Needing Hats for Bats or Maybe a Whole Chicken--Pirates 6 Cubs 0

Here is a summary of the sum total of the Cubs offense last night:

There that was easy enough. Cubs hitters have now not scored a run since the third inning on Sunday. The Cubs have scored one run in that time frame off the bat of noted pitcher who rakes Cole Hamels. By my social studies teacher math that means the Cubs hitters haven't scored a run in 24 straight innings.

Chris Archer looked brilliant, but the Cubs did have chances. The Cubs actually put runners in scoring position in four of the six innings the supposed ace threw, but every time he recorded a key out when needed. He ended the night strong by striking out Kyle Schwarber for a second time with a runner on third. This one was more frustrating with just one out as opposed to two outs in the first inning. Tommy La Stella struck out to end the inning. Pirates reliever only allowed a single base runner as the Cubs dropped two in a row.

Mike Montgomery had no chance with that offensive output, but the game was over after the second inning. Monty at least struck out Francisco Cervelli to start the inning, but he allowed the next four batters to reach. Pablo Reyes hit a three run home run to put the game out of reach. Chris Archer grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The third inning started with an out, but Starling Marte doubled. A groundball out moved Marte to third for Francisco Cervelli. He doubled to drive in the fourth run. Monty pitched a scoreless fourth inning, and his night was over when Adam Frazier doubled to start the fifth. Brandon Kintzler came in, and the only surprising thing was that only Frazier scored. That meant Monty was charged with five runs over four innings.

The one concerning aspect beyond the general offensive ineptitude currently was Jorge de la Rosa. He has been a nice surprise as a potential lefty option, but he entered the game in the sixth inning with two runners on. Jorge de la Rosa walked the next batter to load the bases, and then walked in the sixth run of the game. He retired Cervelli was retired to end the inning. So at least I didn't have the frustration of watching of Cervelli single handedly beating the Cubs. No instead it is Pablo Reyes that is going to potentially end the Cubs shot at a third straight division title.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Random Reference
The Brewers won again, and now sit just half a game back for the division crown and homefield advantage.

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  • fb_avatar

    I'm really loving the Chili Davis effect on the offense. But for real, he needs to go. I don't think it's hard to figure out how Boston has the best offense in MLB since his departure.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    They overcorrected with Davis. Mallee was an extreme launch angle guy and they wanted to put the ball in play more. Under Davis they do put the ball in play more but the team isn't constructed for that necessarily and it hasn't really helped. The OBP has remained nearly the same (.333 this year, .338 last year), the wOBA tells the same story, but you've lost the HR to drive those guys in. They need a hitting coach than can speak to both of those philosophies. Of course Bryant losing his power to injuries hasn't helped either.

  • In reply to TC154:

    If launch angle is done properly there will be more balls in play. Laugh angle = swinging on plane with the pitch. The best hitters do this naturally. I am disappointed with Chili’s results.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Davis is being made into the scapegoat. I put this on the players and fans much too high expectations for the players.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Yes, the players are accountable, but if you have information being put into your head that changes your previous success, then it is on the person feeding that information.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think of a hitting coach as I do the president.

    He gets the credit (undeservedly) when things are going well and conversely, the blame (undeservedly) when things are going badly.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Then there's the absolutely meaningless evidence that Boston improved when Chili left while the Cubs regressed when he arrived. Nope, no impact at all. He's just here to "smile and wave his little cap" before the games.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Disagree - the players can make their own adjustments

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Of course you would disagree. That’s all you do in here.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It's the FAN'S fault? I got nothing. Wait!....................nope, still nothing.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Its not the fans fault their not hitting. I think fans expectations on young players was out of whack.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It's unrealistic to expect young players to improve over last year's performance?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cliff I think there is something to be said about players just having an overall bad year too.....good example is Zobrist now.
    Being young and upcoming doesn’t always guarentee steady progression.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Very true just my view but I think we can almost certainly expect Bryant (if healthy) and Contreras to improve for example I think these guys are too good to continue to struggle. I'm less optimistic about a number of our outfielders and addison russell though I think those spots will likely be revamped this offseason to a degree

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Agreed, but when a whole bunch have a bad year at the same time, ya gotta wonder...

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Hard to say it's possible your right that's why I don't blame the hitting or pitching coach. We just don't have the information of what's going on to jump to any conclusions but this is a results oriented industry and the results aren't great for Davis. Not only did Red sox owner John Henry say that he thinks that getting a new hitting coach was the key addition to the red sox this offseason but now for the 2nd straight year we've seen a major decline in home runs from a Chili Davis led team. We've seen a major regression from a number of players including Contreras, Rizzo to a degree, Russell, Bryant, Almora, and Happ. Yes some of the home run regression is because of Kris Bryant's injury issues but Contreras also has seemingly forgotten how to launch the baseball and Chili Davis is an easy guy to blame given his anti launch angle philosophies. I trust Theo to do the right thing but as of now I'm very unimpressed with Davis and Jim Hickey although with Hickey at least our starting pitching has been great lately.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I think his presence has been good for someone like Báez. He was too pull happy and had too much swing and miss. It seems that he may have helped reign that in. With that being said, Every hitter ya a unique style and game plan at the plate. I’m not sure you can blanket statement with the effect of a hitting coach.

    Which players do you think have regressed under Chili Davis? Bryant has been injured and his focus on reducing strikeouts (usually means less power) was his own plan. Happ regressed but I’m not sure why. Hayward has made a major improvement.

  • In reply to mcoley32:

    Rizzo benefitted from the launch angle approach as did Russell (who is likely no longer a factor but still). Plus it's not zero sum. I agree with you on Baez. Davis helped him immensely. If you want an example of a hybrid approach look at Dave Hudgens in Houston. He teaches launch angle to guys that are good hitters to boost power and contact to sluggers. He'd be ideal but likely not available. Jeff Albert is the other hitting coach there and espoused the same philosophy as minor league hitting coordinator working throughout there system. Alonzo Powell might be another choice as he was a Hudgens disciple before landing in San Francisco. With a lot of rumors that Bruce Bochy might be kicked upstairs he might be available. Either way I don't think you can risk staying with Davis. Of course there will be plenty of time to discuss players later but the guys that interest me most in FA to help this team are Manny Machado and Michael Brantley. Obviously Brantley would be predicated on moving Schwarber, which I don't think they'll do and I really don't want them to, but he'd get a MLB player and a prospect in return and if that player is a CF you'd be in business.

  • In reply to mcoley32:

    Go down the entire lineup sans Baez and you see some regression all the way to huge regression.

    Happ, Schwarber, Willson, Rizzo, Russell, Bryant, Heyward, Almora.

    That is 2/3 of your everyday lineup right there.

    Bryant when he came up had “easy” power to RF hitting some majestic bombs well over 400 ft. Now he can’t hit the wall. And his light tower power to LF is gone. This was all before his injuries too. He probably should have told Chili - look I don’t need a new philosophy, just reinforce what I do and what has worked. I am good.

    Really disappointed in Rizzo as he has been the rock of this team and has been MIA nearly all year.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Schwarber hasn't regressed though, at least not for a full season. He was better last year in the second half than his 2018 season totals but not by a ton. After coming back last year he had a 131 wRC+ this year he has a 117 wRC+. The HR are down slightly but not by much. For a whole season he's been a much better player than in 2017. The rest I agree with you though.

  • In reply to TC154:

    He would fit under the “some” regression category. I really believed he would hit above .280.

    I haven’t said it in here, but I believe Schwarber not playing Catcher has hurt his hitting. Seeing and tracking pitches, watching spin and movement, and knowing where the zone is on a given day is an advantage that was taken away from him. He is not a great athlete, but is a hard working studious type of player. I wonder if getting him some reps at Catcher in the bullpen and a game a week or every other week wouldn’t help him get back to his previous form. He was Joey Votto, not Rob Deer or Mickey Tettleton.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Schwarber will not catch again

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Says you the great naysayer and Carnac of Cubs Den.

    Did you even read what my post was about? Jeez.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don't believe his not catching has hurt his hitting. Jeez.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Because a guy that tracked 120+ pitches during a game per day for his entire life and now sees 20 would have no impact on him? Ok. What a laughable position to take.

    You really have very little understanding about playing the game baseball. Maybe you can keep “waitingtilnextyear” before something intelligent crosses your brain.

    Let me post for you “I disagree”.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Schwarber will hit .275-.280 when he cuts down on the Ks and not before. I'd like to see him dedicate himself to that this winter like he did with the weight last year. 21% K rate and he hits .275. Everything else in his stat line is solid or better.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Bryant's hitting coach is his dad - Can't blame Chili for Bryant.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    No, I blame the shoulder. He looked like an MVP before the injury.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree his shoulder is his issue and will need a procedure to fix after the season.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    So Chili hasn’t worked with or spoken to Bryant this year. From Feb up to now they haven’t had multiple conversations and Chili put his theories into Kris?

    I think that is a foolish perspective.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think it is foolish to think Chili's theories have hurt Bryant's production.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Theories which contradict what you have been taught and reinforced daily for 9 months wouldn’t have a negative impact?

    Do you even think before you post? Or just post to be a contrarian? It is comical. I would love to hear your inner monologue and the arguments you get into with yourself. Probably make for a great reality show.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Agreed Bryant was playing well before his injury he needs to get that labrum cleaned up and dedicate this offseason to taking care of his body. He's a great player but this is now 2 years in a row where he's gotten injured in June and has had an instant power decline for the remainder of the year. We need Bryant to be in all star form

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mcoley32:

    I'm frustrated with the offense this year & I have it stuck in my head that everyone regressed because if Chili. But Contreras, Happ, and 1st half Rizzo. But I believe Rizzo said F it & went back to his normal swing. There could be a few more. I agree with TC in that they need a hiring coach that combines both philosophies. Although that can be hard to find.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Hitting coach, not hiring coach

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    "Hiring" coach might have been the more correct.

  • When you give it a good look, the possibility, and maybe even probability, is that there will be a play in game on Monday. That's would be the Brewers going 3-1 and the Cubs 3-2. If the Cubs only go 2-3 they'd play the WC game and that could very well be against LA as Colorado has a pretty good shot at the West right now. The worst case scenario would be to lose a play-in on Monday, win the WC on Tuesday and go into the NLDS against Milwaukee on Thursday. Yikes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    Even before yesterday's debacle, I was preparing for the Monday's tie breaker for the division Monday at Wrigley

    I was expecting the Crew to go 4-1 and for us to go 3-3. Now we have 1 less game and have to go 3-2.

    It would be real real sad to lose that game Monday and then have to play Tuesday again. Only good news in that scenario is both games would be at Wrigley.

    Gosh this thing has not only gotten ugly, but it has really gotten away from us the past couple weeks.

    Where has all the offense gone?

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I think most of us thought that with Schwarber, Bryant and Heyward returning that it would get the offense going but only Schwarber has really helped with a .963 OPS and 158 wRC+ since his return but even he has a downside with a . 35% K rate in that span. Hard to score when your horses don't hit.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Ugly might be overstating the situation just a bit.

    It has been known for awhile that our offense is problematic. Its not something that just popped up with the season winding down.

    As fans, we tend to amplify things when a deadline is approaching.

    This team has not demonstrated a championship level of play all year and the most recent stretch of games is really no different, other than the timing sucks.

  • The Offense has problems everywhere. They are 22nd is MLB with RISP with some anemic performances from Schwarber .204 and Contreras .215.

    In Sept, Bryant has a .403 SLG and one home run in 21 games. Rizzo has two homers and a .389 SLG and Ben Zobrist has none and a .373 SLG.

    This team was built on power and patience. The power is gone. And the patience is absurd with the amount of fastballs taken right down the middle of the plate.

    This has to be the worst case scenario for Davis. He will not survive this Offensive collapse and Sept power outage. As discussed yesterday, I completely expect a major overhaul. I could envision an entirely new OF and at least 1 new IF.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Heyward isn't going anywhere whether we want him to or not. I wouldn't be opposed to it but he does add value in the OF and he rebuilt the OF and got another IF bat you could live with a league average run producer in that spot. There are two ways to look at moving Schwarber. The first is that he's a 3 WAR player and if you think he's inconsistent his value will never be higher. He'd get an MLB player and prospect in return. If you think he'll be better you keep him because at 3 WAR and 117 wRC+ he's still a valuable player. As I said above if you move him I sign Brantley who's K rate is absurd at about 9%. Then you have the decision to decide between Happ and Almora. Happ gives you power and more flexibility bt how long can you live with a 35% K rate? Almora is a nice little hitter that looks like a 4th OF. Decisions have to be made and none of them are easy.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I could see Heyward being traded with Happ or even Quintana included to offset a large salary with a value contract or years of control.

    I think Schwarber could fetch a closer or a dominant set up guy.

    Brantley is interesting and I could get on board with that. And you know how I feel about Machado.

    There couldn’t be a better year for the Cubs to receive the $50MM Fox TV deal money. That almost gives them a pass to invest it on the team. Lots of flexibility and I expect them to blow past the tax threshold this off season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rbrucato:

    Machado at 3b & Bryant to the OF. Trade Happ++ to the Royals for Merrifield at 2b. Brantley would be a nice sign but he gets injured pretty much every year. A RH starting pitcher would be nice and a an actual legit closer. This closer by committee is crap imo.
    I highly doubt any of this will happen, just me dreaming.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Don't think you get Machado if you are going to play him at 3b...sounds like he only wants to play SS...non?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Doesn’t Heyward have a no trade clause? Makes trading him difficult as does his ~$23M salary even if they try to add a value piece. What would you expect in return other than salary relief.

  • In reply to stix:

    No-trade and you'd have to eat $50 mil just to start making him attractive to another team and then there's next year's opt out which has some numbers attached to it (unlike this years) but could be a stumbling block. It's more likely they could move him after next year than this winter. That's why I think it's more likely the Cubs look for a CF this year, maybe using Happ, than anything else. You could trade Schwarber to make room for Brantley or Harper, but it might not make that much sense.

  • In reply to TC154:

    You don’t have to eat anything. He has a limited no-trade this off season.

    If you sweeten the pot, his contract could be had. After Harper and Machado get paid, his deal won’t look that bad.

    Finding that trade partner will be tough though and I get why you say you would need to send cash the other way.

  • Im looking forward to an exciting and hopefully successful ending to this year with a resurgence of our offense needing to happen ASAP. But briefly jumping ahead to the future, Theo has some major decisions to make this offseason with the likes of Russell, Murphy, Hamels, Schwarber, Happ, the closer position, and other roster spots. All of a sudden, we have many major questions and decisions about where were headed.

  • This team does not have any (except Murphy & Baez...and Baez only because he swings at almost anything), bad ball hitters. If the opposing pitcher does not make very many mistakes, this team is not going to hit.

    Look at the AB's of players on the Red Sox, Astros's, Dodgers, etc...You see these guys getting hits on non-strikes. To me that is hitting philosophy. You may say that approach may hurt their OBP. Maybe however these other good offense teams seem to do just fine.

    I think it has more to do with the understanding of what the opposing pitcher is trying to do and using that information to your advantage. For example, if you know they are going to work you away, look to go the other way regardless if the pitch is off the corner. You should still be able to hit it well. Look at Cervelli the other night, he was expecting to get busted inside by Hamels, and he crushed it.

  • Everyone is talking about Chili getting fired as if it's inevitable. I doubt he's going anywhere. They fired Mallee and brought their guy in - I don't think they'd give him the boot after one year.
    And i'm not sure if they should. It sure seems like it's all his fault (power is gone, Boston is good now, etc) but I'm not sure how much blame or credit we, as fans, can ever attribute to a coach. These guys have all been really good hitters for the last 20 years of their lives. They deserve a lot of the blame/credit. It's not as if Chili comes in and they all hand themselves over to him like fresh clay to be molded. I doubt Bryant ever talks to him about hitting, for instance.
    They've said things like, "This approach change will not take place overnight. It takes time to implement and see the effects." I don't necessarily think it's the right move, but I'd bet on Davis staying put for another year.

  • fb_avatar

    My negative take:

    right now the Cubs have a...

    third baseman who is injured and has no business playing

    a shortstop with serious domestic violence charges hanging over his head for 2 years now which is clearly weighing heavy on him

    a second baseman who is the WORST defensive player at ANY position in the national league

    a first sacker who seems like a swell fellow but really needs to stop being so friendly w/ opponents and start raking again

    a catcher that is in such as slump that when he isn't resorting to the little league fake bunt move hasn't hit a homerun against the national league ( the league he plays in btw) in seemingly a good year

    a left fielder who was fat and a defensive and base running liability and is now merely a liability

    one center fielder who strikes out constantly and annoyingly and another who, while a splendid center fielder , possesses a 215 on base percentage in his last 30 games

    a right fielder who has seven homeruns this year ( SEVEN!!) which equates to roughly 3 million per homerun

    and the great el Mago.....

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Your outlook this morning seems to be one is seeing that the glass is half empty

    This year has shaped to be a crapshoot kind of season...you just never know what you will get from one day to the day with this battle tested team.

    Inconsistent and unpredictable....but still a playoff contender

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The glass is half full - and leaking like a sieve.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Ha! Great analogy. The glass is indeed half full. But it was overflowing just a few days ago.

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Sounds like you’re describing a last place team.

    The new 2b provided a huge bump to the offense when he arrived. His play at 2b is not why the Cubs aren’t hitting well.

    Schwarber was never a “...base running liability...”. He had issues in left at 1 time. He’s been a lot better out there and has the arm to throw runners out trying to advance or score.

    After the last 2 seasons, we don’t care about HRs from the RFer, we just wanted better hitting from him. But yeah, typically RF is a power position. Heywards D was a trade off from that norm because he was suppose to hit better than he has.

    Yes, there have been negatives but we are in the drivers seat to be back in the playoffs for a 4th straight year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Milk Stout:

    I know right??
    It is insane
    The cubs are like 25 games over and I am all doom and gloom.
    I just really abhor losing when it counts, at home ,to an inferior opponent, with everything to play for and scoring zero runs..

    I must be honest though,, when these Cubs of the last 4 years have ABSOLUTELY had to get a win or a run at an important, season defining moment they have come through!
    So in honor of you Milk my glass is now officially half full!
    Go Cubs

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    Ha ha! I’m not saying these Cubs haven’t been frustrating at times... because they have been. And I know that people are just venting that frustration.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    For me, it's about expectations. If I was expecting a .500 performance, I'd be ecstatic at how they're doing. Maybe my expectations were too high, but getting manhandled by the Pirates with the Division crown on the line wasn't what I was thinking.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Me either. Staring at a 4 game series loss to them was not how I was expecting to go into the Cardinal series.

    Now worst case we hope to salvage 2 games & then have to sweep the Cards for the magic division # w/out a Brewer loss. It could be done, but if not, we will still make the playoffs. Either w/a 1 game division tie breaker or a WC. That WC # is only 1. They have to get hitting. They are good enough to do it.

    It’s not doom and gloom just yet.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Nesbit:

    Wow.....what changed over the last 2 hrs or so?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    lol perspective
    and coffee

  • fb_avatar

    How about Q, Schwarber, and ? for Clevinger & Brantley?

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I thought Brantley is a FA in 2019.

  • In reply to stix:

    He is.

    To Wrigley 0923, why would anyone trade Q? Even if we pick up Hamels option you need more starting pitching not less. You need 9 guys who can start games for you. right now going into next year that rotation would be the best 1-5 in the NL with Darvish, Lester, Hamels, Hendricks, and Quintana. Plus at $10 mil Q is cheap, especially if this year is an outlier and he goes back to being the 4-5 WAR pitcher he's always been. After those five you figure Monty, Alzolay and then what? You're likely going have to dump Chatwood unless you fix him. Especially with Darvish coming off of injury I'm not trading starting pitching.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    Depending on Darvish is a long shot right now and going forward. The rotation is too heavy LH'ed also. Q is known not to be a big game pitcher. Clevinger is a way better pitcher too. Q is a FA in 2020 if they pick up his option.

    I get your point about never having enough SP, but I just like Clevinger over Q. More k's, more innings.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    I'd love to keep Q, it's just that he's been so hit or miss this year. If the FO doesn't pick up Hamels option, which I believe they won't, then Q stays. I'd still like to add Clevinger or someone of his caliber. I have no faith in Darvish, until he proves me wrong.

  • They need to scout themselves. Watch the tape of their at bats. The good ones & the bad ones & compare them, what was right & what was wrong. 1 example is Javy. His good at bats his eyes, nose, head are all on the ball. His bad ones are him pulling way off at pitches in the zone or swinging wildly at balls down & away or over the letters.

    They’ve all been having problems w/pitch selection. Taking meatballs over the heart of the plate & swinging at the pitcher’s pitch off the plate...whether it’s inside (Rizzo), under (Bryant/most everyone), above (Murphy/others) & outside (Javy, Heyward, Russell, etc...).

    It’s one thing if they’re going oppo to go after the outsiders, but they’re mostly trying to pull it.

    I’m not a batting coach, nor do I play one on TV or the internet... But I have played, watched & love the game of baseball & coached girls fast pitch softball, & I can see some of these things.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    They do scout themselves and watch tape

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They aren’t acting like it...

  • I feel like chili davis is being scapegoated, the cubs have had these issues with risp going on 3 seasons now.The Red sox have mookie betts who is better hitter than anyone on this team(yes including kris bryant).Betts hasn't struck out 100x in a season ever, & his on base % is .434. Then they have jd martinez who is another mvp candidate 40+ hr's 120+ rbi's + bogearts and benintendi.Rizzo has had an up n down season he's been hot but he's also had multiple months where he was ice cold,bryant is injured...again, russell,happ,schwarber,almora,caratini are below average hitters,contreras is having a down year he's had some AWFUL ab's where's chasing way out the zone, grounds out too much and he makes way too much light contact. Heyward hasn't hit in a cubs uniform until 2018 & his #'s are ok but not what you hoped for 28 mil ohtani is a 2 way rookie and has more power than heyward. The bottom line is we'll all be forever grateful for 2016 but it may be time to shuffle the deck.Some of these players may have plateaued or may not be as good as the cubs scouts and management hoped.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don’t blame Davis or Mallee. These guys know how to hit so it’s on them. Chili isn’t in the box swinging their bat or or holding it on pitches down the middle.

    They need to watch how the other teams are attacking them & adjust to it. They’ve been scouted by their opponents & their weaknesses are being exposed.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    What does a hitting coach do? Isn’t he supposed to do some of that self scouting you discuss and communicate that to the hitters? Or does he just assist the hitters when they ask for help?

  • In reply to stix:

    Well, he probably is supposed to, but I haven’t talked to Davis or the players yet about it like our resident disagreemeister has... ;o)

  • In reply to stix:

    If a player is a good hitter the hitting coach shouldn't say anything except 'Good Morning'. It a player ie struggling or especially lost, this is the hitting coach's value. Over the years I have seen hitting coaches turn 280 hitters into 230 hitters. Contact hitters into watchers. Good hitters figure it out for themselves.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Yup

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree that Davis is being made into the scapegoat.

    You list Russell & Schwarber as below average but along with Contreras I read them all mentioned as future MVP candidates.

    I also agree that many of these players will never hit the ceiling that was projected and will plateau closer to their floor.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I blame Chili for the approach that sapped the power out of this team. That is the difference between him and Maillee.

    The rest is on the players. The team has a 89 wRC+ post ASB. That is horrific. That is a lineup full of bad Addison Russell’s or bad Jason Heyward’s.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    Well the new hitting coach made some changes to Mookie's swing/plane and you can tell how bad he was struggling in spring training. The Boston media was killing the hitting coach and his changes.

    Fast forward 5 months and he turned Mookie from an all star to a superstar MVP. JD is JD, but pretty much all the numbers across the board in Boston are better. A lot can be credited to sequencing, but it would be kinda crazy to believe the change in hitting philosophy didn't affect nada.

  • I said before the game if archer looks like a cy young candidate vs the cubs then changes need to happen this offseason. Last 2 archer starts vs the brewers 10 earned runs.He's settled down lately but hasn't been very good for the pirates and was mowing the cubs down despite being hosed on a few blatant strikes in the zone.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed it's looking more and more like we need not only a middle infielder to potentially replace Russell and Murphy but we need to revamp this outfield a bit. I actually don't hate keeping Schwarber around he brings power that we need although I'd be open to trading him for the right offer and if we have a suitable replacement which won't be as easy to find as some of you all act like Schwarber is still top 20 in OPS and easily better than our other OF's. But I think enoughs enough with this CF platoon Almora has only a 1 WAR after having almost a 2 WAR in June that tells you how much his value has declined in the 2nd half and Happ has a 1.4 WAR that is not acceptable for a team trying to contend for a World series. It's now been 2 straight years of so-so production out of our CF's this needs to be addressed somehow because our lineup basically can't have underperforming players when Almora/Happ and Heyward are already part of the lineup. Heyward while better this season we're stuck with unfortunately but either way I think CF is the most obvious need for improvement. The starting pitching should be fine as is I'd keep Hamels and sign one high end reliever or 2.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yea specifically a lefty strikeout pitcher for the pen. The cubs need that in the worst way.Only wilson(who can still be shaky despite improving from last season) can be counted on.

    I agree with everything else, I doubt theo trades schwarber but the cubs definitely need more production from the outfield.I like happ but that dude either looks at the most called strikes(especially ones right down the middle) or swings and misses more than anyone on the team.It's imperative he improves his contact rate.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Pens are funny though. You start the year with one and end with another. Every. Single. Year. Guys who stink one year are great the next and vice versa. The pen at the beginning of the year looked like one of the best in the game but injuries and other things took their toll.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Exactly we've all learned 1st hand that even stars frequently have off years that's just baseball and that's why we need to minimize the holes on the roster. At this point of our positional player group the only guys who I'd for sure keep around are Bryzzo, Baez, and Contreras I think he's too talented to replace and I think he should be just fine. But if it were me I'd figure out what to do with our middle infield, get an impact type of reliever preferably from the left side (Andrew Miller?), and address the outfield we've now had 2 straight years of below average outfield production and at this point the sample size is large enough to conclude we're not good enough there. Our CF platoon has been below average for 2 straight years and despite Heywards improvement from his pitiful 1st 2 years with the team I think his presence generally hurts this team this guy just isn't a good hitter anymore he's average even in a better year this season. If it were me I'd get a CF but in any event we need a stud outfielder added to the mix I don't like the idea of going into the season with multiple potential holes in the outfield it basically means if a few stars get injured or have an off year then our lineup becomes much less effective. Let's be proactive and address the outfield somehow this offseason so that we're a step ahead in case a core star gets injured or underperforms. This was a big year for our outfielders to give Theo a better indication of what we have and I think enoughs enough the outfield is the obvious way to improve this team let's not rely on guys that we know or can expect won't be impact starters for the most part

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Happ, Almora, Schwarber and Contreras' contracts for this year add up to around 2.5mil. I blame scouting, development or youth for the output of these guys not hitting their ceilings in their 2nd to 3rd year. We could have gotten an outfielder in the off season but Theo and Jed chose otherwise. I don't know if Chili is the blame for the poor hitting this year but I know who set the outfield of Heyward, Almora/Happ and Schwarber and it wasn't Chili.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think this is true also especially regarding Willson Contreras, Bryant and Rizzo to a much lesser degree. But I've long been saying our outfield was a concern for me I understand those guys price tags were a big part of the decision but it's now been 2 years that our outfield has been below average. I think those guys struggles these past 2 years magnify our stars struggles or injuries like with Contreras and Bryant. At least with Contreras he's shown that he can be an impact player but Happ, Almora, and Heyward haven't really accomplished much over their major league careers. I doubt any of them are gonna be impact players if we keep them next year I hope we address the outfield proactively even one big addition would make a huge difference ideally a real CF

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    In heywards case he hasn't accomplished much in his cubs career I meant and looks like a declining asset to me

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yea pitching in general is really volatile

  • In reply to bolla:

    At least with Happ he has options I think so he can either be a super sub outfielder or we can stash him at AAA from time to time although he shouldn't be playing there. I'd hang onto him I think he'll improve his defense he's a good athlete he just needs to refine his routes mainly which is very improvable with hard work and experience. And he hits for decent power and gets on base. I wouldn't start him but I think he has value to us but no way would I use that Almora/Happ tandem at CF I'd like to actually have a shot at getting a 3-4+ WAR season from my starting CF. Heyward were kinda stuck with but I don't even want him playing regularly either he's average at best and I think this groups below average showings at the plate have magnified Contreras and Bryants struggles in particular. It's been 2 years I know these were our draft picks but we have to be more proactive with our outfield how many mulligans are we gonna give this OF group.

    As for a lefty completely agree and Andrew miller is on the market but maybe Theo finds a more reasonable option

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Miller or britton,the problem is both have had recent health issues and miller is always injured, but they are the best free agent options for lefty strikeout pitchers.Miller had a down year for his standards so I don't know if it's health related or just decline.Agree about Happ I'd keep him, they aren't gonna get rid of all the cheap cost controlled players which happ and almora still are.Russell is definitely gone, regardless they have some tough decisions to make this offseason.

    Heyward seems like a nice person/great teammate but man I wish they could get that contract off the books. I expected 15-18 hr's, 10-20 sb's 60-70 rbi's with elite gold glove defense and a decent on base% like 340-350.He's been a colossal flop, the world series win and his speech has helped mask this.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Agreed completely that's why I won't be mad if Theo opts not to sign those 2 veteran relievers especially because they're both gonna get nice contracts I'm sure. I haven't taken a look at the free agent class but another idea if we're not in the market for the top dogs would be to maybe sign 2 relievers say a lefty and a righty to replace Duensing I'd like those relievers to be maybe in the Steve Cishek/Tony Watson set up tier from last offseason.

    And for me Almora and Happ obviously would both be outstanding bench options on reasonable contracts. I'd maybe move Heyward honestly is gonna go down as one of the worst contracts in any sport this decade. I honestly think his presence is the main reason why our OF isn't great his contract is likely a primary factor in why Theo wants to give cost controlled options like Happ and Almora every opportunity to succeed and once again we're in that dilemma once again this offseason. If it were me I'd replace someone in this OF group ideally get a CF the reality is as long as we have these holes in the OF then every single core player needs to perform and stay healthy to pick up the slack from our lack of CF and RF offensive production. Again I hope we can trade some of these parts to fill a need maybe get a high end reliever or something

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I keep forgetting about smyly, so that's one option and montgomery is cool as an occasional spot starter but I prefer him out the pen. So they may have some in house lefty bullpen options for 2019 and who knows maybe justin wilson will be brought back lol.

    ender inciarte is the type of cf the cubs could use, I know the braves aren't gonna trade him just giving an example. I wish the braves would take heyward back if the cubs ate some of the contract. nik markakis has been better than heyward for a fraction of the cost.Eat 20-25 million and trade him the cubs can afford to do that.

  • fb_avatar

    The Cubs still are the 2nd best team hitting and leading or tied for OPS. However, in Sept they fall to 21st.
    They are hitting .230 with an OPS of .293. That's almost a whole month of terrible hitting. It's like a team hypnosis. I don't know the cure. It's certainly not Chili Davis--he might advocate a more level bat swing but these are major league players, they know how to hit and all (except Javy) has hit much better before. Why?

  • One thing seriously irritating me is all these brewers fans coming on cubs sites in the comments section with their chests poked out. There's nothing you can say or do about it either.They are dismissing baez as an mvp candidate too.I'm starting to hate this team and their fans. I know how theo is, if the cubs fizzle he's gonna make some changes and some tough decisions too. Dude is way too competitive, I'm gonna keep the glimmer of hope alive until the cubs are eliminated but I don't feel too confident about their chances.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I don't feel confident about their chances at the division, but I like their chances in 1 game against COL or STL. And then I'd probably pick them over the Brewers or Atlanta in the DS.
    One thing helping me through this frustration is the thought of Theo and Jed seething in anger at what this team is doing. I've not given up pennant aspirations in 2018, but I sure am excited for the offseason.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Exactly the nice thing is we have a surplus at starting pitcher so we're set there we can maybe even trade one of them although I wouldn't unless it's Chatwood that's how deep we are in the rotation going into next year. We can use an impact reliever or 2 but if I'm Theo I revamp this offense a little not an overload but maybe a new middle infielder, and a CF. I'm hoping that some of these young players have enough value where we can maybe package them to fill one of these needs it should be an exciting offseason and I'm guessing Theo is gonna address our outfield after 2 straight years of below average outfield performance.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yea that's the way I feel, anything can happen in october but my realistic expectations have been tempered for 2018.Looking forward to the off season and what changes happen.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Gotta say that, if I was a Brewers fan, I'd be pushing MVP for Yelich and doing a little trash-talking myself. I don't doubt that a few Cubs fans spread a little smack on Cardinals and Brewers websites - every fan base has some of those...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I’ve done some before on VEB .....and have no problem at sleeping at night....

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    The thought of all those arch-heads seething at your comments makes me...

    ...smile.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cardinals fans are the only ones I've really talked stuff too, and it's usually in response to them. They try to downplay everything the cubs have done, and always bring up their 11 championships and say stuff like "1 world series in 108 years" etc. Until matheny was fired that team looked like they were on the decline.

  • I would never advocate trash talking as method of communication. As I tell my kids, keep your side of the street clean and don't hit below the belt. That's punk talk to this old guy.

    I give the Brewers credit for hanging tough and not mailing it in down the stretch.

    Yelich is a fine player but neither he nor Baez is the Most Valuable Player in 2018.

    I believe if I were voting I would cast my vote for the guy in NY that can't buy a win. He's been phenomenal by my standards of a MVP.

  • So Jason Stark of the athletic who is an official MVP voter BTW has released his latest award winners. He has Javier baez as MVP unless the brewers win the division he says and it's interesting because he touches on what a lot of us have talked about all the time on how WAR and metrics completely undervalue Baez's baserunning and defensive contributions. I'm pasting a portion of the article here for those that are interested:

    Yes, Yelich has a half-run lead in Wins Above Replacement (6.6-6.1). But ask anyone in baseball if the Wins Above Replacement formula accurately reflects Javy Báez’s true defensive impact at three positions (second, third, short) — in an age of massive shifting and on a team where Joe Maddon often refers to him as the Cubs’ “free safety,” bouncing all over the field to keep him as involved defensively as possible. Anyone would tell you that any list of the NL’s top 10 defenders which doesn’t include his name is a list that needs revising.

    Does WAR accurately measure the havoc Báez wreaks on the bases? Fangraphs has already looked at that and decided: Nope. As one NL exec put it, “other teams make mistakes just because he’s out there. It’s amazing.”

    So why would I vote for Báez if I had to vote today? I hope that explains it. But I love and admire Christian Yelich. I could still cast my official vote for him. All I can promise you is that I’ve taken this so seriously as I’ve thought it through, it’s been a Tylenol-a-day kind of week.

  • Here's my list of most likely to least likely outcomes...

    1- Cubs get a wild card spot
    2- Cubs win the division
    3- Cubs miss out on playoffs (I mean, we gotta at least be able to either win 1 game, or one of STL or the ROX lose one game)

    But the possibility of the Cards beating the Brewers tonight, while Rockies beat the Phillies really scares me along with the Cubs losing another tonight. Nova is a beatable pitcher for sure, but which Q will we get tonight? And if we have a must win game tomorrow, I just don't like our chances going up against Trevor Williams who's been the best pitcher in MLB in the 2nd half. At that point, can we even win a game against the Cardinals, who've bested us in the season series this year? We have to face Wainright, Mikolas and Flaherty. There's nothing easy about that.

    In any way, I just can't see them getting past the NLDS if they can even make it that far.

    And I'm an eternal optimist...

    Unless we miraculously make it to the WS, I think there's gotta be some changes happening to our roster. In my opinion, Baez, Rizzo, and Bryant are the only players that should be safe.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    The Cubs are not missing out on the WC game. It's virtually impossible. Even if they lose the remaining 5 games, which would mean STL wins their final 3, the Rockies still have to win all of THEIR remaining 5 games.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Rox have 2 more against the Phillies, and then 3 against the Nats, all at home. That fact that it's mathematically possible, means it can actually happen. Highly unlikely, but can happen. That's why it's the least likely scenario that I mentioned. Your reply to me makes it seem like I put not making the playoffs as more than likely than us making the playoffs. I actually put our chances of winning the division higher than the chances of us not making the playoffs, so I'm not sure what your point is.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    My point was to reassure you, since you wrote a sizable paragraph which constituted the majority of your post, about how you were worried they might miss the WC. My apologies.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Yeah it’s very unlikely we miss the playoffs, but I’m not gonna assume we make it with the way we’re playing. Further, it’s even hard to imagine us winning a tie breaker against the Brewers, or a wildcard game against either the Cardinals, Rockies, or Dodgers with the way we’re playing. Like I read in one of bolla’s posts, my expectations have been severely tempered from where they were just a week ago.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Of the position players contreras is safe too, despite a down year offensively.He has way too much value on defense.I would like to see his framing improve drastically.Work with extensively ross or whoever to improve it.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah his framing needs to improve, as does his hitting. I would be open to trading him to upgrade something in our outfield (who would play 155 games compared to 120 for Contreras behind the plate). We can likely find a pretty decent defensive catcher and platoon him with Caratini, especially since Caratini has shown improvement behind the plate and he can probably hit better with more opportunities. I don’t think it’s realistic to get much more than 125 games out of Contreras behind the plate, hence why I think more games out of an outfielder might do us better.

  • Can David Ross please be hanging out in our dugout for the last 5 games?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Why? I never want to see that dope again. His fifteen minutes are up.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Even in an off year he's worth about 3 WAR this year I get him not living up to our sky high expectations but the idea of replacing Contreras already after a down but not bad season is just ridiculous to me. Why don't you just replace the whole team while you're at it boy is this a what have you done for me lately world.

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    Never mind my apologies I thought that was a reply to the Contreras thread. I agree I don't think working with David Ross is the solution he's been working with Ross and many others for years he is what he is framing wise for the most part hopefully robo ump is in place soon

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I’m not necessarily advocating that we have to trade him, but he should be considered if he brings a better return than some of the others that we see as expendable.

    My point about David Ross was just about his ability to keep guys loose and having fun. It didn’t even have anything to do with his effect on catching performance of others. Our players seem kinda tense lately and not accomplishing their goals. Their season might be over a week from now.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I listen to every single trade offer cubber so I agree that we should listen and agreed on Ross I think his loss is most felt when it comes to clubhouse culture and accountability I have a source that says he was basically known as another manager except he handled more clubhouse in house issues. On Contreras though if we were to trade him it would have to be for an enormous return in my eyes I wouldn't allow teams to use this year to try to get him for pennies on the dollar. I just think he needs to get back on top of his launch angle with his swing he rolls over everything this year and I think the difference between now and his hot streak last summer was simply he was hitting line drives at will then and now he isn't. I still believe in Contreras he's actually shown me impact potential unlike most of our OF's

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    If for some reason the coaching staff gets cleaned out at some point, I’d be okay with Ross as our manager. It would be a weird and potentially aweful experiment, but I like the guy.

    Contreras when at his best is hitting the ball up the middle and to right center. We’ve rarely scene that from him this season. It’s a shame. The thing with Willson that becomes alarming to me is he had that one 2 month stretch last year where he was dominating and showing the potential of an elite hitting catcher. Besides that he’s had a couple other really good stretches for about a month at a time where he is a solid hitting catcher. The rest of the time he hasn’t been that great. I think he’s still got lots of value, but what if his defense doesn’t even rebound? But if this season’s trend continues into next year, then his value will plummet too.

  • Btw just watching daniel murphy on daily basis the last month, dudes range is terrible.He misses so many grounders he's a serious defensive liability.From watching baez at 2b then murphy the contrast is extreme.

    I don't know why but I thought it was hilarious last night when baez made 2 spectacular plays in the field them air mailed a routine ground ball into the camera well.That's the 2nd time in a week baez did that, that's crazy he can make a play no one else makes but botch a play most shortstops make 98% of the time.

  • In reply to bolla:

    One guy who might be a good get, yet kind of a gamble in the same way a 4 year contract for Zobrist was, is Jed Lowrie. He’s been rather consistent for the A’s the last 2 seasons. I’d be interested in signing him to a 2 or 3 year contract to play 2nd base.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Yea lowrie would be cool , the cubs need more hitters who make contact and provide good ab's like zobrist.

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