Twice Snatched--Phillies 5 Cubs 4 (10 innings)

The story lines don't get much deeper for a late May game against an inter-division foe than the one tonight. Jake Arrieta made his return to Wrigley. The Cubs happened to line up the guy that replaced his spot in the rotation in Yu Darvish. The two dazzled for most of the evening with each notching a quality start in their outing. Early on it looked like Darvish would be the one to outshine the former Cub ace, but Jake managed to wiggle out of jam after jam. Darvish was bit on a big no swing call becoming a walk and then left the game after reaching the minimum marks of a quality start. The Cubs twice were within a strike of ending the inning, and twice the Phillies were able to come through in the clutch to steal a win on the Northside.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

Yu Darvish threw five spectacular innings. Those might have been the best five innings he has thrown as a Cub. He pitched through those five innings and César Hernández was the only one to hit safely. Hernández delivered a pair of singles through those five innings, and Yu walked one other batter. Darvish struck out five and was on pace for a Maddux stepping off the mound after five innings clinging to the slimmest of margins.

Jake matched Yu pitch for pitch to start the game. Darvish was hitting 97 while Arrieta was working more in the low 90s at this point, but each faced the minimum after one frame. The Cubs bats sprung to life with Victor Caratini providing the first hit of the game leading off the bottom of the second. Jason Heyward followed that up with another single. Albert Almora Jr. advanced Caratini to third on a fielder's choice and ended up in scoring position on Daniel Descalso's walk. Addison Russell bounced the ball to a drawn in Hernández at second who fired to home for the second out. Yu then grounded out to Jake to end the threat.

The bottom of the third started with some role reversal as Kyle Schwarber hit a ball into an awkward part of shallow left center. The ball dropped between Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera for a leadoff triple. Kris Bryant couldn't drive in Schwarber, but Rizzo punched the ball through the shift to score the first run of the game. Arrieta recovered to retire the next two to send it to the fourth inning.

The Cubs threatened in the bottom half of the fourth. Daniel Descalso's strike out was sandwiched by singles from Almora and Russell. Darvish sacrificed the pair 90 feet, but it became moot when Schwarber punched out swinging for the second time. The Cubs weren't done yet against Jake though. Rizzo hit a one out double in the bottom of the ninth. Victor Caratini walked and a bouncing groundball single from Jason Heyward loaded the bases with one out. Almora hit a flyball to fairly deep right that Bryce Harper threw an absolute strike to nab Rizzo by plenty at the plate for the final out.

It was a frustrating result, but it didn't seem likely to matter with the way Darvish was throwing. Darvish walked McCutchen to start the inning. Jean Segura swapped spots with McCutchen on a fielder's choice. He made it to second on a stolen base in front of a Bryce Harper walk. A Rhys Hoskins pop out to Descalso meant just one more out was needed to finish six scoreless frames. J.T. Realmuto was able to bounce a ball just out of the range of Addison Russell to tie the game. That brought César Hernández to the plate once again and he once again killed the Cubs. Hernández hit a ball down the right field line that bounced off the padding of the wall past Heyward for a triple. A game the Cubs had outplayed their opposition all night had been flipped 3-1.

Jake Arrieta pitched a clean sixth inning before heading to the showers with a chance to earn yet another Wrigley Field W. Seranthony Domínguez helped the cause by pitching another 1-2-3 frame in the seventh. The Phillies had a chance to crack the game open against Mike Montgomery in the seventh inning. Phil Gosselin and Andrew McCutchen hit back to back one out singles. Jean Segura struck out and Monty got a ground out from Bryce Harper to keep the Phillies at 3. Monty would pitch a clean eighth inning to give the Cubs a chance.

Domínguez was sent back out in the eighth and the move immediately backfired with back to back walks to start the inning. Almora sacrificed the pair into scoring position to bring Daniel Descalso to the plate. Descalso was again able to split the right center gap for a triple. The relay throw bounced off of Descalso's foot as he slid into third and bounced into the stands. Descalso was awarded home and the Cubs now lead 4-3 heading into the ninth inning.

Steve Cishek and Javier Báez both were unavailable for this game and that was bad news for the Cubs in a lot of ways. Brad Brach was given the ninth inning instead. Maikel Franco double was sandwiched around two relatively easy outs for Brach. Andrew McCutchen was the Phillies final hope and with two strikes a checked swing was called no swing. The review sure looked as much like a swing as one can say anything is a swing given the clarity of the rule rivals that of the NFL catch rule. Instead Brach lost McCutchen and Jean Segura served the ball into right field to tie the game. Segura was thrown out by Heyward trying to stretch it into a double for some reason with two outs and Bryce Harper coming to bat.

Kyle Ryan took over in the tenth inning because the Cubs could only manage a two out single against Hector Neris. Ryan did his job in retiring Harper and then got Hoskins as well. Maddon continued to press his luck and allowed the lefty to face J.T. Realmuto. Willson Contreras newly inserted into the game called for a high fastball. Ryan went up there but the just over the belt fastball was deposited into the left center stands for the game winning blast. The Cubs finally retired César Hernández. The Cubs could again muster just a single in their tease rally as they drop a shoulda been game.

Random Reference
Jake Arrieta wasn't vintage Jake. Thankfully for the Cubs he was hardly Gibson 2.0, but Jake showed that John Wick trait that John talked about ahead of the WilcarJohn Wick trait that John talked about ahead of the Wildcard game. Arrieta continually escaped big jams to keep the Cubs to a single tally in six innings, and for at least tonight he was back.

Comments

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  • This sucks. I get the missed opportunities, the quirky sequencing, the one bad pitch. A single play doesn't win or lose a game. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I get it.

    I know what DID happen. Andrew McCutchen swung at strike three to record the 27th out when the Cubs had the lead. That's a W for as long as I've been following baseball. Ugh.

    "I take a walk outside.
    I'm surrounded by
    Some kids at play.
    I can feel their laughter,
    So why do I sear?"

  • Look on the bright side (I say to myself):

    Hagsag asked for a Strop update earlier today, and I replied I didn't expect him back for at least a couple more weeks. That may have been a bit pessimistic, or at least the shorter end of that. I hear he threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session today, Everything seemed to go well.

    Morrow also threw again for the first time today since a synthetic lubricant injection into his surgically-repaired elbow shut him down a couple weeks ago. He's still months away, but I haven't lost all hope. The Cubs will add a significant arm to the back end of the pen simply due to Morrow's uncertainty, and if he can return for a stretch run, good things can happen.

  • Insomnia alert, sorry.

    I'm so conflicted with Darvish. He threw perhaps his five best innings for the Cubs, then he didn't. We discussed this at length during the game thread, and I stuck up for him. He didn't get knocked around. But he couldn't get through it, either. Then I saw this post-game nugget:

    Darvish: "The first five innings was good....I pitched good in Wrigley so that makes me feel better."

    Damn, dude.

    That's my beef with Darvish. I understand the language barrier and how he may not express himself as clearly in our language as we do. But so much of his focus is on the perception of him. He isn't comfortable under a bright light, and why I have no confidence he would shine when the lights are brightest.

    It's also why I hold out so much hope. The stuff is so obviously good, any baseball fan knows that. Like it or not, he's here for a while. If he could just get comfortable. I've seen recent reports that he talked with Hottovy about how he would like to slow down his pace. You're just now bringing this up? Then I hear Davis picked up his pace, leading to the increased effectiveness. Aaaagh!

    It's obvious to me, and has been for a long time, that Yu isn't in the same mental league as Jon Lester. I don't mean that as a knock, it's just who he is. We need to do everything we can to make him comfortable and bring out the best in him that we can, and it appears we are trying to. The stuff is ridiculous, we need to foster it. It just sucks to me it takes so much effort to bring it out.

    I'm so conflicted...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Just spitballin' here, but ya'll know I'm not shy about sharing my feelings. I've criticized the Cubs' handling of the Russell situation. I get second chances and all. I applaud their efforts in trying to help him become a better human being, and I don't doubt for a second their intentions are good. They have the resources to make a difference. But it has felt to me at times to be a social statement.

    I have similar thoughts about their relationship with Darvish. Much was made about the courtship prior to his signing. Theo and Co. had several high-profile meetings with him personally, and Darvish took pride in representing himself in English. The Cubs reputation for the evaluation of a potential players' mental capacities is approaching legendary status. Many Cubs fans have openly wondered how they could have missed this with Yu after so many personal meetings.

    I wonder if they didn't know this, but if their over-confidence in their "healing" abilities may have influenced their judgement. They can "fix" him and beat the market once again.

    I don't know that this is the case. But I know they put an incredible focus on a player's mental toughness when making a decision. This is just a theory that's been rattling around my head.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    You're tired, BP. Go to bed.

    Darvish isn't in the same mental league as Jon Lester. OK. I will agree to that without further comment. This can be a fun game. Mark Zagunis isn't in the same mental league as Jon Lester. OK. Your turn. Don't worry. The list of players to name that are not "in the same mental league as Jon Lester" is long. Just pick a name. I already took one of the easy ones. If you're up to a challenge later we can try to find players that ARE in the same mental league as Jon Lester. That list is far shorter.

    As for the pacing thing it is obviously possible that Hottovy is wrong. It is equally possible that Hottovy is right. But simply saying someone else picked up his pace helping him doesn't necessarily mean anything. Perhaps he was going too slow before and now is going too fast. Possibly something else changed that made a change in pace necessary. Maybe Hottovy is trying everything anyone can think of to right the ship ("have you ever considered throwing left handed?" LOL). Remember, you always like asking "why, why, why?" So I will respond with my favorite question: "Does it really matter?" This is why I get so frustrated with sportswriters. Often they make a huge deal out of something and I am convinced it doesn't make one bit of difference.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I didn't mean that to sound as negative as it appeared to be. I've said on many occasions that it simply is who he is, and I don't mean it as a personal attack, though I can see how it comes off that way. Sorry if that's how you see it.

    To the contrary, I'm holding out hope that he can become more comfortable here to bring out better results. His physical tools are obviously there, and I think there is pretty much industry-wide consensus that it's the mental aspect of his game that keeps him from being the true ace he is capable of. Clearing those mental hurdles when they present themselves rather than tripping up.

    I can be harsh on Yu, but I do it because he's going to be here a long time, and I see the massive ability and so badly want to see him reach his true potential. Cubber and I get pretty passionate in our discussions over Javy, and I joke it's because we both want to see him elevate his game to the highest level it can be. No one gets this passionate over Ryan Theriot. It's the same thing with Darvish. I want to see him help us win another Championship, and getting his mental state right is the most important thing holding him back.

    I'm not alone in this assessment. Listen to Joe and Theo talk about Darvish. They always use words like "comfort", "mentality", and "hurdles". With Joe especially, I've noticed some frustration lately, like he sees what's there but just can't quite pull the right strings.

    When I talk of Darvish's mental state, I am speaking purely in a competitive athletic nature, not personally. I try to make that point clear by saying I understand that's who he is. I've dealt with depression at points in my life. I am not hitting him on a personal level. I just see that mentality being a roadblock to becoming the ace of a Cubs Championship pitching staff I so badly want to see. Purely athletic.

    I hope that clarified things, because I do get frustrated.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think anyone's denying that he's pressing to some degree and honestly I don't think that's unusual for players signing mega deals. I think most players that receive 9 figure deals press to endear themselves to their fanbase and organization (even Lester admits he pressed during his early struggles in 2015). Darvish has been beloved everywhere he's gone and now he's suddenly the focal point of cubs criticism. But I think this narrative that his struggles are primarily because of mental issues is so media overblown it's insane. It's based on literally no substantiated evidence it's all just media gossip going back to Texas. Instead of reading about Darvish on these hot take articles that I see, listen to the actual press conferences where you can hear the ridiculous line of questions that he gets. When the reporters literally only ask Maddon, Theo. and Yu questions about his mental state what are they supposed to say. It's literally the same question paraphased in a different way all basically touching on his inner mental state. In addition When you listen to Theo, Maddon, and Darvish's responses reporters constantly take their answers out of context, and I have a few examples if you're interested.

    His struggles to me are primarily command based. When you lead the league in walks (and Yu has always had above avg walk rates) then that's obviously never a recipe for success. When you really evaluate where these stories on his mental thought process, this idea that he has a fragile mental psyche actually stems from perhaps semi-prejudiced Texas writers who just never understood why he would lose his command from inning to inning. Even if the walks weren't out of hand like they are in Chicago. he does tend to struggle with inconsistent fastball command sometimes more within the zone then outside the zone. I don't deny for a second that he's pressing to a degree. I don't deny that he doesn't have the mental discipline that Lester or Hendricks have (how many do really?). But I think this idea that his issues are primarily mental is overblown media noise, because that's what gets clicks Darvish is always a hot topic. And this isn't to say that he hasn't earned criticism, that comes with signing a 9 figure deal and he has to step up and start being better and more consistent for this team. But for me at least seeing his mental state evaluated after every single start by Chicago newpapers, the athletic, social media, NBC sports net gets old, and frankly there isn't evidence to support this narrative. I personally don't think he's as lost of a cause as others I think he's progressing, even if I'd cancel his contract if I could.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Great post K! I agree, and really wish the media would just leave him alone. I guess it’s one of the perils to pitching in a large market. They tried to ruin Lester when he arrived. His throwing troubles were all known by the Boston media, but like a good Irish mob, they kept their family secrets instead of airing it out like the Chicago media did, so the rest of the league fully thought they could run at will.

    As for Darvish, I think he’s headed in the right direction. Last night really comes down to him just giving up a couple free bases and then not being able to make a better pitch to get out of the jam. He pitched well enough for the cubs to win. The unfortunate part was the first base ump sleeping on strike 3 and out number 27.

    But the cubs aren’t worried about that. They are prepared to fight back and assert their dominance over this Phillies team. We have three more good pitching match ups to entertain us for the remainder of this series. I don’t expect us to win all 3. We will have to battle to walk away with a series split. The Phillies are a good team, and I don’t think they just roll over. They stole a game from us last night, so I hope we return the favor in another game of this series. It will be easier to do that with Contreras and hopefully Baez back in our lineup.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    good post cubber and agree on Lester. The guys never been able to throw I actually knew that but it was a non story in Boston. It was so annoying hearing people say "why would Theo sign a 31 year old pitcher that literally can't throw to bases." I guess I've been reading sports articles long enough where I have a sense of what's real news, and what's a hot take media story trying to stir up a fanbase and get clicks and heated discussion. In many ways that's what endeared me to this website. John Arguello didn't post hot take articles, he didn't write articles for clicks or to get a certain reaction. He was just generally passionate about the game, and he had the intelligence and writing intellect to communicate his thoughts to readers. It's a big reason why I appreciate this site in an era where the media is so big business driven, and the facts are negativity sells.

    I thought still there was plenty of good last night. RISP has been a thorn is this organizations side for years. But I think Darvish's past 2 starts were as good as any in his cubs tenure from a process perspective. And as I stated yesterday a lot went wrong for the team to lose that game lots of soft hits, lots of what ifs. I think they win that game with Javy and Willson in (their defense was missed in the 6th and their hitting with RISP). And like you said I thought that Mccutchen swing would be called but it went their way.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Man, the worst part about the check swing call, is they always say some Umps judge it by turning over the wrists, while other judge the bat going past the plate. Both of those things clearly happened. The technology proved that in 5 seconds. But of course, they don't allow that technology to be used... shaking my darn head.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Not sure they stole the game. Although that would be logical given everything that happened in the ninth. Descalso’s fly ball should have been caught in the eighth. McCutcheon should have caught the fly ball. Sac fly not a three run triple and if the Cubs would have won there would be much more discussion about that.

  • In reply to stix:

    True... "stole" is a poor choice of words. It was more like "Hot potato," here you take it, no I don't want it... I guess, more accurate is that we shoulda stolen that one from them. But we still need to return the favor.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    The control issues are obviously a problem. He seems to be on the right track there. I compare that situation somewhat to Bryant's. He has fought through an injury and it simply takes time and repetitions to get back on track.

    I simply disagree on the mental aspect. I understand the language barrier and how he has trouble expressing himself in what is not his native tongue. I'll defend him there, because I have often seen printed quotes that look bad, and when I watch the video, you see it in a much more positive context.

    My critique isn't based on what I read in a click-bait inflammatory article or some knucklehead comment on talk radio. I listen to coaches, past and present. I listen to Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein. They say those mental hurdles are what keeps him from reaching his highest potential.

    Again, my criticism is purely performance based. My comp to Jon Lester wasn't meant as "Lester's a big, tough guy and Yu is a wimp". I mean that I, personally as a Cubs fan, have no concerns that Lester will wilt in a big situation. He may not perform physically, but the moment won't get to him. I don't have that confidence in Darvish, and that is completely me being a selfish fan and wanting us to win.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    We're gonna have to agree to disagree on the extent of how much mental issues are affecting his performance. Darvish himself said that whenever you don't have a feel for your fastball, your confidence isn't gonna be where you want it to be. For that reason in addition to just trying to endear himself to all of us, I absolutely think his struggles are in part mental. I just think that's common though when you don't command your fastball, everything plays off FB command. And I don't think you have to be politically correct, he doesn't have the mental discipline as Lester lets be honest not many do that guys one tough minded son of a gun. Again I just think the story is overblown. Last night was his highest pressure start of the season yet I thought it was one of his better performances of the year. I don't think he'd have the success he's had over his 15 year career if he had no confidence, and let's keep in mind he's always been under the limelight as a once Japanese phenom when he arrived. So not disagreeing with you but I just think this mental thing is overblown, and that's coming from a guy that believes he's pressing which isn't uncommon when a pitcher doesn't have an ideal feel for his pitches. I agree with you though I'd like to see him show better focus and execution when things get tough. I thought he made good pitches to Realmuto last night in a big spot, but too often he's walking the bottom of the order and beating himself in his bad innings. Again though I think simply pitching to his career walk rate will solve the majority of the issues. Whenever you lead the league in walks, then you're probably not getting great results or pitching deep into games. Hopefully he turns this around and I understand that you just want to see the entire team succeed like the rest of us.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    And I actually agree with you he overthinks sometimes. When he's on he's always had trouble with the one shaky inning. He'd have 3 outstanding innings, then one inning where he'd lose his fastball command only to gain it. I do think it's fair to say he doesn't bare down and make pitches like a Lester or Hendricks when they're in trouble. But I don't think there's some major character or mental deficiency, and I don't think he'd have the success he's had if his mental fortitude was so poor. I think he's a little different and misunderstood in some ways because he can't articulate himself much in English. So in a way I agree with a lot of what you're saying I just don't think it's the huge issue the media makes it out to be. Cut the walks and I truly think we'll see better days but he needs to prove that the improving command is here to stay.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    One thing I'm sure we completely agree on is we all want to see him at his best.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    You didn't come across to me as "mean" so much as "ranting." Kind of an "Oh, and another thing..." sort of situation.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    On a completely different and more positive topic, I think it was you the other day asking about how PECOTA actually works. First off, thanks, because I had wondered myself and your question led me to investigate. I linked to the Baseball Prospectus glossary, which gives a detailed, but somewhat lawyerly, description of the player calculations.

    PECOTA also does team projections, and irked many Cub fans with their preseason prediction of a 79-win, last-place finish for the Cubs in 2019. We are currently in first place and on pace for 97 wins. I just saw this excellent article from Sam Miller and Jesse Rogers at ESPN, giving a detailed description of how the calculations work and why they were (so far) so wrong.

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26788792

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks, BP. I was asking in honest curiosity. I tried reading the baseballprospectus article and, honestly, got lost. I'll try the ESPN one.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The ESPN article is good, and more easily digestible.

    Oh, and another thing, I do that sometimes when I'm bored late at night. Yet another reason I miss John so much. He and I would ramble back and forth while the "normal" world was sleeping.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Nice article. Basically, the algorithm assumes that old players will likely not perform at close to career peak levels. It may be right. It may be wrong. But it has to apply the same value to everyone.

  • I am more worried about Monty, Ryan, and Cedeno than Yu.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Yep. Agree. Darvish is rounding into good form.

    Our bullpen after an epic run to the top of all of MLB is leaking oil and can’t get out of 4th gear. I said 3 days ago Ryan needs to go. So I will say it again, Ryan needs to go. He’s served his purpose.

    This was one you think you lose only to pull it out and then have the pen gag it away.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Ryan lost his mojo somewhere. He was nails for a minute. The pen is our big shortcoming. Damaged goods with Strop and Morrow, inconsistency with rest except Cishek. Having said that, they are battling and have kept us in the mix. Still, too many losses late.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think Strop will get us to July and I wouldn't be surprised at an early July deal. The rest of the pen is fine they are just pitching in the wrong laces. Brach really had good stuff last night. The guy I'm hoping for is Giles from Toronto, I'm just not sure we have enough to land him.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Man, Brach looked like he should be our closer last night! I loved the way he pumped that fastball in the zone and challenged hitters. Unfortunately he looked to nibble as he got closer to the last out. I think that was his demise. The bad check swing/ball call by the first base umpire didn't help, but I'd like to see him get more shots at closing some games.

  • fb_avatar

    I am going to try to find a silver lining in this.
    1. Darvish looked decent. OK, that's a low bar. But it is an improvement over "dumpster-fire." Right? I saw him throw a breaking ball in the first inning (I think the 2nd batter) for a called strike. It was a thing of beauty. The batter had no chance.

    2. The Cubs were scalding the ball. Obviously BABIP plays a part but it seemed to me that the Cubs were hitting the ball a lot harder, even on outs, than the Phillies. Too bad that the Cubs always had a slow runner on 3B (Rizzo and Caratini aren't my best guys to have at 3B and not having a faster/better runner cost the Cubs a couple of runs).

    3. Caratini played well. He made Jake work. And if he can give Contreras a night off and deliver some solid PAs and decent catching I can go for that. He is certainly not an all-star but I don't mind him as my back up catcher.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I think Darvish was far more than decent. At times he was dominating. It's going to get lost in the discussion of the loss, but he pitched a quality start. If we can get those most times out it'll be fine. If the team had managed to capitalize on scoring opportunities he likely would have pitched differently in the fifth. He frankly deserved better.

    Another takeaway is just how good Schwarber is performing in that leadoff role. He's taking walks and frankly he's scorching the ball but BABIP is getting the best of him right now. His .212 BAPIP since taking over that slot isn't going to stand long and his 12% soft contact rat, 44% medium and 44% hard contact is a really good sign as is his 21% K rate vs 24% BB rate. As much as a Schwarber fan as I've been I've finally come to terms with the fact that we have to take him on his own terms. Barring some sort of late Joey Gallo type turn around he probably is what he is, but what he is ain't half bad.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Hard%, Med%, Soft%, K%, BB%. Now you're speaking my language TC! With a Med% and Hard% like that we should expect a serious BABIP correction and soon. I had missed that. Nice catch, TC.

    You're better at evaluating pitching than I am so I will go with your assessment.

    I was, overall, OK with how the Cubs did hitting. They had bad luck on some soft contact and got Caratini forced at home (again, Caratini isn't particularly fast either which didn't help). And the line-out throw out DP was just a good play by Harper. Sending Rizzo was the right thing to do (I think it was 2 outs) and he got thrown out. But Russell was the batter, I believe, and he did what we'd want. He drove the ball in the air and tried to get that run in from 3B. It didn't work but that doesn't mean he/they "failed." The process was right.

    As for Schwarber, I think his contact will get better (percentage wise). He is a good player. Are you saying you'll have to temper your expectations from "perennial all-star" to "solid player with some LH power"? That's not the worst thing in the world. What, exactly, were you hoping for from him. Also, bear in mind, he is still a young player. Having him take a dramatic step forward isn't out of the question.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Honestly, I thought Schwarber was going to be a generational talent. His swing early on was really something but he lost his swing plane along the way and never really got it back. I thought he could be Rizzo at the plate. Those hopes are gone but "solid player with LH power" he is that and it's not a bad thing at all. Plus his defense has been a welcome surprise.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I find his defense hard to judge. He makes such memorable (comic book style) mistakes. Lots of players miss the ball. Lots of guys misjudge the ball. He manages to look like a 5 year-old while doing it sometimes. It is hard to ignore those times. They are memorable so it is easy to give them more weight than they actually deserve.

    On defense I think he needs to realize who he is. He has a solid arm in LF. Learn to better play caroms. Think about a line-drive to the wall. He has to learn he probably isn't going to catch that ball. But if he can play the carom well he can take advantage of how hard it was hit, field it on one hop, and fire it back into 2B. Suddenly he has turned a 2B into a single. Instead he seems to want to make a catch and winds up playing it into a triple. I don't have a specific instance in mind but I have seen it before. Try to improve but also try to take advantage of what you already do well and maximize it.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Great analysis of Schwarber's defense. I too remember him playing doubles into triples.

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    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    What's maddening is that a small change (how he plays the carom) can turn a 2B in to a 1B. But that is experience. He had relatively little time in the minor leagues to polish his defense. And a lot less time in HS and college working on OF defense.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yeah totally... The hard part for his experience level is to learn how to be more selectively aggressive in choosing which balls he legitimately can get to, and which to just play the carom. His defensive pursuits (good or bad) are not a product of poor hustle, that's for sure.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree! The only thing the Cubs needed to do with Schwarber was to leave him alone. The injury might have messed up his swing. I don't think that we have yet seen Schwarber' s best tho.

  • I’m watching Rizzo.....and he does NOT seem to be moving around too well.....look for it tonight.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I believe Rizzo is still suffering back problems. He has been favoring it since he came back. Might be ok to play but what little speed he had is gone because of the back. Last year Rizzo scores on the single from second and on the fly to right.

  • Tough, tough luck game. Bleeders and bloopers all over. I think the 1st base ump probably got all the calls right (outside of the check swing) but it seemed like he had it out for the boys in blue. 50/50 calls should at least be close to half for the home team!

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Idk, that umpire crew did a good job. Check swings are impossible when border line. Cutch should have been challenged at 3-2, but I feel your pain. The check could have Brennan, game over. If that strike zone box on my tv is accurate, the home plate ump is the best that I've seen all year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    been ,game over.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree on the home plate ump. The zone was incredibly consistent and more or less to the parameters of the rules. You don't see that much.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. Such a frustrating game. Just couldn't get that big hit.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Got the big hit but Rizzo doesn’t score from second. As I mentioned above his back is restricting his running.

  • In reply to stix:

    Must be his back, because he has great instincts on the bases and generally scores on those plays.

  • In reply to stix:

    I really thought they should've sent him on (was in Almora's) single before the flyout/throwout double play. Regardless, the biggest thing Rizzo did wrong was as he was running home, he was looking over his shoulder to see where the ball was. I guarantee he lost a step by doing that and made the difference in him being safe or out.

  • Lots of discussions above about Yu's mental approach and overthinking when he gets into trouble. Most concern his issues in yesterday's 6th inning after being lights out in the first five. One comment particularly caught my attention :

    "I do think it's fair to say he doesn't bare down and make pitches like a Lester or Hendricks when they get in trouble".

    Look back at Sunday's game. Hendricks didn't give up a hit until the 5th. Then he hit a wall and could not make it out of the 6th after giving up his 4th run. Did I miss the comments on Hendrick's mental toughness?

    Go back to Saturday's game. Lester gave up 10 hits and 5ERs over 4.1 innings. Again, where were the comments on Lester's mental toughness?

    I don't mean to "go Bolla" on here, but I just don't get the knocks on Darvish after his best game in a Cub uniform while Lester and Hendricks got free passes.

    Which brings me to my main point. I'm seeing too much "Bolla-ism" from many commenters - continuous knocks on struggling Cubbies. Obviously, you are entitled to your opinions but (IMHO) all the knocks are getting old.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I hear you. I've fought against some of the same issues in the past. They only lead to bad feelings and a negative experience overall. I've made my points on Darvish, but this is a subject that really has no winners and doesn't lead to constructive dialogue. Again, my intentions are good in that I want the best out of a very talented pitcher, and was stating my opinion on what I see is wrong. But I'm going to back off.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Agreed. Darvish pitched a great game. Saying otherwise diminishes it. It was a quality start and I guarantee you he pitches differently in the 6th if he had, say a 3 run lead instead of 1. He was pitching not to give up a single run which means he was more careful than he had been. His stuff wasn't any less I saw no loss of command, just a little nibbling. Sometimes pitching is offense dependent and people have to understand that. I get that we paid Darvish like a #2 but what we need out of him this year is less than that. If we get that Darvish from hear on out it is the best starting rotation in the NL 1-5 and maybe in all of MLB. I don't even think that would be questionable.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Good points DTP and TC and honestly I was the one who wrote that quote but agree with your posts. FYI too I was the one defending Darvish from Barley even though I know he has no ill intent in his criticisms. Honestly after reading your post DTP I agree I can honestly say that I have absolutely no evidence to back up saying he doesn't bare down with men on base. Now I don't think anyone bears down and gets themselves out of trouble like Jon Lester he's outstanding at limiting damage. But that isn't a knock on Darvish. I've been a huge proponent that all of this narrative on his mental state is mainly media and fan group talk because people tend to believe everything they read. Now I think it's fair to say he's possibly pressing a bit trying to perform to the expectations of his deal. But I think that's fairly typical. I have a much more positive future outlook then others I don't see any reason why he can't clean up this walk issue, as that's never been an issue for him in the past.

    Fans are going to criticize the guy as long as the numbers aren't there this is a results based industry, and he came in with high expectations. I personally think he was outstanding last night even despite the loss.

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