Friday, April 6, 2007

Cubs/Reds Series Recap!

Well one three games series surely isn't a season, but we can definitely make a few observations from the recent series in Cincinnati. Of course, the Reds performances are of little interest to me and I'll focus just on our Beloved Men In Blue.

First, the starting pitching performed well enough to at least win 2 of 3 instead of the other way around. Since most in the baseball world will concede a teams rotation is the biggest component to it's success, we should be pleased with the starters performances so far. The bullpen, reportedly the strength of the Cubs pitching this year, evidently thought the memo from Uncle Lou, to throw strikes and not walk anyone was meant just for the starters. Let's face it, walks are never a good thing but for a bullpen pitcher they are sure death. That needs to change.

Second, the defense performed average at best. Michael Barrett can't throw and is average at best fielding behind the plate. I know he's an above average hitter, especially for his position, but the truth of the matter is that your catcher is one of the most important defensive positions on the team. There is no reason Blanco shouldn't get 50 or so starts behind the plate regardless of his offense. Jacque Jones can't throw but is the best defensive outfielder on the team. Can anyone tell me why he's not in CF where his arm wouldn't be anywhere near the liability it is in RF? There is a reason most teams are willing to sacrifice offense for defense behind the plate and place their best oufielder in CF, they want to win! Defense never goes into a slump and hopefully Piniella will make these adjustments.

Lastly, the offense has been less than spectacular. This probably is the hardest aspect of the Cubs performance to effectively asses after just three games, but when men are in scoring position and consistently not being driven in, there is always cause for concern.

The Cubs have spent a lot of money on new players and a new manager. It is imperative Piniella continually evaluate this team and make changes accordingly.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clute,

Let me start by saying you do an awesome job with this blog. I don't always agree with you (usually do), but you make rational arguments.

I usually disguise myself as anonymous, but I'm the beloved ltdan001 (used elsewhere, like GROTA, bleed cubbie blue, etc).

Let me start with the catcher position. You're right, Blanco deserves at least 50 starts at catcher mostly because Barrett is definitely lacking defensively. In the offseason, Steve Stone was interviewed and he rightfully declared that you need great defense at catcher (almost more than anything) to be a dominant ballclub. He's right, and you're right. Barrett is a plus plus catcher OFFENSIVELY, but he'll cost you some games with his defense. Catcher is a defensive position, THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE, and we have a catcher who is not good defensively (below average at best).

Not Good.

You're right: Jones should be in CF. He's our best defensive OF, has great offense (at least compared to other CFs, not all OFs) and we don't have a good fit there. WTF? Soriano should be in RF, Murton/Floyd in LF, and Jones mostly in CF. That's pretty easy to conclude, but Piniella and Hendry don't comprehend apparently.

Situational Hitting: You're concerned and so am I. Let's hope this improves quickly and permenantly.

Not to be confused with losers who are anonymous,

ltdan001

CLUTE said...

Itdan001-

My biggest concern apart from defense is this absurd notion that Soriano wil be more valuable to the team in the leadoff role. I don't give shit how many HR's and SB's he has, OBP is King in the leadoff role and his RBI potential is squandered in the leadoff spot.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you're saying about Soriano leading off.

If a person who otherwise knew nothing about the cubs looked at the stats of our starting eight, they probably wouldn't ever guess that we would be batting Soriano leadoff. It's unorthodox and unconventional and usually not a good way to construct a lineup.

I just hope it works out because of some strange alignment of the planets. I hope that Soriano really is the most comfortable leading off, and that he'll have monster production this year that he wouldn't have if he was batting lower in the lineup. I hope he has a passable OBP for a leadoff guy.

I also hope that "lineup order doesn't really matter" and the number crunching stat nerds are right.

ltdan001