The Cubs finish July having played their best baseball of the year with a 15-10 July. The Cubs are beginning to show that they can play as a team for all nine innings, instead of just the ninth inning with 2 outs and trailing by 8 runs. In other words, the Cubs seem to be performing better in high-leverage situations instead of performing well with the pressure off.
Other July highlights include Ron Santo being inducted into the Hall of Fame "a day late, and a dollar short." Kerry Wood pulls Andre Dawson out of the ivy. Anthony Rizzo adds a walk-off homer to his quickly developing superstar career. Ryan Dempster gets traded to the
Braves Dodgers Rangers along with Geovany Soto. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis insert images of completely nude Cubs players on a beach. Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm are traded to the Braves. A marriage proposal is put on the message board while the guy's girlfriend is off getting some beers. And the Cubs will get home field advantage in the World Series because of the National League All-Star's 8-0 victory in Kansas City... just kidding.
Here's the top 4 position player performers of July:
1. Anthony Rizzo. Who is this new superstar? It starts with a "Rizz" and ends with an "O". Rizzo led the "everyday" position players in AVG (.330), SLG (.567), OPS (.942). Rizzo led the team in hits (32), home runs (7), RBI (17), total bases (55), and tied Reed Johnson for best OBP (.375). Rizzo was second to Soriano with a .573 Win Probability Added.
2. Reed Johnson. Johnson wasn't necessarily the "regular" or "everyday" position player, but when he was called upon, he would produce. Johnson led the team in AVG (.342), tied Rizzo for best OBP (.375), third behind Baker and Rizzo for OPS (.875), third behind Soriano and Rizzo with a .539 WPA. Johnson was fourth behind Baker, Rizzo, and Soriano for SLG (.500).
3. Jeff Baker. Baker was like Reed Johnson, didn't play all the time, but did well when he got to play. Baker led the team with a .667 SLG and 1.017 OPS. Baker finished second behind Johnson in AVG (.333) and third behind Johnson and Rizzon in OBP (.350). Baker was also fourth with a .267 WPA.
4. Alfonso Soriano. Even though Soriano isn't living up to what his contract would indicate, he's still producing. Among "everyday" position players, Soriano is second to Anthony Rizzo. Soriano had the best WPA (.646). Most extra base hits (13), most doubles (8), second-most RBI (15), and tied with Castro for second-most home runs (4).
The top 2 starting pitchers are:
1. Jeff Samardzija. The Shark made an excellent comeback after a horrible June leading the rotation with the lowest AVG (.181), OBP (.262), SLG (.302), and OPS (.563). Samardzija had the second lowest ERA (1.91), WHIP (1.03) and WPA (.957).
2. Paul Maholm. It was Garza in trade talks throughout July but it was Maholm's performance put him on a contending team by the deadline. Maholm led the rotation with the lowest ERA (1.23), WHIP (1.01) and WPA (1.225). Maholm had the second lowest AVG (.225), SLG (.310), and OPS (.589).
The top 2 most reliable relievers are:
2. Manny Corpas. Corpas was second to Camp in AVG (.244), WHIP (1.11), and OBP (.311).
Here's the top 6 Cubs Win Probability Added plays of July:
6.) Sat 7/28 vs. STL (W 3-2): Bottom 7, score tied at 2, 2 out, runners on 1st and 3rd. Reed Johnson bunts down the 3B line for a single off Brian Fuentes. Tony Campana scores, Geovany Soto advances to 2B. Cubs lead 3-2. WPA: 20%, Cubs Win Expectancy: 79%.
5.) Fri 7/13 vs. ARZ (W 8-1): Bottom 5, Cubs lead 2-1, 2 out, runners on 1st and 3rd. Alfonso Soriano hits a home run to center field off Ian Kennedy. David DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo score. Cubs lead 5-1. WPA: 21%, Cubs Win Expectancy: 93%.
4.) Tue 7/24 at PIT (W 5-1): Top 5, score tied at 1, 2 out, bases loaded. David DeJesus hits a double to RF off Jason McDonald. Geovany Soto and Luis Valbuena score, Paul Maholm to 3B. Cubs lead 3-1. WPA: 25%, Cubs Win Expectancy: 78%.
3.) Sun 7/29 vs. STL (W 4-2, 10 inn): Bottom 10, score tied at 2, 0 outs, runner on 1st. Anthony Rizzo hits a home run to left field off T. Rosenthal. Starlin Castro scores. Cubs win 4-2. WPA: 29%, Cubs Win Expectancy: 100%.
2.) Mon 7/30 vs. PIT (W 14-4): Bottom 4, Cubs trail 1-2, 1 out, runners on 1st and 2nd. Darwin Barney hits a home run to left-center field off E. Bedard. Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto score. Cubs lead 4-2. WPA: 31%. Cubs Win Expectancy: 78%.
1.) Fri 7/6 at NYM (W 8-7): Bottom 9, Cubs lead 8-7, 1 out, runner on 1st and 2nd. Lucas Duda hits a line drive double play to Carlos Marmol. Ike Davis doubled off 1B. Cubs win 8-7. WPA: 32%. Cubs Win Expectancy: 100%.
Below is a list of the 15 Cubs wins from July. Which win do you think is the best win? Happy Voting : )