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How the Cubs Can Get ‘Mendy Back on Track

August 19th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

The Chicago Cubs added another win yesterday thanks to their rookies, Kyle Hendricks and Javier Baez, but Arismendy Alcantara’s contribution was no where to be found. Since his promotion to the big leagues, Alcantara has struggled to make an impact hitting just .208 in 35 games. He has shown flashes of greatness and has put all of his tools on display, at one point or another, but his consistency has been severely lacking.

Part of the problem may be the inconsistencies in the lineup card. Since joining the Cubs, ‘Mendy has split time between second base (15 games) and centerfield (20 games), neither of which is his natural position, and he has bounced around in the batting order quite a bit too.

Batting #

At bats

.ave

.obp

.slg

SB

RBI

Batting 1st

43

.186

.239

.233

1

3

Batting 2nd

57

.263

.358

.474

3

7

Batting 6th

44

.159

.196

.250

1

4

(stats per ESPN.com)

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Putting Cubs’ Rookie Hendricks in Perspective

August 19th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Chicago Cubs rookie starter, Kyle Hendricks, continues to impress. Hendricks was dominant again yesterday, giving up one run on three hits over seven innings in the Cubs 4-1 over the New York Mets. The outing improved Hendricks to 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his first seven big league starts.

We have been raving about Kyle Hendricks now for the last few weeks and with each passing start his success is beginning to seem less like beginners luck and more like flat out dominance. To give some perspective on his performance thus far, take a look at how Hendricks' first seven starts stack up against some of the Cubs’ best pitchers in recent memory.

Player:

IP

W-L

IP

WHIP

K/BB

Kyle Hendricks, 2014

1.66

5-1

48.2

0.966

29/11

Kerry Wood, 1998

2.90

5-2

40.1

0.967

76/16

Steve Trachsel, 1993-94

3.75

2-3

48.0

1.125

42/14

Mark Prior, 2002

3.79

3-4

40.1

1.215

55/18

Carlos Zambrano, 2001-02

4.91

2-3

36.2

1.318

37/19

*Greg Maddux, 1986-87

6.09

2-4

41.1

1.766

27/15

* Indicates member of the Hall of Fame (stats per baseball-reference.com)

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Why Would the Cubs Shut Arrieta Down?

August 18th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Chicago Cubs beat writer, Carrie Muskat tweeted this morning that Cubs have no plans to shut down, starting pitcher, Jake Arrieta and that Rick Renteria expects his 28 year old ace to finish the season as scheduled. This shouldn’t be news to anyone, seeing as how Arrieta has been healthy and dominant since coming off the disabled list earlier this season, but it begs the question: why would anyone consider shutting Jake Arrieta down?

1) His innings total is creeping towards his career-high

So far this year, Jake Arrieta has thrown 117.1 innings, just a few outs shy of the career high (119.1 IP) that he set back in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. In recent years there has been research done that suggests that pitchers should not throw more than 200 innings before the age of 25 but neither one of these factors applies here. Even if we include his innings for the Iowa Cubs, Arrieta is only up to 137.1 innings on the summer and at 28 years old he is in the prime of his career and now is the time to squeeze as many innings out of him as possible.

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Chicago Cubs Hitters Vs. Chicago Cubs Pitchers

August 18th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

2014 has been a rough year for the Chicago Cubs’ hitters and pitchers. At times it has been hard to tell who has struggled more. So, in an attempt to stoke the fire take a look at how the Cubs starting lineup’s numbers compare to a lineup of some of the Cubs’ pitchers’ stats against.

Cubs’ hitters 2014 stats

Player

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

1) Chris Coghlan

.277

.351

6

23

2) Javier Baez

.236

.263

4

7

3) Anthony Rizzo

.274

.374

27

66

4) Starlin Castro

.286

.333

13

64

5) Luis Valbuena

.232

.317

10

39

6) Arismendy Alcantara

.214

.279

3

12

7) Justin Ruggiano

.279

.338

5

26

8) Welington Castillo

.240

.305

9

33

9) Travis Wood

.261

.306

3

10

Cubs’ pitchers 2014 stats against

Player

.ave against

.obp against

HR against

ER

1) Hector Rondon

.245

.293

1

17

2) Carlos Villanueva

.282

.329

5

35

3) Jacob Turner

.321

.371

8

52

4) Edwin Jackson

.293

.365

16

87

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Sunday Spotlight: Jorge Soler & Kyle Schwarber

August 17th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

It has been a while since either Jorge Soler or Kyle Schwarber have been in the news, in part because the excitement of Javier Baez’s promotion to the big leagues, but also because of their play. Both prospects have been all over Chicago Cubs’ publications because of their tremendous starts to their respective 2014 campaigns, but both have cooled off significantly this month.

Jorge Soler:

Level

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

RK

8

.400

.500

1

6

AA

22

.415

.494

6

22

AAA

22

.257

.366

5

18

Total

52

.344

.440

12

46

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

Jorge Soler has gotten lost in all the Kris Bryant news coming out of the Iowa Cubs but he’s hasn’t exactly done anything to steal the spotlight back. Soler is hitting just .250 in his last ten games and his average with the Iowa Cubs has fallen to .257. Given Soler’s recent drop off, there have been concerns about whether or not he will be called up to the big leagues come September 1st. General manager, Jed Hoyer has been vague, but also realistic, about the situation saying that Soler’s future will be (partly) determined by the Iowa Cubs’ playoff status; “They worked hard down there. We don't want to raid them and leave them with nothing if they do make the playoffs”. The Iowa Cubs (67-60) currently have a one game lead in their division of the Pacific Coast League.

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