Dreamcast 91: Incomplete Game

In by Rice Cube205 Comments

Well folks, we did it, the Cubs finally won another series. Maybe they’ll go on and win another, who knows? We talk about the inconsistent performances, signs of hope, Counsell magic, and more. Plus a tribute to Willie Mays. RC is moving back to Chicago so literally just recorded this and threw it up on the podcast server with minimal editing as all the stuff got packed away as soon as we hit stop.

You can check out the podcast page or just click on the embedded players below. You can also use the sidebar to get to our Apple Podcast pages and leave a nice review and rating if it pleases you.

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  1. Perkins

    Given McDonald’s is headquartered in Chicago, I think the Cubs should have no trouble getting Grimace to throw out the first pitch and steal the Mets’ mojo.

    Or they could get Hamburglar and it might have the same effect.

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  2. Author
    Rice Cube

    berselius,

    While it is true that there are no guarantees in baseball, I do think the Cubs probably erred in their coaching and development of what could have been generational talents…just kind of makes you sad, though drinks are on me for 2016

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  3. Perkins

    Rice Cube:
    berselius,

    While it is true that there are no guarantees in baseball, I do think the Cubs probably erred in their coaching and development of what could have been generational talents…just kind of makes you sad, though drinks are on me for 2016

    In retrospect, Maddon was probably the wrong leader for that team after about 2017. Great manager and absolutely the right guy to take them to the promised land, but his hands off/laid back approach was likely not the best for the players’ long term development.

    It has to be really hard to get a group of 25 year old dudes who just won a World Series to buy in on adapting their hitting approach or otherwise changing from what got them there. At least without a veteran player like Ross reinforcing it.

    Better roster construction might also have helped if the core players weren’t going to adjust. The 2016 team was insanely deep and had an effective balance of 3TO and contact guys, while the teams after (and the 2015 team) were all vulnerable to the same type of pitching.

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  4. berselius

    Perkins: In retrospect, Maddon was probably the wrong leader for that team after about 2017. Great manager and absolutely the right guy to take them to the promised land, but his hands off/laid back approach was likely not the best for the players’ long term development.

    It has to be really hard to get a group of 25 year old dudes who just won a World Series to buy in on adapting their hitting approach or otherwise changing from what got them there. At least without a veteran player like Ross reinforcing it.

    Better roster construction might also have helped if the core players weren’t going to adjust. The 2016 team was insanely deep and had an effective balance of 3TO and contact guys, while the teams after (and the 2015 team) were all vulnerable to the same type of pitching.

    Maybe

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  5. andcounting

    Díaz had something on his hands, so he probably just stepped off the Dave Matthew’s Band tour bus.

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  6. andcounting

    There was a moment in an in-game interview with Carter Hawkins where it felt like he unintentionally distilled everything wrong with Chicago Cubs baseball when discussing Christopher Morel.

    He said, “We’ve got to optimize his production on the baseball field,” or something to that effect and elaborated on how they would do that for every facet of his game. And it hit so hard that the team’s plan is to strip any amount of enjoyment or love from his experience playing baseball for the sake of optimization. They’re going to analytics him to death to the point where he’s lost all mindfulness or instinct or creativity or joy. They’re going to systematically transform him from Rocky to Dragos. They did it to their entire 2016 core and even did it to Joe Maddon.

    Probably did it to Steele and will continue to do it to Shota, Seiya, Assad, and the entire bullpen. You can’t do it to Hendricks because that shit is Kyle’s fetish but he’s a nerd-thirsty unicorn.

    I don’t know, I think analytics is extremely crucial to the game, but you have to know how to wield it. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the Cubs absolutely do not.

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  7. Author
    Rice Cube

    andcounting,

    I think they have to find out what works for that player naturally and then just let it ride. After all, the only rule is that it has to work. Getting a guy out of his natural rhythm or mechanics seems like a huge opportunity to mess him up down the line.

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  8. Perkins

    I’m not sure the Cubs did that to the whole 2016 core. They seemed content to let Javy be Javy, and I’d hope they could do the same for Morel (while getting him to throw across the diamond more accurately).

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  9. andcounting

    Perkins,

    I really don’t know. I definitely believe he developed a tendency to overthink things at the plate, the downward spiral of which began in Chicago. But I’d consider him the unicorn on the pole opposite Kyle Hendricks on the analytical/emotional spectrum. (dying laughing)

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  10. berselius

    andcounting:
    Perkins,

    I really don’t know. I definitely believe he developed a tendency to overthink things at the plate, the downward spiral of which began in Chicago. But I’d consider him the unicorn on thepoleopposite Kyle Hendricks on the analytical/emotional spectrum. (dying laughing)

    Feel the energy! Or don’t, I can’t tell you what to do.

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  11. berselius

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    2B Hoerner
    RF Suzuki
    DH Bellinger
    3B Morel
    LF Happ
    SS Swanson
    1B Busch
    C Nido
    CF PCA

    P Steele

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  12. berselius

    That might be the first hard hit liner by Morel to actually make it through the infield (dying laughing).

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  13. berselius

    I think the giants are doing three bullpen games in a four game series – if only someone would start writing previews again I would know for sure.

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  14. berselius

    Steele has been great but going back for the eighth means Counsell feels about the same about the cubs bullpen as we do (dying laughing)

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  15. Author
    Rice Cube

    Pfft Neris could’ve done that…

    I drove by two billboards showing the Cubs up 4-2 at the top of the 9th, and by the time I got back to the other side of the Bay, they had lost (dying laughing)

    I guess throwing quality pitches is hard.

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  16. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    We need to get out of “throwing quality pitches” territory in our criticism and remember the Michael Fulmer experience. As a closer he was not it. He was super dependable in general, but he didn’t have elite bat-missing stuff. If you want someone who can absolutely shut it down in the 9th, you need someone who renders bats moot. The Cubs don’t have anyone close to that, and that is a Jed problem.

    Merryweather and Alzolay being out is no small setback, but it’s also not new. Ben Brown as well (Jesus, that’s a lot of arms). At some point you’ve got to bite the bullet and say, “Ok, six of my own cars have broken down, I need to call an Uber.” Trade for SOMEONE who can miss bats, and if, when the MASH unit has done its work, you wind up with a crowded bullpen at the end of the season, FUCKING GREAT.

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  17. berselius

    andcounting,

    On a related note, BABIP is down league-wide this year, and a lot of the speculation is that it’s related to improved defensive positioning thanks to statcast etc. As dark humorly amusing it is for the Cubs to line into 200 double plays a game, maybe there’s more the players can do to change their approach to counterbalance it.

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  18. berselius

    B-ref doesn’t seem to have BABIP, but this is the lowest league OBP since the early 70s. The only seasons post-integration with a lower league OBP are 1968 (not surprising), 1965-57, 1963, and 1972, and those years included pitchers hitting on half the teams. One could argue that this is the worst year for offense league wide in modern history.

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  19. berselius

    caveats that it’s only half a year, there will be more offense as more summer weather games are played, etc etc

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  20. Perkins

    andcounting,

    It’s kind of insane how many anticipated high leverage arms are either injured or have been absolute pants: Alzolay, Merryweather, Almonte, Brown, Leiter, and Neris. That’s almost a whole-ass bullpen.

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  21. Author
    Rice Cube

    The obstacle, of course, is teams charging a premium for trades now rather than closer to the deadline, which means either Jed says “fuck it” or he just waits and hopes they’re still close enough to add

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  22. Perkins

    Rice Cube,

    It feels like this club has very few short term assets and a glut of prospects, so even in their current doldrums, adding probably makes more sense anyway.

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  23. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    The going rate for a good bullpen arm is undoubtedly high but I wish they’d pull the trigger. They don’t HAVE to stop the bleeding I guess but I’d really prefer it if they would.

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  24. Perkins

    andcounting,

    That was what, blown save number 17 yesterday? Imagine if even half of those had been converted. The offense and starting pitching have each had lackluster stretches, but the bullpen has needed at least 1-2 more reliable arms the entire season.

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  25. berselius

    To-day’s based ball squadron

    2B Hoerner
    1B Busch
    RF Bellinger
    DH Suzuki
    LF Happ
    3B Morel
    SS Swanson
    CF PCA
    C Amaya

    SP Cyle

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  26. berselius

    If the Giants wanted to honor Willie Mays they would have changed out of these hideous unis after the first inning.

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  27. berselius

    No one up in the pen, I hope Counsell is sending a message to the FO to go get some effing arms (dying laughing).

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  28. Perkins

    I’m not sure which I hate more: seeing the Cubs in an early hole and expecting them not to have any chance, or my own apathy at that state of affairs.

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  29. andcounting

    Giants 7, 8, and 9 hitters all homered. The Cubs 7, 8, and 9 hitters are due up. Rise to the challenge, you scoundrels.

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  30. Author
    Rice Cube

    This systemic ineptitude is rather disturbing, I generally don’t mind if the Cubs missed the postseason this year, I just don’t want whatever the hell this is to persist into later seasons.

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  31. Perkins

    One thing I’m especially surprised and disappointed by this season is how atrocious the Cubs have been in one run games. I’d really expected the Counsell effect to be more positive there, but I guess it’s easier to hold close leads when the bullpen doesn’t look like a MASH unit.

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  32. Perkins

    I think anything short of sweeping the Brewers has to be considered a failure this weekend, and that’s unfortunate.

    What’s everyone’s win streak amount that would make you feel good about this team again? I say 12.

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  33. andcounting

    Perkins,

    Honestly, three. I think I’d be as happy with a stretch where they go 15-7 as I would if they win 10 in a row just because I’d have more faith in sustaining a steady improvement vs. a hot streak. So if they win a few in a row and then another bunch or they win six straight series (which kinda look like murder over the next couple weeks), I’d take that as proof they can be better than this bullshit.

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  34. Perkins

    andcounting,

    I’d definitely take a stretch like that. My interpretation of a double digit win streak would be positive regression given how many close games they’ve lost.

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  35. andcounting

    Perkins,

    For sure, I’m just hopelessly easy to convince that things are going to turn around. If they win 2 of 3 at Milwaukee I’m buying playoff tickets. (dying laughing)

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  36. andcounting

    The entire game swung on one 0-2 hanging sweeper down the middle. The only thing that beat them. The sum total of their offense.

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  37. Perkins

    Rice Cube:
    It would appear Steele got super pissed off at his teammates so here’s hoping for a spark

    I’ve been hoping for a June 2007 Lou Piniella-esque moment, and CC doesn’t seem the type to oblige. Hope it helps fire them up because this has been a dead-ass team for over a month.

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  38. Perkins

    Incidentally even reading articles at BN has become annoying because of the sponsor plugs. Congrats to Brett for securing the bag, but goddamn.

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  39. Perkins

    Fortunately the worst ads any of us has to endure here would be for cast iron cookware and possibly a Jack Benny box set (dying laughing).

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  40. berselius

    Our pitch of “Buy Product X. Or don’t. We can’t tell you what to do” did not get good reception with our potential clients.

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  41. berselius

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    2B Hoerner
    1B Busch
    DH Belli
    RF Suzuki
    LF Happ
    3B Morel
    SS Swanson
    CF PCA
    C Amaya

    SP Cyle

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  42. Perkins

    It’s kind of a shame that Hoyer built such a strong farm system that isn’t quite ready yet because it kinda feels like there need to be consequences for this season and he’s soon a lame duck.

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  43. Perkins

    Rice Cube,

    I do think this team would be closer to its pre-season projections but for the absolute disaster of the bullpen. That’s mostly front office, with maybe some blame to the training staff.

    But it’d be swell to see the Cubs operate like a real big market franchise that’s willing to absorb sunk money and keep spending when it’s necessary to compete. That’s probably on the ownership as much as the front office.

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  44. Author
    Rice Cube

    As we get closer to the mighty Mississippi (stopping first at the world’s biggest truck stop or so they claim), I see random headlines about firing and/or trading everyone and I seriously wonder what that is supposed to accomplish.

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  45. Perkins

    8 Cubs today. Probably could have gotten 9 if I’d given more thought to the center square.

    ⚾️ Immaculate Grid 457 9/9:
    Rarity: 11
    IMMACULATE!
    🟩🟩🟩
    🟩🟩🟩
    🟩🟩🟩
    Play at:
    https://immaculategrid.com
    @immaculategrid x @baseball_ref

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  46. berselius

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    2B Hoerner
    1B Busch
    RF Bellinger
    DH Suzuki
    LF Happ
    3B Morel
    SS Swanson
    CF PCA
    C Nido

    SP Wesneski

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  47. andcounting

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  48. Author
    Rice Cube

    There is a massive pile of stuff in my apartment and I fear it will take me far less time to clean up my mess than the Cubs need to clean up whatever the hell this is

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  49. Perkins

    I’m trying to remember a recent Cubs team less fun than this one. 2022 and 2019 are contenders, otherwise I’d probably have to go back to 2013.

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  50. andcounting

    Perkins,

    It’s really a rough one. The feeling, nay, the assurance that no lead is safe makes even the games they lead unenjoyable.

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