Cubs GameDay – April 21, 2015 (Lineups, Broadcast Info, Weather)

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First pitch:  6:05 PM CST
Radio:  WBBM Newsradio 780
Weather:  56 degrees, cloudy.  10% of rain

Cubs Lineup:

1. Fowler – CF
2. Rizzo – 1B
3. Soler – RF
4. Bryant – 3B
5. Castro – SS
6. Denorfia – LF
7. Castillo – C
8. Wood – SP
9. Russell – 2B    (LOUD NOISES!)

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We Have Lift Off, VOGELBOMB! (VIDEO)

Dan Vogelbach was the minor league player of the week last week, he should have been as he has been on a torrid pace to open the season.  Last night he belted his first dinger of the season, off a lefty as well.

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Per Report: Here Comes Addison Russell


Just a few short days after Kris Bryant was called up, it appears Addison Russell will be as well.  Jon Heyman had the initial news after the Cubs game, and Patrick Mooney said that he was hearing the same things.  We do not have an official confirmation, but if this is happening then the Cubs are going for it this year, the time is now, wow.

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“The Future” Pushes Arrieta to a Victory

Cubs Final 4-20

Full Box Score

It was a rough start for the Cubs tonight as Jake Arrieta got knocked around in the first, but escaped only giving up one run, then he shut it down.  Arrieta retired the next sixteen hitters on his way to a stellar seven inning performance to pick up his second win of the season.  He doesn’t get that win without the exploits of the Cubs future, and well, present, in the middle of the order.  After a double by Soler, and a walk by Rizzo, Kris Bryant crushed a two-run double, and ended up scoring on the same play to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-2 victory.

Note:  A fan was hit in the back of the head by a Starlin Castro‘s line drive foul ball.  She was behind the protective screen, but was resting on the screen and the ball really smoked her.  The result was a 23 minute on field delay, the update is that she was conscious and thanking the people helping here into the ambulance.  Hopefully she’s okay.

Kris Bryant‘s Little League Homer.

Kris Bryant RBI single.

At the Plate:

  • Hip hip, Jorge!  Soler was a beast in this one, he went 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Anthony Rizzo was all over the bases, per usual.  Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Kris Bryant had a rough debut, he’s been everything advertised since, he was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Starlin Castro is getting lost in the hype train, but he is having an outstanding 2015, he was 2-for-4 in this one, and his now hitting .327 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Arrieta with some more hot fire tonight, he worked seven strong innings, he gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven.
  • Pedro Strop was spotless as usual, he worked a scoreless inning while striking out two.
  • Rosscup came on to protect a four run lead, something the Cubs couldn’t do on Saturday, and he did just fine.  He worked an inning, giving up one run on one hit while striking out one.

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Kris Bryant’s Little League Homer (VIDEO)

Well, THAT was fun.  Kris Bryant is having another terrific game, he came through with a big two-run double to give the Cubs the lead…  That’s just the start of it, just watch.

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Cubs GameDay – April 20, 2015 (Lineup, Weather, Broadcast Info)

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First pitch:  6:05 PM CST
TV:  CSN Chicago Plus
Radio:  WBBM Newsradio 780
Weather:  65 degrees with an 80% chance of rain/thunderstorms

Cubs Lineup (vs. Burnett)

1. Fowler CF
2. Soler RF
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Bryant 3B
5. Montero C
6. Castro SS
7. Coghlan LF
8. Arrieta P
9. Herrera 2B

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Cubs @ Pirates – Series Preview (April 20 – April 23, 2015)

Series Preview ROAD Pirates

After having eight of their first eleven games at home the time has come for the Cubs to hit the road, and face some stiff NL Central competition.  Tonight’s game in Pittsburgh starts a seven game road trip that will see the Cubs battle the Pirates for four, then head to Cincinnati for three.  The Pirates are playing solid baseball right now as they have won three straight games, and sit a half game behind the Cubs for second place in the Central.  The Cubs are coming off a tough series loss to the Padres, their first of the season.  All three games could have went the Cubs way, but a burnt out bullpen, short starts, and lack of clutch hitting came back to bite them.

Broadcast Information:

  • Monday, April 20, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago Plus (Channel Finder)
  • Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – WGN 9 Chicago
  • Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN
  • Thursday, April 23, 2015 – 11:35 AM CST – CSN, MLB Network

Pitching Matchups:

Who is Hot:

  • Pirates:  After a slow start, and a big new contract, Josh Harrison is starting to heat up at the plate.  He is hitting .292 (7-for-24) over his last seven with a double, homer, and two RBI’s.
  • Cubs:  Anthony Rizzo was getting on base earlier in the year but wasn’t seeing too many hits dropping, that is changing.  Rizzo is hitting .318 (7-for-22) over his last six games with a home run, three RBI’s, a double, and SIX walks.

Who is Not:

  • Pirates:  After a productive 2014, Jordy Mercer has come out of the gate struggling.  Mercer is hitting just .118 (2-for-17) over his last seven games with only one walk, two strikeouts, and no runs scored.
  • Cubs:  Second base is an issue for the Cubs right now, as both Jonathan Herrera, and Arismendy Alcantara are scuffling.  Herrera is hitting just .158 (3-for-19) over his last six games, while Alcantara comes in at a .143 (2-for-14) clip, with six strikeouts.

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Padres Take Series as Lester Remains Winless

Cubs Final 4-19

Full Box Score

Things started out well enough today as the Cubs jumped on the listless Padres with two runs in the bottom of the first.  I say listless because the Padres were sleepwalking in the first, they made two errors and looked generally disinterested.  From that point on it was all Padres, as they scored five unanswered runs en route to a 5-2 win.  Jon Lester was just okay again today, he worked into the sixth inning but made far too many mistakes up in the zone, he needs a road start or two to settle in.  The Cubs threatened a few times as they left the bases-loaded twice, and were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

At the Plate:

  • Dexter Fowler has been swinging it well as of late, he went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
  • Jorge Soler remains productive while hitting second in the order, he was 1-for-5 with an RBI, his ninth of the season.
  • Kris Bryant had another solid game, he was 1-for-3 with his first double of the season, he was also hit by a pitch.

On the Mound:

  • Jon Lester got the start in this one, and also the loss, he worked 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while walking two, and striking out four.
  • Brian Schlitter couldn’t get out of Lester’s trouble, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit while striking out one.
  • Jason Motte couldn’t keep things close, he tossed one inning, giving up two runs on two hits.
  • Edwin Jackson had a solid outing out of the pen today, he worked two scoreless innings, he surrendered one hit.

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Sunday Stats (NEW Feature)

Sunday Stats

The one thing I love about twitter is meeting other Cubs fans, talking baseball, and getting to know them.  There is never anything wrong with talking baseball, and I want to give fans an opportunity to share their thoughts on the Cubs here on the blog.  So our first new feature will be all about stats, the advanced kind, so you know what I’m talking about if I throw some sort of weird numbers at you.  Brandon has volunteered to introduce readers to some of these stats every Sunday, I hope you enjoy the feature, and give Brandon a follow on twitter to talk some baseball.

—  Hello all. My name is Brandon. Welcome to a new series on advanced sabermetrics. (I need a name for it. Help me out.) Some background for you. George asked me to come on and do a series introducing the blog to advanced sabermetrics. I was happy to oblige. What is my goal in writing this column?  Well it’s quite simple, I want to make you a better baseball fan. I feel as though there are two types of fans. Type 1 are the kinds of people who watch games and analyze from memory. The brain doesn’t have the capacity to remember 162 games every year which is why statistics are so important. The other kind is the type of fan that is type one but also uses sabermetrics to back up arguments and to judge players. I am hoping to convert you from type 1 to type 2 by the end of this series and if you already qualify yourself as #2, I hope you just learn a little something.

Each week, we will dive deep into one or more statistics. Each article will explain what the stat is, how it is calculated, why you should use it, and then also some context with Cubs players. All data for the series has been acquired from FanGraphs. If you have never been to FanGraphs, you have done life wrong and you need to check it out. They provide player specific stats but also have a great blog. Check out Jeff Sullivan; he is absolutely fantastic. Anyways, we will go in depth on the stats I feel are the ones that you should judge players off of. For example, wOBA or wRC+, but more on that later.

We are going to dive deep into BB% and K% today, or walk rate and strikeout rate. The reason I am doing them together is because they are so similar. They are talking about different topics, but other than that they are really similar. BB% and K% talk about how much an individual player walks or strikes out. It’s that simple. One of the things to understand is that this is measured based off of plate appearances and not at-bats. Walks don’t count as at-bats, which is why when you see a player’s line for a single game, walks are not included.

How is the stat calculated? Very simply. BB%= BB/PA*100. K%=K/PA*100. Everyone should understand what goes into a stat to calculate it. Sure, math might not be fun, but it is good to know. The multiplication by 100 is to make the stat into a percent.

Let’s get into the context of the stat. The higher the walk rate, the better. Walking is good. It means they have plate discipline and also get on base. (If you want to read more on plate discipline stats, go check out Michael Cerami’s article on Bleacher Nation. He broke down all of those stats and what they mean. I won’t be talking about them because he already has, and it’s a fantastic article.) High strikeout rates are not good. It means they strike out a butt load. Someone you may think of when it comes to high K% is Javier Baez. We are all familiar with his strike out problems. It is the reason he is not with the major league team right now. Strikeouts make fans mad, they make players mad, but it is detrimental to daily games that no team excessively strikes out. When you read the graphs below remember the next few sentences. Use the following numbers to mess around with the graphs. The league average in 2014 for K% was 18.6%. League average BB% was 8.1%. Same context goes for BB% as it does K%.

K Rate Brandon

BB Rate Brandon

Have fun interpreting those charts. Be careful to remember sample size. I did leave pitcher stats in, because those are really fun to look at. I am going to play around with tableau more and try and figure out how export better. Scott Lindholm of Beyond the Box Score and Wrigleyville BP uses Tableau a lot and it’s thanks to him that we have these graphs. One person to look at is Anthony Rizzo. We know this guy is a monster already but look at how much he walks, and how little he strikes out. It made me have an even greater appreciation for him.

If you have any questions at all, reach out to me on Twitter: @bagman928 or feel free to email me: I will be happy to help you out. Also, let me know if you want me to mix up whether I do all batting stats or mix it in with some pitching and fielding stats. See you next week! —

Hope everyone enjoyed the first “Sunday Stats,” if you are interested in sharing something about baseball just give me a shout on twitter.

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Riding the Bus: April 18, 2015 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

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Myrtle Beach 4-18-Game One Final

Full Box Score

Duane Underwood Jr. was brilliant in the first game of the double-header tonight, in fact, he was almost perfect.  Underwood Jr. took a no-hitter into the seventh (last inning of a DH) before giving up a couple hits, so very close.  The Pelicans had six hits in the victory, three of which were of the extra base variety.

At the Plate:

  • Shawon Dunston Jr. had a big game, he was 2-for-3 with a triple, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
  • Jacob Rogers continued his strong year at the plate, he was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Victor Caratini had a similar night, he was 1-for-3 with a double, and an RBI in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Duane Underwood Jr. got the start and the win in this one, he worked six innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Starling Peralta came on in relief of Underwood Jr. and shut the door, he worked a scoreless inning while walking one.

Myrtle Beach 4-18-Game One two

Full Box Score

The Pelicans came out swinging in game two as they scored four times in the top of the first en route to an 8-4 win, and a double-header sweep.  The seven inning game saw the Pelicans pound out twelve hits, once again they went heavy on the extra base hits with five.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann was solid at the top of the order, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored.
  • Mark Zagunis is a joy to watch at the plate, he was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored, and two more walks.
  • Billy McKinney had a big game two, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • Jeimer Candelario has been good so far this year, he was 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Ben Carhart supplied the power, he was 1-for-2 with a dinger, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled and got the win, he worked five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Josh Conway was brilliant in picking up the save, he worked two scoreless innings while striking out one.

Tennessee Smokies 4-18 Final

Full Box Score

The Smokies are rolling, they took care of Pensacola tonight to run their record to 6-3 on the season.  Everything was working in this one for the Smokies, they pounded out twelve hits, and scored seven times in the win.  The pitching was on point as well tonight giving up just one run on five hits while striking out ten.

At the Plate:

  • Elliot Soto got the job of leading off tonight, and he did it well.  Soto was 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
  • Albert Almora have a game, he was 5-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Stephen Bruno came up big in this one, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .385 on the season.
  • Willson Contreras with a huge contribution off the bench, he was 1-for-1 with a dinger, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Felix Pena got the start tonight, and was stellar, he worked six innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Fernando Cruz was outstanding out of the pen to pick up his first save of the year, he worked three scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out four.

South Bend 4-18 Final

Full Box Score

The South Bend Cubs have a disturbing trend of blowing saves, today was their fourth one of the season already.  Things looked very much in hand late as the Cubs led Great Lakes 4-1 heading to the ninth, four runs later and the Cubs saw their record fall to 4-6 on the season.

At the Plate:

  • Trey Martin, and Chesny Young were a solid one-two punch at the top of the order in this won.  Martin went 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.  Young went 1-f0r-4 with a triple  an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Jeffrey Baez had a solid game, he went 1-for-4 with a double, his third of the season.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges was brilliant tonight, he worked five scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three,
  • Tommy Thorpe did a fine job out of the pen, he worked tow innings, giving up one run, unearned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • James Farris took the brunt of it in this one, he worked two innings, giving up four runs, two earned, while striking out five.

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