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Friday, December 9th, 2016

WEBB, DREW DOMINATE CUBS

21

Game 1 thoughts and observations…

How about that Alfonso Soriano? Let’s break down his game, shall we? Remember folks, it’s not just going 0-5. That happens to everyone. But how you do it? Therein lies the story.

AB1- Soriano hits first pitch of the game, a weak ground out to Mark Reynolds.

AB2- 3rd inning, Webb fools Soriano terribly. Soriano whiffs but has company–Webb struck out the side.

AB3- 5th inning, man on 2nd, 1 out. Soriano gets to 2-0 but swings at the next pitch and flies to center. The pitch was easily ball 3.

AB4- Soriano grounds it right back to the mound.

AB5- Ward on first, 2 outs. Soriano hits an easy grounder for a fielder’s choice. Ballgame. 0-5, not a quality at bat the entire evening. Soriano lowered his career postseason average to .225.

What did you folks think of Stockton and Darling? 3 words–Better Than Fox. I did think it was funny that there were a few typos including “Ted Lily”. Stockton and Darling had plenty of general sore-thumbiness and some awkward moments, but overall it was decent. Other goodies:

  • Stockton calling Aramis Ramirez “Rodrigo Ramirez”.
  • Darling calling Augie Ojeda a “winning-type player”. Did he mean AAA?
  • Darling on the D’Backs offense: “They just literally come through in the clutch every time.” Yes, the D’Backs are hitting 1.000 with RISP. Huh?

Mark Reynolds had an error for Arizona but also hit a big homer off Marmol. But the best thing about him is that he strolls to the plate with the PA blaring Iron Maiden. If memory serves it was “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”.

Kudos to Big Z. He pitched an awesome game. It could have got ugly early in the 1st. He went to 3-0 with Byrnes and induced a ground out. He went to 3-0 with Clark and then K’d him. Then in the 2nd he walked some cat named Salazar. Who the heck is that? But then he got the double play to get out of it.

Webb put on a clinic and Drew had a great game defensively, which was perhaps overshadowed by his homerun and 2 total hits. Webb was changing speeds beautifully and I swear the way that ball was moving for him I thought maybe that stain on the top of the bill of his cap was vaseline.

  • dhaab

    Not even a mention of Piniella removing Z so early only to see Marmol blow the game? I guess now he’ll be rested for game 4…if there is one. Are you blaming this loss all on one player, Soriano. It sure sounds like it to me.

    The playoffs are all about pitching and this game went to the team which did that best.

  • PV

    Interesting to me that Lou managed it the way he did, more like a regular-season game – not bunting with Zambrano with Theriot on 2nd and no outs; and then being conservative with his pitch count and pulling him after the 6th – apparently to save him for Game 4. That kind of “not afraid to lose a game today to win one tomorrow” philosophy is a regular-season way of thinking – especially when you consider Game 4 isn’t guaranteed to happen. I tend to trust Lou’s judgment, but kind of a gamble. I was surprised not to see Z for the 7th.

    Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at the broadcast – Stockton was much better than he’s been on any of the NFL games I’ve recently heard him do, where he’s been kinda brutal.

    Oh, the irony – Frank Thomas as a member of the media. He blew.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I’m not blaming the loss on Soriano but I’m definitely picking on him. His game on Tuesday was a microcosm of who he is as a player. If he had made it on base once or twice would the game have ended differently?
    As for Big Z the point is moot because the Cubs didn’t score again. I raised my eyebrows, thought about it, and was OK with it. He got out while the getting was good and went to the best middle reliever in the NL. I have no problem with it. And was it really to save him for game 4–or getting him out of there before he imploded?

    I wouldn’t have bunted with Zambrano there either. He’s probably got a better chance to get a hit than lay down a sac bunt. He doubled his first at bat too.

  • http://www.myMVPpix.com John Bigenwald

    OK, everybody likes Stockton and Darling better than Buck and McCarver. That’s a pretty low bar — kinda like being the tallest building in Des Moines…

    Am I the only one who thought Darling sounded like James Woods? I was waiting for either a Hercules or Family Guy episode to start.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Or Saved By The Bell…

  • http://www.myMVPpix.com John Bigenwald

    If I thought of that I’d be waiting for Jessie or Kelly to make an appearance… THAT would have been distracting…

  • PB

    I figured that a team that hasn’t won a WS in nearly a century would pull out all of the stops to get back there. There’s no way Zam needed to sit down. He’s the same cat that has gone 130 pitches deep in the regular season. I don’t care if your pitcher is hitting like Tony Gwynn; if you have the chance to advance a runner to third with a bunt-DO IT. And yes, I am not a Stockton Dick fan, but he was still light-years ahead of Joe Buck. FOX is poison to baseball broadcasts. FIRE MILLEN MANG! NEVER KICK IT TO HESTER!

  • dhaab

    The best middle reliever in the NL? That’s certainly debatable. And remember Marmol is a rookie who has very little experience. He pitched like it too.

    I think Pineilla taking Z out shows he has little to no faith in Marquis (who could have started game 4). That is a slippery slope to ride because Jason has a history of not being used in the playoffs and if the Cubs make it to the second round of the playoffs, they’ll be forced to start him at least once. The plot thickens.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    If it’s debatable than name some alternatives. KRod was a rookie. Livan Hernandez was a rookie. Rookie status doesn’t mean jack.

    They won’t be forced to start Marquis at all if they make it to round 2. Colorado has Helton, Hawpe and Matsui. Philly has Utley and Howard. They can start Marshall against both those squads.

    As Jim Rome would say, have a take…and don’t suck.

  • dhaab

    God, you’ve lost it. You’re quoting Jim Rome. WOW!

    Ever hear of Heath Bell?

    Look, in the playoffs, you go with your best pitcher in a tie game, especially that early in the game. Zambrano was throwing nice and easy at that point in the game and was basically blowing away hitters. Taking him out at that point was not the right move. And, just to be clear, I said that the moment it happened in the game.

    One more thing. You really believe if the Cubs get to the 2nd round, Lou will start Marshall over Marquis?

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Yes I do think Marshall would start over Marquis. If there were any lefties of note on the DBacks offense, Marquis wouldn’t have even made the NLDS roster.

    Bell had an excellent year but I’d still take Marmol.

    Zambrano is not the best Cubs pitcher this year. That would be…let me think…Marmol!

    It turns out it was the right move. Cubs didn’t score again and will need Zambrano in Game 4.

  • dhaab

    It’s official. You’ve lost any ability to judge players on your favorite team. Anyone who honestly believes that Marmol is a better pitcher than Zambrano, regardless of what season it is, simply is not dealing with reality.

    Why don’t you start a poll on your blog and ask people who the best Cubs pitcher is? If you ask 100 baseball fans this question, I guarantee you at least 90 would take Zambrano without even hesitating.

  • http://thewaywardbus.wordpress.com Mike O

    Ummmm………….Hi. I’ll take Carlos Marmol for 500 Alex.

    That leaves only 9 more who would take him over big Z.

    Pinella has a great point. Marmol was the best on the team for 4 weeks straight. 20 appearances with only one run scored against him. Sounds pretty good. How many other pitchers can say that about any point in their career?
    Pinella was right to pull Z. Marmol gave up a gopher. It happens. No one could have forseen it. If Zambrano had given up another gopher, everyone would be all over Pinella for leaving him in, and not thinking ahead to a game four.

    It’s like Catfish Hunter once said after a terrible outing he had right after a string of lights-out games:
    “The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s ass everyday.”

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    “Anyone who honestly believes that Marmol is a better pitcher than Zambrano, regardless of what season it is, simply is not dealing with reality.” Again, have some source material, something tangible to tie into your opinions.

    90 out of 100? That would be 90 really dumb baseball fans. Zambrano walked over 100 batters (again), gave up a career high 23 homers and had his worst ERA ever this season. And he’s highly flammable.

    I like Zambrano. Like him a lot. But he’s not better than a fresh Marmol.

    How bout this question instead: ask 100 hitters who they would rather face between Marmol and Zambrano. What do you think that answer would be? Marmol has better stuff, better movement and throws harder. And he’s likely the closer next year for the Cubs and years to come. My guess is more would choose to face Zambrano than Marmol. A lot more.

    And finally, did you know that from pitches 91-105 Zambrano treats hitters to an OPS of 1.127? As you said before to me, don’t you think Lou knows that?

    Pwned!

  • dhaab

    Anyone who actually uses the word “pwned” really needs to reevaluate his life.

    As for the topic at hand, I can’t believe I’m actually discussing this. There is a HUGE difference between starting pitchers and relievers. Sure, if you asked players who they’d rather face in one AB, they may say Marmol, but ask them who’s the best Cubs pitcher and they’ll ALL say Zambrano. Marmol pitched 69 innings this year compared to 216 for Zambrano. Therefore, Marmol threw to hitters for one at bat when he pitched and they never saw him again. Zambrano throws to hitters 3 and sometimes 4 times per game. He therefore sometimes faces the same hitter 10 to 20 times a season. Do you understand the difference here? There’s a reason why certain pitchers are starters and others are relievers.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Ok then. Read through your previous comment and your most recent one. You helped illustrate my point. You da man!

  • dhaab

    Whatever, dude. If you can’t tell the difference between a good starting pitcher who throws an assortment of 3 or 4 pitches and is obviously a more effective hurler than a specialty pitcher who has one or two good pitches, then I can’t help you.

    This blog is a perfect example of why Chicago isn’t known as a baseball town. :)

  • http://www.windycitysportsblog.com WindyCitySportsBlog.com

    I see both sides of the argument, but personally I would have went for Marmol also. Zoner brings up a good a point about the OPS for pitches 91-105. Now consider the heat/fatigue/no water factor, his last result when on 3 days rest, and Marmol just being unhittable and the choice for Piniella and Rothschild was quite clear cut. You have to also believe that Piniella figured for a split in AZ and knew Sunday’s game would come down to another heated matchup between Zambrano and Webb which would probably decide the series and at that point, possibly avoiding going back to Phoenix for game 5.

    Its a crapshoot, but it came down to Marmol becoming a one pitch pitcher by not being able to get his breaking ball over. He’s been hot all year and the odds were with him. I never would have imagined he’d get bombed by Reynolds. If Zambrano stayed in, I could only imagine him getting into trouble with walks and Marmol makes his appearance anyways. Who knows, but the reality is the Cubs are down 0-2 and for the most part are only now trying to avoid a sweep.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Excellent points. Especially the part about avoiding a sweep. The Cubs offense has looked as tentative and nerovus as they did in ’98 vs. the Braves.

  • http://thewaywardbus.wordpress.com Mike O’Donnell

    Argh!!!!!!
    My alarm clock this morning was Hudson, my four year old, running into my room excitedly sad. “Dad! Dad! Hey Dad!! The Cubs LAW-ust last night Dad!!”

    I almost called in sick.

  • wes

    The song Mark Reynolds comes out to is Iron Maiden but is the song “The Trooper” off of the “Piece Of Mind” album and has one of the most bad-ass riffs in metal history. Which makes me wonder, why call him “The Sheriff”?

    “You’ll take my life but I’ll take yours too
    You’ll fire you musket but I’ll run you through
    So when your waiting for the next attack
    You’d better stand, there’s no turning back”

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