Once Again, It's Homer or Nuthin' (Mostly Nuthin'); Cubs Lose 2-1 to L.A.
Today at Baseball Prospectus (subscription), Joe Sheehan wrote about how the Cubs have become one of baseball's most home run-dependent teams and tonight, we saw, yet again, where that generally gets you.
A pinch-hit home run by Bobby Scales in the eighth inning against Randy Wolf accounted for all the Cubs' scoring Thursday night in the team's most recent, painful defeat.
Young Randy Wells, starting in place of the injured Rich Harden, delivered yet another terrific start, holding the Dodgers to just 2 runs over 7 innings. He made tough pitches when he had to, fanning seven and walking one. Wells departed with his season ERA still at a glittering 1.80.
The Cubs looked feeble against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf through most of his 7+ innings. The veteran lefty matched Wells with 7 K and 1 BB, but he kept the Cubs off the scoreboard until Scales's blast in the eighth. Wolf helped his cause by inducing three double-plays. Also, as a team, the Cubs went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.
The bottom of the ninth was just a killer. Milton Bradley dropped an ugly but well-placed bunt for a single to lead off the inning, then Derrek Lee followed with another single, moving Bradley to second. After trying and failing to bunt the runners over, Reed Johnson eventually did advance Bradley and Lee with an infield dribbler. Following an intentional walk to Geovany Soto, Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso, subbing for the recently overworked Jonathon Broxton, fanned Scales and Jake Fox to quell the rally and drop the Cubs back to .500.
The basher without a position entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, right after Scales had homered, and he ripped a single to centerfield. Fox then played the field in the top of the ninth, manning third base and actually handling a chance successfully (though Scales was nearly folded in half by Russell Martin as he received Fox's throw to complete a force out at second base.)
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.
Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!
What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.
Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...
Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.
Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.
I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.