Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 08/17/13

Game One Hundred Twenty-Two: Cubs (53-68) vs. Cardinals (69-52)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 89/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Travis Wood (7-9, 3.00/1.10) vs. Joe Kelly (3-3, 3.14/1.37)

The Cubs will look to build on Friday’s win and take another series from the Cardinals this afternoon behind Travis Wood. The Cubs offense was solid on Friday and picked up where they left off in St. Louis. The Cubs used six walks and a hit batsman to beat the Redbirds as four of the six walks, and the hit batsman scored five of the Cubs’ seven runs.

The Cubs had some success last Sunday against Joe Kelly and must make him work again this afternoon. Mike Matheny figures to have a quick hook with Kelly if he struggles because the Cardinals’ pen is back in shape after Jake Westbrook took one for the team on Friday.

Look for Dale Sveum to run out the same lineup for the second day in a row with Kelly on the mound.

This afternoon all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off an excellent outing against the Reds. Wood was hung with the loss after making one mistake in a season-high eight innings. Wood paid too much attention to Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips launched a two-run homer in the seventh that accounted for all of the runs that was scored on the night. Wood surrendered four hits, one walk and struck out five in what was his best start since the break.

After a rough outing against the Dodgers, Wood settled back in and has allowed four runs on ten hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in his last two starts, 14 1/3 innings (2.51 ERA, 0.83 WHIP). Since the break, Wood is 1-3 in five starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

Travis Wood missed the Cardinals last weekend and is 1-1 in three starts against the Redbirds this season with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.

Cardinals Numbers against Travis Wood in 2013

  • Matt Adams – 1-for-3
  • Carlos Beltran – 3-for-10 with a double
  • Matt Carpenter – 2-for-11 with a walk
  • Allen Craig – 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • David Freese – 2-for-9
  • Matt Holliday – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Jon Jay – 3-for-7
  • Pete Kozma – 3-for-8 with a double and a walk
  • Yadier Molina – 5-for-9 with a double

Thanks to the schedule makers, Joe Kelly will face the Cubs in back-to-back starts. The Cubs did a nice job against Kelly last Sunday and scored four runs, three earned, on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. The Cubs lost 8-4 after battling back and tying the game in the sixth inning.

Joe Kelly was in the middle of an excellent run before he struggled somewhat against the Cubs. Kelly is 2-0 in four starts since the break with a 1.57 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.

Kelly has pitched much better on the road (2-0 in 15 games, three starts, with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP) this season than in his home park (1-3 in 13 games, four starts, with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP) and has already beaten the Cubs at Wrigley this season.

Joe Kelly is 1-0 in three games, two starts, this year against the Cubs with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Kelly

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-5
  • Welington Castillo – 3-for-6 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-8 with a double
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-6 with a walk
  • Junior Lake – 0-for-3
  • Donnie Murphy – 1-for-3
  • Dioner Navarro – 0-for-1
  • Cody Ransom – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-9 with a double
  • Nate Schierholtz – 1-for-5

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus CF
    Lake LF
    Rizzo 1B
    Schierholtz RF
    Castillo C
    Murphy 3B
    Castro SS
    Barney 2B
    Wood P

    • Denver Mike

      It isn’t saying much but this is probably the best lineup we can field at this point. Considering my expectations for next year are tempered as well, I would like to see some sort of upgrade at 2B, 3B, and CF but nobody who will be blocking players beyond 2014 as I could see Baez, Alcantara, and Brant up by 2015. A 2015 as follows might not be ready for a WS, but would certainly be more formidable that what we have now (if Vogelbach can progress and push Rizzo to the OF it would look even better).

      Alcantara 2B
      Lake (Almora?) CF
      Baez 3B
      Bryant RF
      “FA RBI Guy” LF
      Rizzo 1B
      Castro SS
      Castillo C

  • Denver Mike

    Looking at FA for 2014 the following is a list of guys I could see us taking a run at. Not too exciting, but some definite “flip” guys in there:

    Pitchers
    E. Bedard
    P. Hughes
    S. Marcum
    E. Volquez
    R. Vogelsong
    J. Sanchez

    Batters
    M. Morse
    K. Johnson
    A. Casilla
    N. Cruz

    I feel like the market has shown the last few years that you can get the most back for pitchers at the July trade deadline. Most of the pitchers shown are guys who have had less than stellar years so may be willing to sign 1-2 year deals, but have enough upside to carry value in a trade if they bounce back.

    The FO has shown that they aren’t willing to spend big in FA, and also aren’t trying to block any prospects on their way up. With that in mind, the hitters I found are all guys that would likely come cheap, fill a current place of need, and not block prospects when they are ready.

    I’m not real excited about this list, as I assume most other reader aren’t either. But it is what it is, and I’d be shocked if they made any big splashes this offseason.

    • Dorasaga

      How about Ian Kennedy? He can log 200 IP every season, and he’ll be FA 2015. Good for a pre-season trade.

      • Denver Mike

        Nothing wrong with Kennedy, would be a nice pickup on a reasonable deal. I knew he had fallen off a bit since his breakout in 2011, but until I looked I guess I didn’t realize how much. I had figured he would want a longer deal, and more $$$ than the FO would want to spend, but after looking at it he might be had for a reasonable deal.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Obosio might get him turned around. He seems to be a miracle worker.

    • BosephHeyden

      I would not mind them getting Phil Hughes. I think a change of scenery to the NL would be a huge boost to his game.

      • Denver Mike

        I would like to see them bring on Hughes as well, he might not be agreeable to it but if he didn’t work out in the rotation I think he could be a lights out 7/8th inning guy as well.

        I also wouldn’t mind seeing Morse and Johnson too. Morse for the power and Johnson for his versatility.

        • cubtex

          I would like to see some moves too Denver. Anything that could improve the major league team would be nice.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I think they will pursue Phil Hughes this off-season.

  • cubtex

    RIP- You asked a week or so ago on how long Junior Lake could keep up this improbable start. The answer was 70 AB’s. The last 2 weeks or 46 AB’s he is hitting .214 with 12 K’s and only 2 extra base hits(both doubles)

    • Tony_Hall

      And it seems that nothing makes Paul or you happier than to post a negative stat about a current Cub.

      If you are looking for something good to say how about Castillo in the last 14 days

      Castillo 308/486/423

      or if that is too small of a sample size (of course it is, if the stat comes out positive for a Cubs player) then how about 28 days

      Castillo 322/461/475

      Nice to see Castillo playing well.

      • cubtex

        Just putting up a stat on a question that was asked by one of the posters. Who was talking about Castillo??? I am happy for him. Put up Donnie Murphy’s stats too. I am sure he has been doing well. Hahaha. You are an angry young man.

        • Tony_Hall

          I was suggesting that you try to find something good to post, and the way Castillo has been playing I thought he would be a good one to point out.

          Not sure why you always try to say I am being negative or angry, when all you post is negative things about the Cubs, that seems to make you the angry one, angry against anything that has to do with the Cubs. I get tired of all the negativity, especially from people like you, who say they know what is going on, but insist on saying how bad every decision the FO makes, and pointing out negative stats in a game where you fail far more than you succeed.

          Who cares about Donnie Murphy, he is a roster filler (I am sure his friends and family care and they should he is playing the majors something so few baseball players ever get to do).

          • cubtex

            I point out a stat and you call it negative? I get tired also of posters like you who live in a fantasy that everything that could be done is being done to 100% productivity. I run a company and always look at ways to improve productivity and try to maximize efficiency. I encourage input from my employees. I don’t want a bunch of yes men who want to kiss my a## and say how great I am ( I am pretty awesome though if I do say so myself) To not look at ways to improve or get better is cost productive and negative. So…I feel as if people who are yes posters and never having another point of view from what any FO or person in authority is doing is negative. To say how a player is great after a start or 2 or a month in the big leagues is unproductive. What does it solve? It covers up a negative product with some whipped cream. I respect people who think outside of the box. Who have their own thoughts and opinions. You seem to try and tell me how I should be…..there is a little free advice from myself on how you can get ahead in life. You probably won’t take it but dream big, come up with a plan, don’t be a follower…be a leader!

          • Tony_Hall

            I love when you tell about yourself and give “life” advice to others. Stick to your day job, you say you are good at…..of course if you were good at the advice part, you might know if I am a leader or a follower…..

            Who has ever said they are doing 100% everything possible to win at the major league level? Theo didn’t when he was introduced and they have never hid the fact they are building from the ground up, and will add to the major league team right now, as long as it doesn’t take away from the long term plan.

          • cubtex

            I figured you would respond that way :) lol

        • Tony_Hall

          Also, a couple of down arrows for you to try and offset all the down arrows Paul and you give me, for not jumping on your negative band wagon.

          • Dorasaga

            This is great. I’m L.o.l.

          • Denver Mike

            I used to LOL at the constant back and forth between these two, but more and more I find myself SMH :)

          • Dorasaga

            Nothing wrong with a sense of humor. It’s Cubs Time~!

          • cubtex

            I agree

          • paulcatanese

            When have I given you a down arrow? If anything I don’t give an arrow at all.

          • Tony_Hall

            On the last thread, if it wasn’t you, then I am sorry, but you up arrowed Tex’s post and my 2 posts then went down, thought that was you.

          • paulcatanese

            Nope, wasn’t me. However, sometimes when I press the up arrow and move on, it doesn’t post.

    • BosephHeyden

      I am curious to see how September plays out for him. He was bound to drop off, obviously, but if he can finish the season around .288, then I’d say he’s a pretty good part to use in the “rebuilding”.

      • cubtex

        Exactly. He wasn’t going to keep up that pace. He has a bat that profiles more as a CF. I actually thought they were going to play him there the rest of the year. I don’t understand on why they moved him back to LF

        • Tony_Hall

          Once again, who thought he would keep up that pace….nobody!

          • cubtex

            Let me see…there was a poster on here who said that Junior Lake could replace Soriano’s production. Do you remember who that poster was?

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually I have posted that I am amazed at his production and the he WAS replacing his production and he has done that. Big picture, I know you think of Soriano like a top LF but he is more mid range at best and Lake WAS putting up the numbers to replace Soriano and his 250/280 slash line and at the time was doing it with SLG as well.

            NOBODY ever thought he would keep up the 350 avg and huge SLG pct that would have
            FAR exceeded Soriano’s production. That would be like thinking Soriano’s hot steaks are his stats for the full season.

          • cubtex

            Soriano is a 25-30 HR and 90 to 100 RBI guy. He was last year. He is this year. To think a young guy like Lake could do that is unrealistic. That is why when you put up a projected lineup of Lake,DeJesus,Schierholtz, Murphy/Valbuena,Castro,Barney/Watkins Rizzo and Castillo. That team has NO chance. Zero. As I said that teams surprise some years. This team has ZERO chance of surprising. You need some players to do that.

          • Tony_Hall

            And I guess that means that no one will be added or promoted to change that.

            I never said Lake could hit 25-30 HR’s and drive in 90-100 RBI’s…there is more to production then that and Lake can replace Soriano’s production, by hitting 270/280 with a 330/340 OBP and better D, with 15 range HR’s and by being a more consistent player, then the streaky Soriano.

          • cubtex

            again. I disagree with that WAR nonsense. So Lake might have a higher average and higher OBP or maybe better defensively. He cannot replace the RBI’s or the balance of the lineup. That is what you seem to never understand. When you take out a run producer and try to fill in a player who cannot fill that role and ask other players in the lineup then to get out of your comfort zone…you have a team that can’t score. That is the second half Cubs and that will be the first half Cubs next year with that group.

          • Tony_Hall

            You don’t get it, I don’t care about the effects on the team, this season in August and September….if they score less runs, so what. It was time to move on from Sorinao, they got a live young arm for him and I can’t wait until you move on from Soriano as well.

            I am done with the Soriano talk, wish him well in NY.

          • cubtex

            If the FO signs a Corey Hart or Nelson Cruz or someone to bat 4th next year…then I would be done with the Soriano talk as well.

          • Dorasaga

            Again, anyone else, but not PED-ers, thanks and no, thanks.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Neither one of those signings are going to happen, it does not fit their plan.

          • cubtex

            I know. Unfortunately, I know.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Lake’s current WAR is 289 games above replacement level,
            and this news flash just in: Lake’s WAR is 1,299 games above
            Soriano.

            LOL

          • Dorasaga

            One question, though. If you were the manager of ANY N.L team, why would you want a 30HR/100RBI guy who can’t field or run? I’m not even considering his lack of skills at bunting or getting on base. It’s a question. I can’t conclude.

          • cubtex

            IF Dorasaga…Baez,Bryant,Vogelbach was ready to take the role of #4 hitter. I would help Soriano pack. He is not currently replaceable. Who can do what he has done and will do? And if he can’t run…nobody on this team can because he has more SB than anyone on the team.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      And during that time his BABIP has been .300, which of course is average. As you pointed out earlier, sometimes a stat line does not tell an entire story about how a player is hitting or what he is hitting. Lake has hit several balls on the nose, but right at defenders, and has continued working counts. The improvement he has made at the big league level and over the last two years is very good to see.

      • cubtex

        I agree. He was hitting over his head early. He is more like a .270 hitter with 10 HR’s. He translates more as a CF than a corner.

        • Dorasaga

          Lake was an infielder thruout his minor career. Conversion takes time and practice. Easier to start from the corne.r

          • Tony_Hall

            D – Don’t start that one with Tex, he will tell you that CF is the easiest OF position to play.

          • cubtex

            It is for an infielder who can run. What position did you play? LOL

          • Dorasaga

            Lake? He has speed. I still need to watch him more on the basepath to know how well he “run” (read)…

          • Tony_Hall

            Don’t all OF’s start in the IF…must be a log jam in the minors with all these guys needing to play CF, since it is so much easier.

        • Tony_Hall

          Ummm, Neil was pointing out his BABIP (which stands for Batting average on balls in play) not his avg and pointed out that his BABIP was league average, not above his head.

          • cubtex

            Thanks. I thought that stood for Baboon Alert Back In Park

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Or a utility player on a good team, which is what I think he will end up as.

          • cubtex

            So that begs the question, why aren’t they doing that now with him? Play him at 3rd some, LF,CF,RF. If that is his future role why not do that now? It’s not like they have to play DeJesus,Murphy,Schierholtz everyday.

          • Tony_Hall

            He has played the IF, they are giving him OF time now, because that is what he is the least experienced.

          • cubtex

            18 games LF
            11 games CF
            0 games anywhere else

          • Tony_Hall

            And your point…..

            look deeper, my friend and look at his minor league defensive time.

          • cubtex

            Does minor league fielding now count as major league experience? I must not have gotten those notes. Can you forward them to me please

          • Tony_Hall

            My gosh you are impossible….a player who is in their 1st month of major league baseball, you may need to look at their minor league numbers to see where they have played. You really don’t need to be this difficult on everything…do you.

          • cubtex

            I feel the same about you. I can’t understand how you don’t get simple points. It is unbelievable

          • Tony_Hall

            I get your simple points, they are just old school and have mostly been disproven by more modern analysis, when they dig deeper.

            I bet you disagree with using technology to help the umpires in sports as well.

          • cubtex

            What’s wrong with replay? They should have used it years ago. Just because some computer geeks come up with a new stat doesn’t mean it is better.

          • Dorasaga

            How about Google Glasses standby for umpires to watch those replays, so they don’t need to leave the field? And showing replays on the Jumbotron while they review it?

          • cubtex

            you lost me on that one

          • Tony_Hall

            Glasses they wear that can show the replays….made by Google.

          • cubtex

            ok. by the way. I don’t get the Cubs game here. I get the Red Sox vs Yankees. Soriano is 2-2 again today. Talk about hot!

          • Tony_Hall

            Nothing, but iit s not the old school way, where umps make the calls.

            So, now that we know that you are ok, with some modern conveniences of sports, it is just getting you comfortable with how newer stats can help. I think that is the biggest issue with people who say “they don’t like sabermetrics” is that they don’t know what they are how to figure them, so they think they must be useless. I think if we sat down and talked about what more information you would like to know about a player and all we had to start was the basic stats, you would get where they fit in and why they are useful.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Lake is still very raw and injuries have slowed his development. He is a decent third baseman, but not major league ready right now. I think he will be able to handle the position, on a part-time basis, in the future.

            I was surprised, like most that he played in center when they called him up due to his lack of experience out there. He can play all three spots in the outfield and third. They will get him time in the spring and it would not surprise me if he played all 4 positions in winter ball.

          • Tony_Hall

            I love when you post and bring the common sense back on a subject….

            “I was surprised, like most that he played in center when they called him up due to his lack of experience out there.”

          • cubtex

            Playing CF even surprised you? The easiest outfield position to play for a former SS? That even surprises me.

          • Tony_Hall

            We have been down this road before, all but Paul and you get it.

            Next topic we don’t agree on please.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony was quoting me. It was not because Lake could not handle the position but it was because he had no time in the minors in center. Lake played center in the spring, and a little in winter ball, that was it.

          • cubtex

            I know Neil. It was just another opportunity to mess with Tony :)

          • John_CC

            I do not believe for one minute that you have employees or are a work place leader or whatever you claim, unless of course you are Michael Scott. You act like a teenager.

          • cubtex

            I look like a teenager too! Come to Austin one day and I will give you a your of my operations. I’m hiring too. Send me your résumé and maybe you can do a better job of selling your work skills than you try to sell anyone on here

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yup. I noticed.

  • Dorasaga

    Is it me, or had Holliday really gained weight recently? He’s too tubby now. I thought I could see his cheek bone earlier this season.

  • Denver Mike

    Rather than join in to the back-and-forth above, I figured I’d offer just a few thoughts that I have had in the past regarding this rebuild process.

    When Ricketts bought the team I think there were a few things he realized right away. A)The terms on the loan he took out to buy the team were terrible, and were going to require large payments in the short term to avoid getting fleeced in the long term, a significant financial commitment B) Our front office was terribly understaffed and required an influx of new minds and bodies, a significant financial commitment C) Our facilities both internationally and domestically were in need a major upgrades requiring guess what, a significant financial commitment.

    So where does all of this money come from? It’s easy to say ticket, concession, and memorabilia sales. But every team in the MLB has all of those same things and most aren’t able to stay competitive. Not to mention he had to know the crooks in Chicago government weren’t going to contribute a dime towards the Wrigley renovation so he was on the hook for that whole nut as well. Did the Cubs have a large lucrative TV contract like the other major market big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers had? Nope. Did he have copious amount of money coming in from in-stadium advertisements to offset some of the spending that would be required? Nope. So where was all of this money going to come from? It was going to come by eliminating the albatross contracts as the Major League level, and investing in the future.

    He went out and hired a young, forward thinking front office. I don’t think he gave them a “free-pass” like so many like to claim. I think they all understood the financial restrictions they would be under for the next 3-5 years if they were going to bring the Cubs back into a modern day baseball franchise, and developed a plan to make that happen. We now have a world-class facility in the Dominican, new Spring Training facilities, one of the top 5 minor league systems in MLB, approval on a $500 million dollar renovation to Wrigley Field, and soon to come a new TV contract that will generate even more money that can go towards the major league team. How can any of this be viewed as negative? Sure the product on the North Side sucks right now, but does Ricketts own a mint that I don’t know about where he can print his own money?

    It is far too easy to bash the coaches and front office for how bad the Cubs are right now, it’s like picking on the skinny, freckled kid with glasses in grade school. Sure it might make you feel a little bit better about yourself, but everyone who is watching you from the outside thinks a little bit less of you every time you do.

    • cubtex

      So you think Ricketts bought the team without realizing the significant financial burden he took over? I understand the process. I understand what has been accomplished so far. I don’t understand not trying to be competitive next year. 3 straight years? I don’t understand that in year 3 we are projecting a lineup with an outfield of DeJesus, Lake and Schierholtz.

      • Denver Mike

        The exact opposite actually, I think he knew precisely what he was getting in to, and hired some forward thinking minds to help him bring his dream to fruition. My point is Re: the Major League product, where is this money supposed to come from? It is constantly thrown out there that we are a “major market team” and that is why we shouldn’t tolerate the product currently on the field. Well, my point is what other major market team was in the same disarray when Ricketts took over? Major markets: New York, Boston, Los Angeles,Chicago. All of them have HUGE television dollars (other than the Cubs and White Sox who are both terrible), the Yankees and Mets have brand new stadiums (funded by the taxpayers), and Boston has undergone a dramatic renovation (funded by the taxpayers) which include better amenities and concessions for the fans, and advertising opportunities all directed towards bringing in more money to dedicate to the product on the field.

        Ricketts has built a new facilities at every level form the Dominican, to Mesa, to Chicago; in addition to almost doubling the size of the FO staff to bring it back to MLB standards with only help from the city of Mesa. Of course the product on the field has to suffer, where is the money supposed to come from?

        Ricketts is not just a Cubs fan who happens to have a boatload of money, he is a businessman who happens to love the Cubs, and there is a huge difference between the two. Not being able to appreciate that is what causes unnecessary animosity towards the team we all love.

        • cubtex

          I think most fans realize that. They are putting such a poor product on the field during this rebuild. The core players are re-gressing. Rizzo looks worse than Bryan LaHair. Castro never has looked as bad. The bullpen is in shambles. They wasted huge money on EJax. I repeat my grades. F for the mlb team. A for the farm system.

          • Denver Mike

            Rizzo has not looked good, but I am confident that he will bounce back once there is a supporting cast around him (hopefully sooner than later). Castro … ugh … his attitude is so piss-poor that I don’t doubt he would tank on purpose just to show up a coach who is telling him what he doesn’t want to hear … if someone will give up a decent haul for him then good riddance. EJax, a waste for sure.

          • cubtex

            I think Sveum has had an absolutely lousy effect on Castro. Remember what Jim Frey did for Sandberg? Look what George Brett is doing for Eric Hosmer now. Sveum was a terrible hire. With a younger rebuilding team they would have been better off with someone with experience who can teach the kids the right way to play the game.

          • Denver Mike

            I am no Sveum fan either, it’s easy to say he wasn’t given anything to work with, but when the talent you do have consistently performs below expectations that is pretty telling. Keep Bosio around, the starting staff has done great outside of EJax (and occasionally Shark).

          • cubtex

            agreed. The starting pitching has been very good for the most part. I will be curious to see how Castro responds to this and how Sveum handles him moving forward.

          • cubtex

            And Rizzo has not just looked bad….he has looked awful. Look up his offensive numbers. He is re-gressing every month. Unlike Castro, he has not taken it on the field with him and has played very good defense.

          • cubtex

            I know batting average is so old school……but look at Rizzo’s

            June .230
            July .210
            August .170

            I know some would rather not see stats and think that it is negative but tell me….how could anyone say he is improving?

          • Tony_Hall

            Here you go, not so much improving, but not as bad you make him out to be. As you say, old school stats don’t show the whole picture.

            http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/08/cubs-organizational-depth-1b/

            240/.333/.451, .341 wOBA, 113 RC+

            Rizzo hasn’t had the kind of big year many of us hoped but it hasn’t been a lost season for him either. In fact, in some ways he’s just as good a player as he was last season. Where Rizzo has improved is his plate discipline and his power. His defense is still well-above average, perhaps Gold Glove caliber. So while you don’t have a guy who is wowing you with the numbers, you do have a player who is settling nicely into the kind of player the Cubs prefer — Great approach, great defense, and power. His walk rate this season is a very solid 11.2%, up about 4% from last season. His ISO% ( a statistics that isolates the power numbers from slugging percentage) is at .211, up from .178 last season. Those are not small increases. Those are huge improvements. Rizzo’s improving ability to take the ball the other way has substantially increased his doubles power while retaining his 25-30 HR power (he projects to hit 27) and keeping his strikeout rate pretty low for a power guy (18.7%). The one thing that’s a blemish on Rizzo’s season is his rather pedestrian .240 average, but even that can be accounted for by a very low BABIP this season (.264). When you put it all together, Rizzo has been as productive as he was last season. The wOBA is at .341, pretty close to the .349 mark he was at last year, while his RC+ is 113 compared to 116 last season. But given how Rizzo has improved in terms of plate discipline and hitting the ball the other way with authority, I’ll take it because that BABIP luck will turn around — and when it does you’ll once again be talking about Rizzo as a potential all-star 1B.

          • John_CC

            Pretty sure TeX isn’t going to read that Tony, I’ve tried before to explain that Rizzo is having a pretty decent sophomore season and has shown improvement in important areas. But if has more than batting average involved tex gets confused like Joe Morgan and just doesn’t listen. Its OK. Just let him live in his BA and RISP shell.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree he will never read it, as he may learn something, and he is against learning the new stats. Joe Morgan and Harold Reynolds are both good comps for him, stuck in the past.

  • Denver Mike

    Thank you MLB for taking my $25 a month for MLBtv, and then telling me I can’t watch a nationally televised game that isn’t on in my area due to MLB restrictions. Oh well, it’s beautiful outside, I think I’ll head to the pool.

    • Tony_Hall

      The restrictions get old, but nationally televised games can never be seen on MLB.tv. The rules are suppose to get better in 2015, I believe.

      • Denver Mike

        I know I’ve been used to it for 3 years now yet I keep buying the subscription :) it’s funny because I can watch national games on my iPhone via the At Bat app, but the screen is pretty small

        • Dorasaga

          I’m thinking of buying one of those big Samsungs so I can watch A.B. whereever I go. But don’t know how reliable the app is? (e.g. Nexdef wasn’t very stable on firefox)

          • Denver Mike

            The App is great as long as you have decent service that can stream that much data.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Freese helped out Wood by swinging at the first pitch after it took 12 pitches for Molina to line out to left

    • Dorasaga

      Then Castro helped the young Kelly with a poor swing that G.Into D.P. The kid needs to be send back to AA and learn his “discipline.” If Brett J. could, why can’t someone who share the same name with a Cuban revolution leader?

  • Tony_Hall

    Buzz on Baez.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/19241/baez-creating-a-buzz-again

    Lots of good quotes in this article, but this from Sveum that explains their hitting philosphy in short form.

    Sveum says laying off the “strike the ball sliders” are what will make the difference. “That’s the million-dollar pitch,” he said. “It’s not about hitting it, it’s about learning how to lay off it and recognize it early enough not to swing.”

    • Ripsnorter1

      Baez is a great talent, but his K totals are quite high. I realize that

      he’s very, very young, but I hope he can get those K’s down so he
      can survive at the ML level.

  • Dorasaga

    Great battle (9 pitches). Barney fought off a few good breakers. 3-2 count–>Infield hit.

    • cubtex

      So if Castro needs to go to AA. Where does Barney need to go with his inability to hit?

      • Dorasaga

        Castro has too many flaws in his approach, both on field and at the plate. But he still got potential. Barney is 27, might be better by more selective swing (shouldn’t swing at the breakers to start with, might have walked), but I doubt. He has value as a gold glover.

        • cubtex

          Castro has 200 hits in the mlb. He is going thru a funk but he is a starting mlb player. Barney is not a starting mlb player on many teams.

          • Dorasaga

            Depends on what you’re looking for. Castro has flaws. See those rising K-rate every year? If you can’t see that, I’m sure all the Major League managers can’t see that, too.
            >:-D

          • cubtex

            Every player has flaws. Castro has always had an above average ability to put the bat on the ball. He is struggling….. no doubt about it this year. Would you be surprised if he hits .295 next year with 190 hits? I know I wouldn’t be

          • Dorasaga

            I will. Unless he changes his approach. 200 Hits, 30 HR, or 40 SB are easily marketable. You can sell those. Owners LOOOOVE it. That’s why Peter Angelos wouldn’t trade Brian Roberts. That’s why Steinbrenner wanted Fonzi.

            But these little things? What Barney is doing? How about Matt Carpenter? Great defense, good speed. This whole Cardinal team? These are solid ballplayers. No owners would pay them 50 million, but they can play ball.

            I want Castro to succeed, that’s why, fix him. If he needs time like Bret, do it. We have fundamental different views of baseball. It’s not simple. That’s the beauty of this game. Enough random chat, let’s talk about the players on the field.

          • Ripsnorter1

            He needs to get away from Team Theo so he can think straight again.

            I think they messed him up.

          • cubtex

            Sveum definately isn’t doing anything to help him. I don’t think there can be a more obvious statement than that.

  • Dorasaga

    T.Wood has power with that swing, I tell you. Great hit.

  • CerranoReadyNow

    Nice at-bat by Wood and great hustle by Barney.

  • Brp921

    That was a bad bunt not a terrific defensive play

    • Dorasaga

      The commentator was a regular rooter for the Card. Hired by them?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I hope the question is asked after the game. I would like to know if Sveum called for the bunt or if DeJesus did that on his own. Poor use of an out early in a scoreless game.

      • Brp921

        Agreed.

      • Tony_Hall

        Absolutely!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cardinals score their first run in 12 innings … Cubs have not scored a single run in the last 11 innings that Wood has pitched.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I believe FOX pushes up the volume on the crowd when the Cards get a run.

  • Dorasaga

    Wow! Travis is an athlete. Almost got the runner w/his spinner 180degree throw.

    • Brp921

      I believe the throw got him. Barney couldn’t get to the bag in time.

      • Dorasaga

        Might be. I sure will watch the replay on that.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      it was those childhood Ballerina classes that Travis took that paid off to make that play

  • cubtex

    Looking at the box score so far. Rizzo 3 runners LOB and Schierholtz 4 runners LOB. That is our 3 and 4 hitters. That is why I am so vocal on picking up a MOB(Tony…that stands for middle order bat) for next year until the kids are ready.

    • Tony_Hall

      Some how I think of something completely different when I read “MOB” But hey, old school guys can create acronyms as well as the rest.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Jason Bay?….Grady Sizemore?……Manny Ramirez?……..and which position will this new guy play at?

      • cubtex

        Lets see CubbyDen. What positions are open for next year? Hmmmm. 3B? Naw…we got Valbuena. 2B? Naw…we are good there. CF? Wait…what about CF? Oh yeah…we got DeJesus…we are good. RF? got another all star there. LF? we are good. You got me. We are blocked everywhere

        • CubbyDenCritic

          that is what I was saying….where do we put this new power guy at that these fans want?……..DeJesus & Scheierholtz will be gone by next July……so will Barney…..at that time, new spots will open up.

          • cubtex

            I hope that DeJesus and or Schieholtz are dealt before opening day. You are not going to get a great prospect for DeJesus or Schierholtz next year at the trade deadline. You weren’t offered one this year. Why will next year be any different? Why block 2 outfield spots for these 2? Try to fill a need. They need a run producer.

          • Denver Mike

            That speaks to the point I am trying to make above, thank the city of Chicago for sticking Ricketts with the entire renovation bill. I have to imagine this team would be much more competitive with an additional $500M invested in players on the field rather than the building around it.

          • cubtex

            Agreed but also spending the money you have available more wisely.

          • Denver Mike

            I don’t know, of the players they have kept around like DeJesus or Scheirholtz, they are getting paid peanuts compared to MLB standards and have performed just fine compared to what they are getting paid. EJax was a complete waste, no doubt, and I felt that way long before we signed him. I feel like that signing what a knee-jerk reaction due to the lack of pitching in the top end of our minor league system, and missing out on Anibal Sanchez. In reality they would have been just as well off sticking with internal options and lighting that money on fire :)

          • cubtex

            Sure DeJesus and Schierholtz are reasonable. They also don’t give you that much production as a starting OF. Schierholtz has had a decent year and I can see keeping him for next year but not as a combination with DeJesus. Look at what is happening since Soriano has been traded. It isn’t a coincidence. 5 shutouts at home out of the last 7 games.

  • Dorasaga

    This commentator is pissing me off. Saying that Wrigley won’t be packed unless the Card is in town. That’s too much bias even for a local radio, albeit National TV. Fire Him.org, please?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Always been like that when Chicago teams are on National tv……
      I remember how anti-Bulls Marv Albert was during the Jordan years….beating his Knicks……same when the Bears were on MNF……..Networks only believe the best teams come from the East coast or West coast…….and all other teams are nothing.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    I don’t want to see Theo puch the panic button to get a Big Bat to fill in before the young guys come up…….Rizzo, Casrto & Barney are having bad years……anymore bad years from these guys, and Theo will have to re-think who will play where later on……I do believe that Castro is not the long term answer at Shortstop……neither is Baez………what I do see as the Cubs everyday lineup by 2017 will be this….

    CF – Almora
    2B – Alcantara
    3B – Baez
    LF – Soler
    RF – Bryant
    1B – Rizzo
    SS – Torres
    C – Castillo

    I like Theo & the Cubs to have players who can “Master’ a position…..I hate to see players who can hit good and can’t master one position…..i.e. Vogelbach, Baez, Bryant, Vitters, Lake…….

    expect two more below 500 years…….expect some of these young assets to be traded off for pitching down the road……2016 will be a “key” year for Theo & Jed.

    • cubtex

      projecting a 2017 lineup? Wow! That is Nostradamus like

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I am Master of picking future lineups…while others are Masters of picking their nose.

        • cubtex

          Yes oh great master picker

    • Ripsnorter1

      Almora may be injured all the time. He hasn’t proved he can stay on the field
      for a full season.

      I hope not, but that’s my impression thus far.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He broke his hamate bone … pretty common injury.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wood walks Kozma and hit Kelly … loaded one out and the top of the lineup is coming.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Starlin Castro fell asleep again.

  • Dorasaga

    Castro’s mental mistake cost a run.

  • Brp921

    Terrible defense.

  • Tony_Hall

    Lake should have taken charge as the OF is suppose to do. No way a run scores if Lake catches it. Very poor play by Castro.

    • Brp921

      No matter who catches that ball you can’t just put your head down and ignore the base runners. It would have served Castro right to be removed from the game immediately.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree and why I said “very poor play by Castro”. I also don’t believe Lake will allow an infielder to call him off on a ball he can get under again.

  • Brp921

    Castro needs to have focus. He’s been in the big leagues to long to have that kind of a mental lapse.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that … or written F6, sac fly on a scorecard. Speechless …

    • cubtex

      I have seen it on a play the the SS catches a fly ball over his head before running at full sprint but I imagine this was not the case.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Are there issues between Lake & Castro?…..seems like it……..Lake needs to take charge, and Castro needs to have confidence with Lake’s ability to catch the ball.

  • Tony_Hall

    Sveum with an immediate reaction, pulls Castro.

    • Brp921

      I remember a game when Andrew Jones was a rookie or very young and missed a fly ball because he was hot dogging it and Bobby Cox immediately sent in a replacement and Jones had to exit mid inning. I thought it was a great lesson for him.

      • Tony_Hall

        I remember that as well. I would have had no problem doing that here.

        • cubtex

          or Reggie Jackson with the famous dugout incident with Billy Martin being held back from attacking Reggie

          • Tony_Hall

            Seen replays but that is a little before my time :)

        • Brp921

          My thoughts exactly.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro has been pulled

    • cubtex

      Can you explain what happened? I don’t get the game here.

      • cubtex

        I mean the play that caused the pulling.

    • cubtex

      Never mind. Just saw the replay

  • Brp921

    I think it is time for management to tell Castro to get his head out where the sun shines or go play triple A ball.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Management has already told Castro that they don’t care how he plays.
      How many years did they sign him for?
      And $60 million dollars?

      Castro is glad for the rest of the afternoon off. Doesn’t cost him a dime.

      • Brp921

        I prefer to hope instead that he is very embarrassed and strives to improve his focus.:)

  • Ripsnorter1

    Hey guys, Let’s have an “end of the season” pool.

    How many here are willing to say that DeJesus will slug .400+ this year.
    He’s currently at .406 as a one way player. Do you think he can finish the year over
    .400 with all of the minor league arms coming up?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Let’s don’t. Thank you.

  • Ripsnorter1

    It’s over.

    Soriano is only 2 for 3 today, with 1 SB and 1 CS.

    BTW he’s got 3 SB for the Yanks. He left here as the Cubs #1 Base stealer with 10.

  • Dorasaga

    Tough strike to take. (made Holliday speaking to the sky) Rondon impressed me.

    • Dorasaga

      And a 3-pitch K to A.Craig. I think the Card lineup will remember that.

  • Dorasaga

    That was a scary moment. Rizzo-Welington completed the play at home. M.L ballplayers are extremely good nowadays. Its infielder can’t double-clutch or even spend one second stuck on anything when caught the ball. I was watching some games in Japan last year, and amused by how infielders got away by delays. (One was a Hansin Tigers game, the SS double clutch and then 3 steps before throwing to first; won’t happen in MLB, or it would be recorded an infield hit, while most would outrun that delayed throw.)

    • Ripsnorter1

      How large was the attendance?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        41,891 on Saturday

      • Dorasaga

        Do you really care?

        • cubtex

          It was an honest question. What is wrong with wanting to know what the attendance was?

          • Dorasaga

            Attendance of the Hansin game I saw? Ripsnorter1 didn’t bother to specify his subject in question.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Cubs went over 2 million now.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 4-0 to the Cardinals on Saturday – Travis Wood: 4R, 4H, 1BB, 2HBP, 3K in 5.1 IP (93 pitches, 67 strikes)

    Schierholtz: 2-4, 2B; Murphy: 1-4; Barney: 1-2, BB; Wood: 1-2; Cubs offense: 0-7 RISP, 7 LOB