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The Cubs had a rough week against their division rivals, the Reds and Cardinals.
The Cubs went 1-6 this week. The team dropped one against the Pirates, were swept by the Reds, and pulled out one win against the Cardinals. Despite their awful week, the Cubs are now a half game behind the Rockies for the #2 pick in the 2013 draft. The Rockies have lost nine straight games making even the Cubs 1-6 week look somewhat respectable. The Cubs travel to Colorado for a big three game series that will play a large role in determining which team gets the #2 pick.
Runs Scored: 21 | Runs Scored per Game: 3.00 | Runs Allowed: 32 | Runs Allowed per Game: 4.57
Competition Adjusted Runs Scored: 0.76 | Competition Adjusted Runs Allowed: 1.04
The Cubs were 24% worse than the average offense and 4% worse than the average pitching staff. The offense was putrid. Three runs per game isn't going to win you many games, and that's exactly what happened this week. While the pitching staff had its own issues -- the five-run inning against the Reds on Thursday -- it was significantly better than the offense. Cubs starters pitched 37 ⅓ of the 68 innings played this week, or 55% of the innings pitched, down from 58% last week.
The Three Most Important Plays
9/21 Bot 9, man at 1st base with 2 outs, 4-2 Cardinals: Darwin Barney hits a two-run home run off Fernando Salas to tie the game, resulting in a .491 WPA. The Cubs had a 4.2% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and a 53.3% chance of winning the game after his at bat.
9/21 Bot 11, man at 3rd base with 2 outs, 4-4 Tie: David DeJesus hits a walk-off single off Joe Kelly, resulting in a .376 WPA. The Cubs had a 62.4% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and a 100.0% chance of winning the game after his at bat.
9/22 Top 10, men at 1st and 2nd base with 2 outs, 4-4 Tie: Jon Jay doubles off Jaye Chapman, giving the Cardinals the lead and resulting in a -.370 WPA. The Cubs had a 52.1% chance of winning the game prior to his at bat, and a 15.1% chance of winning the game after his at bat.
Most Valuable Cub Hitter
Welington Castillo: Coming into this year, most fans were talking about the likes of Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Jackson, but it's time to give Castillo his spot in the limelight. In 44 games, approximately a quarter of a season, Castillo has posted a .276/.354/.441 line, been worth 1.0 WAR, and has recorded a 111 wRC+, which means that he's 11% better than the league-average hitter this year. To put that in perspective, there are only nine qualified catchers in the majors who are better than league-average hitters. He is only 25 years old, and at this pace could be an All-Star caliber catcher for the next several years.
Most Valuable Cub Pitcher
Jason Berken: After a rough Cubs debut against the Pirates, Berken pitched very well against the Reds. That said, it was likely a combination of the Reds not having seen much of Berken before and their second-tier lineup, (no Votto or Bruce). Even if Berken puts up incredibly impressive numbers over his next couple of starts, I would find it hard to see him as a legitimate 2013 rotation candidate.
Least Valuable Cub Hitter
Brett Jackson: While he played in five games this week, he only received 11 plate appearances. Unfortunately, Jackson couldn't collect one hit. His season line is now .168/.294/.355, which is a far cry from the .297/.388/.551 line he put up in nearly 50 Triple-A games in 2011 -- about the time people really began to get excited about his abilities. While we couldn't have expected him to post the same numbers in the majors, I don't think many expected him to fall this far.
Aside from the fact that he's striking out nearly 43% of the time, Jackson has also suffered from a depressed BABIP. In nearly 40 games this season, Jackson has posted a .286 BABIP. His lowest BABIP in the minors was .323 in 67 Double-A games in 2011. In the 154 Triple-A games that Jackson played prior to his call-up, his BABIP was .381.
Since Jackson wasn't mentioned in the last recap, I do want to bring up the news of his, "I'll go through a wall for the team," comment. From all accounts, Jackson's attitude seems to be nearly the opposite of his on-field production -- it's stellar. There are a number of other quotes that popped up after the catch at PNC Park that indicate just how great of an attitude Jackson has. I hope Jackson figures things out soon because a young team could really use a player with an attitude like his.
Least Valuable Cub Pitcher
Manuel Corpas: Corpas was awful against the Reds on Thursday. In one inning, he surrendered six hits, and five runs, as the Cubs saw the game get out of hand in a matter of minutes.
Prior to the season, I was looking forward to seeing Corpas pitch. After putting together some decent seasons in Colorado, Corpas suffered an elbow injury in 2010 that required Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, Corpas hasn't regained his old form. He has posted his lowest strikeout rate, highest walk rate, and highest home run rate of his career. Keep in mind that Corpas pitched at Coors field for five seasons and never once had a home run rate higher than the one he currently has -- that's incredible. Corpas looks more like a pitcher nearing the end of his career than one about to revive his.
Please do keep the managerial decision comments coming -- I think they're a great way to keep up to date on how people feel about Sveum's tenure thus far.
The Cubs head west this week to face the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. Go Cubs!