Bad Game, Bad Photoshop--White Sox 3 Cubs 1

Well that sucked.

WPA CHART

Source: FanGraphs

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Really?

Well, Cole Hamels was very good. The White Sox jumped on him early with a leadoff hit from Leury García. José Abreu singled with one out and then James McCann drew a bases loading walk. Eloy Jiménez bounced into a double play to end the inning, and once again Cole Hamels locked back in. He struck out batter number 2500 in his career in the third inning and ended the night at 2506 strike outs in a very good career thankfully still going strong.

The Cubs offensive highlights came on the first pitch of the game. Kyle Schwarber jumped on Iván Nova's first pitch hitting a laser beam into the left center stands to put the Cubs up 1-0 early. The Cubs managed five singles after that. Three of them were fluky flares off of the bat of Kris Bryant, and the Cubs really only threatened to score one other time in the game.

Cole Hamels retired twelve out of thirteen batters from the second through the fifth inning, but you have to be virtually perfect when your offense only scores one run. And Cole Hamels wasn't close enough. García led off the second inning with the White Sox first extra base hit of the game. He split the gap in the right center and reached second standing up. Tim Anderson bounced the ball to Javier Báez's right and el Mago made a nice diving stop to field the ball. However, he attempted to make a throw and the ball sailed on him allowing García to score.

The inning was about to spiral out of control, but a controversial call from the home plate umpire bailed out Hamels. Abreu struck out on a changeup fading away. On the pitch Tim Anderson stole second base, but Abreu's momentum carried him onto the plate slightly obstructing Victor Caratini. Anderson beat the throw but was called out on interference which killed the rally. Hamels pitched a clean seventh inning, but his spot coming up in the order led to a double switch.

The Cubs last real scoring chance came in the sixth inning. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a flare that should have been caught for an out. Renteria pulled Iván Nova for Aaron Bummer. That was indeed a bummer for the Cubs as Jason Heyward's two out single was the only baserunner allowed by the lefty reliever in two innings of work. And the Cubs once again managed to score just a single run.

Brandon Kintzler pitched a clean inning, and that meant it was Pedro Strop time in the ninth inning. And Pedro Strop just didn't have it. He hung an 0-2 slider to James McCann that was just a single and then he set the internets ablaze by giving a cookie that Eloy hit a no doubter, broken bat home run somehow. There wasn't another hit in the game to distract us from having to re-litigate the Q trade, and well...

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  • So Barley accused me of cherry picking, so I wondered how it would look if I compared the stats of the same 8 players over their last 45 games played (just over a quarter of the entire season). Note that the stats below include all of Javy's 15-game hitting streak. We take the bad with the good right? Or is it the good with the bad? The results will SHOCK you....

    Baez 194PA, 24R, 8HR, 24RBI, 11BB, 63K .264/.304/.473/.777
    KB 199PA, 42R, 14HR, 30RBI, 26BB, 34K .295/.407/.627/.1.034
    Rizzo 199PA, 29R, 15HR, 37RBI, 18BB, 25K .318/.402/.624/.1.026
    Schwarbs 194PA, 28R, 12HR, 27RBI, 28BB, 54K .244/.351/.519/.869
    Contreras 174PA, 19R, 7HR, 24RBI, 16BB, 48K .272/.356/.450/.807
    Bote 157PA, 20R, 7HR, 25RBI, 15BB, 41K .273/.344/.489/.833
    Almora 154PA, 22R, 7HR, 17RBI, 6BB, 24K .278/.311/.493/.804
    Heyward 183PA, 18R, 5HR, 12RBI, 21BB, 35K .216/.306/.352/.658

    None of this is opinion, just statistical data. Make what you want out of it... Reading the recaps here, I've become more interested in WPA (Win Probability Added) from looking at the charts that are always posted. At first I didn't really know what any of that stuff was. It has nothing to do with defense, just offense. Only 4 of the 8 players have a positive WPA, from best to worst: KB 1.845, Rizzo 1.778, Schwarbs 0.624, Bote 0.119, Contreras -0.300, Almora -0.386, Heyward -1.111, and lastly Baez -1.226.

    I know WPA is not predictive, but it kind of tells the story of what happened throughout the game (which players helped to win or not win) and it adds up throughout the season. Basically, positive is good, negative is bad. If anyone wants to read further about it, here's the first place I went to when I started checking out the WPA charts in the recap, to learn what it's all about.

    https://library.fangraphs.com/misc/wpa/

    It's not gonna surprise me that if this team flounders around the .500 mark long enough that the front office would decide to make some changes. I really hope that doesn't happen. I wanna see these guys turn it around and make a good run, but I think this team should be way better than it is. It's rather disappointing. I can't believe that 2015 and 2016 were truly the only exciting Cubs teams where we all got to experience a magical feeling and it seemed like we could not be beat. I mean, I really thought we were gonna win it all in 2015 already with the way they played in the 2nd half! I was so confident about it; it was like destiny! We sure ate it against the Mets pitching though, and it's a shame... at least we took care of business in 2016. I know 2017 and '18 were by no means failures, but we never looked to have the edge we did in '15 and '16. I just see more of that same out of them this year. It will be nice to add Kimbrel, and hopefully a LHRP, but the offense is just so much boom and bust, we need more consistency in the top half of our lineup.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I'm working and don't have time for a detailed response. Maybe this evening.

    Javy is in a slump that can only partially blamed on injury. He won't slump all season. My issue with you, if you even want to call it an issue, is your fascination with pointing out everything wrong with Javy, especially focusing on his bad offensive numbers when he's in a rut. You can't seem to appreciate how much else he does to help us win games and make his teammates better. They appreciate it, and so do I.

  • Langer, what's your point? That it's Javy's fault we're losing? I do believe one of the main reasons the Cubs are struggling is that Javy has cooled off. But we know he'll get hot again. In the meantime, how about someone step up, besides Schwarber, KB and Rizz?

  • In reply to TTP:

    This ties in nicely with your other post about the lineup. Some days the "core" carries the day. Other days, the big guns are silent, but somebody else steps up - but it's not happening on this team. I'm frustrated with Joe for playing a dud lineup, but I also think a manager should be able to play anyone on the 25-man roster. What's Descalso doing on the roster with a .188 BA? Gonzalez with .208? Russell and Almora seem to better choices, but neither of them is lighting the world on fire lately, either. I get stacking the lineup with leftys against a SP that's proven to have trouble with them, but that's assuming those leftys can HIT.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed cliff too many defense 1st soft hitting players that are in the same lineup. And those guys are at least contributing, cargo isn’t inspiring much optimism and Descalso isn’t far from being on my release radar. Been saying it all season this lineup is too reliant on the core guys. The depth pieces just aren’t contributing enough they need to get deeper in the lineup

  • I'm pissed. Spitting nails. I was MF'ing Maddon walking out of Wrigley last night. I'm really getting to the point where I just can't stand him. I'm sick of up him. What a horsecrap line up he threw out there!

    Here we are back from a a bad road trip, having had a day off, facing the crosstown rivals, packed stadium. Why the F$#%! didn't Joe put our best line up out there. Instead we get .180 Descales. Sick of him. GarGo has NOTHING. He's done. Cut him. Sick of him.

    Play Russell and AA everyday! How many times do we need to say it? Bote is the only guy worthy of rotating through the lineup.

    Russell and AA sit so GarGo and Descales can play instead. And so we get nothing off a bum with a 6.00+ ERA.

    I'm sick of seeing Schwarber hit solo homer after solo homer. Sick of seeing him leadoff. He is a 4 or 5 hitter. That is so friggin obvious to everyone, isn't it? Earl Weaver would be scratchin his head.

    Maybe its Joe's fault. Maybe this team needs a shake up. Or Maybe all these guys just aint that good.

    I don't know. But It sure is starting to feel like last year all over again.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I am a Maddon fan. The season is a grind and it is easy to get wrapped up in 1 game bits. But if I were to be critical of Joe, it is his lineups. I hate how he packs his lineups with backups all at once. Mix a guy in here and there, then ok I get it. Mix in the lineup with 3-4 backups and we really suck. Putting bad lineups and backups all at once appears to give the impression of a lack of urgency. Why? Because these guys cannot muster enough offense to even make it exciting. So a hrosesh*t pithcer in Nova looks like Cy Young against us. Tjis is to the heart of Theo's rant at the end of last year. If coming from an off day to a packed house against CHW isn't enough to get you amped up, then maybe you should be playing is Des Moines. Enough with the rest.

    Joe, please stop playing more than 1 backup at a time. It's "GO" time if you haven't noticed.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Agree 100%, except that when those backup players suck so badly, they shouldn't be on the roster.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    True. That is another debate, for sure.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I get Descalso. Pretty tough conversation to have with your owner to say "Hey, we need to eat $7.5 mil because this guy blows. Oops". Plus I'm guessing that conversation has been had and a date has been set as to when they can give up the ghost. This is exactly why I have always advocated, instead of a 26 man roster, a 25 man roster and a 3 man taxi squad. You can at least hide a guy away until you can simply cut him. In a league with guaranteed contracts it seems to just make sense. Of course without that it means you have to play that guy occasionally to see if something has changed. It sucks but playing him last night against a lefty, and a against a team you should beat wasn't the worst decision in the world. That said Theo needs to figure this out now. Go back to Ricketts or do whatever you have to do but it has to be done. CaRgo there is no excuse for. There's no money involved and it isn't working. I really didn't want to see Happ again but that's probably the best play right now.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The front office has been on a bad role since after the 2016 season. Signing Darvish, Chatwood, Morrow, Duensing, Ryan, Brach and Descalso. That is all I can think of off the top of my head. No wonder the Ricketts shut down the money flow.

  • fb_avatar

    Can't really argue with you buddy,,

    Nice recap... You guys honestly are nails ... Always a great job!

    The CarGo experiment was a nice attempt but dude appears finished,, If Zobrist doesn't return I think we need to give the Italian Stallion Robel Garcia a shot at 2nd base.. Defense is suspect but the guy can ,MASH
    saw him live and in BP and hes something .. Love, love love long shot stories..

    SO, while I like Strop and I wager his numbers back up his efficiency I really wish he didn't have to be used after the 7th,, I figure ONE of these guys will emerge to use late opposite Kimbrel among Maples, D Hultz, Azolay or even Barnette. Once the Cubs sign a nice lefty ( ALA Andrew Miller near his prime ) our endgame bullpen is really going to be good... I just hope we can keep afloat until that happens..
    and as soon as I saw E. Jimenez relaxed and having fun last night I told my wife VERY early on " Guarantee he walks us off in the ninth with a blast," Granted the Cubs were at home and it came in the top of the 9th but I am guessing NONE of us were surprised when it happened...ugh

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    I WAS surprised. Not taking anything away from Eloy, but when Strop grooved a non-sliding slider right into his wheelhouse, he did exactly what he was supposed to do - crush it. Hitting sunk the Cubs last night. After the first pitch of the game, there was no offense at all. Score 4 runs and Eloys HR doesn't matter. Score three runs, and don't gift them a run (looking at you, Javy) and they still win.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Javy didn't cost them a run. The run was earned because Hamels gave up a base hit after the error, so he would have scored even if Baez didn't attempt to make that throw.

  • In reply to Cubpack:

    You're right - but still a boneheaded play. Javy should know better.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I agree with you there. Not a smart play.

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    I’m slightly concerned strop maybe in decline. His velocity has been down a lot this year and the numbers and strikeouts are in decline. I think he’ll improve he’s still a decent reliever in my eyes. But he just doesn’t look like the same pitcher that we’ve seen in the past. Maybe I’m wrong but the stuff just doesn’t seem as overpowering

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I should say the Ks have somewhat been in decline. He pitched more to contact last year and that works when you execute well like he did last season for the most part. But now that his command isn’t in the same form, he’s struggling a bit. At least his xFIP is 3.87 hopefully he regains form

  • Here's the cubs in a nutshell. Situational hitting is pathetic. Undisciplined and selfish at bats from players swinging for the fences. Also, Two or three more relief pitchers won't fix this teams offense, it may help our starters but not the offense. We've had the same problems for several years and the only thing that changes is our hitting coach.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    I'd like to see more small ball with the guys at the bottom half of the order. They need to find a way to scratch out the occasional run throughout the game instead of double plays waiting on the HR. Unfortunately 1) they struggle with RISP, but I have to think that will get better. 2) There are zero base stealers on this team.

    I wish the advanced stats would tell me how often an inning with a SB leads to at least 1 run. I realize steals are dead for a lot of the league but this team obviously has to use other ways to score.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I'd like to see those things, too. It's going to take some personnel changes to make it happen.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Dee gordon can probably be had for a small price. Just gotta bite the bullet and let go of descalso.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    I agree with you 100%. One of the main problems this team has is their strikeouts. Our "core" hitters look good when they go opposite field but when someone finally gets on base, they swing for the fences and more times than not they hit right into the other teams' shift. Instead of "TEAM" baseball it seems they are being selfish and trying to be the Hero. They have NO "situational" hitting at all. Think about it: Why do we have so many "SOLO" homeruns?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Theo said he was going to hold players accountable, changes were going to made. What a joke. There has to have been 20 to 30 cheap outfielders reach free agency in the last few years that could have helped this team more than our current mostly unproductive outfield. And now to have to watch Eloy for the next 10 years will be painful.

  • The more I think about this, the more I think our batting lineup may be hurting more than its helping. We have all out "sluggers" batting one after another. Why? Sure it may be intimidating to the other team but I don't think so. We can hit 3 HRs in one inning and end up with only 3 runs. With the other team shifting and our guys trying to hit HRs, we continue to hit it right to them or strike out. We are playing right into their trap.

    Why not spread our "sluggers" out more and intermingle our weaker hitters among them. Think about it, if we get a runner on base, its harder for the other team to play the extreme shifts and then if we hit a HR, it will at least double our runs or more than a solo HR.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    A true leadoff hitter, pushing schwarber back to the middle, I think fixes a lot of that. Gotta find one!

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    That would definitely help but how much? The last game against the Dodgers and RYU, Almora went 3 for 4 with NO runners on before him and NO hits behind him. I think a better lineup will alleviate some of the problems also.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    The reason the "sluggers" are batting at the top of the order in a row is because those are the guys you want to get the most at bats.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I understand that but they are also making the most outs (particularly strikeouts). Out of these top 5-6 players, simply split them in half with the best at the top.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    If the ones you want to get the most at bats are also making the most outs, it kind of defeats the purpose of getting them the most at bats, don't you think? I am not saying to get rid of anyone but just try something different. Its not as if this batting order is producing much lately. Our lineup has become stale.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Never mind.

  • We began 2-7....on the road.....yes, it sucked...
    Then I remember when we hit 25-15, a number that stuck in my head from 1984.
    So that run the Cubs went : 23 and 8.....

    Since then:

    14 and 18.
    What’s different?
    The starting pitching was great during that initial run but cooled off.
    Bryant, Baez and Contreras have tapered off alot in different ways...
    Bryant, no power since he ran into Heyward....Baez, no slug since the heel, Contreras, hardly anything offensively.
    The bullpen has not picked up the SP going shorter and has faltered because of that along with their actual roles being out of sync with no closer.
    Bote and Victor ARE the bench....there is nothing else giving us anything.

    I really hope they bring that kid up and give him a shot in the rotation along with Chatwood getting another chance.
    Monty.....bye, sorry....same with Descalso. Cargo....you get another couple of weeks otherwise adios too. Get a definitive answer on the Zobrist situation and then act on it, either way.

    The good news is it’s still early AND a longggggg season. Milwaukee is playing as poorly, luckily for us but it shows how competitive and tough the Central is. Crank this homestand up!

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    I agree pretty much with everything you said except: "The good news is it’s still early AND a longggggg season". When and where have I heard that before?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    You probably should have heard that every April, May & June of your baseball fandom, because it's true every year.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    "It's still early" and "it's a long season" are positives, as is Milwaukee kindly not running up a 10 game lead while the Cubs attempt a recovery from their prolonged case of optical rectumitis. Unfortunately, there comes a point when being patient while things "get better" isn't good enough. Either the players need to change what they're doing, or (at least some of) the players need to be changed. Whether that's by trade, bringing up prospects, DFAs or whatever, something needs to be done. Hope is not a strategy.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I expect some changes will definitely be made, they probably should be made. When I say it’s still too early to worry and note the length of the regular season we have to keep in mind this happens to almost every team too. Dodgers lose 2 starting pitchers, how does that affect them etc?
    We sense too many getting too close to the ledge......no need to, we aren’t where Cleveland or Oakland are now.

  • Yep, but that just proves how meaningless that saying can be especially with the Cubs fans this year.

  • Ol bang-bang does it again.

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