Saturday, June 25

Cubs even series

Judging by the comments in the last post, everyone knows how the game today went, with the Cubs coming out on top 6-2. Maddux threw a ton of pitches early, but made up for it in his final 3 innings, only throwing 28 pitches and earning the win. Patterson was much better today in the leadoff spot than he has been, so perhaps the tides are going back out in that regard.

Some interesting things I read today after the game:
First regarding our two "big guys," as Dusy called Prior and Wood recently, Prior will be starting the final game of the series against the White Sox tomorrow and Wood will be starting on Wednesday after his third minor league rehad start went well. In order to make room for him in the starting rotation, Rusch and Mitre will most likely be moving to the bullpen. The thing that could change there is that Jerome Williams could possibly be in the bullpen instead of Mitre. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild has cited a couple reasons for choosing Mitre instead of Williams for the bullpen, such as Mitre's ability to come into a game and get a ground ball out and the fact that Rothschild believes he can warm up a little quicker than Williams.

Given Patterson's struggles at the leadoff spot recently (and in general, with the strike-outs), I have often wondered why Walker wasn't leading off, since it is where he is accustomed to batting anyway. He said recently that he would like to be in the leadoff spot, but won't ask Dusty to bat there due to his respect for the seasoned coach. Dusty responded to the question by saying that he wants Walker in the sixth spot to provide protection for Burnitz and Ramirez. We all know Walker can straight up hit, and Baker says he needs that kind of consistency so that Burny and Ramirez see better pitches to drive in the runs. I see his logic here now that it's been described, but the problem that I have is that there aren't always runs for Derrek and Aramis to bring in. Neifi has been spectacular playing in Nomah's stead, but that number one spot really needs to be getting on base more consistently in order to be effective.

Anyway, that is all I have for now. Happy birthday Aramis and congrats on your grand slam!

Let's go Prior and the rest of the squad tomorrow and take 2 or 3 from the White Sox!!!


At 11:56 PM, Blogger DS said...

28 pitches in 3 innings?! that's a sweet stat, what's that come out to...9.3333333 (damn repeating numbers) pitches/inning, awesome.

Also, it'll be good to get prior and wood back but honestly, I think we really need to sort out these lead off hitter issues. Put CP in the back of the order and get hot rod leading off.

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

I think I would like to see Rusch and Mitre go to the bullpen upon Prior and Wood's return. We're going to need steady guys in the bullpen, since they've struggled, and we don't know how long Prior or Wood will be allowed to pitch before they are pulled because of pitch counts.

This morning Sportscenter asked the question "What is Carlos Lee doing better than Derrek Lee?" While their answer was "nothing", they went on to state that Carlos is getting his home runs and RBIs with a weaker supporting cast than Derrek. I find this to be an interesting statement. While our lineup is great on paper, as far as RBIs, Derrek is not in the better situation. Perez and Patterson have struggled. Carlos often has Brady Clark on in front of him, who when I last checked was second to D-Lee in the national league for hits. That's pretty good news for Carlos, who has proven to be a big RBI man.

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Oh yeah, and I kind of agree with your Walker leading off theory. However, I think another reason he is late in the order is that he typically has more power than Corey. If you were to switch Walker and Corey now, you've got a great leadoff hitter, however, Corey has not been a great RBI guy, and he strikes out a whole lot. That means that if we do have Derrek, Ramirez, or Burnitz on base, we've got to depend on Corey to drive them in. I'm not against this, but Corey has not done well in those situations. I don't think I need to remind anyone, but all of his homeruns have been solo shots. Walker is more dependable as far as driving in a run. And as far as where Corey is best suited to bat in the lineup, I think he could make a great lead off man, but I don't think anyone is taking the proper steps to shape him into that kind of hitter.

In the majors they seem to think that the players are finished products. No one makes changes to their mechanics or their approach once they come up. What's that mean? Corey's swing will probably always be huge, he will probably always be a big strike out victim, and he's not going to walk. If he were to shorten his swing, choke up a bit, stop stepping towards first on the swing, then he would be a much better singles doubles hitter. Is anyone telling him to do any of these things? I don't think so. I think everyone is waiting for him to come out of his "slump". Bad news is, there isn't necessarily any reason to think he will. The approach he has now will yield low batting average and high strike outs.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger JT said...

I think what people are missing is that while Corey can be a good hitter (as witnessed with his home run hitting abilities), this walk/strikeout ratio has been a career-long thing. It's no slump, that's just the way he is. He approaches batting with the mentality of a power-first hitter.

Career Numbers:
2007 AB
101 BB
505 K
67 HR
220 RBI

BA .260
OBP .299

Those aren't lead-off numbers, as I think we all agree... he has the mindset of a guy who's going to crush the ball, not the small-ball patience of a lead-off man.

Quoted directly from a Patterson Scouting Report:
"His main problems are a lack of patience, poor command of the strike zone and a stubborn streak that can serve him well or hold him back. Patterson is a free swinger who will jump on anything that looks good to him early in the count. He's susceptible to high fastballs out of the zone, especially with two strikes."

Seeing Walker at the top might not mean more bunt singles or infield singles like the Ecksteins and Reyes of the league, but it will mean a more composed and less hasty approach:

Walker's stats:
3777 AB
343 BB
499 K
88 HR
460 RBI

.289 BA
.347 OBP

Over the last 4 years, his hitting has been best when batting first in the lineup compared to anywhere else -- .297/.353/.477, 51 BB, 79 K in 602 AB -- and I think he makes the most sense right now and through the end of the season.

(End of long Comment)

At 11:35 AM, Blogger JT said...

Given that CP walks roughly once every 10 at-bats but strikes out once every 4 at-bats is a troubling thing.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Hyposquasher said...

Interesting stats, Jim... thanks for providing some solid justification for the argument.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Jim said...

If you saw the leadoff bunt in yesterday's game, you'd realize this is a puppy who can be taught new tricks.

Rickey Henderson could hit the ball out too. He has 297 career homers to go along with 1,406 stolen bases.

When Henderson—who had the most obnoxious ego of anyone to ever play the game, including Canseco—came up with the Athletics, he squatted his little 5'6" frame down into the most dramatically small stance anyone had ever seen. It resulted in walks and stolen bases.

In 1985, when he signed with the Yankees, he changed his stance and became a power hitter in the leadoff spot, hitting close to eighty long balls from that spot.

If someone as egomaniacal as Henderson can adjust, then so can Corey.

By the way, Henderson's height is often misstated as 5'10". Pro athletes usually have 2-3 inches added to their official heights along with quite a few pounds of weight in official guide books. It's part of pro sports marketing efforts to make the athletes bigger than real life.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger JT said...

That's all fine and fair, but a comparison of Corey to Ricky is a little much maybe?

I would love to see CP do something to adjust over the next 10 or so years of his career, but right now isn't really a good time for trick-learning.... put walker up at the top and let corey go to class later.

Interesting stuff about Henderson though, I do agree that man was a versatile player in that respect.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger DS said...

maybe corey should start referring to himself in the third person? Rickey was a fan of that right?

Anyway, CP's doin' alright today: HR (yet another solo shot) and a walk. He's also struck out once...gotta keep fueling thos "Korey" fans.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger JT said...

He could hit 8 Home Runs today, but I still don't want him leading off!

But consistency would be nice from the man, and I am grateful for Corey going yard today... anything to beat the Shite Sox.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Cubs win! 2-0. Prior returns and for two days in a row we see the kind of game we expected out of the Cubs all season long.

(Stop getting your hopes up, Jim. It's still a long season.)

Did you see the line drive D-Lee hit off the left field wall for a single! That's not the Green Monster. Holy Cow! He smoked it!

Things are sure a lot more fun when the Cubbies win.

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