The Second Half Really Begins
To piggyback on Cubby Blue's guest post, now that the Cubs finished that four game warm-up they can start the second half. And before we get too excited about leapfrogging the Brewers and gaining ground on the Cardinals, a quick look at the schedule shows the Brewers still have eight chances to beat down that Nationals piñata and the Cardinals another four, while the Cubs just have a three-game set versus the league slumpbuster.
Speaking of the schedule, starting on September 11th, this is the Cubs last four weeks of regular season baseball in 2009.
3 at Pittsburgh
3 vs. Cincinnati
4 vs. Milwaukee
3 at St. Louis
3 at Milwaukee
4 at San Francisco
3 vs. Pittsburgh
3 vs. Arizona
Hopefully that last week won't be a big letdown after 14-straight against teams that are very much in the race at the moment.
Back to the task at hand, I certainly don't think the series is do or die against the Phillies, but getting swept by the World Champs sure would take all the fun out of the weekend sweep over the Nationals. Hopefully they can hang with the Phillies and at least take one and hopefully two. The Phillies do have one of the worst starting staffs in the league(4.82 ERA, 13th in the NL) and the Cubs will miss Cole Hamels, so the starting pitching match-ups favor the Cubs, but the Phils have also won eight straight and have taken a pretty commanding lead of the NL East.
Join the fun in Parachat tonight...
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.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.