Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cubs lose late (for the millionth time)

Have to blame Quade on this one. Marshall had a lot of trouble with the Phillies last series and it continued in his 1 inning of work yesterday. Then he pitched another inning and it only got worse.

I'm pretty sure Quade doesn't know that James Russel has actually been his best reliever, and he's particularly tough against lefties. Even counting his starts, he has only walked 2 lefties, and struck out 19. Lefties clearly aren't doing a good job against him. They have a .234 batting average against vs a .254 for Marshall.

Not that Russell is obviously better vs lefties, but it probably would have been smart to use some other guys when Marshall ran into trouble twice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why the Cubs have allowed the most runs - Bullpen

I just dealt with the fielding and other factors, and now I'm going to focus on the individual pitching, going from best to worst. I will ignore people that didn't pitch enough to matter.

James Russel 1.36/33/8/5
Sean Marshall 2.70/43.1/13/12
Jeff Samardsija 3.40/53/25/20
Kerry Wood 3.56/30.1/16/12
Carlos Marmol 3.80/42.2/18/18
Marcos Mateo 4.30/23/11/11
John Grabow 5.40/40/27/24

Of note
1. Many ERA's end in 0, freaky.
2. James Russel has been awesome out of the pen. His badness came in 5 starts. I guess Quade picked the wrong spot starter.
3. John Grabow is terrible.
4. The worst reliever is used more than the best reliever.

Marmol's ERA is higher because Quade never takes him out when he's in trouble (because he's the closer.) Because of that, his ERA isn't quite apples to apples to the other guys. Take away 2 bad outings totalling 11 ER and he's been awesome. Or, if he was on the visiting team, those would have been about 5-6 ER instead of 11 because the games would have been over.

So the Cubs have 3 great relievers in Marshall, Russel, and Marmol, and 2 more decent ones in Wood and Samardzija.

Going forward the pen is not a problem, however it has contributed some to the high ER total the Cubs have allowed. It's looking like most of the damage is coming from the starters.

Cubs allowed more runs than any other team

This included American league teams which have to face a DH. The Cubs have a run favoring park and play in a division that supports some very good offensive teams. They might not be the worst pitching/defense team but they are close to it. I'm going to take a look at the biggest offenders.

First I'm going to focus on defense. The Cubs rate poorly on defense. The worst offenders are Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukudome. I don't really believe these are bad defenders, either they are poorly positioned or the wind is messing with the system that rates them (UZR). Castro rates poorly too, but it was always questionable if he was going to stick at shortstop or not. He still has time to improve. The rest of the defense is about average, but not good enough to pick up the slack from the aforementioned.

I'm going to do pitching in a seperate entry.

Pythagorean wins

Pythagorean wins is a formula that uses runs scored and runs allowed to see how many games you deserved to win. It's not an exact science, but if there is a large difference between this win percentage and your actual win percentage, you might have a lot of luck involvement.

This is not the case with the Cubs, who are a medium run scoring team and a terrible run prevention team. This formula says the Cubs deserved to win about 39% of their games, which is the actual number.

That doesn't mean the Cubs haven't been lucky or unlucky. I'd say they are unlucky, mostly due to injuries being worse than most teams. However, it's wrong to think the Cubs haven't played like a 20-games-under-.500 team.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cubs lose in Cubsian fashion

A quick look at the guys the cubs got beat by at the bottom of the Marlins order along with OBP (which is the stat that killed the Cubs last night)

Mike Stanton .329 - average
Mike Cameron ~.220- horrendous
John Buck .299 - terrible
Greg Dobbs (since he hit the double I will go OPS (729) - marginal
Emilo Bonasomething - .360 - good
Omar Infante .299 - terrible

Then Gaby Sanchez, a good hitter, got a sac fly and that got the Marlins to 4 runs.

So, a pretty bad group in summary. I always thought if teams just didn't swing against Marmol they would have a pretty good chance to get to him. Odds are you won't hit it even if you swing, so why swing?

Now the Cubs have to win 8 of 9 or I was wrong on my prediction of 8 of the first 10.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cub's Second Half: To Be Or Not To Be

Not to be, anything short of awesome. With the hitting getting hot and the pitching coming back from the DL, the Cubs will be firing on all cylinders. Expect at least 8 of the first 10 games to be Cubs wins.

Also Andrew Cashner will be back soon. The Cubs won't have anyone worse than a typical third starer. Marmol, Wood, and Marshall can close out almost all games, and the Offense is hot-hot-hot.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Aramis Ram passes

"I'd rather take the three days off," said Aramis Ramirez. Now we have Scott Rolen :P

It's a major dissapointment but I can understand the desire for 3 days off. He already told his family he was coming home and didn't want to cancel out on them last minute.

It seems like it would have been good for his next contract to be coming off an All Star year. In the end you have to do what you want.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chipper to the DL, Ramirez to the All Star game?

The first part of that is confirmed, the second part isn't. I can't imagine who else would go. The next best choice is probably Ty Wigginton, aka Wiggy Pig or maybe Ryan Zimmerman. Scott Rolen perhaps. If it's not Ramirez though, I'll flip.

Friday, July 8, 2011

More avenues for Ramirez

Chipper Jones might need surgery "at any time" which would mean Aramis Ramirez has yet another shot at the All Star squad.

To recap all the avenues he could have to get to the game.
Placido Palanco is having serious back pain.
Chipper Jones is having serious knee problems.
Reyes and Tulowitzki are both having some problems.

If either Palanco or Jones can't make it Ramirez would be a show in. It's less clear if a shortstop can't make it, but since there are 2 other shortstops Ramirez could get the nod.

I have to assume Andrew McCutcheon would be taken first if position were not an object though. Ramirez has been one of the best hitters of late, but McCutcheon is second in the NL of all hitters in fangraphs WAR.

However, if a shortstop was out, and McCutcheon replaced him, then if an outfielder couldn't make it Ramirez could still fill in.

By the way, if you can't tell, I'm a huge all star fan and I want to see more Cubs there!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bullpen Management Blows It

It's not the first time and not the last.

Bringing Kerry Wood in for Sean Marshall was a very bad idea. Here are the general ideas to consider.

Anytime you bring a new pitcher into a game, you run the risk of getting someone on a bad day. No pitcher is good everytime they go out there, and yesterday Kerry Wood wasn't on his game. He found it later but the tying run already scored.

Sean Marshall is very good against righties and lefties. Kerry Wood is also about he same vs lefties and righties.

Relievers are better if they start an inning on a clean slate and some time to find it before pitching with runners in scoring position. Pitchers are probably better against the 3rd or 4th batter they face than the first one.

I'm a huge fan of Kerry Wood but I have to admit Sean Marshall has been a bit better for two years now, and Wood JUST came off the DL a few days ago.

To sum up:
Quade runs the risk of bringing in a new reliever when he already has the best one out there for no advantage. He should have expected Ryan Zimmerman to actually do better against Kerry Wood than Sean Marshall.

Aramis Ramirez All Star Snub

Aramis Ramirez probably is not the best player to be snubbed but the 3B going to the all star game instead are Placido Palanco and Chipper Jones. Chipper isn't even as good defensively anymore as A Ram. Palanco is understandable because of the fan vote, A Ram hit 10 HR in June/July so most votes were already cast.

Players picked Chipper probably because he's more likable.

If Reyes doesn't go, they already have Tulo and Castro, so they might go with A Ram as a replacement I guess instead of an SS. It's probably not likely, but at least there's a chance.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Zambrano on the DL or Cubs lose 2

With Zambrano on the DL it means the Cubs will have to use one of their dreaded replacement starters. He will miss at least 2 starts, and probably not more than that. Since replacement starters have lost about 15 games in a row for the Cubs, this is not good.