Getting Offensive--Cubs 12 Reds 5

The Cubs bullpen was supposed to be the weak link, and it probably is with roughly a bajillion relievers on the IL. The hope was that the Cubs lineup could finally produce like the pedigrees of their many talented young hitters suggests it should. The formula was to ride the starting staff and that offensive lineup to cover the weak link of the bullpen.

Alex Wood and Cole Hamels played anything you can do, I can do worse to start the game. Neither starter lasted past the third inning. Most surprising was Cole Hamels' pitching wasn't as pretty as his physical appearance, which is extremely rare both as a Cub and against the Reds. Thankfully Nick Castellanos is so hot right now. The rains fell in the middle innings but that didn't stop the game. Nor could it stop the Cubs from earning a much needed road win. Tyler Chatwood, Duane Underwood Jr., and Kyle Ryan flipped the script pitching six scoreless frames to close out the win.


Source: FanGraphs

Jason Heyward started the game with a sight that has thankfully become a lot less familiar recently by bouncing out to second. Nick Castellanos drove a ball into right center that fell in between the center fielder and right fielder. Castellanos breaking out of the box attempted to stretch into a double, but a strike thrown by big right fielder Aristides Aquino caught Castellanos sliding for the second out. Kris Bryant drew a base on ball to keep the inning alive which loomed large when Anthony Rizzo snuck a ball past Joey Votto down the line that bounced around in the corner. Bryant scored without a throw when Aquino couldn't handle it in the corner. Javier Báez struck out to end the inning.

Cole Hamels made quick work of the first two Reds batters, but Eugenio Suárez continued to terrorize Cubs pitching with a double. Aquino made it count by doubling to tie the game. José Iglesias hit the ball hard but Ian Happ grabbed it for the final out.

Alex Wood yielded a two out single to Jonathan Lucroy in the second, but kept the game level heading into the bottom of the frame. Phillip Ervin came within a foot or two of untying the game to start the second, but had to settle for a double. José Peraza flew out to left field for the first out. Kyle Farmer hit a ball that bounced off the third base bag and away from Kris Bryant to reach safely while advancing Ervin to third. Alex Wood attempted the safety squeeze but Hamels pounced on the bunt to flip it home in time to get Ervin. Nick Senzel bounced into an inning ending fielder's choice.

Jason Heyward bounced out to the right side to start the third inning. Castellanos then decided it was smarter to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Kris Bryant reached on Peraza's error on the hard hit ball at the second baseman. Anthony Rizzo bounced a single through the right side to move Bryant to third. Javy doubled into left to score Bryant. After Albert Almora Jr. struck out, Ian Happ drove in a pair with a single into left. Lucroy hit the ball hard, but it stayed in the park for the final out, ending the top half of the third with the Cubs ahead 5-1.

That lead felt comfortable until Aquino absolutely obliterated a Cole Hamels one out pitch. The fact that this came after Hamels lost Suárez on pitches meant that the lead had been halved. Iglesias kept the Reds offense rolling with a single, but Ervin flew out for the second out. Peraza rolled a grounder back up the middle to put runners on the corners. The eight hitter Kyle Farmer bounced a ball through the right side to cut the Cubs lead down to 5-4, and the Reds elected to pinch hit Jesse Winker in the third. Hamels lost Winker on a full count pitch that wasn't anywhere close to load the bases. Senzel hit Lucroy's glove on the 3-1 pitch to tie the game.  Hamels threw a huge 3-2 fastball for a called strikeout on Joey Votto to end the inning still level at five.

New Red Kevin Gausman took over in the fourth and appeared to restore sanity to the game with two quick outs. Nick Castellanos wasn't going to allow the first 1-2-3 inning to happen just yet and found the right field bleachers this time to put the Cubs back ahead. Bryant reached base for the third time before Gausman retired Rizzo to end the inning. Tyler Chatwood pitched the first clean inning of the game, and if you predicted that ahead of 6:15 then you are a witch.

Javy led off the fifth with a single, but Gausman retired the next two batters. Ian Happ was on first base when Jonathan Lucroy floated a ball into shallow left due to a fielder's choice. Happ running on contact with two outs scored the seventh Cubs run easily. Chatwood grounded out to finish the top half of the frame. Chatwood's streak of Reds retired was snapped instantly with Ervin's single to start the bottom half. Ervin advanced to second when Chatwood struck Kyle Farmer with a pitch. Pinch hitter Josh VanMeter hit into a fielder's choice when Javy wisely did not attempt a throw with a wet baseball.  Chatwood struck out Senzel to keep the score at 7-5.

Lucas Sims pitched a scoreless sixth inning working around a hit by pitch and base on ball. Chatwood created stress right to start the bottom half by walking Joey Votto. A wild pitch allowed Votto to advance to second before catching Suárez looking for the first out. Chatwood figured out that you don't have to throw Aquino a strike as the big right fielder swung over a 3-2 pitch way outside. There wasn't a single pitch in the zone for the key second out. Chatwood continued to be effectively wild striking out Iglesias to end the inning.

David Hernandez pitched the seventh and the Cubs extended their lead by two just two batters into the frame. Ian Happ hit a broken bat blast with Almora along for the ride. Hernandez issued two walks and both came to score as Peraza attempted to field a bouncer off of Kris Bryant's bat barehanded. Rizzo was retired but the damage was done as the Cubs extended their lead to 11-5.

Duane Underwood Jr. took over and Philip Ervin briefly interrupted his ascendancy by doubling to start the bottom of the seventh. Underwood  recovered quickly retiring the next two batters with the second another strikeout. Maddon elected to double switch the young righty for Kyle Ryan to get the final out. Ryan was helped out by a nice catch from Almora to end the inning.

Reds manager David Bell waved the white flag by allowing Hernandez to go back out there in the eighth. Lucroy made Bell pay with a two out run scoring single to extend the Cubs lead to seven runs. After David Bote followed that up with a bloop single it was catcher/second baseman Kyle Farmer's turn to pitch. Farmer retired Heyward without a pitch recorded by the in-game pitch f/x. Ryan faced the minimum in the eighth inning inducing yet another groundball double play.

Kyle Farmer pitched the ninth inning, and nearly had the Reds first clean inning. But Victor Caratini dumped a single into shallow left field to keep the inning alive. Javy decided to bat left handed against Farmer and swung for the moon on the first pitch. It ended up a can of corn for the center fielder to end the inning. Ryan pitched another low stress frame to close it out.

Random Reference

Jonathan Lucroy had a nice day. Two catcher's interference calls were the only real blemish in his Cubs debut. It might just be a single game, but I am going to take credit for it with my Baseball Costanza powers. Earlier this afternoon I wrote how I wasn't a fan of the move, and hopefully he can keep doing this:


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  • The Nicky 2 Bags and Happer show tonite. I'll give it 4 stars.

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    In reply to HefCA:

    They did have a great night, but for me, the whole team eats tonight. Everyone contributed and deserves their table. Maybe the out of the night was when Cole struck out the batter with the bases loaded, but congrats to everyone.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    You are the team Maitre D, Jonathan, whatever you say goes! Sry for jumping the gun. Definitely a team win, and the way that Hamels gutted out his last out, after the catcher's interference call, and bags loaded no less, was stellar.

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    In reply to HefCA:

    You can do that anytime you want. I have fun with it and it's just my opinion.
    I think the only lock down position here is Norway with the magic number (although I heard David Kaplan say it tonight, but I won't reveal it here.)

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ehem, team DJ over here.:)

  • How can you not love Javy? Seriously, a pure show of sportsmanship.

    We won a game on the road. We won a game on the road! Let's keep it rolling. Like a rolling.

    It worked in 2016. Ride the hot hand. My hot hand during that postseason was Dylan. It's kinda early, but Bob has a large portfolio. If it ain't broke...

    "You've went to the finest school all right,
    Miss Lonely,
    But you know you only used to get juiced In it.
    Nobody has ever taught you how to
    Live on the street
    But now you find out you're gonna have
    To get used to it."

    W, baby!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I thought for sure he was going to hit it out left handed.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    He said he couldn't wait to swing, he just wanted to swing so badly. Not unlike his AB's from the right side.

    I can't even imagine what a HR there would have done to the legend of El Mago.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Javy is awesome! But he has a pretty durned good cast of players around him. The Cubs FO needs to figure out how to sign both him and KB to contracts before they go FA. That is for the off season, not a thing to worry about now, but finding a way to keep those 2 as Cubs for the next 10 or so years has to be 1A and 1A as things to do after this season is over, methinks.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    If you could only afford to sign one (Javy or KB) to a long term deal, which would you choose?

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    It depends how the front office thinks they’ll age physically, but right now and for the past 2 seasons javy has easily become the more valuable all around player. To me the advantages KB has in OBP are outweighed by javys vastly superior defense, and his ability to actually get his in rbi spots and drive in runs. Unlike others I think most understand KB is an outstanding player but the lack of run production in RBI spots has been frustrating. Again that doesn’t mean KB isn’t a stud I’m thankful they have both

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Javy if I only get to choose just one. They are both good at baseball.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Good question, but I'll add a caveat that it will probably be a stain on this team if either moves on. I remember how Maddux was not pursued that much when he went to Atlanta (the GM was even quoted as saying something like 'Oh we'll be just fine with what we have'), and that still stings with many fans.

    And what about Rizzo and Contreras, both who would be 1A players to resign on many other teams? It's crazy, but I think that it is probably impossible to bring back all 4, therefore, KB and Javy are minimum for me.

    But if I had to choose between the two? Seriously, it comes down to the size and years of the contract needed to sign them. If it is even moderately less for KB vs. Javy, or Javy vs. KB, you have to go with that.

    If they both want the exact same type of contract, then I'd bite the bullet and take Javy. There is just noone like him in the MLB. No one. There may be better qualified as MVP for a given year, or "more exciting", blah blah blah. But there is noone that is the complete package that he is.

  • Road warriors!

  • I only saw one swing but Javy's bat is wicked fast from the left side as well.

  • All the batters get gameballs, but my vote for POG would have to be Chatty. He settled down a wild game and a team that was hitting everything hard before he got in there. He has settled into a pretty good comfort zone out there in the bullpen. And Kyle Ryan is a gift out of nowhere for me.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Chatwood is providing great value. He comes in when the starter is having problems and gives the team a chance to win. In the off season there were some posters who just wanted to release him. Good thing we did not.

  • In reply to John57:

    I have nothing but respect for Chatwood. Signs the big (for him) FA contract, completely flops and gets demoted in his role. Instead of whining and complaining he put his head down and went to work. He hit a low point, and made the decision to climb instead of dig.

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    In reply to John57:

    Is he providing "great value"? He has been valuable for several games, particularly recently. He has really helped the team by eating some innings. Maybe he deserves a shot at a "6th starter" spot for a couple weeks. But when I read "great value" I think in terms of what the Cubs are getting for his salary. His WAR is 0.0. By definition he is a replacement level player. A player that can be had for league minimum or close to it. As a rule of thumb 1 fWAR is generally valued at about $8-9M. There is some variation in this as it is not uncommon for a "closer" to make WAY more than this and not get enough time to accumulate much fWAR, yet what they do has value (or any top level reliever). But a guy who comes in and burns innings isn't usually a particularly valuable player IMO. I want more out of players than simply being good at "stopping the bleeding.

    This is not to say he is "bad." But that the Cubs are paying $13M (a decent BOR starter type salary) for a guy providing replacement level return.

    We can argue how accurate WAR is but this is a whole different SCALE in that debate. To me that is a debate that we can have when we are dealing with the margins. I might think Javy is a 4-6 fWAR player and BP might think he is a 5-8 fWAR player. But he is a guy who is providing "great value" (maybe "astronomical value") at $5.2M for 4.5 fWAR production as of this writing. But to me a guy who is "replacement level" is not a "great value" at $13M.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Baseball Reference has him as a 0.9 WAR. So that would equate to about $7MM right now. So are we getting equal value this year? Maybe not. But he has stepped in sometimes this season and provided a huge lift to this bull pen.

    And coming off of a horrific year, the pressure must have been crazy on him.

    He is putting himself in the position to be a 5th/6th starter next year if he is needed in that capacity.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That's all true, and I don't think anyone would argue that Chatwood is earning his $/WAR "value", let alone exceeding it. I think John was just talking about his role on the team, having gone from a complete bust and sunk cost to providing a valuable role on the team by being able to come in and rescue a starter having a bad game, and giving his team a chance to win. It's just a different way of defining value, as you are both correct, but there is more to value within the inter-connecting cogs of a team than simply a summation of WAR totals. We'd all like to see more in relation to his salary, but Chatwood is doing everything within his power to provide value, and his role may grow because of that.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I read John's comment to mean that Chattwood is proving to be valuable to the team coming out of the bullpen. Which I don't think can be denied.

    Value is a different story indeed.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I don't know if it's possible to give fair value to a guy who saves your pen and keeps you in the game the way he has. Gausman had the same assignment last night at didn't get it done. Not only that Chatwood gives you good AB's while he's in the game. 6 K's in 3 IP pretty much stuck a fork in Cincy.

    The starters have been on a great run. All streaks come to an end. 3-4 IP outings by Lester and Hamels within 3 days could have worn out the pen for a week. In those 2 games the pen (& Taylor Davis) allowed 0 R with 14 K's over 11 IP. Came out of them 1-1.

    Tip of the cap.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    WAR is not a great stat, not even a very good one. I think anyone who watched how this game went would have to admit that Chatwood was the most important factor in getting the win in this game. I doubt it is even reflected in his 'WAR' stat.
    But he came into a 5-5 game, where the Reds offense was on fire (I heard one of the HRs off Hamels was the hardest hit in the entire MLB this year).
    He shut down the Reds for 3 innings, and left it with the Cubs up 7 - 5. He kept the BP from being taxed too heavily also.
    That's a lot of good stuff for one game.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I think it is important to remember when talking about WAR that you are not talking about one statistic. There are three main variations that have vastly different formulas resulting in vastly different numbers for the same production in a given year. I agree that sabermetrics has gone a bit too far at times with completely de-contextualizing baseball outcomes and determining value, but to throw it out completely I think is as wrong to say that the one number proves player x is better than player y definitively.

  • In reply to Mike Banghart:

    Good points. But the term "Wins above Replacement" is just wrong. Does it even measure how Chatwood saved the pen by going 3 innings when Hamels could only do 3? Not one bit.
    Does it measure how he poured ice water on the Reds offense, when it had been red hot? Not really.
    Those factors (saving the pen, cooling off a hot team) are probably impossible to statistically measure. But that not only tangibly helped the team win, but also benefits the team in future games, again something that WAR does not measure.
    I don't like WAR because it does not represent, in a significant way, what it purports to do.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I've echoed the same sentiments about WAR. It is a useful tool when comparing players, and it strives to be better, but can't be taken too literally. The value Chatwood added yesterday possibly won us a game but will go into the algorithm as "only" three strikeouts into IP total. That's why I rail against WAR numbers for Javy. There is so much more that goes into winning baseball games than box score numbers, I know the various WAR models are evolving, and Javy is a case study, but they're not there.

    Main point: don't take WAR literally.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    For this game, he pitched like a 3 WAR pitcher. Our $20 MM starter was a negative WAR pitcher.

    What I reading above are two separate arguments. WAR is a very good statistic because it captures all aspects of play. It is a simple exercise of being able to weight a player versus a standard measure (replacement level player).

    To talk about WAR in a given game is microscopic to the value the stat calculates (1/162 in a 1 game view).

    Chatwood has been a great pitcher to have on our staff providing some versatility needed.

  • Tyler Chatwood's last 13+ innings, 3BB/12K. His last cluncker was June 27 when he walked 4 in a 5 inning spot start. Since then he's made seven appearances and hasn't walked more than 1 in any of those with three of them being more than an inning. He's becoming a legit weapon out of the pen.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Right on the mark John.

  • Not so many Lucroy naysayers today. Considering he hasn't played in a major league game since July, I'd say 3 for 5 ain't bad. Major upgrade over Taylor.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    I like the way he receives as well. That was also impressive.. Good start to his Cubdom.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Minus the interference calls, which I assume will not be an on going problem.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I didn't watch the game but saw the highlight of the interference call that knocked the glove off his hand. It was a good angle showing how close he was receiving the ball to the plate. I don't have any data to support this theory but have wondered if the better framers consciously attempt to catch the ball closer to the plate, as the deeper the pitch moves past the plate the further it moves out of the zone. It makes sense to me, but it is a fine line between "stealing" a strike vs. an interference call.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    IIRC, the interference calls were both on the same batter. That doesn't exonerate Lucroy, but I have to wonder if that batter stands deeper in the box or has a difference in his swing that Lucroy didn't react to.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I was thinking there is not much one can tell a veteran mlb catcher. They are like Farmers Insurance. Everything is covered, because they have seen a thing or two. If a competitive team doesn't have a veteran catcher, because they have two young studs like the Cubs, maybe it's not a bad idea to carry three.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think so. When I caught I liked to be as close to the batter as possible. Of course that was amature stuff, but everybody played the game in those days and fundamentals were taught. The closer the better.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    And you made a good point on it being the same batter. When I played that was one of my tricks when we needed a baserunner. I'd stand as deep in the box as possible, and take a deep, looping swing to clip the catcher's mitt. It worked, but I took a couple in the ribs over the years when the opposition realized what I was doing.

  • In reply to Ronson54:

    Agreed in general yeah he had the catchers interference but it’s not like catchers rack those up consistently easily correctable issue. What impressed me was his timing at the plate he looked like the pesky professional AB lucroy I saw in Milwaukee. I thought he framed well and called a good game. Blocking was good which was a concern of mine, and he saved a run for chatwood. Overall I think they’re lucky to have him if nothing else his main job is to hold the fort for these next 4 weeks, and it appears he can handle that. We shouldn’t expect big games like that all the time, but I’ve seen enough to already conclude the front office did the right thing being proactive on getting a better 3rd catcher. I like that he gives them an experienced eye in the catchers room to with willson and caratini

  • It doesn't matter and the Cubs did the right thing, but I'm gonna say it, anyway. It sucks for Taylor Davis. He's been at AAA most of the year, supposedly as "insurance" if Contreras or Caratini goes down. But when it happens, the Cubs tell him "you're not good enough" and they trade for or sign someone else. Yeah, Lucroy is better, it's best for the team, etc. etc. Still it's a kick in the rosin bag for one of the most likable players in the Cubs system and maybe not the best example of organizational loyalty, either.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I agree with you but I’m just gonna he honest when I say I just don’t think Davis is very good, and I’ve never understood why he’s taking up a 40 man roster spot If he can’t throw or hit that well. Great guy but I’m not one to root for underdogs if I strongly believe they don’t help the team. What’s the point of keeping him on the 40 man roster if they don’t even think he can hold up as the backup catcher for 4 weeks? For me I feel fortunate they ended up with lucroy because caratini and Davis wasn’t the answer at catcher

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    "What’s the point of keeping him on the 40 man roster if they don’t even think he can hold up as the backup catcher for 4 weeks?"

    That's a question I've been asking, too. The Cubs must feel that he's good for the organization, even if better options exist for backup at the MLB level. It's one of the drawbacks of playing for a competitive organization.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'll say this for Davis I think he physically just doesn't have what it takes to catch for a team with aspirations of playing deep into the playoffs. But he's known as one of the best guys in the organization, and he's a really intelligent baseball guy. I don't have anything against him but I've been vocal that he's not the answer at backup catcher. At the same time though I think it also has a lot to do with Lucroy's unexpected availability as well.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I hear you, and any professional athlete has pride and ambition as part of the job description, but I have read some comments from Davis. He seems fine with it. He understands he just doesn't have the physical tools, and it isn't any fault of his own or a knock on him in any way. We are fortunate to have him in the organization, and I think he'll remain here for as long as he desires, or until a better opportunity arises elsewhere. He looks like a baseball lifer to me,

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I do get that same baseball lifer feel, and wouldn't be shocked to see him move from player to coach role down the road. It wouldn't be shocking to me if the Cubs had already talked to Davis about taking the Jonathan Mota path and that is why he elected to stay in the organization after being DFA'd.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'll bet Taylor gets it. He's probably disappointed though.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I believe it's just as much about leadership and veteran presence as anything. I, too, feel for Davis but he can't beat himself up for not having experience for a ballclub trying to win a world series. Tough luck but if he truly wants a shot, he'll just have to try to find a spot on a non-contender first.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agree. But I wouldn't be surprised if they have a job waiting for him when the mask gets hung up. Guys like him can work in the game for a long time.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I think Davis is thrilled to even get the occasional cup of coffee in the majors. If he played any other position, his offense would never get him that far.
    When I see him on TV I see a happy guy who is counting his blessings. A guy who also is well liked and brings good catching experience. But he hasn't earned any right to be a fixture on the 24-man roster.

  • We were promised doubles from Castellanos. I suppose I'll take the ball going over the fence instead. He has really revitalized the offense.

    Almora looks completely lost though. Two completely non-competitive AB's last night one with men in scoring position. He shouldn't be more than a defensive replacement at this point with Happ back on the roster.

  • In reply to jmarsh123:

    Almora got 2 hits in 5 ABs last night, a .400 BA. He's actually been hitting pretty decently lately. My theory is that Castellanos taking up playing time is a great motivator... but I'm not complaining about Almora's ABs in last night's game.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yeah, Albert's last 7 game slash line definitely shows he does not look completely lost. He has turned it on too.


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    In reply to jmarsh123:

    Remember he played in Comerica Park with all those doubles. They turn into HR's at Wrigley. Comerica is probably the biggest park in baseball. I think Castellanos complained about that also.

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    My bad, longest OF to hit a HR. I think its 420 to straightaway center. Used to be 440 old Tiger Stadium.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    Kauffman Stadium in KC and Coors Field in Denver are pretty vast as well. Given - not 440ft anywhere, and also given that the balls tend to fly further at Coors on average than anywhere else.

    Not a heck of a lot of HRs hit in KC most years.

  • It's funny but when you think about it since June the team has added Kimbrel, Phelps, Holland, Kemp, Castellanos, Happ, Lucroy, with Zobrist on his way. It feels like they made small changes but that's 8 new players on this team, so practically 1/3 of this roster comprises of new talent. I know the sample is way too small to generalize, but this just feels like a different ballclub to me. I've been pushing Lucroy and I think the team is simply extremely lucky to have ended up with him, and I'm excited about the insight he'll add to the catchers room. But this team just feels a lot deeper all around the pen is holding up with some new guys without their 2 best relievers. The bench with most Happ, Bote, Kemp, Lucroy, Almora, and sometimes Schwarber is by far the best we've seen this year with the bottom of the roster struggling throughout the year. Getting Descalso off the roster helps too.

    And let's not forget Castellanos AKA Nicky 2 bags whose clearly been the star of this resurgence. Small sample and I don't expect him to dominate forever, but he almost feels like the cubs version of JD Martinez and how JD just completely changed that red sox lineup last season. If Theo and Jed are gonna get criticized for every move that doesn't go right in addition to every player they trade away that becomes good. Then they should be credited for rejuvenating this team adding a ton of players without trading their top prospects. Really besides paying Kimbrel it's pretty impressive how they've rebuilt the bottom of this roster without resorting to all in win now moves. I think the front office has seemingly had a heck of a trading deadline. Let's also give Joe Maddon some credit as well as the guy just seems to consistently have this team playing their best baseball in the 2nd half.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    If Castellanos is still raking in the 2 hole when Willy gets back, where does he bat? Good problem if the team stays on a roll.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    And then Zobrist? September will be very interesting.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Last fall Theo said that they were going to focus on production or potential. I think too many people thought/wanted that to mean that there would a bunch of changes over the winter. That didn't happen and fans started grousing about Theo and Ricketts. Then the team went on little nose dive in May and June and more fans and the media started hollering to drop players, cut guys completely, and fire the manager while throwing Theo and Ricketts under the bus for being incompetent.

    This front office is far from incompetent. Maddon is one of the most competent managers in baseball. They all possess what most fans do not, that is patience and inside knowledge. I gave up complaining about manager's decisions years ago. There are too many variables that go into every decision for a fan to act like they know better.

    The team stayed in a position that Theo and the rest remained comfortable with and made the moves they could when they could. None were blockbuster moves or huge gets, but cumulatively they look to be adding up right now.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Plus Zo. IF he comes back and does well. I hope so. He deserves to go out in style. Unless he keeps playing.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Good points. I’m rejuvenated as a fan also. I think now as constructed the cubs can do serious damage in the postseason. Theo and company did awesome job and Zobrist is still waiting in the wings. Think about that a fiormer World Series mvp going to join the club for the stretch run. I’m totally jacked now for the direction of this team!

  • Just because I am apparently now "the biggest Javy Ass Kisser at the Den":

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    "now"? Really? This has been the case for 6 years now.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Thank you, I take that as a compliment. When everyone else had doubts, I held fast, saying he will be an MVP. Not yet, but so close, and probably not this year. But it's coming.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Besides, the entire argument is ridiculous anyway. Ain't nobody knocked me off that particular mountain. I'm still the king around here.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'll rightfully take my lumps for not believing that Javy's contact issues and lack of command of the strike zone could be overcome to be a star level offensive player.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I wasn't posting regularly on this site back when everyone was doubting Javy, but I still read the comments section and have been on this site since the beginning. But I can also honestly say I've been one of his biggest supporters from the start, and honestly I always agreed and respect Barley, John, and your defense of Javy from fans that wanted to use him as a trade chip. One of my good friends who is a mets fan once told be he'd be shocked if Javy ever hit .250 after his poor MLB debut season in 2014, and believe me he felt my passionate wrath for that comment. I still give him constant crap about doubting the man.

    For me I guess I just expected Javy to struggle when he was 1st called up with that wild approach. If you followed his minor league career he struggled practically at every single level initially only to figure it out and dominate. The bat speed, the power, the hands were just too special for him not to have a successful career. The ball simply comes off his bat differently, and as John stated his baseball instincts are just special. I'm just glad after all the trade talk that he's still a cub

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    You have more documentation, I'll give you that. But no need to fight, I just relish all those doubts from 2014-2015, people looking up stats saying he is a bust and all the media narratives. I always had one question: "have you ever seen this kid play baseball?" The talent was so obvious.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It's a total compliment, buddy!!! You maintained faith from minute one, day one.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Never understood why some posters can't just state their opinions without getting their panties in a bunch over someone else's.

  • I have been a strong Javy Baez detractor, but I love the way he has played this past week. Possibly criticism got to him or watching Nick Castellanos put the bat on the ball to all fields without causing a gale with his swing, taught him something. He has taken pitches, actually walked, and consistently shot the ball to right field. May it continue.
    Ian Happ has also surprised me. I still think his swing is longish, but he has been making contact and going to the opposite field. The second base experiment is sort of working until Zobrist returns.
    Pitching wise, Jon Lester is showing wear. Missing a start might help him. The bullpen is a mishmosh. Maddon will have to be a magician to keep it together.
    The Lucroy signing is manna from heaven. Have always loved his bat. He looked good behind the plate last night. Unfortunately no room for Lucroy next year as a third catcher, but personally I think either Caratini or Contreras are the Cubs’ primary trade chips and one will be gone before 2020 season.
    I like the team right now, but they are only a real contender if Kimbrel approaches his best form and Wick becomes a legit second closer and Kintzler returns strong. Strop and Cishek appear to be mop ups for now, Holland and Phelps give hope and Ryan has pitched way over his head.

  • I just saw that the player's weekend is August 23-25, where players get a little leeway on their uniform choices and get to wear a nickname on their backs. Full list here:

    I'm a little disappointed that Castellanos has requested "Artist". I think we need to start a petition asking for "Nicky 2bags".

  • Lineup is out. Joe has tightened the screws for the stretch run.

    Heyward, 2bags, Bryzzo, Javy, Happ, Schwarbs, Carat and YU.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    That's the way this works. We have re-made the team on the fly.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Yeah, he uses first 100 games to give everyone chances, then tightens the ship. It's why he usually has good records the second half.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    This is true, but the FO also uses the first 100 games to evaluate talent and look for training / coaching opportunities. When they "tighten the ship," it sometimes involves duty changes and a man or two overboard! This road trip is an excellent opportunity for the team to respond to the changes.

    In other words, this year there seems to be less "he'll come around" and more "let's play somebody else..."

  • Banghart the Dabs; School has started again. This year in charge of discipline from a curriculum standpoint, we are actually going to conduct gen ed classes in ISS, go figure. The look on their faces, prove me wrong but I bet behavior to get out of class changes rapidly.

    Now it's the attitude. Lucroy is playing for keeps, he can earn a spot on the playoff roster and knows it. there is a song by the Kinks, same for Castellanos though he is playing for that FA check.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I think I know the Kinks song to which you refer. Different verses for different players, of course. Lucroy is singing one tune:

    "This indecision's bugging me (esta indecisión me molesta)
    If you don't want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librarme)
    Exactly whom I'm supposed to be (dígame que tengo ser)." ...

    While Nicky 2bags is singing another:

    "Should I stay or should I go now?
    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go, there will be trouble.
    And if I stay it will be double."

    We'll see.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Or should that read "if I stay there will be doubles?". Nicky 2bags.

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