or Braves in a series than the brewers or cardinals. Just don’t have a good feeling about facing the wc winner. Cards would be poised for payback from 2015. If the cubs get out the nlds I like their chances to get to the ws.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Ideally I'd like to see the Rockies in the NLDS. If either one of the Brewers or Cards sweep their head to head it really could open up that possibility. I'd like Colorado's chances against either team in a WC game.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The Brewers have the perfect roster for an elimination game, if they choose to deploy their pitchers correctly. I doubt they'd do it, but the baseball fan in me would love to see them utilize an opener and maximize that bullpen in a WC game.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    And I see now they've announced Dan Jennings as tonight's "initial out getter" in STL. Interesting!

  • In reply to bolla:

    Would not want the Dodgers

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Not in a 5 game, I would agree that would be tough, but in the a 7 game NLCS I think that's a very fair and likely epic matchup. While they had the edge last year I'd give the Cubs the slight edge this year if for no other reason than the rotation is better.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think the dodger offense is better then the cubs rotation.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I agree w you brother. Amen. I want nothing to do w Kershaw ( yes he's not the dominant force he's been and has had playoff issues but mostly against st louis) and Walker Buehler 3 times in a 5 game series. Plus its not like Rich Hill or Ryu haven't gives us problems as tough lefties.

    Honestly IMO, if we don't have face the Dodgers in the post season, we are going to the World Series ........ IMO, only way it doesn't happen is if our offense completely disappears for a week, but from my experience big time players come up big in big time spots. We have a whole bunch of big time, battle tested players on our roster.

  • In reply to bolla:

    The team I'd least like to face is the dodgers for me easily I think there's a reason why Vegas has had them as the NL favorite all year despite their ups and downs. Kershaw and Walker Buehler have formed an outstanding 1-2 punch and have been outstanding since the all star break, they have the lefty starters that can challenge the cubs in Wood and Rich Hill plus the cubs haven't hit lefties well recently with KB's beat up shoulder and Contreras struggles this year and those are 2 guys we've relied upon against lefties in the past. Baez is the only guy that crushes lefties in our lineup and we have a big time lefty heavy lineup that I'm worried the dodgers rotation matches well against. Aside from that Justin Turner is in MVP form again along with Machado, Puig and Bellinger have started to get it going. My one question with the dodgers is can their bullpen take over the series like they did last year I have my doubts.

    While st louis is by far the team I'd least like to lose to as a cubs fan because I don't know if I could even face my cardinal fans friends if they were to knock out this golden generation cubs group I think we'd all be sick to our stomach. From their fanbases perspective they didn't even expect to be even in this position of potentially playing the cubs in the NLDS and they'd be underdogs so I think those guys would just be grateful for the chance to even shut their rival fans up and get vengeance for 2015. That being said while my nightmare is losing to Stl. I still think they don't have the horses and star power that the dodgers and brewers bring and I think a series against the cardinals while not good for my stomach would still be our most favorable matchup. They're coming back to earth after their crazy August and I just think they're reliant on too many young unproven non-pedigree type of prospects that don't have the experience playing in these type of big games. I just see a lot more starpower and impact talent on their teams. I do agree with you that the braves would be my 1st choice I don't think those guys have the pitching to beat us. The dodgers though it makes me nervous how most of their stars have rediscovered their forms in the 2nd half of the season.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Agree 100% plus its not going to be fun traveling back n forth to LA either. Yes, you can shut the dodger offense down at times as they have a lot .250ish hitters, but.........The Dodgers have a lineup that is never out of a ball game, because they hit so many darn homers.

    They have guys w 20+ homers just sitting on the bench......

    In regards to your problem w cardinal fans. Just tell them if they want to be considered human and more importantly your friend, they need to stop cheering for those clowns or get their jorts and chewing tobacco and move to St. Louie !

  • Rodon was taken number 3 in the 2014 draft and Schwarber number 4. Schwarber hit a double and a homer off Rodon in 2 ABs yesterday. We win. Kyle threw in 2 BBs off the relievers for a very nice day.

  • In reply to John57:

    Kyle looked rested, relaxed and confident. This is his time of year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The swing plane from Kyle this weekend was the best I've seen from him all year. Smooth and natural. That Schwarber shows up in the playoffs watch out.

  • I've noticed that since the Cubs have been winners, that the competition has helped us do it. They seem to be the ones making the errors and mental mistakes more so than us. It used to be the other way around. That advantage is reduced a bit without Addi. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't think it is reduced any without Addi. Yes, he has good hands defensively, but he is without question our poorest decision maker all around. You have to scratch your head at his decisions sometimes. That being said, our overall infield defense will be negatively affected, but not by the amount most would think when you lose a ss of his caliber.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I think range wise Russell and Baez are almost the same but Baez has a much better arm.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Range is the only area that the metrics usually prefer Russell to Báez and that advantage is usually what those who preferred Russell at shortstop pointed to first. I agree that I think the difference in their respective ranges isn't that great, but I'd be reluctant to call it the same at this moment.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    "he is without question our poorest decision maker all around. You have to scratch your head at his decisions sometimes."

    Not just on the baseball field. Allegedly.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    The larger defensive impact is probably trying to cram Daniel Murphy, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and others into the same lineup. The best offensive lineup probably means some combination of Báez, Rizzo, Zobrist, Bryant and Murphy in the infield with one of Bryant/Zobrist headed to the OF. An infield with Zobrist and Murphy is a better big downgrade from what the Cubs played with at the start of the year.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    And if you make it to the WS, do you "cram" murphy into the infield and DH Schwarbs or DH Murphy and play Schwarbs in left? Thinking JHey will be in center quite a bit in the playoffs.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I see Schwarbs as less of defensive liability because of range and importance of the position. I like Kyle in left, Zo in at second with Murphy at DH. I'll let Joe figure It out though, according to how he figures all the matchup s.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. Schwarber in LF with Murphy at DH is much better than Murphy at 2B. He is a corpse out there.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    This is certainly something we should have some time to mull over. I think the choice is going to be to play more of an "offensive" lineup and yeah if there is a WS you'd think Murphy probably DHs a fair bit.

  • Eases the mind a little. KB back in the lineup playing third. Caratini catching. Schwarb, JHey, Zo in the outfield.

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